DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING, AUGUST 28, 1870,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
– 1 Peter 1:3-5
THE persons whom Peter addressed were in great need of comfort. They were strangers, strangers scattered far from home, they had in consequence to suffer manifold trials, and therefore needed plenteous consolations. Such is our position in a spiritual sense, we too, are strangers and foreigners, we are pilgrims and sojourners below, and our citizenship is in heaven, we also require the word of comfort, for while our banishment lasts, we look for tribulations. The persons whom Peter addressed were God’s chosen, “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,” and one sure result of divine election is the world’s enmity. “If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” So you too, my brethren, chosen out from among men to be the peculiar people of God, must expect to be partakers of the cross, for the servant is not greater than his Lord, since they persecuted Him they will also persecute you. Therefore to you, as to those of old by Peter, the word of consolation is sent this day.
The apostle also addressed the sanctified. Through the Holy Spirit they had been sanctified and set apart, to the “obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus” they had been brought. They were a peoplewho had “purified their souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit,” and rest assured no man can do this without encountering fiery trials. He who swims with the stream shall find all things go easily with him until he reaches the cataract of destruction, but he who stems the torrent must expect to breast many a raging billow, and therefore to such the strong consolations of the Gospel are necessary.
Speak we then this morning to the same characters as those addressed by Peter, even to you who “are not of the world,” but “strangers,” to you who are “chosen of God,” and therefore the object of the enmity of man, to you who maintain the separated life of true holiness, and are therefore opposed by the profane, you have need of comfort, and in the Word, and by the Holy Spirit, your need is more than met.
Our apostle cheers these troubled hearts by exciting them to a song of praise. I might almost entitle these three verses a New Testament Psalm. They are stanzas of a majestic song. You have here a delightful hymn, it scarce needs to be turned into verse, it is in itself essential poetry.
Now, my brethren, to lead the mind to praise God is one of the surest ways of uplifting it from depression. The wild beasts of anxiety and discontent which surround our bivouac in the wilderness will be driven away by the fire of our gratitude and the song of our praise. When the Psalm recounts with joyous gratitude the mercies which God has given us, it supplants distress by thankfulness, even as the fir tree and the myrtle take the place of the thorn and the brier where the Gospel works its wonders. In these three verses we have a string of pearls, a necklace of diamonds, a cabinet of jewels, nay, the
comparisons are poor, we have something far better than all the riches of the earth can ever typify. You have here the heritage of the chosen of God, your heritage, beloved, your own peculiar portion, if you belong to Christ this day. We shall conduct you through this mine of treasure, and ask you to dwell upon each several blessing, that your souls may be comforted, and that you, lifting up your hearts in blessing, and praising the God of all grace, may forget your cares and sorrows, and find a young heaven begun below, a paradise blooming amid the desert.
There are seven choice things in the text, a perfect number of perfect things. One might see more than seven, but these will exhaust all our time. Therefore we shall speak briefly upon each one.
To be continued in Part 2