2302. Watching For Christ’s Coming

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No. 2302-39:157. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, April 7, 1889, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, April 2, 1893.

Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he comes shall find watching: truly I say to you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to dine, and will come out and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. {Lu 12:37,38}

1. I am about to speak of the Second Coming of Christ; and I felt thankful that my dear brother’s prayer, although we had not been in consultation with each other on the matter, was in every way so suitable to the subject upon which I am to speak. He led us in prayer to think of our coming Lord; so that I trust you are on the margin of the subject now, and that you will not have to make any very great exertion of mind to plunge into midstream, and be carried away with the full current of thought concerning the Second Advent of the Saviour. It is a very appropriate topic when we come to the Lord’s table; for, as that prayer reminded us, the Lord’s supper looks backward, and is a memorial of his agony; but it looks forward, and is an anticipation of his glory. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you show the Lord’s death until he comes.” By looking forward, in a right state of heart, to that Second Coming of Christ which is the joy of his Church, you will be also in a right state of heart for coming to the communion table. May the Holy Spirit make it to be so!

2. The posture at the communion table, as you know, according to our Lord’s example, was not that of kneeling, but that of reclining. The easiest position which you can assume is the most fitting for the Lord’s supper; and yet remember that the supper was no sooner finished, than “they sang a hymn,” and when that hymn was concluded, they went out into the Mount of Olives to the agonies of Gethsemane. It often seems to me as if now, after finding rest at the table by feeding upon Christ, whose real presence we have, not in a carnal way, but in a spiritual way, after that, we sing a hymn, as if we would go out to meet our Lord in his Second Coming, not going to the Mount of Olives to see him in a bloody sweat, but to hear that word of the angel, “This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in the same way as you have seen him go into heaven.” I do not think we ought to feel at all surprised if we were to go out from the table of fellowship tonight, and meet our Lord at once; indeed, we should be always waiting for his appearing, always expecting him, not knowing at what hour the Master of the house shall come. The world does not expect him; it goes on with its eating and drinking, its marrying and giving in marriage; but his own family should expect him. When he will return from the wedding, I trust that he will not find the door closed against him, but that we shall be ready to open to our Lord immediately when he knocks. That is the object of the few words that I shall have to say tonight, to stir you up, and my own heart also, to be always watching for Christ’s Second Coming.

3. I. First, THE LORD WILL COME. He who has come once is to come again; he will come a second time. The Lord will come.

4. He will come again, for he has promised to return. We have his own word for it. That is our first reason for expecting him. Among the last of the words which he spoke to his servant John are these, “Surely I come quickly.” You may read it, “I am coming quickly. I am even now on the road. I am travelling as fast as wisdom allows. I am always coming, and coming quickly.” Our Lord has promised to come, and to come in person. Some try to explain the Second Coming of Christ as though it meant the believer dying. You may, if you like, consider that Christ comes to his saints in death. In a certain sense, he does; but that sense will never bear out the full meaning of the teaching of the Second Advent with which the Scripture is full. No, “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.” He who went up to heaven will come down from heaven, and stand in the latter day upon the earth. Every redeemed soul can say with Job, “Though after my skin is destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God: whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.” Christ will as certainly be here again in glory as he once was here in shame, for he has promised to return.

5. Moreover, the great scheme of redemption requires Christ’s return. It is a part of that scheme that, as he came once with a sin offering, he should come a second time without a sin offering, that, just as he came once to redeem, so he should come a second time to claim the inheritance which he has so dearly bought. He came once, that his heel might be bruised; he comes again, to break the serpent’s head, and, with a rod of iron, to dash his enemies in pieces, as potters’ vessels. He came once, to wear the crown of thorns; he must come again, to wear the diadem of universal dominion. He comes to the marriage supper; he comes to gather his saints together; he comes to glorify them with himself on this same earth where once he and they were despised and rejected by men. Make sure of this, that the whole drama of redemption cannot be perfected without this last act of the coming of the King. The complete history of Paradise Regained requires that the New Jerusalem should come down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and it also requires that the heavenly Bridegroom should come riding out on his white horse, conquering and to conquer, King of kings and Lord of lords, amid the everlasting hallelujahs of saints and angels. It must be so. The man of Nazareth will come again. No one will spit in his face then; but every knee shall bow before him. The Crucified shall come again; and though the nail-prints will be visible, no nails shall then fasten his dear hands to the tree; but instead of that, he shall grasp the sceptre of universal sovereignty; and he shall reign for ever and ever. Hallelujah!

6. When will he come? Ah, that is the question, the question of questions! He will come in his own time. He will come in due time. A brother minister, calling on me, said, as we sat together, “I should like to ask you a lot of questions about the future.” “Oh, well!” I replied, “I cannot answer you, for I daresay I know no more about it than you do.” “But,” he said, “what about the Lord’s Second Advent? Will there not be the millennium first?” I said, “I cannot tell whether there will be the millennium first; but this I know, the Scripture has left the whole matter, as far as I can see, with an intentional vagueness, so that we may be always expecting Christ to come, and that we may be watching for his coming at any hour and every hour. I think that the millennium will begin after his coming, and not before it. I cannot imagine the kingdom with the King absent. It seems to me to be an essential part of the millennial glory that the King shall then be revealed; at the same time, I am not going to lay down anything definite on that point. He may not come for a thousand years; he may come tonight. The teaching of Scripture is, first of all, ‘In such an hour as you do not think so the Son of man comes.’ It is clear that, if it were revealed that a thousand years must elapse before he would come, we might very well go to sleep for that time, for we should have no reason to expect that he would come when Scripture told us he would not.”

7. “Well,” answered my friend, “but when Christ comes, that will be the general judgment, will it not?” Then I quoted these texts, “The dead in Christ shall rise first.” “But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” I said, “There is a resurrection from among the dead to which the Apostle Paul laboured to attain. We shall all rise; but the righteous shall rise a thousand years before the ungodly. There is to be that interval of time between the one and the other; whether that is the millennial glory, or not, this deponent {a} does not say, though he thinks it is. But this is the main point, the Lord shall come. We do not know when we are to expect his coming; we are not to lay down, as absolutely fixed, any definite prediction or circumstance that would allow us to go to sleep until that prediction was fulfilled, or that circumstance was apparent.”

8. “Will not the Jews be converted to Christ, and restored to their land?” enquired my friend. I replied, “Yes, I think so. Surely they shall look on him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son; and God shall give them the kingdom and the glory, for they are his people, whom he has not cast away for ever. The Jews, who are the natural olive branches, shall yet be grafted into their own olive tree again, and then shall be the fulness of the Gentiles.” “Will that be before Christ comes, or after?” asked my friend. I answered, “I think it will be after he comes; but whether or not, I am not going to commit myself to any definite opinion on the subject.”

9. To you, my dear friends, I say, — Read for yourselves, and search for yourselves; for still this stands first, and is the only thing that I will insist on tonight, the Lord will come. He may come now; he may come tomorrow; he may come in the first watch of the night, or the second watch, or he may wait until the morning watch; but the one word that he gives to you all is, “Watch! Watch! Watch!” so that whenever he shall come, you may be ready to open to him, and to say, in the language of the hymn we sang just now, —

    Welcome, welcome, Judge divine!

So far, I know that we are scriptural, and therefore perfectly safe in our statements about the Lord’s Second Advent.

10. Brethren, I would be earnest on this point, for the notion of the delay of Christ’s Coming is always harmful, however you arrive at it, whether it is by studying prophecy, or in any other way. If you come to be of the opinion of the servant mentioned in this chapter, you are wrong: “If that servant says in his heart, ‘My lord delays his coming’; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunk; the lord of that servant will come in a day when he does not look for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him asunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.” {Lu 12:45-48} Do not, therefore, get the idea that the Lord delays his coming, and that he will not or cannot come as yet. It would be far better for you to stand on the tiptoe of expectation, and to be rather disappointed to think that he does not come. I do not wish you to be shaken in mind so as to act fanatically or foolishly, as certain people did in America, when they went out into the woods with ascension dresses on, so as to go straight up all of a sudden. {b} Fall into none of those absurd ideas that have led people to leave a chair vacant at the table, and to put an empty plate, because the Lord might come and need it; and try to avoid all other superstitious nonsense. To stand star-gazing at the prophecies, with your mouth wide open, is just the wrong thing; it will be far better to go on working for your Lord, getting yourself and your service ready for his appearing, and cheering yourself all the while with this thought, “While I am at work, my Master may come. Before I get weary, my Master may return. While others are mocking me, my Master may appear; and whether they mock or applaud, is nothing to me. I live before the great Taskmaster’s eye, and do my service knowing that he sees me, and expecting that, eventually, he will reveal himself to me, and then he will reveal me and my right intention to misrepresenting men.” That is the first point, brethren, the Lord will come. Settle that in your minds. He will come in his own time, and we are always to be looking for his appearing.

11. II. Now, secondly, THE LORD TELLS US TO WATCH FOR HIM. That is the marrow of the text: “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he comes shall find watching.”

12. Now what is this watching? Not wishing to use my own words, I thought that I would call your attention to the context. The first essential part of this watching is that we are not to be taken up with present things. You remember that the twenty-second verse is about not taking thought what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; you are not to be absorbed in that. You who are Christians are not to live the fleshly, selfish life that asks, “What shall I eat and drink? How can I store up my goods? How can I get food and clothing here?” You are something more than dumb, driven cattle, that must think of hay and water. You have immortal spirits. Rise to the dignity of your immortality. Begin to think of the kingdom, the kingdom so soon to come, the kingdom which your Father has given you, and which, therefore, you must certainly inherit, the kingdom which Christ has prepared for you, and for which he is making you kings and priests to God, so that you may reign with him for ever and ever. Oh, do not be earth-bound! Do not cast your anchor here in these troubled waters. Do not build your nest in any of these trees; they are all marked for the axe, and are coming down; and your nest will come down, too, if you build it here. Set your affection on things above, up there, —

    Up where eternal ages roll,
    Where solid pleasures never die,
    And fruits eternal feast the soul;

project your thoughts and your anxieties there, and have a care about the world to come. Do not be anxious about the things that pertain to this life. “Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”

13. Reading further down, in the thirty-fifth verse, you will notice that watching implies keeping ourselves in a serviceable condition: “Let your waist be girded.” You know how the Orientals wear flowing robes, which are always getting in their way. They cannot walk without being tripped up; so that, if a man has a piece of work on hand, he just tucks in his robe under his sash, ties his sash up tightly, and gets ready for his task, as we should say in English, turning the Oriental into the Western figure, rolling up your shirtsleeves, and preparing for work. That is the way to wait for the Lord, ready for service, so that, when he comes, he may never find you idle. I called to see a sister one morning; and when I called, she was cleaning the front steps with some whitewash, and she said, “Oh, my dear pastor, I am sorry that you should call on me just now! I would not have had you see me like this on any account.” I answered, “That is how I like to see you, busy at your work. I should not have liked to have come in, and caught you talking to your neighbour over the back fence. That would not have pleased me at all. May your Lord, when he comes, find you just so, doing your duty!” You see exactly what is meant; you are to be doing your duty; you are to be engaged about those vocations to which God has called you. You are to be doing it all out of love for Christ, and as service for him. Oh, that, we might watch in that way, with our waist girded! Work, and wait, and watch! Can you put those three things together? Work, and wait, and watch! This is what your Master asks of you.

14. And next, he would have us wait with our lights burning. If the Master comes home late, let us sit up late for him. It is not for us to go to bed until he comes home. Have the lights all trimmed; have his room well lit up; have the entrance hall ready for his approach. When the King comes, have your torches flaming, so that you may go out to meet the royal Bridegroom, and escort him to his home. If we are to watch for the Lord, as we ought, it must be with lamps burning. Are you making your light to shine among men? Do you think that your conduct and character are an example that will do your neighbours good, and are you trying to teach others the way of salvation? Some professors are like dark lanterns, or candles under a bushel. May we never be such! May we stand with our lamps trimmed, and our lights burning, and we ourselves like men who wait for their Lord; not walking in darkness, nor concealing our light, but letting it shine brightly! That is the way to watch for Christ, with your belt tight around you because you are ready for work, and your lamp flaming out with brightness because you are anxious to illuminate the dark world in which you live.

15. To put it very plainly, I think that watching for the Coming of the Lord means acting just as you would wish to be acting if he were to come. I saw, in the Orphanage schoolroom, that little motto, “What would Jesus do?” That is a very splendid motto for our whole life, “What would Jesus do in such a case and in such a case?” Do just that. Another good motto is, “What would Jesus think of me if he were to come?” There are some places into which a Christian could not go, for he would not like his Master to find him there. There are some kinds of amusements into which a believer would never enter, for he would be ashamed for his Master to come and find him there. There are some conditions of angry temper, of pride, petulance, or spiritual sloth, in which you would not like to be if you felt that the Master was coming. Suppose an angel’s wing should brush your cheek just as you have spoken some unkind word, and a voice should say, “Your Master is coming,” you would tremble, I am sure, to meet him in such a condition. Oh, beloved, let us try every morning to get up as if that were the morning in which Christ would come; and when we go up to bed at night, may we lie down with this thought, “Perhaps I shall be awakened by the ringing out of the silver trumpets heralding his Coming. Before the sun arises, I may be startled from my dreams by the greatest of all cries, ‘The Lord is come! The Lord is come!’ ” What a check, what an incentive, what a bridle, what a spur, such thoughts as these would be to us! Take this for the guide of your whole life. Act as if Jesus would come during the act in which you are engaged; and if you would not wish to be caught in that act by the Coming of the Lord, do not let it be your act.

16. The second verse of our text speaks about the Master coming in the second watch, or in the third watch. We are to act as those who keep the watches of the age for Christ. Among the Romans, it was as it is on board ship, there were certain watches. A Roman soldier, perhaps, stood on guard for three hours, and when he had been on the watch for three hours, there came another sentry who took his place, and the first man retired, and went back to the barracks, and the fresh sentinel stood in his place during his allotted time. Brethren, we have succeeded a long line of watchmen. Since the days of our Lord, when he sent out the chosen twelve to stand on the citadel, and tell how the night waxed or waned, how have the watchers come and gone! Our God has changed the watchers, but he has kept the watch. He still sets watchmen on the walls of Zion, who cannot hold their peace day or night, but must watch for the Coming of their Master, watch against evil times, watch against error, and watch for the souls of men. At this time, some of us are called to be especially on the watch, and dare we sleep? After such a line of lynx-eyed watchmen, who did not count their lives dear to them that they might hold their post, and watch against the foe, shall we be cowards, and be afraid; or shall we be sluggards, and go to our beds? By him who lives, and was dead, and is alive for evermore, we pray that we may never be guilty of treason to his sacred name and truth; but may we watch on to the last moment when there shall ring out the clarion cry, “Behold, the Bridegroom comes; go out to meet him.” People of the Tabernacle, you are set to watch tonight just as they did in the brave days of old! Whitfield and Wesley’s men were watchers; and those before them, in the days of Luther and of Calvin, and back even to the days of our Lord. They kept the watches of the night, and you must do the same, until —

          Upstarting at the midnight cry,
    “Behold your heavenly Bridegroom nigh,”

you go out to welcome your returning Lord.

17. We are to wait with one object in view, that is, to open the door to him, and to welcome him:“ that when he comes and knocks, they may open to him immediately.” Perhaps you know what it is to go home to a loving, tender wife and children who are watching for you. You have been on a journey; you have been absent for a long time; you have written them letters which they have greatly valued; you have heard from them; but all that is nothing like your personal presence. They are looking for you; and if, perhaps, the boat should fail you, or the train be late, if you arrived at eleven or twelve o’clock at night, you would not expect to find the house all locked up, and no one watching for you. No, you had told them that you would come, and you were quite sure that they would watch for you. I feel rebuked myself, sometimes, for not watching for my Master, when I know that, at this very time, my dogs are sitting against the door, waiting for me; and long before I reach home, they will be there, and at the first sound of the carriage wheels, they will lift up their voices with delight because their master is coming home. Oh, if we loved our Lord as dogs love their masters, how we should catch the first sound of his Coming, and be waiting, always waiting, and never happy until at last we should see him! Pardon me for using a dog as a picture of what you ought to be; but when you have attained to a state above that, I will find another illustration to explain my meaning.

18. III. Now, lastly, THERE IS A REWARD FOR WATCHERS. Their reward is this, “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he comes shall find watching.”

19. They have a present blessedness. It is a very blessed thing to be on the watch for Christ, it is a blessing to us now. How it detaches you from the world! You can be poor without murmuring; you can be rich without worldliness; you can be sick without sorrowing; you can be healthy without presumption. If you are always waiting for Christ’s Coming, untold blessings are wrapped up in that glorious hope. “Every man who has this hope in him purifies himself even as he is pure.” Blessednesses are heaped up one upon another in that state of heart in which a man is always looking for his Lord.

20. But what will be the blessedness when Jesus does come? Well, a part of that blessedness will be in future service. You must not think that, when you are finished working here, you Sunday School teachers, and those of us who preach and teach, that the Master will say, “I have discharged you from my service. Go and sit on a heavenly mount, and sing yourselves away for ever and ever.” Not a bit of it. I am only learning how to preach now; I shall be able to preach eventually. You are only learning to teach now; you will be able to teach eventually. Yes, you shall make known the manifold wisdom of God to angels, and principalities, and powers. I sometimes aspire to the thought of a congregation of angels and archangels, who shall sit and wonder, as I tell what God has done for me; and I shall be to them an everlasting monument of the grace of God to an unworthy wretch, upon whom he looked with infinite compassion, and saved with a wonderful salvation. All those stars, those worlds of light, who knows how many of them are inhabited? I believe there are regions beyond our imagination to which every child of God shall become an everlasting illumination, a living example of the love of God in Christ Jesus. The beings in those far-distant lands could not see Calvary as this world has seen it; but they shall hear of it from the redeemed. Remember how the Lord will say, “Well done, you good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.” He is to keep on doing something, you see. Instead of having some little bit of a village to govern, he is to be made ruler over some great province. So it is in this passage. Read the forty-fourth verse: “Truly I say to you, that he will make him ruler over all that he has.” That is, the man who has been a faithful and wise steward of God here, will be called by God to more eminent service hereafter. If he serves his Master well, when his Master comes, he will promote him to even higher service. Do you not know how it used to be in the Spartan army? Here is a man who has fought well, and been a splendid soldier. He is covered with wounds on his breast. The next time that there is a war, they say, “Poor fellow, we will reward him! He shall lead the way in the first battle. He fought so well before, when he met one hundred with a little troop behind him; now he shall meet ten thousand with a larger troop.” “Oh!” you say, “that is giving him more work.” That is God’s way of rewarding his people, and a blessed thing it is for the industrious servant. His rest is in serving God with all his might. This shall be our heaven, not to go there to roost, but to be always on the wing; for ever flying, and for ever resting at the same time. “They do his commandments, listening to the voice of his word.” “His servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face.” These two things blended together make a noble ambition for every Christian.

21. May the Lord keep you waiting, working, watching, so that when he comes, you may have the blessedness of entering into some larger, higher, nobler service than you could accomplish now, for which you are preparing by the lowlier and more arduous service of this world! May God bless you, beloved, and if any of you do not know my Lord, and therefore do not look for his appearing, remember that he will come whether you look for him or not; and when he comes, you will have to stand at his judgment bar. One of the events that will follow his Coming will be your being summoned before his judgment seat, and how will you answer him then? How will you answer him if you have refused his love, and turned a deaf ear to the invitations of his mercy? If you have delayed, and delayed, and delayed, and delayed, how will you answer him? How will you answer him in that day? If you stand speechless, your silence will condemn you, and the King will say, “Bind him hand and foot, and take him away.” May God grant that we may believe in the Lord Jesus to life eternal, and then wait for his appearing from heaven, for his love’s sake! Amen.

{a} Deponent: One who deposes or makes a deposition under oath; one who gives written testimony to be used as evidence in a court of justice or for other purposes. OED. {b} The Great Disappointment was a major event in the history of the Millerite movement, a 19th-century American Christian sect that formed out of the Second Great Awakening. Based on his interpretations of the prophecies in the book of Daniel, William Miller, a Baptist preacher, proposed that Jesus Christ would return to the earth during the year 1844. The specific date of October 22, 1844, was preached by Samuel S. Snow. Thousands of followers, some of whom had given away all of their possessions, waited expectantly. When Jesus did not appear, the date became known as the Great Disappointment. See Explorer "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Disappointment"

 The Sword And The Trowel
 Table of Contents, April, 1893.
 Qualifications for Soul-Winning — Godward. A Lecture, delivered to the Students of the Pastors’ College. By C. H. Spurgeon.
 “Rutherford’s Witnesses.” Cited by Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon.
 Seen at a Moorish Well. By N. Hardingham Patrick, Tangier. (Illustrated.)
 “Let not your Heart be Troubled.” (Poetry.) By Pastor E. A. Tydeman.
 The Fall of a Giant. By Dr. A. T. Pierson.
 The Moral Teaching of the Higher Critics. By Pastor W. D. McKinney, Ansonia, Connecticut, U. S. A.
 The Round of the Prayer-meetings. IV. A Saturday Night Prayer-meeting in the Country.
 On using the Pen for Christ. (First Paper.) By John Burnham.
 A Winter’s Drive into Italy with Mr. Spurgeon. By Joseph W. Harrald. (Illustrated.)
 Frank Buckland on Evolution.
 “Jack Ketch’s Warren” — Past and Present. By G. H. Pike.
 Charles G. Finney. A Review. By A. A. Harmer.
 Notices of Books.
 Notes. (The authorized Life of Mr. Spurgeon. The Christian Pictorial. Pastor Charles Spurgeon. Pastor Thomas Spurgeon. Pastor J. A. Spurgeon. Metropolitan Tabernacle Evangelists’ Training-class. Metropolitan Tabernacle Annual Church-meeting. Metropolitan Tabernacle Mothers’ Meeting. Metropolitan Tabernacle Sunday-school Missionary Meeting. Haddon Hall. Collingwood Street Mission. Pastors’ College. Conference. Pastors’ College Missionary Association. Society of Evangelists. Stockwell Orphanage. Colportage Association. Personal Notes, by Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon.)
 Lists of Contributions.

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Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Lu 12:13-48}

13, 14. And one of the company said to him, “Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.” And he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?”

Our Lord kept to his proper business, which was the preaching of the gospel and the healing of the sick. We find, in these days, that the minister of the gospel is asked to do almost everything. He must be a politician; he must be a social reformer; he must be I do not know what. For my part, I often feel as if I could answer, “Who made me to do anything of the kind? If I can preach the gospel, I shall have done well if I do that to the glory of God, and to the salvation of men. Surely there are enough people to be judges and dividers, there are quite sufficient politicians to attend to politics, and plenty of men who feel themselves qualified to direct social reforms. Some of us may be spared to attend to spiritual affairs.”

15. And he said to them, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things which he possesses.”

Jesus gave his hearers a good moral and spiritual lesson from the occurrence which they had witnessed, and then passed on to speak of the matter which always occupied his thoughts.

16, 17. And he spoke a parable to them, saying, “The ground of a certain rich man produced plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, because I have no room where to store my harvest?’

He did not enquire, “Where can I find a needy case in which I may use my surplus for charity?” Oh, no! “How can I hoard it? How can I keep it all to myself?” This was a selfish, worldly man.

18-20. And he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there I will store all my harvest and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry."’ But God said to him, ‘You fool,

Other men said of him, “This is a wise man; he looks for the best opportunities; he is a fellow plentifully endowed with good sense and prudence”; but God said to him, “You fool,” —

20. Tonight your soul shall be required of you:

I should like you to set that up as the counter picture to the one that we had this morning, “Today you shall be with me in Paradise.” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2078, “The Believing Thief” 2079} That was said by Christ to the penitent thief, but to this impenitent rich man, God said, “Tonight your soul shall be required of you.”

20, 21. Then whose shall those things be, which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God.”

“He who lays up treasure for himself.” That was the chief point of this man’s wrong-doing, his selfishness. His charity began at home, and ended there; he lived only for himself.

22, 23. And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I say to you, ‘Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat; neither for the body, what you shall put on. The life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.

Have no anxious, carking care. Do not be looking after the inferior things, and neglecting your soul. Take care of your soul; your body will take care of itself better than your soul can. The clothing for the body will come in due time; but the clothing for the soul is the all-important matter. Therefore, see to that.

24-27. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouses nor barns; and God feeds them: how much more are you better than the birds? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If you then are not able to do that thing which is least, why do you take thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they do not toil, they do not spin; and yet I say to you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

The lilies simply stand still in the sunlight, and silently say to us, “See how beautiful the thoughts of God are.” If we could just drink in God’s love, and then, almost without speech, show it in our lives, how we should glorify his name!

28. If then God so clothes the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, oh you of little faith!

But you have some faith, otherwise the Saviour would not have said to you, “Oh you of little faith!” The man who has no faith may well go on fretting, toiling, spinning; but he who has faith, as he goes out to his daily labour, looks beyond that to the God of providence, and so God keeps him without care, and provides for him.

29, 30. And do not seek what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, neither be of a doubtful mind. For the nations of the world seek after all these things: and your Father knows that you have need of these things.

He knows that you must go and work for these things; but he would not have you fret and fume about them. “Your Father knows.” He will provide. It is enough for him to know his children’s needs, and he will be sure to provide for them.

31. But rather seek the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added to you.

Thrown in as a kind of make-weight. {c} You get the spiritual, and then the common blessings of life shall be added to you.

32. Do not fear, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

That is your share. Others may have inferior joys; but you are to have the kingdom. The Lord could not give you more than that; and he will not give you less.

33. Sell what you have, and give alms;

Do not merely give away what you can spare; but even pinch yourself sometimes, and sell what you can so that you may have all the more to give.

33. Provide for yourselves bags which do not wear out, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches, neither moth corrupts.

Put some of your estate where it cannot be lost. Take care that you invest some of it for God’s poor, and God’s work, where the interest will be sure, and the investment will be safe.

34. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Make sure of that. Your heart will go after your treasure; and if none of your treasure has gone to heaven, none of your heart will go there.

35, 36. Let your waist be girded, and your lights burning; and you yourselves like men who wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; so that when he comes and knocks, they may open to him immediately.

Our Lord constantly reminded his disciples that the time would come when he must leave them for a time; but he always kept before them the thought of his return, and told them to watch for him as those who wait for their lord.

37-39. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he comes shall find watching: truly I say to you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to dine, and will come out and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And know this, that if the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have allowed his house to be broken into.

Since he does not know when the thief will come, he is always watching.

40, 41. Therefore be ready also: for the Son of man comes at an hour when you do not expect him.’ ” Then Peter said to him, “Lord, do you speak this parable to us, or even to everyone?”

And the Lord told him that, while it was spoken to everyone, it had a very special bearing on apostolic men, upon preachers of the gospel, ministers of Christ.

42-44. And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find doing so. Truly I say to you, that he will make him ruler over all that he has.

Just as Pharaoh made Joseph ruler over all Egypt, so, when men have done well in the ministry of Christ, he will promote them, and they shall do even more for him.

45, 46. But and if that servant says in his heart, ‘My lord delays his coming,’ and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunk; the lord of that servant will come in a day when he does not look for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him asunder.

This is a truly terrible expression. We are sometimes charged with using too strong expressions with regard to the wrath to come. It is quite impossible that we should do so, even if we tried, for the expressions of the Lord Jesus are more profoundly terrible than any which even medieval writers have ever been known to invent.

46. And will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

The worst portion that any man can get is with the unbelievers’ Are there not some here who may, in this verse, see what a dark doom theirs will be if they are among those who are described as being cut asunder, and having their portion with the unbelievers?

47. And that servant, who knew his lord’s will, and did not prepare himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

So that there are different measures of responsibility; there are degrees in guilt, and degrees in punishment.

48. But he who did not know, and committed things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For to whomever much is given, from him shall much be required: and to whom men have committed much, from him they will ask all the more.”

Oh my brethren! let those of us who are privileged with the possession of the gospel, and privileged with any amount of ability to spread it, enquire whether we could turn in a good account if the Lord were to come tonight, and summon us, as stewards, to give an account of our stewardship.

May God bless to us all the reading of his Word! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Second Advent — The Lord Shall Come” 364}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Second Advent — Lo! He Cometh!” 363}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Church, Ordinances, The Lord’s Supper — ‘This Do In Remembrance Of Me’ ” 936}

{c} Make-weight: A person or thing of insignificant value thrown in to make up a deficiency or fill a gap. OED.

Jesus Christ, Second Advent
364 — The Lord Shall Come
1 The Lord shall come! the earth shall quake;
   The mountains to their centre shake;
   And, withering from the vault of night,
   The stars shall pale their feeble light.
2 The Lord shall come! but not the same
   As once in lowliness he came;
   A silent lamb before his foes,
   A weary man, and full of woes.
3 The Lord shall come! a dreadful form,
   With rainbow wreath and robes of storm;
   On cherub wings, and wings of wind,
   Appointed Judge of all mankind.
4 Can this be he, who wont to stray
   A pilgrim on the world’s highway,
   Oppress’d by power, and mock’d by pride
   The Nazarene — the Crucified?
5 While sinners in despair shall call,
   “Rocks, hide us; mountains, on us fall!”
   The saints, ascending from the tomb,
   Shall joyful sing, “The Lord is come!”
                     Reginald Heber, 1811;
                     Thomas Cotterhill, 1815.

Jesus Christ, Second Advent
363 — Lo! He Cometh! <8.7.4.>
1 Lo! He cometh! countless trumpets
   Blow to raise the sleeping dead!
   ‘Mid ten thousand saints and angels,
   See the great exalted Head!
   Welcome, welcome, Son of God.
2 Now his merit, by the harpers,
   Through the eternal deep resounds;
   Now resplendent shine his nail prints,
   Every eye shall see his wounds:
      They who pierced him
   Shall at his appearance wail.
3 Full of joyful expectation,
   Saints, behold the Judge appear;
   Truth and justice go before him,
   Now the joyful sentence hear!
   Welcome, welcome to the skies.
4 “Come, ye blessed of my Father,
   Enter into life and joy!
   Banish all your fears and sorrows,
   Endless praise be your employ!”
   Welcome, welcome to the skies.
5 Now at once they rise to glory,
   Jesus brings them to the King;
   There, with all the hosts of heaven,
   They eternal anthems sing:
   Boundless glory to the Lamb.
               John Cennick, 1752;
               Caleb Evans’ Collection, 1769.

Church, Ordinances, The Lord’s Supper
936 — “This Do In Remembrance Of Me”
1 According to thy gracious word,
      In meek humility,
   This will I do, my dying Lord,
      I will remember thee.
2 Thy body, broken for my sake,
      My bread from heaven shall be;
   Thy testamental cup I take,
      And thus remember thee.
3 Gethsemane, can I forget?
      Or there thy conflict see,
   Thine agony and bloody sweat,
      And not remember thee!
4 When to the cross I turn mine eyes,
      And rest on Calvary,
   Oh Lamb of God! my sacrifice!
      I must remember thee.
5 Remember thee, and all thy pains,
      And all thy love to me;
   Yea, while a breath, a pulse remains,
      Will I remember thee.
6 And when these failing lips grow dumb,
      And mind and memory flee,
   When thou shalt in thy kingdom come,
      Jesus, remember me!
               James Montgomery, 1825.

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).

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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.

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