2271. Alone, Yet Not Alone

by Charles H. Spurgeon on July 28, 2017

No. 2271-38:409. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, March 2, 1890, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, August 28, 1892.

Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold, the hour comes, yes, is now come, that you shall be scattered, every man going his own way, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” {Joh 16:31,32}

For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2271, “Alone, Yet Not Alone” 2272}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3052, “Christ’s Loneliness and Ours” 3053}
   Exposition on Joh 16:16-33 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2271, “Alone, Yet Not Alone” 2272 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Joh 16:16-33 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2525, “Joy in Place of Sorrow” 2526 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Joh 16 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2907, “Holy Spirit Glorifying Christ, The” 2908 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Joh 16 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3461, “Welcome Visitor, The” 3463 @@ "Exposition"}
   {See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Joh 16:32"}

1. Our Lord looks for faith as the result of his teaching; and I think that I hear him say, at the end of every service, “Do you now believe? You have listened; you have made remarks about the speaker; do you now believe? You have been made to feel, you have brushed the tear away; but do you now believe? For anything short of believing leaves you short of salvation.” I would like to ask the question of my text of every hearer in this great house tonight. You have listened now to years of sermons; “Do you now believe?” You are getting grey now, the gospel is very familiar to your ear; you have heard it preached for many, many years; but “do you now believe?” This is the crucial point. According to your answer, truthfully given to this question, you may decide as for your condition before God, “Do you now believe?”

2. Christ loves faith wherever he sees it; it is to him a precious thing. To you who believe, he is precious, he is an honour; and upon him you who believe confer all the honour it is possible for you to confer. Your trust adorns him with jewels, your confidence in him puts the crown on his head. But our Lord is very discriminating; he distinguishes between faith and presumption, and between faith and our idea of faith. These disciples said now that they were sure: “Now we are sure that you know all things, and do not need that any man should ask you.” “Yes! Yes!” the Saviour seemed to say, “That is your measure of your own faith; but I do not measure it in the same way that you do.” If there are any here who say, “As for the matter of faith, I need no caution, I scarcely need admonition, I believe, oh! you cannot tell how firmly.” No, my dear friend, and perhaps you cannot tell how weakly you believe. At any rate, do not mistaken your belief in your own faith for faith in Christ; for belief in your own faith may be only self-conceit; but faith in Christ gives glory to God, and brings salvation to the believer.

3. To take the disciples down a notch, the Saviour reminds them that, whatever faith they had, they were a long while coming to it. “Do you now believe? For three years I have been teaching you; for three years I have performed miracles in your midst; for three years you have seen me, and you might have seen the Father in me, but after all this time have you at last come to a little faith?” Oh! friends, we have never any reason to boast about our faith; for we have been very long coming to it. We trust Christ now; I hope that many of us can sincerely say that we lean all our weight on him. We believe in God, we believe also in his Son, Jesus Christ; but it took months to drive us out of our self-confidence; it took years to lift us out of despair; it has taken all this time for the Lord, in the power of his own Spirit, to work out what little faith we have.

4. Then our Lord reminded them of another thing even more humbling, that just as their faith was long in coming, so it might be very quick in going. “Do you now believe?” he says, “Behold, the hour comes, yes, is now come, that you shall be scattered, every man going his own way, and shall leave me alone.” Oh beloved, a little trouble arises, an unforeseen difficulty occurs, and where is your faith? A little persecution, the idle banter of an unbeliever, the sarcasm of an agnostic, and where is your faith? Is it not so with many, that while in good company, they can almost brag about their faith; but if the company is changed, they certainly have no faith to brag about? The men who were so glib of tongue are quiet now; and though, before, they wore their helmets bedecked with plumes, they would hide them away, and hide their heads, too, if they could. They are ashamed of him, now, in whom, once, they gloried. Oh friends, let him who glories, glory only in the Lord. Let the believer never vaunt his believing, lest he is reminded how long he was in coming to it, and how soon he may be parted from it.

5. Our Lord’s disciples did not very readily take this caution. I do not suppose any of them took it; certainly Peter did not, and the rest of them were very much like him. When Peter said to Jesus, “Though all men shall be offended because of you, yet I will never be offended”; and “Though I should die with you, yet I will not deny you”; we read, “Likewise all the disciples also said so.” We may say tonight, “There is no man among us who will ever be a traitor to Christ; there is no woman here who will ever grow cold of heart.” That is our self-flattery. What others have done, however base and lowly, we too are capable of doing. If we think we are not, it is our pride, and our pride alone that makes us think so. Our Saviour, therefore, to call the particular attention of his disciples to their danger, said, not merely “the hour comes,” but, “Behold, the hour comes.” He puts in a “Behold!” an “Ecce!” Just as the old writers used to put a hand in the margin, or an N. B., nota bene, to call attention to something special, so the Saviour puts here a “Behold!” “Look here!” “See this.” You who have just put on your armour think that you have won the victory. “Behold, the hour comes, yes, is now come, that you shall be scattered, every man going his own way, and shall leave me alone.”

6. Please, therefore, brethren, and I speak to myself as well as to you, let us learn the lesson of our frailty; and though we are honestly trusting in Christ tonight, let each one cry, “Hold me up, and I shall be safe.” Let the prayer go up from all of you who are in these galleries, and from all who are sitting downstairs in those pews, from the most experienced and best established of you, as well as from those who have only recently been brought to know the Lord, and let each one cry, “Lord, keep me, for I cannot keep myself!” Alas! alas! we have seen even the standard-bearers fall; and when that is the case, how sadly do the common soldiers mourn! Those who stood like rocks have been made to totter. May God keep us! Christ of God, keep us by your eternal Spirit! Amen.

7. Now I am going to take you away from that prefatory consideration, keeping still, however, much in the same vein. Let us learn tonight from our Lord, first, his trial: “You shall be scattered every man going his own way, and shall leave me alone”; secondly, his confidence: “And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me”; and then, thirdly, his example: for in all this, we are to follow his steps. May we, if we have our Lord’s trial, also have his confidence because we imitate his example!

8. I. First, then, notice OUR LORD’S TRIAL, for the same thing may happen to you.

9. He was left alone. Why, these eleven disciples who are around him, and to whom he is talking, surely they will not leave their Lord! They are so sure that they will stand any fire that may be directed against them; and yet not one of them will stand firm. They will all forsake him and flee. In the garden, the three who are his body-guard will fall asleep, and the rest of the disciples will do the same; and when he stands before Pilate and Herod, none of them will be there to defend him; not a solitary voice will be lifted up for him.

10. The sure ones left him whom they so certainly believed; and they were honest men, too, when they spoke so confidently. There was no hypocrisy about what they said, they meant it all; each one of them truly believed that he could go to prison and to death, and that he would do so rather than deny his Lord. In their own esteem, they were not boasting; they were only saying what they really intended to do. Here is the bitterness of your trial, when, in your hour of need, your good, honest friends are gone, your real friends are fainting and weary. They cannot go at your pace; they cannot confront the storm that you are called upon to face, and they are gone. Alas, for our dear Lord, what grief it was to him! Those who were so confident, and those who were really true, yet, nevertheless, were scattered, and he was left alone.

11. They also really loved Christ. I am sure that Peter’s was not a new love when he said, “You know all things; you know that I love you.” He did love his Master. Even when he denied his Lord, there was love in his heart towards him. So it was with the other disciples, they all loved their Lord, yet all of them left him, and poor weak things that they were, they turned their backs in the day of battle. It is a grief to our hearts to be forsaken by good friends and loving friends. I do not know; but if you were sure that they had been hypocrites, you might almost be glad that they were gone; but your very knowledge that they were true at heart, as true as such poor things could be, increases the bitterness that they should leave you. You need not think, when this occurs in your experience that any strange thing has happened to you, for Christ was left alone like this.

12. Notice, that he was left by every man. “You shall be scattered, every man going his own way,” “every man.” When the trial comes, does not John remain? Does not he remember that dear bosom on which he leaned his head? Is John gone? Yes, “every man.” Christ looked, and there was no one to stand by him. He must confront his accusers without a single witness in his favour; every man was gone. Ah, this was a trial, indeed! But one true friend, a Damon or a Pythias, {a} to be faithful to each other even to death, and the trial is not so overwhelming. But, no; every man is going his own way, and Christ is left alone; of the people there is no one with him, not even one of those who had been his most intimate friends.

13. What were they all doing? Well, every man was looking out for his own safety: “You shall be scattered, every man going his own way.” Is that not the very essence of selfishness and of baseness, “Every man to his own?” This is all that Christ received from the best of his followers; they left him, and every man went his own way, going to his own house, to see going his own way security, to screen his own character, to preserve his own life. “Every man going his own way.” Are these your friends, oh Jesus? Lover of men, are these your lovers? Do you wonder if, sometimes, you find that your friends would take care of you only that they must take care of themselves? They would keep you, but then you cost too much; you are too “dear” a friend! The expense of your friendship has to be looked at, and their income will not bear it. “Every man going his own way.” The Saviour also had to feel this.

14. And, remember, this happened when Christ’s special hour was come. “The hour comes,” Christ’s hour, the hour of the power of darkness. It was then that they left him. When he did not need their friendship, they were his very good friends. When they could do nothing for him if they tried, they were his faithful followers. But the pinch has come; now might they watch with him one hour, now might they go with him amid the rabble throng, and add at least the vote of the minority against the masses; but they are gone. Like your swallows, they have disappeared before the first frost has covered the brook. Like the green leaves of summer, where are they now in this wintry time? Alas, alas, for friendship, when it fails when it is most needed! And it did fail the Saviour then.

15. He was left, also, in violation of every bond. These men who left him were pledged to stand by him. They had given him a promise to die with him. These were his choice companions; he had called them from the fishing boats of Galilee, and made them his disciples. These were to be his apostles, the chief men in his new kingdom. They were to sit upon thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. These, he had redeemed for himself; these were to be partakers of his glory in the day of his appearing. Never were men bound to man as they were bound to Christ; and yet they left him alone. Dear friend, do not expect gratitude from your fellow creatures; it is a very scarce thing in this world. The more you do for men, the less will be their return. I do not speak now like one who thinks poorly of my fellows; but I know that it is so, alas! in many cases; and if it is not your lot, you may thank God that it is not, and wonder why you are an exception to the rule. If, eventually, you shall come down in the world, and need the help of those you helped in days gone by, they will, as a rule, be the last to help you, and the first to tread you down. Certainly, with our Lord Jesus Christ, those who were nearest and who owed him most fled from him, and he derived from them no help. It was “every man going his own way”; and they left him alone, to be bound and beaten by his unfeeling adversaries, and to be taken away to prison and to death.

16. There is the first division of our subject, our Lord’s trial. I say again, that a similar trial may happen to some here. It has often happened to bold defenders of the faith, to find themselves left to hold the bridge alone; {b} but it is a sharp, stern trial to the man who is called to endure it.

17. II. We shall have more cheery talk on our second point, which is OUR LORD’S CONFIDENCE. He says, “You shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.”

18. Observe, then, that Christ’s confidence was confidence that the Father was with him, and this confidence kept him to his purpose. See, the disciples flee; they are all scattered, every man to his own. Has Christ gone? Not he. John, Peter, James, Thomas, and all the rest are gone; has Christ gone? Not he. There he stands. They have left him alone; but there he is, still standing to his purpose. He has come to save, and he will save. He has come to redeem, and he will redeem. He has come to overcome the world, and he will overcome it. They have left him alone; they have not taken him away with them. He is no coward. He never flees from his purpose, blessed be his name! He stood firm in that dread hour when all forsook him and fled. This was because his confidence was in God.

19. Next, observe that this confidence in God not only kept him to his purpose, but it sustained him in the prospect of the trial. Notice how it runs: “You shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone.” Christ does not say, “I shall not be alone.” That was true; but he said, “I am not alone.” I love to read the experience of the child of God in the present tense, the gifts, and graces, and promises of God in the present tense: “I am not alone.” “The Lord is my Shepherd,” as well as “I shall not lack.” “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters.” He is doing everything for me now. The blessed Christ says that the prospect of God’s being with him all through the trouble, and the presence of God with him now, is his comfort in the prospect of it. You who were here this morning know what a sad discourse we had from the text, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2133, “Lama Sabachthani?” 2134} I took this text for my evening discourse because it is the counterpart of the one we considered this morning; for our Lord could truly say to his disciples, “And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.”

20. Our Lord’s declaration was contradicted by appearances. Did he not have to say to God: “Why have you forsaken me?” How, then, could he say, “The Father is with me?” It was true; and in a part of my morning sermon I tried to show that, while God forsook him in his official capacity as the Lawgiver and the Executive of the law, yet in his personal relationship to him he did not and could not forsake him. The Father was with him. Oh, is it not blessed on the part of Christ to stand by this? He knows that his Father is with him, even when he feels in another sense that the Father has forsaken him. Beloved, if everyone leaves you, and God seems to leave you, still hold to your confidence in God. Do not believe that God can forsake his own; do not even dream it; it cannot be. He never did forsake his own; he never can; and he never will. The Father is with Jesus Christ, even when he knows that he will have to say, “Why have you forsaken me?”

21. Yet, it was assuredly true that the Father was with Christ when he was left alone. How was the Father with him, then? Beloved, even when the Father did not look on Christ, or give him one smile, or one word of comfort, he was still with him. How so? Well, he was with him concerning his eternal purposes and covenant. They had entered into covenant together for the redemption of men, for the salvation of the elect, and they had shook hands, and pledged each other to carry out the divine purpose and the everlasting covenant. I remember that passage about Abraham going with Isaac to Mount Moriah, where Isaac was to be offered up. It is written, “So both of them went together.” So did the Eternal Father and his Well-Beloved Son when God was about to give up his own Son to death. There was no divided purpose; both of them went together. All the work of Christ was the work of the Father, and the Father supported him in it to the very full.

22. In the design and method of the atonement, the Father and the Son were together. “God so loved the world that he gave his Only-Begotten Son”; but Jesus so loved the world that he gave himself. The atonement was the gift of the Father; but it was the work of the Son. In all that he suffered he could say, “The Father is with me in it. I am doing what will glorify him, and satisfy him.” He did not go alone to prison and to death. In all things he did what pleased the Father, and the Father was with him in it all.

23. All the decrees of God were behind Christ. It is written in the sealed book, but who shall read it except the Christ? Whatever is written there is written in support of Christ. There is not a decree in the book of destiny that does not work out for Christ’s glory, and according to Christ’s mind. It is not merely twelve legions of angels that are behind the cross, but the God of the angels is there, too. It is not merely the forces of Providence that shall work together to achieve the purpose of the Creator, but the God of Providence, the infinite Jehovah, is in league with Jesus; and he can say it, as he goes out to die, “I am not alone: because the Father is with me.” Is this not a glorious truth, that our Lord Christ was not alone? So far as earthly companions were concerned, the words written by Isaiah could be literally uttered by Christ, “I have trodden the wine-press alone.” Every man was gone, but God was always with him.

24. Since then, it has been revealed that God was with Christ. He proved it by raising him from the dead. Did not the Father also prove that he was with the Son by sending the Holy Spirit at Pentecost with various signs and wonders? Jesus is not alone. All the work of the Holy Spirit since, in convicting men of sin, and leading them to Jesus, is a proof that he is not alone. Beloved, all the history of Providence, since the day when Christ was taken up into heaven, proves that he is not alone. Alone? The Christ alone? Why, the beasts of the field are in league with him; the stars in their courses fight for him. Every event of history, only give it time and space, will make his kingdom come. Every turn of those enormous wheels of Providence shall make his chariot of triumph come nearer and nearer over the necks of his foes. Even now, by faith, “we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour.”

   Look, ye saints, the sight is glorious,
      See the “Man of Sorrows” now;
   From the fight return’d victorious,
      Every knee to him shall bow:
         Crown him, crown him;
      Crowns become the Victor’s brow.

Jesus is the focus of all power and wisdom. God is with him; and the day comes when he shall appear in his glory. In his millennial reign among the sons of God it shall be seen that he is not alone; and when he shall come in the glory of the Father, and all his holy angels with him, then he shall be able to say with even greater emphasis, “I am not alone: because the Father is with me.” And when he sits upon the great white throne, and separates mankind, his friends to the right, his foes to the left, and pronounces eternal wrath upon rebels, and opens heaven to believers, then all worlds shall know that the Man of Nazareth is not alone. Alone? I seem as if I must laugh at the very thought. All heaven and earth, things present and things to come, time and eternity, life and death, are all with him. Men may forsake him, but he is not alone.

25. III. Now, I want, in the third place, to teach the lessons of OUR LORD’S EXAMPLE. Since my time has nearly gone, I must very briefly speak of these lessons.

26. First, learn fidelity when others fail. Are you a Christian? Do you trust Christ? Do you love him? Then, never desert him. “Oh! but,” one says, “the current runs the other way now.” Brother, let it run; it will stop when it has run away. I believe in him who rose again from the dead, whose righteousness justifies me, whose blood washes me whiter than snow. “But the philosophers tell us that this is not scientific.” I am unscientific, then, and I delight to be unscientific. “Oh, but the deep thinkers say this is inconsistent with progress!” Well, let it be inconsistent with progress. “Oh, but all the world denies it!” So much the worse for the world. Let it deny the truth if it wishes. That was a grand spirit of Athanasius when he said, “Athanasius contra mundum”; that is, “Athanasius against the whole world.” And every Christian may be of this spirit, and ought to be of this spirit. Is this Book true? What does it matter though every Tom Fool says that it is a lie! Let Tom Fools say that if they wish; but it is true, and hold to it. If God the Holy Spirit has taught you to trust in Christ, trust in Christ, whatever other people do. What? Do you live on the breath of other men’s nostrils? Do you count heads, and then jump with the larger number? Is that your way? Why, surely such a man as that is hardly worth saving. Is he a man, or is he not a cat that must look before he jumps? Indeed, if you are a man, and you believe in Christ, stand up for Christ.

   Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!
      Ye soldiers of the cross!
   Lift high his royal banner;
      It must not suffer loss:
   From victory unto victory
      His army shall he lead,
   Till every foe is vanquish’d,
      And Christ is Lord indeed.
   Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!
      The trumpet-call obey;
   Forth to the mighty conflict,
      In this his glorious day;
   Ye that are men, now serve him,
      Against unnumber’d foes;
   Your courage rise with danger,
      And strength to strength oppose.

And when the many turn aside, stand all the more boldly and all the more confidently, for your confidence and boldness are all the more needed at such a time. Your Lord did not forsake his grand errand when all men forsook him. Do not renounce your life-work and your faith, even though all others should renounce theirs.

27. Next, with your Master, believe that God is all-sufficient. Read this: “You shall be scattered, every man going his own way, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because” — what? “Because there will be half-a-dozen of you faithful?” No. “Because three of you will cling to me?” No. “Because the Father is with me.” Oh, we do not count as we should. There is a million against you. Is God for you? Well, then, you are in the majority. What is a million, after all, but one and so many ciphers? Trust in God, and let the millions go their way. God is enough. When he who spoke in the academy found everyone leaving him in his speaking except Plato, he still kept on; and one said, “Speaker, you have no audience but Plato.” “No audience but Plato?” he says; “Plato is enough for fifty orators.” So, truly, if you have no other helper but God, stand where you are; for God is not only enough for you, but for all the faithful, weak as they may be.

28. Next, learn another lesson. Rest in God, despite appearances. Are you very poor? Are you weak? Are you slandered? Are you scourged with God’s heaviest rod? Still do not kick at him, any more than your Lord did. He said, “The Father is with me,” even though he had to cry, “Why have you forsaken me?” Believe him when you cannot see him; believe him when he does not smile; believe him when he frowns; believe him when he strikes; believe him when he kills, for that is the climax of it all, to say like Job, “Though he kills me, yet I will trust in him.” It is his to do what he likes; it is mine to trust him, let him do as he wills. I throw my arms around my God, and say, “My God, my God,” even when no joys are felt, and I am obliged to walk by faith.

29. Lastly, struggling child of God, standing firm for the truth and the right, expect that your trouble will not last for long. Did you notice how Christ puts it, “Behold, the hour comes?” Only an hour. “Behold, the hour comes.” It is not a year, brother, it is not a year; it is not a month; it is not a day; it is only an hour. “The hour comes.” To Christ it was a long hour certainly, when he hung upon the cross; but he calls the whole period from the bloody sweat to the death of the cross, “the hour.” It is the part of faith to shorten days to hours. It is your part, tonight, to remember that, if you have to suffer, and to stand alone for Christ, it is only for an hour. How willingly have we waited when it has been only for an hour! How cheerfully have we gone on in the dark when we have known that it was only for an hour! Our trial is only for an hour. Literally, before another hour strikes, some of us may be with God; but whether it is so with us, or not, we may still sing, —

   Let doubt, then, and danger my progress oppose,
      They only make heaven more sweet at the close:
   Come joy or come sorrow, whate’er may befall,
      An hour with my God will make up for them all.

But if not literally only an hour, yet certainly the longest reign of persecution is only short. It is soon over when we once get home. I think that it will help to make a merry holiday in the land that flows with milk and honey, to sit one of these days by one of those rippling streams, and say, “I remember when So-and-so forsook me, and I stood firm by the truth as I knew it and believed it. They all forsook me, and it did seem hard to bear at the time; but my loneliness did not last for long, it was soon over; and when the Lord said, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant,’ it did not seem then that it had been an hour, but only the winking of an eye, or as when, in the night, the candle is blown out, and lit again by its own smoke, so short was the time of darkness.” So it shall seem in heaven as if we never had suffered anything for Christ. The martyr shall go in the red-hot chariot from the stake; and when he gets to heaven, he shall have forgotten that he burned to death, in the very great joy of beholding his Master. It is only an hour, and we shall meet before the golden throne, and stand upon the sea of glass, and sing for ever, “To him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

{a} Damon and Pythias: Around the fourth century BC, Pythias and his friend Damon, both followers of the philosopher Pythagoras, travelled to Syracuse. Pythias was accused of plotting against the tyrant of Syracuse, Dionysius I. As punishment for this crime, Pythias was sentenced to death. Accepting his sentence, Pythias asked to be allowed to return home one last time, to settle his affairs and bid his family farewell. Not wanting to be taken for a fool, Dionysius refused, believing that once released, Pythias would flee and never return. Pythias called for Damon and asked him to take his place while he went. Dionysius agreed, on the condition that, should Pythias not return when promised, Damon would be put to death in his place. Damon agreed, and Pythias was released. Dionysius was convinced that Pythias would never return, and as the day Pythias promised to return came and went, Dionysius prepared to execute Damon. But just as the executioner was about to kill Damon, Pythias returned. Apologizing to his friend for his delay, Pythias told of how pirates had captured his ship on the passage back to Syracuse and thrown him overboard. Dionysius listened to Pythias as he described how he swam to shore and made his way back to Syracuse as quickly as possible, arriving just in the nick of time to save his friend. Dionysius was so taken with the friends’ trust and loyalty, that he freed both Damon and Pythias, and kept them on as counsel to his court. See Explorer "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damon_and_Pythias"
{b} Publius Horatius Cocles: He was an officer in the army of the ancient Roman Republic who famously defended the Pons Sublicius bridge from the invading army of Lars Porsena, king of Clusium in the late sixth century BC, during the war between Rome and Clusium. See Explorer "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horatius_Cocles"

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Joh 16:16-33}

16. A little while, and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me, because I go to the Father.

Remember that the disciples were on the verge of great trouble. Their Leader and Friend was about to be taken away from them by a cruel death. They were to be tried as they had never been tried before. The Saviour therefore prepared their minds for the trial. I have often noticed that, before a great trouble comes, the Spirit of God secretly comforts in a very remarkable manner those who are to be tried. Perhaps, tonight, without knowing it, we may be near some great affliction or sorrow. If so, may the Lord supply us with comfort and strength for the coming hour of need!

17, 18. There some said of his disciples among themselves, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me’: and, ‘Because I go to the Father?’ ” They said therefore, “What is this that he says, ‘A little while?’ we cannot tell what he says.”

It was only too plain. We often do not understand our Master because we imagine that there is some deep significance in his words when their meaning lies on the very surface. If you would understand the gospel as you understand the common talk of life, it would be wise. If we could only bring men to believe God as a child believes his mother, practically and really, then their salvation would be a very simple and speedy matter.

19, 20. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said to them, “Do you enquire among yourselves of what I said, ‘A little while, and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me?’ Truly, truly, I say to you, that you shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice:

Sometimes the world appears to have the best of it. Its mouth is full of laughter while the child of God cannot speak for sorrow. Ah! well, there is time enough for a change. We may very well let those laugh today who will have to gnash their teeth for ever. Do not judge God by your present circumstances. Take the rough with the smooth. Be willing to go to heaven up the bleak side of the hill.

20. And you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

So, the more of it the better. If your sorrow is to be turned into joy, then the more sorrow, the more joy. Happy is he who endures trial, since his trial is to be turned into happiness.

21, 22. A woman when she is in travail has sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she has delivered the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And you now therefore have sorrow:

But your sorrow is the pang of life.

22. But I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and no man takes your joy from you.

The joy that comes by sorrow in connection with Christ is the joy of which we shall never be bereaved. Let us thank God that there is a joy which no man can take away. Happy are those who have it.

23. And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you.

This is a grand promise. If we dare ask in the name of Christ, and it is not everything that we could ask for in his name — if our petition is such that we honestly judge that we may add Christ’s name to it, if it is a thing that Christ would have asked, if it is a thing that Christ could have asked, let us ask in Christ’s name, and the Father will give it.

24. So far you have asked nothing in my name:

You have not been bold enough. You have asked for a few petty things, but you have never fully made use of Christ’s name. How many Christians have never learned to pray in the name of Christ! They say at the end of their petition, “For Christ’s sake.” That is good as far as it goes. I may ask a man to give me such and such a thing for the sake of another; that is good pleading as far as it goes. But if I dare to use the authority that my friend gives me to put his name at the bottom of my request, that is another and a higher thing. To ask in the name of Christ, to plead under his authority, this is to pray indeed.

24. Ask, and you shall receive, so that your joy may be full.

“So that your joy may be full,” a mature joy, a joy that fills your being, that sparkles in your eye, dances in your feet, leaps in your heart, an unutterable, inexpressible joy: “So that your joy may be full.”

25, 26. I have spoken these things to you in proverbs: but the time comes, when I shall no more speak to you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father. At that day you shall ask in my name: and I do not say to you, that I will pray the Father for you:

Though that is true,

27. For the Father himself loves you,

What a delightful little sentence! “The Father himself loves you.”

27. Because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

God’s first love for us is from himself alone. Then there is another love that grows in his heart because of our love for his Son. You love your child. The reason lies in your own heart. After a while, that dear, loving, affectionate child has won a further place in your affection, and you love him because of his choice and special love for you. Remember that Psalm, “Because he has set his love upon me, therefore I will deliver him: I will set him on high, because he has known my name.” Our love for God wins from him another love, of a different kind, although it comes from the same fountain as the first: “For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.”

28-30. I came out from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” His disciples said to him, “Lo, now you speak plainly, and speak no proverb. Now we are sure that you know all things, and do not need that any man should ask you: by this we believe that you came out from God.”

One does not see any reason why they should have been made so strong in faith just then. But we were not there to hear Christ’s words. There is many a message which depends on the tone and manner of the speaker for its influence over the people who hear it. When you read the story afterwards, without the earnest manner and the living tone of the speaker, you do not see why it had such a strange effect on his hearers. So we do not quite see here, by the calm reading of this narrative, why the disciples leaped all of a sudden into such confidence.

31. Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?

He did not feel as sure of their faith as they did. We often think we have great heaps of the gold of faith; and it glitters very brightly, but it is not the precious metal after all. So Jesus said, “Do you now believe?”

32. Behold, the hour comes, yes, is now come, that you shall be scattered, every man going his own way, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

These poor creatures, who were so bold and so over-confident, would all be runaways. If persecution were to arise in our day, I wonder how many of us would be found to be true men. Ah! you think you are true blue; but you would run at the first touch of water, not to mention fire. Are there not many of us who are only poor believers? If our faith were sharply tried, would it stand the test?

33. These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Christ wants his disciples to have peace. Are you fretting tonight? Are you afraid of Monday? Are you fearful about the trials of the week? Christ wants you to be at peace. Be quiet. Be quiet. Let all be still within your heart, and wait for your Father’s will. “In the world you shall have tribulation”: on God’s threshing-floor the flail will be kept going. If you are a child of God, you will have to suffer. The Captain of our salvation was made perfect through sufferings; and good soldiers of Jesus Christ must expect to pass through the same experience. As long as you are here, you will be tried: “In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Think of that; the Christ who is about to sweat great drops of blood, and to die on the cross of Calvary, says, “I have overcome.” It is not Julius Caesar’s “Veni, vidi, vici”; but it is Christ’s “Veni, vidi, vici”; — “I came, I saw, I conquered”: “I have overcome.” And just as he has overcome, so shall you, if you are his true follower.

{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Courage and Confidence — Be Of Good Courage” 685}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Final Perseverance — Preserved In Jesus” 739}
The Sword and the Trowel
Table of Contents, September, 1892.
“I Will Give You Rest.” A Communion Address at Menton. By C. H. Spurgeon. (Revised by himself for the Magazine.)
Letter from Mrs. Spurgeon, to the Teachers and Scholars of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Sunday-school, concerning the Book Fund Distribution of sermons to foreign missionaries.
The Relations of the Minister of Christ to the Holy Spirit. A Fundamental Question. By Arthur T. Pierson, D. D.
Mr. Spurgeon’s R. T. S. Pocket-book. Outlines of sermons made at Menton, 1891-2.
Mr. Spurgeon’s Last Drives at Menton. By Joseph W. Harrald. (With three illustrations.)
“That’s my Sermon, Sir.” By Elder George Goldston.
The Dying Moor. By N. Hardingham Patrick, of Tangier.
The Martyrs of Blantyre. (Illustrated Review.)
Mr. Spurgeon’s Visit to Rothesay in 1878. By Pastor G. Short, Sandown, Isle of Wight.
“Remember Me.” (Poetry.) By Pastor E. A. Tydeman, Sidcup.
Garments as a Gift. By J. Manton Smith.
The Sick Lamb. (Poetry.) By Thomas Spurgeon.
“Another Gem in the Saviour’s Crown.” In Memoriam notice of the late Mr. William Gibson, of Tasmania. By Thomas Spurgeon.
Notices of Books.
Notes. (Portrait and sketch of Elder M. Romang. Mrs. Spurgeon. Thomas and Charles Spurgeon at the Tabernacle. Poor Ministers’ Clothing Society. Tabernacle Evangelists’ Association. Tabernacle Prayer-meetings. Tabernacle Sunday-school Missionary Society. Tabernacle Gospel Temperance Society. College. Evangelists. Colportage. Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle.)
Lists of contributions.

Price 3d. Post free, 4d.
London: Passmore and Alabaster, Paternoster Buildings; and all Booksellers.

The Christian, Courage and Confidence
685 — Be Of Good Courage
1 Your harps, ye trembling saints,
      Down from the willows take:
   Loud to the praise of love divine,
      Bid every string awake.
2 Though in a foreign land,
      We are not far from home;
   And nearer to our house above
      We every moment come.
3 His grace will to the end
      Stronger and brighter shine;
   Nor present things, nor things to come,
      Shall quench the spark divine.
4 The people of his choice,
      He will not cast away;
   Yet do not always here expect
      On Tabor’s mount to stay.
5 When we in darkness walk,
      Nor feel the heavenly flame;
   Then is the time to trust our God,
      And rest upon his name.
6 Soon shall our doubts and fears
      Subside at his control;
   His loving kindness shall break through
      The midnight of the soul.
7 Wait till the shadows flee;
      Wait thy appointed hour,
   Wait till the Bridegroom of thy soul
      Reveals his sovereign power.
8 Tarry his leisure then,
      Although he seem to stay,
   A moment’s intercourse with him
      Thy grief will overpay.
9 Blest is the man, oh God,
      That stays himself on thee,
   Who waits for thy salvation, Lord,
      Shall thy salvation see.
                  Augustus M. Toplady, 1772.

The Christian, Privileges, Final Perseverance
739 — Preserved In Jesus
1 Rejoice, believer, in the Lord,
      Who makes your cause his own;
   The hope that’s built upon his word
      Can ne’er be overthrown.
2 Though many foes beset your road,
      And feeble is your arm,
   Your life is hid with Christ in God,
      Beyond the reach of harm.
3 Weak as you are, you shall not faint;
      Or fainting, shall not die;
   Jesus, the strength of every saint,
      Will aid you from on high.
4 Though sometimes unperceived by sense,
      Faith sees him always near,
   A guide, a glory, a defence;
      Then what have you to fear?
5 As surely as he overcame,
      And triumph’d once for you;
   So surely you that love his name
      Shall triumph in him too.
                        John Newton, 1779.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

Terms of Use

Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

Spurgeon Sermon Updates

Email me when new sermons are posted:

Privacy Policy

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA, and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390