The End of Self….The Beginning of Christ

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Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)
taken from: Cured At Last!, sermon No. 2018, April 8, 1888.

“All that you do apart from Jesus, in order to win salvation, will only cause you increased suffering. You have tried to save yourself by prayers. Your prayers have turned your thoughts upon your sin and its punishment and thus you have become more wretched than before. You have attended to ceremonies and if you have used them sincerely, they have worked in you a solemn sense of the holiness of God and of your own distance from Him. And this, though very proper, has only increased your sorrow. You have been trying to feel good and to do good, that so you may be good. But the very effort has made you feel how far off you are from the goodness you so much desire.

Your self-denial has excited cravings after evil and your mortifications have given new life to your pride. Efforts after salvation made in your own strength act like the struggles of a drowning man, which sink the more surely. As the fruit of your desperate efforts, you have suffered all the more. In the end I trust this may work for your good, but up till now it has served no healing purpose—you are now at death’s door and all your praying, weeping, Church-going, Chapel-going and sacrament-taking—do not help you one bit. There has been this peculiarly poignant pang about it all, that you are not better. Cheerily did you hope but cruelly are you disappointed.

You cried, ‘I have it this time,’ but the bubble vanished as you grasped it. The evil of your nature, when repressed in one place, broke out in another. You dealt with the symptoms of your disease but you did not cut off the root of the mischief—it only showed itself in another form—it never went away. You gave up one sin only to fall into another—you watched at the front entrance and the thief stole in at the back door. Up till now, O Soul, you have not come to Jesus and after all your goings elsewhere, you are not better!. . .

You are now brought to this extremity—that you are without strength, without merit, without power, and you must look out of yourself to another—one who has strength and merit, and can save you. . .You are anxious to be right, and therefore you are earnest in every effort to save yourself. But still you are not better. You climb a treadmill and are no higher after all your climbing. You drift down the river with one tide and you float up again when it turns. Night after night you pull up in the same old creek that you started from. Oh, pitiful condition! Getting gray, too—becoming quite the old gentleman. And yet no nearer eternal life than when, as a lad, you used to attend the House of God and wish to become a child of God. . . .

You are working and growing poorer as you work. There is not about you so much as there used to be of good feeling, or sincere desire, or prayerfulness, or love for the Bible, or care to hear the Gospel. You are becoming more careless, more dubious than you once were. You have lost much of you former sensitiveness. You are doing certain things now that would have startled you years ago and you are leaving certain matters undone which once you would have thought essential. Evidently you are caught in the current and are nearing the waterfall. The Lord deliver you!. . .

When we come to the end of self we come to the beginning of Christ! That last shekel binds us to the pretenders but absolute bankruptcy sets us free to go to Him who heals diseases without money and without price. Glad enough am I when I meet with a man who is starved out of self-sufficiency. Welcome, Brother! Now you are ready for Jesus. When all your own virtue has gone out of you, then shall you seek and find that virtue which goes out of HIM. . .
O my Hearer, you have tried many things, great things and hard things and painful things—why not try this simple matter of faith? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Trust Jesus to cleanse you and He will do it. Put yourself into your Savior’s hands once and for all, and He will save you. . .

Come and receive Divine Grace freely. Bring no good works, no good words, no good feelings, no good resolves, as the price of pardon. Come with an empty hand and touch the Lord by faith. The good things which you desire, Jesus will give you as the result of His cure. But they cannot be the cause or the price of it. Accept His mercy as the gift of His love! Come empty-handed and receive! Come undeserving and be favored! Only come into contact with Jesus, who is the Fountain of Life and you shall be saved.”

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)
taken from: Cured At Last!, sermon No. 2018, April 8, 1888.

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