Holding Firm to the Faith

February 5, 1888

© Copyright 2003 by Tony Capoccia.  This updated file may be freely copied, printed out, and distributed as
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Verses quoted, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
©1978 by the New York Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.


“To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.  I know where you live - where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me.”  [Revelation 2:12-13]



Your attention will be primarily asked to focus on these words--“You remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me.”


Specially note, dear friends, at the opening of this morning’s scripture text the character under which the Lord Jesus Christ presents himself to the church at Pergamum, “These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.” Does the Lord Jesus come to his church in that way? Does he approach the door of the church with a drawn sword in his hand? A sharp sword? A sharp double-edged sword? Yes, even to his visible church this is how our Lord Jesus Christ appears. To his own spiritual and faithful ones he is to each one a husband, full of unspeakable tenderness and love; but to the visible church, which at its best times is never completely pure, he appears in a more severe form. To a church he comes as Captain of the Lord’s host, and he wields a sharp double-edged sword. It is the parallel of that passage where John the Baptist said of him: “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire” [Matthew 3:12]. That winnowing fork is never out of his hand, for it is always needed. Even though our Lord is full of grace, he is also full of truth. His love to his servants manifests itself in a burning jealousy which will not endure evil. “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver” [Malachi 3:3].


We think of the coming of our Lord as a joy and a blessing; but, oh, remember that question, “Who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears?” [Malachi 3:2]  The Lord bears the sword, and he does not bear the sword for nothing. Time has not dulled its edge, it is “sharp”; and it is double-edged, as is has always been. But what will he do with that sword in reference to a church? We are not left in any doubt on that point. Having mentioned some whose doctrines and lives were unclean, the Lord says, “Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth” [Revelation 2:16]  He turns the sword against those within the church who had no right to be there. It is no trivial thing to be a church member. I most earnestly wish that certain people who profess to be Christians had never been members of a church at all; for if they had been outside the church, they might have been in far less peril than they are within it. Outside their conduct might have been tolerated; but it is not consistent with a declaration of discipleship towards Jesus. I say this with deep sorrow. O false Christians, you may go down to hell just as quick without increasing your damnation by coming into Christ’s church with a lie in your right hand. How sad it is for those who are not true Christians in their hearts, and yet profess to be one! They ought to be startled by the vision of the Lord himself drawing near to a church with a sharp sword in his hand. Surely, “The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless” [Isaiah 33:14]. Yet is there comfort to the sincere in this glorious man of war. He will attack those who are the enemies of his holy cause, but he will also beat off those who attack his people from outside the church. His sword is for the defense of the faithful. It is drawn from its sheath to protect the timid and the trembling. Jesus has come as our Joshua, to chase the enemy away from us, and lead us onward, conquering and to conquer.


The double-edged sword is the defender of the least of those whose hearts are right before the Lord. I introduce the subject as the Spirit himself introduces it. I desire to make the sermon sweet to the saints, but the preface must needs be sharp, lest someone grabs hold of the comforts to which they have no right. The Passover Lamb is always to be eaten with bitter herbs: I have set those bitter herbs on the table. The name of Jesus, which is the song of angels and the treasure of saints, has terror in it to those who refuse him; for he who bears that name will judge the living and the dead, and pronounce condemnation on the unrighteous.


Notice that this blessed Savior watches his church with an observant eye. He looks at the church in Pergamum, and he says, “I know where you live - where Satan has his throne.” The Lord sees the position and the peril of the church at Pergamum, “where Satan has his throne.” Probably there were horrifying idolatries, with obscene orgies in the city, or it may have been a place of outright depravity, or of special persecution. We cannot at this distance of time exactly tell what it was; but the Lord regarded it as the stronghold of Satan. There are places in the world in this day where sin clearly has he upper hand, or where error and unbelief reign supreme, that the devil would seem to have there taken up his residence, and to have made it his capital city.


This is a trying neighborhood for a church of the Living Christ, and yet it is the place where it is most needed. You, dear friend, may be living in society where the evil one rules with undisputed sway. You are not privileged to reside with your fellow Christians, but you go home to be met with blasphemies at the door; and all week long sights and sounds assault your eyes and ears which make you feel like Lot in Sodom. I am sorry for you; but take comfort in the fact that your Lord knows all about it, and he can either remove you from the trying position, or else he can still more glorify his grace by supporting you in it, and enabling you to overcome the enemy. He knows that “Satan desires to have you, that he may sift you as wheat”; and Christ prays for you that your will not fail. He knows your threats, and he considers your trials. He clearly perceives the way in which Satan would first mislead you, and then accuse you. He understands the subtlety of the old serpent. He sees your struggles, your failures, and your desperate struggles to hold firm to the faith. He knows how at night you are grieved as you confess before him of your weaknesses; but he also knows the special circumstances in which you are in, and he judges you with great mercy. If you are holding firm to his name and have not denied the faith, even that may be to him a surer proof of your truthfulness of heart than works of labor and patience might be in other instances. You have produced fewer clusters than another vine, but Jesus knows that you grow in a very barren bit of ground, and he thinks well of your little fruit. Your day’s work does not look like much when it is done, but when horses plow a rock so hard that it breaks the plow blade, no farmer expects so much to be done as when a light soil has to be gently turned over. The Lord Jesus takes all our surroundings into consideration, and though he loves us too much to make excuses for our sins, yet he himself mentions the circumstances which make our actions to be more a failure rather than a fault, even as he did for the first disciples when he found them asleep, and he said, “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” O dear children of God, if you are placed in positions of special trial and difficulty, and if your hindrances are so many that you cannot accomplish one-tenth as much as you desire, then hear how Jesus puts it: “I know where you live—where Satan has his throne.” If you are faithful to your Lord, and firm in his truth, he will commend you and

say, “Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce faith in me.” I wonder whether this word of comfort is meant for somebody here, or for some friend who will read the sermon. I feel that it must be so.


Many of our Lord’s beloved ones are, in God’s sight, now doing much more, under distressing circumstances, than they used to do in happier days. When they had ten pounds entrusted to them, they brought in two by way of interest; and now that they have only one pound, they bring in one pound of interest: thus you see that they produce a far larger percentage than they used to do; and this is the Lord’s way of calculating, for it is according to righteousness. When we have little strength, and are placed in positions of great difficulty, then the Lord thinks all the more of what we produce, and regards it as all the more proof of faithfulness. In the text it is commendation for Pergamum, under the circumstances that, dwelling so close to Satan’s own capital, close under the shadow of the throne of hell, that this church could earn this praise: “Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce faith in me.”


Let us give serious attention to this commendation. Oh, that we may earn it ourselves; and if we have already earned it, may we be helped by the Holy Spirit to hold it tight, so that no man takes our crown!


I. Our first point is, LET US CONSIDER THIS FACT.


I hope it is a fact with many here today as surely as it was a fact with Pergamum. I trust it can be said of this church and of its members—“Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me.”


Notice, dear friends that the “name of Christ” here is made to be identical with the “faith of Christ,” “Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me.” The faith of Scripture has Christ as its center, Christ as its circumference, and Christ as its substance. The name—that is, the person, the character, the work, the teaching of Christ—this is the faith of Christians. The great doctrines of the gospel are all intimately connected with the Lord Jesus Christ himself: they are the rays, and he is the sun. We never hold the faith properly unless we see the Lord Jesus to be the center of it. From our election onward to our glorification, Christ is everything and in everything. To the Jews the law was never in its proper place until it was laid in the Ark of the Covenant, and covered with the mercy seat; and I am sure believers never see the law clearly till they see it fulfilled in Christ Jesus. If it is true with the law, how much more so is it true with the gospel? The gospel is the gold ring, but Christ Jesus is the diamond, which is set in it. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith: he is the sum and substance, the top and bottom of it. When we hold firm to the name of our Lord, then we have not denied the faith.


A. But how can the faith be renounced? This may be done in several ways.


Let me say it very tenderly, but very solemnly, some deny the faith, and so renounce the name of Jesus by never confessing it.


Remember how the Lord puts this matter in the gospels: “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God” [Luke 12:8-9]. Here it is clear that to renounce or disown is the same thing as not confessing. I know people who almost boast of their neutrality. They say, “I hold my tongue. Though I acknowledge that there is a conflict between Christ and Satan, yet I would rather remain quiet and not involve myself.” Do any of you feel this way? Then permit me to remind you of our Lord’s own words. “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” [Matthew 12:30].  Jesus also says, “Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” [Luke 14:27]. Those who hope to remain discreet about the name of Christ will be rewarded with everlasting contempt. You may hope to lead an easy life and avoid persecution because of His name. But such an easy life will end in a very uneasy death. A life in which we have shunned the cross of Christ will lead to a state in which we will never receive the crown of glory.


Christ can also be denied, disowned, and renounced by false doctrine.


If we promote error as to his person, work, or doctrine, and believe what Jesus did not teach, and refuse to believe what Jesus did teach, then we have denied his name and his faith.


One of the main points of a Christian, without which the rest of his life will not be acceptable to God, is that Jesus will be to him “the way, the truth, and the life.” The practical, the doctrinal, the experimental must all be found by us in Jesus Christ our Lord, or else we have not placed him in his right position; and we cannot be right anywhere unless the center is right, and unless Jesus is that center. God grant that we may never turn aside from the faith once for all delivered to the saints; but may we resist all false philosophies, and remain steadfast and immovable!


But it is also very possible to deny the name and the faith by unholy living.


Let none of us imagine that an orthodox creed can be of any use to us if we lead a unorthodox life. No, Christ Jesus is to be obeyed as a Master, as well as to be believed as a Teacher. The disciple is to be practically obedient, as well as attentive and teachable. “Without holiness no one will see the Lord.” The apostle Paul  says, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” [1 Timothy 5:8]; therefore a moral fault may be a denial of the faith, and may make a person worse than if he had never professed to believe at all. God save us from an unholy life!


Sadly! We can also renounce and deny the faith by actually forsaking it, and abandoning the people of God.


Some do so deliberately, and others because the charms of the world overcome them. We are told of some who walked away from our Lord because of what he had taught. They said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” [John 6:60] My friends, if you are not prepared to accept hard teachings, you need not profess to be disciples of Jesus. “Horrible doctrine!” said one the other day. Granted that it is horrible,  but could it not also be true? Many horrible things take place around us, and yet none can deny the facts. You cannot exclude from your knowledge many things which are true, by merely crying, “Horrible!” It is not for us to judge our Lord’s teachings by our feelings and emotions; we are to receive it by faith. He speaks terrible words as to the doom of the wicked, and he is not capable of exaggeration. What the Lord Jesus says is certain, for “he is the faithful and true witness,” and therefore we will not turn away from him, whatever his teaching may be. Oh for grace to persevere to the end! Oh for fidelity and constancy, so that neither gain nor loss, exaltation nor depression, may induce us to abandon our Savior! Let us hold firm to his sacred name, and never deny the faith, come what may. May the Holy Spirit hold us firmly, that we may hold firmly to the name of Jesus!


In what way may we be said to hold firm and remain true to the name of Christ and the faith of Christ?


I answer, by the full consent of our intellect, yielding up our mind to consider and accept the things which are assuredly believed among us.


We accept whatever God has revealed, because he has revealed it. Our motto is, “Let God be true, and every man a liar.” When Christ speaks, we agree with our minds and consent with our hearts to all he declares.


If we hold firm to the name of Jesus and to the faith, we must love it.


We must store up in our affections all that our Lord teaches. “When his words come, we eat them; they are our joy and our heart's delight” [Jeremiah 15:16]--they are like honey to the taste. Let Jesus speak, and I will reply, “Yes, Lord, you say it is true, and I know it is true. I submit to your teaching, and from my soul I love you, and accept all that you reveal.” For the true believer would live or die for the doctrines revealed in Holy Scripture. This love of the heart is that which causes us to hold firm and steadfast to the name of Christ.


We also hold firm and remain true to the name of Jesus, and the faith he gives us, by upholding it in the face of all opposition.


We must confess the faith at all times and seasons, and we must never hide our colors. There are times when we must rush to the front and fight the enemy face-to-face, when we see that our Captain’s honor demands it. Let us never be ashamed or afraid. Our Lord Jesus deserves that we yield ourselves as willing sacrifices in defense of his faith. Ease, reputation, life itself, must be sacrificed for the name and faith of Jesus. If in the heat of the battle our good name or our life must be risked to win the victory, then let us say, “In this battle some of us must fall; why shouldn’t I? I will take part with my Master, and bear reproach for his sake.” Only brave soldiers are worthy of our great Lord. Those who sneak into the rear, that they may be comfortable, are not worthy of the kingdom. What will our Captain say of cowards in that day when he distributes rewards to all of his faithful ones? Brothers and sisters, we must be willing to bear ridicule for Christ’s sake, even that special poisoned ridicule which “the cultured” are so apt to pour upon us. We must be willing to be thought great fools for Jesus’ sake. Some of us have forgotten more than many of our opponents ever knew, and yet they call us ignorant; we are bearing shame because we have the courage of our convictions, and yet they call us cowards. For my part, I am willing to be ten thousand fools in one for my dear Lord and Master, and count it to be the highest honor that can be put upon me to be stripped of every honor, and loaded with every censure for the sake of the grand old truth which is written on my very heart. Those ships which sail with Jesus as their Lord High Admiral must watch out for storms; for his boat was once filled with the waves, and began to sink.


Does that man love his Lord who would be willing to see Jesus wearing a crown of thorns, while for himself he craves a wreath of soft leaves? Will Jesus ascend to his throne by the cross, and yet we expect to be carried there on the shoulders of applauding crowds? Don’t be so vain in your imagination. Count the cost, and if you are not willing to bear Christ’s cross, then go back to your job or to your career and make the most of them; only let me whisper this in your ear, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” [Mark 8:36]


II. In the second place, having considered the fact, LET US FURTHER ENLARGE UPON IT.


What do we mean by holding firm and true to the name of Christ?


I reply, first, we mean holding firm to the Deity of that name.


We believe that our Lord Jesus is the Almighty God Himself! “He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God” [Isaiah 9:6]. One of the names by which he is revealed to us is Immanuel. The word “El” is one of the great Oriental names of God. You get in Hebrew Elohim, and in Arabic “Allah.” Our Lord Jesus is Immanuel, that is, God with us; and we believe him to be God. He is as truly man as any one among us; born of a virgin without the taint of original sin. But he is also most surely God without the least decrease of the perfections and glories of the Godhead. We put our finger into the nail scars of his hands, but as we do so we cry out, “My Lord, and my God.” “Let all the angels of God worship him.” “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” [Philippians 2:10-11]. We can never give up our belief in the Godhead of our Lord Jesus, but we must and will hold firm the faith of the Deity of Christ.


We also must hold firm and remain true to the name of Jesus, and the faith of Jesus, as to the royalty of his name.


He was born King of the Jews, and he is also “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” That which Pilate wrote over his cross is true—“Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”; but God has also highly exalted him, and made him to have dominion over all the works of his hands. The Father has committed all judgment to the Son. He will put down all rule, and all authority and power, for he must reign till he has put all enemies under his feet. “The Lord will reign for ever and ever: Hallelujah”! When we bow the knee in prayer, and say, “Thy kingdom come,” we mean the kingdom of God, and we also mean the kingdom of Christ Jesus, He is that Lamb that is seen in the midst of the throne where saints and angels pay adoring homage. Soon the seventh angel will sound his trumpet, and great voices will be heard in heaven saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever” [Revelation 11:15].


O Jesus, we bow before you! “Just and true are your ways, you King of saints.” He reigns in our hearts over the triple kingdom of our nature. He is King in our families; we desire to see him King in our city, King in this nation, King over all the earth; and we will never be satisfied until, with all the redeemed of our race, we crown him Lord of all. We hold firm and true to the royalty of the name of Jesus Christ.


Moreover, we believe in the grandeur of that name, as being the first and the last.


Open the New Testament, and read the first verse of Matthew. How does it begin? “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David.” The book of the New Covenant begins with Jesus. Now look at the last verse, see how the New Testament ends: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen.” Jesus Christ appears in the first verse, and he appears in the last verse. Did he not say, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End”? The first line of the covenant of grace is Jesus Christ; the last line of the covenant of grace is Jesus Christ; and everything in between is the Lord Jesus Christ. Begin with him as A, go right through to B, C, D, E, F, and so on until you end with Z, and it is all Christ Jesus. He is all; yes, he is all in all.


Oh what blessings have come to us through Jesus Christ! Through his name we have received forgiveness of sins, in his name we are justified, in his name we are sanctified, in his name we will be glorified, even as in him we were chosen from before the creation of the world. My tongue can never tell you the beginning of his greatness. Who could declare his beginning? The fringe, the hem of his infinite glories, who can touch? He is unspeakable. As for his glory, I must say, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens” [Psalm 8:1]. All glory and honor be to him in whom are realized all the blessings whereby God has enriched his people in time and in eternity.


We remain true and hold firm to the name of Christ as we believe in its saving power.


The angel said to Joseph, “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” [Matthew 1:21]. We hold firm to the belief that Jesus saves us from the guilt of sin by having borne it in his own body on the cross. We are assured that he justifies us before God by his righteousness, which is ours,  because we are one with him. He saves us from the punishment of sin because “the punishment that brought us peace was upon him” [Isaiah 53:5]. He died as a victim in our place. He saves us from the power of sin by his Spirit, and by faith in his death: we overcome sin by the blood of the Lamb. Salvation in every sphere, salvation from its hopeful dawning to its glorious high noon of perfection, is all of Christ Jesus. He is Savior and he alone. “There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” [Acts 4:12]. He is the only Savior, there is no other possible salvation now or in the world to come. Do you believe in Christ? Then you have salvation. “But he that does not believe will be damned.” Pronounce the word hard or soft as you will, it will come to the same thing in the end—you will be condemned, and hopelessly condemned, if you do not believe in Jesus Christ, the one and only redeemer and sacrifice for the sins of men and women. This we hold firm. I know you are established in these truths, my beloved, and you are determined to hold them as long as you breathe, and not to deny the faith which the Lord himself has given to you.


Once more, we hold firm and true to this name in its immutability.


We are told today that this is an age of progress, and therefore we must accept an improved gospel. Every man is to be his own lawyer, and every man his own savior. We are moving in the direction of every man putting away his own sin, just as every chimney should consume its own smoke. But, dear friends, we do not believe these idle dreams. We want nor need a new gospel, no modern salvation. Our conviction is that Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” The way that Paul went to heaven is good enough for me.

“The way the holy prophets went,

The road that leads from banishment,”


is broad enough and safe enough for me. When I remember my dear brothers and sisters in Christ who have fallen asleep in Christ, whom I saw die with triumph lighting up their faces, I feel quite content with the salvation which saved them, and I am not going to try experiments or speculations. To talk of improving upon our perfect Savior is to insult him. He is God’s propitiation, God’s only sacrifice for sins; what would we need beyond that? My blood boils with indignation at the idea of improving the gospel. There is but one Savior, and that one Savior is the same forever. His doctrine is the same in every age, and is not yes and no. What a strange result we would obtain in the general assembly of heaven if some were saved by the gospel of the first century, and others by the gospel of the second, and others by the gospel of the seventeenth, and others by the gospel of the nineteenth century! We would need a different song of praise for the clients of these various periods, and the mingled chorus would be rather to the glory of man’s culture than to the praise of the one Lord. No such mottled heaven, and no such discordant song, will ever be produced. There is one church and one Savior. We believe in one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. To eternal glory there is but one way; to walk that path we must hold firm to one truth, and be made alive by one life. We stand firm and remain true by the unaltered, unalterable, eternal name of Jesus Christ our Lord. This is what we mean by holding firm to the name and the faith of Jesus.


III. Thirdly, dear friends, to lead you a step further along the same road, LET ME SHOW THE PRACTICAL PLACE OF THE NAME AND OF THE FAITH WITH US.


First of all, it is our personal comfort-


“Jesus, the name that charms our fears,

That bids our sorrows cease;

Tis music in the sinner’s ears,

Tis life, and health, and peace.”


The faith which we hold is our daily and hourly joy and hope. The doctrines which I believe in connection with the divine Person in whom I trust are the pillow of my weariness, the medicine that relives my pain, the rest for my spirit. Jesus gives me a preview of the years to come which is celestial, and at the same time I can look back with thankfulness on the years which are past. For all time the Lord Jesus is our heart’s content. Nothing can separate us from his love, and therefore nothing can deprive us of our confident hope. Through this blessed name and this blessed faith believers are made glad and strong. On the name of Jesus we feed, and in that name we wrap ourselves. It is strength for our weakness, yes, life for our death.


And then, dear friends, this name, this faith, these are our message.


Our only business here below is to cry, “Behold the Lamb.” Are any of you sent of God with any other message? It can’t be. The one message which God has given to his people to proclaim is salvation through the Lamb—salvation by the blood of Jesus. It is by his blood that cleansing comes to the polluted. He is the one great Propitiation. To tell of Jesus is our occupation, we have nothing to say which is not comprised in the revelation made to us by God in Christ Jesus. He who is our one comfort is also our one theme.


Jesus is also our divine authority for holy work.


We preach the gospel in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. If we preached it in any other name men and women would have a right to reject it. If the spiritually sick are healed, it is his name which makes them strong. If devils flee before us, we cast them out in his name, Oh, that we would remember more often that all our teaching and preaching must be done in the name of Jesus! In his name we gather for worship, in his name we minister and serve others. If we go in our own name we go in vain; but if we are ambassadors for God, then we pray and witness to them in Christ’s name to be reconciled to God, and we are hopeful that our labor will not be in vain in the Lord.


This is also our power in preaching; indeed, it is our power, our only power in living before God.


Brothers and sisters, the devil will never be cast out by any other name—let us hold it firm. If we preach by eloquence, talent, music, or what not, the evil one will say, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” It is only his name that makes the legions of hell leave the hearts of the possessed, and fly howling down into the deep. This is the name that is raised high over everything; there is no other name which has such power in it.

Spiritual diseases, yes, death itself, will yield to this name. It is his name that makes Lazarus come out from the grave, and the young man sit upright in his casket. Use this name, and nothing can stand before you.


I said that it is our power in life, and indeed, it is. When we draw near to God, what is our strength in which we can prevail in prayer? Is it not that we ask in the name of Jesus? If you leave out the name of Jesus, what are your prayers but a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal? Prayer without the name of Jesus has no wings with which to fly up to God. This is that golden ladder on which we climb up to the throne of God, and take indescribable precious things out of the hand of the Eternal. That name prevails with God concerning everything, and thus enables us to prevail with man; therefore, hold it firmly, and do not deny the faith; for what can you do if the truth and the name of Jesus is given up?


This name is our one hope of victory.


As Constantine, in his dream, saw the cross, and took it for his emblem, with the motto, “By this sign I conquer,” so today our only hope of victory for the gospel is that the cross of Christ displays it, and the name of Jesus is in it. His name is named by us, and in his name we will cast out devils, and do many mighty works,

until his name is known and honored wherever the sun pursues its course, or the moon cheers the watches of the night.




I hope we hold it so firmly that we can never give it up while reason holds its throne. There is an old Christian legend concerning Ignatius: that he never spoke without mentioning the name of Jesus whom he loved. His speech seemed saturated with love to his Lord, and when he died the name of Jesus was found to be stamped on his heart. It may not have been so literally, but no doubt it was true spiritually. The name of Jesus is, I hope, written in our hearts so as to be inseparable from our lives. Whatever else may leave us, the name of Jesus can never depart from our thoughts. Dying men have been known to forget everything but this. The man has forgotten his wife, his children, his best friend, and has turned away oblivious from them all, as if they were strangers; and yet when the name of Jesus has been whispered in his ear, his eyes have brightened, and his countenance has responded to that precious name. O memory, leave no other name than his recorded upon your tablets! Happy is the forgetfulness which clears everything else away, but leaves that name in solitary glory!


In order that Jesus’ name will always be elevated in glory, then let ask the question: Why should we give up the faith? I fail to see a reason. Why should I change my belief, or cease to remain true to the name of Christ Jesus my Lord? It is an irrational suggestion. “I am open to conviction,” said a man who knew his ground, “I am open to conviction, but I would like to see the man that could convince me.” I am in very much the same condition with regard to the gospel of my Lord Jesus: I am open to conviction, but I will never see the man that can convince me out of my experience, my conviction, my consciousness, my hope, my all. Before I could renounce my faith in the substitutionary work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and my confidence in the everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure, I would have to be ground to powder, and every separate atom in me changed.


What would they give us in exchange for our faith? That is a question which it is easy to ask, but impossible to answer.


Suppose the doctrines of grace could be obliterated, and our hope could be taken away, what would they give us in the place of them, either for this life or the next? I have never seen anything proposed in the place of the gospel that was worth considering for a second. Have you? Uncertainty, doubt, glitter, mockery, darkness—all these; but who wants them? They offer us either bubbles or filth, according to the different shade of the speculator’s character; but we are not enamored by either. We prefer gold to dirt.


We must defend the faith; for what would have become of us if our fathers had not maintained it?


If reformers, martyrs, and other faithful Christians had been unfaithful to the name and faith of Jesus, where would the churches of today be? We must remain true and steadfast to the faith as they were. If we don’t, then we are showing contempt of our fathers?


Isn’t it wonderful to read of Luther and his courage? Of course, everyone admires Luther! Yes, yes; but you do not want any one else to do the same today, do you? When you go to the Zoo you all admire the bear; but how would you like a bear at home, or a bear wandering loose in the street? You tell me that it would be unbearable, and no doubt you are right. So, we admire a man who was firm in the faith, hundreds of years ago; the past ages are a sort of bear-pit or iron cage for him; but such a man today is a nuisance, and must be put down. Call him a narrow-minded bigot, or give him a worse name if you can think of one. Yet imagine that in those ages past, Luther, Zwingle, Calvin, and their associates had said, “The world is out of order; but if we try to set it right we will only cause a great controversy, and ourselves to be disgraced. Let us go to our bed rooms, and sleep through the bad times, and perhaps when we wake up things will have become better.” Such conduct on their part would have given us a heritage of error. Age after age would have gone down into the infernal deeps, and the infectious quagmire of error would have swallowed everyone. These men loved the faith and the name of Jesus too much to see them trampled on. Note what we owe them, and let us pay to our sons and daughters the debt we owe our fathers.


Today it is as it was in the Reformers’ days. Decision is needed. Here is the day for the man, where is the man for the day? We who have had the gospel passed to us by martyr hands dare not trifle with it, nor sit by and hear it denied by traitors, who pretend to love it, but inwardly abhor every line of it. The faith I hold bears upon it marks of the blood of my ancestors. Will I deny their faith? Will we cast away the treasure which was handed to us through the bars of prisons, or came to us charred with the flames of burning stakes at Smithfield? Personally, when my bones have been tortured with rheumatism, I have remembered Job Spurgeon, doubtless of my own stock, who in the Chelmsford Jail was allowed a chair, because he could not lie down because of rheumatic pain. That Quaker overshadows me. Perhaps I inherited his rheumatism; but that I don’t regret if I have his stubborn faith, which will not let me yield a syllable of the truth of God. When I think of how others have suffered for the faith, a little scorn or unkindness seems a mere trifle, not worthy of mention. An ancestry of lovers of the faith ought to be a great plea with us to remain true to the Lord God of our fathers, and the faith in which they lived. As for me, I must hold the old gospel: I can do no other. God helping me, I will endure the consequences of what men think with holy stubbornness.


Look, my brothers and sisters, there are ages yet to come. If the Lord does not soon appear, there will come another generation, and another, and all these generations will be tainted and injured if we are not faithful to God and to his truth today. We have come to a turning point in the road. If we turn to the right, maybe our children and our children’s children will go that way; but if we turn to the left, generations yet unborn will curse our names for having been unfaithful to God and to his Word.


I charge you, not only by your ancestry, but by your posterity, that you seek to win the commendation of your Master, that though you dwell where Satan’s seat is, yet you must hold firm and true to his name, and do not deny his faith. God grant us faithfulness, for the sake of the souls around us! How is the world to be saved if the church is false to her Lord? How are we to lift the masses if our fulcrum is removed? If our gospel is uncertain, what remains but increasing misery and despair? Stand firm, my beloved, in the name of God! I, your brother in Christ, plead with you to remain in the truth and be strong. The Lord sustain you for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Spurgeon Collection" by:

Tony Capoccia
Bible Bulletin Board
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Columbus, New Jersey, USA, 08022
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Email: tony@biblebb.com
Online since 1986