Offended Because of Christ?

   (No. 1398)

   DELIVERED BY

   C. H. SPURGEON,

   AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.

   "And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me." Matthew 11:6.

   THE connection of the passage assists us in feeling its force. John had
   sent his disciples to ask the Master whether He was, indeed, the
   Messiah. The Savior, after giving abundant proof that He was the Sent
   One who had long been promised, then adds, "And blessed is he who is
   not offended because of Me." Had John begun to suspect a stumbling
   block in reference to the Nazarene? Did he question if so lowly a
   Person could, indeed, be the promised Christ? Had he expected Messiah
   to be a glorious prince with an earthly kingdom? Was he staggered to
   find himself in prison under Herod's power? Was John, himself in doubt
   and did the Savior, therefore, say, "Blessed is he who is not made to
   stumble concerning anything about Me"?

   There have been many suggestions as to why John sent his disciples and,
   perhaps, we shall never know why. And we need not wish to know, seeing
   it did not please God to leave it on record. Some have said he sent the
   messengers for his own sake, for he was then under a fainting fit of
   unbelief. I hardly think so and yet, it is possible, for John was an
   Elijahlike man--a man of stern iron mold--and such men are apt to have
   occasional sinking of a terrible sort. With most of the children of
   God, their weakness is most seen where their strength lies. Elijah
   failed in courage though he was one of the most courageous of men!
   After he had slain the priests of Baal, he was afraid of a
   woman--afraid of Jezebel--and fled to hide himself. He said, "Let me
   die! I am no better than my fathers."

   It seems to be a law of Nature that the strongest men should have the
   worst fits of weakness. Martin Luther's life is remarkable as
   illustrating this. He fainted as few men ever fainted--his despair, on
   some occasions, was almost equal to his confidence at other times! So
   it is possible that John, being of that class of men, after having
   boldly confronted Herod and declaring, "It is not lawful for you to
   have your brother's wife," may have fainted in spirit when he found
   himself shut up in prison with no known and manifest token of Messiah's
   kingdom coming. Prison may have been a severe trial to the Baptist--we
   are all affected by the atmosphere in which we dwell.

   Today has been a very heavy day to many a spirit because the atmosphere
   has been loaded with damp and smoke. I believe that there is more than
   a little truth in the rhyme--

   "Hea viest the heart is In a heavy air, Every wind that rises Blows
   away despair."

   Now John the Baptist, after living in the wilderness in the open air by
   the riverside, must have felt a strange difference when he was shut up
   in the close, oppressive dungeon of Herod--and the body may have helped
   to act upon the soul. And so the mind, after its extraordinary tension
   in the great service to which John was called, may have been dragged
   down by the half-stifled body till faith began to tremble. And so it
   may be that John, for his own satisfaction, found it necessary to ask,
   "Are You He that should come, or do we look for another?" If so, the
   Savior well said, "Blessed is he that is not offended because of Me,"
   for, after all, notwithstanding his severe trial and deep depression,
   John was not really offended because of Christ. He was not actually
   scandalized because of the Lord whose forerunner he had been, but he
   held on to his testimony and sealed it with his death. Blessed is his
   memory as that of one who was not offended because of Christ!

   Others, however, think that John sent these disciples not at all for
   his own sake, but for theirs. That strikes me as being the more
   probable. He wished to transfer them from himself to his Lord and he,
   therefore, bade them go and enquire for themselves. He felt that the
   answer which Jesus would be sure to give would be the best means of
   convincing them that they ought to follow the servant no longer, but
   cast in their lot with his Master. Our Lord, after showing that

   He was, indeed, the Messiah, by working miracles in their presence and
   preaching the Gospel, then said to them, "And blessed is he who is not
   offended because of Me. You see Me here despised and rejected of men,
   notwithstanding that I work miracles. You see that I am called
   Beelzebub and treated with the utmost scorn. You shall be blessed if,
   believing Me to be the Christ of God, you follow Me without being
   staggered at anything you see, or annoyed at anything you are called to
   bear for My sake."

   Whatever may have been John's motive, the text will, I trust, serve us
   for a useful purpose. May we be among the number of those who are
   blessed because we are not offended because of Christ. And let us now
   look at various characters that we may know to which class we belong.
   First, there are some who are so offended because of Christ that they
   never accept Him as their Savior at all. Secondly, there is another
   class of persons who, after professing to accept Him and apparently
   casting in their lot with Him, are, after all, scandalized. They find
   stumbling blocks and go back and forsake the way which they professed
   to tread. But then, thirdly, there are others who, by the Grace of God,
   take Christ as He is with all their hearts and are not offended because
   of Him. These are they that are blessed in very deed and shall enter
   into eternal blessedness in Heaven!

   I. First, then, I shall try to speak and God help me to speak
   effectually, TO SOME WHO ARE SO OFFENDED BECAUSE OF CHRIST THAT THEY
   NEVER TRUST HIM AT ALL, OR ACCEPT HIM AS THEIR SAVIOR. Let us tell the
   reasons why some men do not receive Christ and are offended because of
   Him. O that the Spirit of God may drive these unreasonable reasons from
   their souls and lead them to Jesus! Some in His own day were offended
   with Him because of the humbleness of His appearance. They said, "He is
   the son of a carpenter. His father and His mother we know and His
   brothers, are they not all with us? When Messiah comes, we know not
   from where He is, but as for this Man, we know from where He is."

   He came among them as a mere peasant. He wore the ordinary raiment of
   the people. A garment without seam, woven from the top throughout,
   served His purpose. No soft raiment and gorgeous apparel decorated and
   distinguished Him. He did not affect any dignity. He came with no
   chariot and horses and pomp of a prince. He was meek and lowly. Even in
   the grandest day of His triumph, He rode upon a colt, the foal of an
   ass and, therefore, they said, "Is this the Son of David? Is this the
   King, the glorious One of whom Prophets spoke in ages long gone by?"
   And so they were scandalized and offended because of Him because there
   was a lack of that earthly glory and splendor for which they had
   looked.

   Men feel the same today. There are some who would be Christians, but
   then Christianity must be a very respectable thing--and if the Truth of
   God is to be found among poor people, well, then, the Truth of God may
   be for them, but they will not go with them to hear a plain preacher
   and mix with common people! If the Truth of God walks the streets in
   silver slippers, then they do not mind acknowledging it and walking
   with it--but if it toils in rags through the back streets and by miry
   pathways--then they say, "I pray you have me excused." The religion of
   Jesus Christ never was, nor ever can be, the religion of this present
   evil world. He has chosen a people out of the world who believe it, but
   the world itself has always hated it. Did not our Lord tell us (John
   14:17), concerning the Spirit of Truth, that the world cannot receive
   Him because it sees Him not, neither knows Him? Whenever you find a
   religion which unites itself with pomp, show and worldly power, if
   there is any truth in it at all, it has, at any rate, deteriorated from
   the standard of its purity and is not according to the mind of Christ.

   But there are some who are so fond of everything that is
   fashionable--everything that is great and famous--that, if the Lord
   Jesus Christ is despised and rejected of men, they despise and reject
   Him, too. Ah, but I hope that I address some to whom the Lord has given
   a nobler spirit! I hope some men and women are here, tonight, who will
   never reject the Truth because it is unfashionable, or refuse to follow
   Christ because He is despised. No, but the noble spirit says, "Is it
   right? Then I will espouse it. Is it true? Then I will believe it in
   the name of God. Though it may mean poverty and shame, yet that is the
   side on which I will enlist." There is a nobler chivalry than all the
   chivalry of war--it is the chivalry of the heart that dares be nailed
   to the Cross with Christ sooner than turn aside to seek flowery
   pathways and follow the trail of the serpent. Many reject Christ
   because of the humbleness of His exterior. Who is on the Lord's side
   and will dare declare it before a scoffing world?

   Again, there are others who reject Him because of the fewness of His
   followers. They like to go where many go and they say, "Well, but there
   are so few that go that way, I do not wish to be singular." Yet every
   honest heart must admit

   that truth could never yet be decided by votes, for, as a rule, it has
   been in the minority. If we are to count heads we must go to the Pope,
   or the Sultan, or the Brahmin. For my part I think that a minority of
   one with Christ is stronger than a majority of fifty millions against
   Him, for Christ, the Son of God, in His own Person, sums up a total
   greater than all the multitudes that ever can be against Him! There are
   some who quite forget that our Lord has said, "Broad is the way that
   leads to destruction and many there are which go in that way." And
   again, "Strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leads unto life,
   and few there are that find it."

   The way that leads to eternal life, though it is the King's highway, is
   often as little frequented as a country lane. If you must be on the
   side of the majority, then you will certainly be on the side of deadly
   error unless there should come some happier times when the Lord has
   more greatly increased the number of His people than at the present!
   May you be spared to see such days, but those days have not come as
   yet--and if you will not go with the Lord until the multitudes are with
   Him--you will perish in your sin! Do not, I pray, stumble at Him
   because of this. Some are offended with Christ for quite another
   reason, namely, because of the grandeur of His claims. He claims to be
   God over all, blessed forever. He counted it not robbery to be equal
   with God, though He made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the
   form of a Servant.

   Now some spirits quibble greatly at this. They did so in His own day.
   They took up stones to stone Him because He made Himself equal with
   God. Proud, carnally wise minds cannot endure the doctrine that the
   Redeemer is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father, very God of very
   God! To my mind it is a reason why I accept Him! If He were not God,
   how could He save me? The weight of my sins would stagger all the
   angels and cherubim and seraphim if they should try to lift it! I must
   have a God to save me, or saved I can never be! And to me it is the
   greatest consolation possible that He who was the son of Mary is also
   the Son of God--that though human, even as we are human, sin
   excepted--He was altogether Divine. Oh do not--do not be offended with
   Him because of this, but rather rejoice in Immanuel, God With Us--and
   trust your soul into His hands!

   A certain number of unconverted men are grievously offended with our
   Lord because of His Atonement. This which to us is the very center of
   all His excellence--that He saves us by standing in our place and
   bearing the wrath of God on our behalf--this is dreadfully kicked at by
   some. And I have heard these fastidious people finding fault with
   ministers for talking too much of the blood. They cannot endure the
   term, "the precious blood of Christ." We shall never listen to their
   fastidiousness, not for a single moment! And if we knew such to be
   present, we would go out of our way, on purpose, to shock them because
   we think that no respect should be shown to such a wicked taste! If the
   doctrine of the Atonement is kicked at, the answer of Christ's minister
   should be to preach the Atonement again and again and again in the
   plainest possible terms--and declare with even greater vigor and
   frequency the glorious substitutionary Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus
   Christ in the place of His people!

   This is the very heart of the Gospel and should be preached in your
   hearing at least every Lord's Day! Leave that out? You have left out
   the life of the Gospel, for "the blood is the life thereof." Without
   shedding of blood there is no remission and, therefore, as remission is
   the great privilege of the Gospel, we have no salvation to declare and
   we have no remission to preach unless the blood--

   "From His riven side which flowed" is continually set forth before you
   Oh, why should men quibble at that which is their salvation? If they
   ever are redeemed, it must be, "not with corruptible things as silver
   and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ." If they ever are
   cleansed from all sin, it must be because of that Divine declaration,
   "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." May we
   never stumble at Christ because of His Cross, for that were to reject
   our only hope! That were to quarrel with our life! That were to insist
   upon shutting the gates of mercy upon our own souls! That were to
   become enemies to our best Friend and to ourselves! God save us from
   such an infatuation as that!

   We have found a good many, also, who are offended because of Christ for
   a different reason altogether, namely, because of the graciousness of
   the Gospel. It has too much free Grace in it for them. They would like
   a mingle-mangle of Grace and works. You will constantly hear it said
   that the doctrine of Justification by Faith is very dangerous and ought
   to be preached with great caution. Occasionally our secular papers,
   which, as you know, understand a great deal about religion, will
   instruct us as to what we should preach. The moral virtues ought to be
   our main theme and Justification by Faith should be so qualified as to
   be virtually denied. It is very wrong, they say, to sing that hymn--

   "Nothing, either great or small, Nothing, Sinner, no! Jesus did it, did
   it all, Long, long ago."

   And to tell the sinner that until he believes in Jesus Christ--

   "Doing is a deadly thing: Doing ends in death,"

   is regarded as a crime so manifest that it needs only to be mentioned
   and every reader of the paper will be dreadfully shocked! And yet the
   editor of the paper, or the writer, probably calls himself a
   Protestant, and Justification by Faith is the one doctrine upon which
   all Protestantism turns! Very likely the writer of the stinging article
   calls himself a churchman and yet even the doctrine of the Church of
   England about that matter is as plain as words could possibly make it.

   Yes, and then they suppose us to be some modern sect of revivalists
   that have newly sprung up, although we are preaching that which is and
   always was the Gospel--the doctrine by which you may test whether a
   Church stands or falls--salvation, not by the works of the Law--but
   according to the Grace of God! Crowds of people cannot endure Grace!
   And as to the term, "free Grace," they say that it is a tautological
   expression! It may be so, but it is a very expressive term and because
   they do not like it, I always intend to use it! It will do them good to
   be made to know that we mean it and, therefore, use doubly strong
   language. It shall not only be, "gratis," which is free, but, "free
   gratis!" And we will, one of these days, put something else on to make
   it plainer still, if possible, and say, "free, gratis, for nothing!"

   Salvation through eternal love, salvation through mercy
   alone--salvation, not of merit, salvation, not of the will of man, nor
   of blood, nor of the flesh--but salvation by the eternal purpose of
   Divine Sovereignty! Salvation by the will of God, who has said, "I will
   have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on
   whom I will have compassion"--this we will, by the Grace of God, always
   preach! Grace free as the air, spontaneous, undeserved, but given of
   God because He delights in mercy! Yes, they kick against this but, if
   they knew themselves, they would know that nothing else will ever suit
   the sinner but this!

   He who has broken the Divine Law is never in a right state of heart
   till he feels salvation by himself to be hopeless! When he is shut up
   in the condemned cell and hears the sentence read against him
   condemning him to die and knows that nothing he can do, can, by any
   possible means, reverse that sentence--and then sees Jesus interposing
   in all the freeness of His love and saying, "Now you have nothing to
   pay. I frankly forgive you all"--then, I say, he realizes that Free
   Grace is the glory of the Gospel! Do not be offended with it, I pray
   you, or you will be offended with your own life!

   Then, on the other hand, there is another class of persons who are
   offended with our blessed Lord and Master because of the holiness of
   His precepts. Alas that there should be traitors in the camp who can
   get on very well with Grace and Free Grace, but then, alas, they turn
   it into licentiousness and take liberty to sin because of the freeness
   of Divine Mercy. If you begin to declare that, "Without holiness no man
   shall see the Lord." If you preach, as Jesus did, that he who forgives
   not his brother abides in death. If you tell them that the omission of
   these outward virtues will prove that the inward life is absent. If you
   declare that the axe is laid to the root of the trees and every tree
   that brings not forth good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. If
   you go on to insist upon it that there must be the outward marks and
   evidences of saintship or else the pretense of experience is a mere
   lie--then, by-and-by, they are offended and exhibit a bitter spirit!

   Oh that none of us may act so. The highest holiness is the delight of
   the true Believer. If he could be absolutely perfect, he would rejoice
   above measure! It will be his Heaven to be perfect--and the one thing
   he strives after here below is to get the mastery over all sin--not
   that he hopes to be saved by that, but because he is saved and, being
   saved, out of love to Jesus Christ he desires to adorn the doctrine of
   God His Savior in all things! May we never be offended by the purity
   and perfection of our Lord and His teaching! I might continue this long
   list of things by which men have been offended with Christ--some
   because the Gospel is so mysterious, they say, and others because it is
   so very simple that it is not deep enough for such great intellects as
   theirs. Men, if they want to be offended because of Christ, will be
   sure to find something or other to quarrel with. They stumble at this
   stumbling stone, "Whereunto also," says the Lord very solemnly, "they
   were appointed." They put this stumbling block in their own way and God
   appoints that they shall fall. They fall upon it now and are
   broken--and one of these days that stone will fall on them and grind
   them to powder!

   My dear Hearers, I cannot stay longer on this subject, but if there are
   any of you that are offended because of Christ, I pray the Lord will
   make you feel your extreme folly and wickedness. Offended with the
   Redeemer? What madness! May you go and confess this insult to your
   Savior and accept Him at this very moment as your All in All!

   II. Now I want to speak to professing Christians. THERE ARE SOME WHO
   JOIN THE CHURCH OF JESUS

   CHRIST WHO, AFTER A TIME, ARE OFFENDED. Now, why is it that some who
   profess to know Him are offended because of Christ? Well, with some it
   is because the novelty wears off. Very earnest services were held and
   they were greatly affected. They thought that they repented and
   believed, so they joined the Church. Now the good men who held the
   services are gone and everything seems rather flat after such
   excitement. And so they have gone back again. They jumped into religion
   like a man into a bath--and they have jumped out again, put on their
   clothes--and gone back to the world and to what they were before!

   Persons of this sort are very plentiful just now. If they were ever
   born again they were born with a fever upon them. And if you do not
   keep up the heat and let them live in an oven, they will die. We know
   that such hothouse plants will never pay for the fuel used in forcing
   them--we are grieved that it is so, but we have seen it so often that
   we do not wonder at it so much as we used to do! Hot weather breeds
   flies and warm showers bring out reptiles. There are not a few who
   professed to become Christians and who thought that they were always
   going to be happy. The evidence that they gave of being Christians was
   "that they felt so happy." I do not know that mere happiness is any
   evidence of being a Christian at all, for many are living far from God
   and yet account themselves very happy--while some of those who live
   near to God are groaning because they cannot get nearer still!

   Yet a joyful feeling is regarded by many as conclusive evidence of
   salvation! And they add to this the notion that as soon as ever they
   believed in Jesus Christ the conflict was all over and there remained
   nothing more to be done in the way of resisting sin and denying the
   lusts of the flesh. They dreamed that they had only to start on
   pilgrimage and get to the Celestial City in a very short period of
   time--they thought they only had to draw the sword from the scabbard
   and all Canaan was conquered in an hour! Very soon they find that it is
   not so. Their old corruptions are alive. The flesh begins to pull a
   different way from that which they profess to have chosen. The devil
   tempts them and they are so disappointed by their new discovery that
   they become offended with Christ altogether! A sudden victory would
   suit them--but to carry a cross before winning a crown is not to their
   mind.

   Others of them have met an opposition they did not expect from their
   adversaries, while from their friends they have not met with all the
   respect that they think they ought to have. Their friends and
   acquaintances have laughed at them! Their workmates in the shop have
   jeered at them! They did not count on this--they never counted the
   cost--and so they are offended because of Christ. Is it not a strange
   thing that we who begin our religion at the Cross, if we begin aright,
   should ever be astonished that the Cross keeps close to us, or should
   be surprised that the world treats us with disdain? But so it is.
   Persecution arises and many are offended.

   It is not that the world burns them to death or puts them in prison.
   No, no--they only make a joke or two--or they give them the cold
   shoulder and shut them out of society. But the poor creatures are so
   thin-skinned that they cannot endure even these light afflictions and
   so they are offended and miss the blessing. When they joined the
   Christian Church everybody was so glad to see them at first, as we
   always are when there is a new-born child. But many more new converts
   have come since then--and the former ones feel that they are not
   pampered so much as they were--and so they become annoyed and under one
   pretense or another slink away. Because Christ's people do not carry
   them about as wonders and cry, "Hosanna," over them all their days,
   they are ready to go back to the world and complain that they have been
   disappointed with religion and with Christians!

   Oh, but this is evil! This is a wrong spirit which must by no means be
   displayed! Yet I fear it is to be seen in many places. This is an
   offense which ought never to arise. We have known some who have become
   offended because of Christ, or were in great danger of it because they
   began to find that religion entailed more self-denial than they had
   reckoned upon. The precepts of our blessed Master come very close home
   to their consciences and gall them somewhat. He told them that the yoke
   was easy and that the burden was light--and so it is to the meek and
   lowly in heart--but they are not changed in heart and, therefore, they
   find the burden heavy and the yoke galling. I do not wonder that it is
   so, for that which is the delight of the renewed heart is bondage to
   the unregenerate spirit, and self-denials, which really are no

   denials at all to the man who is born again, are an iron bondage to
   those who still remain in their unregenerate state-- they get offended
   and they go away from the Master whom they professed to serve.

   I have known some good souls almost offended at the Master through the
   hard speeches of those who ought to have encouraged them. I was
   speaking not long ago with a young lady who had, for some, time been
   devoting herself very earnestly to the cause of Christ. I do not know
   one who had done more than she had done in her own sphere, but she was
   in great distress because the person with whom she had worked for many
   months had spoken very bitterly of her. Though she had been his best
   helper, he seemed to regard her as his worst enemy! And as she told me
   what he had said, I was very sorry, but the worst part about it was the
   temptation which the devil put in her way. The Evil One whispered,
   "Never take a prominent place again! Give up your work. You are said to
   be eager to help--now be quiet and do nothing."

   Now, it will happen to all of us, more or less, that if we try to be
   zealous in the Master's cause we shall be misunderstood. Wet blanket
   factories are pretty numerous and some benevolent Brother is sure to
   bring one of these articles for our use. He thinks that it will do us
   good, but it is mischievous to our spirits. Blessed is he who cannot be
   offended in that way. It may encourage you to know that, generally,
   those whom God largely blesses have to go through a great fight at
   first, from their own brothers and sisters. Look at David. He was to
   bring home giant Goliath's head, but those elder brothers of his all
   said, "Because of the pride and the naughtiness of your heart, you are
   come to see the

   battle."

   They recommended him to stay at home with his sheep, even as they told
   us to keep clear of a pulpit--but God did not mean that he should
   remain hidden. If the Lord means to bless you, some of His very dear
   people will be for putting you back among the sheep--but do not be
   scandalized at Christ on that account! Stand firm as you have done.
   Press forward! Be not disgusted or discouraged, but, on the contrary,
   remember that opposition is very often the sign of coming success.
   Press forward, for, "Blessed is he that is not offended because of Me."
   Moreover, many young Christians are greatly staggered by the ill
   conduct of professors. I think that there is no worse trial to a babe
   in Christ than to see elderly Christians walking inconsistently and
   living in a lukewarm state--and even speaking as if they were
   antagonistic to all earnest attempts to spread the kingdom of Christ.
   If you are one of God's children you will not die at their hands any
   more than Joseph at the hands of his brothers! If the Lord has, indeed,
   quickened you with spiritual life, you will press on and work for the
   Master and not be ashamed.

   It has frequently occurred to me to deplore that some professors fall
   back through trials of Providence. We occasionally miss members of the
   Church because they were pretty well-to-do when they joined with us,
   but things have gone badly with them and they feel as if they could not
   show themselves. They will even say that they have not any clothes fit
   to worship in. I have often told you that any clothes are fit to
   worship in as long as you have paid for them! Clothing, be it fine or
   threadbare, is nothing to me! As far as I am concerned, I really do not
   know what people wear. It never strikes my eye--I am too busy looking
   at your faces, when I can see you--to even notice what you may happen
   to wear. Come, oh come, to the House of God, my suffering Brothers and
   Sisters! Never let the devil prevail upon you to stay away!

   If your shoe leaks. If there is a hole in the elbow of your coat. So
   what? The Lord does not look at that, nor do we! You come along. We
   shall be glad to see you, the most of us, and if there are some who
   will not be glad, they are nobodies--do not take any notice of them!
   But never stay away from the House of God because of your shabbiness.
   What can it matter? When you begin to get low in circumstances do not
   be proud and say, "I can't dress as I once did, or make such a dash as
   I did and so I shall not go." Why, you are still the same person--a man
   is a man notwithstanding the little or the much which he possesses--and
   when earthly comforts are going, you ought to seek heavenly comforts
   all the more! And the poorer you get in substance, the richer you ought
   to seek to be in Divine Grace! "The poor have the Gospel preached unto
   them."

   But I know that this is a temptation. I have heard it said that in
   Jamaica in the Negro churches, when wages are low, attendance at the
   means of Grace begins to decline. I know that it is so, but so it ought
   not to be. Do not be offended with Christ! If He chooses to let you be
   poor, be satisfied to be poor! Yes, if you get to be as low as Job who
   sat on a dunghill, scraping himself with a piece of an old pot, yet
   learn to say with the heroic Patriarch, "Though He slay me, yet will I
   trust in Him." If He is not ashamed of me, I will not be ashamed of
   Him, or ashamed to follow, even in rags, the

   standard of Him who hung upon the cross and triumphed there for me!
   "They parted His garments among them, and for His vesture did they cast
   lots." I cannot be worse clad than He! Be not ashamed of Him, then.

   III. The last head is that THERE ARE SOME WHO ARE NOT OFFENDED BECAUSE
   OF CHRIST AND THEY

   ARE DECLARED TO BE BLESSED. They are so because if God had not blessed
   them they would not be found clinging to their Lord, but would have
   gone back like others. Apart from anything else, it is a blessed thing
   to have Grace enough given you to hold fast to Christ under all
   circumstances. If you were not one of those whom He has chosen from
   before the foundations of the world. If you were not one of those whom
   Christ specially redeemed with His blood. If you were not one of those
   in whom the Holy Spirit has placed a new heart and a right spirit you
   would go back. But if you hold out to the end, you have in that the
   evidence that the Lord has loved you with an everlasting love!

   Oh, you that are on and off with Jesus, what a poor hope yours must be!
   You that can run with the hare and hold with the hounds. You that try
   to serve God and Mammon--you have no marks of being God's children! But
   those of you who put your foot down for Christ and cannot be moved--you
   who have said unto your souls, "By His Grace I will not depart from
   following the Lord"--you have, in that very fact, the evidence of being
   blessed! And then you shall find a blessedness growing out of your
   fidelity. I believe that persecuted ones have more blessedness than any
   other saints. There were never such sweet revelations of the love of
   Christ in Scotland as when the Covenanters met in the mosses and on the
   hillside.

   No sermons ever seemed to be so sweet as those which were preached when
   Claverhouse's dragoons were out and the minister read his text by the
   lightning's flash! The saints never sang so sweetly as when they let
   loose those wild bird notes among the heather. The flock of
   slaughter--the people of God that were hunted down by the foe--these
   were they who saw the Lord! I guarantee you that in Lambeth Palace
   there were happier hearts in the Lollards' dungeon than there were in
   the Archbishop's Hall! Down there where men have lain to rot, as did
   Bunyan in Bedford Jail, there have been more dreams of Heaven and more
   visions of celestial things than in the courts of princes! The Lord
   Jesus loves to reveal Himself to those of His saints who dare take the
   bleak side of the hill with Him. If you are willing to follow Him when
   the wind blows in your teeth and the snow flakes come thickly till you
   are almost blinded, and if you can say--

   "Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead, I'll follow where He goes,"

   you shall have such unveilings of His love to your soul as shall make
   you forget the sneers of men and the sufferings of the flesh! God shall
   make you triumphant in all places!

   You know this already by experience, do you not? You that are His
   people must know that whenever you have had to suffer for Christ it has
   been a blessed thing for you. Whenever anybody jeered at you and you
   have felt it for the time, yet, if you have been able to bear it well,
   it has brought many a sweet reflection afterwards. Somebody pushed good
   Mr. Kilpin into the gutter and slapped him at the same time and said,
   "Take that, John Bunyan!" Whereupon the good man took off his hat and
   said, "I would take 50 times as much as that to have the honor to be
   called John Bunyan." Learn to look upon insults for Christ in the same
   light and when they call you by an ill name reply, "I could bear a
   thousand times as much as that for the pleasure of being associated
   with Christ in the world's derision."

   But what blessedness awaits you if you are not offended because of
   Jesus! You are blessed while you are waiting for Him, but your best
   reward is to come! In that hereafter, when the morning breaks on the
   everlasting shore, how will they be ashamed and disgusted with
   themselves who sought their own honor and esteem and denied their Lord
   and Master! Where will Demas be then, who chose the present world and
   forsook his Lord? Where will that son of perdition be who chose the 30
   pieces of silver and sold the Prince of Life? What shame will seize
   upon the coward, the fearful, the unbelieving, the people who checked
   conscience and stifled conviction because a fool's laugh was too much
   for them! Then they will have to bear the Savior's scorn and the
   everlasting contempt of all holy beings.

   But the men who stood meekly forward to confess their Lord--who were
   willing to be set in the pillory of scorn for Christ, ready to be spit
   upon for Him, ready to be called ill names for His sake, ready to lose
   their character, their substance, their liberty and their lives for
   Him--oh how calmly will they await the Great Assize when loyalty shall
   receive honor from the great King! How bright will be their faces when
   He that sits on the Throne will say, "They confessed Me before men, and
   now will I confess them before My Father which is in Heaven. These are
   Mine, My Father," He will say, "they are Mine. They clung unto Me and
   now I acknowledge them as My jewels."

   These are they that followed the Lamb where ever He went. They read the
   Word and what they found there they believed! They saw their Lord's
   will in the Scriptures and they labored to do it. They were faithful to
   conscience and to conviction--and the Spirit dwelt in them and guided
   their lives. They shall be the Redeemer's crown and the beloved of His
   Father. They were the poor of this world--they were considered to be
   mere idiots by some--and were thought to have gone mad by others. But
   they are the Lord's own elect! Jesus will say, "They were with Me in My
   tribulation. They were with Me in the midst of a crooked and perverse
   generation and now they are Mine, and they shall be with Me on My
   Throne. Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared
   for you from before the foundations of the

   world."

   Oh, you are happy, you people of God who lose good situations because
   you cannot do dishonest things! You who cannot break the Sabbath and
   therefore shut the shop and lose a large part of your incomes! You who,
   for Christ's sake, dare to be singular and are not ashamed to be called
   "puritanical" and to be pointed out as hypocrites! You who bravely
   refuse to indulge in the intoxicating cup and utterly turn aside from
   evil companions! You who will not be found in the haunts of vice which
   men call pleasure! You, who, though you may think a thing to be lawful
   will, nevertheless, deny yourselves because it is not expedient and
   will avoid the appearance of evil! You who try to put your feet down in
   the footprints of Christ and follow Him in all things--you are and
   shall be truly blessed!! With all your faults and imperfections which
   you mourn over, your Lord is not ashamed of you and He will confess you
   at the last!

   Oh, may you all be true adherents of Jesus! I set up a standard tonight
   and will try to act as recruiting officer. Who will be enlisted into
   the army of Christ tonight? Is any young man ready to say, "I will"?
   Yes, but count the cost! Are you prepared to be ridiculed? Are you
   prepared to suffer? Are you willing to put up with the hatred of your
   own family sooner than forsake God and His Christ and the Truth? We
   will not have you if you won't! Christ will not acknowledge you if you
   won't! It must be a thorough coming to Him. "Come you out from among
   them and be you separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean
   thing. And I will receive you and will be a Father unto you, and you
   shall be My sons and daughters."

   Who is on the Lord's side?--Who? Let your hearts answer, for there
   shall come a day when that same word shall thunder over all the earth,
   "Who is on the Lord's side? Who?" Many then will rue the day in which
   they were ashamed to confess a persecuted Christ! May we be on His side
   tonight--first trusting Him, relying upon Him, alone, for
   salvation--and then surrendering ourselves to Him to be His forever.
   Amen.