«AN ASTOUNDING MIRACLE NO. 1765 A SERMON PREACHED ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING, FEBRUARY 10, 1884, BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, ...»
The next sign was that the devil began to offer terms to Christ, for I take it that is the reason why he said, “I know who You are, the Holy One of God.” He did not confront our Lord with the hostile doubt, “If you are the Son of God,” but with the obliging compliment, “I know who You are.” “Yes,” the false spirit said, “I will allow this man to say his creed, and avow himself one of the orthodox, and then perhaps I shall be let alone. The man is sound in his views, and so my living in him cannot be a bad thing after all. I am quite willing to admit all the claims of Jesus, so long as He will not interfere with my rule over the man.” The evil one had read his Bible, and knew how Daniel had called Jesus, “the Most Holy,” and so he calls Him “The Holy One of God.” “I am quite willing to admit it all,” says the devil, “only let me stay in the man. Do not meddle with me, and this man’s lips shall confess the truth.” And so, when Jesus comes in His power, and men hear His word, this deceitful compromise is often proposed and attempted. The sinner says, “I believe it all. I deny nothing. I am no infidel, but I mean to keep my sin, and I do not intend to feel the power of the gospel so as to repent and have my sin chased out of me.
I will agree to the gospel, but I will not allow it to control my life.” However, this coming to terms shows that the fallen spirit knows his Destroyer. He would gladly be let down easily. He is willing to crouch, to cringe, to fawn, and even to bear testimony to the truth, if he may but be allowed to keep in his den—that den a human soul. Liar as he is, it must go sadly against the grain for him to say, “I know who You are,” yet he will do this if he may be allowed to keep dominion. So when Jesus draws near to men’s minds, they say, “We will be orthodox, we will believe the Bible, and we will do anything else You prescribe, only do not disturb our consciences, interfere with our habits, or dislodge our selfishness.” Men will accept anything rather than renounce their sin, their pride, their ease.
Then our Lord’s real work came on this man. He gave the evil spirit short and sharp orders, “Silence! Come out!” “Jesus rebuked him.” The word implies that He spoke sharply to him. How else could He speak to one who was maliciously tormenting a man who had done him no harm? The Greek word might be read, “Be muzzled.” It is a harsh word, such as an unclean tormenting spirit deserves, “Silence!
6 www.spurgeongems.org Volume 30 Sermon #1765 An Astounding Miracle 7 Come out.” That is exactly what Jesus means that the devil shall do when He delivers men from him. He says to him, “Come out of the man. I do not want pious talk and orthodox professing. Hold your peace and come out of him.” It is not for evil spirits, nor yet for ungodly men, to try to honor Christ by their words. Traitors bring no honor to those they praise. Liars cannot witness to the truth, or if they do they damage its cause. “Be still,” says Jesus, and then, “Come out.” He speaks as a man might call a dog out of a kennel, “Come out.” “Oh,” says the unclean spirit, “let me stay and the man shall go to church, he shall even go to the sacrament.” “No,” says the Lord, “Come out of him. You have no right within him.
He is Mine, and not yours. Come out of him!” I pray that the Master may give one of His mighty calls at this moment, speak to some poor besotted creature, and say to the devil in him, “Come out of him!” O sinners, sin must leave you or it will ruin you forever. Are you not eager to be rid of it?
Now, see the conquest of Christ over the unclean spirit. The fiend did not dare to utter another word, though he went as near it as he could. He “cried with a loud voice.” He made an inarticulate howling as he left the man. As he came out he tried to do his victim some further injury, but in that he also failed.
He tore at him, and threw him down in the midst of the synagogue, but Luke adds, “He came out of him, having done him no hurt.” From the moment when Jesus bade him, “Come out,” his power to harm was gone; he came out like a whipped cur. See how Jesus triumphs. As He did this literally in the man in the synagogue, so He does it spiritually in thousands of cases. The last act of the fiend was malicious, but fruitless. I have seen a poor creature rolled in the dust of despair by the departing enemy, but he has soon risen to joy and peace. Have you not seen him in the inquiry room, weeping in the dismay of his spirit? But that has caused him no real harm; it has even been a benefit to him, by causing him to feel a deeper sense of sin, and by driving him quite out of himself to the Savior. Oh, what a splendid triumph this is for our Lord when out of a great sinner the reigning power of sin is expelled by a word! How our Master tramples on the lion and the adder! How He treads under His feet the young lion and the dragon!
If the Lord will speak today with power to any soul, however vicious, or depraved, or besotted, his reigning sins shall come out of him, and the poor sinner shall become a trophy of His sovereign grace.
IV. Lastly, THE SAVIOR RAISES BY WHAT HE DID A GREAT WONDERMENT. The people that saw this were more astonished than they generally were at the Savior’s miracles, for they said, “What thing is this? What new teaching is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” The wonder lay in this, here was man at his very lowest, he could not be worse.
I have shown you the impossibility of anybody being worse than this poor creature was. I mean not that he was morally evil, for, as I have hinted before, the moral element does not actually enter into the man’s case, but he is the instructive picture of the worst man morally, utterly and entirely possessed of Satan, and carried away to an extreme degree by the force of evil. Now, under the preaching of the gospel the worst man that lives may be saved. While he is listening to the gospel, a power goes with it which can touch the hardest heart, subdue the proudest will, change the most perverted affections, and bring the most unwilling spirit to the feet of Jesus. I speak now what I do know, because I have seen it in scores and hundreds of cases, that the least likely persons, about whom there seemed to be nothing whatever helpful to the work of grace or preparatory for it, have nevertheless been turned from the power of Satan unto God. Such have been struck down by the preaching of the gospel, and the devil has been made to come out of them, then and there, and they have become new creatures in Christ Jesus. This creates a great wonderment, and causes great staggering among the ungodly, they cannot understand it, but they ask, “What thing is this? And what new doctrine is this?” This is a convincing sign which makes the most stubborn unbeliever question his unbelief.
Notice, in this case, that Jesus worked entirely and altogether alone. In most of His other miracles He required faith. In order to salvation there must be faith, but this miracle before us is not a parable of man’s experience so much as of Christ’s working, and that working is not dependent upon anything in man. When a man is commanded to stretch out His withered hand, or told to go to the Pool of Siloam and wash, he does something. But in this case the man is ignored, if he does anything it is rather to resist than to assist, the devil makes him cry, “Let us alone; what have we to do with You?” The Lord Jesus Christ here displays His sovereignty, His power, and His authority, utterly ignoring the man, consulting neither his will nor his faith, but sovereignly bidding the fiend, “Be silent and come out.” The thing is done, and the man is delivered from his thralldom before he has had time to seek or pray.
Volume 30 www.spurgeongems.org 7 8 An Astounding Miracle Sermon #1765 The miracle seems to me to teach this, that the power of Christ to save from sin does not lie in the person saved, it lies wholly in Jesus Himself, and further, I learn that though the person to be saved is so far gone that you could scarcely expect faith of him, yet the gospel coming to him can bring faith with itself, and do its own work, ab initio, from the very beginning. What if I say that the gospel is a seed that makes its own soil! It is a spark that carries its own fuel with it, a life which can implant itself within the ribs of death, yes, between the jaws of destruction. The Eternal Spirit comes with His own light and life and creates men in Christ Jesus to the praise of the glory of His grace. Oh, the marvel of this miracle! I was never led more greatly to admire the splendor of the power of Christ to rescue men from sin than at this hour.
And to conclude, I notice our Lord did nothing but speak. In other cases He laid His hands upon the diseased, or led them out of the city, or touched them, or applied clay, or used spittle, but in this case He does not use any instrumentality, His word is all. He says, “Hold your peace, and come out of him,” and the unclean spirit is evicted. The word of the Lord has shaken the kingdom of darkness, and loosed the bonds of the oppressed. As when the Lord scattered the primeval darkness by the decree, “Light be,” so did Jesus give the word and its own intrinsic power banished the messenger of darkness.
Oh, you that preach Christ, preach Him boldly! No coward lips must proclaim His invincible gospel!
Oh you that preach Christ, never choose your place of labor, never turn your back on the worst of mankind! If the Lord should send you to the borders of perdition, go there and preach Him with full assurance that it shall not be in vain. Oh, you that would win souls, have no preference as to which they shall be, or, if you have a choice, select the very worst! Remember, my Master’s gospel is not merely for the moralist, in his respectable dwelling, but for the abandoned and fallen in the filthy dens of the outcast.
The all-conquering light of the Sun of Righteousness is not for the dim dawn alone, to brighten it into the full blaze of day, but it is meant for the blackest midnight that ever made a soul to shiver as in the shadow of death. The name of Jesus is high over all in heaven, and earth and sky; therefore let us preach it with authority and confidence, not as though it were an invention of men. He has said He will be with us, and therefore nothing is impossible. The Word of the Lord Jesus cannot fall to the ground; the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. The Lord shall bruise Satan under our feet shortly.
I have gone to great lengths in this sermon because I would reach sinners who have gone to great lengths. Oh that they would accept this message of amazing mercy! He who has come to save sinners is God, and this is the surest ground of hope for the very worst. Hear this I pray you, it is the Lord your God who speaks to you, “Look unto Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”