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2320. The Beloved Pastor’s Plea For Unity

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No. 2320-39:373. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, July 7, 1889, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, August 6, 1893.

To all who are in Rome, beloved by God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. {Ro 1:7}

1. In a few minutes we shall gather together as members of the Church of Christ to celebrate the memorial of his death. It is a memorable sight to see so many Christian people sitting together with the object of observing this ordinance. Frequently as I have seen it, I must confess that, when sitting in the chair at the head of the table, I often feel overawed with the knowledge that it is the largest gathering of Christians anywhere beneath the sun, and that they have come there with one common object, namely, to show our Lord’s death “until he comes.” The question then rises in our minds whether there is real fellowship in all this, for if there is not, it is a great sham; and the more numerous we are, if we do not have fellowship with Christ, and with each other, the greater is the deception; it is only having a name to live while we are dead. So I want tonight, not so much to preach to you, as to exhort you, who are about to gather to this holy festival, to think so that your thoughts shall go out toward all your Christian brethren, and that you shall feel the power of that precious blood which makes us nearer related than even the blood of Adam, that blood of Jesus, which makes us truly brothers and sisters, yes, members of one body, and so united by living communion to each other.

2. In this first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, you see the spirit of communion in the apostle Paul. He was, he says, anxious to do good to others. He longed to see the Roman Christians, in order that he might impart to them some spiritual gift. While he is writing to them, you can see that he is anxious that they may have the best thing that they can have. All his desire is for their good; he is lovingly interested in their welfare. That is how we ought to be to each other, not only the pastor to the people, but the people to the pastor, and the members of the church towards each other, all anxious for the good of the rest; no man living for himself, but each one endeavouring to live for the benefit of the entire community in Christ Jesus.

3. Not only did the apostle’s heart go out to the church in Rome, but to all the Gentiles. He felt himself, he says, a debtor to everyone, to the Greeks and to the barbarians, to the wise and to the unwise, to the bond and to the free. Do you not think that our loving sympathies should go out towards all mankind? Oh, let them do so! While you have the nearest and closest fellowship with the saints, still desire to recognise your relationship with the rest of men, praying to God that he would enlighten them, and bring them also within the bonds of the covenant, so that your fellowship with them might be loving, and true, and deep.

4. However, the apostle especially expresses his fellowship with the saints in Rome, and to prove that fellowship he calls them by endearing names, by the highest titles which they could have, “beloved by God, called to be saints”; and then he greets them with good wishes of the very sweetest, tenderest kind, when he says, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” While I am trying to speak on this text, will our dear brothers and sisters’ hearts be going out to each other, with a view to the increase of real spiritual communion in this church, and also in every branch of the one Church of Christ throughout the world?

5. First, notice, concerning these people, their favoured condition: “beloved by God”; secondly, their sure proof of that favour: “called to be saints”; and, thirdly, their blessedness through that favour. Paul wished them to have what he was allowed to wish for them, for it was truly theirs, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

6. I. First, then, notice concerning these people, THEIR FAVOURED CONDITION. They are said to be “beloved by God.”

7. I wish that I could hope that this was true of everyone here, in the fullest and most emphatic sense, that we were all “beloved by God.” There is a sense in which it is true, for God has a love of benevolence, and kindness, and well-wishing towards all his creatures. He is kind to the unthankful and the evil, and makes his rain to fall on the field of the miser as well as on the ground of the gracious. He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” God is willing that all should come to him, repent of sin, believe in Jesus Christ, and find eternal life. We are all, in some respects, partakers of the love of God.

8. But, dear friends, there is a love for Peter which is greater than the love which Christ had for Judas. There is a love which he has for his own, which is of particular character, and differs very greatly from that common love which he bestows on all the works of his hands, for there is a love of choice, and it is in this sense that Paul calls these Roman saints “beloved by God.” God had chosen them; his prescient eye had foreseen them, and their condition, and he had selected them out of the mass of the Roman population that they might be his own. Whatever may be said about the doctrine of election, it is written in the Word of God as with an iron pen, and there is no getting rid of it; there it stands. To me, it is one of the sweetest and most blessed truths in all of revelation; and those who are afraid of it are so because they do not understand it. If they could only know that the Lord had chosen them, it would make their hearts to dance for joy. The Lord has a people in this world, whom he has himself chosen, and given to his Son Jesus Christ, and whom the Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed from among men, for Christ “loved the church, and gave himself for it.” These are the people of whom Paul speaks as beloved by God, those who have been, by divine grace, chosen out of the great mass of mankind. Please beware of that desperately evil thing which is everywhere now, “the Christian world.” There is no mixture that can be so bad as that. If it is the world, it is the world; if it is Christian, it is not the world; and the two things cannot be bound together. There is a divorce proclaimed between the two. Our Lord Jesus proclaimed it when he said, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world”; and he was never of the world. No one ever thought that he was of the world; and so his followers, if they are true to him, are not of the world. They are of another race. As the apostle John says, “You know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the wicked one.” It is not, as someone said the other day, “a redeemed world”; it is a world that lies in the wicked one, as a child lies in his father’s arms. There is a redeemed people in it, whom Christ is calling out by his own wondrous and sovereign grace; but we are not to look on them as tasting of the benefits of his redemption in any saving way until he calls them to faith in himself, and brings them to be washed in his precious blood. Then they may, indeed, be called “beloved by God.”

9. These are, again, beloved with a love of resolve. He determined concerning those whom he loved that they should be saved, that they should repent, that they should accept the great Sacrifice. He ordained them to eternal life, and he resolved so to work on them that, while he did not violate the freedom of their wills, or treat them otherwise than as men, yet still he would accomplish his purpose with them, he would create in them a new heart and a right spirit, he would turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to himself. These were the beloved by the Lord.

10. And as a result they came to be the beloved by God in another sense, namely, with a love of satisfaction. The Lord cannot love a wicked man with the love of satisfaction. He takes no delight in him; he cannot even look on him without abhorrence, for he provokes the Lord to anger by his iniquity. But there are men in the world in whom the Holy Spirit has created principles which delight God. He has given them a character which is pleasing to him. They are his Hephzibahs; his delight is in them. There are some, of whom he thinks with pleasure, though they were once sinful and vile as others. He has transformed them into new creatures in Christ Jesus, and now he delights in them. I do not know a more joyful thought than for a man to be led to believe that God takes satisfaction in him, and looks at him with the eye of loving approval. All those like him are the beloved of the Lord.

11. And because of this, dear friends, there was also a love of unity. God joins himself to the man in whom he takes delight. There is a friendship between them more close than that between David and Jonathan, so that God speaks with his servant, and hears what his servant has to say in reply. There are men who are on such intimate terms with God that they might be called the friends of God, as Abraham was; and God is both their shield, and their very great reward. Oh, if some of you knew what a joy it is to be the beloved by the Lord, you would think yourselves to be wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, while you are without him; and you would think that, even if you were poor, and blind, and naked, yet you would not be wretched and miserable if you only knew this wondrous love of God, which leads to the friendship of God, and to fellowship with God. There are many men and women, nowadays, thank God, who have a place where they are accustomed to meet God, quite as regularly as they meet their fellow tradesmen at their stall or at their office. They keep a trysting {meeting} place with God; and it would be a doleful day to them if, on any occasion, they should go to wait on God, and find that he had closed the door against them. Yes, we have in London, and all over the world, a multitude who may truly be called the beloved by the Lord.

12. This is a very choice privilege; if you possess it, prize it beyond everything else. This is a crowning honour. Perhaps, if you were invited to attend the Queen, you might think something of it; but what would that be compared with being beloved by God? To have the love of our follow men, is very sweet; there are times when it comes with particular pleasantness; but oh, believe me, all the loves of all relationships, all the loves of all friendships heaped together, can never be compared with the love of God for us! All the goodness that there is in human love is derived from the love of God; and is at best only as a drop compared with the boundless ocean. If you are beloved by God, I will not stop to ask whether you are rich or poor, or even whether you are in good health or in sickness, neither will I enquire whether you are in honour or in disrepute, or whether your life is likely to be long or to be suddenly cut short. All these things are only trifles; this is the solid fact that makes you a happy and a blessed man, that you can be called “beloved by God.”

13. Now the sweet thing here is that, if I am beloved by God, and you are beloved by God, here is common ground for us to meet. If you have not yet learned to know your brother, if he is a stranger to you, and if, because of this, no love has actually sprung up in your heart, yet, since Christ loves you, when you hear that Christ loves him, why, then you will seem knit to him at once! I remember that, when I first came to London, I used to think a great deal of everyone who came up from Waterbeach. I believe that, if a dog had come up from Waterbeach, I should have fed him; and I think that, if anyone comes from where Christ is, the Christ who loves us, we shall be sure to love him. Those who are beloved by God will love all others who are beloved by God. “But they are American friends.” Never mind whether they are American or Dutch; if the Lord loves them, we love them. “Oh, but they live so many thousands of miles away; and they never come here.” Never mind; what if seas and mountains divide us, yet we are one, and he who loves us loves them also. I am sure that I appeal to you with no doubt concerning what your answer will be. If God has put us within the same circle of his infinite affection, may we not safely clasp hands feeling that we shall never have to unclasp them, indeed, not even in death? The relationship between a husband and a wife, between a mother and her son, may be snapped entirely by death, never to be renewed; if there is no grace in the heart of the husband or the child, the weeping and the wailing will be useless at the last. They are parted, never to meet again; think of that, you who are still unsaved. But if we are one in Christ’s love, we may have to bid “Good-bye” to each other here on earth for a time; but it is only for a time. Those bands, of which the love of God is the raw material, are everlasting. Some of you tonight, when I break the bread, will have to go to the gallery, or to go home. I very often meet good men, who come to join the church, and who say, “Nothing decided me until I had to leave my wife behind me, or when I stayed in the top gallery, and looked down on her, and felt that I could not come and eat with her the memorial of the Lord’s death. Then I felt that I could not hold out any longer.” Oh, may you have that union in the love of God which never will be broken! Seek it tonight. May we all, in these two galleries, and this great area, be encompassed within the circle of the “beloved by God!”

14. II. Now, my second point is, THEIR SURE PROOF OF THAT FAVOUR, for they were “called to be saints”: beloved by God, called to be saints.

15. What were these people to whom Paul wrote? First, they were saints. You notice that the words “to be” are put in by the translators; but though they are supplied, they are not really necessary for the sense. These believers in Rome were “called saints.” They were not called because they were saints; but they became saints through that calling. Now, here is a name that belongs to all the people of God; they are saints. It is not merely “St. John,” and “St. James,” and so on, as some foolish people talk, who cannot call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, by their right names, but must always “Saint” them. I believe that there is a St. John; I dare say that there are twenty St. Johns in this Tabernacle tonight. I believe in St. Matthew; I expect that there are two or three St. Matthews here tonight. All the people of God, all who are really believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, are saints. All of them are called saints and we may call them so.

16. Is that not very wonderful, that these Romans should be called saints, for they were not saints once? The Romans were among the worst of mankind. This first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans is one of the most awful that ever fell from a human pen; it so describes the infamous crimes of the Gentiles, that we might almost blush to read it in the presence of a congregation; and such were some of these people, but grace came and renewed them, and they were called saints, and really were saints, that is, dedicated people. A saint is a person who is set apart for God, consecrated to God, sanctified, separated, a man who is in the world, but not of it; he belongs to God, and he lives for God. Now, if God loves you in the sense in which we have been speaking, he has made a saint of you, a dedicated man. You remember that Jonah was asked, “What is your occupation, and of what people are you?” and he answered, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord.” That was his occupation; he was a God-fearing man. It is not every man who could give such an answer as that. When we feel that our very occupation is to serve God, then we are properly “called saints,” sanctified, set apart ones.

17. But the word “saints” really means also holy people. If we are the beloved by the Lord, he will make us holy people. There is a very wide difference between that and being merely moral. Here is a man who calls himself a saint, and he is not honest; do not call him a saint, he is not even a respectable sinner. Here is a man who says he is a child of God, and yet he is guilty of lewdness. Do you call him a saint, when even common morality is absent? Dear friends, all the charity we can possibly pump up will not allow us to call that man a holy man who is not even a moral man. What is holiness, then? It rises above morality as much as the heaven rises above the earth. Holiness is a more spiritual, a more intense, a more divine, a more heavenly thing than morality; but he who does not have morality certainly falls very short of anything like holiness. We are called not merely to be moralists, but to be saints. If you go, tomorrow, into some place of amusement, where there is something not quite clean, something full of levity, I should like someone to whisper in your ear, “Called to be saints”; or, if tomorrow, in business, you should lose your temper, and begin to speak rather strongly, I should like something, even if it were only a parrot, to say, “Called to be saints”; and if, when you go home, you begin to be very rough to the children, unkind to the wife, and not what you should be even to the servant, I should like you to hear a voice saying, “Called to be saints.” It might make you blush, if you can, — there are some who cannot, — but every man, who professes to be a child of God, should remember that this is what his calling is, and he cannot prove that he is beloved by God unless he can prove his calling to saintship by being really a saint. Oh, that we had a church all made up of saints! Our churches, nowadays, are very respectable communities, I do not doubt, and there is a good deal of sainthood in them; but, oh, if they were all saints, then indeed we should impact the world, and impact the age, and the kingdom of our Lord would come! They were saints, then, to whom Paul wrote.

18. He also says that they were “called to be saints.” They were not saints originally; they were “called to be saints.” They were not saints by their own native growth, they did not grow up into saints; they were “called to be saints.” They were called by Christ himself. Read the sixth verse: “Among whom you are also the called by Jesus Christ.” Being called by Jesus Christ, they were called by a voice which they recognised, a voice to which they yielded, a voice that spoke very powerfully, a voice that spoke transformingly; and they were called by him to be saints. Have you ever had such a call, my dear hearer? Sitting in your pew tonight, can you remember when that call came to you, as real a call as when God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees, a call from heaven, mysterious, divine, which no one else could hear, but which you heard and obeyed? “Called to be saints.”

19. Now, then, see the common ground for our communion with each other. If I have had a call to be a saint, I should not like to talk much about that to some people whom I know, for they would call it fanaticism. If you have had a call to be a saint, you have been very much in the same state; but when you and I meet together, we are not afraid to talk about it. You understand it, and I understand it; and on the basis of having had a common call, we feel ourselves at home. We are brothers and sisters at once, because we are equally “called to be saints.” You cry and you sigh for saintship, and your friend cries and sighs for saintship, too. He is conscious that he comes short of his own idea of it; he struggles, he groans. You and he have a secret between you; your experience is his experience, and you two feel, having equally received a call from God, and a call for the same purpose, that you should both become the same thing, namely, saints to God. Here is a basis for fellowship. The lambs can have no fellowship with the wolves; let them keep together, and have fellowship with each other. You who love God will not find much fellowship up and down these streets. In many of the houses, if you were to speak of God, they would ridicule you. Get all the fellowship that you can with each other. Let it be said of you, as of those of old, “Then those who feared the Lord spoke often to each other: and the Lord listened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for those who feared the Lord, and who thought on his name.” I like to think of this, that as we are one in being the beloved by the Lord, so we are one in the outcome of it; we have all been called, and we have all been called to the same high attainment of saintship. Paul does not say that he alluded to “the upper ten” at Rome; no, but he says, “To all who are in Rome, beloved by God.” Do not go around, and pick out a few of the best Christian people, and say, “I am in sympathy with them.” Ah, dear friends, this is not like Christ; he washed his disciples’ feet, but you are for looking up at their heads! Go and begin fellowship with him by washing his dear feet. Where there is aliquid Christi , as a good man used to say, anything of Christ, your love should go out there. Where there is any work of Christ on the soul of anyone, however uneducated, however poor, however rough he may be, indeed, and however bad-tempered he may be, nevertheless endeavour to get to maintain and to increase fellowship with him, since you and he have one calling, you are both “called to be saints.”

20. III. Now I come to a close with the third point, where I think we shall also find some common ground for fellowship, THEIR BLESSEDNESS THROUGH THE FAVOUR OF GOD. This was the same with regard to all to whom Paul wrote: “To all who are in Rome, beloved by God, called saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

21. First, these good people had this blessedness, they all had the same Father. Suppose that two people were to meet here tonight, who, did not know each other, and they were to begin to talk to each other, and one said, “My father’s name is So-and-so,” and the other were to look at him, and say, “And where does he live? He lives at such a house, in such a city.” “Does he? Why, do you know, that is my father?” Those two would be surprised that they did not know each other, for they evidently had the same father. I can see them backing off a bit, and looking at each other, and saying, “Do you mean to say that really his name is John Smith?” “Yes.” “And he lives at such a house?” “Yes.” “What age is he? What kind of a man is he? Do you have his picture with you?” “Yes.” “There, I have a good picture of him, too, and it is the same man. He is father to us both; then what are we two?” “We are brothers”; and they put their arms around each other’s neck, and say, “What have we been doing, that, having the same father, we did not know each other?” Now, there are many Christian people who, if they came right, would be in much the same condition. They have the same Father, and do not know it, because they do not quite agree, perhaps, on some form of doctrine, or even on the rite of baptism, or something of that kind, which is of very great importance, but still the most important thing is, — Do we have one Father? If we have, then let us have fellowship with each other. I want this to be real. When I was very young, and first joined the church in Cambridge, I sat in a pew at the communion with a gentleman, perhaps with two or three, but none of them spoke to me. The next time I went to the communion, it was the same, no one spoke to me. I was not anyone to be spoken to; so when I got outside the chapel, I said to one gentleman, “Well, dear sir, how are you?” He said, “I am pretty well, thank you, but you have the advantage over me.” “I do not think I have, sir; I do not know you any more than you know me; but I came to the communion table to profess that I was a brother of those who were there, and I meant it; did you not mean it?” He put both his hands on me, for he was much older than I was, and he said, “What sweet simplicity! You have only acted according to truthfulness. I am glad,” he added, “that you did not do it to our deacon.” The next thing he said was, “Will you come in and have a cup of tea with me?” I said, “Thank you, sir, I could not do that tonight, because I am expected home at the place where I live.” “Will you come in next Sunday?” “Yes.” I continued to go in every Sunday as long as I could, and he remained, and does remain, a dear friend of mine to this day. Though he is very much older than I am, I established a friendship with him which never has been interrupted, and never will be, either in time or in eternity. Should it not be like this among all Christians?

22. Is the Fatherhood of God a reality among the children of God? If it is, let their brotherhood be a reality, and let them show that they are true brothers by their love for each other. May the Lord make it so! The common talk of the universal fatherhood of God is a flat contradiction of the teaching of the Bible. There is certainly in God’s Word such a doctrine as adoption. Does God adopt his own children, then? There is certainly a revelation about the new birth. What are the regenerated born into, then? Only into the same nature as they had before? Is there anything new given to them which makes them to have the nature of the children of God? I thought, and I still think, that it was meant that, until then, they were heirs of wrath, children of disobedience, even as others, and children of the wicked one; but by no means children of the family of the Most High. By grace alone the saints in Rome could call God, “Abba, Father.”

23. The next point in their blessedness was that they had the same Saviour, for so says the text, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” He who died for Paul died for them. The streams of blood, that flowed for the apostle, flowed for them. For them the bloody sweat, for all of them; for them the death-cry, “It is finished,” for all of them; and truly, I do think that, being bought with the same price, ought to make us feel that we are all one lump. We were all passed over to Christ by the one transaction of the payment of his heart’s blood to redeem us, and we ought to feel, indeed, brothers and sisters, I hope that we do feel that we are all one, and we will endeavour as much as lies in us to show this in our lives.

24. And, more than that, they were going to the same heaven. Beloved, the home of God should be the great goal to which we are always pressing forward. You see that the men of the world are coming this way in a great crowd, all in a hurry, rushing after their gods; and we, what are we doing? Threading our way, as best we can, pushing our way against the stream, going in an exactly opposite direction to the rest of mankind. Some of you cannot do this; you keep getting carried off your feet, and you are swept along by the torrent; but the man of God must go against the current. He is not to be swept back; but he is always pressing forward, always seeking to make an advance, contending for every inch, and making up his mind that, come what may, he cannot go back. That is not his way; he must go forward, always pressing on toward the city that has foundations. Christians are like a live fish that goes up the stream, always up the stream. If the fish comes down the stream, and you see it floating with its white belly on the top of the water, you know that it is dead; and we can see plenty of these dead fish floating down the stream nowadays. But the live Christian is going straight up the stream, straight up, up, up. Whichever way the tide may be running, whether it is at the ebb or at the flood, he is going straight up the stream; and, God helping him, he will proceed in that way right to the end. So, brethren, since we are going to the same heaven, let us have heaven begun below as we live in love for each other.

25. These saints, also, had the same grace. I cannot stop to say much about it; but Paul wished for them all that they might have “grace.” If you have grace, and I have grace, the grace is the same in us all. It may take a different form concerning the fruit that it produces; but grace is one. Whether it is grace in the babe in Christ, or grace in the strong man in Christ, it is the same grace; and if we all are debtors to grace, and if grace begins, and grace carries on, and grace completes its work in us all, let us, by the bonds of that grace, be knit together in mutual affection for each other.

26. And then they all had the same peace. Oh, what a blessed thing is peace with God, peace with our own conscience, peace with the past, peace with the present, peace with the future, the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding! Do you have peace, brother, and do I have peace? Then let us be as one, for we have the same peace. You must have noticed, in times of peril, how men are driven into each other’s arms. If you are on board ship, and the vessel is ready to go down, his lordship will be seen at the pumps working as hard as any sweep who may be on board. Everyone must share equally when they divide the biscuit, and everyone must take his turn at working in the saving of the ship. Well, well, if it is so in time of danger, let it be so in time of peace. Let us have an equally hearty communion and fellowship with each other in happy times and under sad circumstances as well.

27. So I have tried to prepare you to come to this feast. If any of you have any ill will towards others, be finished with it. If there are any bickerings and jealousies among you, wring the necks of those evil birds, and be finished with them; put them to a speedy death. Now, surely, is the time, when we come to the common table of the Lord’s one family, to feel that one heart is in us all, and that by him who loved us all, and through him whom we all love, we will love each other. May God grant it! I am not aware that there is any special reason now why I should urge you to this unity more than at any other time; but there is always a reason for it. There is never a company of men and women, so large as ours, who do not have little jealousies between them, and you may be quite sure that these are displeasing to God, and should be put away as speedily as possible. So let it be, and so may we keep the feast in union with Christ, and with each other, for our Saviour’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ro 1:1-17}

1. Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God,

Paul has many titles, and he delights to mention them in writing to these Christians at Rome. He puts first his highest title: “A servant of Jesus Christ.” He glories in being a servant of the crucified Christ, a servant of him who was despised and rejected by men; so do we. Paul was called out from among men, effectively “called” by God “to be an apostle, separated” — set apart — “to the gospel of God.” He believed that he was separated for that purpose at his birth; but he was especially “separated to the gospel of God” on the road to Damascus. It is a happy thing when a minister feels that he has nothing to do with anything else except the gospel; that commands all his thought, all his talent, all his time.

2. (Which he had promised before by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures,)

All the gospel is in the Old Testament as well as in the New, for the gospel which Paul was called to preach was promised before by the prophets in the Holy Scriptures.

3, 4. Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

He is as much the Son of God as he was the Son of man. The humanity is as true as the divinity, the divinity as true as the humanity.

5. By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

Paul felt that he was sent to preach among all the Gentiles. He had a large bishopric; James might keep to the Jews, but Paul’s diocese included every land, he was to preach “among all nations.”

6, 7. Among whom you are also the called of Jesus Christ: to all who are in Rome, beloved by God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The gospel is good news; and the man who has to preach it is full of good wishes. He wishes the best possible things for everyone with whom he comes in contact: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

8. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

Oh, I wish it were so with us, that we had such a faith that could be spoken of throughout the whole world! I am afraid that some have none to speak of; these saints in Rome had such faith that the news of it went abroad everywhere, and all people wondered at them.

9. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;

No wonder that they prospered so well when Paul always made mention of them in his prayers. Some churches would prosper better if some of you remembered them more in prayer. Of course, you all pray for the church of which you are members; could you not set aside in your heart a little time for some poor church that is dwindling down to nothing? Could you not pray it up again? Who knows what blessing would come on the pastor and people if you bore them on your hearts?

10. Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come to you.

Paul prayed about that matter, and we may pray about our journeys. I like to hear the old-fashioned expression, “Be pleased, oh Lord, to grant journeying mercies,” for there are such things; and when the servants of God are going around, with a view to spread the gospel, we ought to pray that they may travel in safety.

11. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established;

He wanted to go to Rome because he felt that he would take something with him. He was a poor man, so he could not take any gold or silver gifts; but he was a chosen man, so he believed that he could impart to them some spiritual gift. Oh, what a largesse a man of God distributes when his Lord is with him! I do pray tonight that, feeble as I am, and unqualified as I am to bless you, yet even tonight all of you who are the people of God may get some spiritual gift. I do not know what you need; but our heavenly Father does. May every one of you get, distinctly from his right hand, some spiritual gift that you may be established, that you may get a good root-hold, that you may be firmly fixed on the sure foundation!

12, 13. That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that often I planned to come to you, (but was hindered so far,) so that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

Rome was a sink of iniquity; it was the den of the lions, where Nero was, who would speedily devour, like a lion, the minister of Christ. Paul wanted somehow to get into that old city on the seven hills, and to pick some fruit for God even from the vine that was planted there; but he was hindered.

14, 15. I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are at Rome also.

I do not suppose that Paul guessed that he would be sent there at the government expense, but he was. The Roman Empire had to find a ship for him, and a suitable escort for him, too; and he entered the city as an ambassador in bonds. When our hearts are set on a thing, and we pray for it, God may grant us the blessing; but, it may be, in a way that we never looked for. You shall go to Rome, Paul; but you shall go in chains. He had not thought of that plan; still, it was the best way in which he could go. I do not know how he could have preached to the Emperor unless as a prisoner; but when he was brought before him to be tried, then he had an opportunity of speaking even to the brutal creature who was called the Emperor of Rome.

16, 17. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

That is the sum and substance of the gospel: “The just shall live by faith.” The law is, “He who does these things shall live by them”; but the gospel is, “The just shall live by faith.” “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God.” May the Lord give to us all that saving faith, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Church, Christian Fellowship — The Communion Of Saints” 888}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — Blessed Be The Lord” 562}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Desires After Holiness — Holiness Desired” 653}
 The Sword and the Trowel
 Table of Contents, August, 1893.
 Gifts Neglected and Gifts Stirred up. Conclusion of An Address to the Students of the Pastors’ College. By C. H. Spurgeon.
 Pastor Thomas Spurgeon’s Return. Letter No. I., Describing the First Portion of his Recent Voyage from New Zealand.
 How the Church of England made Mr. Spurgeon a Baptist (with view of the College at Maidstone where he went to school in 1848-9).
 Unpublished Notes of C. H. Spurgeon’s New Park Street Sermons. Reported by Pastor T. W. Medhurst, Cardiff. No. II.
 “Rutherford’s Witnesses.” Cited by Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon.
 “I have been Alone with Jesus,” and “I am Going to be with Jesus.” Poems by an Aged and Afflicted Member of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Church.
 The Church as the School for the Instruction of Believers. A Paper Read by Pastor R. E. Chettleborough, at the College Conference.
 The Round of the Prayer-meetings. VIII. Shoreditch Tabernacle.
 Evangelistic Work in Common Lodging-houses. By Herbert Halliwell, Hon. Superintendent of the Farm-house Branch.
 The Preachers and Preaching of the Age. By an Occasional Hearer.
 The Grace of Continuance. By C. H. Spurgeon.
 Camp Services in Kent. By John Burnham. (With two Illustrations of Congregations of Hop-pickers.)
 Saturday Evening at Barking. By A. A. Harmer.
 Notices of Books.
 Notes. (Mr. Spurgeon’s First Outlines of Sermons. Pastor Thomas Spurgeon’s Return to the Tabernacle. The United Christian Mission. Metropolitan Tabernacle Poor Ministers’ Clothing Society. Metropolitan Tabernacle Sunday-school. Pastors’ College. Society of Evangelists. Stockwell Orphanage. Colportage Association. Personal Notes, by Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon.)
 Lists of Contributions.
 Annual Report of the Stockwell Orphanage, 1892-3.

 72 pages. Price 3d. Post free, 4½d.
 London: Passmore and Alabaster, Paternoster Buildings; and all Booksellers.


Church, Christian Fellowship
888 — The Communion Of Saints <7s.>
1 Partners of a glorious hope,
   Lift your hearts and voices up;
   Jointly let us rise and sing
   Christ our Prophet, Priest, and King.
   Monuments of Jesus’ grace,
   Speak we by our lives his praise,
   Walk in him we have received;
   Show we not in vain believed.
2 While we walk with God in light,
   God our hearts doth still unite;
   Dearest fellowship we prove,
   Fellowship in Jesus’ love:
   Sweetly each, with each combined,
   In the bonds of duty join’d,
   Feels the cleansing blood applied,
   Daily feels that Christ hath died.
3 Still, oh Lord, our faith increase;
   Cleanse from all unrighteousness:
   Thee the unholy cannot see:
   Make, oh make us meet for thee!
   Every vile affection kill;
   Root out every seed of ill;
   Utterly abolish sin;
   Write thy law of love within.
4 Hence may all our actions flow;
   Love the proof that Christ we know:
   Mutual love the token be.
   Lord, that we belong to thee:
   Love, thine image, love impart!
   Stamp it on our face and heart!
   Only love to us be given;
   Lord, we ask no other heaven.
                     Charles Wesley, 1740.


Gospel, Received by Faith
562 — Blessed Be The Lord <7s.>
1 We were lost, but we are found,
   Dead, but now alive are we;
   We were sore in bondage bound,
   But our Jesus set us free.
2 Stranger, and he takes us in,
   Naked, he becomes our dress,
   Sick, and he from stain of sin
   Cleanses with his righteousness.
3 Therefore will we sing his praise
   Who his lost ones hath restored,
   Hearts and voices both shall raise
   Hallelujahs to the Lord.
                  John S. B. Monsell, 1863.


The Christian, Desires After Holiness
653 — Holiness Desired
1 Lord, I desire to live as one
      Who bears a blood bought name,
   As one who fears but grieving thee,
      And knows no other shame.
2 As one by whom thy walk below
      Should never be forgot;
   As one who fain would keep apart
      From all thou lovest not.
3 I want to live as one who knows
      Thy fellowship of love;
   As one whose eyes can pierce beyond
      The pearl built gates above.
4 As one who daily speaks to thee,
      And hears thy voice divine
   With depth of tenderness declare,
      “Beloved! thou art mine.”
                  Charitie Lees Smith, 1861.

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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