Spurgeon on God’s Power in Our Lives
I’ve said before that one of my delights is exploring the vast reservoir of sermons by Charles Haddon Spurgeon. I came across one called “The Mighty Arm.” In this portion of the message, which is about one fifth of the whole, he talks about the power of God available to us as Christians, which we are free to call upon. I haven’t changed words, but I have added most of the paragraph breaks to help make it more readable:
[God’s] power is independent of place. Think ye that there was any sanctity in the upper room at Jerusalem? Behold this room is quite as sacred as that filled by the Spirit in years gone by. Dream not that the city of Jerusalem of old, in the days of the Savior was a more proper theater for divine working than this is; he can make London rejoice even as he did Jerusalem of old.
Equally is the divine power independent of time. Do not dream that the ages have changed, so that in this day God cannot do his mighty works. Beloved, if you can conceive of an age that is worse than another, so much the more is it a fit platform for the heavenly energy; the more difficulty, the more room for omnipotence to show itself; there is elbow room for the great God when there is some great thing in the way, and some great difficulty that he may overturn. When there is a mountain to be cast into the valley, then there is almighty work to be done; and our covenant God only needs to see work to do for his praying people, and he will shortly do it.
God is not dependent upon instruments any more than upon times and places. He who blessed the world by Paul and Peter, can do his good pleasure by his servants now. The Christ of the fishermen is our Christ still. Talk not of Luther, and Calvin, and Zwingle, as though they were specially powerful in themselves, and therefore accomplished so marvellous a work. Oh, sirs, there are humble men and women among us whom God may just as well bless as those three mighties if so it pleases him. Dream not that there was something about the Wesleys and Whitfield, which made them the only instruments for evangelising this nation.
O God Almighty, thou canst bless even us! and amongst the thousands of ministers who hitherto may have ploughed as upon a rock, and labored in vain, there is no one whom God may not take and make him as a two-edged sword in his hand, to smite through the hearts of his foes. Beloved, I have sometimes prayed, and do often pray, that out of that little band of men whom we have in our own College—some ninety or so—he would find for himself his arrows and fit them to the bow, and shoot them to the utmost ends of the earth. And why not?
Unbelief has many mournful reasons, but faith sees none. In our classes there are women, there are men, there are children, upon whom the Lord may pour forth his Spirit, so that once again our sons and our daughters shall prophesy, and our young men shall see visions, and our old men shall dream dreams. We have but to wait upon the Most High, and he will honor us with success; for he can work in any place, in any time, among any people, and by any instruments. Let us come with confidence to his feet, and expect to see him lay bare his mighty arms.
This power, I must not forget to say, as a gathering up of the whole, is infinite. Power in the creature must have a limit for the creature itself is finite, but power in the Creator has neither measure nor bound. I am sure, beloved, we treat our God often as though he were like ourselves. We sit down after some one defeat or disappointment, and we say we will never try again—we suppose the work allotted to us to be impossible of performance. Is anything too hard for the Lord? Why limit ye the Holy One of Israel?
God is not man that he should fail, nor the Son of man that he should suffer defeat. Behold he toucheth the hills and they tremble; he toucheth the mountains and they smoke. When he goes forth before his people he maketh the mountains to skip like rams, and the little hills like lambs, what then can block up his path? The Red Sea thou dividedst of old, O God, and thou didst break the dragon’s head in the midst of the many waters, and thou canst still do according to thy will, let and hinder who may. Oh, beloved, if I may but be privileged to lift up your hearts and mine to something like a due comprehension of the infinite power of God, we shall then have come to the threshold of a great blessing.
If ye believe in the littleness of God ye will ask but little, ye will have but little; but enlarge your desires, let your souls be stretched till they become wide as seven heavens, even then ye shall not hold the whole of the great God, but ye shall be fitted to receive more largely out of his fullness. Ask of him that he would give the heathen unto Christ for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession; for the scepter of Jehovah shall go forth, and the monarchy of Christ shall be extended from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same.
It were not right, perhaps, to leave this point without observing concerning this divine power that it is all our own, for we are told that this God is our God for ever and ever. “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul, therefore will I hope in him.” Christian, the potency, which dwells in Jehovah belongs to you; it is yours to rest upon in holy trust, and yours to stir up in earnest pleading. That little sinew moves the great arm—I mean the sinew of the believer’s prayer. If thou canst pray God will work. “To him that believeth all things are possible.”
It is not, “Canst thou work, O God?” but it is, “Canst thou believe, O Christian?” Thou hast a mighty arm, O God, but that arm is thy people’s arm; for it is written,” he is their arm every morning, and their salvation every night.” Come then with confidence, ye who have made a covenant with him by sacrifice, for this God is our God for ever and ever, and he will help us. yea, he will help us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.
Spurgeon, C. H. (1998). Vol. 12: Spurgeon's Sermons: Volume 12 (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; Spurgeon's Sermons. Albany, OR: Ages Software.