If we left it up to the world to judge matters, Jesus Christ lost. He was found guilty in the world’s trial. He was executed before the world. Convicted and sentenced to death. Doesn’t sound like much of a savior.
It was exactly this kind of loss—in the eyes of the world—which prompted Peter to deny Christ three times.
And the world’s skeptics would—and do—laugh at the suggestion that the body could undergo resurrection, as Jesus did.
But Satan utterly failed to stamp out the Son of God who delivered the good news, the gospel, that He was king, Lord of all. Satan couldn’t erase Jesus’ promise of forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all who pledged their faith to Him. This was indeed good news, especially for Peter.
Jesus’ promise, according to the 19th century preacher Charles Spurgeon, is secure. That promise is the marriage vow between Jesus Christ and His bride, the Church. Think of how often the Church is attacked, and yet the promise remains. Think of how many times the Church apparently lost, and yet Christ’s kingdom grows.
But when Satan fails to slay the people of God, he seeks to divide the Church and stir up resentment. He wants us to deny Christ, like Peter, by compromising with the world. Don’t.
What Spurgeon told his congregation:
By-and-by the devil has grown wiser. He saw that overt persecution would not suffice for the putting down of God’s Church and he, therefore, adopted another measure not less cruel but more crafty.
Did you ever read in history the horrible reports which were set afloat in the early ages of Christianity concerning the Christians? I dare not tell you with what vices the early Christians were charged in their private assemblies. It is certain that they were the purest and most virtuous of men but never were men so fearfully belied.
I would not believe any minister to be eminently successful if I were informed that everybody praised him—I am certain that such a case would be an exception—a glaring exception to all the rules of history.
The Church struggling with sin and wickedness must, through the enmity of the evil one, find herself bespattered and besmeared with slander. The wicked, when they can do nothing else against the righteous, will spit lies on them.
This is the heritage of the people of the Lord.
And now that God is with you, and the shout of a king in your midst, fear not though all men should speak against you—your Master will yet honor you and you will come up from the pool of slander like a sheep from the washing—the fairer for your black baptism, the more admired, the more lovely for all the scorn and ignominy that men have cast upon you.
My brothers and sisters, in the midst of our dissenting churches there is a system which does not deserve the name of, “system,” except from its systematic desire to crush every system.
There is a system springing up which takes out of the gospel every truth that makes it precious. It plucks every jewel out of the crown of the Redeemer and tramples it under the foot of men.
In a large number of our pulpits at this time you will not hear the gospel preached in a month all together. Anything else you like, you may hear preached: Anti-state Churchism, political affairs—these are the current staple of the day. Christ and Him crucified may go to the dogs for them.
Politics fill up the pulpits and philosophy stands in the place of theology. And when there is a little theology, what do they say?
The banner once held so manfully by Calvin, who took it from the hand of Augustine leaping over centuries to grasp it, who again received it from the hand of the apostle Paul—the banner of the old fashioned truth of God is, to a great degree, furled; and we are told that these old doctrines are ineffectual and out of date.
Puritan divinity, they say, is not the divinity for these times; we must have a new gospel for a go-ahead era.
We must have sermons preached which, if they are not the absolute denial of every doctrine of the gospel, at least sneer at them all.
The man effects to be so supremely wise that he, in his own brain, can devise a gospel better and fairer than the ancient gospel of the blessed God.
Now, this is one of the attempts of the enemy to put down the truth but he will never be able to do it, for, “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people, from henceforth even forever.”
Sermon edited with preface by Zach Parker, news editor at The Ouachita Citizen. The excerpt is from Charles Spurgeon’s sermon, “The security of the church,” delivered at the Music Hall in Royal Surrey Gardens on Nov. 1, 1857.