August 30, 2013

Making Friends with Your Brother’s Murderer

by Mike Riccardi

Nobody says it quite like Charles Spurgeon:

SpurgeonLet us abhor the sin which brought such agony upon our beloved Lord. What an accursed thing is sin, which crucified the Lord Jesus! Do you laugh at it? Will you go and spend an evening to see a mimic performance of it? Do you roll sin under your tongue as a sweet morsel, and then come to God’s house, on the Lord’s-day morning, and think to worship him? Worship him! Worship him, with sin indulged in your breast! Worship him, with sin loved and pampered in your life!

O sirs, if I had a dear brother who had been murdered, what would you think of me if I valued the knife which had been crimsoned with his blood? —if I made a friend of the murderer, and daily consorted with the assassin, who drove the dagger into my brother’s heart? Surely I, too, must be an accomplice in the crime! Sin murdered Christ; will you be a friend to it? Sin pierced the heart of the Incarnate God; can you love it? Oh, that there was an abyss as deep as Christ’s misery, that I might at once hurl this dagger of sin into its depths, whence it might never be brought to light again!   

Begone, O sin! Thou art banished from the heart where Jesus reigns! Begone, for thou hast crucified my Lord, and made him cry, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” O my hearers, if you did but know yourselves, and know the love of Christ, you would each one vow that you would harbour sin no longer. You would be indignant at sin, and cry,

“The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be,
Lord, I will tear it from its throne,
And worship only thee,”

May that be the issue of my morning’s discourse, and then I shall be well content. The Lord bless you! May the Christ who suffered for you, bless you, and out of his darkness may your light arise! Amen.

From Lama Sabacthani?, a sermon on Matthew 27:46, preached on March 2nd, 1890, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.


Do not love the world nor the things in the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life,
is not from the Father, but is from the world.
The world is passing away, and also its lusts;
but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

– 1 John 2:15-17 –

How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
– Romans 6:2 –

And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross,
so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness;
for by His wounds you were healed.

– 1 Peter 2:24 –

Mike Riccardi

Posts Facebook

Mike is the Pastor of Local Outreach Ministries at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles. He also teaches Evangelism at The Master's Seminary.
  • Brian Morgan

    What a good and sober reminder to start my day. Thanks much for posting this.

  • Yes, thanks. Excellent.

  • Chris Okogwu

    Blessed reminder of the right heart disposition a justified heart must…will….have towards sin, in abhorrence and repugnance and constant hatred in striving against inordinate lusts and unsanctified desires of the heart…..all because He first loved us and we love Him.

    Thanks for sharing this Mike!

  • Rebecca Schwem

    “O sirs, if I had a dear brother who had been murdered, what would you think of me if I valued the knife which had been crimsoned with his blood?” Jehovah Witnesses think we are creepy because many wear crosses. They ask the same question. If we had a loved one murdered with a gun, would we wear it or a replica of it around our necks? How do you respond?

    • I’d respond by saying, “That shows how greatly you misunderstand the cross.” 🙂

      Their confusion on this issue stems from the fact that they don’t see the cross as salvific. To them, the cross is just the barbaric instrument used to murder their “loved one.” To us, the cross is the very means of the glorious salvation purposed by our Father in eternity past and carried out by God the Son as He endured His Father’s wrath in the place of all those who trust in Him for salvation by grace through faith alone. And the fact that Jesus did not remain on that cross, nor was defeated by it, but rose again in triumphant victory over it, gives us a cause for rejoicing.

      Besides this, the NT itself begins to speak of “the cross” as something representing the essence of Christianity. Paul boasts in nothing but the cross (Gal 6:14). The Gospel itself is the word of the cross (1 Cor 1:18). Unbelievers are “enemies of the cross” (Phil 3:18). So, while Paul and the disciples may not have been wearing crosses around their necks, they associated the cross with Christianity a great deal more than the JWs seem comfortable with.

  • Rebecca Schwem

    Yes, we know why we embrace the cross. Do you think the analogy that Spurgeon used might be confusing to others like JW’s and help support their observations or add to confusions?

    • It may for some and it may not for others. And no more than those three verses I quoted above would be confusing. I think those who are willfully ignorant of what the Scriptures teach and who submit to false doctrines will find themselves confused about quite a bit of what we say.

      But I think the analogy is helpful to those for whom it was intended (this was given in a sermon at a Christian church service). And if it would be confusing to some nonbelievers (maybe Jehovah’s Witnesses, as you suggest) who happened to hear, I think it would make a great conversation-starter and provide opportunity to clarify the confusion that already exists for them: particularly, that our sin is much more properly the culprit of Christ’s death than the cross.

      • Rebecca Schwem

        Thank you, Mike. Very helpful. So true, that’s probably not even the beginning of all they are confused about. I asked because I used to be a JW. Not raised as one. Didn’t come from a family that worshiped regularly if at all. JW’s answered questions no one else would and they seemed to have the answers at the time. I knew when I read that quote that they would use that analogy because I remember when they did with me. The Holy Spirit rattled my cage for about 25 years and I finally broke free. I want to witness to them but they are hard. They set the biblical topic and want to end conversation when the home owner goes off topic. They need their script. I like that you said it would be a great conversation starter. Jesus carried that cross and being that He could have refused to die, we see it more as symbolic of His sacrifice rather than a murder weapon. Thanks for indulging me while I got off topic.

        • CarytheMerryDairy(farmer)

          Thanks for sharing a piece of your testimony. Praise the Lord.

        • Such a valuable perspective, Rebecca. Thanks for sharing. Praise the Lord for the work of His sovereign grace in your life!

          • Rebecca Schwem


  • Becky