«Sermon #1174 Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 1 THE EAR BORED WITH AN AWL NO. 1174 A SERMON DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON, MAY 3, 1874, AT THE ...»
Let that grace, Lord, like a fetter, Bind my willing heart to Thee.” I will speak of Him as I find—I wish to serve Him not another 24 years, but four and twenty million years! Yes, and forever and forever, for His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. It is said of the HeVolume 20 www.spurgeongems.org 3 The Ear Bored with an Awl Sermon #1174 brews, “If they had been mindful of the country from which they came out, they had opportunity to return.” And so have we! But will we return to the land of destruction? Will we go back unto perdition?
Will we renounce our Lord? No, by God’s grace it cannot be! We are bound for the land of Canaan, and to Canaan we will go! Wandering hearts we have, but divine grace still holds them fast, and our prayer is— “Prone to wander, Lord, we feel it, Prone to leave the God we love.
Here’s our heart, Lord, take and seal it, Seal it from Your courts above.” Well, then, since we might go free if we would, but wish not to do so, we are willing to declare before the judges—that is, before the public here assembled tonight, who shall be our judges—that though quite able to go free, (we say it plainly and without stammering), we have not the remotest wish to do so!
If the service of Christ has been a fetter, Lord, put on double fetters! If Your service has been a bond, Lord, tie us up, hand and foot, for, to us, bondage to You is the only perfect liberty! Yes, if it must be so, we will say it here— “‘Tis done! The great transaction’s done!
I am my Lord’s, and He is mine!
He drew me, and I followed on, Charmed to obey the voice divine.” And we will add the words— “High heaven that heard the solemn vow, That voice renewed shall daily hear, Till in life’s last hour we bow, And bless in death a bond so dear!” We are willing to say it publicly and plainly, and we are willing to take the consequences, too. Are we?
That is the question! If we mean to be Christ’s servants forever, we must expect to have special troubles such as the world knows nothing of. The boring of our ear is a special pain, but both ears are ready for the awl! The Lord’s service involves peculiar trials, for He has told us, “Every branch that bears fruit He purges it.” Are we willing to take the purging? What son is there whom his father chastens not? Are we willing to take the chastening? Yes, we would deliberately say, “Whatever it is, we will bear it, so long as the Lord will keep us, and help us to remain faithful.” We dare not run away from His service! Would not, could not—and nothing can drive us to abscond from His house or His work, for exulting in persevering grace, we venture to say, “Who shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord?” We will bear the boring of the ear! Perhaps it will come in the shape of more reproach from men; some of us have had a very fair share of that, and have been tolerably well abused up till now, but none of these things move us! Will there be crueler mocking between here and heaven? No doubt there will! Then let them come and welcome! My solemn personal declaration at this hour is— “If on my face for Your dear name Shame and reproach shall be, I’ll hail reproach and welcome shame, For You’ll remember me.” Do you not say the same, beloved? Will you not serve Christ without any conditions, at all hazards?
Will you not follow Him through the mire, and through the slough, and up the bleak side of the hill, and along the crest of the field where the battle rages most fiercely? Yes, that we will, if but divine grace is given; if the Holy Spirit will abide in us! Do you not desire to follow the Lamb where ever He goes? Do you shrink from the supreme sacrifice? Do you not long to abide faithful though all should forsake the truth? Yes, we desire perpetual servitude to Christ, and to bear whatever that involves. I speak the heart of every lover of Christ when I say we do not want to serve Christ a little—we wish to serve Him much—and the more He will give us to do, the better we shall love Him! Yes, and the more He will give us to bear for His dear sake, if He will give us corresponding grace, the more will we rejoice! That is a great life which is greatly useful, or greatly suffering, or greatly laborious for Jesus Christ the Savior!
Do you not feel in your inmost souls that instead of wishing to be set free, you wish to plunge deeper into this blessed bondage—to bear in your body the marks of the Lord Jesus—and to be His branded www.spurgeongems.org Volume 20 Sermon #1174 The Ear Bored with an Awl 5 slaves forever? Is not this the perfect freedom you desire? So, then, there is the first point—our choice of perpetual service!
II. Now, secondly, OUR REASONS FOR IT. A man ought to have a reason for so weighty a decision as this! We have served our Master, now, for 24 years, and do not want to change, but should like to live with Him, and die with Him, and live forever with Him! We speak boldly on a very weighty business. What reasons can we give for such decided language? Well, first, we can give some reasons connected with Him. The servant in our text who would not accept his liberty, said, “I love my master.” Can we say that? I cannot feel content with merely saying it. It is true, true, true! But if I were to begin to talk of how I love Him, or how I ought to love Him, I would break down altogether tonight. Even now I choke with emotion; I can feel love in my heart, but my heart is too full for expression. Oh, what a blessed Master He is! Not love Him? My whole nature heaves with affection for Him! Who can help but love Him? Look at His wounds, and you must love Him if you have been redeemed; look at the great gash which reached His heart, where flowed the water and the blood to be, for your sin, the double cure!
Could you fail to love Him? I mean Jesus Christ who died for you, and bought you, not with silver and gold, but with His own pangs, and griefs, and bloody sweat, and death! Leave Him?
O Savior, let us not be such devils as to leave You, for worse than demons should we be if we could apostatize from such a sweet Master as You are! We love our Master, for He has bought us, and saved us from the miseries of hell! And we love Him because there never was such a Master, so good, so tender, so royal, so inconceivably lovely, and so altogether glorious! Our Lord is perfection, itself, and the whole universe cannot produce His equal! We cannot now praise the stars, for we have seen the sun; we could not take up with the mean things of earth, for the Lord of heaven has looked upon us, and one glance of His eyes has enamored us of Him forever and forever. Want to leave the service of Jesus? By no means! No such wish crosses our soul! Beloved, I am sure you have no desire to change Masters, have you? Are you not abundantly well-pleased with His treatment of you? When a servant comes up from the country to take a situation in town, if he goes back to the village, his old friends come round him, and they say, “Well, John, how did you find the service? Did your master treat you well? Was the work very hard? Were you well-fed, and well-clothed?” Now, Christian people, I am not going to talk for you, but you shall talk for yourselves to your friends and kinsfolk—answer for yourselves their various questions. If you can find any fault with Jesus, tell them of it! Say whether He has ever treated you badly, and if He has, report it to the entire world; do not allow any to be led into a bad service if you have found it to be such.
As for me, there was never a worse servant, but never servant had a better Master than I have! He has borne with my ill manners, and treated me like one of His own family! I have been, at times, a dead weight to His household, but He has never given me a rough word’ “My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Tonight I must, even though I may be thought egotistical, speak of His loving-kindness towards me. Twenty-four years ago I was a lad in jackets, and I walked into the open river on a cold May day to be baptized into the name of Jesus as timid and timorous a youth as you well might see! But when I rose from that water, the fear of man was gone from my mind! For the first time, that night I prayed at the prayer meeting, and this tongue has never since ceased to talk of His dear love— “Before since by faith I saw the stream His flowing wounds supply, Redeeming love has been my theme, And shall be till I die.” Now see what my Lord has done for me! If anyone had said to me, “Twenty-four years from this time you will preach to a vast crowd, and will have spiritual children whose number cannot be told,” I never could have believed it! It would have seemed impossible that such a thing could be! Yet so it is! His right hand has done wonderful things for me, and my heart reverently extols Him! Glory be unto His name forever and forevermore! Leave my Master? Grant, O glorious Lord that no such base and loathsome thought may even alight upon my breast! No, dear Master, I am Yours forever! Let me kiss Your feet again, and be forever bound to You by new cords of Your love!
Well, my brothers and sisters, the Lord has treated you kindly, has He not? Come, speak for yourselves! You could rise and tell stories, in their own way, equally as remarkable as mine, and you could Volume 20 www.spurgeongems.org 5 The Ear Bored with an Awl Sermon #1174 wind up, each one, by saying, “I love my Master! I cannot help but love Him!” The servant in our text, who would not go free, plainly declared that he loved his wife, so that there are reasons connected not only with his master, but with those in his master’s house, which detain each servant of Jesus in happy bondage! Beloved, some of us could not leave Jesus, not only because of what He is, but because of some who are very dear to us that are in His service. How could I leave my mother’s God? How could I leave my father’s God, my grandfather’s God, and my great-grandfather’s God? My brothers and sisters, how could I leave your God, to be separated from you, whom I have loved so long, so well? Husband, tender and affectionate, could you leave your wife’s God? Wife, could you forsake the God of those dear babies in heaven? They are resting there on the breast of Jesus, and you hope to see them soon—do you not love Jesus for the sake of those who once nestled in your bosom? Yes, and it is not merely earthly relationship that binds us thus, but we love all the people of God because of our relationship in Christ! Truly we can say of His church, “Here my best friends, my kindred dwell.” Some of the dearest associations we have ever formed commenced at the foot of the cross! Our best friends are those with whom we go up to the house of God in company; why, most of the friends that some of us have on earth we won through our being one in Jesus Christ! And we mean to stand fast for the grand old cause, and the old gospel, for the sake not only of Christ, but of His people— “Now, for my friends and brethren’s sake, Peace be in you, I’ll say And for the sake of God our Lord I’ll seek your good always.” “Because I love my wife and my children,” says the man, “I cannot go out free.” And so say we!
Besides, let me add there are some of us who must keep to Christ because we have children in His family whom we could not leave—dear ones who first learned of Christ from us. Many in this place were first led to the Lord by our teaching, and by our prayers; we could not run away from them—their loving prayers hold us fast! In them the Lord has hold upon us by new ties! You do not find a woman leaves her husband, as a rule, when there are seven or eight little children at home; no and no man can leave Christ who has been spiritually fruitful—the seals of his ministry seal anew the indentures which bind him to his Lord! The successful pastor will be kept faithful; he must stand fast by the church, and by the church’s head, when there are children begotten unto him by the power of the Holy Spirit through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ! There are also reasons why we cannot forsake our Lord which arise out of ourselves. And the first is that reason which Peter felt to be so powerful. His Master said, “Will you, also, go away?” Peter answered by another question; he said, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” Ah, Christian, there is no way for you but to go straight on to heaven, for where would you go? Where else could you go? Some of us are so thoroughly identified with Jesus and His gospel that the world would have nothing to do with us if we were to ask its friendship; we are committed too much to our Master ever to reckon upon receiving love and friendship from His foes; we have given the world too many slaps in the face to be forgiven by it; we have crossed the Rubicon, and there remains nothing for us but victory or death!
Where could a poor wretch hide, who has been a well-known minister of the gospel, should he apostatize? Where could he dwell? Should he journey to the ends of the earth, some would remember his name and say, “When did you last apostatize?” In the remotest regions of the globe some would jeeringly say to him, “Have you fallen; have you gone aside?” Where could we go, then? We must cleave to Christ! It is of necessity we must! And why should we go? Come, brothers, can you find any reason why we should leave Jesus Christ? Can you come up with one? As my imaginative faculty is not strong enough, I will not attempt it. I can see a million reasons for cleaving to Him, but not an iota of a reason for leaving Him. And when should any who love Him leave Him, if we must leave Him? Leave Him while we are young? It is then that we need Him to be the guide of our youth! Leave Him when we are in middle life? Why, then it is we need Him to help us to bear our cross, lest we sink under our daily load! Leave Him in old age? Ah, no! It is then we require Him to cheer our declining hours! Leave Him in life? How could we live without Him? Leave Him in death? How could we die without Him? No, we must cling to Him; we must follow Him where ever He goes. These are a few of the reasons why we would be His servants forever.
www.spurgeongems.org Volume 20 Sermon #1174 The Ear Bored with an Awl 7 III. In the last place, I want to bore your ear. Do you mean to be bound for life? Christians, do you really mean it? Come, sit down and count the cost, and if you mean it, come and welcome! There is the standard! The blood-red cross waves at the top of it; will you now, in cold blood, enlist for life? Every person who wishes to desert may go home; Christ wants no pressured Christians! Ho, you volunteers!