A SERMON DELIVERED ON SABBATH MORNING,
APRIL 6, 1856,
BY THE REV C. H. SPURGEON,
AT NEW PARK STREET CHAPEL, SOUTHWARK.
“When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him and said unto him, Zaccheus,
make haste and come down; for today must I abide at your house.”
NOTWITHSTANDING our firm belief that you are, for the most part, well instructed in the doctrines of the everlasting gospel, we are continually reminded in our conversation with young converts how absolutely necessary it is to repeat our former lessons and repeatedly assert and prove over and over again those doctrines which lie at the basis of our holy religion. Our friends, therefore, who have many years ago been taught the great doctrine of effectual calling, will believe that while I preach very simply this morning, the sermon is intended for those who are young in the fear of the Lord—that they may better understand this great starting point of God in the heart—the effectual calling of men by the Holy Spirit. I shall use the case of Zaccheus as a great illustration of the doctrine of effectual calling. You remember the story. Zaccheus had a curiosity to see the wonderful man Jesus Christ, who was turning the world upside down and causing an immense excitement in the minds of men. We sometimes find fault with curiosity and say it is sinful to come to the house of God from that motive. I am not quite sure that we should hazard such an assertion. The motive is not sinful, though certainly it is not virtuous—yet it has often been proved that curiosity is one of the best allies of grace. Zaccheus, moved by this motive, desired to see Christ—but there were two obstacles in the way—first, there was such a crowd of people that he could not get near the Savior. Second, he was so exceedingly short in stature that there was no hope of his reaching over people’s heads to catch a glimpse of Him. What did he do? He did as the boys were doing—for the boys of old times were, no doubt, just like the boys of the present age—they were perched up in the branches of a tree to look at Jesus as He passed along! Elderly man though he is, Zaccheus jumps up and there he sits among the children! The boys are too much afraid of that stern old publican, whom their fathers dreaded, to push him down or cause him any inconvenience. Look at him there—with what anxiety he is peeping down to see which is Christ—for the Savior had no pompous distinction. No one is walking before Him with a silver mace. He did not hold a golden staff in His hand—He had no pontifical dress. In fact, He was dressed just like those around Him! He had a coat like that of a common peasant, made of one piece from top to bottom. Zaccheus could scarcely distinguish Him. However, before he has caught a sight of Christ, Christ has fixed His eyes upon him and, standing under the tree, He looks up and says, “Zaccheus, make haste and come down; for today I must abide at your house.” Down comes Zaccheus! Christ goes to his house. Zaccheus becomes Christ’s follower, and enters into the kingdom of heaven!
I. Now, first, effectual calling is a very gracious truth of God. You may guess this from the fact that Zaccheus was a character whom we would suppose the last to be saved. He belonged to a bad city—Jericho—a city which had been cursed and no one would suspect that anyone would come out of Jericho to be saved! It was near Jericho that the man fell among thieves—we trust Zaccheus had no hand in it—but there are some who, while they are publicans, can be thieves, also. We might as well expect converts from St. Giles’s, or the lowest parts of London, from the worst and vilest dens of infamy, as from Jericho in those days! Ah, my brothers and sisters, it matters not where you come from—you may come from one of the dirtiest streets, one of the worst back slums in London—if effectual grace calls you, it is an effectual call which knows no distinction of place!
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