2465. Our Omnipotent Leader

by on

No. 2465-42:229. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, April 29, 1886, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, May 17, 1896.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth.” {Mt 28:18}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 383, “Missionaries’ Charge and Charta, The” 373}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1200, “Power of the Risen Saviour, The” 1191}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2465, “Our Omnipotent Leader” 2466}
   Exposition on Lu 4:16-30 9:57-62 Mt 28:16-20 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2330, “Witnessing Better than Knowing the Future” 2331 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Mt 28:16-20 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3561, “Drawings of Love, The” 3563 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Mt 28 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2518, “Sad Interior and a Cheery Messenger, A” 2519 @@ "Exposition"}

1. I intend chiefly to call your attention to this verse, but it will be necessary also to refer to the rest of the chapter: “Go therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen”

2. Our Saviour was always with his disciples until the time of his death. After his resurrection, he was with them often, but not always. He came and he went mysteriously; the doors being shut, he was there suddenly when they least looked for him; or he appeared to them as they walked by the way, or while they were fishing, or when they came to the mountain in Galilee, the appointed rendezvous. On this particular occasion, — I am not quite sure whether it was the time when only the eleven were gathered together, or that more memorable occasion when he spoke to over five hundred brethren at once, which many who have well studied the passage think is more probable, — at any rate, on this occasion, the Saviour made himself very much at home with his disciples. According to the most proper translation of the text, “Jesus came and talked to them.” There was a holy familiarity in his communications with his disciples; he spoke to them as a friend, he came into close contact with them in the friendliest familiarity. The glory of that time to them was that he was there, and that he spoke with them. It does not matter where it was; he was there, and wherever he pleases to be the centre of the group, there is sure to be a memorable gathering. Brethren, I wish that we were always on the look-out for our Lord. I am afraid that, in our assemblies, we often think and say, “So-and-so was there, and such and such a minister spoke to us”; but the best meeting happens when Christ is there, and when he himself by his Divine Spirit speaks familiarly to our souls.

3. Notice what the subject was about which our Lord spoke to his disciples. He was going away from them; his bodily presence would no longer be enjoyed by his followers until he should come in the same way as they were to see him go up into heaven; but his last talk, or one of the last talks he ever had with them before his ascension, was about himself and his work. It was a time of taking them into his confidence, explaining to them the partnership which the Father had established between him and them, and making them to know the fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ which was now to cover their entire lives. You see, he begins by speaking to them about his own power: “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth.” We are not fit to go out to work for Christ until we truly know him ourselves, and also know something about the divine power which he is prepared to give to us. It is good for us to learn the lesson ourselves before we attempt to teach it to others. Do not go out to all nations until you have first gone into your prayer closet, and had fellowship with the Master himself; you will blunder in your errand unless you go out fresh from his blessed presence.

4. Then, what were they to do except to act for him? “Go therefore, and teach all nations.” They were to teach those nations only about him; he was to be the great subject of all their teaching. The correct word is, “disciple all nations.” They were to disciple them, not to make them their own disciples, but his disciples; he was still to be the Teacher, the Rabbi, the Master, they were only to go out to do his work, not their own. Brothers, we must not try to form a party of which we shall be the head, we must abhor the very thought of any such action. We must gather the nations to him; otherwise, we are not his servants, we are our own servants, or rather, our own masters. We are renegades and disloyal if we do that. “Go therefore, and disciple all nations,” was the command of Jesus Christ to his disciples.

5. And they were to baptize those who were made disciples; but it was to be into his name, in association with that of the Father and of the Holy Spirit. He who is not, as a believer, baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, is not baptized at all; the name of Christ is inseparably linked with those who are baptized according to the scriptural manner. So, you see, whether it is preaching, or whether it is discipling, or whether it is baptizing, we must keep close to Christ. It is all along that line; we preach him, we make disciples for him, we baptize in his name.

6. And when those who were made disciples were baptized, what was next to be done? “Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you.” The shepherding of the sheep must still be in our Lord’s name. We do not found a church in any other name but his, neither do we know any rule or order or book of discipline but what he has left us. Only he is King in Zion, and only what he teaches is authoritative. The explanations given by his servants we must judge by the tests he has given to us; but the word of the Master is to be obeyed and accepted in its entirety. “Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you.” Oh brothers and sisters, there is no true work done for Christ unless we always put him in his right place, and keep ourselves in our right places, — himself the omnipotent Leader and Commander of his people, and ourselves his servants in all things, seeking even in the smallest matters to be obedient to his revealed will.

7. Do not fail to notice that all this is to be done in association with himself: “Lo, I am with you always.” “It is not enough that you preach my gospel, and baptize in my name, and teach all nations that I am the Lord and Master of the house, and tell them all to obey my will; but you must also always have me at your side. You will do nothing worth the doing, you will spend your life in failure, unless you keep up perpetual communion with me. ‘Lo, I am with you always.’ ” This must be the case with us until this age closes, and it shall only close by our being with Christ in an even higher sense. We shall then go from his being with us to our being with him, from spiritual fellowship to an actual, visible, corporeal fellowship. We shall be like him when we shall see him as he is. He shall stand in the latter day on the earth, he shall reign among his ancients gloriously; and until then, it is our privilege to remain at his side, and never venture to go out unless we feel that he goes with us, making our preaching and teaching in his name to impact the hearts and consciences of men.

8. I have missed my purpose in this preface if I have not brought out this line of thought, — that, if any of us would receive a commission for Christian service, it must come from Christ himself; if we would carry out that commission, it must be in loyalty to Christ; and if we hope to succeed in that commission, it must be in a perpetual, personal fellowship with Christ. We must begin to work with him, and go on working with him, and never cease to work until he himself shall come to discharge us from the service because there is no further need of it. Oh, that we did all our church work in the name of the great Head of the Church! Oh, that we did all Christ’s work consciously in the presence and in the strength of Christ!

9. Still only introducing my main theme, I shall ask you for a minute or so to consider the grand statement which our Saviour made: “Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All power is given to me in heaven and on earth.’ ”

10. “All power.” Read it, if you like, “all authority.” It is not so much force that is meant, as moral power. Christ at this moment possesses a royal authority; — by might, it is true, but chiefly by right. His is the power which comes from his merits, from his glorious nature, and from the gift of the Divine Spirit who rests on him without measure. The word we translate “power” has a wider meaning than that; you find a good example of it in Joh 1:12: “As many as received him, he gave them power to become the sons of God,” where the word “power” might be rendered “privilege” or “right” or “liberty,” and yet be correctly translated “power” also. Christ at this moment has all rights in heaven and on earth; he has all sovereignty and dominion, and, of course, he has all the might which backs up his right; but it is not mere power in the sense of force, it is not the dynamite power in which earthly kings delight, it is another and a higher kind of force which Christ has, even the divine energy of love. He possesses at this moment all authority in heaven and on earth.

11. “All power,” he says, “is given to me”; that is to say, he has it now. You and I are not sent out to preach the gospel in order to get power for Christ; he has it now. We are not sent out, as we sometimes say, to win the world for Christ; in the strictest sense, it is his now. He is the King of glory at this very moment, he is even now Lord over all, King of kings and Lord of lords, all authority is given to him. I shall not try to explain the particular time when it was given, but I remind you that it has been given. That great act is accomplished; our Lord Jesus holds in his hand the sceptre which gives him power over all flesh so that he may give eternal life to as many as the Father has given him. He has already in his hand that sceptre with which he shall break the nations as with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces as a potter’s vessel. He does not have to go up to his throne, he is already enthroned. He does not have to be crowned, he is already crowned, as we have said, King of kings and Lord of lords.

12. “All power is given to me.” This is not merely the power which Christ possesses naturally by his Godhead, or a power which could be encompassed entirely by his manhood, for that must necessarily be limited; but it is a power which can be contained within that blessed complex Person, the Christ of God. It is as the God-man, the Mediator between God and men, that all might be bestowed on him as the reward of the travail of his soul, boundless authority, so that now he can say, “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth.”

13. All power “in heaven” belongs to Christ; that is, all power with God. You remember how Elijah prayed, and opened heaven by his prayers; but the Christ of God is greater than Elijah. You know how men of God have been blessed with remarkable force and energy in their pleadings; but the intercessions of Christ are more powerful than all the intercessions of his people; yes, in one sense, they are the power that gives force to all the intercessions of all the saints. It is he who puts power into them and into their petitions. Of course, since Christ has power with God, he has power also over all the holy angels, and all pure intelligences; all power of every kind that has to do with heavenly things and heavenly places is in the hand of Christ.

14. And Christ has all power also “on earth.” That is to say, he is Lord over all the earth. “The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.” He is Master of all providences; his hand always holds the helm, and steers the ship that carries his disciples. He is Master of all kings and of all politics; and when at times we tremble for our beloved nation, there is no real need for us to do so. “The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of its isles be glad.” Christ has all authority over all the sons of men and all the forces of nature. From the stars that light up the brow of midnight, to the deepest law that works in the bowels of the earth, the Lord Jesus Christ is Master of them all. All power, he says, is given to him in heaven and on earth. This is a statement which would need a far fuller explanation than I can give it in the time at my disposal just now; I want rather to make use of it in this way.

15. I. First of all, let me say of this statement of our Lord, — “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth,” — that WE GREATLY REJOICE IN IT.

16. I do not know that our divine Master could have said anything to us that would have made our hearts thrill with a sweeter delight than we derive from these words, — “All power is given to me.” Beloved, do you not wish all power to be given to him whom we love? I confess that nothing makes me rejoice more than the fact that he reigns. I do not feel any sorrow so much as the sorrow of seeing his truth trodden in the mire, and I know no joy that ever thrills my soul like that of knowing that Jesus is still set as King on the holy hill of Zion, that he still reigns, and that “he must reign, until he has put all enemies under his footstool.” Is there any power you would like to keep back from him? Is there any power you would like to bestow on someone else? Is it not the delight of your soul to think that he could say, even when he dwelt here among men, even before he had ascended to the Father, while he still talked as others talked with his poor disciples, “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth”? Do we not feel ready to shout, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” when we know that this is really the fact?

17. We delight also, dear friends, to know that all power is in the hands of Christ, because we are sure that it will be rightly used. Power in the hands of some people is dangerous, but power in the hands of Christ is blessed. Oh, let him have all power! Let him do what he wishes with it, for he cannot will anything except what is right, and just, and true, and good. Give him unbounded sovereignty. We want no limited monarchy when Christ is King; no, put every crown on that dear head, and let him have unrestricted sway, for there is no one like him. He is more glorious than all the sons of men, and it is our joy to know that all power is given to him in heaven and on earth.

18. This also furnishes us with good reasons for often going to him. I love to think that all power is in him, and none in me, for now I cannot keep away from him. I am obliged to knock at his door, and if he asks me why I come so often, I must answer, “It cannot be helped, my Lord, for all power is with you. If I had power to provide for myself, I might try to do so; but since, without you, I should die of hunger, I must come to you for every bit and every sup, indeed, for every breath and every pulse.” Yes, it is even so; because all power is given to Christ; we rejoice that we may always go to him. Will you chide a babe because he longs for his mother’s breast? How can he live without his natural nourishment? And can you chide our feebleness because it loves to depend on the omnipotence of Christ?

19. We are glad, again, that all power is given to him, because he is so easy to access. It is difficult for those in need to speak with kings, but it is not difficult for them to express their needs to the King of kings. It is not easy to present a petition to an earthly prince, but it is very different with those who have requests to bring to the Prince Emmanuel; his door is always open to supplicants, and his ear and heart are always ready to listen to their supplications. Call on him when you wish, he will never repel you. Come to his strength whenever you may, that strength will flow out to your weakness, and make you strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.

20. I leave that first thought with you; we rejoice that all power is given to Christ.

21. II. Secondly, WE SEE THE PRACTICAL OUTCOME OF THIS TRUTH: “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore.”

22. I have met some brethren who have tried to read the Bible the wrong way upwards. They have said, “God has a purpose which is certain to be fulfilled, therefore we will not budge an inch. All power is in the hands of Christ, therefore we will sit still”; but that is not Christ’s way of reading the passage. It is, “All power is given to me, therefore go, and do something.” “But, Lord, what do you need from us when you have all power? We are such poor, insignificant, useless creatures that we shall be sure to make a muddle of anything we attempt.” “No,” says the Master, “all power is given to me, therefore go.” He puts us on the go because he has all power. I know that with many of us there is a tendency to sit down, and say, “All things are wrong, the world gets darker and darker, and everything is going bad.” We sit and fret together in most delightful misery, and try to cheer each other downwards into greater depths of despair! Do we not often act this? Alas! it is so, and we feel happy to think that other people will blend in blessed harmony of misery with us in all our melancholies; or if we do stir ourselves a little, we feel that there is not much good in our service, and that very little can possibly come of it. This message of our Master seems to me to be something like the sound of a trumpet. I have given you the strains of a dulcimer, but now there rings out the clarion note of a trumpet. Here is the power to enable you to “go.” Therefore, “go” away from your dunghills, away from your ashes and your dust. Shake yourselves from your melancholy. The bugle calls, “Boot and saddle! Up and away!” The battle has begun, and every good soldier of Jesus Christ must be to the forefront for his Captain and his Lord. Because all power is given to Christ, he passes on that power to his people, and sends them out to battle and to victory.

23. Yet there is another note in this trumpet-call. “All power is given to me, go therefore,” — “ Go.” Who is to go out of that first band of disciples? It is Peter, the rash and the headstrong. It is John, who sometimes wishes to call fire from heaven to destroy men. It is Philip, with whom the Saviour has been so long, and yet he has not known him. It is Thomas, who must put his finger into the print of the nails, or he will not believe him. Yet the Master says to them, “Go; all power is given to me, therefore go. You are as good for my purpose as anyone else would be. There is no power in you, I know, but then all power is in me, therefore go.” “Go, you worm Jacob, and thresh the mountains, for I have made you a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth. Go in all your weakness, for this is your might — the might that dwells in me. Go, and teach all nations; Poor, weak, feeble, faulty, yet go, because I have all the power you can possibly need.”

24. “Go, go,” says Christ. “But, Lord, if we go to men, they will ask for our passports.” “Take them,” he says, “all authority is given to me in heaven and on earth. You are free in heaven, and you are free on earth. There is no place, — whether it is in the far-off Ethiopia, or in the deserts of Scythia, or in the centre of Rome, — there is no place where you may not go. There are your passports: ‘All authority is given to me, therefore go.’ ”

25. “But, Lord, we need more than passports, we need a commission.” “There is your commission,” says the Lord; “all power is given to me, and I delegate it to you. I have authority, and I give you authority; go therefore because I have the authority. Go and teach princes and kings and beggars, teach them all equally. I ordain you, I authorize you, as many of you as know me, and have my love shed abroad in your hearts, I commission you to go and —

          ‘Tell to sinners round
    What a dear Saviour you have found’;

and if they ask how you dare to do it, do not tell them that the bishop ordained you, or that a synod licensed you, but that all power is given to your Master in heaven and on earth, and you have come in his name, and no one may forbid you.”

26. “Moreover,” says the Master, “I send you with my power gone before you.” Observe that, for I bring it again to your memory. Christ does not say, “Go and win the power for me on earth, go and get power for me among the sons of men.” No; but, “All authority and power are already vested in me, go therefore. I send you to a country which is not an alien kingdom, I send you to a country which is mine, for all souls are mine. If you go to the Jews or to the Gentiles, they are mine; if it is to India or China that you go, you need ask no man’s permission; you are in your own King’s country, you are on your own King’s errand, you have your own King’s power going before you.” I believe that, often, when missionaries go to a country, they have rather to gather ripe fruit than to plant trees. Just as the Lord sent the hornets to clear the way for the children of Israel, so he often sends exceptional changes, political, social, and religious, before the heralds of the cross, to prepare the way for them; and this is the message which sounds with clear clarion note to all the soldiers of King Jesus, “I have all authority in heaven and on earth, therefore, without misgivings or questionings, go and evangelize all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

27. So, first, we rejoice in this grand statement of our Lord Jesus Christ, and next, we see the practical outcome of it.

28. III. Thirdly, and very briefly, WE FEEL THE NEED OF IT.

29. Oh, brothers and sisters, if anyone in this place knows the power which is in Christ to make his ministry of any use, I am sure that I do! I scarcely ever come into this pulpit without bemoaning myself that I ever should be called to a task for which I seem more unfit than any other man who was ever born. Woe is me that I should have to preach a gospel which so overpowers me, and which I feel that I am so unfit to preach! Yet I could not give it up, for it would be a far greater woe to me not to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Unless the Holy Spirit blesses the Word, we who preach the gospel are of all men most miserable, for we have attempted a task that is impossible, we have entered on a sphere where nothing but the supernatural will ever avail. If the Holy Spirit does not renew the hearts of our hearers, we cannot do it. If the Holy Spirit does not regenerate them, we cannot. If he does not send the truth home into their souls, we might as well speak into the ear of a corpse. All that we have to do is quite beyond our unaided power; we must have our Master with us, or we can do nothing. We deeply feel our need of this great truth; we do not merely say it, but we are driven every day, by our own deep sense of need, to rejoice that our Lord has declared, “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth,” for we need all power. Every kind of power that there is in heaven and on earth we shall need before we can fully discharge this ministry. Before the nations shall all be brought to hear the gospel of Christ, before testimony to him shall be borne in every land, we shall need the whole omnipotence of God; we shall need every force in heaven and earth before this is done. Thank God that this power is all ready for our use, the strength that is equal to such a stupendous task as this is already provided.

30. IV. I must pass over much that I might have dwelt on, and say, in the next place, WE BELIEVE THIS TEXT, AND WE REST IN IT. “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth.”

31. We believe in this power, and we rest in it. We do not seek any other power. There is a craving, often, after great mental power; people want “clever” men to preach the gospel. Ah, sirs! I fear that the gospel has suffered more damage from clever men than from anything else; I question whether the devil himself has ever done so much mischief in the Church of God as clever men have done. No; we want to have such mental vigour as God pleases to give us, but we remember that text, “ ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord.” The world is not going to be saved by wordily wisdom or by fine oratory; brilliant speeches and poetic phrases do not win souls for Christ. The power to do this is the power that is in Christ, and the Church of God, when she is in her right mind, does not look for any other power; I mean, that she does not cringe before kings and princes, and cry “Establish us, endow us.” It is an old fiction that the royal touch can cure “the king’s evil,” but it is an old fact that the king’s hand brings an evil whenever it is laid on the Church of Christ by way of patronage. No, kings and queens, we can do without you! If you will come to Jesus’ feet as humble supplicants, you shall be saved even as your subjects are; but the Church of God has a kingdom that is not of this world, and needs no help whatever from the kingdoms of this world. All power for the extension of the kingdom of Christ is in himself; his own person sustains his own kingdom, and we will not go to any other fountain of authority to draw the power we need. The Church of Christ must always say to him, “All my fresh springs are in you.”

32. And, dear friends, we believe and rest in this truth, defying every other power. Every other power that can be conceived of may set itself against the kingdom of Christ, but it does not matter; no, not one whistle of the wind, for all power is already in Christ, and what seems to oppose his kingdom must be only the mere empty name of power. There can be no real power about it, for all power is in him both in heaven and on earth.

33. This being so, we rest quite sure that even our infirmities will not hinder the progress of his kingdom, no, rather, we boast in our infirmities, for now the power of Christ will become more conspicuous. The less we have by which the kingdom might be supposed to be extended, the more clearly it will be seen that the kingdom is extended by the power of the King himself.

34. At the same time, all power that we have we give to him, because all power is his; and all power that we ever possess, we lay it under tribute for him. Whatever there is of good, or of brightness, or of light, or of knowledge in this world, we say, “It all belongs to Jesus,” and we set the broad arrow {a} of our great King on it, and claim it as his.

35. Oh dear friends, why are we ever cast down? Why do we ever begin to question the ultimate success of the good cause? Why do we ever go home with aching head and palpitating heart because of the evils of the day? Courage, my brethren, courage; the King has all power, it is impossible to defeat him. A standard-bearer fell just now, I know, and across the battle-field I see the clouds of smoke. The right wing of our army may be shattered for a moment; but the King in the centre of the host still rides on the white horse of victory, and he only has to will it, he only has to speak a single word, and the enemy shall be driven away like chaff before the wind.

36. V. Lastly, and here I should have liked to have had much time, but I can only hint at what I would have said. If it is so that all authority is given to Christ in heaven and on earth, then WE OBEY IT.

37. Christ says, “Go.” Then, let us go at once, according to his Word, in the path which God’s own hand marks out for us. Let us go and disciple all nations, let us tell them that they are to learn about Christ, and that they are to be obedient to his will. Let us also baptize those who become his disciples, as he tells us to do: “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

38. Next, let us be loyal to him in all things, and let us train up his disciples in loyalty to him: “teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you.” Since he has all authority, let us not intrude another authority. Let us keep within the Master’s house, and seek to know the Master’s mind, to learn the Master’s will, to study the Master’s Book, and to receive the Master’s Spirit, and let these be dominant over all other power; and all the while let us endeavour to keep in fellowship with him:“ Lo, I am with you always.” Let us never go away from him. Because all authority is given to him, let us stay close by his side; let us be the yeomen of his guard. Let us be the servants who release the latchets of his shoes, who bring water for his feet, and who consider ourselves highly honoured by it. “Lo, I am with you always,” he says, so let us always be with him.

39. And let us always keep expecting him to return. The last words of the chapter suggest this thought: “even to the end of the world,” or “of the age.” You know that this age is to end with a glorious beginning of a brighter and better age, therefore let us keep on looking for it. Servants, you will not serve well unless you expect your Master’s return. If you say, “He delays his coming,” you may begin to eat, and to drink, and to be drunk, and to beat your fellow servants. Let the expectation of your Lord’s return always keep you on tiptoe, with your lamps trimmed and your lights burning; for, maybe, this very night there may be heard in our streets the cry, “Behold the Bridegroom comes, go out to meet him.” May we all be so ready that this cry would be the sweetest music that our ears could ever hear! May God bless you, beloved, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus — God My Exceeding Joy” 775}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, In Heaven — At The Right Hand Of God” 340}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Resurrection and Ascension — The Conqueror Reigns” 324}

{a} Broad Arrow: The arrowhead-shaped mark, used by the British Board of Ordnance, and placed on government supplies. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Col 1}

1-2. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colosse: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul begins with a greeting in which he wishes the Colossian Christians the best of all blessings. It is the very spirit of our holy religion to wish well to others, and I am sure that we cannot have a better wish for our dearest friends than this, “Grace be to you, and peace.” Grace will save you; peace will make you know that you are saved. Grace is the root of every blessing; peace is the sweet flower that makes life so sweet and so fragrant. May you have both of these blessings “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!” There is no peace for you apart from this blessed combination, God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; therefore, may you know your adoption, and may you know your redemption!

3, 4. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus,

We are not only to pray for those who have no faith, but the very fact that men have faith should lead us to pray for them. Where there is evidently life in the seed, and it begins to sprout, let us water it with our prayers, and with our thanks, too. “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus,” —

4, 5. And of the love which you have for all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;

“Faith” — “love” — “hope” — these are three divine sisters, which should always go hand in hand. We must never be satisfied unless we see in ourselves and in our fellow Christians these three delightful fruits of the Spirit of God. Notice the order here, — faith, and love, and then hope. Perhaps the Colossians were a little deficient in this last grace, so the apostle prayed constantly for them, “for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.”

6. Which is come to you, as it is in all the world; and produces fruit, as it also does in you, since the day you heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth;

We do not know the grace of God in truth unless it produces fruit in us. We may know it with the head very correctly, but yet we do not truly know it unless it is knowledge in the heart, knowledge in the inner man. We do not really know it unless it affects our lives, and produces faith love, hope; — faith, which lifts us above the world; love, which preserves us from selfishness; and hope, which keeps us up under all trials.

7, 8. As you also learned concerning Epaphras our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ for you; who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.

I like to read about these godly men speaking well of each other. Nowadays, it is thought to be a distinguishing sign of faithfulness to be able to pick holes in the coats of our fellow Christians. Now, we cannot help perceiving their defects, and sometimes it is our duty to speak of them, and to speak of them faithfully, but let us also observe all the virtues that are to be found in them, otherwise we may despise the work of the Holy Spirit, and rob him of his glory. How kindly Paul speaks of Epaphras, and how kindly Epaphras speaks of the church at Colosse!

9. For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

If you have the graces of the Spirit, it is important that they should be deepened, that they should grow through being fed with divine nourishment. What the water is to the plant, making it further to develop itself, that is the knowledge of God’s will to our gifts and graces; they grow and become fruitful through an increase in the knowledge of God.

10-14. That you might walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, to all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; giving thanks to the Father, who has made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Now the apostle is playing the string he most delights to touch. He is at home with everything which concerns the welfare of saints; but when he begins to talk about his Lord and Master, then he seems to ride in a chariot of fire with horses of fire, and he grows mightily eloquent under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. See how he talks about the great central truth of the atoning sacrifice: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”

15-18. Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether they are thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body,

Notice how Paul harps on that one string, “He.” See how much he dwells on the divine person of the blessed Lord Jesus Christ. He will never be finished praising him, he keeps on heaping up epithets to magnify that blessed name; and he truly was in the Spirit of God when he did this, for it is the work of the Spirit to glorify Jesus Christ. He makes him great in our hearts, and then we try to make him great by our words and by our acts.

18-22. The church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself; by him, I say, whether they are things on earth, or things in heaven. And you, who were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now he has reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Oh beloved! just as the sun is to be seen mirrored, not only in the face of the great deep, but in every little drop of dew that hangs on each blade of grass, so is the glory of Christ to be seen, not only in his universal Church, but in each individual in whom his Spirit has worked holiness.

23. If you continue in the faith grounded and settled, and not be moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which was preached to every creature who is under heaven; of which I Paul am made a minister;

How delighted he is to have such a gospel to preach, such a hope to proclaim to the sons of men! Oh, if we had to creep from a sick-bed, or to come up from a dungeon, if we were aching in every bone of our body, and if we were depressed in soul, this ought to be enough to make us full of gladness to overflowing, that we have such a Christ to preach, and such fulness of blessing to declare to the sons of men!

24. Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

As if there were so much suffering to be endured to bring in the redeemed from the world, and so much self-sacrifice to be made in order that those whom Christ has redeemed may come to know about that redemption, and may be brought to him; and Paul was glad to make up what was lacking in the afflictions of Christ in his flesh, “for his body’s sake, which is the church”: —

25. Of which I am made a minister,

This is a wonderful expression, “made a minister.” The true minister is of God’s making; a man-made minister must be a poor creature, but a God-made minister will prove his calling: “of which I am made a minister,” —

25-27. According to the stewardship of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; even the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now is revealed to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

“Christ in you” is glory begun, a sure pledge and promise of a glory greater than you can yet conceive of. If Christ is in you, you have the beginnings of heaven; you have, in fact, the excellence and flower of heaven, for there is no heaven except the glory of Christ.

28, 29. Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: for this purpose I also labour, striving according to his working, who mightily works in me.

If God’s people strive mightily, it is because God works mightily in them. Nothing can come out of a man except what God puts into him. We work to will and to do when he works in us according to his good pleasure. Oh, for more of the agonizing of the Spirit within us, so that there might be more of agonizing in our spirits for the glory of God!

The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus
775 — God My Exceeding Joy
1 Where God doth dwell, sure heaven is there,
      And singing there must be:
   Since, Lord, thy presence my heaven,
      Whom should I sing but thee?
2 My God, my reconciled God,
      Creator of my peace:
   Thee will I love, and praise, and sing,
      Till life and breath shall cease.
3 My soul doth magnify the Lord,
      My spirit doth rejoice;
   To thee, my Saviour and my God,
      I lift my joyful voice;
4 I need not go abroad for joys,
      I have a feast at home;
   My sighs are turned into songs,
      My heart has ceased to roam.
5 Down from above the blessed Dove
      Is come into my breast,
   To witness thine eternal love,
      And give my spirit rest.
6 My God, I’ll praise thee while I live,
      And praise thee when I die,
   And praise thee when I rise again,
      And to eternity.
                        John Mason, 1683, a.

Jesus Christ, In Heaven
340 — At The Right Hand Of God
1 He who on earth as man was known,
   And bore our sins and pains,
   Now, seated on th’ eternal throne,
   The God of glory reigns.
2 His hands the wheels of nature guide
   With an unerring skill,
   And countless worlds, extended wide,
   Obey his sovereign will.
3 While harps unnumber’d sound his praise
   In yonder world above,
   His saints on earth admire his ways,
   And glory in his love.
4 When troubles, like a burning sun,
   Beat heavy on their head,
   To this almighty Rock they run,
   And find a pleasing shade.
5 How glorious he, how happy they
   In such a glorious Friend!
   Whose love secures them all the way,
   And crowns them at the end.
                        John Newton, 1779.

Jesus Christ, Resurrection and Ascension
324 — The Conqueror Reigns
1 Triumphant, Christ ascends on high
   The glorious work complete;
   Sin, death, and hell, low vanquish’d lie,
   Beneath his awful feet.
2 There, with eternal glory crown’d,
   The Lord, the Conqueror reigns;
   His praise the heavenly choirs resound,
   In their immortal strains.
3 Amid the splendours of his throne,
   Unchanging love appears;
   The names he purchased for his own
   Still on his heart he bears.
4 Oh, the rich depths of love divine!
   Of bliss, a boundless store:
   Dear Saviour, let me call thee mine,
   I cannot wish for more.
5 On thee alone my hope relies,
   Beneath thy cross I fall,
   My Lord, my life, my sacrifice,
   My Saviour, and my all.
                           Anne Steele, 1760.

Spurgeon Sermons

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

Terms of Use

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

Spurgeon Sermon Updates

Email me when new sermons are posted:

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

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390