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Boldness at the Throne
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 27, 1910.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S DAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 14, 1873.
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace." Hebrews 4:16.
[Another sermon by Mr. Spurgeon, upon the same subject, is #1024, Volume 17—"The Throne of Grace."]
PRAYER occupies a most important place in the life of the Christian. "Behold, he prays," was one of the first and also one of the surest indications of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. No one begins to live the life of faith who has not also begun to pray—and as prayer is necessary at the commencement of the Christian career, so is it necessary all through. A Christian's vigor, happiness, growth and usefulness all depend upon prayer. It is—
"His watchword at the gates of death, He enters Heaven with prayer." I suppose that even there we shall continue to pray. At all events, we read of the souls under the altar crying with a loud voice and saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, do You not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" I imagine that in Heaven we shall still lift up our hearts in prayer for the spread of Christ's Kingdom, though our principal occupation there will be that of praise. But prayer is always needed here—every day, every hour, every moment we have cause for crying unto the Most High—
"Long as they live should Christians pray," for only while they pray do they truly live!
It is because of the supreme importance of prayer that we find so much about it in the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit continually encourages us to pray by precept, promise and example. One conspicuous instance of that encouragement is the exhortation we are now to consider—"Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace."
So, coming at once to the text, notice that we have here, first, a description of our great resort for prayer—"The Throne of Grace." Secondly, we have a loving exhortation—"Let us come unto the Throne of Grace." Thirdly, we have a qualifying adverb, telling us how we are to come—"Let us come boldly'" Fourthly, we have a reason given for boldness. The reason is in the context. We shall also think of other reasons and then shall close with the reason upon which Paul laid the stress of the argument in writing to the Hebrews—"Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace."
I. First, then, dear Friends, we have A DESCRIPTION OF OUR GREAT RESORT FOR PRAYER—"The Throne ofGrace."
Under the Law of God, there was to be an ark overlaid inside and outside with pure gold. And above the ark was to be the Mercy Seat of pure gold with the golden cherubim covering the Mercy Seat with their wings. This mysterious emblem no one ever saw except the high priest—and he saw it only once a year—and then but dimly, for he saw it through the smoke of the incense which he presented before the Lord. It was a secret thing, but now it is revealed to us, for the veil has been torn and the symbol taken away that we may now come boldly right up to the Throne of heavenly Grace.
I was conversing, some time ago, with a member of the Catholic and Apostolic Church who took great pains to instruct me as to the meaning of the various offices and ordinances of the body with which he was connected. After he had explained a great many mysteries to his own satisfaction, if not to my edification, he pointed out the position of the saints at the present day. And then I felt that it was time to answer him, so I said, "I do not believe that Christians are intended
to go crawling about the outer court and keeping far off from the Holy Place, for the Apostle Paul said, 'Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace,' right into the Holy of Holies, for there is no longer any separating veil to keep us away from the Mercy Seat. As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, my place is not in the outer court, nor even in the court of the priests. I have advanced beyond them and come right up to the Throne of Grace that I may there obtain mercy and find Grace to help in time of need." That is the position of all true Christians, not only on one day of the year, but every day!
I wish that all Believers could realize the privileges to which they were born when they were created anew in Christ Jesus. You may have heard a whole congregation saying, "Lord, have mercy upon us and incline our hearts to keep this Law," and you may have seen them all shivering there at the foot of Sinai with the lightning flashing above them, and the thunder pealing around them! Yet it is possible that at least some of them may have had the right to come before the Lord as His own dear children through faith in Jesus Christ. And if so, they might have said to Him, "Lord, You have had mercy upon us. You have blotted out all our transgressions and now we are not under the Law, but under Grace, and are completely delivered from the thralldom of the old Covenant of Works and are put under the new Covenant of Grace, that we may serve You in newness of spirit and not in the oldness of the letter." Blessed are they who are enjoying the liberty wherewith Christ makes His people free and who, therefore, come boldly right up to the Throne of Grace!
The Mercy Seat, then, is where the high priest typically came once each year. But our Great High Priest, "by His own blood entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." As He died, He tore down the separating veil and threw the Holiest of All open to all who believe in Him! And He has made them kings and priests unto God, so that where the high priest stood, is where they stand in Christ Jesus! That place is so solemn and awe-inspiring that we might fear and quake at the very thought of coming to it were it not for this and other similar exhortations, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy and find Grace to help in time of need."
Our Mercy Seat is called "a throne" because we come there to God as a King and we, by faith, behold Him in His excellent glory and majesty. He is our Father and our Friend, but He is also "the King eternal, immortal, invisible," so we approach even the Throne of Grace with the deepest awe and reverence. We come to this Throne with the utmost confidence, for God gives as a King and, therefore, we ask largely and expectantly! John Newton caught the very spirit of this verse when he wrote—
" You are coming to a King, Large petitions with you bring! For His Grace and power are such, None can ever ask too much."
It is a Throne of Grace where no ordinary monarch presides, but where One is sitting who is Infinite and All-Sufficient, One who can bestow upon us more than we ask, or ever think of asking, and yet not impoverish Himself in the slightest degree! Always remember, Beloved, in coming to the Mercy Seat, that you are coming to a King and to One who gives like a King! Always open your mouth wide and ask great things of the King who is so ready to bestow them upon you!
In drawing near to God in prayer, we come to a King who sits upon a Throne of Grace. That word, "Grace," is one of the choicest in the whole description of our great resort for prayer. We might well have trembled if we had been bid to come to a throne of justice! We might have been afraid to come to a throne of power, alone. But we need not hesitate to come to the Throne of Grace where God sits on purpose to dispense Divine Grace! It would be terrible if we had to pray to a just God if He were not also a Savior—if we could only see the awful glare of Sinai without the blessed attractions of the Atonement made on Calvary! If we can see the "rainbow round about the Throne, in sight like unto an emerald," the token of God's Covenant Love and Grace, then we can pray very differently from the way in which we would pray if we could only see the naked sword of Divine Justice brandished to and fro to keep us back from the holy God who would not have His peerless Majesty polluted by our sinful presence! Let us always remember that when we pray aright, we deal with God on terms of Grace—and answers to our petitions come to us not according to what we deserve, but according to His Infinite Mercy and Grace in Christ Jesus our Lord!
It is also very comforting to us to observe that the God who hears prayer is enthroned and glorified. The God of Grace sits upon the Throne of Grace and so Grace reigns supreme at the place where God meets with us in prayer! The
hands of Grace are full of blessings through the atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ—and those hands are happily employed in dispensing royal largess among the poverty-stricken sons and daughters of men! Come here, then, all you who feel your need of Grace! Be not afraid to approach the Throne of Grace. Since Jesus Christ has taken upon Himself our nature and suffered in our place, the Throne to which the sinner is bid to draw near is a Throne of superlative, unlimited, reigning Grace—Grace that pardons, Grace that regenerates, Grace that adopts, Grace that preserves, Grace that sanctifies, Grace that perfects and makes meet for Glory! Happy is the preacher whose privilege it is to invite sinners to come to such a blessed meeting place with God, but happier far will be the sinners who shall have the Grace to come to that meeting place! May many here be among them!
II. Now, secondly, we have A LOVING EXHORTATION—"Let us come unto the Throne of Grace." Who is it that gives this exhortation? Why did he put it in this form? We might have expected the exhortation to be simply, "Come boldly unto the Throne of Grace." Or even, "Go boldly unto the Throne of Grace." But it is put in the form of an invitation from someone who urges us to go with him—who is this?
Well, first, it is from Paul who had, himself, proved the power of prayer. "Paul? Have I not heard his name before?" Oh, yes! "But had he not once another name?" Yes, his name was Saul. "Then, surely, that must have been the man who persecuted the saints of God, who was exceedingly mad against them and against the Christ whom they loved more than they loved their own lives." Yes, that is the man! Only he has been so changed by Divine Grace that he is a new man in Christ Jesus! And now he confesses that he was the chief of the sinners whom Jesus came to save. It is this saved sinner who is now a saint of God, an Apostle of Jesus Christ and who writes to his fellow Believers, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace." I think that I can summon up courage to go to the Mercy Seat in such company as this! If the chief of sinners is going to the Throne of Grace, I, also, may go! Under another aspect I may be the chief of sinners, too, and if so, there will be a pair of us and we will go together!
Yes, it was Paul who gave this exhortation. A man of like passions with ourselves who was once as great a sinner as any of us have ever been. He puts out his hand to us and he says, "Come along, Brothers and Sisters—let us go boldly to the Throne of Grace." When he gave this exhortation, Paul had become an experienced Believer who had often gone to the Throne of Grace and there proved the power of prayer. He was no stranger at the Mercy Seat. He had done much heavenly business with his Master there—so now, having proved the power of prayer—he does not speak as a mere theorist, but as a practical man who had put the matter to the test and, therefore, knew that God answered prayer! So he wrote to those who had not had such a wonderful experience as his had been, to those whose knowledge of Divine things was far inferior to his own and, linking himself with them, he said, "Let us come boldly unto the Throne of Grace."
It always does me good to hear an aged Christian talk about the Lord Jesus Christ. I recollect, at this moment, a venerable minister who has long gone to Glory. I heard him make almost his dying speech. He had been blind for many years and when he rose at the Communion Table and told us of the loving kindness of the Lord toward him, of how he had tried and tested his God in the deep waters of affliction and had always found Him faithful—and when he bade us, "Young people, be sure to put your trust in the Lord, for He is well worth trusting," he did us all good. I think it is in some such way as this that the Apostle Paul, a man of deep and varied experience, writes to the Hebrews—and through them to us—and says, as one who has tried and proved the power of prayer, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace."
It is, however, not only Paul who speaks in this exhortation, but it seems to me that this exhortation comes through Paul from the whole Church of Christ Paul was a representative man. And as he penned these lines, it seems as though the entire Church of God was speaking through his words. Even the saints in Glory appear to cry out to us, "Come boldly to the Throne of Grace! We can urge you to do so from a remembrance of our own experience, for we long ago tried and proved the efficacy of prayer in every emergency that we had to face." It is certain that all the saints on earth unite in this exhortation, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace." From many a sick bed where aged Christians have been for years pining away—no, I correct myself and say—where they have been melting into Glory as the morning star melts into the sunlight—from many such a bed whose faith has triumphed over physical weakness and pain, I hear the cry, "Let us come boldly unto the Throne of Grace." From many a night-watcher compelled by terrible pain to lie awake and guard the night with prayer, as the sentinels of the Church of God, I hear the cry, "Let us come boldly unto
the Throne of Grace." From many another child of God, who, in the midst of activities and trials combined, has daily and hourly to draw his strength from the Most High by fervent supplication, I hear the cry, "Let us come boldly unto the Throne of Grace." And from many who, through prayer, have been enabled to do great exploits in the name of Jesus, having cast themselves by faith upon a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God—and who are today the living evidences of what Divine Grace can accomplish through human instrumentality—from these, also, I hear the cry, "Let us come boldly unto the Throne of Grace." The Church militant, with its blood-red banner floating in the breeze, marches bravely on to the conflict, crying, "Let us come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy and find Grace to help in time of need."
But I also hear in this exhortation a voice much more powerful than that of the Apostle Paul, or even of the whole Church of Christ, for it seems to me to come from the Holy Spirit Himself, for Paul wrote as he was moved by the Holy Spirit. I think I am not going too far when I say that the Divine Spirit, who dwells in all the saints, is now speaking through the Inspired page and says to us, "Let us come boldly unto the Throne of Grace." Paul wrote to the Romans, "We know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groans which cannot be uttered. And He that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God." It appears to me that in our text the Spirit, speaking in the soft and gentle accents that the Comforter delights to use, is not so much bidding us go to the Throne of Grace, as promising that He will go there with us! And, surely we will go if He will accompany us! As it is His Divine voice that says, "Let us come boldly unto the Throne of Grace," let us obey the gracious exhortation! This is not the only time that the Spirit and the Church of Christ say the same thing, for we read in the Revelation, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come." So here the Spirit and the bride both seem to me to say, "Let us come boldly unto the Throne of Grace." Therefore all you who form part of the mystical bride of Christ, hear the Spirit's gentle call—comply with His exhortation and come boldly unto the Throne of Grace!
III. Now, thirdly, we have A QUALIFYING ADVERB—"Let us come boldly unto the Throne of Grace." We must not mistake the meaning of this word, "boldly." Paul does not say, "Let us come proudly unto the Throne of Grace." God forbid that we should do that! Abraham's prayer for Sodom and Gomorrah is an admirable model of how we are to come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, for although he pleaded again and again for the guilty cities of the plain, he said, "Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes." The greatest boldness in prayer is perfectly consistent with the lowest self-humiliation.
Neither must we ever think of coming before the Lord arrogantly or presumptuously, for it is to a "Throne" that we are bid to come, although that Throne is "the Throne of Grace." I have heard prayers that have seemed to me like dictating to God rather than the humble, reverent petitions which should be presented by the creature to the Creator, or by the children of God to their loving Father in Heaven. We are to come boldly to the Throne of Grace, yet always with submission in our hearts, even as our Lord, Himself, prayed, "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."
I think that by this adverb, "boldly," is meant that we may come constantly—at all times. Eastern potentates would only admit petitioners to their presence when they pleased. Though Esther was made queen by Ahasuerus, she was not allowed to go near him unless she was especially called. But it is not so with us! The path to the Throne of Grace is always open—there are no guards to bar the way of those who come in the right spirit. There are no set times for prayer—one hour is as good as any other for coming to the Throne of Grace. Whenever the Spirit of God inclines the heart to pray, the ear of God is open to hear our supplications—and the mouth of God is open to grant us gracious answers of peace!
"Boldly" also means that we may come unreservedly, with all sorts of petitions. Whatever it is that lies as a burden upon your heart, come with it to the Throne of Grace! Do you really need some great thing? Then come and ask for it! Or do you need some little thing? Then come and ask for it! Have you some care that is crushing you into the very dust? Come and leave it at the Mercy Seat! Have you some little care that worries you, some thorn in the flesh, some messenger from Satan to buffet you? Come and tell your God all about it! Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Think not that God will be angry with you for asking too much from Him—and imagine not that you will insult Him by asking Him for little things. If you are a believer in Jesus, God is your Father, so speak to Him as you would to your earthly father—only have far more confidence in coming to Him than you would have in approaching the most affectionate earthly parent.
Further, "boldly," also means that we may come freely, with simple words. Do not say, "My words are not good enough to present to God. I must get a book of prayers and try to find suitable words with which to approach the Most High." Oh, do not it! It is true that in private prayer, in family prayer and even in public prayer it is better to use a form than not to pray at all. I have often said that it is better to walk with crutches than not to walk at all, but what need have you of crutches—for that is what forms of prayer really are? Your Father in Heaven does not want you to come to Him in a stiff, formal way, but just to proclaim, as simply and naturally as possible, the desires of your heart. If one of my boys wanted a new suit of clothes, or anything else that it was proper for him to have, I would not like him to come with a written request, as if he were presenting a petition to parliament! I would not feel that he loved me very much if he came in such a fashion as that! But when he asks me for what he needs in a bold, familiar and yet respectful manner, I am only too pleased to supply his needs!
You who are parents know that you do not make your children offenders for a word. When they first learn to talk to you, they pronounce their words very imperfectly and make many blunders. They break all the rules of grammar and their prattle is often so indistinct that strangers who come to your house do not know what they are saying. But you know, Mother. You know, Father. You understand them all right and you like to hear them talk like that—it is the natural speech for little children—and there is the accent of love in it that endears it to you. Well, now, go to your God as your little child comes to you! Tell Him all that is on your heart. Never mind about your words—use such language as your heart dictates—and when you find that you cannot pray as you would, tell Him so. Say to Him, "O Lord, I cannot put my words together properly, but I pray You to take my meaning, O my Father—do not judge my prayer by my broken, faulty speech, but read the desires of my heart and grant them if they are in accordance with Your gracious will!" Perhaps the best prayers of all are those that have no words at all—those that are too deep down in your heart to get shaped into words. We hardly know how they got there, except that we believe God put them there by His Holy Spirit— so He accepts them even if they are never formed into words!
"Boldly" means, too, that we may come hopefully, with full confidence of being heard. It is not a matter of doubt as to whether God hears and answers prayer—if there is any fact in the world that is proved by the testimony of honest men, this is that fact! You know that at a trial before an earthly judge there are often many witnesses who give their testimony as to the facts of the case as far as they are known to them. And the weight of their evidence is very largely determined by their personal character. Now, if this were the right time and I was the counsel in charge of the case, I could bring forward hundreds—even thousands of the best men and women who have ever lived—I mean those who are admitted to be so by all who know them—honest, straightforward witnesses whose evidence would carry weight in any court of law, who would calmly and deliberately declare that, over and over and over again, God has answered their prayers! Answered them so often that it has now become with them a matter of course that when they really need anything, to go to God and get it. "Oh," says someone, "that is only a delusion! There is no such thing as answers to prayer." No, Sir, you have no right to say that, for the witnesses have as much right to be believed as you have! Possibly even more, for you may not have the character to support your infidel assertion that these witnesses have to back up their Christian testimony! We can bring forward men who are the equals in learning of any unbeliever, men who are eminent in the ranks of literature, men who are masters of scientific knowledge—yet these very men have been simple as little children in the matter of prayer and they all testify that God has heard them again and again—and granted their requests! That is a strange "delusion" which is a daily fact in the history of millions and which has been proved to be true in the lives of millions who are now before the Throne of God on high! So let us still pray knowing that God will hear us and be fully persuaded that He will give us whatever is for His own Glory and our own and others' good! The Apostle James reminds us that we must "ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord."
Once more, this word, "boldly," means that we should come perseveringly, with a fervent importunity that will not be denied. If at our first coming to the Throne of Grace, we do not get what we want, let us come again and keep on coming until we do get it. God sometimes makes us wait for a blessing in order that we may value it all the more when we do receive it. He would have us ask, and seek, and knock again and again—and not be content until we obtain the blessing we crave. If we are sure that what we are asking is in accordance with the will of God, let us keep on coming like the importunate widow came to the unjust judge—until the desire of our heart is granted to us!
I think this is what is meant by coming "boldly unto the Throne of Grace."
IV. Now, lastly, we have A REASON GIVEN FOR BOLDNESS—"let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace."
There are a great many other reasons besides the one to which Paul here alludes. I will give them to you in brief.
First, we are invited to pray. God would never have invited us to pray if He had not intended to hear and answer us. No right-minded man would invite his fellows to a feast and then send them away empty. So, the very invitation to us to pray implies that there are blessings waiting for us at the Mercy Seat—"Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace."
Let us remember, too, that Grace is for sinners, and we are invited to come to the Throne of Grace. It is only on terms of Grace that we can expect to obtain the blessings that we need—but it is to the Throne of Grace that we are bid to come. So let the sinner come, for it is the Throne of Grace! Let the needy saint come and at the Throne of Grace, "find Grace" to help in time of need." Let us all come, good or bad, prepared or unprepared, whoever or whatever we may be—let us come boldly because it is the Throne of Grace—and Divine Grace is what we all need.
Let us also remember the Character of the King who sits upon the Throne of Grace. He is Infinite in mercy and love and He delights to bless His creatures. He is Infinite in power and is, therefore, "able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think." He is Infinite in wisdom and is, therefore, able to give us whatever is best for us in the best possible way. He is altogether unlimited in His Nature and, therefore, we cannot exceed His power or His willingness to help us, let our requests be as large as they may! Oh, when I think of what God is as He is revealed in Christ Jesus, and remember that it is He who sits upon the Throne of Grace, I feel that I may well repeat Paul's exhortation, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace!"
Remember also, O Christian, your relationship to the King who sits upon the Throne of Grace! You are not merely His servant—you are His child—an heir of God, and joint-heir with Jesus Christ! All that you ask for is already yours by right of inheritance and shall be in your possession in due time. Shall a child tremble in his loving Father's presence? Shall a son act as if he were a slave? Shall I, with tremulous hands, present a petition to my own Father whom I love? If I have perfect love to Him, it casts out all fear. So, because we are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, "let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace."
I have already reminded you that the Holy Spirit has been given to teach us how to pray. Now the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God and, therefore, He never moves us to pray for anything which God does not intend to give us. Prayer is often the shadow of God's coming blessing. Before the Divine Decrees are fulfilled, they often cast their blessed shadow across the Believer's heart by the power of the Holy Spirit so that when the Believer prays in the Spirit, he is only asking God to do what He has from all eternity determined to do! If we came to the Throne of Grace with petitions which we had ourselves prepared, we might well tremble! But when we come with a Spirit-written petition, we may well "come boldly unto the Throne of Grace."
Then, Beloved, there is one sweet thought which should always encourage you to "come boldly unto the Throne of Grace," and that is, the many "exceedingly great and precious promises" in the Scriptures. If we had to ask for unpro-mised blessings, we might come tremblingly. But there are promises in God's Word to meet every emergency. "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." "As your days, so shall your strength be." "Whatever you shall ask the Father in My name, He will give to you." I might go on quoting promises by the hour, together, but it will be more profitable for you to search them out for yourselves, especially if you remember what Paul writes concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, "for all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him, Amen, unto the glory of God by us." These promises are all the more precious to us because they are free promises, not made to us because of our merits, but solely because of God's Grace! And all the promises are made by that faithful God who cannot lie, and by that Almighty God who is as able to fulfill the promises as He was to make them! "Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace."
If we need any more reasons to encourage us to come boldly to the Throne of God, let us remember that God has already given us His dear Son, and let us ask again the question that Paul asked so long ago, "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" You and I, if we are believers in Christ, are already saved with an everlasting salvation! Then after God has given us this greatest of all blessings, will He refuse to bestow upon us the lesser mercies? Brothers and Sisters in Christ, as the Lord has already done
such great things for us, He cannot turn a deaf ear to our petitions, especially when they are inspired by His own gracious Spirit! "Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace."
Besides, some of us have had many years' experience in the power of prayer. Some of you have had 50 years of soul-enriching communion with God at the Mercy Seat. Do you not remember many times when you were in deep trouble and prayer brought you deliverance from it? Do you not recollect some seasons of terrible depression of spirit when prayer brought the sunlight back to you? Do you not recall that time when you were bereaved and when, as you stood weeping by the open grave, prayer brought you sweet relief and dried up your tears? Do you not remember when you were in poverty and prayer obtained bread for you? The ravens did not bring it, nor did a widow sustain you, yet you were fed by the God of Elijah in answer to your earnest supplication! What is there that prayer has not done for us? Oh, there are multitude of instances which come to our memory when prayer has unlocked Mercy's door—and they all say, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace."
Now I will close by briefly referring to the reason which the Apostle gives why we should come boldly to the Throne of Grace. I have given you many good reasons, but this is the best reason of all—"We have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace that we may obtain mercy, and find Grace to help in time of need." That is to say, we are to come with boldness to the Throne of God because there is pleading for us there, a Man who is also God, to whom every petition put up by those who trust in Him is a very precious thing which He, as the great representative Man before the Throne presents to His Father, for He is God's own dear Son! Yes, He is one with the Eternal and His will is the will of the Infinite Jehovah to whom we address our prayers in Christ' s name! This glorious God-Man Mediator continually presents before His Father His one great Sacrifice for sin. There will never be a repetition of it and it will never need to be offered again, "for by one offering He has perfected forever them that are sanctified," that is, those who are set apart unto Himself. This one Sacrifice He perpetually pleads before the Throne—and our prayers, therefore, ascend to God with the merit of Christ's atoning blood giving them acceptance with His Father. So they must have power with God, for they come before Him signed, as it were, with the name of His well-beloved Son. He lays His hand upon each petition and so leaves the print of the nails upon it—and therefore it must prevail with God!
Remember, too, that this same Jesus Christ was once a Man upon earth like ourselves, except that He was "without sin." When your prayer is broken through grief, recollect that He also knew what a broken-hearted prayer meant. The sighs and tears of Gethsemane taught Him that. He was made perfect through suffering that He might perfectly sympathize with all His suffering saints. Do not imagine that you can ever get into any condition in which Jesus Christ cannot comprehend you and, consequently, cannot sympathize with you. If you are in the depths, as Jonah was, remember that Jonah was but a type of Christ, who therefore knows all about your present experience and also knows how to deliver you out of it! If you seem to be altogether deserted by God and know not why it is so that you have to cry, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" that is an experience through which Jesus, Himself, passed. Yet—
"In every pang that rends the heart The Man of Sorrows had a part'— so that we have, before the Throne of God, a High Priest who is as sympathetic as He is powerful! "Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace."
Remember, too, that every blessing which you have a right to ask for through Christ is yours already, "for all things are yours; things present, or things to come; all are yours; and you are Christ's; and Christ is God's." Every right prayer that you offer is but putting in a claim for that which is rightly yours through your union to Christ. Therefore come boldly to the Throne of Grace because you have such a Pleader to appear there for you and such a plea to urge with God through Him!
Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us begin to pray more boldly for sinners! Let us pray more boldly for London! Let us pray more boldly for our country! Let us never cease praying to the Lord to send a great revival throughout the whole world! And O, you sinners, you may come, too, for it is, "the Throne of Grace" to which we are invited! And it is before that Throne that Jesus stands interceding for the transgressors. Come and welcome to Jesus Christ! This is your "time of need." You are full of sin and need mercy to forgive it and cleanse you from it. You are full of weakness and need the help of God. Come to the Throne of Grace and ask for His Grace to help you in your time of need and you shall surely have it!
God has not left off being a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God, so come to Him! Yes, let us all "come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find Grace to help in time of need."
What I have been saying to you, I have said far more to myself than to anyone else here, for if there is one who needs more prayer than all the rest, I am that one, burdened as I am with incessant service and overwhelming responsibilities. Yet, after taking to myself more of the sermon than I pass on to any of you, I venture to say that there is not one person in this building whose condition does not make prayer necessary for him. I do not know what the special need of each one of you may be, but I think everyone here who seriously thinks about the matter, must say, "Well, if there is anybody in this place who can do without prayer, I am not the one! I must pray! There is something about my case that drives me to the Mercy Seat." Thank God that it is so, but be sure that you go to the Throne of Grace that you may obtain the help you need.
It is a blessed trouble that drives us to the Mercy Seat, yet one would scarcely wish to have the kind of trouble that Mr. Fraser, a good old Scotch minister, had. He had a wife who tormented him dreadfully, yet, when someone jestingly said to him that he would not drink to her health, he replied, "I hope she will live long, for she has driven me to my knees ten times a day when, otherwise, I might not have prayed." One would not wish to be driven to prayer in such a fashion as that, yet I venture to say that Mr. Fraser was a gainer by it! Real prayer must make us more like our Master. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find Grace to help in time of need."
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