2525. Joy In Place Of Sorrow

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No. 2525-43:325. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, February 10, 1884, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, July 11, 1897.

And you now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and no man takes your joy from you. {Joh 16:22}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1442, “Sorrow at the Cross Turned Into Joy” 1433}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2525, “Joy in Place of Sorrow” 2526}
   Exposition on Joh 16:1-22 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3052, “Christ’s Loneliness and Ours” 3053 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Joh 16:16-33 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2271, “Alone, Yet Not Alone” 2272 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Joh 16:16-33 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2525, “Joy in Place of Sorrow” 2526 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Joh 16 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2907, “Holy Spirit Glorifying Christ, The” 2908 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Joh 16 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3461, “Welcome Visitor, The” 3463 @@ "Exposition"}

1. Joy is the normal condition of a believer. His proper state, his healthy state, is that of happiness and gladness. As I have often reminded you, it has become a Christian duty for believers to be glad. “Rejoice in the Lord,” is a precept given to us over and over again, and I believe that, broadly speaking, the general condition of God’s people is one of joy. It is not a falsehood if we say, “Happy are you, oh Israel!” True Christians are the happiest people under heaven. They have many sorrows, but there is a text which says, “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing”; and old Master Brooks has a good note on the passage. He says that, it does not say, “As sorrowful, yet as always rejoicing.” The “quasi” — the “as” — relates only to the sorrow, but the joy is real, without any “quasi.” Christians have quasi sorrow, but they have real rejoicing. They are often as if they were sad, — yes, as if they were of all men most miserable; but in the very depths of their soul they have “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,” to keep their heart and mind through Christ Jesus.

2. I will venture to assert that Christians, at least, always have a reason for joy. They are never short of material out of which they may make melody to the Lord. If they wish, they may rejoice, for they have plenty of reasons for joy. The Lord has done great things for them, and they ought to add, “for which we are glad.” And, just as they have plenty of matter for joy, so they have ample motive for joy; for when they are glad and rejoice, they glorify God, they prove the reality of their faith, and they make their religion attractive to others.

3. The joy of the Lord is their strength, their beauty, their charm. There are always reasons why a Christian should be happy, and just as he has matter for joy, and motive for joy, so he always has a measure of joy. He may seem to be overwhelmed with trouble, but his barque still floats. He may seem to run short of joy, as the widow in Elijah’s day ran short of flour and olive oil; but there shall always be a cake for him to eat, and a little olive oil shall still remain in the cruse. His joy shall never utterly fail him; he shall always have a sufficient measure of hope to enable him to keep his lamp lit in the darkest night.

4. Above and beyond all this, the Christian always has a remainder of joy which shall be his in due time. What he does not have yet in his own hand, is in the pierced hand of Jesus, held there safe and sound against all comers; and he may and he should always sing, —

    Glory to thee for all the grace
       I have not tasted yet.

5. Some people have very little in possession at present, but they have a hereditary interest in a large estate; and it is so with us. We have an inheritance of joy that as yet we have not entered into; but it is ours by a covenant of salt, and no one can break the sacred entitlement. So let us again take up the language of the hymn we sang at the beginning of the service, —

    The hill of Zion yields
       A thousand sacred sweets,
    Before we reach the heavenly fields,
       Or walk the golden streets.

6. So you see, dear friends, that believers have matter for joy, and motive for joy, a measure of joy already possessed, and a greater remainder of joy yet to be experienced. God’s people are a happy people, a blessed people. May my soul always be numbered among them!

7. Now coming to the text, which is intended to promote our joy, I gather two observations, — first, that the Lord Jesus enters into our sorrows. He does not overlook them, but he says, “You now therefore have sorrow.” Secondly, the Lord Jesus creates our joy: “but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and no man takes your joy from you.”

8. I. First, then, dear friends, you who are sorrowful, listen to this former part of the discourse. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST ENTERS INTO OUR SORROWS.

9. One point in which he enters into them is this, — He sees our quickness in sorrowing. Perhaps you did not notice that in the text, but it is there. You observe, in the 20th verse, that Jesus said to his disciples, “You shall be sorrowful,” and he compared them to a woman in travail; but then he did not say what we might have thought he would have said, “You will therefore have sorrow,” but he said, “You now therefore have sorrow.” He saw their faces begin to pale before the sorrow had really come. He had not gone away from them, for there he stood in their midst; but in the expectation that he would go, their eyes began to grow dim, and the tears began to roll down their cheeks, so he said as he looked at them, “You now therefore have sorrow.” And, beloved, you and I are also very quick at this work of sorrowing. I wish that we anticipated our joys with half the readiness that we anticipate our sorrows. We should be much happier if we did so; but there is many a child of God who cries long before he is hurt, and sorrows long before his troubles actually come to him. We often run to meet our troubles; we seem as if we were hungry to have our mouth full of bitterness, and eager to drink the waters of Marah. It is a pity that it should be so with us. These disciples had not yet lost their Master, he was still with them; and a childlike spirit might have said, “Ah, well, blessed Master, if you are only going to be with us five minutes, we may as well be happy for that five minutes! If you are going away in half-an-hour, at any rate you are still here. Let us not begin to be cast down until the parting moment really comes.” “Ah!” you say, “but it was very natural that they should begin to sorrow.” Yes, and that is exactly what I say. It is very natural, it is so amazingly natural that it is pretty nearly universal with us; but it is not any the better for being natural, is it? You take your medicine when the proper time comes for taking it; but do not be taking it all day long. There are many Christian people who chew their pills instead of swallowing them. If they took their sorrows, when they came, and accepted them as having been sent straight from God, there would not be half the bitterness in their mouths that there now is when they begin to think concerning some future trial, “Oh, it is coming! I know it is coming; I can see that it is coming.” The shadow of the sorrow is often worse than the sorrow itself; and as Young speaks of him who “feels a thousand deaths in fearing one,” so I do not doubt that we often feel a thousand sorrows in anticipating one. They will come soon enough, brother; do not go to meet them. Go out to meet the Bridegroom; but there cannot be any particular need to meet your troubles. Let them come when they must come, and welcome them then; but why should you conjure up those which, perhaps, may not even exist?

10. Notice next, that our Lord has a very keen eye to observe our sorrows which relate to himself. He says, “You now therefore have sorrow”; that is, “sorrow because I am going away from you; sorrow because I am about to die.” I think that the Lord loves his people to have that kind of sorrow. While the Bridegroom is with the children of the bride-chamber, it is fit and proper that they should rejoice; but when the Bridegroom is gone, it is loyalty to him, and it is a fit and proper thing that they should sorrow. Now, brothers and sisters, whenever your heart gets heavy because you have lost your Lord’s company, it is a proper sorrow. Whenever you hear his name blasphemed, whenever you find false doctrine preached instead of the truth, whenever you see men undermining the blessed gospel, when you notice apostates turning this way and that, and forsaking the paths of Christ, you should sorrow; and, if you do, I believe that your Lord looks at such sorrow as a sign of your loyal affection to him; and, so far from condemning it, he justifies it, and he says, “You now therefore have sorrow.” He looks at the reason for it, and he says, “This is not a pointless grief.” He did not blame the disciples for sorrowing when he was gone; indeed, he expected that they would do so; and he saw the reason for their grief, and spoke tenderly about it. If there can be found a reason for the sorrow of a child of God, Christ will find it. I know that, often, worldlings are unable to understand our sorrow; they say, “Why does this man fret and worry? He has everything that heart can wish for.” But the Saviour knows the secrets of the soul, and he puts his finger on the source of our grief, and says, “You now therefore have sorrow”; and if that “therefore” is because of something touching himself, and his kingdom, and his work in the world, he justifies the sorrow, and he will help us to bear it, and in due time he will remove it. Let us, then, bless our Lord Jesus Christ that, while he knows how quick we are to sorrow before we need to, yet he approves of our sorrowing when there is a need for it, and especially when it concerns his own dear self.

11. Observe, further, that our blessed Master is quick to notice the limit of our sorrow. Take your pencil, if you will, and put a black mark under that third word in our text, “And you now therefore have sorrow.” I feel as if I could almost kiss that word, “You now therefore have sorrow.” What does that word “now” mean? Well, sometimes, it only means just the next few minutes: “You now therefore have sorrow.” But “now” cannot mean long; if “you now therefore have sorrow,” it does not mean that you will have sorrow for ever. Listen: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” “Many are the afflictions of the righteous.” Did you ever read that in the Psalm? Sing it in deep bass tones; growl it out if you wish: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous.” Up rises another singer, and sends up the soprano note higher than my voice can go, — “But the Lord delivers him out of them all”; and that glorious note seems to drown out the other. “You now therefore have sorrow.” Ah, but what is that little “now?” It is a mere drop that trembles on my fingertip. It is “an inch of time, a moment’s space.” “You now therefore have sorrow.” Perhaps, tomorrow morning, all that sorrow will be over; and if not, that “now” is driving away on red-hot axles, and will soon be gone; and there shall come the hereafter of endless joy and boundless bliss. Our Lord Jesus Christ remembers this fact when you do not. You say, “I am so sorrowful, so broken down”; and the Saviour puts his dear pierced hand on you, and he says, “Yes, you are so now, that is all. It is only now, and it will all soon be over; and then you will take your harp down from the willows, and sing and rejoice with the happiest and the merriest of the saints of God.”

12. Notice, also, that the Lord Jesus Christ so enters into our sorrow that he has an eye on the outcome of it all. He says to each believer, “Yes, dear child, you have sorrow, you have great sorrow; but you know what it is to produce. A woman, when she is in travail, has great sorrow, but in a short time her sorrow is turned into joy when her child is born into the world.” So, every sorrow of a child of God is the birth-pang of a joy. I do not know whether you have noticed, but I have, that most of our joys, if they are of an earthly kind, are very expensive before long. You cannot delight in the creature without sorrow coming from it; you cannot love your wife, your child, with a most lawful and laudable love, but one of these days it will be most expensive love, when the loved ones are taken away, or they sicken and suffer. The more we love them, the more they cost us; but our sorrows are fishes that come to us with money in their mouths. Whenever they come, they always bring us joy. If you dig around the roots of a deep sorrow, you shall find tubers of joy, with stores of heavenly bliss laid up in them. Those who sorrow for Christ shall soon have Christ to make them forget their sorrow. Those who sorrow for his kingdom, or sorrow for more of his righteousness, or sorrow for more of his likeness, or sorrow for closer communion with him, shall before long find to the delight of their soul that their sorrow is turned into joy. Is that not a wonderful promise? “Your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” If any man here were greatly in debt, and someone were to say, “All your debts shall be transformed into assets,” well, it is clear that then the richest man here would be the man who had the largest debts. So it is with our sorrows; the more of them that we have, the more joys we shall have, because they are to be turned into joy. If, as believers, we have much sorrow, we shall have much joy coming out of it, therefore, with the apostle, “we glory in tribulations also,” and triumph in the afflictions and trials of this mortal life, since they shall work our lasting good.

13. Once more, on this first point, our Lord Jesus Christ sees that our sorrows will come to an end, for he says, “You now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice.” The Lord knows that his people are not hopelessly locked up in prison, they are not to be eternally in the shadows. They shall soon come out of their sorrows, and the darkness shall be turned into the brightness of the day. Our Lord can see this, and he would have us see it, too, so he points it out to us. Oh sons and daughters of sorrow, I pray the Comforter to apply this word with power to your souls!

14. II. Now I have to play on a higher string; let me have your most earnest attention while I dwell for a little while on the latter part of our subject, — THE LORD JESUS CREATES OUR JOY. He says, in the second half of the text, “I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and no man takes your joy from you.”

15. Observe, first, that when the Lord Jesus Christ comes to make his people glad, He always touches the very centre of their grief. The disciples’ grief was that Jesus would soon be gone from them. “Well,” he said, “I will see you again.” So, beloved, when the Lord Jesus shall come to you in your hour of sorrow, he will touch the centre of your grief, whatever it is. There is a wonderful adaptation in the Word of God to the peculiarities of all his people. There are some very odd texts in the Bible, and do you know why they are there? It is because there are so many odd people around, and those texts are meant especially for them. You may see on a locksmith’s ring a number of oddly-shaped keys; it is because there are so many strangely-made locks; and in God’s Word there is a key to fit every lock. There is a key for the strange lock that is inside your heart, my brother or my sister; and the Lord knows how to meet your case exactly, and to touch your out-of-the-way, exceptional, special, particular, idiosyncrasy of sorrow. He can get at it, and put it right away from you.

16. Notice, next, that the Good Physician makes the bandage wider than the wound. He says, not what we might have thought that he would say, “You will sorrow because you cannot see me, but you shall see me again”; — that bandage would have just fitted the sore; — but he says, “I will see you again.” That is a great deal better, that covers the sorrow, and covers all the wounds of all God’s people right down to this day; for though we do not see him again just yet, yet he is still seeing us again as much as ever he saw those disciples when he stood in the midst of them, and said, “Peace be to you.” Oh, I love this characteristic of my Master that, when he meets a poor believer who asks him for a penny, he says, “There, take seven.” When we knock at his door, and say, “A friend, who is on a journey, has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him; lend me three loaves”; he says, “Take as many as you need.” His liberality far exceeds our need and our desire, and he is both able and willing “to do very abundantly above all that we ask or think.” So that our Lord Jesus Christ creates our joy by touching the very centre of our grief, and then by covering it with what is greater than the grief itself.

17. Note, further whenever the Lord Jesus Christ comes to one of his sorrowing people to give him joy, He gives it most effectively. What does he say to his disciples? “I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice.” That is more than any mere man could say. When I get talking with God’s downcast people, I can say to them, “I will see you again, and talk with you again, and I shall be glad if I can make your heart rejoice”; but I can never be sure that I shall succeed in cheering them. You and I, dear friends, are very poor comforters, and we often fail; but when the Good Physician comes to any one of his patients, he knows how to make the medicine effective for him. “I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice.” See how the Lord Jesus Christ handles human hearts. This morning we had a grand subject in which we showed how the Lord, in his omnipotence, by his authority and power, cast out demons with a word. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1765, “An Astounding Miracle” 1766} But here we have another example of his omnipotence; he does not say, “I will try to cheer your heart”; but he says, “Your heart shall rejoice,” just as if he had our hearts in his hand, and could do with them as he pleased, which is really the case. His Divine Spirit can now so effectively apply the comforts of the Word that it shall not be said, “You ought to rejoice,” but, “You shall rejoice.” The Lord can lift up the light of his countenance on us until we are glad in him.

18. I want you also to notice that, while the Lord’s application of joy to the heart is very effective, it is very deep and very full: “I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice.” When the worldling is glad, you hear him laughing from his teeth outwards; he puts on a merry look, yet all the while there is heaviness in his heart. His wine-vats are full to bursting, and the sound of the buyer is in his ears; but there is a fear in his conscience, and his soul is disquieted; but when the Lord Jesus Christ comes to deal with his people, he deals with their hearts, with the innermost core of their being, with the very centre of their soul: “Your heart shall rejoice.” Do you not know what this experience is, beloved brothers and sisters? I think you do. Sometimes, you could not tell your joy, it is too deep; it is so excessive that words and noise of any kind seem quite out of place. You want to get alone, and in the silence of your soul to sit still, like David before the Lord, and there to drink in full draughts of his love. “I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice.”

19. True Christians need never covet the poor joy of worldlings. We cannot fall into the insanity of living with such miserable goals and objects as those who are encompassed within the short pale of our existence here below. It has become slavery to us; and I bear witness for myself and for you also, that we do not forsake the pleasures of the world because we think that we are denying ourselves. It is no self-denial to us, for they would not please us. I have gone by a whole line of sties, and seen the pigs feeding greedily; but I never thought that I was denying myself because I did not feed with them. I never wished to have a law passed that the unclean beasts should not have their swill. No, let them have it, and as much as they can eat; and we say just the same concerning the pleasures of the carnal man. We do not envy him what is so great a relish, it is no self-denial for us to go without it; we have come out of that style of living, and we do not want to go back to it. When the man says that he is perfectly happy and satisfied, we think, “Just so; no doubt you are, and we have seen many a fat young bull in the field look perfectly content.” But Christians have different pleasures, and higher joys; and we cannot be young bulls, we cannot be swine. We have been brought out of that kind of merely animal life, we have been lifted up into another and a higher style of living; and it is nothing short of a miracle of the divine hand which has brought us right out of it, so that we are finished with it for ever, and loathe it, and could not go back to it under any circumstances whatever. Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. The Lord has brought us out of the region of darkness into his marvellous light, and delivered us for ever from the power and dominion of Satan.

20. I saw, the other day, a blind fish that had been accustomed to live in a dark cave; it did not have any eyes, and it did not need any eyes, because it lived where light never came. There are some people who are just like that fish, they are perfectly satisfied to be blind; and, what is more, there are some blind people who declare that there is no such thing as light, for they say that they never saw it. Just so; they do not have any eyes with which to see it. The carnal mind cannot understand the things of God; there is not the faculty in it by which it can understand them. The carnal mind does not have the Spirit of God, but spiritual things must be spiritually discerned; and until God the Holy Spirit comes, and creates in us the eye-faculty called the spirit, by which we become body, soul, and spirit, we are like the blind fish which has no eyes. We are just mere men, but not men of God; we have not passed into the new world of spiritual perceptions. But, by the grace of God, many of us have been made partakers of the divine nature, and so have been permitted to share the joy of which our text speaks.

21. But I must get to the end of my discourse by reminding you that the glory of the Christian’s joy lies in the fact that it is permanent. “No man takes your joy from you.” “Well,” one says, “I wonder what that joy is?” Let me just tell you, and then I will close. The sorrow about which Christ spoke to his disciples was that he was going away from them; therefore the joy of which he spoke is that now he sees us again. I want you, dear friends, especially to notice, as I have already told you, that it does not say that you see him, but that he sees you, and therefore Peter’s words may be applied to you, “Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you do not see him, yet, believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

22. What, then, is our joy? It is, first, that Christ is not dead; he is alive, he is risen from the dead. Next, he reigns as well as lives, and he reigns for us; he is ruling all things on our behalf, and as he sees us with his royal eyes, he also pleads for us before the eternal throne. And he is coming again; we do not know when, but we know that he is coming quickly, and that he is already on the road. He shall descend in the same way as they saw him go up into heaven.

23. All this is the joy of the Christian which no man takes from him. No man shall ever take from me the joy that Christ rose from the dead. I know that he did; there is no historical fact that is so certainly attested to as this, that Christ died, and was buried, and, on the third day, rose again from the dead, and I do rejoice in it, yes, and will rejoice. If he did not rise from the dead, then my preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain; but since he surely rose from the dead, then every trouble has gone. I do not think that those poor disciples had any joy while Christ was in the grave. They could not rejoice then; their big sorrow swallowed up all joy. And I do not think that, if you and I were what we ought to be, we should have any sorrow now that Christ is out of the grave, the joy because he has risen ought to swallow up every sorrow that we have; it should be a joy that no man can take from us.

24. There is this further joy that no man can take from me, that Jesus Christ reigns, King of kings and Lord of lords. I have often told you how, many years ago, that doctrine saved my reason, and I am alive and here to preach because of that glorious truth. After the terrible accident in the Surrey Gardens Music Hall, {a} my mind seemed to fail me, and my reason reeled; I had to get away, and be alone; and I walked around a friend’s garden. Someone watched me, for they did not know what might happen to me; I was so unmanned that I did not seem able to pray or to read the Scriptures; but as I was walking in the garden, there came to me this passage, “Therefore God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name”; and I said to myself, “I am a poor soldier, wounded in the battle, and lying in the ditch; but there rides the King, and all is well with him, for he is King of kings and Lord of lords.” I seemed to rouse myself up out of the ditch, and cry, “Hallelujah be to his blessed name!” and in that moment all my faculties returned to me, I walked into the house, and said, “I am perfectly well; I can preach next Sunday,” and I did preach, the following Sabbath, {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 101, “The Exaltation Of Christ” 96} from the text that had been so blessed to my own heart and mind. What does it matter what becomes of me? Whether I live or whether I die, no man can take this joy from me, that Jesus Christ lives, and reigns, and triumphs, and that he shall surely come to judge the quick and the dead according to my gospel.

25. I preach to you, beloved, a joy that no man takes from you. If you begin to live by your own feelings, you will sometimes be up and sometimes down, and be always unsettled. Now live on this truth, first, that Jesus died; then if you believe in him, you died in him. Next, that he was buried, and that your sins were buried with him. Then, that he rose again, and you rose in him; and now that he lives and reigns for ever and ever, your cause is safe in his hands; and apart from your cause altogether, your spirit may rejoice that the cause of right, the cause of truth, the cause of God, is secure beyond all hazards, because he who went away from us for a little while, though we have not seen him, yet sees us, and our hearts do and will rejoice in him. Blessed be his holy name!

26. I wish that all of you shared in this joy, but those who do not believe in Jesus cannot. Dear young people, I have a great longing that, very early in life, you should be reconciled to God by the death of his Son. It is such a joy to know the Lord early that I cannot understand why so many seem to wish to put it off. There is a young man who wants to be married, and he wrote to me to ask whether, on a certain day, I could marry him. I could not, for I would not be here, so I proposed to him to wait a week until I came back; instead of which, he proposed that it should be a week earlier, as he says, to accommodate me. I notice that there is no wish to put off a wedding, and I do not wonder that it is so; but I do marvel that, in the far higher joy of being married to Christ, the greater and truer delight of becoming one with him for ever, so many want it to be a week later, or a month later, or even a year later. Oh, if you know that happy day, when Jesus puts our sins away, — if there were a time fixed, and you knew it, — I think you would grow almost impatient to have it even earlier. Do not postpone this heavenly marriage. Please, you who have been at enmity against God, do not put off being reconciled to him, for he who fights with God had better quickly end the battle; so be silent, and end all your discussions with God without a word unless it is such a word as this, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief”: May God grant that you may be led to believe in Jesus now, for his name’s sake! Amen.

{a} Surrey Hall Disaster: On Sunday morning, October 19, 1856, Spurgeon was to preach for the first time at Surrey Gardens Music Hall. The building had seating for over ten thousand people and was one of the largest auditoriums in England at that time. The young preacher arrived early at the Hall and was amazed to see the streets and garden area thronged with people. When the doors were opened, the people entered quickly and soon the place was full. Wisely, Spurgeon started the service earlier than the time announced. He led in prayer and then announced a hymn, which the large congregation sang reverently. He then read Scripture and commented on it, and this was followed by a pastoral prayer. As he was praying, voices began to shout “Fire! Fire! The galleries are giving way! The place is falling!” Spurgeon stopped praying and did his best to calm the people, but the damage had been done. In the stampede that followed, seven people were killed and twenty-eight injured. Spurgeon tried to preach, hoping that that would arrest the crowd, but the tumult and the shouting were even too much for the prince of preachers. He then asked the people to sing a hymn as they exited in an orderly manner, and he himself left in a state of shock. He spent the next week in a broken condition, wondering if he would ever preach again.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Joh 16:16-33}

Our Lord is speaking to his disciples before his departure from them to be crucified, and he says: —

16. “A little while, and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me, because I go to the Father.”

It is wonderful how he could talk so calmly about his death, knowing that it would be a death of bitter shame and terrible agony. Yet he does, as it were, pass over that view of it as he says, “A little while, and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me,” — “because I die?” No. “Because I am crucified?” No; but, “because I go to the Father.” Beloved, always think of your departure out of the world in the same light: “I go to the Father.” Do not say, “I die; I languish on the bed of pain; I expire.” No; but, “I go to the Father.”

17, 18. Then some of his disciples said among themselves, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me’: and, ‘Because I go to the Father?’ ” They said therefore, “What is this that he says, ‘A little while?’ We cannot tell what he says.”

Then why not ask him? But are not you and I often very slow to ask the meaning of the Master’s words? You read in Scripture something that you cannot understand, and you say to yourself, “I cannot figure out the meaning of that chapter”; but do you always pray over it, and ask the Writer to tell you what he intended when he wrote it? It is a grand thing to have this Inspired Book, and it is a still grander thing to have the Spirit of God, who inspired it, residing with his people for ever; but we fail to learn many a secret from the Word because we do not pray our way into it. He who does not know can scarcely have his ignorance pitied when it remains wilful; if you can know for the asking, why not ask?

19. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said to them, “Do you enquire among yourselves of what I said, ‘A little while, and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me?’

They might have enquired a long while among themselves, and all in vain; but to go to their Lord was the short way out of the difficulty, for he could explain it. See how ready he is to explain, for he expounds the truth even to those who had not asked for an exposition. In this matter, he was found by those who did not seek him. Knowing that they were desirous to ask, he accepted the will for the deed, the wish for the prayer; and he answered the secret longing of their heart.

20. Truly, truly, I say to you, that you shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice:

“I am going away from you, and while I am gone, it will be all weeping and lamenting with you; but while I am gone, the world shall have its hour of triumph, it shall think that I am slain, and that my cause is defeated.”

20, 21. And you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail has sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she has delivered her child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.

So, when Christ came back again, they would remember no more the sorrow of their travail hour in which they saw him bound, and spat on, and taken off to execution, and mocked on the tree. The joy that would come from it all would obliterate the memory of the sorrow.

22, 23. And you now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man takes from you. And in that day you shall ask me nothing.

“You shall not need to make any more enquiries of me, for everything shall then be explained to you by the Spirit.”

23. Truly, truly, I say to you, ‘Whatever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you.’

“This shall be one fruit of my passion, that, henceforth, whatever you shall ask from the Father, in my name, shall be given to you; and though you may not, perhaps, address your prayers to me personally, yet addressed to the Father, in my name, they shall succeed.”

24. So far you have asked nothing in my name:

“You have not yet learned how to use my name in prayer.” Our Lord had not yet taught them to pray like that; but now we know what it is to ask in the name of Christ, it is to pray with the authority of the risen and glorified Son of God.

24. Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.

See how our Lord continues to drive at that point, for he would have his people happy. He wants you, beloved, to be joy-full — full of joy; not merely to have a little joy hidden away in a corner somewhere, but “that your joy may be full.”

25, 26. I have spoken these things to you in proverbs: but the time comes, when I shall no more speak to you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly about the Father. In that day you shall ask in my name: and I do not say to you, that I will pray the Father for you:

Though that is, indeed, what our Lord does.

27. For the Father himself loves you,-

“The Father, whom you are so apt to think of as sterner than myself, and further off than I, the Son of man, am, ‘the Father himself loves you,’ ” —

27. Because you have loved me, and have believed that I came from God.

Dear friends, do you have love for Christ? Do you believe that Christ came from God? Then the Father gives his special love to you.

28. I came from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.”

Had he not clearly explained what he meant by being absent for a little while, and then coming back again?

29, 30. His disciples said to him, “Lo, now you speak plainly, and speak no proverb. Now we are sure —

Now they can give reasons for the hope that is in them. “Now we are sure” —

30. That you know all things, and do not need that any man should ask you: by this we believe that you came from God.”

They are very positive; but notice the check that our Lord put on all this confident assurance.

31, 32. Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold, the hour comes, yes, is now come, that you shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone.

Whenever there is any boasting on your lips, even though you may think that you can rightly say, “Now we are sure,” stop a bit, dear friends, stop a bit. None of us has all the good we think we have; no, those who think themselves perfect think the most amiss. They are altogether mistaken, and there is some latent unbelief even where faith is strongest. Christ still asks, “Do you now believe?” You only have to be sufficiently tried, and to be tempted long enough, and in that very point where you think you are strongest you will fail. “Now we are sure,” say the confident disciples. “Ah!” says Christ, “do you now believe? Behold, the hour comes, yes, is now come, that you shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone.”

32. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

How gloriously is that blessed truth put in just here! The awful solitude that Christ was about to pass through can hardly be understood by us. It was not only that every friend forsook him, but that there was not under heaven a single person who could sympathize with him. He was going through depths that no one else could ever fathom, he was to bear griefs which no one else could ever bear. You may indeed sip from his cup, but you can never drink it to its dregs as he did. You may be baptized with his baptism; but into the depths of the abyss of woe into which he was immersed, you cannot come. “Alone! Alone!” There was never a human being so much alone as was the man Christ Jesus in that dread hour; and yet he says, “I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” Oh brave Master, make us also brave! May we be willing to stand alone for your sake, and to feel that we are never so little alone as when we are alone with you!

33. These things I have spoken to you, so that in me you might have peace.

Your Lord wants you to have peace. Come, then, you tried ones, you who are tossed about with a thousand troublesome thoughts, it is your Master’s wish and will that you should have peace.

33. In the world you shall have tribulation:

You have found that to be true, have you not? Perhaps you are finding it true just now: “In the world you shall have tribulation.”

33. But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

And in that overcoming he has conquered for you also, and he guarantees to you the victory in his name.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Joy and Peace — Heavenly Joys On Earth” 720}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus — ‘Thy Name Is As Ointment Poured Forth’ ” 786}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Joy and Peace — Doubts Scattered; Or, Spiritual Joy Restored” 722}
 The Sword and the Trowel
 Table of Contents, July, 1897.
 “The Question Oak” at “Westwood.” Continuation of C. H. Spurgeon’s Impromptu Answers to Students’ Questions.
 Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon’s Work-room. “Personal Notes” on a Text. The Queen’s Jubilee and Religious Societies. The Book Fund. Bexhill Chapel memorial stone-laying. Kaffir Sermons.
 The Heavenward Railway; or, All Along the Line. Conclusion of Presidential Address, by Thomas Spurgeon.
 “Our Own Men” and their Work. XLIII. — James George Potter (with portrait), Baptist Missionary Society, Arga, India. By Daniel Jones.
 A Plea for Foreign Missions. Poetry by E. A. Tydeman.
 God-Touched Lips. Vice-Presidential Address, by Charles Spurgeon.
 The By-ways and By-gones of Life. By H. T. S. VII. — A Preacher’s Monday.
 Indian Incidents and Illustrations. By Robert Spurgeon. X. — Even Brahmans Believe.
 Opposition and Fanaticism. By Dr. Churcher.
 Notices of Books.
 Notes. — Bexhill stone-laying and Balance-sheet. “Our Own Men” and the Sword and Trowel. Special Distribution of Sermons and Sword and Trowel. Four Annual Reports. Home Counties Baptist Association. College, College Missionary Association. Orphanage, Colportage. Baptisms at Metropolitan Tabernacle.
 Lists of Contributions.
 Thirtieth Annual Report of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Colportage Association (with portraits of Pastor C. H. Spurgeon and Deacon John Buswell).

 68 pages. Price, 3d.; post free, 4d.
 London: Passmore and Alabaster, Paternoster Buildings; and all Booksellers.

The Christian, Joy and Peace
720 — Heavenly Joys On Earth
1 Come, we that love the Lord,
      And let our joys be known;
   Join in a song with sweet accord,
      And thus surround the throne.
2 The sorrows of the mind,
      Be banish’d from the place;
   Religion never was design’d
      To make our pleasures less.
3 Let those refuse to sing
      That never knew our God;
   But favourites of the heavenly King
      May speak their joys abroad.
4 The God that rules on high,
      And thunders when he please,
   That rides upon the stormy sky,
      And manages the seas:
5 This awful God is ours,
      Our Father and our love;
   He shall send down his heavenly powers
      To carry us above.
6 There shall we see his face,
      And never, never sin;
   There from the rivers of his grace,
      Drink endless pleasures in.
7 Yes! and before we rise
      To that immortal state,
   The thoughts of such amazing bliss
      Should constant joys create.
8 The men of grace have found
      Glory begun below;
   Celestial fruits on earthly ground
      From faith and hope may grow.
9 The hill of Zion yields
      A thousand sacred sweets,
   Before we reach the heavenly fields,
      Or walk the golden streets.
10 Then let our songs abound,
      And every tear be dry:
   We’re marching though Immanuel’s ground
      To fairer worlds on high.
                           Isaac Watts, 1709.

The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus
786 — “Thy Name Is As Ointment Poured Forth”
1 Jesus, the very thought of thee
      With sweetness fill my breast;
   But sweeter far thy face to see,
      And in thy presence rest,
2 Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
      Nor can the memory find,
   A sweeter sound than thy blest name,
      Oh Saviour of mankind!
3 Oh, hope of every contrite heart!
      Oh, joy of all the meek!
   To those who fall, how kind thou art!
      How good to those who seek!
4 But what to those who find? Ah! this
      Nor tongue nor pen can show;
   The love of Jesus — what it is,
      None but his loved ones know.
5 Jesus, our only joy be thou,
      As thou our crown wilt be;
   Jesus, be thou our glory now,
      And through eternity.
                  Bernard of Clairvaux, 1153;
                  tr. by Edward Caswall, 1849.

The Christian, Joy and Peace
722 — Doubts Scattered; Or, Spiritual Joy Restored
1 Hence from my soul, sad thoughts, begone,
      And leave me to my joys;
   My tongue shall triumph in my God,
      And make a joyful noise.
2 Darkness and doubts had veil’d my mind,
      And drown’d my head in tears,
   Till sovereign grace with shining rays
      Dispell’d my gloomy fears.
3 Oh what immortal joys I felt,
      And raptures all divine,
   When Jesus told me I was his,
      And my Beloved mine!
4 In vain the tempter frights my soul,
      And breaks my peace in vain;
   One glimpse, dear Saviour, of thy face
      Revives my joys again.
                           Isaac Watts, 1709.

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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