For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.…
I. We have, first of all, THE BELIEVER'S PATH. "Let us go forth without the camp." The Divine command is not, "Let us stop in the camp and try to reform it — things are not anywhere quite perfect, let us therefore stop and make matters right"; but the Christian's watch cry is, "Let us go forth." To this day the Christian's place is not to tarry in the camp of worldly conformity, hoping, "Perhaps I may aid they movement for reform": it is not the believer's duty to conform to the world and to the world's ways, and say, "Perhaps by so doing I may gain a foothold, and men's hearts may be the more ready to receive the truth." No, from the first to the last day of the Church of God, the place of witness is not inside, but outside the camp; and the true position of the Christian is to go forth without the camp, bearing Christ's reproach. What is meant by this " going forth without the camp"?
1. I understand it to mean that every Christian is to go forth by an open profession of his faith. You that love the Lord are to say so. You must come out and avow yourselves on His side. You may be Christians and make no profession, but I cannot be sure of that, nor can any other man.
2. This done, the Christian is to be separate from the world as to his company. He must buy, and sell, and trade, like other men in the world, but yet he is not to find his bosom friends in it.
3. The follower of Jesus goes without the camp as to his pleasures. He is not without his joys nor his recreations either; but he does not seek them where the wicked find them. If thou hast no separation from the world, as to thy pleasures, since thy heart is generally in thy pleasures, thy heart therefore is with the wicked, and with them shall thy doom be when God comes to judge mankind.
4. Furthermore, the true follower of Christ is divided from the world as to his maxims; he does not subscribe to the laws which rule most men in their families and their business. Men generally say, "Every one for himself, and God for us all." "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others," is the Christian's rule.
5. Once more — and here is a very difficult part of the Christian's course — the Christian is to come out not only from the world's pleasures, and sins, and irreligion, but there are times when the true followers of Christ must come out from the world's religion as well as irreligion.
II. But now, secondly, we have in the text, THE CHRISTIAN'S LEADER. It does not say, "Let us go forth without the camp" merely, but, "Let us go forth therefore unto Him."
1. It means, let us have fellowship with Him. He was despised; He had no credit for charity; He was mocked in the streets; He was hissed at; He was hounded from among society. Expect not to wear the crown where Christ carried the Cross; but, for fellowship's sake, follow Him.
2. Again, if I am to follow Him, I am to follow His example. What Christ did, that I am to do.
3. I am to go forth unto Him: that is, I am to go forth to His truth. Wherever I see His truth, I am to espouse it: wherever I see error, I am to denounce it without hesitation.
4. And then I am to go forth to Christ's witness-bearing. The present age does not believe in witness-bearing, but the whole Bible is full of it. The duty of every Christian is to bear witness for the truth.
III. Now, in the third place, we have THE CHRISTIAN'S BURDEN. He is to bear the Lord's reproach. I knew you may live without it if you will fawn and cringe, and keep back part of the price; but do not this, it is unworthy of your manhood, much more is it unworthy of your Christianity. For God and for Christ be so holy and so truthful that you compel the world to give its best acknowledgment of your goodness by railing at you — it can do no more, it will do no less. Be content to take this shame, for there is no heaven for you if you will not — no crown without the cross, no jewels without the mire. You must stand in the pillory if you would sit in glory; and if you reject the one you reject the Other.
IV. THE CHRISTIAN'S REASON FOR BEARING HIS REPROACH, AND GOING WITHOUT THE CAMP. It is in the text, "Let us go forth therefore" — there is the reason. Why then?
1. First, because Jesus did. Jesus Christ came into the world pure and holy, and His life and His testimony were a witness against sin. Jesus Christ would not conform. He stands out like a lone mount of light, separate from the chain of dark mountains; and so must the Christian. Christ was separate; and so must you be. Christ was pure, holy, truthful; so must you be. I pray you either renounce your profession, or else seek grace to carry it out.
2. Moreover, the connection of the text tells us that Christ set apart His people by going without the camp. That He might sanctify His people, He suffered without the camp. The Head is not of the world, and shall the members be of it?
3. Again, Christ would have His people separate for their own sanctification. You cannot grow in grace to any high degree while you are conformed to the world. The path of separation may be a path of sorrow, but it is the path of safety. The martyrs tell us in their diaries that they were never so happy as when they were in the dungeon alone with Christ for company; nay, their best days were often their days of burning: they called them their wedding-days, and went to heaven singing and chanting the triumphal paean, as they mounted in their chariots of fire.
4. Thus we shall hope to win the crown if we are enabled by Divine grace faithfully to follow Christ in all respects.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.