Tag Archives: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers

“The best argument to bring sinners to believe in Jesus is Jesus” by Charles Spurgeon

“I am meek and lowly in heart.” —Matthew 11:29

We have preached upon the whole of this passage several times before, therefore we do not intend to speak upon it in its full teaching, or enter upon its general run and connection, but we select for our meditation this one expression, which has greater deeps in it than we shall be able fully to explore;—“I am meek and lowly in heart.”

I have felt very grateful to God for the mercy of the past week, during which the ministers educated in our College have been gathered together as a devout convocation, and have enjoyed a flood-tide of the divine blessing.

Unusually great and special joy has filled my soul; and, therefore, I have asked myself, “What can I do to glorify the Lord my God who has been so gracious to me, and has so prospered the work committed to me and my brethren?”

The answer which my heart gave was this— “Endeavour to bring sinners to Jesus. Nothing is sweeter to Him than that, for He loves the sons of men.”

Then I said to myself, “But how can I bring sinners to Christ? What means will the Holy Spirit be likely to use for that purpose?”

And the answer came, “If you would preach sinners to Christ you must preach Christ to sinners, for nothing so attracts the hearts of men as Jesus himself.”

The best argument to bring sinners to believe in Jesus is Jesus.

Has he not himself said, “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me?” Then I said, “But what shall I preach concerning Jesus?”

And my soul replied, “Preach the loving heart of Jesus: go to the centre of the subject, and set forth His very soul, His inmost self, and then it may be that the heart of Jesus will draw the hearts of men.”

Now it is very remarkable that the only passage in the whole New Testament in which the heart of Jesus is distinctly mentioned is the one before us.

Of course there are passages in which his heart is intended, as for instance—when the soldier, with a spear, pierced his side; but this passage is unique as to the actual mentioning of the kardia or heart of Jesus by a distinct word.

There are several passages in the Old Testament which refer to our divine Lord, such as—“Reproach hath broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness;” and that notable one, in the twenty-second Psalm, “my heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my bowels.”

But in the New Testament this is the only passage which speaks of the heart of Jesus Christ, and therefore we will weigh it with all the more care.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Heart of Jesus,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 19 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1873), 19: 193–194.

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“Christ’s arms are wide open to embrace the returning prodigal” by Thomas Brooks

“The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That the promise of grace and mercy is to returning souls.

And, therefore, though thou art never so wicked, yet if thou wilt return, God will be thine, and mercy shall be thine, and pardon shall be thine:

2 Chron. 30:9, ‘For if you turn again unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the Lord our God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him.’

So Jer. 3:12, ‘Go and proclaim these words towards the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord, and I will not cause my anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever.’

So Joel 2:13, ‘And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.’

So Isa. 55:7, ‘Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon,’ or, as the Hebrew reads it, ‘He will multiply pardon:’ so Ezek. 18.

Ah! sinner, it is not thy great transgressions that shall exclude thee from mercy, if thou wilt break off thy sins by repentance and return to the fountain of mercy.

Christ’s heart, Christ’s arms, are wide open to embrace the returning prodigal.”

–Thomas Brooks, “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices,” The Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 1, Ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1666/2001), 1: 140.

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“He deals gently with us” by Dane Ortlund

“When we sin, we are encouraged to bring our mess to Jesus because He will know just how to receive us.

He doesn’t handle us roughly.

He doesn’t scowl and scold.

He doesn’t lash out, the way many of our parents did.

And all this restraint on His part is not because He has a diluted view of our sinfulness. He knows our sinfulness far more deeply than we do.

Indeed, we are aware of just the tip of the iceberg of our depravity, even in our most searching moments of self-knowledge.

His restraint simply flows from His tender heart for His people.

Hebrews is not just telling us that instead of scolding us, Jesus loves us.

It’s telling us the kind of love He has: rather than dispensing grace to us from on high, He gets down with us, He puts His arm around us, He deals with us in the way that is just what we need. (Hebrews 4:14-5:4)

He deals gently with us.”

–Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 54-55.

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“For those united to Him, the heart of Jesus is not a rental; it is your new permanent residence” by Dane Ortlund

“We cannot present a reason for Christ to finally close off His heart to His own sheep. No such reason exists.

Every human friend has a limit. If we offend enough, if a relationship gets damaged enough, if we betray enough times, we are cast out. The walls go up.

With Christ, our sins and weaknesses are the very resumé items that qualify us to approach Him. Nothing but coming to Him is required—first at conversion and a thousand times thereafter until we are with Him upon death.

Perhaps it isn’t sins so much as sufferings that cause some of us to question the perseverance of the heart of Christ. As pain piles up, as numbness takes over, as the months go by, at some point the conclusion seems obvious: we have been cast out.

Surely this is not what life would feel like for one who has been buried in the heart of a gentle and lowly Savior? But Jesus does not say that those with pain-free lives are never cast out.

He says those who come to Him are never cast out. It is not what life brings to us but to whom we belong that determines Christ’s heart of love for us.

The only thing required to enjoy such love is to come to Him. To ask Him to take us in. He does not say, ‘Whoever comes to me with sufficient contrition,’ or ‘Whoever comes to me feeling bad enough for their sin,’ or ‘Whoever comes to me with redoubled efforts.’

He says, ‘Whoever comes to me I will never cast out.’

Our strength of resolve is not part of the formula of retaining His good will. When my two-year-old Benjamin begins to wade into the gentle slope of the zero-entry swimming pool near our home, he instinctively grabs hold of my hand.

He holds on tight as the water gradually gets deeper. But a two-year-old’s grip is not very strong. Before long it is not he holding on to me but me holding on to him.

Left to his own strength he will certainly slip out of my hand. But if I have determined that he will not fall out of my grasp, he is secure. He can’t get away from me if he tried.

So with Christ. We cling to Him, to be sure. But our grip is that of a two-year-old amid the stormy waves of life. His sure grasp never falters.

Psalm 63:8 expresses the double-sided truth: ‘My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.’

We are talking about something deeper than the doctrine of eternal security, or ‘once saved, always saved’—a glorious doctrine, a true doctrine—sometimes called the perseverance of the saints.

We have come, more deeply, to the doctrine of the perseverance of the heart of Christ. Yes, professing Christians can fall away, proving that they were never truly in Christ.

Yes, once a sinner is united to Christ, there is nothing that can dis-unite them. But within the skeletal structure of these doctrines, what is the beating heart of God, made tangible in Christ?

What is most deeply instinctive to Him as our sins and sufferings pile up? What keeps Him from growing cold?

The answer is, His heart. The atoning work of the Son, decreed by the Father and applied by the Spirit, ensures that we are safe eternally.

But a text such as John 6:37 reassures us that this is not only a matter of divine decree but divine desire. This is heaven’s delight.

Come to me, says Christ. I will embrace you into my deepest being and never let you go.

Have you considered what is true of you if you are in Christ?

In order for you to fall short of loving embrace into the heart of Christ both now and into eternity, Christ Himself would have to be pulled down out of heaven and put back in the grave.

His death and resurrection make it just for Christ never to cast out His own, no matter how often they fall. But animating this work of Christ is the heart of Christ.

He cannot bear to part with His own, even when they most deserve to be forsaken.

‘But I…’

Raise your objections. None can threaten these invincible words: ‘Whoever comes to me I will never cast out.’

For those united to Him, the heart of Jesus is not a rental; it is your new permanent residence.

You are not a tenant; you are a child.

His heart is not a ticking time bomb; His heart is the green pastures and still waters of endless reassurances of His presence and comfort, whatever our present spiritual accomplishments.

It is who He is.”

–Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 64-66.

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“If you knew His heart, you would” by Dane Ortlund

“The Christian life boils down to two steps:

1. Go to Jesus.

2. See #1.

Whatever is crumbling all around you in your life, wherever you feel stuck, this remains, un-deflectable: His heart for you, the real you, is gentle and lowly. So go to Him.

That place in your life where you feel most defeated, He is there; He lives there, right there, and His heart for you, not on the other side of it but in that darkness, is gentle and lowly.

Your anguish is His home. Go to Him.

If you knew His heart, you would.”

–Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 216.

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“If you are united to Christ, you are as good as in heaven already” by Dane Ortlund

“Christ died, placarding before you the love of God.

If you are in Christ– and only a soul in Christ would be troubled at offending Him– your waywardness does not threaten your place in the love of God any more than history itself can be undone.

The hardest part has been accomplished. God has already executed everything needed to secure your eternal happiness, and He did that while you were an orphan.

Nothing can now un-child you.

Not even you.

Those in Christ are eternally imprisoned within the tender heart of God.

We will be less sinful in the next life than we are now, but we will not be any more secure in the next life than we are now.

If you are united to Christ, you are as good as in heaven already.”

–Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 194-195.

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“The anguish and tears of others” by Dane Ortlund

“Twice in the Gospels we are told that Jesus broke down and wept. And in neither case is it sorrow for Himself or His own pains.

In both cases it is sorrow over another– in one case, Jerusalem (Luke 19:41), and in the other, His deceased friend, Lazarus (John 11:35).

What was His deepest anguish? The anguish of others.

What drew His heart out to the point of tears? The tears of others.”

–Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 26.

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“Not a pointed finger but open arms” by Dane Ortlund

“Meek. Humble. Gentle.

Jesus is not trigger-happy. Not harsh, reactionary, easily exasperated.

He is the most understanding person in the universe.

The posture most natural to Him is not a pointed finger but open arms.”

–Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 19.

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