A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, September 21, 1873, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *12/13/2011
If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his. [Ro 8:9]
1. This is one of the most solemn texts in the whole Bible. It is so sweeping: it deals with all of us. “If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.” And it deals with the most important point about us, for to belong to Christ is the most essential thing for time and eternity. But we are not Christ’s unless we have his Spirit. The text does not mention external rites and ceremonies, it does not discuss a vexing question in doctrine, it does not speak of rare attainments and unusual virtues, but it lays its axe at the root of the tree, it points its sword at a vital part. The text probes to the quick; it pierces to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow, dealing with the thoughts and intents of the heart. It speaks to the soul, and although it is the voice of the gospel, yet its sound is as terrible as the thunderclaps of Sinai. “If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.”
2. Since the subject leads us to think upon the Spirit of Christ, let us entreat him to help us at this hour, so that our thoughts shall be honest, heart searching, and therefore profitable to us. The preacher has prayed that he may be helped to discourse upon the text; let each hearer pray that what shall be rightly said may also rightly affect his heart and conscience. Do we not all earnestly desire to belong to Christ? Do we not tremble at the mere idea of its being said of us that we are “not his?” With such desires and fears, I trust we shall come with the greater readiness under the influence of the heart searching text before us.
3. I shall, at the outset, try to lead you to consider the remarkable title which is given here to the Holy Spirit. When we have considered that point, we will next observe the absolute necessity of possessing the Spirit; and, thirdly, meditate upon the evidences which may help us to discover whether we have the Spirit; and then close by weighing well the consequences of being found without the Spirit of Christ: — “we are not his.”
4. I. First, then, let us consider well THE REMARKABLE TITLE WHICH IS HERE GIVEN TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, — for certainly it is the Holy Spirit who is intended here by “the Spirit of Christ.” He is called, in the first part of the verse, “the Spirit of God,” and then he is referred to as “the Spirit of Christ.” Christ and God are essentially one. The Holy Spirit stands in intimate relationship both to the Father and to the Son, and is properly called by either name.
5. Inasmuch as he is called here the Spirit of Christ, we may rest assured that a deep mystery is dimly revealed here. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son as well as from the Father. Upon this we will say very little, for we know very little. There was a great dispute, many centuries ago, between what are now called the Eastern and Western Churches, upon this question, — whether the Spirit of God proceeded from the Father only, as the Greek Church said; or proceeded from the Father and the Son, as the Latin Church said. I think, if we must have an opinion upon such a subject, that our text decides the point by declaring that the Holy Spirit is not only the Spirit of God but the Spirit of Christ, and proceeds, doubtless, both from the Father and from the Son. But when we have said that, what do we mean? Does any theologian know what he means by these words? Will anyone ever know what is meant by it? Can any of us by searching find out God or know the Almighty to perfection? Is this not a mystery into which our eyes will never be able to see? And, therefore, is it not better to leave it among the inscrutable things which belong to the blessed Trinity in unity, where understanding is swamped, but where faith finds waters to swim in?
6. Leaving that deep matter, we pass on to notice that the title, “the Spirit of Christ,” means, first, that the Spirit particularly and especially rested upon Christ. The Holy Spirit had much to do with the person of our blessed Redeemer. The manhood of Christ was begotten by the Spirit of God when the power of the Highest overshadowed the Virgin Mary. When our Lord first appeared in public to be recognised as the Son of God, when he went down into the waters of Jordan, and came up from them, the Spirit descended upon him like a dove, and rested upon him, while the divine voice proclaimed out of heaven, “This is my beloved Son.” No sooner had the Son of God passed away from Jordan’s brink, than he was “led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” — guided by the Spirit of God to undergo those processes of trial which were necessary to make him perfect as the great High Priest, enabling him to sympathise with our infirmities, because he was “tempted in all points like we are.” We read that he returned into Galilee in the power of the Spirit. When he began to preach, the first chapter that he read in public was, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.” His ministry was not a dead ministry of the letter, but it stood in the power of the Spirit of God. He did not speak according to the flesh, with the garnishings of human eloquence and winning flatteries, but with those forcible words of wisdom which the Holy Spirit teaches; he taught the people as one having authority, and not as the scribes. All through the life of Christ you see that the Spirit of God rested upon him in fulness of power, for God “does not give the Spirit by measure to him.” In him “dwelt the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” and all the sacred gifts of the Holy Spirit were treasured up in his blessed person, so that out of his fulness we also might receive grace for grace. Was it not so written of him in the Psalm, “You love righteousness and hate wickedness: therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows?” Because upon Christ, the Anointed One, the Holy Spirit rests in fulness, the term, “the Spirit of Christ,” is most instructive.
7. A second explanation is equally to the point. The Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of Christ,” because our Lord Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist said concerning him, “I indeed baptize you with water to repentance, but he who comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry; he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a choice result of our Lord’s work among men. Jesus spoke of giving living water to men, which should be in them as a springing well, and this he spoke concerning the Spirit, who was given when Jesus was glorified. After his resurrection he breathed on his disciples, and said, “receive the Holy Spirit.” But indeed, the whole ministry of Jesus was a revelation of the things of the Spirit. He did not preach on points of ritual and ceremonial observation, but he went into inward matters, and with the fan in his hand thoroughly purged his floor. His precepts do not concern the washing of hands, the straining out of gnats, the wearing of phylacteries, and the observance of holy days; but they deal with the heart, the affections, the spiritual nature of man, and so are far removed from the traditions of superstition and the frivolities of false philosophy. Beyond all this, beloved, our Lord Jesus Christ, at his ascension, procured for us the descent of the Holy Spirit. “It is expedient for you that I go away,” he said, “for if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you.” He rose to his Father, and when the fulness of time was come, the rushing, mighty wind was heard, and the cloven tongues, as it were fire, were seen sitting upon the disciples, and from that moment the Church of God was baptized into the Holy Spirit. May God grant that she may never forget that day of days, but walk in the power bestowed upon her at Pentecost. On that glorious day, the word of the Lord by the prophet Joel was fulfilled: “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also I will pour out my Spirit upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days.” This being so gloriously fulfilled, we are waiting for that other promise, “I will pour upon the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and of supplications, and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and shall mourn for their sins.” Hence the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, because he is the choice gift of our ascended Lord.
8. Consider a third explanation of the passage: the Holy Spirit may be called “the Spirit of Christ,” because Christ lived particularly in the power of the Spirit. Understand the “Spirit” as used in the text in opposition to the “flesh,” and you will see my meaning. Never did the flesh rule Christ. Never in one solitary moment did bodily cravings and appetites master him; indeed, he even forgot to eat bread, finding food to eat which even his disciples did not know about. His love did not seek its own, but made him lay down his life for his friends. The Spirit of God shone out upon him in full lustre of unsullied light, revealing him as pure and spotless, a glorious person, in whom the prince of darkness could find nothing. Our Lord Jesus Christ was never moved by any passion of a sensual kind, or swayed by a motive of a fleshly tendency. It would be blasphemous to think of such a thing in connection with so divine a character. Some cry aloud and strive for mastery, but not he; some have high ambitions, and would thrust others down, but not he; some strike on the right hand and on the left, for their spirit is full of vengeance, but not he. The flesh that lusts for vengeance, and that cries after power, had no rule in him; he was meek and lowly of heart; but the Spirit of holiness and love was in him, — that Spirit which brings power and peace. The Holy Spirit was always to be seen in connection with the character and work of our blessed Lord. His life was a life in the Spirit. His teaching was a teaching of spiritual things. The intent of his teaching was all spiritual. There was nothing carnal, nothing gross, nothing earthy about him, but every thought, desire, and purpose were of the highest, noblest, and most spiritual order; and therefore this is why I think that the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Christ.
9. Consider also that the Holy Spirit is he who quickens the entire mystical body of Jesus Christ. All the saints are members of Christ’s body, and all the members of that body are distinguished from other men by this, — that they are spiritual men, and seek after spiritual things. “There is one body and one Spirit, even as we are called in one hope of our calling.” It is the Spirit who quickens the entire mystical body, and by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, whether we are bond or free. The true church of Christ, being in herself a spiritual body, acts in a spiritual manner, and strives after spiritual goals. That church which is wrapped up in formalism, which cannot speak a word of prayer without her book, is she moved by the Spirit, or may it not be said of her sons, “Are you so foolish; having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?” That church, which bows before images and pictures, and flaunts her banners and lifts up her crucifixes, burning her candles in the sunlight, — is she the spiritual church of Christ? I do not think so. But you shall find the church of Christ where faithful men worship God in the Spirit, and have no confidence in the flesh; men who, if they speak, seek to be moved by the Holy Spirit, or else would far rather keep silence, — who do not desire the wisdom that comes from man, nor the teaching which is the fabrication of human reason, but desire to wait upon the Scriptures for instruction, and upon the Spirit of God to show light upon the Scriptures. This is the church of God. Oh beloved, the times are just now very dangerous, and require of all Christians to bear their testimony concerning the spirituality of true religion. True religion does not consist in outward forms, particular garbs, or modes of speech, or anything that is ritualistic and external. “The kingdom of God is not food and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Again men are becoming subject to human ordinances after the commandments and doctrines of men, saying, “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle”; but the true faith does not stand in will worship, nor in the inventions of the flesh. Neither is that acceptable worship which men’s imaginations have devised, so that they may display the beauty of carvings in stone and wood, and the glory of gold and silver and copper, together with blue and scarlet and fine linen, and glass of many colours, and sweet odours of the merchants, but the true worshippers of God worship in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeks such to worship him. Therefore the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, because, wherever the faith of Christ and the mystical body of Christ are found, there you will find spiritual worship, worship rendered by mind and heart, the worship of love, the worship of humility, and adoration and obedience. The church of God does not bring to him rivers of oil, or the blood of ten thousands of fat beasts; but she seeks to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with her God. Sacrifices and burnt offerings are abolished; but broken and contrite hearts are still in the sight of the Lord of great value. Hence, then, the Spirit of God is properly called the Spirit of Christ.
10. II. Now, secondly — and may the Lord help and guide us in our thoughts and utterances — let us observe THE NECESSITY OF POSSESSING THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST.
11. Notice that, according to the text, it is necessary in every case: — “If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.” It does not say, “If any minister is destitute of the Holy Spirit he is unfit for his calling.” That is quite true, but the text is not dealing with any supposed divisions of laity and clergy: it does not speak to a class, but utters its warning voice to men as men. “If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.” It may be urged that some have an especially amiable nature and disposition; they were never known to speak an untruth, or to do an unkind act, from their youth up. They grow up in the garden of the family like lovely flowers, the admiration of all. Yes, I admit that it is even so; but I cannot help it, I must speak the truth as I have it in my text. “If any man,” however amiable he may be, “does not have the Spirit of Christ,” I must say the same of him as of the drunkard and of the thief, “he is not Christ’s.” The fairest flowers, as surely as the foulest weeds, are not Christ’s, if they are not planted by the Spirit. But we find examples in which, in addition to a natural amiability, the refinements of good society have exercised their best influence. The man has lived among Christian people; he has a title to birthright membership, if such a right can be; he has never mingled with the coarser kind of sinners, or learned the vulgarities of vice. The man is lovely to look upon. Indeed, and as I repeat the words of my text, I say the truth and do not lie, I feel a love for such a one, even as Jesus did for that young man who said, “All these things I have kept from my youth up. What am I still lacking?” But we must not shirk the truth even in this case. This one lack, the lack of the Spirit of Christ, is fatal for the noblest character, and Christ disowns utterly every man who does not have his Spirit in him. But can we not, by adding outward religiousness to moral excellencies, somehow or other, rise by our own efforts to be true Christians without the Holy Spirit? Can we not be baptized, and kneel as God’s people kneel, and sing as they sing, and take the sacrament as they do? Yes, you can readily do all these, but you will be none the better for it, for the text will still remain true, “If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.” And if it were possible (which it is not) for you to produce the same virtues in yourself which are produced by the Holy Spirit, yet even those would not suffice, for the text is absolute, and it does not say, “If any man does not have the works of the Spirit,” or, “the influences of the Spirit,” or, “the general results of character which come from the indwelling of the Spirit”; but it goes deeper, and declares, “If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.” The difference between the regenerate and the unregenerate is not one of degree, but of kind; a dead soul cannot develop into a living one, nor can the carnal mind improve into a spiritual mind. Almighty power is needed to bridge the separating gulf. This ought to lead every rational man utterly to despair of saving himself by any strength of his own. You must resort to divine agency. You are driven to the Holy Spirit, because without him whatever you may do or be, my text, like the cherubic sword which kept the entrance to Eden, prevents your hoping to obtain eternal life by your own power. “Unless a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
12. Notice well that the text does not make any kind of exception, or so much as hint at any; for some might have said, “But, surely, those who have long been members of the Christian church, and those who are officers in her midst, and those in high esteem, surely they are Christ’s, and will be saved in any case?” No, by no means, if they do not have the Spirit of Christ, even these are not his. We are all on par here. The doorkeeper in our assemblies is, in this respect, exactly on the same footing as the presiding elder of the church. “If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.” I might even have said that the officers of the church are in a worse position than other men for their responsibility is so terribly great, and their temptation to mere formal religion so immense. Chrysostom said in his day, “I wonder if any of the rulers of the church will be saved?” and if he had lived in these times he might with equal force have said the same. Do you not see how the great ones of the church, who call themselves the bishops and shepherds of the flock, are allowing this nation to drift away to Rome, and into all the devilries of her idolatry and superstition, and yet they neither lift a finger nor speak a word to stop the evil? Hirelings as they are, what do they care for the sheep? They sit in worldly state among the peers of the realm, and it does not bother them at all though the whole land reeks and rots with superstition! May God have mercy on them! Well did you say, oh John of the golden mouth, “I wonder if any of the rulers of the church will be saved?” If in any other position men so shamefully neglected their master’s business they would be discharged in disgrace. I speak like this in solemn soberness, grieving that the charge is all too true. Nor is this all. What must be the lot of those of us who are ordinary ministers if we do not have the Spirit of Christ? And is it clear that all of us have? How many are there who occupy the pulpit, the object of whose preaching is the display of their own eloquence or learning, by the giving out of well turned phrases and pretty essays upon philosophical subjects, instead of striking at men’s consciences and dealing with their souls, in the name of God. The world is perishing, and the church is going to sleep over it. May God have mercy upon all of us who are church officers, and make us faithful. Instead of needing less of the Spirit, we need a double portion; and if there are any men around of whom it may be said, “If they do not have the Spirit of Christ, they are not his,” it must be said with the greatest solemnity concerning the ministers, deacons, and elders of our churches. If they do not have the Spirit of Christ they are worse than other men; their position puts them under extraordinary responsibility, and if they are false to it — it will bring them under terrible condemnation.
13. “If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.” Now, observe that this is put in opposition to everything less than itself. For example, there are some who glory in the name of Christians, as if the name were some great thing. We have a certain unbrotherly company who call themselves “brethren,” and certain others who disapprove of sects, and therefore in the name of Christian unity set up a sect of their own, infinitely more exclusive than any before known. These frequently claim to be especially denominated Christians, I suppose because they would insinuate that they alone are Christians. Brethren, in Paul’s day, one said, “I am of Paul,” another said, “I am of Apollos,” a third said, “I am of Christ”; now there was no difference between them, they were all equally sectarian. It is not wearing the name of Christ, but having the Spirit of Christ, which will prove us to be accepted. Probably no one was ever further off from Christ than those who call themselves by his name, namely, the Jesuits; little enough has Jesus to do with the Society of Jesus. The Christian church has never been more pure or more earnest than when it has been known by an opprobrious name. There was far more power and life among the despised “Quakers,” than among the respected “Society of Friends.” I liked the “Ranters” better than the more quiet “Primitive Methodists”; and the detested “Anabaptists” were men of far more courage and principle than the modern “Baptists.” Give me the man who can render a reproachful name illustrious; there is no shame in being slandered. The reproach soon wears away; and if it did not, blessed are those who are reproached for Christ’s sake. But, beloved, you may wear the literal name of Christ, and you may keep on pushing yourself adrift from everyone into a state of external peculiarity, if you like; but if you do not have the Spirit of Christ, you are not his, for all that. You may take for yourself very precise notions of how you should act, how you should speak, what you should eat, what you should drink, what you should wear — and you may become a very straitlaced Puritan indeed; but remember, after you have done all, that “the kingdom of God is not food or drink,” and “if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.” Nothing short of this will suffice, however commendable, however much admired among men. We shall fare badly at the last great day if the Spirit of God is not in us.
14. But the text is expressly in opposition to “the flesh.” There is the point of its meaning. What does it mean, then, to have the Spirit of Christ in opposition to being in the flesh? Observe carefully, there are two states, in one or other of which every man is found; there is no middle ground. We are either in the flesh or in the Spirit. Every man is born in the flesh, and if left alone he will follow the desires and devices of his fleshly nature, as every unregenerate man does. Some follow their fleshly nature coarsely, and run into vice; others follow it in a more refined manner, and live to gain wealth, to gratify taste, or to gain the approbation of their fellow men, all of which is of the flesh. Now, there is another state, and that is called being in the Spirit; we are admitted into this condition by the new birth. When a man walks in the Spirit he recognises something higher than what can be touched by the hand, and seen with the eye, and heard with the ear. He has entered into a new world, and is a citizen of a spiritual realm. He has come where God is real to him, where Christ is real to him, where truth is real, where sin is hateful, where holiness is lovely to him. Judge, my brethren, whether you know anything concerning this. Many are in the flesh, they are as yet the majority of mankind: but there is a remnant who walk after the Spirit, because the Holy Spirit has renewed them. He who is in the flesh is ruled by the flesh; the animal in him is the master of the man; the mere sentient mind in him is dominant over the higher nature, the spirit. But the man who is in the Spirit tramples down the flesh, and labours to keep it under. When the flesh for awhile prevails, he laments his fault, and weeps concerning it, for he is not the willing servant of the flesh, but the Spirit in him strives for the mastery, and he greatly delights in its sway.
15. The man who is in the flesh trusts in the flesh. He looks to his own works for salvation. His prayers, his tears, his almsgivings — these are to save him; but the man who has the Spirit of Christ considers all his good works to be dross and dung, and trusts in the Lord through the Spirit. He trusts in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, and builds his hope upon the mercy of God in his Redeemer.
16. The man who is in the flesh worships in the flesh. His eye must be pleased with the particular dress of the minister, and the architectural beauty of the place of assembly, while his ear must be regaled, if not with sound of flute, harp, sackbut, and psaltery, yet with the swell of organs. His nose also must be gratified with sweet incense. He worships in the flesh, looking for crosses, and altars, and priests; while the man who has the Spirit utterly abhors these idols, and does not desire to see but to believe, not to smell but to think. The sound of truth is better to the spiritual man than tinkling bells, and the noise of pipes and bellows. He needs something for his soul to think upon, something to love, something to stir his affections, something to strengthen him for goodness, and to cast down the power of evil in his nature. Being a spiritual man, he worships God in the Spirit. To him the hillside is as holy as the meeting house. He considers one place as sacred as another. Neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, does he worship the Father, but he worships God in spirit and in truth. He will not yield to be judged by others concerning food and drinks, and new moons, and holy days. He scorns to stoop to priests, but himself and each believer to be a priest to God. He makes each garment a vestment, and every meal is to him a sacrament. To him all things are sanctified by the presence of the eternal God. He lives in the Spirit, and, wherever he moves, he remains in fellowship with the unseen Lord. He recognises spiritual things where others do not see them. He is swayed by spiritual motives; he seeks after spiritual objects; and while the poor creatures of the earth, like so many moles, toil to bury themselves under its surface, and heap up gold and silver, and say, “These are your gods, oh Israel”; this man is thankful for his food and clothing, and the comforts of life, but feels that these are not his God, nor is anything which can be seen worthy to be the object of his pursuit. He derives his pleasure from springs above, and drinks in draughts of life, not from this poor dying world, but from the everliving and eternal God. Blessed is the man who has come to this! We must all come to it, or we are not Christ’s. Do not think I am setting up some sublime standard; I am not. I am keeping to the level of the text. “If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.”
17. III. And now I want you, for a few minutes only, to meditate upon THE EVIDENCES OF HAVING THE SPIRIT; for some will say, “Do I have the Spirit?” yes, I trust all will make the enquiry.
18. My hearers, you either have the Spirit or you do not. Look into it! If you have the Spirit, in the first place, since he is the Spirit of Christ, he has led you to Christ. Have you, then, been completely delivered from all confidence in yourselves? Have you been brought to the foot of the cross, and made to see that there hangs your only salvation? And are you trusting solely and entirely in the blood and righteousness of God’s crucified Son? If you are, you have the Spirit of Christ, for the Spirit who leads a man to faith in Christ is the Spirit of Christ. You could not have come to Christ if you had not been drawn, and no one will draw you except the heavenly Father by his Spirit. If you are resting entirely upon Jesus you have his Spirit.
19. I will ask you another question. Do you feel in your soul a desire to honour the Lord Jesus? Do you love to hear him extolled? Can you say that you hate everything which robs him of his glory? Do you love that sermon best which most exalts Jesus? Have you ever felt that you could die to crown our Lord’s most blessed head? Do you now fall at his feet and adore him with your heart’s truest love? Then you have the Spirit of Christ, for he delights to glorify Christ by taking the things of Christ and showing them to us.
20. Again, if you have the Spirit of Christ he will make you like Christ. Like Christ, first, in relationship to God. Christ lived for God. When he was only twelve years old he said, “Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” and all his life long he could say that the zeal of God’s house had eaten him up. His food and his drink were to do the will of his Father who had sent him. Beloved, is that how you feel towards God? Then you have the Spirit of Christ.
21. The Spirit of Christ is a Spirit of prayer; it kept the Son in constant communion with the Father. You constantly find the Lord Jesus in conversation with God. If you have the spirit of sonship as Christ had, you will be much in prayer too, and you will thus prove that you have the Spirit of Christ.
22. Christ’s worship of God was always spiritual. You never find him worshipping otherwise than with his whole heart and soul. The traditions of men, their various washings and observances were nothing to him; he walked with God and dwelt in him, and did not need these childish ordinances. His was a spiritual life. Is yours so?
23. Our Lord Jesus Christ was always true towards God. He was a faithful witness, you never find him flinching a word. He was full of love, but how he could thunder against false hearted man. “Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Elijah was never more terrible against Baal than was the loving Saviour against Ritualistic Phariseeism; for towards his Father glowed a holy zeal and a sacred detestation of everything that would dishonour his beloved name. Do you have the Spirit of Christ in you?
24. The Spirit of Christ was a fulness of love towards men. He was ready to do good to all. He fed the hungry; he healed the sick; he never considered himself, but spent his life for others, laying himself out for them. They would have made him a king in their momentary enthusiasm, but he wanted no kingdom. It was kingdom enough for him to help the miserable and assist the wretched. Do you feel in your soul a love for men for God’s sake? Can you forgive them when they do you wrong? Can you pray for your enemies? Can you follow his command who said, “I say to you, ‘That you do not resist evil, but when they strike you on the one cheek, turn the other to them also?’ ” Then I trust you have Christ’s Spirit; but on the other hand, are you indignant when you are insulted? Are you pettish and ready to resent every little thing? You do not have the Spirit of Christ if it is so. The Spirit of Christ is a gentle, forbearing, tender Spirit, — stern, as I have told you, for God and for his truth, but tender as a child towards the infirmities, and sorrows, and weaknesses of mankind; upright for what is true and holy, but bending down towards what is ready to die. Do you wish to know the Spirit of Christ? Read his life, and you will see it there. Do you have such a Spirit? Do you long to be perfectly like Jesus? For if you do not have the Spirit of Christ, you are not his.
25. My time will fail me if I continue much longer, and therefore I will close this point by saying that if we have the Spirit of Christ he will show himself by his operations in your hearts. We shall feel him moving within us. He will make us hate everything that is evil, false, and unholy. He will move us to repentance of all that we have done amiss towards God or man. He will make us brave and courageous for God and for his truth. If the Spirit of God is in us he will move us to rejoice in God, to hope in God, to delight in God. Fellowship with God will become necessary for us. Prayer to God will be one of our most delightful exercises, and the praise of God will be our most glad enjoyment. The indwelling Spirit within us will make us spiritual, move us in spiritual directions after spiritual things, and so we shall be spiritual men to the praise of God; and if we are not this, we are not Christ’s.
26. IV. The last point is THE SAD CONSEQUENCES OF NOT HAVING THE SPIRIT. These are consequences for which nothing in this world can compensate. “If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.”
27. Everything is gone if we are “not his.” Supposing it had said, “He is not a favoured disciple”; well one would have been sorry to miss the opportunity of the place nearest to the Master; but this is far worse, it says “he is not his.” The Lord does not acknowledge him at all. “No disciple of mine,” says Christ. “No, if he does not have my Spirit he is not mine.” He is a lost sheep, but Jesus says he is “not his.” Whoever he may belong to, he does not belong to Christ. If he does not have Christ’s Spirit in him, he is “not his.” Whatever body he may be a member of, he is not a member of Christ’s body, for the Spirit dwells in all the members of that body, and he who does not have that Spirit is not his.
“Not his.” The words wound my heart. They are like a dagger to my
soul. “Not his!” “Not his!” Ah, if I am not his because I do not have
the Spirit, whose am I? I beseech the man who does not have the
Spirit of Christ to look that question in the face. He who died upon
the cross disowns me; he who is risen into his glory disowns me: what
misery is this! When he comes in the glory of the Father, and calls
his sheep to his right hand, so that they may enjoy eternal
blessedness in his company, he will say, “I never knew you.” If you,
dear hearer, are not his, then whose are you? You are the devil’s.
Awful thought! Terrible words to use; but it must be so. There are
two proprietors of men, two rulers whom they serve. “You are of God,
little children,” says the apostle; but of others he says they lie in
the wicked one, and are heirs of wrath. There are two classes of
men — the heirs of wrath and the heirs of God; if you are not Christ’s
you are the prisoner of condemnation. My dear hearer, what are you if
you are not Christ’s? You are a waif, a stray, a wreck drifted out to
sea, soon to sink for ever. And where are you if you are not
Christ’s? On the way to judgment, on the road to eternal
condemnation. If you are not his, you are going as fast as time can
carry you away, away, away to the gloomy land where no ray of hope
will ever pierce the midnight darkness; away, away, away, where
despair outlasts eternity. Oh God, it is a dreadful thing to live a
moment in an unforgiven state. “He who does not believe is
condemned already, because he has not believed upon the Son of God.”
If you were set up for an instant upon the top of St. Paul’s
Cathedral, poised in the air upon the cross, with no one to hold you
up, how dreadful would be your feelings as you looked beneath you and
knew that the next gust of wind would sweep you down to certain
destruction! Sinner, you are now in a similar position. If you are
not his you are now in awful peril. You stand over the mouth of hell
upon a single plank, and that plank is rotten. You hang over the jaws
of perdition by a slender thread, and the angel of justice is ready
to cut that thread asunder now. “Not his! Not his!” Oh, how dreadful
to live to be not his, and to die not his, and to have this for your
epitaph — “NOT HIS!” And then to wake up on the resurrection morning
and see the King in his beauty on the throne, and to know that you
are not his! To cry to the rocks to hide you, and to the hills to
cover you, for you are not his! Then to be brought out before the
great white throne resplendent in its holiness, and hear the fact
announced so that all may hear, that there is a Saviour, but you are
not his! Ah, what will it be to see the pit open her mouth to devour
you, and, descending for ever, to understand that you are not his!
Ye sinners, seek his face,
Whose wrath ye cannot bear;
Bow to the sceptre of his grace,
And find salvation there.
If you look to Jesus by faith, the Spirit is with you as you look;
there is life in a look at the crucified Redeemer. Trust him! trust
him! trust him! And may the Lord constrain you now to live as you
have never lived before; may you now begin the spiritual life, for if
you do not have the Spirit of God, you are not his!
[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Ro 8:1-23]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 149” 149]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Holy Spirit — The Holy Ghost Is Here” 451]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Holy Spirit — The Promised Comforter” 445]
Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 149 (Version 1) <1. 10. 10. 11.11.>
1 Oh praise ye the Lord
With heart and with voice;
His mercies record,
And round him rejoice.
Ye children of Zion,
Your Saviour adore!
And learn to rely on
His grace evermore.
2 Repose on his arm,
Ye sheep of his fold;
What terror can harm
With him to uphold?
His saints are his treasure,
Their peace will he seek,
And pour without measure
His gifts on the meek.
3 Go on in his might,
Ye men of the Lord:
His word be your light,
His promise your sword;
The King of salvation
Your foes will subdue,
And their degradation
Bring glory to you.
Henry Francis Lyte, 1834.
Psalm 149 (Version 2) <10. 10. 11. 11.>
1 Prepare a new son, Jehovah to praise,
Amidst the full throng, his honours to raise,
Oh Israel, for ever thy Maker adore,
Exult in thy Saviour, thy King evermore!
2 Encircling his throne with sacred delight,
Let Jesus alone your praises invite;
Your voices combining touch every sweet string,
In harmony joining, the Saviour to sing!
3 Ye saints of the Lord; as round him ye stand,
His twoedged sword, his word, in your hand,
To sound his high praises your voices employ!
To victory he raises, and crowns you with joy.
4 In vengeance he comes; the nations draw near;
His throne he resumes; his judgments appear:
There kings shall adore him, nor princes rebel,
And sinners before him sink trembling to hell.
5 Then, raised from the dust, his church shall proclaim,
Thy judgments are just, and faithful thy name,
This honour for ever his saints shall attend,
Let praise to the Saviour in triumph ascend!
William Goode, 1811.
451 — The Holy Ghost Is Here
1 The Holy Ghost is here,
Where saints in prayer agree.
As Jesus’ parting gift he’s near
Each pleading company.
2 Not far away is he,
To be by prayer brought nigh,
But here in present majesty
As in his courts on high.
3 He dwells within our soul,
An ever welcome Guest;
He reigns with absolute control,
As Monarch in the breast.
4 Our bodies are his shrine,
And he th’ indwelling Lord;
All hail, thou Comforter divine,
Be evermore adored!
5 Obedient to thy will,
We wait to feel thy power,
Oh Lord of life, our hopes fulfil,
And bless this hallow’d hour.
Charles H. Spurgeon, 1866.
445 — The Promised Comforter
1 Our blest Redeemer, ere he breathed
His tender, last farewell,
Our Guide, a Comforter, bequeath’d
With us on earth to dwell.
2 He come, the mystic heavenly Dove,
With sheltering wings outspread,
The holy balm of peace and love
On chosen hearts to shed.
3 He comes, sweet influence to impart,
A gracious, willing guest,
Where he can find one humble heart
Wherein to make his rest.
4 And his that gentle voice we hear,
Soft as the breath of eve,
That checks each fault, that calms each fear,
And bids us cease to grieve.
5 And every virtue we possess,
And every victory won,
And every thought of holiness.
Are his, and his alone.
6 Spirit of purity and grace,
Our weakness, pitying, see:
Oh make our hearts thy dwelling place,
Yea, make them meet for thee.
Harriet Auber, 1829, a.