I Am the Chief of Sinners — Charles Spurgeon (2022)

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” – 1 Timothy 1:15

Spurgeon,

The Apostle says, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” I am not going to dispute with the Apostle and yet, if he were here, I should be a little dubious as to his right to the title of, “chief of sinners,” and I would ask him whether, if he were chief, I was not the next. I suppose that there are many here who would say, “Paul sinned no more grievously than we did before our conversion.” I remember, in preaching once, I said that if I ever got to Heaven, those lines would be true of me—

(Video) The Glorious Gospel Christ Came Into the World to Save Sinners; of Whom I am Chief - C. H. Spurgeon

“Then loudest of the crowd I’ll sing,
While Heaven’s resounding mansions ring,
With shouts of Sovereign Grace.”

When I had done preaching, a lady met me in the aisle and she said, “You made one mistake in your sermon.” “Oh, dear Heart!” I replied, “I daresay I made twenty.” She said, “But the one you made was this. You said that you would sing the loudest when you got to Heaven—but you will not. When I get there, I shall owe more to the Grace of God than you will—you have not been such a sinner as I have been.” Well, I found all the other saints around us were of a mind to contest about which should praise God most because of the great things He had done for them in saving their souls! Ralph Erskine wrote a hymn about the contention among the birds of paradise as to which should praise God best, and he describes the different kinds of people in Heaven all vying with each other in magnifying the name of the Lord who had redeemed them! But that is not my theme just now.

When we come and appropriate this sinner’s Savior, we do it, first, by a confession. “Lord, I am a sinner. I know it. I mourn over it. I confess to You that I have broken Your righteous Law.” Then there follows, on that confession, a sense of humiliation. Did Jesus come into the world to save me? Then I am a greater sinner than I thought I was, first, that I should need the Son of God to save me and, next, that I should sin against love so amazing, so surprising, as to rebel against One who would come into the world to save me! The more we appreciate Christ’s saving sinners, the more wedepreciate ourselves. He who has a great Savior will feel himself to be a great sinner. And he who has the best and clearestview of Christ is the man who will say, “Of whom—namely, of the saved sinners—I am chief.”

(Video) An Appeal to Sinners - Charles Spurgeon Sermon

Now, this appropriation of Christ, which began with confession and went on to deep self-humiliation, flowers into faith, because, notice, the Apostle says, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” Though he says that he is chief of them, yet he means, also, “I am one of those He came to save.” “Of whom I am chief.” “Oh, yes, I am one of those he came to save!” Faith enables the soul to say that. My dear Friends, I do trust that, by the Grace of God, many of you will say that, tonight. “Lord Jesus, I trust in You. Of the multitude that You did come to save, whoare described as sinners, I am one.”. . .

One thing I notice about my text which greatly delights me. Paul says, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” No, no, Paul, that expression will not do! Why, my dear Man, you are a scholar, and yet you have made a mistake in the tense of the verb! It is not sum, “I am,” but fui, “I was.” “No, no,” says Paul, “never bring your Latin in here. My Greek expression is, ‘I am chief.’” “What? After being saved, after being forgiven, still are you chief of sinners?” “Yes,” he says, “it is so.” And it is possible for a man to be not a whit behind the very chief of the Apostles and yet to feel that, in putting his whole life together, he has to take his place among the sinners, yes, at the head ofthem, as the chief of sinners!

I think I told you that I once tried the plan, which some of our Brothers and Sisters try, of praying to God as a saint. Why, I have seen some of our Brethren, when they have had a Sunday out, with their best go-to-meeting clothes on, talk about their being perfect, and they looked exactly like the peacock I saw with his tail spread out, strutting along so grandly! Well, I rather liked the look of that fine show—there was something very beautiful in it—so I tried it, myself, once. I went to God in prayer boasting about my virtues, my attainments, my growth in His Grace and my service for Him. I think that I have as good a right to do that as anybody else has. I have served God with all my might and I have laid everything at His feet. But when I tried to pray that way, I knocked at the gate and nobody came! I knocked again, but nobody came. There is a little wicket, you know, that they open, just to look out to see who is there. So they asked, “Who is that knocking?” I answered, “Oh, it is a saint! It is one who has grown in Grace until he is perfectly sanctified, one who has preached the Gospel for many years.”

(Video) A Great Gospel for Great Sinners, by Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

They just shut the gate at once—they did not know anything about me in that capacity! So I stood there and got nothing. At last, broken-hearted and full of grief, I knocked again with all my might, and when they asked, “Who is there?” I said, “Here is a poor sinner who has often come to Christ in that capacity, and has taken Him to be his whole righteousness and salvation, and he has come, again, just as he used to come.” “Ah!” they said, “it is you, is it? We have known you for many years! You are always welcome.” I found that I had access to my God when I said, “I am the chief ofsinners. I am still a sinner.”

Well, now, putting myself in that position where I always must be and always hope to be, I would say to any sinner here, whoever you may be, come, Friend, come along with me to the Cross! One says, “But I cannot go with you. You have been a minister of the Gospel these 30 years and more.” My dear Friend, I am still a poor sinner and I have to look to Christ every day as I did at the very first. Come along with me! Come along with me! It is many, many years since, on a snowy morning, I looked to Him and was lightened. I wish that, this snowy night, some soul here would look to Him andlive!

I had much more to say, but the time has gone, so I just leave you with my text, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” It is a blessed proverb, an Apostolic proverbial saying—but it is a true saying—“It is a faithful saying.” Everybody who has tried it has found it true! It is worthy of the acceptation of you all, and it is worthy of all the acceptation that any one of you can give to it. You may come and trust your soul on it for time and for eternity! You may come with all your burden of sin upon your shoulders. You may come with all your need of feeling, with all your hardness of heart and just take as your Savior this Jesus Christ who came into the world to save sinners! Only trust Him and when you have trusted Him, you have done much more than you dream. Some people think that there is nothing in faith, but God is pleased with it and, “without faith it is impossible to please God.” If God is pleased with it, there is a great deal more in it than some imagine! That faith contains within itself a future life of holiness! It is the one acorn out of which countless forests will yet grow!

(Video) The Soul Winner | Charles H Spurgeon | Free Christian Audiobook

Believe! May the Lord help you to believe in Jesus immediately! Ere you leave this place, trust Him! Trust Him wholly. He came to save sinners. Let Him save you! It is His business—it is not yours. Leave yourself in His hands and He will save you, to the praise of the glory of His Grace.

- Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)
taken from: The Whole Gospel in a Single Verse, Sermon No. 2300, Delivered on Thursday evening, February 28, 1889, by C. H. Spurgeon.

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” – 1 Timothy 1:15. The Apostle says, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” I am not going to dispute with the Apostle and yet, if he were here, I should be a little dubious as to his right to the title of, “chief of sinners,” and I would ask him whether, if he were chief, I was not the next.. (Video) The Glorious Gospel Christ Came Into the World to Save Sinners; of Whom I am Chief - C. H. Spurgeon. When I get there, I shall owe more to the Grace of God than you will—you have not been such a sinner as I have been.” Well, I found all the other saints around us were of a mind to contest about which should praise God most because of the great things He had done for them in saving their souls!. Then I am a greater sinner than I thought I was, first, that I should need the Son of God to save me and, next, that I should sin against love so amazing, so surprising, as to rebel against One who would come into the world to save me!. The more we appreciate Christ’s saving sinners, the more wedepreciate ourselves.. Now, this appropriation of Christ, which began with confession and went on to deep self-humiliation, flowers into faith, because, notice, the Apostle says, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” Though he says that he is chief of them, yet he means, also, “I am one of those He came to save.” “Of whom I am chief.” “Oh, yes, I am one of those he came to save!” Faith enables the soul to say that.. Paul says, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” No, no, Paul, that expression will not do!. After being saved, after being forgiven, still are you chief of sinners?” “Yes,” he says, “it is so.” And it is possible for a man to be not a whit behind the very chief of the Apostles and yet to feel that, in putting his whole life together, he has to take his place among the sinners, yes, at the head ofthem, as the chief of sinners!. (Video) A Great Gospel for Great Sinners, by Charles Haddon Spurgeon.. I had much more to say, but the time has gone, so I just leave you with my text, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” It is a blessed proverb, an Apostolic proverbial saying—but it is a true saying—“It is a faithful saying.” Everybody who has tried it has found it true!. You may come with all your need of feeling, with all your hardness of heart and just take as your Savior this Jesus Christ who came into the world to save sinners!. He came to save sinners.. Jesus Came to Save Sinners | Charles Spurgeon | Free Christian Audiobook

Upon the doctrines of grace, upon the experience of grace, upon everything that has to do with the exceeding abundant grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Paul is the mighty master and the great teacher.. Then indeed, friend, thou art one of the chief of sinners, and I am glad that thou art here, that I may tell thee that there is mercy even for such as thou art, for “all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men.” No matter how often or how foully thou hast cursed the Most High, and damned thyself, he will not damn thee if thou wilt turn from the error of thy ways, and seek mercy through the blood of him whom thou hast despised.. if thou be here, thou Atheist, thou Deist, thou disbeliever in Christ Jesus, thou art the chief of sinners, and I am glad thou art here that I may tell thee that a God of love waits to embrace thee, and that he still declares this to be true, that he is able to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by him.. Surely, sir, thou art the chief of sinners to have talked thus of him who is “very God of very God,” the express image of his Father’s person!. Remember, young man, when you sin you sin with seven-fold atrocity, because you know better; nay, seventy sins are rolled into one in your sin of daring deliberate wilfulness.. Now, if you are gifted with this tender conscience, and yet you constantly violate it, and directly act in the face of your own convictions, you are the chief of sinners; but still, still Paul the chief of sinners found mercy, and so may you.. Now, sinner, thou art a liar, as well as aught besides; thou art a rogue, a dishonest one against God, with whom the compact was made; but the invitation is still freely tendered unto thee: come unto the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in him, and thou shalt be made whole.. The chief of sinners comprises so numerous a body, I believe every one of us must come in the list in some shape or other, and I know this—if ever you and I are saved, if God shall give us very great mercy, we shall feel that we were the greatest sinners.. It is great mercy that sets forth our great sin, for we only come to reckon ourselves the chief of sinners when we see the great love of God.

“Sinners; of whom I am chief.”. These are chiefs among sinners.. And then the question was put again–“Will you curse Christ now?” Paul says that he, though probably using milder means, compelled the professors of Christ’s faith to blaspheme.. And yet, the Lord knows how earnestly I long for you in the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ.. Well, by God’s Grace, there is mercy for you, too!. But still, still Paul, the chief of sinners, found mercy–and so may you!. But the invitation is still freely tendered unto you–come unto the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in Him–and you shall be made whole.. Sinners!

“Sinners; of whom I am chief.”. Might it not, then, rather have been that his deep view of his own sinfulness and his clear sense of his guilt made him consider himself to be the chief of sinners, though, probably, there have been tens of thousands even greater than he?. These are chiefs among sinners.. And then the question was put again–“Will you curse Christ now?” Paul says that he, though probably using milder means, compelled the professors of Christ’s faith to blaspheme.. Pass not by the house of the strange woman if you love your life, for her gates lead down to death, even to the chambers of the damned!. I have another class of the chiefs of sinners to find out.. And yet, the Lord knows how earnestly I long for you in the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ.. Well, by God’s Grace, there is mercy for you, too!. But still, still Paul, the chief of sinners, found mercy–and so may you!. But the invitation is still freely tendered unto you–come unto the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in Him–and you shall be made whole.. It is great mercy that sets forth our great sin, for we only come to reckon ourselves the chief of sinners when we see the great love of God.. He chooses the chief of sinners that He may show to all men that He will take the base things of the world and the things which are not, and things which are despised, to bring to nothing the things that are–that no flesh may glory in His Presence.. Sinners!

Sinners; of whom I am chief.. Upon the doctrines of grace, upon the experience of grace, upon everything that has to do with the exceeding abundant grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Paul is the mighty master and the great teacher.. These are chief among sinners.. You know in your heart that there is a God.. for this is a high sin!. Turn, turn, why will you die, oh house of Israel?. Remember, young man, when you sin you sin with sevenfold atrocity, because you know better; indeed, seventy sins are rolled into one in your sin of daring deliberate wilfulness.. The chief of sinners comprises so numerous a body, I believe every one of us must come in the list in some form or other, and I know this — if ever you and I are saved, if God shall give us very great mercy, we shall feel that we were the greatest sinners.. It is great mercy that emphasizes our great sin, for we only come to consider ourselves the chief of sinners when we see the great love of God.. He chooses the chief of sinners, so that he may show to all men that he will take the base things of the world, and the things which are not, and things which are despised, to bring to nothing the things that are, so that no flesh may glory in his presence.. He will have you, man!. My hearers, here is life and death.

Jesus, “the friend of publicans and sinners,” has proved Himself friendly to them and they have become friends with Him.. Ah, Friends, if there ever was a man who was a friend to others, Jesus was a friend to sinners His whole life through.. The “Friend of sinners” has put Himself into the sinner’s place!. “Herein is love, that while we were yet sinners, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” This Christ has done and He is, therefore, demonstrated to be the Friend of sinners.. And for the sinner’s sake sinner who was given to Him, every sinner whom He bought with blood–He will not rest, I say, till all such are gathered to be the jewels of His crown, world without end.. Jesus Christ so loves sinners that He has built a St. Cross Hospital so that whenever a sinner is hungry, he has but to knock and have his wants supplied!. You will come to die soon, but the Friend of sinners who loved you as a sinner and would not cast you off when your sinnership kept breaking up, will still be with you when you come to the sinner’s doom, which is to die.

“He being dead yet speaks.” Oh, you who are burdened with your sins, I want you to see Saul of Tarsus before you, at this moment, and to hear him say, with penitent voice, in your presence, “The Lord Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” Doubt not the statement, for the man is the evidence of it!. But, Beloved, if we have not Paul in our midst to bear his personal witness, we have still many living proofs–we have indisputable evidence in those that are still about us, that it “is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” I could summon to this pulpit scores who were literally the blackest of transgressors, but they are washed, sanctified–and so they are living arguments of the Lord’s power to save!. Many, also, are now present who could not be numbered by their fellow men among the chief of sinners in certain aspects of the case, yet they most willingly put themselves down as the chief of sinners under some other way of viewing it–and they bear their testimony, as I do, tonight–that Jesus is able to save unto the uttermost!. I, who now stand before you, am a living witness that Christ Jesus can save sinners and does still save them!. It is true of every sin that God will not hold a man guiltless who does it, but it is especially said about this sin because men are apt to fancy that words are of no great importance, or that God takes no notice of them.. Children of godly parents, who have been brought up and instructed in the fear of God from their youth, are among the chief of sinners if they turn aside from the Way of Life.. Do not turn away in sullen anger, for we are going to say to you, at this hour, in the name of the merciful God, that His Son, Jesus Christ, has come into the world to save sinners, even the very chief!. The Lord Jesus Christ, when He went into Heaven, took with Him one of the chief of sinners as a companion–the dying thief entered Paradise the same day as our Lord!. The Lord Jesus not only saved the chief of sinners, but He was related to some of them by blood.. Ought you not to be encouraged, if you feel yourself greatly guilty, that God delights to show forth all His patience by saving great sinners?. So God sends us Paul as a pattern of His great mercy to great sinners!. Enter into this salvation business with the Lord, that you, too, like the Apostle, being a sinner, may become like he in obtaining the glorious salvation which is in Christ Jesus, who came into the world to save sinners!. Blessed be the name of the Savior that He died for sinners, but equally blessed be His name that He always lives to make intercession for sinners and is, therefore, able to save unto the uttermost them that come unto God by Him.. As a sinner saved by my Lord and King, I would gladly pour out my life in a continual stream of praise to my redeeming Lord!

And surely it is satisfactory enough for all purposes that Christ should say He receives sinners, seeing that sinners are the only persons who will ever come to Him for mercy and therefore it would be useless for Him to say that He would receive any but those who most assuredly will come.. No, Beloved, it is the sinner and the sinner only, who can come to Christ.. Yet another reason–if these people, who are not sinners, would come to Christ, Christ would get no glory from them.. If Jesus Christ receives sinners, poor sick Sinner, what a sweet word this is for you!. Have you killed me and will you not make me alive?” Plead that, poor Sinner and you will find it true, that “this Man receives sinners.”. And now, Sinner, I have yet another plea to urge with you why you should believe that Christ will receive all sinners who come to Him.. Convicted Sinner, Christ says, “Come.” And that you may be sure He says it, let us quote that Scripture again, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” You are called, Man–then come.

I shall now, as I am strengthened by God, first ask your kind attention to a sinner bemoaning himself; secondly I shall wish you to remember God as hearing him; and thirdly, our largest subject probably will be, God fulfilling the desire of that bemoaning penitent, and turning him effectually from his sins.. “I sinned,” says the man, “I knew it was sin; I chose it willfully; I might have avoided it, but I would not; I set darkness for light and light for darkness; I am a willful offender.” Instead of laying a flattering unction to his soul, he sees sin to be exceeding sinful and laments it.. I invite you therefore to pray, “Turn me, O God, and I shall be turned;” and I bid you exercise the appropriating grace of faith and say, “for thou art the LORD my God.” Are you made willing to take Jehovah to be your God to-day, my hearer?. If you are, then I beseech you wait not till you get home, but standing or sitting where you now are, let Ephraim’s bemoaning prayer be yours, “Turn me, LORD; convert me; make a new man of me; turn me, and I shall be turned; for thou canst do it so that it will be well done, thoroughly done, effectually done, permanently done, unhesitatingly done.. When your heart begins to say, “My God, my God, I would be reconciled; my Lord, I would be cleansed,” the Lord is waiting to be gracious.. The young man, being sorely troubled in his conscience, said to those about him, “I am dying; take me from my bed, and let me lie in sackcloth and ashes, in token of my sorrow for my ingratitude to my father.” Thus he died, and when the tidings came to the old man outside the walls that his boy had died in ashes, repentant for his rebellion, he threw himself upon the earth, like another David, and said, “Would God I had died for him.” The thought of his boy’s broken heart touched the heart of the father.. when once that silver veil comes off, and sin’s leprous brow is seen, then man, enlightened by his God, turns from it, crying,” Get thee behind me, Satan.” As Jehu said of Jezebel, “Throw her down,” so do men abhor the accursed thing that by her witchcrafts could lead their souls to destruction.. A sight of hell and a sense of sin are great means in the hands of God to turn the sinner from his ways.. Now when God’s law blusters about a sinner, it sometimes happens that he says, “I will go on in my sins,” but when God’s love comes, who can stand against it?. Dear friends, I would to God that you might know your standing in Christ, sons of God, heirs with Christ, joint heirs with him; and when you do, it will turn you away from the base things of sin and you will be turned indeed.

Videos

1. I Timothy 1:15 - The Chief of Sinners || Charles Spurgeon
(Wanderean)
2. Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners - Puritan John Bunyan / Christian Audio Books
(Christian Sermons and Audio Books)
3. Spurgeon: A Peculiar Man
(Alistair Begg)
4. Words of Warning | Charles H Spurgeon | Free Christian Audiobook
(Aneko Press)
5. Jesus Came to Save Sinners | Charles Spurgeon | Free Christian Audiobook
(Aneko Press)
6. Following Christ | Charles H Spurgeon | Free Audiobook
(Aneko Press)

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