“I feel that, if I could live a thousand lives, I would like to live them all for Christ, and I should even then feel that they were all too little a return for His great love to me.”
How great a love that God has for us. Charles Haddon Spurgeon understood this great love through his study of the Bible–the Words of life. In these words he read and learned these truths:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, ‘For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39)
These truths ruled Spurgeon’s thinking, his teaching, his preaching. Everything that he wrote (and he was a prolific writer) centered around the exposition of the Bible, an explanation of who Jesus Christ is, and how anyone could come to know Him as Lord and Savior. He did not want to point anyone to himself or to his sermons, but to the One who bled and died, who shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins (cf. Ephesians 1:7).
Of course much of Spurgeon’s understanding of the Scriptures came through Puritan writers. He held the largest Puritan library in all of England at one point. However, although he had learned from Puritans, he tested their writings with the Scriptures. Again, his main focus was the Scriptures. He did, however, believe the Puritans had an excellent grasp upon the Scriptures–and I believe he is right.
Thus, as some have said of Spurgeon, he was the last of the Puritan writers. And yet, his writings are still widely read even in our day. The language he used, the word pictures he drew, point to Jesus Christ. In sermonic form he taught the doctrines of the Trinity; salvation through Jesus Christ alone, by faith alone, by grace alone; he taught the doctrines of the church and the fellowship of the believers; he taught the priesthood of the believer; he taught the doctrine of sin and man’s responsibility for the sin; he taught the doctrine of man’s responsibility to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation.
Many things have been said about Spurgeon through various biographies. While he would not be pleased with being called the “prince of preachers,” God had set him in his time in a place that was made for him. In the days that he preached to thousands–and through his writings to millions upon millions–God placed him in a time of great need.
Today, there are few like Spurgeon who stand upon God’s Word as diligently as he did. Few take the time to write, to read, to study, and to lead anyone to the Lord. Not so with Spurgeon. He was a teacher, a preacher, a pastor, an evangelist, and while some would say that he was not a theologian, his sermons would say differently. He knew the Lord and it is obvious when one reads his sermons that the Lord knew him.
My prayer is that I would not be another Spurgeon, but that I would faithfully teach, preach, pastor, and help others come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It is this calling that is for every preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is what is needed in today’s society. While methods may change to explain the Gospel, the message itself never changes: Jesus Christ died according to the Scriptures, was buried, and was raised again according to the Scriptures. And all who believe in the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ shall have their sins forgiven, washed away, and they shall be saved. This is the message of the Words of life that Spurgeon preached; this is the message Spurgeon believed; this is the message that we need to hear today from every pulpit, every evangelist, every denominational leader, every leader in every Christian church.