John 8:51
Truly, truly, I tell you, if anyone keeps My word, he will never see death."
Sermons
Believers Never See DeathH. Moore.John 8:51
Christians Do not Taste of DeathC. D. Foss., Robert Wilkinson., Edward Perronet.John 8:51
Christ's Saying and the Reward of Keeping ItI. Saunders.John 8:51
Contrasts in DeathJohn 8:51
Death Invisible to the ChristianRieger.John 8:51
Happy DyingReligious Tract Society AnecdotesJohn 8:51
Immunity from DeathJ. Morison, D. D.John 8:51
Obedience and ImmortalityJ.R. Thomson John 8:51
Realizations of the TextTalmage., American Messenger.John 8:51
The Antidote of DeathH. Gammidge.John 8:51
The UndyingA. F. Muir, M. A.John 8:51
The Unimportance of Death to a ChristianR. S. Barrett.John 8:51
What Saying is it to Which Our Lord RefersJ. Morison, D. D., J. Morison, D. D.John 8:51
A Glorious LiberatorSunday School TimesJohn 8:31-59
Bondage and DeliveranceW. Arnot, D. D.John 8:31-59
Bondage and FreedomJohn 8:31-59
Christ Sets Free the SinfulC. H. Spurgeon.John 8:31-59
Constancy a Severe Test of PietyJ. Spencer.John 8:31-59
Continuous Piety is Piety IndeedJ. Trapp.John 8:31-59
Disciples IndeedT. G. Horton.John 8:31-59
Evidence of DiscipleshipH. C. Trumbull.John 8:31-59
Freedom Aided by GodJohn 8:31-59
Freedom and ResponsibilityH. W. Beecher.John 8:31-59
Freedom by the TruthF. W. Robertson, M. A.John 8:31-59
Freedom by the TruthW. Birch.John 8:31-59
Freedom by the TruthJ Todd.John 8:31-59
Freedom by the TruthP. N. Zabriskie, D. D.John 8:31-59
Freedom Only to be Found in GodR. S. Barrett.John 8:31-59
Glorious LibertyW. Jay.John 8:31-59
Jesus and AbrahamH. A. Edson, D. D.John 8:31-59
LibertyW. Arnot, D. D.John 8:31-59
Moral BondageD. Thomas, D. D.John 8:31-59
No Place for the WordW. M. H. Aitken, M. A., G. S. Bowes.John 8:31-59
Sin is Spiritual SlaveryProf. Shedd.John 8:31-59
Spiritual and Scientific TruthAubrey L. Moore, M. A.John 8:31-59
Spiritual EmancipationJ. M. King, D. D.John 8:31-59
Spiritual FreedomC. H. Spurgeon.John 8:31-59
Spiritual LibertyCanon Stowell.John 8:31-59
Spiritual LibertyH. W. Beecher.John 8:31-59
The Best Service is ConstantJohn 8:31-59
The Effects of the Rejection and the Reception of the WordThe Leisure HourJohn 8:31-59
The English SlaveS. S. Times.John 8:31-59
The Freedom Which Christ GivesJohn Howe.John 8:31-59
The Grace of ContinuanceA. T. Pierson, D. D.John 8:31-59
The Great LiberatorC. H. Spurgeon.John 8:31-59
The Hour of EmancipationHeroes of Britain.John 8:31-59
The Kingdom of the TruthC. S. Robinson, D. D.John 8:31-59
The Liberty of BelieversJohn 8:31-59
The Method of Christian FreedomW. Arnot.John 8:31-59
The Progress of the Lost Soul to DestructionBp. Samuel Wilberforce.John 8:31-59
The Servant Abideth not in the House ForeverA. Maclaren, D. D.John 8:31-59
The Son and the Slave ContrastedArchdeacon Watkins.John 8:31-59
The Spiritual Slavery of ManT. Binney.John 8:31-59
The Vain Boast of the JewsAbp. Trench.John 8:31-59
True FreedomO. F. Gifford.John 8:31-59
True LibertyCanon Liddon.John 8:31-59
Truth and LibertyH. Bonar, D. D.John 8:31-59
Truth and LibertyH. G. Trumbull, D. D.John 8:31-59
Ye Shall be Free IndeedArchdeacon Watkins.John 8:31-59
A Hard Name EasyVan Doren.John 8:48-51
Christ's Controversy with the JewsW. Denton, M. A.John 8:48-51
The Anti-Diabolism of ChristD. Thomas, D. D.John 8:48-51
The Force of the AccusationArchdeacon Watkins.John 8:48-51


The phase of our Lord's ministry brought before us in this part of St. John's Gospel is a combative, a controversial, phase. The Jews were perpetually opposing Christ, carping and cavilling at every work he performed, and almost at every word he uttered. Jesus took up the challenge, and met the objections and the allegations of his enemies. He defied them; he turned upon them with an unanswerable question or a startling paradox. There is not always apparent even an attempt to conciliate his adversaries - to win them over. He did not even stop to explain, when he knew perfectly well that explanation would be unavailing; he left his words to be instructive to the enlightened, and an enigma to the unspiritual.

I. THE CONDITION HERE PROPOUNDED. "If a man keep my word."

1. This implies upon Christ's part a special revelation and authority. By his "word" doubtless Jesus meant the whole manifestation of his character and will; his doctrine relating to the Father and to himself; his precepts relating to his disciples.

2. It implies upon the part of his followers a reverent, loyal, and affectionate obedience. They keep, i.e. they retain in memory and observe in practice, the word of their Master. As a faithful servant keeps the word of his lord, as a diligent scholar keeps the word of his teacher, as a loyal soldier keeps the word of his officer, his general, as a reverent son keeps the word of his father, so the Christian keeps the word of his Saviour.

II. THE PROMISE HERE RECORDED. "He shall never see death."

1. The death from which Christ promises exemption is not the death of the body, as was understood by the Jews; it is the spiritual death which is the effect of sin, and which consists in insensibility to everything Divine. This should be more dreaded than physical death.

2. The way in which Christ fulfils this promise. He died in the body that those who believe on him may not experience spiritual death. The redemption of our Saviour is a redemption from death and sin. And Christ communicates the Spirit of life, who quickens dead souls, imparting to them the newness of life which is their highest privilege, and which is the earnest and the beginning of an immortality of blessedness. - T.









If any man keep My saying he shall never see death.I. THE CHARACTER DESCRIBED.1. The "saying" of Christ means the whole system of truth which He has taught, and includes
I. WHAT IS CHRIST'S SAYING?

1. The law, promulgated in spirit and effect in Paradise, republished at Sinai, and reinforced by the Sermon on the Mount. This law was given to create a sense of sin and of the necessity of a Saviour, and so prepared the way for —

2. The gospel (Romans 8:2, 3). The law is the storm that drives the traveller to the shelter, the condemnation that makes the criminal long for and use the means for securing a reprieve.

II. WHAT IS IT TO KEEP CHRIST'S SAYING?

1. Reading it carefully and constantly.

2. Hearing it, "Faith cometh by hearing."

3. Understanding it. What we thoroughly understand we do not easily forget.

4. Obeying it. This fixes it in the memory.

III. THE REWARD OF KEEPING CHRIST'S SAYING. He shall never see —(1) Spiritual death. The word which is spirit and life is the seed of regeneration.(2) Eternal death. Christ's saying is a promise of a blessed immortality which the keeper thereof by faith has made his own.

(I. Saunders.)

? — Our Lord uttered multitudes of sayings while He was upon the earth. He was a great speaker; no man spake like Him. He was the greatest of talkers; and hence innumerable sayings dropped from His lips — parables, proverbs, criticisms, invitations, exhortations, warnings, commandments, remonstrances, encouragements, and exceeding great and precious promises. To which of His sayings, then, is it that He here refers? I would say in reply, that it is not to any single saying in particular, any detached or separate "saying," that our Lord had reference. To hit at random on any one of His multitudinous sayings would indicate an utter ineptitude for the grasp of the Saviour's ideas, or indeed for the grasp of anyone's ideas. What then? The saying referred to is manifestly that grand multiple message from God to men which constituted the sum total of our Lord's teaching. Or we might put it thus: It is the sum total or condensed essence of all the revelations that were divinely made by our Lord, in our Lord, and through our Lord. And what is that? It is evidently the glorious gospel of God's grace, the good news and glad tidings coming from behind the veil of all terrestrial things, and manifesting to men a living, loving, compassionating, sin-hating, yet sin-forgiving God. It is, in short, the joyful announcement of free and full salvation for the chief of sinners. That, that is the "saying," the life-giving "saying," of Christ Jesus, which, if a man keeps, he shall never see death. "Whosoever liveth," said our Lord to Martha, "and believeth in Me shall never die."

(J. Morison, D. D.)Would you wish to be in the blissful condition depicted in our Saviour's language? Then keep His saying. Keep His words. Keep His Word. Keep the truth about Himself; keep Himself, the living Word, the living gospel. Keep Him in your thoughts, affections, mind, heart. Let everything slip and pass away from you which you cannot keep side by side with Him.

(J. Morison, D. D.)

What means the Saviour? Death is. It is a reality. It exists far and wide over the length and breadth of this world, in which we are all tenants at will. But in the profounder and only "awful" acceptation of the term, "death" will never come nigh the man who keeps Christ's saying.

1. The grave is dark: Death to the unbeliever is like a sky with neither sun, nor moon, nor stars overhead, and no prospect of a dawn on the morrow. Is it not so? Is not that the death that is looming over the impenitent? If it bet never shall the man who believes in Jesus, and who keeps the saying of Jesus, never shall he see death, never shall he die. The true believer of Christ's gospel dwells in true "light"; and lives in it. Contact with Jesus insures his illumination; and all the way along life's highways and byways he enjoys the light.

2. Many regard death as the total and final rupture and cessation of all further possibilities of sweet companionship and friendship. He who dies enters inevitably, according to their anticipation, into utter loneliness and dreariness. He is deserted forever. But, most assuredly, there is no such death to the believing. Their true life is not cut short at the end, or arrested midway, or otherwise impaired. It has no end and no interruption. It is "life everlasting." And one of the many true elements that enter into the blessedness that is its nature is everlasting companionship with the holy and the happy in glory.

3. To multitudes death means violent removal from all their carefully accumulated treasures, all their most highly-prized possessions. Death to the unbeliever is the loss, not only of all these things, but likewise of all possibility of the enjoyment of them, and of the enjoyment of any possession whatsoever. But if so, if all this be death, then the believer in Jesus will never see it; for that which men call death, in their common parlance with one another, will only translate the believer into the possession of the fulness of life and joy. Neither things present, nor things to come, neither things below, nor things above, no depth, no height, no length, no breadth, will be able to separate the believer from that love of God and of Jesus which is the never-failing source and fountain of inextinguishable bliss.

(J. Morison, D. D.)

It is a matter of small importance how a man dies. If he is prepared, if he is a Christian, it matters not how he goes to his crown. There have been some triumphant deaths, some wonderful deaths, before which the gates of paradise seem to swing open and flood them with light, and the superior splendour of the invisible turned the dying hour into the soul's nuptials. Such were the deaths of St. and , of Latimer and Payson and Hervey, and of some known to you and to me. But such angels' visits to the dying couch are few and far between. Most souls go out in clouds or storms; in unconsciousness or pain. But what does it matter? The only sinless soul that ever descended the valley of the shadow of death cried from the Stygian darkness and solitude, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" But in that hour He conquered! He vanquished death and robbed the grave of its victory. What does it matter, then, if we follow Him through the darkness to the light, through the battle to the triumph? What does it matter if I tremble? Underneath me are the everlasting arms. What does it matter if I cannot see? He is leading me through the ebon shades. What does it matter if I seem alone? He goes with me, as He has gone so often with others before, through what seems the untrod solitudes of death. The last hour of the labourer's summer day may be hot and weary, but the rest of eventide will be sweet, and the night will be cool. The last mile of the homeward journey may burn the traveller's bleeding feet, but love and welcome will soothe the pain and wipe the pilgrim's brow. As we approach the land, the winds may be boisterous, and the waves break loud upon the rocky coast; but the harbour will throw its protecting arms around the home-bound ship, and we shall be safe.

(R. S. Barrett.)

I. THE ANTIDOTE ITSELF. The text suggests —

1. The life-giving power of the Word of Christ. We all know something of the power of a word — of an orator on his audience, of a general on his army, of a friend on his tempted or afflicted associate. Hence, we may conceive how a saying of Christ may have power. He in fact is "the Word," and His "words are spirit and life." Thus we read that we are born again by it, and that it must dwell in us richly, which shows that the Word of Christ is the seed corn of the soul's life, which sown in the heart germinates into the tree of righteousness.

2. The reception which the Word of Christ requires. It is necessary that it should be listened to, understood and remembered: but all this may be done without the experience of its life-giving virtue. It must as seed be hid in the soul accompanied by the energy of the Holy Ghost. We do not keep it unless we live in Christ, walk in Christ, and have our whole being fashioned after Him. Without this literary knowledge and controversial defence of it are worthless.

3. Here we see —(1) The proof of the conscious Divinity of our Lord. None else ever dared to say this.(2) The extent of His life-giving power. This wonderful saying is confined to none.(3) The necessity of a Christian life here. The antidote must be applied before the mischief has done its last and fatal work.

II. THE OPERATION OF THIS ANTIDOTE.

1. Negatively. Not exemption from the common lot.(1) Constantly occurring facts forbid this. The righteous man dies as well as the sinner.(2) The necessities and frailties of our own frame forbid this. We no sooner begin to live than we begin to die.(3) Scripture forbids this.

2. Positively. The leading thought is brought out fully in John 5:24.

(1)The penalties of the second death will be avoided.

(2)The terrors of physical death will be mitigated.

(3)The consequences of physical death will be overcome.

(4)The soul's highest life will be perfected.Conclusion —

1. See the power of Christianity. Nothing else can conquer death — no philosophy, morality, religion.

2. Hence the importance of keeping the saying of Christ — not admiring it merely.

3. What solace does this truth afford a dying world?

(H. Gammidge.)

This is part of Christ's answer to the charge of ver. 48. The latter portion of the charge was answered in vers. 49, 50; the former, "Thou art a Samaritan," answered here. The Samaritans held the Sadducee's doctrine of annihilation. Christ proves that He is not a Samaritan, but He proves far more.

I. A DUTY OF THE PRESENT. "If a man keep," etc.

1. The "Word" of Christ is a comprehensive term for the substance of His teaching: repentance; trust in the saving grace of God in Christ; response to the love of God; the practice of holiness, philanthropy, etc.

2. Keeping His Word implies that it is —

(1)A revelation to be retained in the mind.

(2)A stay and comfort for the heart.

(3)A rule of conduct for the life.

3. "If a man" makes the statement universally applicable. Therefore its efficacy is essential, not accidental or arbitrary.

II. A DOCTRINE OF THE FUTURE. "He shall never," etc. One interpretation is that certain persons mortal by nature are to be made immortal. The meaning to be preferred is that to such the earthly experience of dying will not be the same as to the unrighteous, that for them there is and will be the realization of a deathless life. Look at this —

1. As a revelation. It is of the first magnitude. The Rig Veda — oldest of Hindoo sacred books — does not even hint this. Moses is silent, at least oracular. There gradually grew up in Judaism a hope of it. In Christ's time Jewish opinion was divided. Christ speaks clearly, authoritatively. The words are best taken simply, and mean that what makes death truly death will be removed. The sting of death, and consequent separation from God will no longer exist. As this involves a continuity of experience from the present to the heavenly state, it is obvious that the believer is conceived of as at once entering into eternal life with the first act of faith that unites him to Christ. The life thus begun and continued is one life, and must signify, therefore, more than mere duration, viz., a spiritual relation and condition.

2. As a conditional promise. "If a man keep," etc., discovers —(1) The basis of this life — a "Word," or Christ Himself as the Word, i.e., a spiritual, intelligible entity (Is not this mortal life built upon and out of ideas?). "My Words, they are spirit and life." The Divine life of the spirit of man is —

(a)Word created.

(b)Word sustained and continued.

(c)Word enlarged and glorified.(2) That it is a contingent and not an absolute possession. "Keep." With what earnestness ought we to lay hold on this life, and so guard and cultivate it that we shall never lose it! He that keeps Christ's word will be kept by it.

(A. F. Muir, M. A.)

He who follows the light of life which shines from the words of Jesus, does not see death, just as one who goes to meet the sun does not see the shadows behind him.

(Rieger.)

A daughter of Mrs. Gov. Wright recently passed away amid Tabor splendour. As she approached death, she said, "I'm going up! I'm going up! You see I'm going up on the ineffable glory. What a glorious approach!" To her husband she said, "Oh! if you could only see what I see, you would know why I long to go." To her pastor, who was reading of the "valley of the shadow of death," she said, "There is no valley." The night preceding her death, she abode in the third heaven of rapture. Being informed that her feet were in the Jordan, she said, "Oh, I am so glad!" Her last words were, "Jesus is peace."

(C. D. Foss.)Oh what has the Lord discovered to me this night! Oh the glory of God! the glory of God and heaven! Oh the lovely beauty, the happiness, of paradise! God is all love, He is nothing but love. Oh, help me praise Him! Oh, help me to praise Him! I shall praise Him forever! I shall praise Him forever.

(Robert Wilkinson.)Glory to God in the height of His Divinity! Glory to God in the depths of His humanity! Glory to God in His all-sufficiency. Into His hands I commend my spirit.

(Edward Perronet.)

His (John Wesley's) death scene was one of the most peaceful and triumphant in the annals of the Church. Prayer, praise, and thankfulness were ever on His lips. Many golden sentences, worthy to be had in everlasting remembrance, were uttered during his last hours. "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth." "He is all! He is all!" "There is no need for more than what I said in Bristol; my words then were — 'I the chief of sinners am, But Jesus died for me!'" "We have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus." "That is the foundation, the only foundation, and there is no other." "How necessary it is for everyone to be on the right foundation!" "The Lord is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge." "Never mind the poor carcase." "The clouds drop fatness." "He giveth His servants rest." "Be causeth His servants to lie down in peace." "I'll praise: I'll praise." "Lord, Thou givest strength to those that can speak, and to those that cannot. Speak, Lord, to all our hearts, and let them know that Thou looseth the tongue." "Jesus! Jesus!" His lips are wetted, and he says his usual grace, "We thank Thee, O Lord, for these and all Thy mercies. Bless the Church and king; and grant us truth and peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord, forever and ever." Those who look out of the windows are darkened, and he sees only the shadow of his friends around his bed: "Who are these?" "We are come to rejoice with you: you are going to receive your crown." "It is the Lord's doing," he calmly replies, "and marvellous in our eyes." "I will write," he exclaims, and the materials are placed within his reach; but the "right hand has forgotten her cunning," and "the pen of the once ready writer" refuses to move. "Let me write for you, sir," says an attendant. "What would you say?" Nothing, but that God is with us. Now we have done all. Let us all go." And now, with all his remaining strength, he cries out, "The best of all is, God is with us!" And again, lifting up his fleshless arm in token of victory, and raising his failing voice to a pitch of holy triumph, he repeats the heart-reviving words, "The best of all is, God is with us!" A few minutes before ten o'clock on the morning of the 2nd of March, 1791, he slowly and feebly whispered, "Farewell! farewell!" — and, literally, "without a lingering groan," calmly "fell on sleep, having served his generation by the will of God."

(H. Moore.)

Religious Tract Society Anecdotes.
"I am so far from fearing death, which to others is the king of terrors," exclaimed Dr. Donne, "that I long for the time of dissolution." When Mr. Venn inquired of the Rev. W. Grimshaw how he did, "As happy as I can be on earth, and at sure of glory as if I were in it: I have nothing to do but to step out of this bed into heaven." The fear of death destroyed: — Fox relates, in his "Acts and Monuments," that a Dutch martyr, feeling the flames, said, "Ah, what a small pain is this, compared with the glory to come!" The same author tells us that John Noyes took up a faggot at the fire, and kissing it, said, "Blessed be the time that ever I was born, to come to this preferment." When an ancient martyr was severely threatened by his persecutors, he replied, "There is nothing visible or invisible that I fear. I will stand to my profession of the name and faith of Christ, come of it what will." Hilary said to his soul, "Thou hast served Christ this seventy years, and art thou afraid of death? Go out, soul, go out!" An old minister remarked, a little before his death, "I cannot say I have so lived as that I should not now be afraid to die; but I can say I have so learned Christ that I am not afraid to die." A friend, surprised at the serenity and cheerfulness which the Rev. Ebenezer Erskine possessed in the immediate view of death and eternity, proposed the question, "Sir, are you not afraid of your sins?" "Indeed, no," was his answer; "ever since I knew Christ I have never thought highly of my frames and duties, nor am I slavishly afraid of my sins."

(Religious Tract Society Anecdotes.)

One of our old Scottish ministers, two hundred years ago, lay dying. At his bedside were several of his beloved brethren, watching his departure. Opening his eyes, he spoke to them these singular words: "Fellow passengers to glory, how far am I from the New Jerusalem?" "Not very far," was the loving answer; and the good man departed, to be with Christ. "I'm dying," said one of a different stamp, "and I don't know where I'm going." "I'm dying," said another, "and it's all dark." "I feel," said another, "as if I were going down, down, down!" "A great and a terrible God," said another, three times over; "I dare not meet Him." "Stop that clock!" cried another, whose eye rested intently on a clock which hung opposite the bed. He knew he was dying and he was unready. He had the impression that he was to die at midnight. He heard the ticking of the clock, and it was agony in his ear. He saw the hands, minute by minute, approaching the dreaded hour, and he had no hope. In his blind terror he cried out, "Stop that clock!" Alas! what would the stopping of the clock do for him? Time would move on all the same. Eternity would approach all the same. The stopping of the clock would not prepare him to meet his God.

"Throw back the shutters and let the sun in," said dying Scoville M'Collum, one of my Sabbath school boys.

(Talmage.)Light breaks in! light breaks in! Hallelujah! exclaimed one when dying. Sargeant, the biographer of Martyn, spoke of "glory, glory," and of that "bright light"; and when asked, "What light?" answered, his face kindling into a holy fervour, "The light of the Sun of Righteousness." A blind Hindoo boy, when dying, said joyfully, "I see I now I have light. I see Him in His beauty. Tell the missionary that the blind see. I glory in Christ." Thomas Jewett, referring to the dying expression of the English infidel, "I'm going to take a leap in the dark," said to those at his bedside, "I'm going to take a leap in the light." While still another dying saint said, "I am not afraid to plunge into eternity." A wounded soldier, when asked if he were prepared to depart, said, "Oh yes; my Saviour, in whom I have long trusted, is with me now, and His smile lights up the dark valley for me." A dying minister said, "It is just as I said it would be, 'There is no valley,'" emphatically, repeating, "Oh, no valley. It is clear and bright — a king's highway." The light of an everlasting life seemed to dawn upon his heart; and touched with its glory, he went, already crowned, into the New Jerusalem. A Christian woman lay dying. Visions of heaven came to her. She was asked if she really saw heaven. Her answer was, "I know I saw heaven; but one thing I did not see, the valley of the shadow of death. I saw the suburbs." A young man who had but lately found Jesus was laid upon his dying bed. A friend who stood over him asked, "Is it dark?" "I shall never," said he, "forget his reply. 'No, no,' he exclaimed, 'it is all light! light! light!'" and thus triumphantly passed away.

(American Messenger.)

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