In His Final Sermon, Spurgeon Called Christ a Great, Compassionate Captain
CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON, often called “the prince of preachers,” remarked in one of the first sermons he preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, “If I am asked what is my creed, I must reply, It is Jesus Christ.” Every sermon he preached, no matter what its text, pointed people to Jesus—a fact that was true to the very end. He preached his last sermon at the Tabernacle in London on this day, 7 June 1891, on Christ our great captain.
Spurgeon took as his text 1 Samuel 30. David and his men had been away on a military campaign and returned to the town of Ziklag to find it plundered and burned. Amalekites had captured their wives and children. In bitterness of heart, David’s men threatened to stone him. David turned to the Lord for strength and consulted him as to what to do. Then he led his men on a forced march, surprised the enemy, routed them, and reclaimed all the wives and children in addition to a great deal of plunder.
But two hundred of David’s men had been too exhausted to march, so David left them behind to guard the baggage. Following the victory, the stronger men did not want to share the plunder with the weaker. David, however, stood up for the baggage tenders. This is where Spurgeon drew his parallel to Christ. Our Savior, he said, stands up for the weak. “We are all one in Christ Jesus. Surely this ought to comfort those of you who, by reason of feebleness, are made to feel as if you were inferior members of the body.” Christ is “the most magnanimous of captains.”
Spurgeon had followed this “magnanimous captain” since he was sixteen years of age. After months searching for salvation, he stepped into a Methodist chapel on a bitterly cold day. Because of the bad weather, the regular pastor was absent, so a shaky lay preacher led the service. “Young man,” he said to Spurgeon, “you seem miserable.” He urged him to look to Christ. Spurgeon looked, and never stopped looking.
Almost as soon as he was saved, he began preaching. While still a young man, he was invited to take a dying Baptist church in London. Although he was so nervous before sermons that he often threw up, God blessed him with abundant crowds. After enlarging their chapel twice, the Baptists decided to build the Metropolitan Tabernacle. This structure opened in 1861 and seated six thousand. Although microphones had not yet been invented, Spurgeon’s strong voice proclaimed Christ loudly enough for the whole audience to hear. Individuals who could not attend the Tabernacle could read his printed sermons.
Spurgeon preached at the Tabernacle for thirty years. In addition to his pulpit work, he founded a college, administered charities, penned numerous books, and was the father of two sons. He died in 1892.
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One of the best documentaries ever produced about Spurgeon is C. H. Spurgeon, the people's preacher.
(C.H. Spurgeon: The People's Preacher can also be streamed at RedeemTV)
Christian History #29 is devoted to Charles Spurgeon’s life and times.