Aug 23, 2017
John Kershaw

Preached At Zoar Chapel, Great Alie Street, London On Thursday Evening, May 26, 1853

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Hebrews 18. 8. What a mercy, my hearers, that our Jesus, on whom we build our souls’ eternal all, is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever”! Whatever we look at, save the God of our salvation, we see changing. Look at the world and the things of the world – its fashion is changed. The Psalmist David had his mind awed with a view of the world, as we find in the concluding part of Ps. 102; and in Hebrews 1, showing that all things are fleeting, but the Lord is unchangeable. “He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days. I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days; thy years are throughout all generations. Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.” (Ps. 102. 23-27.) Our Jesus was in the beginning the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and all that therein is; our Jesus is the same Almighty God today, and He will be the same tomorrow and forever. O what a mercy that our Jesus, the God of our salvation, is so unalterable, so eternally immutable! Again, on the negative side of the question: if we look at nations, and empires, and monarchs, they rise and fall; but there is no alteration in our Jesus. Hear His voice: “by me kings reign and princes decree justice;” He upholds one and puts down another at His sovereign pleasure. God’s (servants) are to exalt Him: “Say unto Zion, Thy God reigneth” as the God of nations, and will cause all things to work together for His honour and the good of His chosen family. Further, if we look at families, what changes there are in them! Where are our fathers? Do they live forever? No; one generation goes, another comes. But not so with our Jesus: “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.” We sometimes greatly feel the loss of our brethren and sisters in the Lord, with whom we have taken sweet counsel, and walked in peace; when death has overtaken them we have sorrowed, but our sorrow has not been as those that have no hope. Jesus is here still: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday,” that dwelt in the wilderness, in the days of the apostles, in the days of our persecuted fathers the Puritans, that dwells “today, “. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. ” One text in particular has greatly soothed my sorrows arising from bereavements in the loss of near and dear friends, is where the Psalmist David says, “The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted,” He ever did live; He lives now; He lives in the hearts of His people; He lives in Zion. O the immutability, the constancy, and firmness of the dear Redeemer! We observe again, that sometimes there are many changes in our own minds. We are the subjects of change and mutability. What is more fickle than we are? Sometimes we are on the mount of enjoyment: “Bless the Lord, O my soul;” sometimes we are in unbelief and temptation: “Is his mercy clean gone for ever?” Jesus lives, whatever be the state of our minds. Sometimes we are walking in darkness, under the hidings of our heavenly Father’s face; sometimes we have the liftings up of the light of His countenance; but Jesus lives when we are in the dark as well as when we are in the light. There is no alienation nor the least shadow of a turn with our blessed Jesus. The Lord Jesus is, “the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” In His love to His people, our Lord Jesus Christ “sticketh closer than a brother.” Amonqst brethren there is sometimes love, and a very blessed and comfortable thing it is to walk in the fear of the Lord, and the unity of the Spirit, and in the bond of peace. He is “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” We should take into consideration, that the eye of Jesus Christ our King, Lord, and Law-giver, is ever upon us. He has given us many precepts and exhortations in His word; it is for His honor that we walk in them; it is for our comfort and consolation that we obey them. “In keeping his commandments there is great reward;” but if we disobey the directions our blessed Lord and Master has given us, He “will visit our iniquity with a rod, and our transgressions with stripes.” This He does in love, for His lovingkindness will He not take away from us, nor suffer His faithfulness to fail. What says our Lord? “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?” I have known mothers turn their backs even upon their infants; but the Lord Jesus says, “I will not forget thee.” “I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me;” and “I will not forget thee.” What a mercy that our Lord Jesus will never leave them nor forsake (His elect). Paul exulted in this: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Shall any or all of these things combined dissolve the union that exists between Christ and His (people)? No; it is an indissoluble union; for “we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us.” O what a blessing that Jesus Christ is the same! “I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” If our Jesus were not immutable, we could not stand; it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed. The mercy of the Lord is like Jesus, “from everlasting to everlasting;” The mercy of the LORD endureth for ever.” So that the loving heart of the Lord Jesus Christ is ever firmly fixed upon His spouse; and He is the same in His regard for her “yesterday, and today, and for He “rests in his love.” The Lord enable us to rest where ever He rests. But we observe, secondly, that the Lord Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever,” in His power and ability. He possessed power and ability to create the heavens and the earth, to speak them out of nothing into existence. He possessed power enough to bring Israel out of Egypt with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. He had power and ability to cause the Red Sea to flee before them: “The sea saw him, and fled; Jordan was driven back.” He had power and ability enough to supply the wants of Israel in the wilderness; power and ability enough to bring down the walls of Jericho; power and ability enough to deliver the various idolatrous nations into their hands. In more personal circumstances, see the display of His power in the case of Daniel, and in the case of the three Hebrew children; see His power in providing for the prophet in the wilderness, in increasing the poor woman’s meal, and providing for her and her son. Innumerable instances might be adduced from the book of God expressive of the greatness of the power of our blessed and glorious Lord Jesus. Now, the same Jesus that appeared as the Captain of the Lord’s host upon the walls of Jericho, in the days of Joshua, is our Captain; the same blessed Son of God that appeared in Nebuchadnezzer’s fiery furnace is our Jesus; and, bless His precious name, he will be the same powerful, helping Jesus to the end. Again the Lord Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, and today, and for ever,” in His power, as the God of grace and salvation. I have no power in myself; I am one of those that the prophet speaks of when he says, “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” I am often faint, and as weak as water; but when my blessed Jesus reveals Himself in His power, and I can claim an interest in His person, I feel my heart warm in me directly, and such texts as these have come with savour on my spirit: “All power is given to me in heaven and earth;” “Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory;” “They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and they shall talk of thy power;” “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.” It is not by creature might or power that God’s cause is maintained in this sinful, crooked, and rebellious world, in spite of all opposition, but it is by the power of the Spirit of our God and of His Christ. He says, “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” In allusion to this, David, in Ps. 110. 3, says, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” The power of Jesus, that brought down the lofty looks of Saul of Tarsus, has brought down thousands since. The power of Jesus that brought Zaccheus down the tree, that shook the prison and the jailer’s conscience; the power of Jesus, that arrested the dying thief on the cross; this power is still working, for He is in reference to His power, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Let us look back for a moment. Was it our own power and ability that changed our heart, renewed our will, and turned our feet heavenward? Instead of my power and ability having anything to do with effecting it, my carnal heart fought against it. O the opposition that there is in the soul of the sinner to the work of God! But when the day of the Lord’s power comes, the stoutest heart must obey, the loftiest looks must be brought down, and the Lord in His almighty power be exalted. He clothes with power the word spoken by His sent servants: “Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power.” Ah! we want this power. How my soul longs for power, to attend to the word preached, power to be felt in my own soul! Without this power there is nothing that will really stand the test; for religion without the power of God is but like the shadow without the substance. Religion begins with the power of God, it is maintained by the power of the Lord, and it is completed by the power of the Lord. Jesus, then, had the power in His hand “yesterday,” He has the power in His hand “today,” and He will have the power in His hand “tomorrow.” When you and I are gone to heaven He will have the power still, and He will gather in the number of His elect, and bring His sons from afar and His daughters from the ends of the earth. Do we feel very weak and helpless? We are the more safe and secure. Peter did not see and feel himself so weak and helpless when he said, “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee,” as Paul did when buffeted with the “thorn in the flesh,” and trembling for fear of falling, and crying to the Lord to save him. The Lord keep us day by day feeling our weakness, (and) the depravity of our nature! Dear Lord, increase a godly jealousy in our soul; forbid that we should place any confidence and trust in ourselves, but that our confidence and trust may be in Thee and the power of Thine arm, the power of Thy Spirit and grace! The Lord is able to keep His people; they cannot keep themselves: “He that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.” And His power is like Himself, “the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.” These things have a very blessed place in my heart; they are very comfortable to my soul and I turn them into prayer; I pray, “Do thou keep me, for I cannot keep myself; hold me up by thy power, and I shall be safe.” Let the Lord be our upholder, and we are safe and secure. O that we may ever grow in confidence in the power, and ability, and all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ, and that our heart and our eyes may be daily up to Him! He is “the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever,” in His power and in His ability. See this immutability in another respect. Are any of my brethren and sisters shut up in their souls as in a prison? God’s people often know what it is, as David says, to be shut up: “I am shut up, and cannot come forth.” They know what it is to sigh and groan in their prison-house. “Let the sighing and groaning of the prisoner come up before thee.” Now they do not wait till they can deliver themselves. Some people talk of believing and acting faith as though it were a very easy matter; but that is not the faith that stands in God’s wisdom and power. The children of God that are shut up in the feelings of their own minds could no more effect their own deliverance from bondage into the glorious liberty of the gospel than they could keep God’s holy law. The Lord has reserved this power to Himself: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised (Luke 4:18).” If we want liberating, we must look to the Lord alone to liberate us: the power is His. When David cried to Him, He lifted him up out of the horrible pit and the miry clay, and set his feet on a rock, and put a new song of praise and thanksgiving into his heart. So that Jesus, in His power, is “the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.” If you are hemmed up in providence, and cannot see your way, look to the Lord and His power to liberate you. All the gold and silver is His, and, when He wants it, He can have it out of a fish’s mouth; all hearts are in his hand, and He can turn them as rivers of water. Look to the Lord; all power is with Him. “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, he will sustain thee” “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.” My aim in labouring in the ministry of the word is to set forth our Lord Jesus Christ, to exalt Him. and enable you to increase your confidence in Him, in His power, in His ability, and in His glorious all-sufficiency. III. We now observe, “Jesus Christ” is “the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever,” in His salvation. A large field opens to us here, but we can only briefly glance at it. The salvation that we have in Jesus Christ is not a changing or uncertain salvation; it is like Himself, “the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.” Hearken to the voice of God; there is such a solemnity and majesty in His word when the Holy Spirit is pleased to apply it with power to the mind: “Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation.” Jesus has ‘.obtained eternal redemption for us.” Abraham rejoiced in Jesus and His salvation; he rejoiced to see His day, and he saw it, and was glad. Jacob died in the enjoyment of this salvation: “The angel of the covenant that hath redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads.” Job exulted in it: “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” In the days of the prophet Isaiah, (God’s people) sang of it: “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust, and not be afraid.” Come into the New Testament; it is still Jesus: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)” but the name of Jesus. O the everlasting salvation that we have in Jesus Christ! He is the same, and will be the same forever and ever! And, the righteousness He has wrought out for us is like Himself; it is an everlasting righteousness. Abraham had to look to this Jesus for righteousness, and so had the prophets, and so have we. It is an everlasting righteousness, covering all the election of grace in ages gone by, covering them all today, and that will cover them all tomorrow; making them accepted in the presence of a holy God. As it is written, we are “accepted in the Beloved,” beheld all fair and perfect in the Lord Jesus. And as respects the blood of this salvation, it is “the blood of the everlasting covenant.” All the (eternal)church of God in ages past have been purged from sin in the blood of Jesus; and the (eternal) church of God at this day is looking to the blood of the slaughtered Lamb; and it will be the same to us tomorrow and as long as we live; and when we have gone to glory we shall shout, “Victory through the blood of the Lamb and the word of His testimony! That blood will still maintain its power. Dear dying Lamb! thy precious blood Shall never lose its power. It has had a power, it has a power now, and it will have a power, Till all the ransomed church of God Be saved, to sin no more! Cowper “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.” As the (eternal bride’s) advocate in heaven to plead her cause Christ. Jesus enables His people to look to Him, and to commit their cause into His hands. The child of God may sometimes think that he is going backwards, or else standing still; but there is such a thing as taking deep root, growing upwards and downwards at the same time. You may be sure that (the gospel) is progressing in our souls if we are getting every day more and more out of love with ourselves, and feeling more and more our need of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we are cleaving to Him, hoping in Him, panting after Him, longing for Him, and desiring to be “found in him,” conformed to His image, to live to His honour and glory. It is Jesus by His Holy Spirit that causes the Dagon of self to fall, and exalts Himself in our hearts and affections; “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” It may be that I may never speak to you in the name of Jesus anymore; but if I do not, Jesus Christ still remains. If His ministering servants die and His people die, Jesus lives; and He ever had His witnesses, and ever will have. He ever had a seed to serve Him, and a generation to call Him blessed; and in spite of sin, men and devils, He will have; and He will carry on His work till all the ransomed of the Lord, the whole election of grace, are gathered in. “Then shall the end be,” the world be burned up, the judgment take place, and the spouse be forever in the presence of the dear Redeemer. Amen.

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