“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20
A Sermon Delivered on Lord’s-day Morning, July 18th, 1886, by C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington ( Charles H. SpurgeonWikipedia )
The headings and emphasis are my own: L.Willows
Oh, that these lips had language, or that this heart could speak without them! Then would I plead with every unconverted, unbelieving soul within this place, and plead as for my life. Friend, you are at enmity with God, and God is angry with you; but on his part there is every readiness for reconciliation. He has made a way by which you can become his friend-a very costly way to himself, but free to you.
God meets us; the reconciliation of His Love.
He could not give up his justice, and so destroy the honour of his own character; but he did give up his Son, his Only Begotten, and his Well-Beloved; and that Son of his had been made sin for us, though he knew no sin. See how God meets you !
See how willing, how anxious he is that there should be reconciliation between you and God to-day it is not from want of kindness on his part; it is from want of willingness on yours. The burden of your ruin must lie at your own door: your blood must be on your own skirts.
Now observe what we have to say to you to-day is this: we are anxious that you should be at peace with God, and therefore we act as ambassadors for Christ. I am not going to lay any stress upon the office of ambassador as honourable or authoritative, for I do not feel that this would have weight with you: but I lay all the stress upon the peace to which we would fain have you reconciled also. I once knew him not, neither did I care for him. I lived well enough without him, and sported with trifles of a day, so as to forget him.
He brought me to seek his face, and seeking his face I found him. He has blotted out my sins and removed my enmity. I know that I am his servant, and that he is my friend, my Father, my All. And now I cannot help trying in my poor way to be an ambassador for him with you.
I do not like that any of you should live at enmity with my Father who made you; and that you should want only provoking him by preferring evil to good.
Pleading that you know God’s Peace, that you know His delight in you.
Why should you not be at peace with one who so much wants to be at peace with you? Why should you not love the God of love, and delight in him who is so kind to you? What he hath done for me he is quite willing to do for you: he is a God ready to pardon. I have preached his gospel now for many years, but I never met with a sinner yet that Christ refused to cleanse when he came to him. I never knew a single case of a man who trusted Jesus, and asked to be forgiven, confessing his sin and forsaking it, who was cast out.
I say I never met with one man whom he has restored to purity, and drunkards whom he has delivered from their evil habit, and with men guilty of foul sins who have become pure and chaste through the Lord Jesus.
They have always told me the same story-“I sought the Lord, and he heard me; he hath washed me in his blood, and I am whiter than snow.” Why should you not be saved as well as these?
Dear friend, perhaps you have never thought of this matter, and this morning you did not some here with any idea of thinking of it; but why should you not begin? You came just to hear a well-known preacher;
I pray you forget the preacher, and think only of yourself, your God and your Saviour. It must be wrong for you to live without a thought of your Maker. To forget him is to despise him. It must be wrong for you to refuse the great atonement: you so refuse it if you do not accept it at once. It must be wrong for you to stand out against your God; and you do stand out against him if you will not be reconciled to him. Therefore I humbly play the part of an ambassador for Christ, and I beseech you believe in him and live.
We are Ambassadors for Christ.
Notice how the text puts it: “We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us.” This thought staggers me. As I came along this morning I felt as if I could bury my head in my hands and weep as I thought of God beseeching anybody. He speaks, and it is done; myriads of angels count themselves happy to fly at his command; and yet man has so become God’s enemy that he will not be reconciled to him.
God would make him his friend, and spends the blood of his dear Son to cement that friendship; but man will not have it. See the great God turns to beseeching his obstinate creature! his foolish creature! In this I feel a reverent compassion for God. Must he beseech a rebel to be forgiven? Do you hear it? Angels, do you hear it?
He who is the King of kings veils his sovereignty, and stoops to beseeching his creature to be reconciled to him! I wonder not that some of my brethen start back from such an idea, and cannot believe that it could be so: it seems so derogatory to the glorious God. Yet my text saith it, and it must be true-“As though God did beseech you by us.”
This makes it awful work to preach, does it not? I ought to beseech you as though God spoke to you through me, looking at you through these eyes, and stretching out his hands through these hands. He saith, “All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”
He speaks softly, and tenderly, and with paternal affection through these poor lips of mine, “as though God did beseech you by us”. (Spurgeon)
Furthermore notice that next line, which if possible has even more force in it: “We pray you in Christ’s stead.”
Since Jesus died in our stead we, his redeemed ones, are to pray others in his stead; and as he poured out his heart for sinners in their stead, we must in another way pour out our hearts for sinners in his stead. “We pray you in Christ’s stead.”
Now if my Lord were here this morning how would he pray you to come to him? I wish, my Master, I were more fit to stand in thy place at this time. Forgive me that I am so incapable. Help me to break my heart, to think that it does not break as it ought to do, for these men and women who are determined to destroy themselves, and, therefore, pass thee by, my Lord, as though thou were but a common felon, hanging on a gibbet!
The Gate: Taking His Yoke, Finding Rest
O men, How can you think so little of the death of the Son of God? It is the wonder of time, the admiration of eternity. O souls, why will you refuse eternal life? Why will ye die? Why will ye despise him by whom alone you can live? There is one gate of life, that gate is the open side of Christ; why will ye not enter, and live? “Come unto me,” saith he; “Come unto me.” I think I hear him say it: “Come unto me all that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
I think I see him on that last day, the great day of the feast, standing and crying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” I hear him sweetly declare, “Him that cometh to me I will no wise cast out.” I am not fit to pray you in Christ’s stead, but I do pray you with all my heart. You that hear my voice from Sunday to Sunday, do come and accept the great sacrifice, and be reconciled to God.
You that hear me but this once, I would like you to go away with this ringing in your ears, “Be ye reconciled to God.” I have nothing pretty to say to you; I have only to declare that God has prepared a propitiation, and that now he entreats sinners to come to Jesus, that through him they may be reconciled to God.
We do not exhort you to some impossible effort. We do not bid you do some great thing; we do not ask you for money or price; neither do we demand of you years of miserable feeling; but only this-be ye reconciled. It is not so much reconcile yourselves as “be reconciled.” Yield yourselves to him who round you now the bands of a man would cast, drawing you with cords of love because he was given for you. His spirit strives with you, yield to his striving.
Yielding to such great love given.
With Jacob you know there wrestled a man till the breaking of the day; let that man, that God-man, overcome you. Submit yourselves. Yield to grasp of those hands which were nailed to the cross for you. Will you not yield to your best friend? He that doth embrace you now presses you to a heart that was pierced with the spear on your behalf.
Oh, yield thee! Yield thee, man! Dost thou not feel some softness stealing over thee? Steel not thine heart against it. He saith, with a Tone most still and sweet. “To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Believe and live!
Quit the arch-enemy who has held thee in his grip. Escape for thy life, look not behind thee, stay not in all the plain, but flee where thou seest the open door of the great Father’s house. At the gate the bleeding Saviour is waiting to receive thee, and to say, “I was made sin for thee, and thou art made the righteousness of God in me.” Father, draw them! Father, draw them! Eternal Spirit, draw them, for Jesus Christ thy Son’s sake! Amen.
A Sermon, (No.1910, Part 11)
Delivered on Lord’s-day Morning, July 18th, 1886, by C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
Christianity Today: History of Charles H. Spurgeon, Finest 19th Century Preacher
For Further Reading: The Spurgeon Center