A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, October 3, 1875, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *4/14/2012
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me: for I proceeded and came from God; I am not here on my own authority, but he sent me.” [Joh 8:42]
1. The order of salvation is, first we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we obtain a change of heart as his gift, and then that renewed heart loves the Lord Jesus, in whom it has believed. Faith leads the train of graces, not love. It would not be preaching the gospel to say to men, “Love Christ; love for Jesus is a later fruit”: to preach the gospel is to cry, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.” The faith which saves is not, however, a mere credence of facts in which men feel no interest, it is a hearty trustfulness in Jesus for blessings for which we feel the need; and it is in every case an operative faith, a faith which works, and works by love. If you have indeed believed in the Lord Jesus Christ to the saving of your soul, then you are a child of God, for “to as many as received him, he gave to them the power to become the sons of God.” If you are a son of God, you love your Father, and it is a rule that “everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too”; [1Jo 5:1] so that true faith is the evidence of our sonship, and sonship with God is attended with love, and this love for the Father leads to the love for his Son, Jesus Christ. By this, then, you shall judge your faith today, whether it is the faith of God’s elect or not; if it is a cold assent of the understanding, it will not save you, but if it is a warm affiance of the heart then it is indeed the faith which is created by the operation of the Spirit of God.
2. I purpose this morning to speak about our love for Christ, and it may help you if I give you the outline first of what I have to say. Love for Christ is in itself essential: secondly, love for Christ is the test of sonship, as the text informs us; and therefore, thirdly, love for Christ is a test which it is important for us to apply to our selves at this time.
3. I. LOVE FOR CHRIST IS IN ITSELF ESSENTIAL. There are some graces in which a man may be deficient, and though he may be all the worse for that deficiency, still he may be a Christian; but love for Jesus is an essential grace, a grace of the heart, lying near the vitals of piety, so that the lack of it is fatal. You must love Jesus Christ if you are indeed alive to God.
4. Now observe, first, that the absence of love for Christ is the loss of one of the greatest of spiritual pleasures. We ought to pity as well as to blame the man who does not love Jesus Christ. Alas, poor soul, into what a state he has fallen that he should not be able to love him who is “altogether lovely”; nor to admire him who is the “Chief among ten thousand.” I met not long ago with a lady who had lost her taste and smell — a somewhat unique affliction. The fairest rose in the world cannot greet her nose with its pleasant perfume; the most dainty flavour that ever delighted men’s palate has no charms for her. She is dead to those pleasures, and I could only sympathise with her in her loss. Yet, after all, this loss of pleasurable sensation is a trifle, it will only last for a few years, and when this brief life is over she will possess every desirable faculty. But what a terrible thing to be unable to perceive the fragrance of the name of Jesus, which is like ointment poured out; unable to taste the sweet flavour of the bread of heaven, or the richness of that wine on the lees well refined, which makes the saints of God so glad. I would rather be blind and deaf and dumb, and lose my taste and smell, than not love Christ. To be unable to appreciate HIM, is the worst of disabilities, the most serious of calamities. It is not the loss of a single spiritual faculty, but it proves the death of the soul. It testifies to the absence of all that can make existence worth having, for he who does not have the Son does not have life, and the wrath of God rests on him.
The absence of the love of Christ in the soul, again, is a sign of
very grievous degradation. It is the characteristic of the animal
that it cannot enter into intellectual pursuits; you may put before
it the most delightful of studies, but the swine can never experience
mental pleasure; it would be its degradation that it cannot, if
indeed it had been originally intended for such pursuits. Man was
made for the highest and most elevated enjoyment, the enjoyment of
the presence of God and the admiration of his infinite perfections;
and when he loses this power to appreciate, admire, and love his God
he sinks from his high calling to a level with the brutes. If an
angel could be lowered into a dog, and yet could worship God and love
Christ, he would scarcely have fallen at all, compared with the fatal
descent of a man who is plunged into such a stupor of evil that he
cannot perceive the loveliness of the Lord Jesus Christ. We greatly
pity those poor creatures of our own race who are unable to reason,
but what shall we think of those who cannot love, or rather cannot
love where love should be foremost. To the poor idiot you may read
the most charming lines of Milton, but he cannot rise to a sense of
sublimity; you may afterwards pour into his ear the pleasing
sweetnesses of Wordsworth, or the fascinating allegories of Bunyan,
but he smiles at you vacantly, and you perceive that his imbecilic
mind is incapable of comprehension. It is sad that a human being
should be reduced to this, and yet not to love the Lord Jesus reveals
a moral and spiritual imbecility far worse than mere mental
incapacity, because it is wilful and involves a crime of the heart.
Generally the non-appreciation of goodness is attended with an
appetite for evil, and hence the fault is doubled. It was a great
degradation for the king of Babylon when he left the diet of the
royal table to roam the fields with the cattle and to eat grass like
the ox. It was not merely that his madness drove him from man, but it
herded him with brutes: it not only took away his relish for bread
but gave him a taste for grass. It was a strange madness which
drove a king to graze with beasts, but not more strange than what
makes men feed upon the ashes of this world’s sinful pleasures, and
turn aside from what is truly bread. Oh, it is a worse insanity than
what is secluded within the walls of the Bedlam Insane Asylum, this
madness which can discover beauty in the painted face of the Jezebel
of sin and is not charmed by the beauty of him whose brightness is
the light of heaven. Yet, oh you saints of God, remember you were
like that not long ago. “He came to his own, and his own did not
receive him.” “We hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised,
and we did not esteem him.” Our foolish heart was darkened, and we
did not see Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness. Blessed be the grace
which has given us power to appreciate our Saviour, may it increase
more and more. Let us pity as well as blame those who now are given
over to the firm closing of their eyes that they cannot see my Lord;
and the plugging of their ears that they cannot hear the music of his
voice, and the deadening of their hearts that they cannot perceive
the charms of his love. Alas for the degradation which is revealed in
inability to love Jesus!
That Holy One,
Who came to earth for thee, —
Oh basest thing beneath the sun,
That he, by any mortal one,
Forgotten e’er should be.
6. To be without love for Christ is a clear proof that our entire manhood is out of order. It would be impossible for us to be indifferent to the excellencies of Jesus if we were as God created us, and inasmuch as we do not love him until grace renews us, this proves how altogether diseased human nature has become. The understanding, if it were well balanced, would judge that Christ is over all and before all, and give to him the preeminence in everything, but, being biassed and thrown out of gear, the judgment puts Christ in the lowest place, and pays its homage to the world, the flesh, or the devil, rather than to the King of kings. The mind must be altogether debased and robbed of all nobility, not to love one whose self-denying benevolence commands the admiring gratitude of all renewed spirits. Did our Lord descend from heaven to earth to save his enemies? Being found on earth in the form of a man, did he endure every insult and every misery with the sole object of blessing others, and did he at last endure pangs never to be described, and all for the sake of worthless man? Then not to love such a mirror of generous affection is to be mean spirited and base at heart. Gratitude is no very stupendous virtue, but it is necessary to deliver us from being guilty of the basest of all the vices, for ingratitude may justly be described like that. Man despising the Christ who died for man is a sight enough to make an angel mourn; yes, seraph might weep with wonder, that a creature once so fair as man should have become so foul at heart. God forgive the mind that can be so unjust, so perverted, so bewitched and blind as to treat Jesus with indifference.
7. Man’s affections as well as his mind must have become terribly polluted, or he would at once love Jesus. If the heart were what it should be, it would love the good, the right, the true, the beautiful. Nothing is more good, right, true, or beautiful than Jesus Christ the incarnate God, and that the heart does not instinctively love him as soon as it ever perceives him is clear proof that it is poisoned at its very centre. It is given to its idols, and therefore it will not love the true God. If you needed at this time to prove man’s fallen state, you might do so by a thousand arguments, but only one would be needed. There, perhaps, was never a more powerful demonstration than that of the first chapter of Paul’s epistle to the Romans, which we dare not read in public, a chapter which contains the most terrible of indictments against our manhood, and every word of it is true. But, sirs, I take it that all the unnatural lusts into which men have fallen, though they are deeds which crimson the cheek of modesty, do not so thoroughly prove human nature to be corrupt as man’s not loving Christ. A certain divine on one occasion, wishing to display his rhetoric, and bring down upon himself the admiration of his hearers, exclaimed, “Oh virtue, you are so fair and beautiful that if you should descend upon earth all men would love you.” How greatly he erred! For virtue did descend on earth, clothed in the most attractive form, the form of pure benevolence, and yet men did not receive her. Virtue came in the person of our Lord Jesus, not dressed in the armour of justice, but in the silken robes of salvation, decked out with love and tenderness, but men refused her a habitation, denied her the common courtesies of life, and at last condemned her to die. When man crucified Jesus, he did, as much as in him lay, destroy all goodness, truth and holiness. Then he spat his worst venom upon everything that is lovely and of good repute, for he selected the most lovely and honoured of all beings to be murdered by his malice. Not to love Jesus Christ is, whatever your outward character may be, dear friend, to angels and to all intelligent and purified spirits who are fit to judge, the most terrible symptom of your subjugation to a malignant spiritual disease, which tyrannizes over all your powers, and causes you to be the opponent of your best friend.
8. Not to love Jesus Christ is a sure sign that we have no part nor lot in his salvation, for the first effect of receiving his salvation is to love him. You remember our Lord’s parable of the two debtors. The one owed five hundred pence and the other fifty, they were both freely forgiven their debts, because they had nothing to pay, and the question asked concerning them was “Which of them will love him most?” Now notice that the question was not “Which of them will love their generous benefactor?” for that is taken for granted, and who will deny it, that whether forgiven fifty pence or five hundred, they must love him who forgave them. It is inevitable that if you have been forgiven your sin you should love Jesus Christ, and if you do not love him, rest assured that you have no portion in his precious blood, and his righteousness does not cover you. Solemn reflection! How essential is this excellent grace of love.
Without love for Christ it is clear that you are not saved, for you
lack the mainspring of the spiritual life. We are often charged
with telling men to believe and live, and that in so doing we throw a
holy life and a virtuous conduct out the window. If our objectors
were candid, they would enquire whether their accusation is true, and
as the result of that enquiry they would acquit us. Either ignorance,
misunderstanding, or malevolence must have occasioned the utterly
groundless charge, for we have explained countless times that when
we say “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved,” we
do not mean that the belief of an abstract proposition will save men
from hell; we mean that trust in Jesus will change the heart, and so
save the life from sin. By salvation we mean salvation from sin,
salvation from the old selfish life, salvation resulting in holy
living. This is the salvation that we preach, salvation from evil,
and this we say is the result of believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.
If these things are so, it is evident that the man who does not love
Christ is not saved in this sense, for love for Christ is through the
Holy Spirit made to be the mainspring and central force by which a
holy life is created and sustained. “The love of Christ constrains
us.” This is the grand power which keeps us back from evil, and
impels us towards holiness. In proportion as you love Jesus you will
be holy, and in proportion as your love for Jesus becomes weak the
power of sin grows strong, and if there is no love for Jesus at all
then none of the elements are there in you which make up the
Knowledge, alas! ’tis all in vain,
And all in vain our fear;
Our stubborn sins will fight and reign
If love be absent there.
Not to love Christ is a thing so dreadful, that those who do love him
can hardly tell you how they tremble at the mere notion of being in
such a condition. Death in the most horrible form would be
preferable. Many a time we have sung, and I for one have felt it at
my heart’s core, —
A very wretch, Lord, I should prove,
Had I no love to thee;
Rather than not my Saviour love,
Oh, may I cease to be.
It would be much better never to have been born than not to love the Saviour, better to go to annihilation, if such could be the case, than that we should exist for a moment without love for the Blessed One. Sometimes the saints of God have grown so warm concerning what is due to Jesus their Lord, and have felt such a horror at the sin of not loving him, that they have pronounced a curse in God’s name upon those who do not love Christ. Perhaps the most terrible words in sacred Scripture are these — “If any man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be ANATHEMA MARANATHA,” — cursed when the Lord shall come. It is the major excommunication of the church; it is the most solemn word of denunciation that could have fallen from an apostolic pen, and yet Paul felt that he must write it, even that Paul who could not speak of the enemies of Christ’s cross without tears. My dear hearer, though you are the most moral person in the world, and though you are the most orthodox professor in the church, yet if you do not love the Lord Jesus Christ “Anathema Maranatha” must be sounded in your ears, for it is proclaimed in the word of God against you.
11. Who would wish to live without the love of Jesus in his soul! It is the most hideous of all conditions, for it robs our life on earth of its highest beauty, and renders heaven impossible. Until he gives you love for Christ God himself cannot give you heaven. You may take my words in their broadest sense, for I mean them just as they stand. I say until God himself makes you love Christ he cannot give you heavenly happiness, for the very essence of heaven lies in the love of what is good and true, and the essence of all goodness and truth are in Jesus. Could you be carried to the place called heaven without love for Christ you would be utterly out of your element; the nearer presence of Christ into which you would be brought would cause you terror instead of happiness, and the delight which you would see upon the faces of ten thousand times ten thousand who love him would only provoke you to a more dire enmity and an even more bitter despair. Oh, my friend, you cannot know happiness until you know Christ; until your heart beats with love for him the true life can never be yours, but you are in darkness and death even until now, and so you must remain. It is inevitable that it should be so. So I leave the first very weighty point, praying God the Holy Spirit to press it upon the hearts of all who have no affection for the Saviour. It is, essential that you should love him.
12. II. LOVE FOR CHRIST IS THE TEST OF SONSHIP.
13. Certain modern teachers have asserted that God is the Father of all mankind, and the doctrine of Universal Fatherhood is, I am told, exceedingly prevalent in certain quarters. That God is the Creator of all men, and that in this sense men are the offspring of God, is undoubtedly true, but that unregenerate men are the sons of God is just as undoubtedly false. How that flesh pleasing doctrine can be supported I do not know, for certainly my text gives it no assistance whatever, but rather strikes it a deadly blow. “If God were your Father, you would love me”; consequently God is not the Father of those who do not love Christ. What do these teachers understand about the privilege of adoption? Why are men adopted if they are children by nature? How is it that it is a special promise, “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters?” What is the need of a promise of what they already have? “To as many as received him, he gave to them the power to become the sons of God, even to as many as believed on his name.” What does that mean if everyone already is a child of God? How do they understand that God has begotten his people again by the resurrection of Christ to a lively hope? Were we sons already? How were we heirs of wrath even as others, if all men are in the family of God? They make use of an expression which bears two renderings to set up a theory which is destructive to the gospel. I leave those to defend that statement who care to do so; I believe it to be altogether untenable if we keep to the Word of God. The Fatherhood of God is for a special people, chosen from before the foundation of the world, and adopted and regenerated in due time through his grace.
14. It appears from the text that love for Christ is the only infallible test of our sonship towards God. Those to whom Christ spoke were by nature and descent, if any in the world were, the children of God. If any men who did not love Christ could be the children of God they were the Jews who stood before him then, for they were from the seed of Abraham, whom God had chosen, they had been brought up from their very childhood in the observance of ceremonies which God had ordained, and they bore in their flesh the mark of the covenant. They were moreover the only people under heaven who worshipped only one God. The Romans, the Greeks, and all others were idolaters; these Jews were worshippers of the one unseen Jehovah, and they were very tenacious about it, for after the Babylonian captivity nothing could make a Jew worship an idol. Whatever faults they might have they certainly were not wanderers from the unity of the Godhead. That they held, and held most firmly. And, moreover, these people were, no doubt, made to suffer a good deal of slander and reproach for worshipping the only one and invisible God. They were despised by their Roman masters, and the polite Greeks with their poetic mythology sneered at their strange worship, which they considered to be mere atheism, since they saw no image set up. The Jew, therefore, stood out grandly as being, if any unregenerate man could be so, a son of God, and yet since he did not love Christ, he did not have God for his father. Our Master tells them, “If God were your father, you would love me”; and so he puts down all pretensions arising from their pedigree, from their circumcision, from their rites and ceremonies, from their broad phylacteries and bordered garments, and everything else. Love for Christ is the great test of sonship towards God. My dear hearer, if you do not love Christ, you are no child of God, for if you were, you would love what your Father loves; your nature, descended from God, would run in the same channel, and since he loves Christ supremely and above all things, so you would love Jesus Christ with all your heart beyond all the world. If you were a child of God, you would love Jesus, for you would see God in Jesus. He says, “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me,” and inasmuch as you are a child of God, you would know your Father and perceive him in the Son, in whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. He is the exact image of his person, and the brightness of his Father’s glory, and just as the child loves his father, so you would love the Godhead in Jesus Christ; it would be impossible for you to do otherwise. Indeed, not only the Godhead but even the humanity of our Lord would win your love, for God loves holiness in man, and especially in the man Christ Jesus, and so must we. All the qualities of his human nature were brilliant with his divine holiness, and therefore will be sure to command your love if you love the Father.
15. Every man loves that which is like himself. If you were born by God, you would love God; but Jesus Christ is God, and therefore you would love him. If you were born by God you would be holy and true and loving and tender, and Jesus is all that, and so you would love him. It is curious how language sometimes teaches morals. You know we have the word “like.” We are said to like a thing. But the word has another meaning, we may be like to a thing. Now a man always likes what he is like, and if you are like God you love God, to whom you are like, and being like Christ you like Christ, to whom you are like, for like loves like, or let me say, like likes its like. There must be love for Christ in the soul if you are like to Christ, which you are if you are a child of God.
16. If you are a child of God you must love Christ, because of his essential divinity; for notice in the text, “I proceeded and came from God.” I do not understand that expression, no one does. You have heard of Dr. Döllinger and a number of learned men meeting to lay down dogmatic declarations upon the double procession of the Holy Spirit. What a foolish task. They were engaged in defining a subject which they could not possibly understand; ants met to measure the sun, ephemera debating upon eternity. We cannot enter into the springs of the sea, nor can we enter into the essence of Deity, or the relationships of the blessed persons of the Trinity to each other; and no man ever undertakes to do so but that he goes wrong, misled by his own presumption. If any man were to undertake to look the sun in the face for days at a time he would soon become blind; the light is so excessive, and mortal eyes are so dim, that blindness must follow. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, by what we are accustomed to call eternal filiation or sonship, or what the text calls proceeding from him; and therefore because of that, being divine and proceeding from the divine Father in some mysterious sense, he is himself to be devoutly adored, and if we are the children of God we must love the Lord Jesus.
17. The text adds that we shall also love him because of his mission. “I came from God; I am not here on my own authority, but he sent me.” If we love God we must love what comes from God. I know when I left the village where I was first pastor, and where I had loved the people very much and they had loved me, I used to say if I saw even a dog which came from that parish I should be glad to see it, for I felt a love towards everything and everyone coming from that place. It does not matter how small the trifle, a little flower or a piece of leaf from the garden, you prize it, for it came from someone you revere. Ah, that little shoe of your dear babe now in heaven, or a little piece of the handwriting of your dear mother, now with God; how dear they are! How much more should we love Christ because he came from God! And he comes, not as a mere relic or memorial, but as his living, loving voice. If a child were far away, in India, and he had not heard from home for some time, and he at last received a letter, how sweet it would be. It comes from his father. How pleased he is to get it. But suppose a messenger should come and say, “I came from your father.” Why, he would feel at once the deepest interest in him. Would you shut your door against your father’s messenger? No, but you would say, “Come in; though it is the middle of the night I shall always have time to listen to you.” Shall we not welcome Jesus like this?
18. And then, remember, while Jesus came as our Father’s messenger, what a message he brought — pardon for sin, restoration from the Fall, acceptance in the Beloved, and eternal life and glory. Oh, when he comes from the Father, comes for the Father, and comes with a message meant to lead us to the Father, we who are the children of God must love him for all these reasons. It is not possible that you can be a child of God, and not love the Christ whom the Father has anointed, the Messiah whom the Father has sent, the Jesus whom the Father has made to be the Saviour, the Emmanuel, the God with us, the Father’s self revealed in the fulness of grace and truth.
19. That he did not come on his own authority is another reason for love. When a man lives only to serve himself our love begins to dry up for lack of secret springs, but when we perceive that Jesus Christ did not come on his own authority, but was sent by the Father, that his objectives and purposes were not for himself in any degree, but entirely for the Father and for us, our heart must go out towards him.
20. III. I might thus continue, but there is no need for it, to show you that you must love Jesus. And so I close with the APPLICATION. Lend me your ears and hearts for a few minutes.
21. If it is so, that love for Christ is essential, and is the main test of sonship, come, brethren, do we love him or not? Now, ask the question all around. I know some will say, “Love him? indeed, that I do.” Yes, but I will still ask you, for my Lord asked Peter three times, you know, “Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me?” and I do not suppose you are better than Peter, and so I must repeat the question, though you may answer it as quickly as he did, for it will not harm you to answer correctly three times, but it would harm you to answer falsely even once. So let us ask the question personally — Do You love Jesus?
22. If I love him then I trust him, and lean on him with all my weight. “Ah, I do that; blessed be his name, I know I do.” Can you not speak with assurance concerning that point? Tell me, then, have you any other hope besides what springs from his dear cross and wounded side? If you have you do not love him, but if your trust rests entirely and solely on him, there are the beginnings of love in you: the root of the matter is there.
23. If you love him you will keep his word. That is the next point. He says “If any man loves me he will keep my word,” that is to say, he will reverence what Jesus said, and endeavour to learn from his teaching; you will believe what he says and desire to know its meaning. Now are you quite sure that you pay reverence to the words of Christ? How about your neglected Bible? How about the parts of Scripture which you have never wished to understand because you were afraid it was a little different from the articles of your church or the creed of your family? That does not look like reverence for Christ’s word. My dear friend, let me ask the question very pointedly. Do you want to know what Christ taught? Are you willing to believe all he reveals? Do you ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into the things of Christ? For remember, he who breaks one of the least of our Lord’s commandments and teaches men to do so, the same shall be least in the kingdom of heaven; and would you wish to be that?
24. Another test of love for Christ is this. “If you love me, keep my commandments.” It is not merely hearing his word, for the man who built his house upon the sand did that; but the Lord said, “He who hears my word, and does it, is like a man who built his house on a rock.” “Does it,” “Does it!” Do you obey Christ? If you do not you do not love him. If the commands of Jesus are treated by you as matters of no importance, then your heart is not with him. The child is to love his father, but the command by which his love is to be tested is “Children, obey your parents in all things.” So it is with Jesus. If you love him you will obey him. Now search your hearts and look at your lives, and are there not some points which might make you question? At any rate, I think there are many matters that should make us pray, “Lord, you know all things, and therefore you know all my sins and all my failures, but still you know that I love you; deliver me from sin, and do not let me grieve you any more.”
25. Now, apply that text to your heart in another form. If you love Christ you will imitate him. It is the nature of love to be imitative; the most sincere form of admiration is imitation. If you love Jesus, you will labour to be like him; I am sure you will. Are you trying to be Christ-like? You perceive in yourself many things that are not in Christ; do you long to get rid of those things? And you see in Jesus Christ many excellencies which you have not yet reached. Are you pressing towards them? Then I know you love him; but if there is no imitation there is no love.
26. Love for Christ may also be judged by love for his people. He who loves Jesus is sure to love all others whose hearts burn with the same flame. How is it with you? “Well,” you say, “I love some of the brethren.” Yes, and so do the tax collectors and sinners love some of them. Certain of God’s people are so very sweet in their temperament and excellent in their natural dispositions that I should think the most wicked person in the world must love them, but the test is to love them for Jesus’ sake, even though you cannot help seeing their mistakes and faults.
27. “I love the saints,” one says; “at least, I love all of my denomination.” That, also, is very easy, for the Sadducees loved the Sadducees, and the Pharisees loved the Pharisees, but the thing is to love God’s people, though you fear that they are in error upon certain points, and though you cannot agree with them in some of their views, and think they dishonour God by certain failures. The Christian loves all who are in Christ, not because of their soundness in the faith, but because of their union to Jesus. Come, then, do you love the Lord’s people because they are his? “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.”
28. And, dear friend, you may judge again whether you love Christ by this: do you sympathise with his objectives? Whenever we love another we begin to love the things which he loves. Christ desires to see this world brought to his feet. Do you wish to see him King over the nations? He desires to gather for himself a chosen people. Are you seeking to bring in his wanderers? He delights to save the sons of men. Do you wish to see them saved? Do your thoughts, wishes, and desires run in the same direction with those of Jesus? If so, you love him.
29. Again, do you serve his cause? for that love which never leads to action is poor love. Is it love at all? The affection which can be satisfied without doing anything for the beloved objective is so base a thing that it would be a shame to degrade that golden name of love by applying it to such a miserable counterfeit. Love Jesus! And yet you have never taught a little child his name? Love Jesus! and you are an orator, and yet you never stand up to proclaim his gospel? Love Jesus! and your gold lies cankering, and your silver is tarnished, and you give none of these to his work? Love Jesus! and it never costs you a night’s unrest, or an hour’s distress of mind, because his kingdom does not come? I thank God I do not understand your love, and hope I never may. May God give you a better love than this, the love which works and shows itself in deeds.
If you love Jesus you desire to be with him, and you are very glad
for every opportunity of having special fellowship with him. I know
if you love him you will not be happy to live a day without him; you
will feel ill at ease if he is gone only for an hour. If you love
Jesus, oh, how you pant for the time when you will see him face to
face. If you love him, there are times when you become lovesick for
him, when you feel as if to die would be a fleabite or a nothing, if
you might only see his face. How often when you have been to the
house of God, and heard a sermon that has carried you near to Jesus,
you have been ready to say like Simeon, “Lord, now let your servant
depart in peace according to your word, for my eyes have seen your
salvation.” When you have had to go back into the world again you
have almost felt unhappy to think you were bound to linger in this
far off country, and you could only feel satisfied by saying,
Sun of my soul remain with me,
For this world is dark and drear without thee.
I ask the question again. Is there anyone here who dares to say “I do
not love the Saviour,” then, my dear friend, I beseech you to look
that matter in the face, for if you do not love Christ heartily and
sincerely, then are you not his, and you are not God’s, but you are a
child of Satan. “Well,” one says, “it would not yield me any comfort
to know that.” No, and I do not want you to find any comfort, for
comfort now would be deadly to you. A good physician does not always
look to the immediate ease of his patient, he has his eye on the
cure. I want you to be uncomfortable until Jesus comforts you. I want
you to be ashamed of not loving Christ until you become unhappy about
it. I beg you to stand by the foot of Calvary’s cross and look up and
see Jesus bleeding and dying, and then say, “He has done all this,
and yet I do not love him.” I wish you would go into the Garden of
Gethsemane and see the sweat drops bloody fall upon the frozen
ground, and hear his cries and groans for sinners, and then say,
“and still I do not love him.” I beg you to look at him taken down
from the cross and laid in the tomb with the image of death stamped
on his glorious face, a death which he endured out of pure love for
his enemies, and then I would have you see if you are vile enough to
say, “And still I do not love him.” I beg you in spirit to follow him
in his resurrection and to see him as he breathes peace over his
disciples, and then see if you dare to say, “I do not love him.” I
would wish you to see him, by faith, rising as he ascends into glory,
and a cloud receives him, and then I would like you to put your hands
to your brow, and feel as if your heart must burst, while you say,
“Still I do not love him.” I would have you see him sitting on his
throne in all his glory, adored by myriads of the blessed, with every
harp string in heaven sounding out his praise as he sits at the right
hand of the Father, and the Father takes delight in him. I would wish
you to stand amid that splendour, and begin to beat your chest, and
say, “And still, alas, this hard heart does not love him.” How I wish
you would get to your room, and pour your soul out in a flood of
tears, to think that eventually he will come to judge the world in
righteousness, and to be admired by those who believe, and you,
unless you are renewed in heart, will have to stand among that mighty
throng who shall surround his great white throne, and then you will
have to weep and wail and wish you never had been born, while the
dire thought will flash through you “I do not love him, but he is
come to judge me, and I am far off from him, unsaved, uncleansed in
his blood.” I entreat you to think of it now, so that you may not
have to experience it then. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, oh you
unloving heart, and you shall be saved from your unloving spirit, and
taught to esteem him whom to love is the best evidence of life
Oh love beyond all mortal thought!
Unquenchable by flood or sea!
Love that through death to man hath brought
The life of immortality!
Thou dost enkindle heaven’s own fire
In hearts all dead to high desire.
Let love for love our souls inflame,
The perfect love that faileth never;
And sweet hosannas to thy name
Through heaven’s vast dome go up for ever.
[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Joh 8:21-59]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, His Praise — Redeeming Love” 423]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus — Jesus Our Choice” 807]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Names and Titles — Friend” 377]
Jesus Christ, His Praise
423 — Redeeming Love
1 To our Redeemer’s glorious name,
Awake the sacred song!
Oh may his love (immortal flame!)
Tune every heart and tongue.
2 His love, what mortal thought can reach,
What mortal tongue display?
Imagination’s utmost stretch
In wonder dies away.
3 Let wonder still with love unite,
And gratitude and joy;
Jesus be our supreme delight,
His praise, our blest employ.
4 Jesus who left his throne on high,
Left the bright realms of bliss,
And came to earth to bleed and die —
Was ever love like this?
5 Oh may the sweet, the blissful theme,
Fill every heart and tongue,
Fill every heart and tongue,
And join the sacred song.
Anne Steele, 1760.
The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus
807 — Jesus Our Choice
1 Though all the world my choice deride,
Yet Jesus shall my portion be;
For I am pleased with none beside;
The fairest of the fair is he.
2 Sweet is the vision of thy face,
And kindness o’er thy lips is shed;
Lovely art thou, and full of grace,
And glory beams around thy head.
3 Thy sufferings I embrace with thee,
Thy poverty and shameful cross;
The pleasures of the world I flee,
And deem its treasures only dross.
4 Be daily dearer to my heart,
And ever let me feel thee near;
Then willingly with all I’d part,
Nor count it worthy of a tear.
Gerhard Tersteegen, 1731;
tr. by Samuel Jackson, 1832.
Jesus Christ, Names and Titles
377 — Friend
1 Oh thou, my soul, forget no more
The Friend who all thy misery bore;
Let every idol be forgot,
But, oh my soul, forget him not.
2 Jesus for thee a body takes,
Thy guilt assumes, thy fetters breaks,
Discharging all thy dreadful debt:
And canst thou ere such love forget?
3 Renounce thy works and ways with grief,
And fly to this most sure relief:
Nor him forget who left his throne,
And for thy life gave up his own.
4 Infinite truth and mercy shine
In him, and he himself is thine;
And canst thou then, with sin beset,
Such charms, such matchless charms forget?
5 Ah! no! till life itself depart,
His name shall cheer and warm my heart;
And lisping this, from earth I’ll rise,
And join the chorus of the skies.
6 Ah! no; when all things else expire,
And perish in the general fire,
This name all others shall survive,
And through eternity shall live.
tr. by Joshua Marshman, 1801.