A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Evening, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *11/2011
Whoever keeps the fig tree shall eat its fruit: so he who
waits on his master shall be honoured. (Pr 27:18)
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1. If a man in Palestine carefully tended his fig tree, and kept it in proper condition, he was sure to be abundantly rewarded in due season, for it would yield him a large quantity of fruit of which he would enjoy the luscious taste. So, according to Solomon, good servants obtained honour as the fruit of diligent service. In those early days, when there were far better relationships between servants and masters than unhappily there are nowadays, if a servant carefully waited upon his master he was sure to be honoured for his faithfulness. The Bible is full of such cases. Eleazar, the servant and steward of Abraham, received much honour from his master’s hands. Deborah was a faithful nurse, and what sorrow there was for her at Allonbachuth, or the oak of weeping. Elisha poured water upon the hands of his master Elijah, and became himself a prophet, endowed with a double portion of his master’s spirit. In the New Testament we read about the centurion who so honoured his servant that in his sickness he sent for the Lord Jesus, earnestly entreating him to come and heal him. There were exceptions, of course. There were faithful servants who received unkind treatment; but what rule is there without an exception? The rule was that he who was faithful to his master received honour. I could wish it to be more general for there to be intimate friendly relationships between men and their servants; I would gladly see a restoration of family loyalty between heads of households and their dependents, In these times servants, and people in the employ of others, are looked upon as hands to be worked, rather than as souls to be cared for. It may be that servants have degenerated, but it may also be true that masters have degenerated too. I believe that every Abraham will be likely to find an Eleazar, and every Rebekah a Deborah. Good masters make good servants. Good servants make good masters. Happy is the family where, without forgetting the proper distinctions of position, all are knit together in firm friendship. Alas! the bonds of society have been too much loosened. Oppression on the one hand, and discontent on the other, have torn the commonwealth. Yet there still survive among us examples of personal attachment where servants have served the same masters from their youth up, have continued with them in sickness, and in misfortune, have remained faithful to the family when the master has been scarcely able to remunerate them for their services, and have continued faithful even to death. I am sure when we have read such stories, or seen such servants ourselves, we have felt that they deserved to be held in honour, and there is still a general respect which is revealed by mankind to the servant who waits upon his master. However, I am not going to speak about the duties of masters and servants this evening. At other times we have not hesitated to speak our mind upon that matter, and we shall not fail to do so as occasion requires.
2. But now we shall speak of a higher Master, who was never unfaithful to a servant yet, and never will be; and we shall speak of a superior service, which brings to those who are engaged in it the highest possible degree of honour. Blessed are those who are servants of the King of kings. Happy is he who takes even the lowest place, and fulfils the lowliest office for the Lord Jesus, if any service can be lowly that is rendered to our all glorious Emmanuel.
3. We will begin by considering the relationship of the Lord Jesus Christ to us, and ours to him; then we shall consider the conduct which is consistent with that relationship; and then the reward which is promised for such conduct.
4. I. And, first, the RELATIONSHIP WHICH EXISTS BETWEEN OURSELVES AND OUR LORD. He is our Master — our Master.
5. I speak now, of course, only to you who are converted, to you who are true believers and are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus is to you your Master, in the sense of contrast to all other governing powers. You are men, and naturally moved by everything that moves other men, but still the master motive power with everyone of you who is a Christian is the supremacy of Christ. There are some among your fellow servants to whom you render respect, just as in a large firm there are foremen set over different parts of the work, to whom a measure of deference is fitly rendered. Still, as the overseer is not the chief authority, so your earthly superiors are not in the highest sense masters over you. The highest of your fellow workmen in your Lord’s service is far, far, far below the Master; ministers and fathers in Christ are not the ultimate authorities to whom you bow, and whatever esteem you may pay even to such glorious names as those of Peter, and James, and John, you still regard them only as your fellow servants. “One is your Master, even Christ, and all you are brethren.” In this sense we are not servants of men, yes, we know no man after the flesh. We are in subjection to the Father of Spirits, but neither to Pope in Rome, nor bishop at home; we are the Lord’s free men, and cheerfully obey those whom he sets over us in his church: but we yield to no one who claims lordship over us, and would divert us from obeying the Lord Jesus only.
6. The Christian man has, of course, to attend to the concerns of this life, and while he is attending to them he must throw a measure of his heart into them, or he cannot do them properly; still the master of our heart is not our business, but our Saviour. A Christian man is thoughtful, and he studies, and reads, and investigates; still, for all that, philosophy does not rule him, nor the news of the day, nor the science of the times. Christ is our Master — master of our thoughts and meditations, the great leader and teacher of our understandings. We are his disciples, and disciples of no one else besides. We are affected by the love of family, the love of friendship, the love of country; but there is a love that is higher than all these — a master love, and this is love for Jesus our Well Beloved, the Bridegroom of our souls. That text is frequently misread, — “No man can serve two masters.” The stress is not to be laid upon the word “two.” For the matter of that, a man might serve three or half a dozen, or twenty; but the stress is to be laid upon the word “masters” — “No man can serve two masters.” Only one thing can be the master passion only one power can completely master us, so as to be supremely dominant, and exercise imperial lordship over us. No man can have two imperial master faculties, master motives, and master ambitions. One is our Master, and that one is Christ. Brethren, as I have said before, we are compelled while we are in this body to yield to this impulse and to that, we are urged forward by this motive and by that, we pursue this end and that, and subordinately none of these things may be sinful, but the master impulse must be the love for Christ, the master aim must be Christ’s glory, and the master power that possesses us, as the Spirit took possession of the prophets of old and carried them right away, must be loyalty to Jesus Christ our Lord. He is our Master, and we stand before him as servants who desire to obey his bidding.
7. What is, then, the reason why the Lord Jesus Christ has become to us a Master? If we were contending with the ungodly, who challenge us for calling Christ “Master,” we could give them a quick enough answer by telling them that he is the Master Man of all men. We would ask them to turn over the pages of history and find a man it was worth while to serve in comparison with the man Christ Jesus. We would appeal to his character, and ask, was there ever a character which could compel homage as his character does? Why, he is a very royal man in all respects: there is nothing about him of baseness or weakness. To know him is to become enthusiastic in his cause. We would then point to his kingdom and its nature and character, and ask whether there was a kingdom for which men ought to fight, for which men ought to strive and be willing to die, compared with his kingdom? We would point to the benefits which he confers upon mankind, the blessings which the faith of Jesus Christ has scattered among the nations, and ask if there ever was a cause so worthy of zeal as the cause of Christ, which is the cause of humanity, the cause of truth, the cause of right, the cause of God. His are the principles which alone can redeem men from their degradation and misery. We think it is easy enough to answer the ungodly in this matter. Whoever their leader may be, he is not fit to loosen the shoe latchet of our Master’s sandal; whoever he may be, and however they may lift him up, he is fit to lie in the dust beneath the feet of our Emmanuel. He is so excellent, and in his nature so preeminent, that we defy anyone to consider us foolish for choosing him to be our Master.
8. But behind all this, deep down in our souls, we have other reasons for calling him our Master, namely, that we belong to him by the purchase of his blood, by the rescue of his grace, and again, by the surrender, the willing surrender, which we have made to him. Christ is our Master because he bought us. When we were sold under sin, when by the justice of God we were condemned to die, when we were utter slaves, he purchased us and redeemed us from all iniquity with a cost which sometimes has seemed to us, for his sake, to be too great. What would ten thousand times ten thousand sinful worms be compared with the Son of God? Yet that glorious Son of God laid down his life for us. He loved his church and gave himself for it — a matchless price, indeed, to pay! — and now we are not our own, but are bought with a price. We feel that we should be unjust to Jesus, base to our best Benefactor, if we were to ignore the solemn obligations under which his redemption has placed us. We would have been on the road to hell if it had not been for his blood; shall we not walk in the way of his commands? After what he has done for us, nothing is too great for us to do for him. Our body, our soul, our spirit we cheerfully render up to his dominion, neither do we consider anything of our nature to be our own. Just as he has redeemed us entirely, so in the entirety of our manhood we belong altogether to him; and if there is a part of our nature which has not been subdued to him, we desire him to conquer it by force of arms, for its rebellion against him is sorrow for ourselves. Jesus is our rightful Lord, his wounds attest it, and if any other lord has dominion over any other portion of our nature, that lordship is usurped and ought to be cast down.
I said, moreover, that Christ has won us by his power as well as by
his blood. There are two redemptions, redemption by price and
redemption by power; redemption by price was typified in the paschal
lamb and the Passover, redemption by power in the passage of the Red
Sea, when the children of Israel went through it dry shod, and the
Egyptians were drowned. Remember how Jacob spoke to his son Joseph
and said, “I have given to you one portion more than your brethren,
which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my
bow.” Now, the Lord Jesus Christ claims us in the same way as Jacob
claimed that particular portion, for we are his spoil, taken in
battle. Almighty grace bowed us down when we were stiffnecked;
almighty grace delivered us from our habits of sin when we were
firmly bound by them; almighty grace broke the iron bars of our
despair and led us into liberty; let all the glory be ascribed to the
Almighty Redeemer. With a high hand and an outstretched arm he
brought us out from the Egypt of our lusts and taught our willing
feet the way to the heavenly Canaan. And now we grace his chariot
wheels as servants, not in manacles of iron, but in silken fetters of
As willing captives of our Lord
We sing the triumphs of his word,
and confess him to be our Master and no one else besides.
Remember that I also said we are his servants and he is our Master,
because we have willingly surrendered ourselves to him. Remember that
blessed time when you gave yourselves up to Jesus under the sweet
constraint of his love. Was it not a good day in which you said —
Now, Lord, I would be thine alone
Come, take possession of thine own,
For thou hast set me free;
Released from Satan’s hard command,
See all my members waiting stand,
To be employ’d by thee.
And now at this day, remembering the love of your espousals when you
went after your Lord into the wilderness, would you have it
otherwise? You were married to him; do you now wish to sue for a
divorce against your glorious Bridegroom? No, but you can sing with
High heaven, that heard the solemn vow,
That vow renew’d shall daily hear:
Till in life’s latest hour I bow,
And bless in death a bond so dear.
Now, beloved, as I have shown that Christ had a right to be our
Master from the very dignity of his character, and that we yield him
service because of his love for us; it only remains for me to add
that our position of servants to Christ is an irreversible one. The
servant of old when he might go out from bondage, sometimes said, “I
love my master, and I love his children, and I love his house. I
desire to be his bondsman for ever,” and after the same manner I
would speak today. And then, you remember, they took an awl and they
bored the man’s ear and fastened it to the doorpost, so that he might
be a servant as long as he lived. Even after that fashion I would
say, “You have opened my ears, and I was not rebellious.” Who among
us would not wish to bear in our body the marks of the Lord Jesus, to
receive the brand which would indicate the irretrievable confiscation
of all sinful liberty? Do we not wish to be for ever bound to Christ
and crucified with him? This was the teaching of our baptism. When we
were baptized we were buried in the water. The teaching was, that we
were henceforth to be dead and buried to the world and alive alone
for Jesus. It was the crossing of the Rubicon — the drawing of the
sword and the flinging away of the scabbard. If the world should call
us, we now reply, “We are dead to you, oh world!” One of the early
saints, I think it was Augustine, had indulged in great sins, in his
younger days. After his conversion he met a woman who had been the
sharer of his wicked follies; she approached him winningly, and said
to him, “Augustine,” but he ran away from her with all speed. She
called after him, and said, “Augustine, it is I,” mentioning her
name; but he then turned around and said, “But it is not I; the
old Augustine is dead, and I am a new creature in Christ Jesus.” That
to Madam Bubble and to Madam Wanton, to the world, the flesh, and the
devil, should be the answer of every true servant of Christ: “I live,
yet not I, but Christ lives in me. You are the same, oh fair false
world — you are the same, but I am not. I have passed from death to
life, from darkness into light. Your siren charms can fascinate me no
more. A nobler music is in my ear, and I am drawn forward by a more
sovereign spell towards other shores than yours. My bark shall cut
her way through all seas and waves until it reaches the fair haven
and I see my Saviour face to face.” It is irretrievable, then, this
step which we have taken, the absolute surrender of our whole nature
to the sway of the Prince of peace. We are the Lord’s. We are his for
ever and for ever. We cannot draw back, and blessed be his name, his
grace will not allow us to do so. “The path of the just is as the
shining light, that shines more and more to the perfect day.”
Leave thee! no, my dearest Saviour,
Thee whose blood my pardon bought;
Slight thy mercy, scorn thy favour!
Perish such an impious thought:
Leave thee — never!
Where for peace could I resort?
12. II. The second point of our reflection is to be this. Seeing that we are servants to Jesus, there is A CONDUCT WHICH IS CONSISTENT WITH IT.
13. What conduct is consistent in a servant? Is it not, first, that he should acknowledge himself to be his master’s? Such a servant as is mentioned in the text does not call himself his own, or his time his own. No person who is a servant can say during his working hours — “This time is my time, I can do what I like with it.” No, he is a false servant if having sold his time for pay, he uses it for himself. Servants of Jesus have no time for their own disposal. We have no wealth of our own, we are only stewards; we have no talents, they are our Lord’s. When we have traded with our stock, and have multiplied it diligently, we shall say to our Lord, “Your pound has gained ten pounds.” We dare not call the talent ours. If we are true servants, we are always about our Master’s business. If we eat or drink, or rest or sleep, we desire to do all for the glory of God. We are never off duty. A policeman may be, but we never are. A soldier may have a furlough, but a Christian never, he must wear the whole armour of God both night and day. We are always to bear the shield, and the sword is always to be in our hands. Even in our recreation we are to remember that our Master may come at any hour, and therefore we are still to be looking for his coming.
14. As servants it is our duty to learn our Master’s will. I am grieved to observe that some of my fellow servants do not want to know their Lord’s will. There would not be so many divisions in the church if we all came to Holy Scripture and searched the law and the testimony to know the Lord’s will. The Lord’s will is fully described there, and no other book is of the slightest authority among saints. The Lord’s will is not in the prayer book, it is in the Bible. The Lord’s will is not in the canons; the Lord’s will is not in the creed of the Baptist church, or the Wesleyan church, or the Congregational church, or the Episcopalian church; his will is in the Scriptures: and if we searched them more and more, and were determined, irrespective of anything that may have been done by the church, or the world, or by government, or by anyone else, that we would follow our Lord’s will, we should come to closer union. We are divided because we do not study the Lord’s will as we should. Brethren, we ought to be prepared to give up any doctrine however venerable, any institution however comely, if we do not see it to be the divine will. Obedience is the path of the servant, obedience is his safety and happiness. What have I as a servant to do with anyone except my Master? I am sent to do a certain thing, and if passersby make a remark that I am not doing it according to the usual rules of the business, what is that to me? Rules and customs are of little consequence. My Master’s will must be everything to me if I am a true servant. Someone will sneeringly remark, “You are acting very singularly.” Well, the Master must be accountable for the singularity of conduct which he prescribes. If we are true servants we obey even in the jots and tittles, at all costs. But we must search the word, for unread Bibles are evidences against rebels, and are unbecoming in believers.
15. When his master’s will is known, every true servant is bound to do it immediately. A servant is not to say, “Sir, I will attend to that tomorrow.” If the command is ascertained, it will be as surely disobedience to postpone obedience as to reject the duty altogether. If delay is a part of the command, the delay is justifiable, but, if not, the servant must not tarry. “But surely you forget that the consequences of obedience may be costly and involve great sacrifices?” Servants have nothing to do with consequences; those belong to their masters. “But, perhaps, if I were to follow out the Master’s command, I might place myself in a position where I should not be as useful as I am now.” You have nothing whatever to do with that except as it may prove a test of your faith: it is a lame obedience which only follows the Master where carnal judgment approves. A servant of God is not to use his judgment concerning the rightness of his Master’s command; he is to do as he is bidden, for his Lord is infallible. What if the heavens fell through our doing right? God does not want us to sin in order to prop them up. His throne is not rotten so as to need buttresses of iniquity. Consequences of true principles ought never to be considered. There is nothing more vicious in the world than policy; it may be admired in the House of Commons, but it should be detested in the church of God. Far from our minds be every question of policy. If an act is right, let it be done: if Christ bids it, let it be done; and let there be no hesitation in the matter.
16. It is ours, also, if we are servants, to obey the Master willingly and for love of his person. The text says, “He who waits upon his master shall be honoured.” Suppose I, as a minister, know something to be God’s will, yet, nevertheless, attend to it with the view of serving you and doing you good as God’s church; I shall possibly receive honour from you whom I serve, but that is not the honour which a Christian minister ought to seek. The church is not his master; his Master is in heaven, and if he desires real honour, he must earn it by waiting upon his Master for his Master’s sake. Suppose any of you are children, and are doing right in order to please your parents — I will not censure the motive; you will get honour from your parents; but the right honour is gained by seeking to please God. You must labour as believers to wait upon your Master; to come to the house of God, for example, not because it is the custom, but because you wish to honour the Lord in prayer and praise; you must give to the poor, not because others have given so much, but because Jesus loves his people to be mindful of poor saints; you must do good, not that others may say, “See what a zealous man he is!” but for your Master’s sake. I am afraid we sometimes serve ourselves even in our holiest things; and, in carrying out our judgment of the Lord’s will, we are often the victims of prejudice or whim, and are not so much determined to do the Lord’s will as to have our own, or to carry out what we call our “principles” in order to show that we are not to be cowed by human opposition. Ah, brethren, there must be no motive with us except our Master’s honour. “He who waits on his master shall be honoured.” Wait on your Master. Take care that you have an eye always towards him. Do your duty because he bids you. Then you shall win the honour of which the text speaks.
17. Then observe that this waiting upon the Master is to be performed personally by the servant. It is not, “The servant who employs another to wait upon his master shall be honoured,” I do not so read the text, but “He who waits upon his master” himself, doing personal service to a personal master — he shall have honour. Jesus Christ did not redeem us by proxy. He, himself — his own self — bore our sins in his own body on the tree. Let us not attempt to serve God by merely contributing to the foreign mission, or City Mission, or helping to support the minister, or something of that kind. We should do that, but we should not put it in the place of the other. Let us constantly give our personal service, speaking for Christ with these lips, pleading for his kingdom with this heart, running on his errands with these feet, and serving him with these hands.
18. “He who waits on his master shall be honoured,” even though the waiting is almost passive. Sometimes our master may not require us to do anything more than stand still. But you know John, the footman, behind his master’s chair, if his master bids him stand there, is as true a servant as the other attendant who is sent upon an errand of the utmost importance. The Lord for wise reasons may make us wait for awhile. Having done all, we may yet have to stand still and see the salvation of God, and find it to be the hardest work of all. That is the case especially in suffering; for it is painful to be laid aside from the Master’s service; yet the position may be very honourable. There is a time for soldiers to lie in the trenches as well as to fight in the battle. David made a law that those who remained with the baggage were to share the spoil with those who went down to the fight. This is the rule of the church militant to this day. Some cannot march to the battle, yet they are to share in the spoil; they are waiting on their Master, and they shall be honoured.
19. On the whole, summing all up in a word, it is ours to remain near to Christ. Servants wait best when they can see their master’s eye and hear his wish. We are to wait upon our Master humbly, reverently, feeling it an honour to do anything for him. We are to be self-surrendered, given up henceforth to the Lord, free men, and yet most truly serfs of this Great Emperor. We are never so truly free as when we acknowledge our sacred serfdom. We are henceforth the bondservants of the Lord Jesus Christ. Often Paul calls himself the servant the Lord and even the slave of Christ; and he glories in the branding iron’s marks upon his flesh. “I bear,” he says, “in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus; henceforth let no man trouble me.” We consider it liberty to bear the bonds of Christ. We think this to be most supreme freedom, for we sing with the psalmist, “I am your servant; I am your servant. You have released my bonds.” “Bind the sacrifice with cords, even with cords to the horns of the altar.” Such is the conduct which our servitude to our Lord requires.
20. III. The third point is, THE REWARD WHICH SURELY COMES TO FAITHFUL SERVANTS. “He who waits on his master shall be honoured.”
21. You will observe that he finds his honour in waiting on his master. Now, the Christian may have other honours besides the one of waiting on his Master. He may have poor, wretched, miserable, faded honours. I am always sorry when I see a Christian making himself some great one in the world’s esteem. I knew one, and I esteemed him much. He was an earnest, Christian man, but his great ambition was to be the chief magistrate in a certain city, which I shall not name. He lived to reach that post, and his heart was greatly exalted; but I noticed that the very night he attained the honour the hand of the Lord went out against one whom he greatly loved, and in a short time he himself sickened, and went home to his Father and his God. No joy came with the honour, for he had looked for it too long, and with too keen an eye. Not I alone, but those who knew him, judged so too, and we almost thanked God that he did not allow the child of God, whose crown was in heaven, to be satisfied with being a magistrate here. I have seen men grow very eager after gold, they have had a good business, but have clutched at more and gotten it, and then sought after still more; and when I have seen chastening come, and sorrow in the household, I have not marvelled about it, for I have understood that Christ meant his servant to take honour from him, and if he would look for other honours he would find it only a bitter sweet. There is a law, I believe, that no subject of our Majesty may take princely rank from any foreign potentate, and it is a law in the kingdom of Christ. What honour can this world confer upon a servant of Christ? I consider that to be a scullion in Christ’s kitchen would be a greater honour than to be the Czar of all Russia, or to exercise imperial sway over all the kingdoms of the earth at once. Honour! You confer honour upon the servant of Christ — you worldlings! As well might ants upon their anthills hope to confer dignity upon an angel! Already infinitely superior, it is only degradation for a saint to be honoured by the sons of men. The servant of Christ finds his honour in the service itself. The cultivator of the fig tree looks for figs from the fig tree; the servant of the Master looks for honour from the Master, and he covets no honour besides.
22. Every faithful servant of Christ is honoured in his Master’s honour. If you serve Christ properly you will have to bear his reproach. You must take your share of the cross; for you already have your share of the crown. Thanks be to God, who always causes us to triumph in every place. Paul and the other apostles, when they were suffering for Christ, were always triumphing in Christ at the same time. If there is any honour in the cause of truth and righteousness, and the salvation of men, Christ has it all, but he reflects some of it upon those of his servants who vindicate his righteous cause and propagate his truth. “He who waits on his master is honoured” by being permitted to wait upon such a Master. The honour of the Master falls upon the servant, who is honourably distinguished by wearing the livery of the great Prince.
23. He is honoured too with his Master’s approval. Did you ever feel that Christ approved of you? You did some little act of love which no one knew of except your Lord; he smiled on you, you knew he did, and you felt superabundantly rewarded. You served him, and you were reviled for it, but you took it very joyfully, for you felt that he knew all about it, and as long as your Master was satisfied it did not matter what man could do to you. For the true Christian his Lord’s approval is honour enough.
24. Sometimes the Lord honours faithful servants by giving them more to do. If they have been faithful in what is least, he tries them in what is great. If they have looked after a few little children, and fed the lambs, he says, “Come here and feed my sheep.” If they have trimmed a vine, or a fig tree in a corner, he calls them out and sets them among the chief vines of the vineyard, and says to them, “Look after these clusters.” Many a man would have been called to wider fields of labour if he had not been discontented or slothful in his narrow sphere. The Lord watches how we do little things, and if great care is taken in them he will give us greater things to do. Elisha poured water upon the hands Elijah, and then the Lord says, “Elijah’s mantle shall fall upon his faithful servant, and he shall do even greater miracles.”
25. God also honours the faithful in the eyes of their fellow servants. When I take down from my library shelf the biography of a holy man I honour him in my soul. I do not care whether he was a bishop or a Primitive Methodist preacher, a blacksmith or a peer, I honour him in my heart. If he served his Master, he will be sure to be elevated into a position of honour in the memory of succeeding ages. There are some men whose doctrines you and I could not endorse, who yet were faithful to the light they had, and therefore we number them among the honoured dead, and we are glad to remember how bold they were against the foe, how meek they were with the little ones, how faithful they were in believing their God, and how courageous in rebuking sin. If you would have honour from your fellow servants, you will never get it by seeking honour from them; you must go to your Master and honour him by waiting upon him, and then there will come to you honour in the eyes of your fellow men.
26. But, beloved, the chief honour of a faithful servant comes from the blessed Trinity. “If any man will serve me, my Father will honour him.” Does it not appear too good to be true that a poor man should be honoured by God the Father, the Creator, the great I Am! I will not speak about it, but leave you to think it over.
27. And then Jesus Christ will honour us; for he says, that when the master comes and finds the servant waiting for him, he will gird himself and serve him. Can you understand that? There was a certain Saturnalia among the Romans, which was observed once a year, in which the masters exchanged places with the servants entirely, and the servants sat at the table and commanded their masters as they liked, while the masters served them. It has been thought by some that our Saviour has drawn the example from that singular celebration. I hardly think that it can be so, for he would scarcely have cared to use such an illustration. To think of the great Master serving us is strange indeed; yet he has done it. He did so when he took a towel and washed his disciples’ feet, and he will do it again, he will gird himself and serve us.
28. The Holy Spirit will honour us too, for the Holy Spirit often puts great honour upon a faithful man in a way that I cannot explain to you except by example. Moses had been a faithful servant, and the skin of his face shone when he came down from the mount. Stephen was a faithful servant, and when he stood up to confront his adversaries, he was full of the Holy Spirit, and a glory gleamed from his face. When the Spirit of God is richly in a man, and that man is faithful to his Master, some gleamings of a supernatural splendour will come from him, not visible to human eyes but potent over human hearts. Believers will feel its power, for as one of our poets says, when a good man is in company it is even as though an angel shook his wings. You feel the influence of the man, and almost without a word from him, he has honour in the eyes of those who eat with him, for the Holy Spirit is upon him.
29. Now, dear brothers and sisters, I close by saying we ought faithfully to serve, for we have before us the greatest conceivable reward, a reward which grace enables us to gain. That precious blood which cleanses us, cleanses our service also, it makes us white as snow, and it makes our service white too. We and our work are both accepted in the Beloved. A Christian’s works are good works: let no one say they are not, for they are the work of the Spirit of God, and who shall say they are not good? It is an encouragement to go forward when we know that “he who keeps the fig tree shall eat its fruit”; and that “the servant who waits on his master shall be honoured.”
There is a black side to this, upon which I must speak. He who does
not serve Jesus Christ, will not be honoured. In the day when
the Lord comes many who sleep in the dust shall awaken, some to
glory, but some to shame and everlasting contempt. Oh, the contempt
that will be poured upon ungodly men at the last judgment! When God
holds up the mirror and they see themselves, they will despise their
own image; and when God holds up their characters to men and angels,
revealing to all created beings their secret deeds, their evil
motives, their base designs, their filthy imaginations, there will go
up against such men, dying without faith in Christ, a universal hiss
of general execration, to think that they would not believe God, but
made God a liar; would not accept the sacrifice of Christ, but trod
the blood of the covenant under foot as an unholy thing. Redeemed men
will cry, “Shame!” Unfallen angels will cry “Shame!” Holy spirits
from a thousand worlds will cry “Shame!” And it will be everlasting
contempt. Nothing stings a man like contempt. The poorest among us
does not like to be despised, however poor he may be. You do not like
to be pointed at and be made the object of derision, yet, sinner,
this will be your portion. If you die without believing in Jesus, you
will wake up to shame and to everlasting contempt. “Shame shall be
the portion of fools” — such shame! Oh, be ashamed today, so that you
may not be ashamed then! Penitent, shame will lead you to flee to
Christ, and put your trust in him, and then your transgressions shall
be blotted out for ever. May the Spirit lead each one of you to
repentance for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Ps 25]
(See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Dedication To God — ‘My Beloved Is Mine And I Am His’ ” 660)
(See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Dedication To God — Jesus, I Am Thine!” 663)
(See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Dedication To God — Safety And Consecration” 664)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3564, “Publications” 3566 @@ "The Interpreter")
The Christian, Dedication To God
660 — “My Beloved Is Mine And I Am His”
1 When I had wander’d from his fold,
His love the wanderer sought;
When slave like into bondage sold,
His blood my freedom bought.
2 Therefore that life, by him redeem’d,
Is his through all its days;
And as with blessings it hath teem’d,
So let it teem with praise.
3 For I am his, and he is mine,
The God whom I adore!
My Father, Saviour, Comforter,
Now and for evermore.
4 When sunk in sorrow, I despair’d,
And changed my hopes for fears,
He bore my griefs, my burden shared,
And wiped away my tears.
5 Therefore the joy by him restored,
To him by right belongs:
And to my gracious loving Lord,
I’ll sing through life my songs:
6 For I am his, and his is mine,
The God whom I adore!
My Father, Saviour, Comforter,
Now and for evermore!
John S. B. Monsell, 1863.
The Christian, Dedication To God
663 — Jesus, I Am Thine! <7s.>
1 Jesus, spotless Lamb of God,
Thou hast bought me with thy blood,
I would value nought beside
Jesus — Jesus crucified.
2 I am thine, and thine alone,
This I gladly, fully own;
And, in all my works and ways,
Only now would seek thy praise.
3 Help me to confess thy name,
Bear with joy thy cross and shame,
Only seek to follow thee,
Though reproach my portion be.
4 When thou shalt in glory come,
And I reach my heavenly home,
Louder still my lips shall own
I am thine, and thine alone.
James George Deck, 1837.
The Christian, Dedication To God
664 — Safety And Consecration
1 How can I sink with such a prop
As my eternal God,
Who bears the earth’s huge pillars up,
And spreads the heavens abroad?
2 How can I die while Jesus lives,
Who rose and left the dead?
Pardon and grace my soul receives
From mine exalted Head.
3 All that I am, and all I have,
Shall be for ever thine;
Whate’er my duty bids me give,
My cheerful hands resign.
4 Yet if I might make some reserve,
And duty did not call,
I love my God with zeal so great,
That I should give him all.
Isaac Watts, 1709.