2488. Christ’s Love For His Spouse

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No. 2488-42:505. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, September 5, 1886, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, October 25, 1896.

Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. {Eph 5:25}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 628, “Glorious Church, A” 619}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2488, “Christ’s Love For His Spouse” 2489}
   Exposition on Eph 5 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2401, “Child of Light and the Works of Darkness, The” 2402 @@ "Exposition"}

1. The love of Jesus, — what a theme it is! The apostle said that it surpasses knowledge; and if it surpasses knowledge, how much more does it excel any description that can be given of it. The heart may feel it better than the tongue may speak it. If there is one subject more than another on which I wish always to speak, it is the love of Christ; but if there is one which quite baffles me, and makes me go back from this platform utterly ashamed of my poor feeble words, and of the tongue which has uttered them, it is this subject. This love of Christ is the most amazing thing under heaven, if not in heaven itself. How often have I said to you that, if I had heard that Christ pitied us, I could understand it. If I had heard that Christ had mercy on us, I could comprehend it; but when it is written that he actually loves us, that is quite another and a much more extraordinary thing. Love between mortal and mortal is quite natural and comprehensible; but love between the infinite God and us poor sinful finite creatures, though conceivable in one sense, is utterly inconceivable in another. Who can grasp such an idea? Who can fully understand it? Especially when it comes in this form, — “HE” (read it in large capitals) “loved me, and gave himself for me,” — this is the miracle of miracles.

2. I feel all the more embarrassed with my subject, at the very entrance to it, because this love of Christ is here positively compared to the love of a husband for his wife, and is so compared to it as to be made the model of what the husband’s love for his wife should be: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” I should never have dared to draw the comparison, nor should any man have drawn it, but that the Holy Spirit himself moved the pen of Paul to write it; and this being the case, we shall not be intruding into the secret places of the Most High if we now enter into the consideration of this wondrous theme. Truly, I may well say, as the apostle does in the thirty-second verse, “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” It is a mystery, a subject far too deep for the mere intellect to dive into its depths, and too sacred for us to think or speak of except with utmost solemnity of heart. How shall I order my speech in the presence of such a subject as this? How shall I be free and yet be guarded? How shall I take you to the edge of this great sea of truth, and even venture into it without getting at once out of my depth? “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church”: a parallel is drawn between poor mortals like ourselves who occupy the position of husbands and our glorious Lord who is God over all, blessed for ever. In boundless condescension, he occupies the same kind of place in reference to his church which he calls his bride, he himself being the Bridegroom who is soon to come. Again I say that I should never have thought of such a comparison had not the Holy Spirit himself put it before us, and invited us to consider it.

3. So, dear friends, with great reverence, let us think, first, of how Christ loves the church; then, secondly, how he has proved his love by giving himself for the church; and then, thirdly, let us make the practical enquiry, how shall we think of this wondrous love of Christ?


5. I cannot help beginning by saying that Christ loves his church specially. There would be no parallel whatever between the husband’s love for the wife and Christ’s love for the church if there were not a speciality about it. Christ is love itself; he is full of kindness and benevolence. In that sense, he loves all mankind; but that cannot be the meaning of the text, for it would be a very strange kind of exhortation to the husband if that were the case. No, the husband’s love for his spouse is something special and particular; and it stands quite alone, and all by itself. He will be kind and benevolent and generous towards all others, but that love which he lavishes on his wife he must give to no one else in the world. It is certainly so with our blessed Lord. Free and rich and overflowing in lovingkindness, yet he made a special choice of his people even before the earth existed; and having chosen because of his love, he loves because of his choice, and that love is a particular, special, remarkable, preeminent love such as he bestows on no one else of all the human race. It must be so, or else the passage would be all but immoral; certainly, it would be obviously incorrect.

6. There is, then, a special love which Christ has towards his own church, towards all believers, towards his chosen people, towards those whom his Father gave him, of whom he says, “They are mine.” I may invite each of you who are included in either of these descriptions to drink in the sweetness of that gracious text, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” That means, “I have loved you with a special and particular and distinguishing love.” As many of us as believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are distinguished by the enjoyment of a love which is all our own. Dear fellow Christians, let us never forget this amazing love, and since Christ loves us so specially, let us feel that we are bound to love him specially. Let us give to him all our heart’s affection, for he is a jealous Saviour, and he will have our entire love; so let us render it to him, not by compulsion, but with a joyful willingness. Love dies in the presence of compulsion; it will wear no chains except its own silken fetters; but it flies, oh, how swiftly! on its own strong wings when once it perceives its beloved object. Christ loves his church, then, specially, as good John Kent sings, —

    He loved the world of his elect,
       With love surpassing thought;
    Nor will his mercy e’er neglect
       The souls so dearly bought.

7. And, next, I ask you to notice what is not always the case with regard to the husband and the wife, that the Lord Jesus loves his church unselfishly; that is to say, he never loved her for what she has, but what she is; indeed, I must go further than that, and say that he loved her, not so much for what she is, but what he makes her as the object of his love. He does not love her for what comes to him from her, or with her, but for what he is able to bestow on her. His is the strongest love that ever was, for he has loved ugliness until he has changed it into beauty; he has loved the sinner until he has made him a saint; he has loved the foul and filthy until he has washed them with water by the Word, and presented them to himself without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. We love because of loveliness apprehended and perceived; but Christ loved because he would impart his own loveliness to the object of his choice. Even the best of men, doubtless, love in some measure from selfish motives; there is some mixture of self-interest in all human love, but Christ had nothing to gain by loving his church. He was very God of very God, the adored of angels, and the beloved by the Father; yet he fixed the eyes of his love — notice that, not of his pity, merely, but of his love, — on those whom he had chosen out of the race of men. He loved them, not for anything that he could ever gain from them, for he had all things in himself, but because of what he would impart to them. They had nothing of good in themselves, and were only fit to be loved by Christ because, like empty vessels, their very emptiness prepares them to be receivers of his fulness. In no other sense are we ever fit to be loved by Christ. Just as the sun chased the darkness away from the world, and still prevents it from going back into the darkness, so Christ loved a poor, fallen, darkened company of mortals, and loved them into light, and love, and joy, and still loves and enlightens them, and keeps them where they are. Oh, what a wonderful love this is! Let our souls rejoice and be glad in it.

8. Further, brethren, just as Christ’s love for his church is a love of choice, and of speciality, and of marvellous unselfishness, so I believe — although I do not understand how it can be so, — that it is a love of satisfaction. The husband’s love for his wife is not the love of a parent for a child, it is not the love of the philanthropist for the object of distress that he relieves; it is something very different from either of these forms of love. It may be that the husband confers benefits on his wife as the result of his love, and he should do so; but still, the love of the husband for the wife puts them somehow on a level with each other. She has satisfaction in him, and he has great delight in her. If a husband only loved his wife with a feeling of pity towards her, with the notion of relieving her, and so forth, that would be a very poor kind of relationship; and though I speak with bated breath as I say it, I believe that the blessed Lord Christ takes satisfaction in his people. That we should delight ourselves in him, is very easy to understand; but that he should delight himself in us, oh! the very thought of it is ravishing to my heart. Even in the Old Testament Scripture, our Lord said to his chosen, “You shall be called Hephzibah,” that is, “My delight is in her.” Is it really so, that the infinite God takes delight in his chosen people? Here is another passage to confirm it: “My delights were with the sons of men.” Does Jesus find delight in men? Indeed, that he does; and you know how he said to those who were the representatives of his church in his lifetime on earth, “I have called you friends,” and he seemed to find a solace in their company. Even when he had risen from the dead, and had no more work to do for their redemption, yet he came to them so that he might enjoy their company. Poor, fallible, half-instructed men they were, yet he found his pleasure in them. He used to speak of them in this way, “I will declare your name to my brethren.” He is not ashamed to call us brethren; and in that rapturous Song of Songs, which is the very Holy of Holies of our blessed Bible, he does not hesitate to speak of his beloved as his spouse, and to call her by all those endearing terms which prove that he takes great delight in her.

9. Think of it, my soul, that Jesus takes great delight in you. He became a man, and it was not good even for such a man to be alone. He could not rest until he had found you, and had wooed and won you. Will you ever deny him your company, will you refuse him your heart of hearts, will you hide from him the secret of your soul? If so, you do a grievous wrong to him who has condescended to stoop from the throne of his eternal glory to take delight in the company of his creature, man! I have looked all over creation and have seen all kinds of beautiful birds and intelligent beasts, yet I have never seen any towards which I would stoop to make them my intimate acquaintances, and marry them in the heart of my love. No, we would not stoop even that little distance; but we were infinitely below the Son of God, yet he has chosen us. He felt that he could link his destiny with ours, — I do not put it too strongly, for that is what he has really done. He has become the Head of his body, the church; he has become the Husband of his chosen bride. He has, as it were, entered into the same boat with his people. He has made a household of which we two are the companion parts, himself the Husband, and his church the spouse. Oh, who shall proclaim it all? I only touch the surface of this boundless sea as with a swallow’s wing; happy are you if you dare to plunge into its depths.

10. There is, then, between Christ and his church, to make a parallel between the love of the husband for his wife, a love of satisfaction.

11. And being a love of satisfaction, in such a case as this, there is an intense love of sympathy. The true husband and wife are so united that they share each other’s joys and sorrows without making any effort to do so. It comes naturally to them, they cannot avoid it. And oh! let us proclaim this great truth, the sympathy between Christ and his people is absolutely perfect. If he sees us in sorrow, he feels it in his heart. He himself was encompassed with infirmity, when he was here, and tempted in all points like we are, so that he might know all the trials of the church he loved; and now in heaven, since he has shared our sorrows, he decrees that we shall share his joys. He wishes us even now to let our hearts beat in sympathy with his triumph and his victory; I wish we would do so, why should we not? Our Husband is on the throne; then let us begin to reign with him. He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenlies; then let us have faith enough to claim what is really ours in him. Remember that quaint couplet of which good old Rowland Hill was so fond, and sing it yourself, —

    But this I do find, we two are so joined,
    He’ll not be in glory, and leave me behind.

Still better, remember that word of power which fell from our Lord’s blessed lips while here below, “Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; so that they may behold my glory.” He has a perfect sympathy with us, and we should have a similar sympathy with him. Blessed be his dear name that he should ever have entered into such bonds of love as those with such poor creatures as we are!

12. Nor is this all. While it is very blessed to know that Christ has this love of sympathy, he has, further, a love of communion. Without this, there could be no parallel with domestic life, which includes much of happy communion and loving conversation. A brother minister said to me, the other day, when we were talking to each other about what the gospel has done for men, “Did you never think what a wonderful thing the gospel is, that it has made possible such happiness as you and I enjoy in our domestic relationships?” And of course I heartily responded to that remark, for if there is anything that is a miniature picture of heaven on earth, it is a pair of Christians happily united, whose children grow up in the fear of the Lord, and render to them increased comfort and joy every day. Oh, how much some of us owe to the gospel for the happiness of our homes! There could, however, be no such happiness in married life if there were no conversation, no communion; and our Lord Jesus Christ so loves his church that he often converses with her. He so loves each one of his people that, if we are only willing to have it so, we may walk with him, and we may talk with him, and he will speak with us as a man speaks with his friend. Oh, my brother, if you do not every day commune with Christ, whose fault is it? Not his, but yours; for he loves you so that he would never let you be away from him if you were not so wayward, and so easily turned aside by little things. Yes, he reveals himself to us as he does not do to the world. I am not going to relate here all that he says; all the ways in which he reveals himself to his people, we could not tell; but there are times of such real delight in fellowship with the Lord Jesus, that we can only say, with Dr. Watts, —

    My willing soul would stay
    In such a frame as this,
    And sit and sing herself away
    To everlasting bliss.

13. The pith of all that I have said — and I have much more to say than time will permit, — is just this. It is an extraordinarily thing that Christ has entered into positive unity with his people. Unity, notice that, for that is the essence of the marriage bond. We are one with Christ, who made himself one with his people. Have you ever understood this, even you who are the best tutored of the children of God? Have you ever taken a firm hold of this great truth, and gripped it so that you will not let it go? Come back to what I said a little while ago, that Christ has linked his destiny with yours, his honour with yours, his life with yours, his happiness with yours. You must be in heaven, or else he will be bereaved. You must be in heaven, or else he will be imperfect. You are a member of his body; and if he should lose one of his members, then his body would not be perfect, nor the Head either. You are joined to the Lord, and you are “one spirit” with him, and you may bravely say, “Who shall separate us?” for such is this eternal union that there is no separation between Christ and the soul that is joined to him. “The Lord, the God of Israel, says that he hates divorce.” In the olden times, the husband might give his wife a letter of divorce, and put her away; but God says that he hates divorce, and he will never divorce those who are joined to him. What a marriage is this! Do you know, dear friend, what I am talking about? I cannot speak of it as I wish, but it is true, and there is the wonder of it. It is no fiction, no myth, no mere figure of speech; but it is really so in deed and in truth. For this reason, Christ left his Father, and became one with his church, so that henceforth they should no more be two, but one; and now we who have believed in Christ Jesus are one with him in time and in eternity. His love has made it so, and we may paraphrase the words we read just now, and say, “Behold, what manner of love the Bridegroom has bestowed on us, that we should be called the spouse of Christ!”

14. I have only very imperfectly spoken on this part of my subject, but I must not linger longer on this most delightful theme.

15. II. I now ask you briefly to notice HOW THE LORD JESUS PROVED HIS LOVE FOR HIS CHURCH: “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”

16. I will not at first restrict the meaning of this text to what is the real essence of it, but I will just observe that Christ gave himself for his church when he was born into the world, when he did not disdain the virgin’s womb, but was born of Mary, wrapped in swaddling-bands, and laid in a manger. The angels have never ceased to wonder at this great mystery of godliness. The God who made the heavens and the earth, the God who upholds all things by the word of his power, lay as an infant in the manger of Bethlehem, because there could be no display of his love for his people unless it could be said that they two were one flesh. So he became bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, most surely and truly man, with all the sinless infirmities of our nature, and liable even to death in order to be fully one with us. Oh, how truly he gave himself for us when he became a babe, a child, a man!

17. That being done, he gave all his life here on earth for us. He did nothing for himself; it was all for us, for his church. His whole life was for her righteousness, for her example, for her teaching, and for her quickening. He loved her with no view but the glory of the Father by the salvation of his chosen.

18. Nor was that all; it was indeed only the beginning. Having given his Godhead by the assumption of our humanity, having given his life by spending it all for us, Christ gave himself up to death for our sins. He went up to the felon’s gibbet, the cross of Calvary, and there he gave his hands and feet to the nails, and his heart to the spear. Laying down his body for us, but at the same time laying down his soul and spirit, he suffered that dread doom of being forsaken by his God, so that he cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” There, when you see his pale body, like a withered lily broken at the stalk, — when you see the holy men and women wrapping him in spices, and laying him in Joseph’s tomb, — you understand how he loved us, and gave himself for us, dying in our place, a propitiation and atonement for our sins. He loved us so as to die for us. He could not have died had he not become man; but being found in the form of man, and partaking of our human nature, it was possible for him to prove the utmost extent of his love by laying down his life for us. Oh, could you not kiss those dear cold feet? Do you not half wish that you could have been there to wrap him in the spices and fine linen, and to lay him in the grave? But remember that he now lives, our heavenly Lover lives. He has proved his love by giving up his life, but now he has his life back again, and he has gone home to his Father, he has gone back to the royalties he left, and put on again all the splendour which for a while he laid aside.

19. Yet he does not love us any the less, for he still gives himself for us. He acts the part of Intercessor for his church. For Zion’s sake he does not hold his peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake he does not rest. Nor will he; he is crowned so that his church may be crowned, he is enthroned so that she too may come to the throne; and he will further prove his love eventually, for he has so given himself for us that he is bound to come again, to bring home his affianced when she is prepared for him, and the heaven above is prepared for her. Then he shall come in all his glory, and she shall be brought to him in embroidered robes, in all the splendour of his righteousness, and for ever and ever there shall be nothing but joy and blessedness.

20. What I am driving at, and what I want every Christian here to get at, is this thought. Whatever Jesus Christ is, — and you do not know half of what he is, even you who know most about him, — whatever Christ is in any relationship, or from any point of view, he has given himself to us. He has not merely given his thoughts, and his actions, and his wisdom, and his power, and his wealth; but he has given himself to us. Oh, I like to think of this! All that I can imagine Christ to be must still fall far short of himself. It is he whom we love, and I would sooner have Christ than have heaven. It is he whom we love, and I would sooner have Christ than his crown. It is he whom we love, and I would sooner have Christ than all the golden streets. It is he whom we love, and it is he who belongs to us; not merely the sight of his eyes, but his eyes themselves; not only the love of his heart, but his heart itself. He himself, his Godhead, and his manhood, the complex person of the Christ of God, is given to his church.

21. I feel as if I do not know how to talk at all about this great truth. Some brother cried out this morning when I was speaking, and I noticed that someone else immediately followed him; but oh! if ever there is a time for crying out, — and yet, on the other hand, if ever there is a time for being struck with silence, — it is the time when we get on this topic of Christ’s love for his people. I feel as if I wanted to run off this platform, and just go home, and shut the door, and sit down, and weep to the praise of this mighty love; and then I should want to get up, and run back again, and say, “What a fool I was not to tell you all I could about it!” May God the Holy Spirit help you to experience it! That you are loved by anyone, is a joy; for love is a precious thing, whoever gives it. But you, believer, are loved by Christ; you are so loved by Christ as not merely to be espoused to him, but united to him in eternal wedlock. You are joined to him in such a way that you must, eventually, be with him in all the glory of his royal estate, for the King will bring his queen home, and he will bring you home to dwell with him for ever and ever.

22. I am very sorry for those who do not know anything about this great love, I am truly sorry for you outsiders.

    His worth, if as the nations knew,
    Sure the whole world would love him too.

If they could only imagine the sweetness of the love of Christ, they would never give rest to their eyes until they had looked to him by faith, and so had learned it, and known it for themselves.

23. III. Now, lastly, dear friends, if such is the love of Jesus, and the way in which he has proved it, HOW OUGHT WE TO THINK OF IT? I hardly need suggest to God’s people anything about this, for you know it already, your own hearts have outrun my words.

24. How should we think of the love of Christ? Why, with deepest gratitude. Oh, how could you love me, my Lord, you whose eyes outshine the light of the morning? How could you love me, you who can make the fairest of all things with a wish of your heart? How could you love me in whom there was nothing fair, nothing worthy of your love? Yet I bless you for it. Do not all of you who love him say in your hearts, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name, that he should ever love me?” It is not his benefits that you have to think of just now, though they are innumerable. It is not his mercies that you have to think of at this moment, though they are immeasurable. But it is that he has loved you and that he still loves you, and that he has given himself to you and for you. That is the point. Do you not bless him? Do you not feel as if you could lie at his feet, ah, and love the very dust he trod on, when you think that he should ever love you? Very well, then, return your gratitude to him.

25. But that is not half enough. The next thing is, render to him your obedience. Does not the Scripture say that the wife is to be obedient to her husband? Well, in this case, shall we not prove our gratitude to Christ by a complete obedience to him? Is there anything that he commands you to do? Can you neglect it after such love as this? The least of his ordinances, will you not observe them? The smallest of his precepts, will you not regard them? Is there a word of his lips that you dare despise? Is there a wish that he has expressed in the Scriptures that you would fail to carry out? I hope not; such love as Christ has given to us ought to receive from us, without any exhortation, a complete and perfect obedience even to every jot and tittle as far as we ever can render it. I do not understand that love for Christ which makes men pick and choose, and say, “I shall not attend to that, for that is non-essential. I shall do this; I believe that it is wrong, but still, I daresay it does not very matter much.” No, no, no! True wives do not act like that to their husbands; there is no wish of a loving husband which a loving wife would not regard. Indeed, more, she anticipates his wishes, she delights to make him happy; and so should it be with my heart towards my Lord. I should be looking out for what I can do for him; I should be hunting high and low to find something that would give him pleasure; and, above all, since he says, “If you love me, keep my commandments,” my heart should answer, “Your commandments are not grievous; it is my delight to do your will, oh my God and my Saviour.” That is the spirit in which to act towards Christ.

26. Once more, there is a text which says, “Let the wife see that she reverences her husband.” I have sometimes thought that must be somewhat difficult for some wives to do. There has not been very much to reverence in their husbands; still, they are bound to do it as far as it is possible. In this case, there is everything to reverence in our Beloved; everything about him that deserves our profoundest homage. Such a one as he, whose very name has music in it, whose very person is the delight of seraphim and cherubim, — he, the Christ, whom no one can conceive of in all his fulness but the Father, — we must reverence him, and bow before him, and extol him. I grow angry, I confess it, when I hear some men speak of Christ. They talk about my Lord in these days as if he were some common person, and they have “comparative religions” in which they compare him with I do not know whom. I love my Lord so well that I must boil over with indignation when his name is disparaged. Our hymn says, —

    “Stand up, stand up for Jesus.”

It is almost too commonplace an expression in reference to him; still, what it means let us do; let us be ready, like the armed men who were around the bed of Solomon, to defend our King against all comers; for, if he loved us so much, we must love him in return.

27. And what else shall we say? If such is the love of Christ, how shall we think of it but in a way of holiness? Let us seek to be like him; let us try to fulfil his will, that he may purify us, and sanctify us by the washing of water by the Word, that we may be holy as he who has called us is holy. Let us think of this love by striving after sanctification; and let us think of this love, above all, by rendering to him now and as long as we live the full love of our heart. We cannot love him without being moved to love him more. We can love all the more by thinking much of the person towards whom our hearts are drawn, so think much of my Lord, think of him every day. Get to be familiar with him. Read frequently the story of his life and death. Get alone as often as you can, and picture him before your eyes until you find your heart exclaiming, “I love you, dearest Lord. You know all things; you know that I love you.” I find it a profitable form of devotion, sometimes, to sit quite still, and not say a word; but just only think of him. My heart has burned within me while doing that, and I believe that it is not lost or wasted time, but time most profitably spent, for I come out from my room and feel, “Now I am ready for the service of life, or for its suffering, for I have seen the Well-Beloved, and the glances of his countenance have charmed away my griefs, and prepared me to take up my cross, and follow him wherever he goes.” Oh, love the Lord, you his saints; and as long as you live, love him more and more, love him to the very utmost, until you die of love! Blessed, for ever blessed be his holy name! Amen and Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {1Jo 3}

I have read this chapter many times in your hearing, but we cannot read it too often, for it is full of the deepest and most important instruction. May God grant that fresh light from above may shine on it as we listen once more to the familiar words!

1. Behold, —

If you never used your eyes to good purpose before, use them so now: “Behold,” —

1. What manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God:

Let the truth of our adoption amaze us, — the adoption of such unworthy ones as we were to so high a relationship “that we should be called the sons of God.”

1. Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know him.

There is no need to say to whom this last sentence refers; the pronoun “Him” is quite sufficient to indicate our Lord Jesus whom the world did not know. Every living, loving heart must at once have thought of “Him” who is the chief, the firstborn, the only-begotten Son of God.

2. Beloved, now we are the sons of God, —

It is enough to make the lame man leap as the hart to hear that blessed statement, and to know it to be true.

2. And it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

In proportion to our view of Christ is our likeness to him. Those who never saw him are not like him at all; those who have in a measure seen him are in a measure like him, those who see him as he is are like him. There is a transforming power about the image of Christ when it is seen by the soul: “We shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

3. And every man who has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.

Discouragement and despair will not purify you, doubt and darkness will only make you worse than you were before; but the indulgence of this blessed hope that you are to be like Christ will help you to purify yourself, “even as he is pure.” Therefore, beloved, have hope in God. Remember that it is one of Satan’s tricks and snares to try to discourage you, but it is God’s will to increase your hope, for by it you increase in purity.

4. Whoever commits sin also transgresses the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

This is the best definition of sin that can be given; let none of us ever tolerate any other idea of sin but that it is “the transgression of the law.”

5, 6. And you know that he was revealed to take away our sins; and no sin is in him. Whoever remains in him does not sin: whoever sins has not seen him, neither known him.

That is to say, if sin is the habitual course of our life, we do not truly know the Lord. He who walks with God endeavours with all his might to be free from sin, and he is sanctified by remaining in Christ.

7. Little children, let no man deceive you:

Because you are little, you are apt to be deceived. There is a great blessedness in being little children, but there is also some danger connected with such a condition, so we must beware of those who would deceive us.

7. He who does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

The test of a man’s real character must be what he does, not what he professes; not what he boasts about, but what is really the manner of his life.

8, 9. He who commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was revealed, so that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

He does not sin with any pleasure, it is not the course of his life. There are, alas! in the best of men, infirmities and imperfections and failures; oh that these were all removed! Still, the man is not what he used to be; though he is not what he shall be, he is not what he once was.

10. In this the children of God are revealed, and the children of the devil: whoever does not do righteousness is not of God, neither he who does not love his brother.

Holiness and love are the marks of the true child of God; and where these are not to be found, a man must not bolster himself up with any notion that salvation is his, for he is no child of God.

11, 12. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love each other. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and murdered his brother. And why did he kill him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.

So that, when you see a man filled with hate and envy and malice, it is because his own life is not holy. There is no exception to this rule, true holiness and love always go together; where love is absent, holiness must be absent, too.

13. Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.

See, Cain hated Abel, and the world hates the saints. It is the very nature and spirit of the world to hate those who are not of the world.

14. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.

Love becomes the distinguishing mark of the new life.

14. He who does not love his brother remains in death.

No matter how outwardly religious he is, and may think that, by doing certain external actions, he will save himself, there is no truth at all in his religion, for the very essence of true religion is that a man does not live for himself, but for God, and for the good of his fellow men.

15. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer:

He would get rid of that brother if he could, and he is therefore a murderer in spirit, for the essence of murder is not the dagger or the poison, but the desire to put out of existence or to do the utmost harm to the one who is hated. The essential element of murder lurks within the heart of all hatred.

15. And you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

His action is Cain-like, he is not of the chosen seed, he does not have the life of God abiding in him.

16. By this we perceive the love of God, —

The master-love, the chief love that ever was in this world, —

16-19. Because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart of compassion from him, how does the love of God dwell in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

That is still the test; truthful love proves that “we are of the truth,” children of the God of truth, and so assures and quiets our hearts before him. Our hearts shall be calm, confident, and happy before God, when we know that true love flows within them.

20-23. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, then we have confidence towards God. And whatever we ask, we receive from him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love each other, as he gave us commandment.

Faith works by love, we believe in the name of the Lord Jesus, God’s well-beloved and only-begotten Son, and that faith leads us to love all who bear his holy name.

24. And he who keeps his commandments dwells in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he resides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

If he has given us the Spirit of Christ, then Christ himself is in us, if he has given us the Spirit of love, that also is the evidence that Christ himself resides in us. Oh, for more of that blessed Spirit in every one of us!

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, His Praise — Redeeming Love” 423}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Names and Titles — Bridegroom” 371}

Jesus Christ, His Praise
423 — Redeeming Love
1 To our Redeemer’s glorious name,
      Awake the sacred song!
   Oh may his love (immortal flame!)
      Tune every heart and tongue.
2 His love, what mortal thought can reach,
      What mortal tongue display?
   Imagination’s utmost stretch
      In wonder dies away.
3 Let wonder still with love unite,
      And gratitude and joy;
   Jesus be our supreme delight,
      His praise, our blest employ.
4 Jesus who left his throne on high,
      Left the bright realms of bliss,
   And came to earth to bleed and die —
      Was ever love like this?
5 Oh may the sweet, the blissful theme,
      Fill every heart and tongue,
   Fill every heart and tongue,
      And join the sacred song.
                              Anne Steele, 1760.

Jesus Christ, Names and Titles
371 — Bridegroom
1 Jesus, the heavenly Lover, gave
   His life my wretched soul to save:
   Resolved to make his mercy known,
   He kindly claims me for his own.
2 Rebellious, I against him strove,
   Till melted and constrain’d by love;
   With sin and self I freely part,
   The heavenly Bridegroom wins my heart.
3 My guilt, my wretchedness, he knows,
   Yet takes and owns me for his spouse;
   My debts he pays, and sets me free,
   And makes his riches o’er to me.
4 My filthy rags are laid aside,
   He clothes me as becomes his bride;
   Himself bestows my wedding dress,
   The robe of perfect righteousness.
5 Lost in astonishment I see,
   Jesus, thy boundless love to me:
   With angels I thy grace adore,
   And long to love and praise thee more.
6 Since thou wilt take me for thy bride,
   Oh keep me, Saviour, near thy side!
   I fain would give thee all my heart,
   Nor ever from my Lord depart.
                  John Fawrett, 1782.

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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