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2440. Faithful Stewardship

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No. 2440-41:553. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, April 14, 1887, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, November 24, 1895.

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. {1Co 4:2}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2440, “Faithful Stewardship” 2441}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3350, “Stewards” 3352}

1. It is good that our dear brethren should make a proper account of us. Paul says, in the verse preceding our text, “Let a man so account of us,” for there are some who make a wrong evaluation concerning the ministers of the gospel. Some go to an extreme, for they boast in men. One boasts in Paul, who is so deep in doctrine; another in Cephas, who is so energetic and plain-spoken; another in Apollos, who is so extremely eloquent, and mighty in the Scriptures. But Paul says, in the latter verses of the third chapter, “Let no man boast in men. For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” You do not belong to your ministers, you must not put yourselves down as followers of them; you belong to Christ, and Christ himself and all his ministers belong to you.

2. But while some erred in thinking too much of their ministers, as no doubt they still do, — may God deliver them from such a delusion! there were, no doubt, others who erred in not thinking enough of them, not appreciating their position and condition so as to sympathize with them, and pray for them. Had they known to what a responsible office they were called, and what was required at their hands, they would lovingly have borne them on their hearts, and gone with their names to the mercy seat in continual prayer. Hence, it is very important that men should so account of us as to judge us correctly; so that, while they do not rely on us in any wrong sense, they may at the same time feel an affectionate sympathy with us, and constantly bear us up before the throne of grace.

3. Paul goes on to tell us how we ought to consider the ministers of Christ. The word should be “servants” of Christ. There is a great respectability about the word “minister” which really does not belong to it; for, if you take it to pieces, it means an under-rower, one of those men who had to take an oar on the lowest benches of the trireme. There were three benches for the rowers, and it was a hard task for all who were at the oars; but to the under-rowers, who had to bend to their work in the most trying position as they sent the galley flying through the water, it was stern toil indeed. Now, God’s ministers, if they act as they should do, are under-rowers of Christ. They are tugging away at a very heavy oar, and they may well ask you to pray that, as they use up their strength, fresh force may be imparted to them from the God of all power, that they may not labour in vain, nor spend their strength for nothing.

4. We ask men, therefore, to consider us as servants, not as masters. The word “bishop” has come to have a wonderful meaning about it which is not in the least degree scriptural. We are simply to be shepherds of the sheep, and a shepherd is no great lord. He is the servant of all the sheep; and though he leads them, it is by going first, taking the brunt of all that comes, and finding out the best places for them to feed and to rest. Let a man so consider us as servants; but not merely as servants to the church, certainly not as servants to men, but as servants of Christ. That is our honour as ministers, we serve the Lord Jesus Christ, the best of masters. But, since he deserves to have the best of servants, the responsibility of the position weighs down the honour attached to it. Oh, if those who serve men should serve them faithfully, how much more should they be found faithful who are the servants of Christ!

5. Then the apostle adds that men are to consider us as stewards, and it is about that office that I am going to speak to you: “It is required in stewards, that a man is found faithful.” Although my text no doubt refers, in the first place, to those who labour in word and doctrine, to whom it is a life’s vocation, yet all the people of God are stewards, and each child of God, in his own way and in his own place, should consider that whatever gift he has should be used for the Lord Jesus Christ, and laid out for him; and he should also remember that he is made one of the Lord’s stewards, and that it is required of him that he be found faithful. And I may even add that every unconverted man has a stewardship to fulfil. As God’s creature, he is bound to be God’s servant; and at the last great day he will have to give an account of every opportunity and capacity for service which God has given to him, and woe to him if he is found an unfaithful steward in the judgment day of his Lord!

6. If I should seem to speak rather more about ministers than about anyone else, I will ask you kindly to pick out all that belongs to yourselves, you who are private Christians, and you who are not Christians at all. I pray the Lord to make use of what I say to myself, and then to you who are his people, and to those also who are not his people, that they may be pricked to the heart, and made to feel how unkindly they have acted towards the great Lord of the house. To begin, then, I will first ask, — how are we stewards? Secondly, if stewards, how are we to behave? Next, how are we in danger of misbehaving? And, lastly, what will be the result of right behaviour or of misbehaviour in those who are stewards?

7. I. First, then, HOW ARE WE STEWARDS?

8. Well, God’s ministers are stewards, first, as appointed to look after other servants. You know, dear friend, if you are a servant, you have enough to do to mind your own work; but if you happen to be an upper servant, such as a steward is, you have not only your own work to mind, but it is a part of your own work to look after the work of other people. There are some who are so foolish that they look only at the honour of this position; whereas, if they were wise, they would look more at the responsibility of it. Brethren, if I had my choice, I would rather look after a horse than look after a man. The second is a much more difficult animal to manage; and to look after many men, — oh, this is indeed a difficult task! I had an old friend, who was for forty years a shepherd, and after that he became a minister; and he lived to be forty years a shepherd in a spiritual sense. I asked him once, “Which was the easier flock to manage?” “Oh!” he replied, “the second flock of sheep was a great deal more sheepish than the first.” I understood what he meant. They say that sheep have as many diseases as there are days in the year; indeed, but men have as many complaints as there are minutes in the year; it is not long that they are free from one malady or another. I mean, men and women, all those who belong to the spiritual flock of which the minister is the shepherd; there is a certain form of trouble arising out of each one. True, there is a certain amount of comfort and joy arising out of every Christian; yet there is a measure of difficulty that must come to the steward from every one of his fellow servants. It is by no means a position which any man who understands it might desire for himself. The real steward is one who has been appointed to the position; and if he is not appointed, why, he has no right to be a steward at all! It is the great Master of the house who calls this one or that to look after the other servants, and it is from this calling that he has the right to interfere in any respect with them.

9. Next, notice that the servants of God — whether called ministers or not, — those who are really so, are stewards because they are under the Master’s near command. An ordinary servant in God’s house may take his orders from the steward, but the steward takes no order from anyone but the Master; and hence, he is in a bad way, and the household is in bad way, too, if he does not often resort to the Master, if he does not distinctly recognise his position as an underling of his Master, and if he does not so keep up his daily fellowship with the Master that he himself knows the Master’s mind, and is able to communicate it to his fellow servants. There are many of you, dear friends, who have around you your children, your servants, your fellow workers. Well, in that respect, you are a steward to them; they have to do a good deal that you tell them. Then please, — and I speak this to myself as well as to you, — let us wait on the Master; let us come out to speak to our fellow servants, not our own words, but the words of him who is Master and Lord to the whole household. How beautifully Jesus, the greatest of all stewards, did this! How constantly he said, “The words that I speak to you I speak not of myself: but the Father who dwells in me, he does the works.” He was always referring those who were his brethren back to the great Head of the family, and he did not speak without his Father’s authority. Having taken up the position of a subordinate in order to work out our redemption, he continually declared that he was his Father’s servant. It is a bad day for us when we begin to think that our thoughts are to be given out in the house instead of the Master’s thoughts. It is not for us to deliver our own speculations, but to go immediately to the Word, and by the teaching of the indwelling Spirit to come out to the people with what we have received, not what we have invented. You shall find no power, my brothers and sisters, in doing Christian work unless you keep on doing it as receiving your mission and commission from the great Lord of all. I remember how McCheyne says, “It is God’s Word that saves, not our comment on God’s Word.” And I am sure that it is so. It is God behind the steward who blesses all in the household; but when the steward does not go to the Master, and get his orders from him, he soon puts everything into confusion. He loses his own standing, and he is apt to do desperate mischief to all who are around him.

10. Then, the true steward is called on to turn in an account; and if he does it often, so much the better. I am persuaded that, in the things of God as well as between man and man, “short reckonings make long friends,” and that, if we will often go to our Master with our service, and present it to him, and overhaul it under his divine guidance, confessing our shortcomings, and blessing him for every particle of success that has attended it, we shall do much better than if we go on for a long stretch without a reference to him. Brothers and sisters, you who are teaching your classes of boys or girls, bring your Sunday work to the Lord at the end of the Sabbath; and when we have finished a sermon, those of us who stand up to preach, let us not be satisfied until we have brought that piece of our work under our Master’s eye. I am sure that, if the steward can get to the side of his Master every evening, or every morning say to him, “We did such and such yesterday, and there is such and such which we propose to do today,” that is the way for the house to be well-ordered. Things go right when there is no absentee landlord, but when the great Master is always close at hand, and the steward constantly goes to him with an account of all his work. Oh, brethren, let us constantly act like this! We do not live near enough to God, do we? I know that some of you do wait on him day and night, and you remain under the shadow of the Almighty; but I fear that there are some workers who forget to do this. We should work with the hands of Martha, but still keep near the Master with the heart of Mary; we need a combination of activity and meditation. When we get that, when we inwardly retire for consultation with our Lord, and then come out actively to labour for our Lord, then we shall be good stewards in the little part of the great house with which he has entrusted us.

11. Further, a steward is a man who is put in trust with his master’s goods. This is the main point of his stewardship; nothing is his own, it is all his master’s. When he begins to open an account of his own, it is wonderful how apt he is to mistaken what is his master’s, and to call it his own; and eventually he gets into a muddle, and cannot distinguish his master’s accounts from his own. Oh, it is a glorious thing when you have not any “own”; when you do not live for yourself at all, but entirely for Christ! Then you will not make any blunders; there will not be any of Christ’s property getting into your cash account, so that you will have a difficulty in disentangling it. “No man who wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life,” for he can say, —

    ’Tis done, the great transaction’s done,
          I am my Lord’s,

“and all the business I have here below is his. I have no subordinate or secondary objects, but all I have and am is for him.” Then it is easy to keep our accounts, and to make no mistakes in them.

12. The true steward is put in trust with his master’s property, first, to protect it. Oh, with what earnestness ought we to guard the gospel of Christ! With what holy valour ought we to contend earnestly for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints! “Hold firm the form of sound words,” wrote Paul to Timothy; not only the words, but the particular form of them which the apostle had delivered; not merely sound doctrine, but the very words in which those doctrines had been made to take shape. The true steward is to defend his master’s treasure with his very life. The Lord has put us in trust with the gospel, and all the people of God, in their measure, have also become trustees of those inestimably precious doctrines in which will be found the glory of God and the salvation of the sons of men. So we are to defend our Master’s property.

13. And next, we are to dispense it. It is the steward who provides for the table of the household; he brings out of that treasury things new and old. He never forgets, when the table is spread, to put the bread and the salt on it; the bread is Christ himself, on which we feed; and the salt is the grace of which we cannot have too much. The true steward does not starve the children, but he sees that each one is fed with appropriate food. To one he brings milk, for he is a babe; to another, he gives solid food, for he is a man who has had his senses exercised to discern between good and evil. The steward keeps his master’s supplies, and sees that they are not wasted; but he takes care also to magnify his master’s liberality by seeing that none of the household knows any lack. I have known some who pretended to be stewards of Christ who evidently did not understand the business. There was an old fable of a man who gave bones to the sheep, and grass to the dogs, but neither of them did well on such fare; and some preaching seems to me just like that. The preacher assumes, in his opening prayer, that all his hearers are converted, and the whole service goes on as if everyone was a Christian; and yet, if you listen carefully, you will hear that there is an undertone implying that no one is really saved, and that everyone is saved in imagination. Brethren, if we cannot discern between the righteous and the wicked, we shall never be as God’s mouth to our hearers. If we do not have a javelin for God’s foes, as well as butter in a lordly dish for his friends, he will never make use of us as stewards in his house. There is much grace needed in the dispensing of our Master’s goods — the rightly dividing of the Word of God, and bringing out every truth in due proportion and in due season.

14. These are two parts of the steward’s business, to protect his master’s property, and to dispense it.

15. Besides this, he is to use his master’s property for his master’s benefit. The goods entrusted to him are to be lent out at interest, or used in business to bring in profit for his master. I trust that there are many of us here present who are using the gospel for the glory of Christ. What little we know, we try to proclaim, so that sinners may be converted, and that the Saviour may be glorified. It is a wonderful thing for us to have the Bible, is it not? But oh, to use the Bible every day so as to bring glory to God! It is a good thing to be even a tract distributor, or to do the least service in the kingdom of Christ; but the one point for us to aim at is to do it so that its profit may come, not to us, but to our Master. The steward must not get trading on his own account. As I have said before, if he does that, there is apt to be a lot of mistakes made in the reckoning; but everything that the steward does is for his master. Abraham said, “The steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus,” and Abraham trusted him to go and find a wife for Isaac. So our Lord uses us, and trust us, as his stewards; our great God trusts us to go and find a spouse for Christ, and our business is to go and discover her, to find her, and ask her to come with us, that she may be joined to that blessed Lord of all, the Son of the great Father, to whom he has left the inheritance. Happy are we, when, like the steward of Abraham, we can bring back the beloved one for our Master’s Son. This is a part of our work, to make use of everything that the Master entrusts to us for his own dear Son, and to look on the church with which we have to deal as the bride we are to bring to Jesus, so that she may be married to him for ever.

16. I will say no more on the first part of my subject except this: a steward is charged with the general care of the family. He has not merely to look after the supplies, but he has to take care of all the family. The steward of the olden times used to consider all that belonged to his master as if it were his own, and he got into the habit of talking about it in that way. His lordship once asked his steward, “What is that coming up the driveway?” “Oh!” he answered, “it is our horse and carriage, my lord.” “Our horse and carriage?” exclaimed the nobleman, “and who may be in it?” “Oh, my lord!” replied the faithful servant, “it is our wife and children!” Exactly so; the man had come to look on everything that belonged to his master as belonging to himself; and that is the spirit which our Lord would have us cultivate. Those children of his, they are our children. Those who are newly converted to God, oh, they are especially ours, and we love them dearly! And this great church, — well, it is a bride to us even as it is to Christ. Our whole self is given up to the blessed service to which Christ has given up himself. Oh, that we could come anywhere near to this ideal of what a true steward should be! May God help us to do so!

17. II. Our second enquiry is, HOW ARE WE WHO ARE STEWARDS “TO BEHAVE?” Our text supplies the answer: “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”

18. Note, the apostle does not say, “it is required in stewards, that a man be found brilliant.” No minister will be blamed if he does not prove to be brilliant, nor even if he should not be successful. We shall not be condemned, even if the seed does not spring up, provided that we sow it. You are responsible, not for the result of what you do, but for doing it honestly, sincerely, devoutly, prayerfully, believingly. I do not think that, in such a case, you will be unsuccessful; certainly not as God judges success. Still, the apostle’s point is that “it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” What, then, should each one of us be with regard to faithfulness?

19. First, faithful to our Master. Oh, whatever we do, let us not be traitors to him! Let us not be apparently doing his work, yet not really doing it. Let us not be preaching without praying, let us not be talking about doing good without always trusting in him without whom nothing can be good, or strong, or right. Oh God, may each of us be able to say at the last, “I am clear of the blood of all men!” If we have dealt truly with our Master, if we can feel that we are sincerely seeking, not our own glory, but his glory, and working not for men, but for him alone, it is well with us.

20. Next, each one of us must be faithful to our office, whatever that office may be. If you, as stewards of Christ, are called to be ministers, be faithful to your ministry. If you are called to have substance, and to give it away, give it with cheerfulness, and be faithful in your office. If you are called to teach half-a-dozen children, and no more, it is quite enough to give an account for at the last; so be faithful to your office. Do not go around finding fault with your fellow servants, and thinking that you could do their work better if you had it to do; but oh! for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of his great grace, do what you have to do with all your heart, and mind, and soul, and strength. Make full proof of your ministry, whatever that ministry is.

21. Then, next, be faithful to the goods committed to you. I have already dwelt on the necessity of earnestly defending the faith. Oh, please do not tolerate in yourselves any criticism of God’s Word, any picking and choosing out of the great truths of inspiration! Endeavour to know the Lord’s way, the Lord’s truth, the Lord’s life; and in way, and truth, and life, follow the Lamb wherever he goes. Search the Scriptures, and follow where the Scriptures lead you. Let no book composed by the wisest of men dictate to your conscience. Remember that the Bible, and the Bible alone, has the stamp of infallibility on it. Follow its guidance, and so be faithful to the treasure that is entrusted to your hands. Had good men, in past ages, been only faithful to the Word of the Lord, there would not been so much of schism, and heresy, and false doctrine in the world; and if all professing Christians shall ever be faithful to the pure Word of God, then will come the days of the true unity of the Church of Christ, and the conquest of the world by Christ.

22. Next, we are bound to be faithful to every person in the household. This is a difficult work, but let us try to accomplish it. All of us, according as we are put into the stewardship, must labour for the good of all our brothers and sisters in Christ. We sang just now, —

    Hast thou a lamb in all thy flock
       I would disdain to feed?

and I hope that our answer is, “No, great Shepherd of Israel, there is not a single lamb in all your flock which we do not consider to be better than ourselves.” Do you not sometimes feel as if, if you could be as sure of being right as the very least of the Lord’s family, you would be perfectly content? We long to rise to the greatest heights of holiness and consecration; but yet, if we are allowed to wash the saints’ feet, it will be a great honour for us. To do anything for Jesus, to be a door-mat at the temple gate, is a high privilege for any one of us. Let us try, then, to do all that we ought to do in love and kindness to all the members of our Master’s household.

23. And then we must be faithful to the outside world as well. You see, a steward who looked to everything indoors, and then allowed people out of doors to cheat his master, and to steal his goods, would not be a faithful steward; and you and I have much to do with the souls of men outside the Church of Christ. Oh, what a world this is! What a world it is! Shall we be clear of the blood of all these millions in London? Ride or walk from one end of this great city to the other, and see if you do not feel a mountain of granite pressing on your soul! Oh Lord, what can we do? “Who is sufficient for these things?” Living in such an age as this, and in such a thronged city as this, oh, how shall we be faithful to all the people? When George Fox was dying, he said, “I am clear, I am clear.” I have envied him a thousand times, for I believe the Quaker was clear of the blood of men. He said many odd things, and some things he had better not have said; but he never kept back anything that seemed to come from his soul. It did not matter to whom he spoke, — whether it was to the king or to a beggar, — he said what he believed, without fear of mortal man. Think of brave John Knox, of whom they could say when they buried him, “Here lies he who never feared the face of man.” Oh stewards of God, — and I have already said that all you Christians are, in your measure, stewards of Christ, — may this be said of you! “It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” I have shown you what a wide field that one requirement covers; only the grace of God can be sufficient for us that we may be found faithful.

24. III. Now, very briefly indeed, I want to answer the third question, HOW ARE WE, IN OUR STEWARDSHIP, IN DANGER OF MISBEHAVING?

25. Well, we can very easily misbehave by acting as if we were masters. You know the tendency of Jack in office; let us avoid anything like that. Remember what our Lord said about the man who began to domineer over his fellow servants, and to beat them. This is not the way for a steward to behave, for he is himself only a servant. He has to look after other servants, but his master will look after him; and if he gives himself great airs, he must beware lest his master should dismiss him from his service, and say to him, “You shall no longer be a steward.”

26. Next, a great deal of misbehaviour is caused by endeavouring to please men. If the steward begins to try to please his fellow servants, and to curry favour with them so that they may speak well of him, he will very soon be a traitor to his master. Oh dear friends, seek to please men for their good to edification; but never forget that he who is the servant of men cannot be the servant of God, for “no man can serve two masters.” May the Lord help us to feel that we are not judged by men’s judgment, but that we are going to do our duty as under the great Taskmaster’s own eye!

27. Next, we can very much injure our stewardship by idling, or trifling, or growing careless, or leaving our hearts out of our work. We can do this in the Sunday School, and we can do this in the pulpit. When a man’s heart is in his service, he does not need to tell you that it is, for you can soon see it; and I believe that there is more power in downright sincerity than in all the talent that God ever gave to men. A simple, humble, lowly speaker, who only says what the Holy Spirit prompts him to say, and who is quite indifferent about how he says it as long as he can say it in a right spirit, he is the man who will reach the hearts of other men. Brothers, if we begin turning over our words, so as to find beautiful syllables with which we may please and tickle human ears, we shall lose all power over our hearers. I think that the very best bouquet we can ever give to our friends may be made by plucking a handful of field flowers just as we find them, and then saying, “These grew in God’s garden; we have not arranged them very prettily, for their innate beauty is such that anything artificial would only injure them.” Oh, let us see to it that we live entirely and only for this great work of winning souls and glorifying our Master, and let us always speak with the accent of conviction! If you do not believe the gospel, do not tell it to others; but if you do believe it, say it as if you meant it. I read, the other day, the story of a minister, whose boys came to him, and asked if they might go to a certain show, and he said, “Well my dear boys, I, — I, — I, — I hardly like it; I will show you eventually the objections there are to it; I do not decidedly forbid you,” — and the boys were out of the room in a minute. They ran off to their companion, and said, “Jack, we may go.” Yes, their father’s hesitation was quite enough for them; he was going to say, “I do not decidedly forbid you, but, but, but,” — only the boys did not care about his “but.” So, there are some ministers who, in preaching, say that a false doctrine is true to some extent, only there are certain objections, and difficulties, and so on. People do not wait to hear the objections and difficulties, but off they go at once with a bit of bad doctrine. It is often so, and it is a pity that it should be so. Ah, me! this trifling with divine truth, this playing with God’s Word, will be sure to do an infinite deal of mischief, and mar the stewardship of any man who yields to it!

28. Next, we can prove ourselves unfaithful stewards by misusing our Master’s goods, employing what he entrusted to us for some other purpose than his glory; or by neglecting some of the household. We may so preach that there is never any milk for babes; and, on the other hand, we may so preach that there is never a morsel of food for men, and the milk may be so watery that it is not even good enough for babes. It is a sin to neglect any one member of the household, for we must be found faithful to them all if we would be judged to be faithful at all.

29. We can also misbehave ourselves as stewards by conniving at whatever is wrong in our fellow servants. “Anything for a peaceful life!” is the motto of the unfaithful steward. “Let men live as they like; we cannot rebuke them, because then they might quarrel with us.” Ah, dear me, if we are not prepared to bear a little of that kind of reproach! Even if reproof of sin must bring unkindness in return, we must not withhold that reproof; but must administer it with all the more prayerfulness and kindness. It must be given lest, as it was with Eli, a curse shall come on our house because our sons made themselves vile, and we did not restrain them.

30. And, dear friends, there is one other thing that any steward may do, and by it spoil his stewardship; that is, prove unfaithful by forgetting that his Lord will soon come. He may come before we begin our next piece of work, he may come while we are in the middle of it, or he may come just as we are closing it, and may then and there require an account from our hands. Oh, how earnestly we should live if we were sure that Christ would come tonight! What family prayer you would have tonight if you knew that, before the morning dawned, Christ would come! Some of you, perhaps, would want to give something extra to his cause, if you knew that it would be the last opportunity you would have of doing so. Some of you would go and wake up your children, and talk to them about Christ, if you knew that he would come before the morning light. There is a great deal left undone by most of us; we are not all like Mr. Whitfield, who could say when he went to bed, “I have not left even a pair of gloves out of their place; if I were to die tonight, everything is right.” It is a beautiful thing so to live, and that is how God’s stewards should live. “Ready, indeed, ready,” to live or to die, to go on or to stop, to stay here or to go to heaven, just whichever the Master appoints. This is good stewardship; but if we forget that he will come, we shall get into a loose and slovenly way of acting, and that will be to our own discredit, and to our Master’s dishonour.

31. IV. Now, finally, WHAT WILL BE THE RESULT OF OUR STEWARDSHIP?

32. Supposing we are good stewards, what will the result be? A reward from our Master’s own lips. In the day of account he will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Now, after that, you do not want a crown, do you? You do not want to rule over many cities. You will have all that; but I think that this utterance of our Master is quite enough for any steward of his, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Oh, if he should ever say that to us, there is enough in it to make for us a whole eternity of bliss!

33. But suppose that, at the last, we are found unfaithful, what will the result be? Punishment from the Lord’s own hand. If it is so, that we have never washed our robes; and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; if it is so, that our hearts have never been renewed by divine grace; if it is so, that we have never been saved from our sin, and consequently have never been saved from our unfaithfulness; if it should turn out that we have never been saved from living for ourselves, never been so saved as to live honestly and faithfully for God, — then what will the result be? I mean, for you who profess to be Christians? Here are our Lord’s words; I am not going to enlarge on them any more than I did on the other words: “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,” — as if that was the worst punishment that could be meted out to him. May God grant that none of us may ever have that portion!

34. But oh, you who are unbelievers, do you not see that your portion is what God will appoint to these who are unfaithful, and only worthy of condemnation? What is your portion? It is something truly terrible, for it will be what God appoints as a punishment for the worst of sinners, the treacherous and the unfaithful. Oh unbelievers, I would not be in your place five minutes for all the world! As the Lord lives, there is only a step between you and hell! Only a breath, and you may be gone. If I were in your place, I should be afraid to eat a morsel of bread tonight, lest a crumb should go down the wrong way, and by causing my death should land me in everlasting misery. One might be afraid to shut his eyes tonight as an unbeliever lest, as he closed them on earth, he shut them for ever to all light, and hope, world without end.

    Ye sinners, seek his grace,
       Whose wrath ye cannot bear;
    Fly to the shelter of his cross,
       And find salvation there.

Oh, flee to Jesus at once, for he has said, “Whoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out.” May God help you to trust in Christ tonight, and to go out of this Tabernacle saved men and saved women, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Lu 12:35-48}

35-37. 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. 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 eat, and will come out and serve them.

This is a wonderful passage. Christ has already had one turn as a servant. He was Master and Lord, yet he washed his disciples’ feet; but he says that, if we are watchful and faithful, if we truly serve him, the day shall come when, in all his robes of glory, he shall gird himself, and serve us.

38-40. 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 goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have allowed his house to be broken through. Be therefore ready also: for the Son of man comes at an hour when you do not expect.

This is a warning to Christ’s own people; but it is still more a warning to those who do not know him. Suppose he were to come tonight; where would you be, you who have so far lived as if you were your own masters, and were by no means the servants of Christ? Take heed to yourselves, for you do not know when your Lord shall come.

41-44. Then Peter said to him, “Lord, do you speak then this parable to us, or even to everyone?” 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.

What rewards Christ has in store for his people! If we will only he his servants now, and the servants of our brethren, he will make us rulers over all that he has. I cannot attempt to explain all that these words mean, but I bless the Lord that they are absolutely true.

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, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

Again let me say that I cannot attempt to explain all that these words mean; but, oh! what will be the horror, the terror, of the punishment which will fall on the unfaithful steward, the minister who is untrue to his holy calling, the professor who says that he is a child of God, and a steward of Christ, and yet is unfaithful to his trust? I will read our Lord’s words again. You know how we are sometimes accused of saying things too dreadful about the wrath of God in the world to come; but, beloved, we never say anything dreadful enough. If you will carefully examine the Word of God, you will find there expressions such as even Dante or the medieval preachers, with all the horrors they depicted, never surpassed. We cannot exaggerate the awful depth of meaning which we find in the words of the loving Christ himself; let me read this verse again: “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.”

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

Judge, then, brothers and sisters, how much ability and talent your Lord has entrusted to you, and do not be content to have rendered him some service; but look for proportionate service, and humble yourselves in his presence if your service is not in proportion to the opportunities entrusted to you. Who among us can refrain from humbling himself before God when he thinks of this?

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Sacred Gratitude — ‘What Shall I Render?’ ” 709}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 16” 16}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Holy Anxiety — ‘Lovest Thou Me?’ ” 639}


The Christian, Sacred Gratitude
709 — “What Shall I Render?”
1 For mercies countless as the sands,
      Which daily I receive
   From Jesus’ my Redeemer’s hands,
      My soul, what canst thou give?
2 Alas! from such a heart as mine
      What can I bring forth?
   My best is stain’d and dyed with sin;
      My all is nothing worth.
3 Yet this acknowledgment I’ll make
      For all he has bestow’d;
   Salvation’s sacred cup I’ll take,
      And call upon my God.
4 The best return for one like me,
      So wretched and so poor,
   Is from his gifts to draw a plea,
      And ask him still for more.
5 I cannot serve him as I ought;
      No works have I to boast;
   Yet would I glory in the thought,
      That I should owe him most.
                        John Newton, 1779.


Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 16
1 Preserve me, Lord, in time of need;
   For succour to thy throne I flee,
   But have no merits there to plead;
   My goodness cannot reach to thee.
2 Oft have my heart and tongue confess’d
   How empty and how poor I am;
   My praise can never make thee bless’d
   Nor add new glories to thy name.
3 Yet, Lord, thy saints on earth my reap
   Some profit by the good we do;
   These are the company I keep,
   These are the choicest friends I know.
4 Let others choose the sons of mirth
   To give a relish to their wine;
   I love the men of heav’nly birth,
   Whose thoughts and language are divine.
                        Isaac Watts, 1719.


The Christian, Holy Anxiety
639 — “Lovest Thou Me?”
1 Do not I love thee, oh my Lord?
      Behold my heart and see;
   And turn each odious idol out
      That dares to rival thee.
2 Do not I love thee from my soul?
      Then let me nothing love:
   Dead be my heart to every joy,
      when Jesus cannot move.
3 Is not thy name melodious still
      To mine attentive ear?
   Doth not each pulse with pleasure bound,
      My Saviour’s voice to hear?
4 Hast thou a lamb in all thy flock
      I would disdain to feed?
   Hast thou a foe, before whose face
      I fear thy cause to plead?
5 Would not my ardent spirit vie
      With angels round the throne,
   To execute thy sacred will,
      And make thy glory known?
6 Would not my heart pour forth its blood
      In honour of thy name,
   And challenge the cold hand of death
      To damp the immortal flame?
7 Thou know’st I love thee, dearest Lord;
      But oh, I long to soar
   Far from the sphere of mortal joys,
      And learn to love thee more.
                     Philip Doddridge, 1755.

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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