A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Evening, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *11/10/2012
On a night when the Tabernacle was thrown open to all comers, the ordinary hearers vacating their seats for the occasion.
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know
what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of
his inheritance in the saints, and what is the extreme greatness of
his power towards us who believe, according to the working of his
mighty power, which he performed in Christ, when he raised him from
the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly
places. [Eph 1:18-20]
For other sermons on this text:
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 534, “Mighty Power Which Creates and Sustains Faith” 525]
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1466, “Three Whats, The” 1465]
Exposition on 1Co 13; Eph 1 [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3525, “God’s Overtaking Mercy” 3527 @@ "Exposition"]
Exposition on Eph 1:1-2:1 [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3429, “Accepted in the Beloved” 3431 @@ "Exposition"]
Exposition on Eph 1 [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2266, “Blessing for Blessing” 2267 @@ "Exposition"]
Exposition on Eph 1 [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2635, “Depths and Heights” 2636 @@ "Exposition"]
Exposition on Eph 1 [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2807, “Spared!” 2808 @@ "Exposition"]
Exposition on Ps 136 Eph 1 [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3317, “Sweet Salaam, A” 3319 @@ "Exposition"]
[See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Eph 1:20"]
1. You see the text begins with a personal experience within the mind and judgment — “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened.” Everything depends upon the opened eye: the scene may be fair, and the light may be bright, but if the sight is gone all is in vain. Zedekiah had his eyes put out by the king of Babylon, and then he was taken down to the imperial city, but for all that he could enjoy of all its splendour he might as well have been in a desert. There were vast halls and palaces, and hanging gardens and a city wall which was the wonder of the world, so that Babylon is called by the prophet “the glory of kingdoms and the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency”; but the blinded monarch saw nothing of all the grandeur of the golden city, and to him her wealth was as though it had not been. So it is with us by nature, we have no apprehension of spiritual things, no power to discern eternal good, but our foolish heart is darkened. Therefore the Lord must first enlighten the eyes of our understanding, or else, however precious the truth, and however clearly it may be stated, we shall never be able to apprehend it.
2. I find there is a rendering of the text which runs like this, “The eyes of your heart being enlightened,” and it strikes me that this version has about it the appearance of being the correct one, because divine things are usually seen better by the heart than by the understanding. There are a thousand things which God has revealed which we shall never understand, and yet we can know them by a loving, trustful experience. Our Saviour says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” The purifying of the heart is the enlightening of the spiritual eye. Strange as it may seem, the true eye of the renewed man is seated rather in the heart than in the head: holy affections enable us to see, and as far as possible to understand divine things. I pray that in each one of us the eyes of our heart may be enlightened, so that we may know spiritual things as they are best known.
3. Now, the prayer of our text was offered for Christians — for converted people, for those who had faith in Christ Jesus and love for all the saints; yet Paul says that he never ceased to pray that their eyes might be enlightened. Yes, brethren, he who sees most needs to have his eyes enlightened to see more, for how little as yet of the glory of God have any of us beheld! Even that favoured pilgrim who has been led by the shepherds to the top of Mount Clear, to stand there with a telescope and gaze into the glories of Emmanuel’s land, has still only begun to perceive the things which God has prepared for those who love him. I pray God that if we already do see, we may see more, until our eye shall be so strengthened that the light of the New Jerusalem shall not be too strong for us, but we shall find ourselves at home amid the splendour of God which outshines the sun.
4. But if believers need to have their eyes enlightened, how much more must those who are unconverted. They are altogether blinded, and consequently their need of enlightenment is far greater. They were born blind, and the god of this world takes care to darken their minds even further. Around them there broods a sevenfold midnight, the gloom of spiritual death. “They meet darkness in the daytime, and grope in the noonday as in the night.” Oh blind eye, may Jesus touch you! May the Spirit bring his sacred eyesalve and make you see, and tonight though it is not within our power to give you eyes, we would tell you what is to be seen, hoping that, perhaps, while we give the description, God may give you eyes with which to verify our report. Perhaps even the reporting of these things may make you long for them, and, when you only have just a longing, God will hear you. If that longing is turned into a prayer, and that prayer is kindled by a spark of faith, that longing shall be the beginning of light for your soul, and you shall see the salvation of God.
5. Tonight, then, there are two things we shall ask about, what things are to be seen and known according to the text; and, secondly, why it is our anxious desire that every person here should see and know these things.
6. I. First, then, WHAT IS TO BE SEEN AND KNOWN ACCORDING TO THE TEXT? When you heard me read it, you must have noticed that it contains three “whats.” “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what the extreme greatness of his power towards us who believe.” Upon these three “whats” I shall try to speak tonight, and may the Holy Spirit speak through me to all your souls.
7. Our first point is, “What is the hope of his calling?” A great many people never think about religion, because they cannot believe that there is much in it. If they had half an idea of what is to be gained by it even now, and of the unspeakable blessedness which will come from it throughout eternity, surely their own desire to benefit themselves would incline them diligently to consider it, even if they went no further. So promising a matter is at least worth looking into, for it would be a great pity to miss present and eternal happiness if it can be had. But no, they suppose it to be a very small and trifling thing, fit only for the thoughts of priests and women, and such weak folk, and so they neglect it, despise it, and look after other business. Tonight, while I try to explain what the hope of the Christian man’s calling is, I boldly claim your best consideration. If the preacher may not request it on his own account he may assuredly ask it for the reason that his theme deserves it. Perhaps while we are speaking of the worth of this hope, and you are lending an attentive ear, the Lord may lead you to seek his face. Is it not written “Incline your ear and come to me, hear and your soul shall live?” Many a man has been tempted to start upon a voyage by hearing much of the land to which he sails. Praise his goods and you will find the merchant buyers. Such is our desire at this time: we would so speak of the hope of our calling as to allure those who are eager after sweets to taste and see that the Lord is good.
8. The idea of the text seems to me to be illustrated well by the patriarch Abraham. Abraham was living in his father’s house in Ur of the Chaldees when a call came to him. That call came from God. He was to separate himself entirely and to get away to a land which he had never seen. What was the hope of that calling? It was the hope that God would give him a seed, and give to that seed a land to live in. Thus the Lord spoke to him: “I will make from you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing: and I will bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.” The great nation which should spring from him would possess the land in which he was to wander as a pilgrim and a stranger, according to the word of the Lord — “For all the land which you see, I will give it to you, and to your seed for ever.” For the sake of that hope he forsook everything; and lived in tents, a pilgrim and a sojourner with God, living entirely by faith, but living grandly and sublimely, and so becoming the father of all believers throughout all ages, greater than a prince among the sons of men. Now, there comes to every man who is a true Christian a call from God. We speak of it by the name of “effectual calling.” The Spirit of God personally applies the truth of Scripture to the heart, and makes the chosen man to feel that it belongs to him. The believer perceives that he is separated from others by the sovereign grace of God, and that therefore he must come out from the world, and no longer live according to the sight of the eyes and the hearing of the ears, but must live by faith upon God, as seeing him who is invisible. This makes the believer very different from the rest of mankind. Those who walk by sight do not understand him. They generally misrepresent him, and frequently they hate him, but he is content to be unknown, for he remembers it is written, “You are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” “Therefore the world does not know us because it did not know him.”
9. But what is the prospect which leads the believer to this life? What is the hope of his calling? Brethren, let me describe the hope of those of us who have come out to walk by faith in Christ Jesus. We have already obtained enough abundance to reward us for obedience to the call, and even if nothing were shut up in the closed hand of Hope, her open hand has greatly enriched us. Christian man, you have in possession already the forgiveness of your sin, acceptance in Christ, adoption into the divine family, and the nature, rank, and rights of a child of God. You already possess what makes you among the happiest of mankind, and often you feel that if it should turn out that there is no hereafter and if you should die like a dog, yet still your faith in God has given you such consolation and such strength, such peace and such joy that you would bless God that you ever had it. Our hope has not injured us either with respect to character or to happiness, and even if it turned out to be false we are at least as well off as the unbeliever. Still our main possession lies in hope. We carry a bag of spending money in our hands, but the bulk of our wealth is deposited in the Bank of Hope. What then is the Christian’s hope?
Well, first, he hopes and believes that he shall be under divine
protection for ever and ever, that he shall be the object of divine
love beyond all time, and when time shall be no more. He hopes that
all things shall work together for his good in the future as he
perceives they have done in the past, and as he is persuaded they are
doing now. He expects a stormy voyage, but because Christ is at the
helm he hopes to come to the fair havens at the last. He expects to
be tempted, but he hopes to be upheld. He expects to be slandered,
but he hopes to be cleared. He expects to be tried, but he hopes to
triumph. Sustained by this hope he dreads no labours and fears no
He holds no parley with unmanly fears,
Where duty bids he confidently steers,
Faces a thousand dangers at her call,
And, hoping in his God, surmounts them all.
His hope is that all through life, whether that is long or short (and he has not much care about the number of his years), underneath him will be the everlasting arms. He hopes that the Lord will be his shepherd, and he shall not lack. He hopes that goodness and mercy will follow him all the days of his life. Hence he is not afraid to die, for then he expects to come into actual possession of his best possessions. He looks for his best things last. He believes that when it is time for him to depart, Jesus will come and meet him, and the thought of that meeting puts aside all idea of the grim terrors of the grave. His hope leaps over the grave, and lands him in a glorious resurrection. Does not the hope of our calling open grandly?
11. We hope also, and have good reason for it, that after death at the day of judgment we shall have, as we believe we have now, a perfect justification. A dread assize will be held. Upon a great white throne reflecting all things, and brilliant with its purity, Jesus the Judge of all will sit, and he shall separate the mass of mankind into two portions as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats. We know that in that day he will discern those who believed in him and trusted him and obeyed him and sought to be like him, and we hope that we shall be of that blessed number. For us there shall be no sentence of condemnation, for it is written, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” We hope for a sentence of acquittal, and we therefore challenge the judgment which others dread. Clothed with a divine righteousness we await with expectation the day which shall make the impenitent wish that they had never been born. Hope takes into her consideration the most dreaded of all events, and weaves it into her song. The end of all things is not the end of hope. Is this not brave hoping? The hope of a man who sings on for ever, — living in the circle of divine love, dying beneath the protection of divine power, and abiding in the judgment justified by divine justice: accepted in the Beloved, and beloved by the Father.
12. What else do we hope for? We hope for absolute perfection. The God who has changed our hearts will continue the good work of sanctification until he has taken every sin out of us, every desire for sin, every possibility of sin. We expect him to renew our minds and prevent our making so many mistakes in judgment. We expect him to renew our hearts so that they may be wholly set on divine and heavenly things. We expect him to renew our entire spirit until when the prince of this world comes he shall find nothing in us — no tinder for his sparks, no corruption in which to sow his evil seed. We hope to be perfect, even as God is perfect. As Adam, when he came from his Maker’s hand, so shall we be, and something more, for we shall possess a life in Christ which our unfallen progenitor did not know in Paradise.
We hope, also, that this body of ours will be perfected. It will lie
in the grave and moulder into dust, unless our Lord Jesus should come
before our hour of death. We make little account of this, having no
very intense desire to avoid the grave where our glorious Redeemer
lay. We have nothing to lose, but much to gain, by dying, for by it
we put off our mortality so that at the resurrection we may put on
Corruption, earth, and worms
Shall but refine this flesh,
Till when the Lord our Saviour comes
We put it on afresh.
We expect that our body shall be raised — changed, but still the same concerning its identity. For us the promise of the Scripture is — “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death.” When our body wakes up, though sown in corruption it shall be raised in incorruption, though sown in weakness it shall be raised in power, though sown a body only fit for the soul it shall be raised a body fit for our highest nature, even for our spirit. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy so we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Our body shall be fashioned like the body of Jesus Christ himself. We are looking forward to a time when we shall be finished with aches and pains, with weariness and decay, with old age and its infirmities, and with all liability to death. We expect perpetual youth to be our portion, and that joy shall thrill through every nerve and sinew of our body, which now, alas, so often becomes the theatre of agony. Yes, this is our hope, perfection of spirit, soul, and body; for Christ has redeemed it all, and he will have all of it to be his inheritance, and in our entire manhood his glorious image shall be reflected for ever.
14. What else is the hope of our calling? Why, that being so cleared in judgment and made absolutely perfect, we shall for ever — for eternal duration is the glory of our inheritance — we shall for ever enjoy infinite happiness. We do not know what form the joys of eternity will take, but they will take such a form as shall make us the most happy. We shall have heaven’s best, yes God’s best, and what that is who among us can guess, though he uses all his knowledge and gives the reins to his expectancy? “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him; but he has revealed them to us by his Spirit,” and, as far as we understand that revelation we are taught by it that we shall enter into a state of complete rest and perfect peace; a state of holy delight, and of serene and blissful activity; a state of perfect praise; a state of satisfaction; a state, probably, of progress, but still of completeness at every inch of the road; a state in which we shall be as happy as we are capable of being, every vessel, little or great, being filled to the brim. We shall be supremely blessed, for at the right hand of God there are pleasures for evermore. This is the hope of our calling.
15. Nor even now have we come to an end, for even something more remains. You say, “Can there be more?” Yes, we expect for ever to be in a condition of power, and honour, and relationship to God. We hope to be brought so near to God that all the universe shall distinctly see that we are courtiers of the palace of the great King, yes, princes of the blood royal of the skies. We shall be very near to God, for we shall be with Jesus where he is, and sit upon his throne. We shall serve our God, and see his face while we serve him; and his glory will be reflected upon us and from us, and we shall be his dear sons and daughters in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. There is not an angel in heaven with whom the lowliest saint might wish to exchange places, for though the angels excel us now, we shall certainly excel them in the world to come: we shall be nearer to the eternal throne than any one of them, inasmuch as Christ Jesus is our brother and not the brother of angels. He is God and man in one person, and there never was God and angel in the same union. We shall be next to the Creator — let us speak it with bated breath but leaping heart — we shall be next to the eternal God, one with his only-begotten Son, who is one with himself. This is the hope of our calling.
16. Oh, sirs, is this not worth having? Is this not worth striving for? When you count the cost, what cost is worth the counting? Might not a man lay down all that he has for this, yes, and his life also, to keep this pearl of extremely great price? And what if you should miss it? What, if you should miss it? What, if it could be proven, as it never will be, that there are no pains of hell and no eternal wrath, yet is this not enough — to have lost this immortality of glory, this immortality of honour, and of likeness to God? May none of us ever incur the pain of this loss: for it is hell to lose heaven, it is infinite misery to miss infinite felicity. To be within an inch of an immortality of bliss and honour, and yet to let it slip by, will this not be an endless torment to the soul? To clutch the pleasures of an hour, all earth-stained as they are, shall we renounce the ecstasies of eternity? To snatch at bubbles which break before we can grasp them, shall we let unfading glories go? For the mere sake of dwelling at ease by escaping thought shall we let boundless blessings run by us, considering ourselves unworthy of them, and so losing them? I do pray that you may know “what is the hope of his calling,” and that when you know it you may cry, “I will have it. If it is to be had, by God’s grace, I will have it now.” May it be so for Christ’s sake.
17. And now I turn to the second “what” of the text, and that is still more marvellous. I am sure I cannot exhaust the text, it is too great for me; but here it is — “That you may know what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”
18. Notice well that God’s people are by grace made to be his saints, his select, his holy ones, and then they are viewed as his inheritance. The whole world is God’s. The cattle on a thousand hills and all lands and seas are his, and those starry worlds which in profusion are sown in space are all his, but he condescends to call sanctified men and women his inheritance in a special sense. They are his particular treasure, his crown-jewels, dear and precious to him. “The Lord’s portion is his people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” I want you to think of this grand truth, because practical results flow from it. If you and I are believers in Jesus we are God’s inheritance, and the Lord has what the apostle calls “the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” But how can God make riches out of poor men and women? They are believers in Jesus, but what is there in them that he considers to be riches — riches of glory, too?
19. We answer, first, he has spent riches of love upon them, for he loves them, poor as they are, and sick and sorry as they often are. He loved them from before the foundation of the world: and you know how precious a thing becomes when you love it. It is a beloved keepsake, and you would not part with it for a mint of gold. It may have little intrinsic value, but if you have long set your heart upon it how dear it becomes to you. God has loved his people so long and so intensely, with such an unbounded love, that there is a wealth in them for his heart. Oh, that we knew something of “the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” as measured by the gauge of love.
20. Moreover, the Lord has spent a wealth of wisdom on his saints. A material may be almost valueless at first, but when a wise man has exercised his thought and skill upon it, the value may be enhanced a thousandfold. But God has thought of his saints for ever. Eternal wisdom found her delights with the sons of men and occupied herself on their behalf before the foundation of the world. “How precious also are your thoughts towards me, oh God, how great is the sum of them!” God’s wisdom has exhibited itself at its full in the plan of redemption. I scarcely hear of his deliberating for any purpose except for the salvation of his people, but in that matter we continually read of “the counsel of his will,” to show us that, speaking after the manner of man, the Lord has reasoned within himself how best to save his own people. His thoughts of wisdom and prudence have been exercised upon his saints, and hence it is that there is a riches of glory about them.
21. What is more, when the riches of his love, and of his wisdom, had been expended it came to pass that it was necessary that he should spend a life of suffering upon them. Look to the glorious landscapes of rock and hill, and dale and mountain; turn your eye from grassy slope to snowy summit sparkling in the sun, and while you admire all things remember that God has costlier works than these. None of these cost the Lord an incarnation and a death. Look, if you wish, to all the majestic halls of heaven, where the lamps of glory are lit with celestial splendour, but neither angel, nor cherubim, nor seraphim cost their Lord a bloody sweat. Then look you at his people; view “his inheritance in the saints,” for it is there that the Son of God, taking upon himself human nature, sighed and groaned and sweat great drops of blood, and felt the agonies of death. As the Lord looks over all that he has made he sees nothing that has cost him suffering and death until he comes to his people. Jesus knows what the saints cost him. He estimates them at a rate usual among men, for men say, “The price is what it will fetch,” and Jesus knows what his people fetched when he redeemed them by giving himself for them. Measured by that standard God has indeed riches of glory in his inheritance in the saints.
22. And then there comes great glory to God from the workmanship which he puts into his people. When he made the world it was with a voice. “He spoke, and it was done.” When he made the things that are he had only to will and they came into being, but in the making of a Christian it needs the labour of the Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit must all work to create a new creature in Christ Jesus. The Father must beget, the Son must redeem, the Spirit must regenerate; and when this is done the Godhead’s omnipotence must be exerted to keep a Christian alive, and to perfect him, and present him “faultless before the presence of God with extremely great joy.” An artisan can put into a small piece of iron, of no worth at all, so much labour that it shall be valued at scores of pounds, and the Triune God can expend so much workmanship upon our poor nature that a man shall be more precious than the gold of Ophir. Valued like this, the Lord may well speak of “the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”
23. Now, as I want if I can to lead you into a sense of this glory for a minute, I should like you to accompany me while I speak somewhat carefully but yet enthusiastically about what the Christian becomes when God has perfected his work upon him.
24. Notice, then, that when at the last the believer shall have been perfected by the work of the Spirit, as he will be, man will be an extraordinary creature. Look! God has made matter, and upon matter has impressed his will, and from the tiniest drop to the mightiest orb, matter never disobeys the law which God imposes upon it. This is a great triumph. Call it “the law of gravitation,” or whatever you wish, it is quite certain that all inanimate nature is put under law by the Most High and that it never rebels. Huge as this great universe is, God has as complete power over it, just as you have over the ball which you toss in your hand. This is glorious, but still it is little glory compared with what God obtains from his people when they arrive in heaven, for they will not be mere dead, inert matter, governed by laws, but they will be full of life and moral freedom, and yet they will be as completely subject to the divine mind as the atoms of matter are. This will be an achievement indeed — to have produced free agents which will be under no control of force, but perfectly at liberty, and yet will be for ever absolutely obedient to the divine will.
25. Listen again. The perfected saints will be creatures of a very particular form, for they will not be pure spirit, dissociated from matter. I understand those spirits before the throne standing in their obedience, because they have no materialism to hamper them and drag them down. Angels are spirits without material bodies, and they obey God, listening to his commandments; but a perfected saint is a creature in which the material is linked with the spiritual. Such are we now, and I suppose, in a measure, such shall we remain, and yet there will be no sin in us, no violation of the divine command. Man is a strange mixture. He is next of kin to Deity, and yet he is brother to the worm. We are partakers of the divine nature, and the children of God; and yet with respect to our bodies we are linked to rocks and stones, and grosser things. Man renewed by grace touches the centre in Christ Jesus, but being still man he sweeps the circumference of creatureship, and includes within himself a summary of the whole creation. He has been called a microcosm, or a little world, and so indeed he is. Such a creature as this God is now perfecting. A being in whom dust and Deity are related. Such a being, purified from taint of evil, shall greatly glorify God.
26. Think, again, dear friends. There once stood a bright spirit in heaven, leader of the angels, but the place was too high for him, and the son of the morning fell from heaven and dragged others with him. God is making, by his grace, beings who will stand next to his throne, but will remain reverently loyal for ever. They will be peers in his kingdom, but they will never be proud or ambitious. We, my brethren, though in full possession of our free agency, shall never fall from our eternal glory, but shall be faithful for ever. We shall have passed through such an experience of sin, we shall so intensely feel our indebtedness to grace, we shall so fervently love the dear Redeemer, that we shall cast our crowns at his feet, and we shall ascribe our joy to him alone, and so shall never dream of revolting from him. God is thus making beings whom it will be safe to exalt to honours so near his own: will this not be a triumph of power and goodness? Can you think of it, that you will be one of such favoured creatures, if indeed you are a believer?
27. These beings will have known evil. Think of that. The unfallen angels have never, actually known evil, but in restored man shall be fulfilled the devil’s lie made into God’s truth, — “You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” They shall hate evil as the burnt child dreads the fire, and they shall love righteousness because by righteousness they have been saved, and in righteousness they have been created anew. How wonderful will that creature be who has known sin, and remains a free agent, and yet will never yield to folly, but remain for ever in holiness, held by bonds of love. Oh, when I think of the destiny of a child of God, my eyes sparkle, but my tongue refuses to utter what I think. What a being you are, oh man! Who are you that God should visit you? He has made you “a little lower than the angels,” but in Christ Jesus he has crowned you with glory and honour, and given you dominion over all the works of his hands, yes, in Christ he has raised you up and made you to sit with him in the heavenly places, far above principalities and powers, and your time to reign and triumph for ever is close at hand. How glorious is God in his people! God in Christ Jesus, seen in the church, who is like you?
28. Now, the point is, that if these are the riches of God’s glory in his inheritance in the saints, you may read it in another way, and say, “These are the riches of our inheritance too, for what shall we be if God is to have us for an inheritance?” Will you miss it? Will you miss it? Will you miss it? If this is a dream, I could wish to die rather than have the illusion dispelled. But it is fact, since God’s word is true. Will you miss it, then? Oh, if there were crowns to be scrambled for, most men are ambitious enough to seek for one, though it might be a curse for them. If there is gold, or if there is fame, men have only to hear the chink of the metal or the blast of the trumpet, and many stir themselves to win; but here is honour, and glory, and immortality in Christ, and it is to be had for the asking; it is to be had by simply believing and trusting in Jesus Christ, — Will you not have it? Oh, false hand that is not stretched out to receive it! Oh, false heart that does not pray for it! May God grant you to know what are the “riches of his inheritance in the saints,” so that you may seek to be a part in that inheritance and seek it now.
29. Now, the third “what”: “What is the extreme greatness of his power towards us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he performed in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” I thought I heard someone saying, “Woe is me! Woe is me! I hear of what man may be, I hear of what God may make of him, but woe is me; it will never come to be my lot. I am so weak, so fickle, so irresolute, so frail. Woe is me; I am undone. I have no strength.” Now, the third “what” is this: “that you may know what is the extreme greatness of his power towards us who believe.”
30. Now, learn this and know it — that in the conversion, preservation, and salvation of any one person God exhibits as great a power as he revealed when he raised Jesus Christ from the dead and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places. The salvation of no man in the world is by his own strength. It is by the power of God, “for we are his workmanship.” This fact should greatly relieve you who are discouraged: the thing is impossible for you, but it is not impossible, or even hard, for God. He who has created us to the very same thing is God, and he is quite as able to work it in you, my dear hearer, as to work it in the apostle Paul himself. God can do all things. Now, when our Lord Jesus lay in the tomb he was dead, but God quickened him. Jesus was imprisoned in the sepulchre, and the stone at the grave’s mouth was sealed and guarded; but the stone was rolled away and the guards were frightened, and the Lord of life rose from among the dead. Every sinner is buried in the tomb of sin by evil habit, but Christ can roll away the stone, and the sinner can come out a living man. Our Lord continued on earth among men for several days; but, despite human enmity, no man harmed him, for he had received a life and a glory which they could not approach. The saints also remain here among men, and many seek to destroy them, but God has given them a new life, which can never be destroyed, for he has hedged it around from all its adversaries. All the powers of darkness fought against the Lord Jesus Christ, but through the power of God he still conquered them all. I think I see him now ascending up on high leading captives captive in the power of God. So, my brother, you will be opposed by the powers of darkness, and by your own evil heart; but you shall conquer, for God will expend the same power in you which he revealed in his dear Son, and you, too, shall lead captives captive. I see the Lord Jesus entering the pearly gates and climbing to his throne, and there he sits, and no one can pull him down: and you, too, believing in Jesus, shall have the same power to tread down all your foes, your sins, your temptations, until you shall rise and sit where Jesus sits at the right hand of God. The very same power which raised Christ is waiting to raise the drunkard from his drunkenness, to raise the thief from his dishonesty, to raise the Pharisee from his self-righteousness, to raise the Sadducee from his unbelief. God has power among the sons of men, and he exerts this power in making them to be a people who shall display his praise. Oh, that you knew what is the extreme greatness of his power towards us who believe, because then you would fling away despair. There remains nothing for you in this case except to submit to the divine power. God will work in you; be willing to be worked upon. Oh, Spirit of the Lord, work in our hearers this good will. Drop yourselves like soft clay at the potter’s feet, and he will put you on the wheel and mould you at his pleasure. Be willing, it is all he asks of you; be trustful, it is all his gospel requires of you, and indeed, he gives to you both the will and the trust. “If you are willing and obedient you shall eat the good of the land.” Be willing to let go of the sin which ruins you, be willing to learn the truth which will renew you; be willing to sit at the feet of Jesus, be willing to accept a finished salvation from his hands; and all the power that is needed to lift you from this place to the starry gates of heaven is waiting to be shed upon you. May God give you to know this, and so to rest in Jesus and be saved.
31. II. The last word is to be upon the second point: WHY WE WISH YOU TO SEE AND KNOW ALL THIS. I have in effect been all along enforcing this second point as the sermon has progressed, and so I shall not need to detain you for much longer, except with a practical summary.
32. We want you to know the hope of his calling so that you may not neglect it, nor put anything in competition with it. I tried, as my poor words enabled me to tell you, what a hope the calling of God gives the Christian. I charge you, do not let it go. I shall, probably, never meet most of you again, and if any shall say to you afterwards, “Well, what did the man say?” I would like you to be compelled to say, “He said this — that there is a future before us of such glory that he charged us not to lose it. There are the possibilities of such intense delight for ever and ever that he besought us to ensure that delight by accepting Christ and his way of salvation.”
33. Next we want you to believe the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, so that you may see where your hope lies. Your hope lies in not being your own any more, but in being the Lord’s, and so experiencing “the riches of the glory of God’s inheritance in the saints.” The saints belong to their Lord: your salvation will be found in practically knowing that you are not your own, because you are bought with a price; yes, in admitting at this moment that your honour and happiness is found in being the Lord’s. If you are your own you will spend yourself and be ruined, but if you are Christ’s he will take care of you. Oh, if I thought that I had a hair of this head that belonged to myself alone I would tear it out; but to be owned by Jesus altogether, spirit, soul, and body; to be Christ’s man in the entirety of my being, this is glory, and immortality, and eternal life. Be your own, and you will be lost: be Christ’s, and you are saved.
The closing thought is this. We want you to know the extreme
greatness of God’s power, so that you may not doubt, or despond, or
despair, but come now and cast yourselves upon the incarnate God, and
let him save you. Yield yourselves to him, so that the great glory of
his power may be revealed in you as in the rest of his people. I
loathe the thought that you should go until you have really hidden
these things in your hearts to ponder them in subsequent days. I set
food before you, do not merely look at it, but eat a portion now and
carry the rest home to eat in secret. Our preaching is often too much
like a fiddler’s playing. People come to see how it is done, and then
they ask each other, “What do you think of him?” Now, I could care
less what you think of me, but I do care a whole world what you
think of Christ and of yourselves, and of your future state. I urge
you, forget the way in which I put things, for that may be very
blundering and faulty; but if there is anything in the things
themselves consider them with care. If you judge the Bible to be a
fraud, and that there is no heaven to be had, then go, sport and
laugh as you please, for you will only act consistently with your
erroneous imagination; but if you believe God’s word to be true, and
that there is a glorious hope connected with the Christian’s high
calling, then in the name of prudence and common sense why do you not
seek it? Give no sleep to your eyes nor slumber to your eyelids until
you find it. I ask the Lord’s people present here, and I know that
there are many such in the audience tonight, to pray that this appeal
may have an effect upon many in this great crowd, so that they may
seek the Lord at once with full purpose of heart. Oh Spirit of God,
work it, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Eph 1:1-2:1]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “God the Father, Adoration of God — Oh Sing Unto The Lord A New Song” 176]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, A Happy Portion — The Christian’s Treasure” 757]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Adoption — Adoption” 728]
Letter From Mr. Spurgeon
Dear Friends, — Accept my most loving greetings. May all grace abound towards each one of you, and may your joy and peace be multiplied by it.
Daily I feel I am improving in health and strength; only my knees remain feeble. I still adhere to my determination, if the Lord wills, to preach on Lord’s day, April 13. May his presence then be with us.
I earnestly entreat the prayers of all who know how to plead with God that when I return among you it may be in the fulness of the power of the Holy Spirit, and that my usefulness may be increased a hundredfold. Surely all the suffering I have endured, and all the rest I have enjoyed, should produce some fruit for God. Yet so feeble are we that we profit nothing unless the Spirit of the Lord quickens us. By all the affectionate interest which you have so far shown in my ministry, intercede for me, I beseech you, so that I may yet be made a blessing to myriads.
Yours in heartiest love,
Mentone, March 27. C. H. Spurgeon
God the Father, Adoration of God
176 — “Oh Sing Unto The Lord A New Song”
1 Unto the Lord, unto the Lord,
Oh, sing a new and joyful song!
Declare his glory, tell abroad
The wonders that to him belong.
2 For he is great, for he is great;
Above all gods his throne is raised;
He reigns in majesty and state,
In strength and beauty he is praised.
3 Give to the Lord, give to the Lord
The glory due unto his name;
Enter his courts with sweet accord;
In songs of joy his grace proclaim.
4 For lo! he comes, for lo! he comes
To judge the earth in truth and love;
His saints in triumph leave their tombs,
And shout his praise in heaven above.
Edwards A. Park, 1858.
The Christian, Privileges, A Happy Portion
757 — The Christian’s Treasure
1 How vast the treasure we possess!
How rich thy bounty, King of grace!
This world is our, and worlds to come:
Earth is our lodge, and heaven our home.
2 All things are ours; the gift of God,
The purchase of a Saviour’s blood;
While the good Spirit shows us how
To use and to improve them too.
3 If peace and plenty crown my days,
They help me, Lord, to speak thy praise;
If bread of sorrows be my food,
Those sorrows work my real good.
4 I would not change my blest estate,
For all that earth calls good or great;
And while my faith can keep her hold,
I envy not the sinner’s gold.
5 Father, I wait thy daily will:
Thou shalt divide my portion still:
Grant me on earth what seems thee best,
Till death and heaven reveal the rest.
Isaac Watts, 1721.
The Christian, Privileges, Adoption
728 — Adoption
1 Behold what wondrous grace
The Father hath bestow’d
On sinners of a mortal race,
To call them sons of God!
2 ‘Tis no surprising thing,
That we should be unknown:
The Jewish world knew not their King,
God’s everlasting Son.
3 Nor doth it yet appear
How great we must be made,
But when we see our saviour here,
We shall be like our Head.
4 A hope so much divine
May trials well endure,
May purge our souls from sense and sin,
As Christ the Lord is pure.
5 If in my Father’s love,
I share a filial part,
Send down thy Spirit, like a dove.
To rest upon my heart.
6 We would no longer lie
Like slaves beneath the throne;
My faith shall Abba Father cry,
And thou the kindred own.
Isaac Watts, 1709.