“Certain of my brethren are very fond of preaching Christ in his second advent— I rejoice wherein they preach the truth concerning Christ glorified, but my beloved, I do implore you do not build your hope on Christ glorified, nor on Christ to come, but on ‘Christ crucified.'”
—Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
MTP, Sermon No. 663
When the Lord began opening up the doctrines of grace to me in the mid to late 1980’s, which was not very long after my salvation in Christ, I was not much of a Spurgeon reader. In those early years I began to grow in the doctrines of grace through some sermons by Jonathan Edwards (“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” was one of the primary messages) and also from the writings of John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress, most especially. When I read a paperback biography of Mr. Spurgeon while in the Philippines a few years later, the biographer mentioned that Charles Spurgeon had a particular fondness toward the writings of John Bunyan and mentioned that he had read The Pilgrim’s Progress at least once per year since his youth. Well, that was all I needed to hear. Any friend of Bunyan was a friend of mine, and I began to read some of Spurgeon’s works, i.e., All of Grace, John Ploughman’s Talk, etc. It wasn’t long afterward that I started reading his sermons. It was in sermons such “Walking in the Light and Washed in the Blood,” delivered on December 3, 1865, and preached from 1 John 1:7, that made me an avid reader of this nineteenth century country sinner saved by God’s grace.
From that blessed sermon delivered on that particular Sunday morning in December came a most memorable quote for me: the one cited above (I was reminded of it as my friend, Miles McKee, posted the quote today on the Internet). Years later, as an ignorant but willing missionary-turned-pastor, overwhelmed with the thought of expounding God’s marvelous Word before His much-loved people, my eyes opened from prayer to glance at my Bible opened before me. I read these verses:
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:1-2
Although, I may not have a prestigious seminary education; though I may not always preach His message well; though I may oft times fail miserably, sin foolishly, and always, in all things, fall short of the glory of God, Christ Jesus has given me a double honor, in allowing me to utter before men on earth, through the onslaught of principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness, and before the on-looking presence of some of Jehovah’s heavenly host, the exalted and blessed truth of Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
The first verse of 1 Corinthians 2 became my life-long ministry encouragement and the second verse of the same passage became my ministry anchor. Although the storms arise and I have not let enough anchor chain out, causing my ship to flounder, we have never sunk; and though my ship has come dangerously close to the shoals, by God’s grace, we have not run aground: because by His sovereign power, and through His steadfast promise, His anchor has always held.
To meditate upon the truth of Christ’s incarnation unto His crucifixion and resurrection is the truth of Christ crucified. It is a meditation filled with so much hope and joy that not a single moment’s meditation on that truth can ever be wasted unless it is to use the words of its truth as something that forsakes the glory of Christ by the Spirit, in order to help, enhance or benefit the lusts of our flesh.
For Further Reading: