2716. Christ’s Poverty, Our Riches

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Christ’s Poverty, Our Riches

No. 2716-47:97. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, April 18, 1880, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, March 3, 1901.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might be rich. {2Co 8:9}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 151, “Condescension of Christ, The” 145}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2232, “Christ’s Motive and Ours” 2233}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2364, “Poverty and Riches” 2365}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2716, “Christ’s Poverty, Our Riches” 2717}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3092, “Knowing and Doing” 3093}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3380, “Our Lord’s Voluntary Poverty” 3382}
   Exposition on 2Co 8 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3092, “Knowing and Doing” 3093 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on 2Co 8 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3411, “Joining the Church” 3413 @@ "Exposition"}

1. It is good to notice that believers are to be constrained to Christian duty by gospel motives, rather than by legal arguments. It is poor work to try to stir up a Christian to perform an act of grace by an argument drawn from a heathen moralist, and it is equally poor work to try and lead a child of God to perform a service of love by an argument which is applicable only to a slave. Hence, you will find that the apostle Paul, when he wants to urge the saints in Corinth to generosity, does not tell them what they are bound to do according to the requirements of the law, for they are not under the law; but he uses arguments suitable for men who have come under the blessed sovereignty of divine grace.

2. It is also noteworthy that, with regard to Christian generosity, there are no rules laid down in the Word of God. I remember hearing someone say, “I should like to know exactly what I ought to give.” Yes dear friend, no doubt you would; but you are not under a system similar to that by which the Jews were obliged to pay tithes to the priests. If there were any such rule laid down in the gospel, it would destroy the beauty of spontaneous giving, and take away all the bloom from the fruit of your generosity. There is no law to tell me what I should give my father on his birthday; there is no rule laid down in any law-book to decide what present a husband should make to his wife, nor what token of affection we should bestow on others whom we love. No; the gift must be a free one, or it has lost all its sweetness.

3. Yet this absence of law and rule does not mean that you are therefore to give less than the Jews did, but rather that you shall give more, because, if I properly understand what is implied in the term Christian generosity, it is to be according to the example of Christ himself. Our text really gives the Christian law of generosity: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might be rich”; that is to say, we should give as we love. You know how much our Lord Jesus Christ loved by knowing how much he gave. He gave himself for us because he loved us with all the force and energy of his nature. Why did that woman break the alabaster box, and pour the precious ointment on Christ’s head, when it might have been sold for much, and the money given to the poor, or when she might have kept her ointment for herself? She gave much because she loved much. I commend to you who rule, — give as you love, and measure your love by your gift.

4. Further, for this also seems to be the teaching of the text, give until you feel it; for the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ was proved by the fact that, “though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor.” He gave until he felt it, gave until he knew that he was giving all that he had; and I truly believe that the great sweetness of giving to God begins when we feel the pinch, when we have to deny ourselves in order that we may give. It is then that there is the true spirit of Christian generosity. Our Lord Jesus Christ gets from a good many people, what they would not dare to keep back from him, and what they can readily enough part with; it is sometimes about as much as their shoestrings cost them in a year, certainly not as much as they spend on the smallest of their many luxuries; yet most of them consider that they have done all that they should when such insignificant offerings have been laid at their Lord’s feet. But, dear friends, I hope that it will be your rule both to give as you love, and to give until you feel it.

5. And next, we should in some sense give all, for that is the meaning of the text: “Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor”; he emptied himself, he gave all that he had; and we, as Christians, are bound to confess that we belong to Christ, and that all we possess is to be used by us as stewards under him, not considering anything to be our own, but gladly admitting that he has entrusted it all to us to be used prudently, and wisely, and discreetly for his glory. Oh, that we all came up to that standard! Then we should have the great pattern and model of Christian generosity reproduced in ourselves far more largely than it is at present.

6. I was obliged to say what I have done, in order to introduce the text to your notice, for we ought never to take a passage of Scripture out of its context without first of all explaining its real meaning and purport. Still, Christian generosity is not to be my main subject at this time; I want rather, to show you, first, how Christ has enriched us by his poverty, “so that you through his poverty might be rich.” When I have spoken about that, I purpose to spend a few minutes in speaking on our enjoyment of the riches which Christ’s poverty has bestowed on us.

7. I. First, then, I am to tell you about OUR ENRICHMENT BY CHRIST’S POVERTY. How is it that, by Christ’s poverty, we become rich?

8. Firstly, it was poverty in Christ’s part to become a man at all. God the Illimitable, the Infinite, veiled himself in human flesh. God the Omnipotent, the Eternal, came here in the form of a babe nursing in weakness on a woman’s breast. God, whom angels adore, before whom all heaven bows with deepest solemnity of awe, was found where hornèd oxen fed, and he was laid in a manger. It was poverty for him to take these rags of our poor humanity, and clothe himself with them; for his own robe was the light, his chariot was a flame of fire, his palace the heaven of God; yet he was found at Bethlehem, a Child born, a Son given, so that he might redeem his people from all iniquity. We cannot comprehend the condescension of Christ half as well as the angels can; they have a far higher view of the glory of God than we have, and therefore they have a clearer apprehension of the amazing stoop which Jesus made when he became man for our sakes. What poverty it was for him — it was not so much for Joseph and for Mary as for him, — to be in the inn, and to find that there was no room for him! In fact, what poverty it was for him to be a babe at all!

9. Yet it is by that poverty of his that we become rich; for now every believing man may lift up his head, and rejoice that there is One who sits on the very throne of God, who also is a man even as he is. Neither Gabriel, nor any other angel, has ever been taken into union with God as we have been. “For to which one of the angels did he say at any time, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you?’ ” “He did not take up angels, but he took up the seed of Abraham.” Well may we say, “Lord, what is man, that you are mindful of him? or the son of man, that you visit him? … You crowned him with glory and honour, and set him on the works of your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” The next person now to God is Man, and Manhood and Godhead are, in Christ Jesus, joined in an amazing unity which is indissoluble throughout eternity. Oh my brethren, at the very outset of our subject we see how the poverty of Christ Incarnate has enriched us!

10. Being born, our blessed Lord lived, for many years, a life of poverty at Nazareth. He was a carpenter, the reputed son of the village carpenter. One is sometimes inclined to wonder what he did throughout those thirty-three years, and to wish that some authentic record of them had been preserved. “Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart”; and, at times, we feel some regret that she was not inspired to write down the sayings of the holy child, the wonderful speeches of the sanctified youth as he grew up, the wise words that he uttered as he pushed the plane and drove the nails. Yet we are sure that it was not necessary for us to know all that, or it would have been revealed to us. Sufficient is recorded for us to see that he remained in poverty and obscurity at Nazareth for our sakes, because, dear brethren, during those thirty-three years he was preparing for his public work. It was necessary that he should bear that restraint which, for a time, he put on himself. I do not doubt that some of us might have done more for our Lord if we had not begun so soon; if we had enjoyed, in seclusion like our Saviour’s, more opportunities of growing in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man, we might, perhaps, have been made more fit for our work even if the term of our service had been somewhat shortened. However that might be with us, we know that our Master was hidden away in solitude, and his poverty was making us rich because he was preparing to achieve that wonderful life-work by which he has enriched all his people for all eternity. He was away there, at Nazareth, having sympathy with obscure people, sympathy with artisans, sympathy with those of whom we seldom hear much, sympathy with those who are shut up in workshops from morning until night, tempted in all points like they are, yet without sin; and, at this moment, the wealth of his great heart, so rich as it is in intense sympathy with manhood, is making us rich, because for those thirty-three years he was so poor and so obscure.

11. He came out at last into public life, and when he emerged from obscurity, it was to a life of poverty. You remember his words concerning himself: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.” He was dependent on the gifts of his followers, or on the godly women who ministered to him from their substance.

12. He never made a will, for he had no real or personal property to leave; yet he made that best of all wills when he said, “Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; so that they may behold my glory, which you have given me: for you loved me before the foundation of the world.” Jesus of Nazareth was most obviously a poor man; and, in his poverty, he suffered hunger, and thirst, and weariness, and all the woes that are usually associated with poverty.

13. I might summarize his whole life by quoting Paul’s words, “it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Every moment of that earthly life of his was proving that “in all things it behoved him to be made like his brethren, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.” “We do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin?” He knows your poverty, dear friends, your wants, your woes; all that makes life bitter to you, he has tasted, only that he drank to the very dregs from the cup of which you only sip a little now and then. It is his poverty that makes you rich at the present moment, and you shall be for ever full of comfort and joy because he was so poor while he was here below.

14. But it was towards the close of his life here on earth that our Master entered into the deepest poverty of all; and I want you who are believers in Jesus Christ, you who really are his followers, to have patience with me while I show him to you in the extremity of his poverty, and ask you to see how, even in his deepest agony, he has made you rich. See him there, amid the olives in Gethsemane’s garden, prostrate in prayer, and covered with a bloody sweat as he pleads with his Father on his people’s behalf. Do you see that cup, filled with wormwood and gall, of which he must drink if you are to be saved? Can you bear the sight? Are you not overwhelmed with penitent sorrow as you see the Lord of life and glory lying there covered with his own gore, and know that all his agony was on your account? It is that poverty of his which has made you rich; for he has taken from your hand the cup of his Father’s just wrath against sin, and he has drained it himself; and, instead of it, he has set before you the cup of salvation, from which he invites you to drink the new wine of the kingdom full of joy and delight. So, drink, and forget your poverty, and remember your misery no more; “yes, drink abundantly, oh beloved!” Behold, your Saviour gives you the love of God to drink; and better than the wine of angels is the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Yet you never could have had that cup of blessing in your hand if he had not first emptied that other cup, which his Father gave him to drink, — that cup of awful bitterness which he resolved that you should never taste.

15. See him rising from prayer in Gethsemane; and, behold, Judas comes, and with a kiss betrays him, and in that betrayal he was poor indeed. But he has, through his poverty, made you rich, for you never shall be betrayed as he was. They bound him, and led him away as their captive; and who is poorer than the man who has lost his liberty, and is taken off to prison and to judgment? Yet that captivity of his has made you a free man in Christ Jesus. When he was personally arrested, he said, concerning his disciples, “Let these go their way: so that the saying might be fulfilled, which he spoke, ‘Of those whom you gave me I have lost none’ ”; and it is the same with you if you believe in him, no warrant from the Court of Heaven shall ever come to you, nor from hell either. If the Son has made you free, you are free indeed, and you shall be free for ever. Christ’s captivity has led your captivity captive, and so again his poverty has made you rich.

16. Next, they take him away to Annas and Caiaphas. Picture the scene as best you can. He stands before a cruel high priest, who insults and mocks him. Note the depth of his poverty; he is brought so low that he receives no help from the one specially ordained to be the helper of the helpless. Then see how rich you are; for, inasmuch as he had to appear before an unkind and wicked high priest, you have a High Priest who can be touched with the feeling of your infirmities; you have a tender and gentle High Priest, to whom you may always come without hesitation or fear. But, if he had not stood as a prisoner before Annas and Caiaphas, he would never have become what he now is as the merciful and gracious High Priest exactly adapted to your needs.

17. Now the wicked men begin to accuse him. He is brought so low that they even rob him of his character; yet, to do that, they have to find false witnesses, and these do not agree together; but, still, they do find witnesses to accuse him in order that they may take away his life. Surely, a man is never poorer than when he is left in the hands of his enemies to be slandered in open court, and to have no one to speak in his defence. But let your joy rise high while you remember that it was because Christ was falsely accused that you can now confidently say, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, yes rather, who is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all”; therefore he will lay no iniquity on those who are in him. “He was numbered with the transgressors”; his name was put in the place of our names, and therefore we are no longer numbered with the transgressors, for no one can now lay anything to our charge, for he has met every accusation on our behalf.

18. While they had our gracious Master in their power, Herod, Pilate, the priests, and the people mocked him. Oh, it was shameful mockery! They ridiculed his royalty by putting a reed sceptre into his hand, a soldier’s old purple coat over his shoulders, and a thorny crown on his blessed brow; they cast scorn on his prophetic office by blinding his eyes, and buffeting him, and saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ, who is he who struck you?” They spat in his face, they struck him with their hands, they treated him as the vilest of the vile. Now beloved, see how you are enriched by his poverty. Because of all this shame, which Christ endured, you shall not be put to shame, nor be confounded, world without end. For each believer, the ancient promise is true; “ ‘No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the inheritance of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is by me,’ says the Lord.” Yes, just as low as your Saviour stooped in his humiliation, so high do you rise because of your union to him; just as much as he was mocked, so much you are honoured. He was treated like a slave and felon, so you are made to be a son of the Highest.

       Behold what wondrous grace
       The Father hath bestow’d
    On sinners of a mortal race,
       To call them sons of God!

19. Not only did those wicked men mock our Lord, but they also scourged him with those cruel thongs which made deep furrows on his blessed back. Oh, what abject poverty was that when his very body was not considered as his own, but was allowed to be brutally beaten at the will of another! Yet see how rich he has made us by his poverty, for it is written, “The chastisement for our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed.” There are no scourgings for you, believer, for the stripes have all fallen on your Substitute. God’s sword of justice has been sheathed in the very heart of Christ; so, if you believe in him, it can never touch you. Oh, how secure you are! Not a blow can fall on you now, not the smallest drop of divine wrath can ever be your bitter portion, for Jesus bore the blows for you, and drank the cup of wrath quite dry. Your warfare is accomplished, your iniquity is pardoned, for, in the person of your great Substitute, you have received from the Lord’s hand double for all your sins, and you are for ever clear.

20. After they had scourged the Saviour, they condemned him to death, even the death of the cross, for they cried, “Crucify him, crucify him,” “and Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.” Yet, while you mourn over that crowning act of infamy, let your hearts dance for very joy, for, because Jesus was condemned, the believer never can be. Here is the Scripture to prove my assertion: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” God has absolved you, oh believer, from all your guilt, and you are absolved for ever. Christ has washed you in his precious blood, and you are clean every whit; no speck, nor spot, nor stain of sin remains on you, even in the sight of God himself; therefore, go your way, and sing for joy of heart.

21. At last, they hung him up on the cross to die. He was made a curse for us, so that the curse which was on us might be taken away for ever. They stripped him naked, so that we might be clothed with his righteousness. God forsook him, so that he might never have to forsake us. His disciples all ran away from him, and left him alone, so that we might never be alone, but might always have the Father with us, and, at last, come “to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, who are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.”

22. See, now, the Lord of life and glory has bowed his head in death, he has yield up the ghost; his poverty has reached its climax, for he is stripped of life itself. Yet in it is the greatest reason for joy for all believers, for we died in him, and sin died in him, and, for us, death died in him. So our greatest riches spring from his deepest poverty; we find eternal life in his death, a heaven in his cross, we ascend to glory through his grave.

23. I want you, dear friends, to keep this thought vividly and constantly before your minds, that it is Christ’s poverty that makes you rich. You must look on everything that relates to your Lord and yourselves by way of contrast; just so far as he goes down, you go up; just as much as he is emptied, you are filled; just as he is condemned, you are justified; just so surely as he dies, so surely do you live beyond the fear of death. Here is a deep mine of unspeakably rich treasure for you; dig in it as much as you can, for you will never exhaust it.

24. II. I will not detain you many minutes with the second part of our subject, but I want to give you a few practical lessons while I speak about OUR ENJOYMENT OF CHRIST’S RICHES.

25. Think, dear child of God, that, since it is Christ’s poverty that has made you rich, how poor you would be if you did not have Christ! Perhaps you own a great deal of worldly property, but it would be poor stuff — would it not? — if you did not have Christ with it? All our temporal mercies are like so many ciphers, they count for nothing by themselves; but when you have Christ, there is the great unit before the ciphers, and he gives to them a value which they could not have without him. All the gold of the Indies, all the silver of Potosí, {a} all the treasures of the world cannot fill the heart of man. How poor is any man, who is here with us now, who does not have Christ as his Saviour! Do you not think so? But you will think so one of these days, and all believers here pray that you may think so this very hour. Whatever your title-deeds may be, and however large your possessions, if you do not have Christ, you are a poor man. Perhaps, on the other hand, you are in deep poverty, and do not have anything in this world to call your own. What a poor creature you must be if you have no treasure laid up in heaven! To go home to a miserable hovel in this world, to earn next to nothing, and then to go out of this world into the next even poorer, — oh poor, poor soul! Please try to obtain an inheritance in the world to come; for, if you are without God, and without Christ, you are a poverty-stricken creature indeed. May God grant that you may not rest contented in your present wretched condition!

26. The next observation is that, if it is Christ’s poverty that has made his people rich, how foolish are we to try and find our riches in the world! It is our tendency to try if we can find something that will satisfy us apart from Christ. That is not either wise or kind on our part. If the Lord gives you temporal mercies, take heed that you do not set your heart on them. Say concerning them, “They are only toys lent to me for a season, and they will have to be given up whenever they are claimed by him who lent them.” Always beware of thinking that this world is your home; you are not to be here long enough to strike root. “Ah!” one said, to a wealthy man, when he went over his estates, “these are the things that make it hard to die.” So they do; therefore, take care that you always feel like a plant that the gardener has loosely laid in the ground until he can find time to plant it. Suck up just enough nourishment to live on, but say to yourself, “I am not to live here always, but in a garden where biting winds can never blow; where —

       Everlasting spring abides,
    And never-withering flowers; —

so I have only to live here until the gardener comes, and puts me in my proper place.” Do not find your riches, dear friend, in a world where Christ had none; but look for your treasure in the land where moth and rust do not corrupt, nor thieves break through, and steal.

27. The next remark I will make is, how unbelieving it is of some of us to feel poor if we really have been made rich by the poverty of Christ! Is all that I have been talking about only a matter of fantasy, or a freak of the imagination! If it is so, we will throw it away, and beg you not to accept it; but, my dear brethren, if you really believe that Christ’s poverty has made you rich, what do those furrows on your brow mean, those carking cares, those anxious thoughts that so often perplex you? You say that they come because you are so poor; but how is that? Christ’s poverty has made you rich; you do not have many of this world’s poor threepenny pieces and cracked fourpennies; but you have what is worth more than gold and diamonds, you have an eternal inheritance, so what are you fretting and worrying yourself about? Here is a young prince, who has gotten down among the rough boys in the street, and he is crying because he has lost a piece of an old broken plate. You say to him, “Child, go home to the palace; for your father, the king, will give you royal playthings”; and when I see one, who is a child of the King of kings, acting as if he were a worldling, I may well say to him, “Go home, child, to your Father, and begin to rejoice in the eternal possessions which he has laid up for you.” You know that we sometimes sing, —

    He that has made my heaven secure,
       Will here all good provide;
    While Christ is rich, can I be poor?
       What can I want beside?

Good old John Ryland was right when he sang like that, and we shall be wise if we follow his example. You will have as much as you need, friend, if you trust in the Lord, for “no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” You know that one cane is enough for a man to walk with; but some of our friends have a great bundle of canes, and I know some of them who have cart-loads of canes, yet they cannot use more than one at a time. King George III once met a stable-boy, and said to him, “What do you get, Jack, for your work?” “I get nothing, sir,” the boy replied, “only my food and drink, and a place to sleep in.” The king said, “Well, that is all they give me.” That is about all that a man really needs; you cannot eat ten times as much as you do now, even if you have it; and you cannot wear a hundred suits of clothes at once if you have them. If you have more than you need, you cannot enjoy it; so, be content with what you have, and go through the world thanking God that he will take care of you for time and for eternity.

28. Once again, how ungrateful it must be in us if we ever flinch from any loss for Christ’s sake, for he became absolutely poor, even to death, so that he might make us rich! Shall we ever hesitate to part with anything for his sake? What if following him should involve us in losses, or if we cannot do business as some people do because the fear of God restrains us, or if we have to give up a job because we cannot break the Sabbath, or because of some other conscientious difficulty? We ought to take gladly the spoiling of our goods, and rejoice even to suffer the loss of all things, if needs be, for the sake of him by whose poverty we have been made rich.

29. And, finally, how vast is the inheritance which Christ has given to his people! If you are to judge by what he gave us by what he gave up for us, it must be something wonderful. If our riches are really in proportion to his poverty, that poverty, even to bloody sweat and death on the cross, was so extreme that our riches must be extreme, too. Lift up your eyes, you sons of light, look beyond that narrow stream of death, — over there is your inheritance. Do you see that fair city smiling in everlasting light far brighter than the sun? Behold its jewelled courses, and its twelve foundations, sparkling like a rainbow with various hues of wealth; and do you hear as you stand outside its gates of pearl, the matchless melody of the new song that goes up day without night? Do you see the white robes of the shining ones, in peerless bliss, as they traverse the pavements of gold, and cast their crowns at the feet of the King their Lord and Saviour? All that is yours, and your Lord has given you a guarantee that you shall have it, and all that is needed to bring you there in due time; and you may be there very soon for all you can tell. But suppose you should live to the extreme limit of human life, how soon those years will pass! Or suppose that Christ should come suddenly, — and he may come at any moment. Or suppose that, while you are sitting here, a convoy of angels should come and bear your spirit away? We are much nearer than we think — some of us are very much nearer than we think to our eternal rest. It is only a week or two, a month or two, a year or two, before we shall be there; then, courage, my soul!

    The way may be rough,
    But it cannot be long,
    And I’ll smooth it with hope,
    And cheer it with song.

I remember preaching, one summer’s afternoon, about the new Jerusalem. There was a sister sitting on my right hand downstairs, — not in this building, but in a country place, — and I noticed her eyes sparkling as I spoke. It seemed to stir my very soul as she looked at me with such an extraordinary gaze of joy, and I was stirred up to say something more, and something better, about our happy home above. When I saw her, apparently still looking at me, a minute or two later, I perceived the same fixed gaze, and I stopped, and said, “I think that sister is dead”; and she was. She had gone home without a sigh, or a groan, or a moan. In the fulness of the prospect, the delight seemed to have swelled like a mighty wave, and washed her on to the heavenly shore. Who knows how soon a similar experience may be ours? We may go to sleep tonight, and awaken in eternal glory. We are not far from home; so let us be of good cheer, and rejoice, and praise and bless our Divine Lord that he ever should have stooped so low to raise us so high.

{a} Potosí is a city, the capital of the department of Potosí in Bolivia. It is claimed to be the highest city in the world at a nominal 4,090 m (13,420 feet). It lies beneath the Cerro de Potosí — sometimes referred to as the Cerro Rico ("rich mountain") — a mountain popularly conceived of as being "made of" silver ore, which has always dominated the city. See Explorer "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potos%c3%ad"

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Php 1:12-2:13}

1:12-14. But I would that you should understand, brethren, that the things which happened to me have fallen out rather to the furtherance of the gospel; so that my bonds in Christ are revealed in all the palace, and in all other places; and many of the brethren in the Lord, growing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

Notice the beautiful self-forgetfulness of the apostle Paul. So long as the gospel could be more widely proclaimed, he did not mind where he was, or what he suffered. He was able to witness for Christ among the Praetorian guards, who had the charge of the prison where he was confined, and who also, in their turn, were on duty in Caesar’s palace; so Paul says that, through his being in bonds there, the particulars concerning his imprisonment were talked about even in the imperial palace, and by that means the gospel was made known to many in Caesar’s household. Then, in addition, other brethren, who might perhaps have felt compelled to be quiet in his presence, finding that their leader was removed from them, grew confident to come out and “speak the word without fear.” The same kind of thing has often happened since. You have sometimes seen a widely-spreading oak tree cut down, and you have missed its grateful shadow; yet, afterwards, you have discovered that many little trees, which would have been dwarfed beneath its shade, have grown more rapidly in its absence; and, in the same way, the removal of some eminent servant of the Lord Jesus Christ has frequently made room for others to spring up, and more than fill his place.

15-19. Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife; and some also from good will; the one preach Christ from contention not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: but the other from love, knowing that I am appointed for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached; and I rejoice in it, yes, and will rejoice. For I know that this shall turn out for my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, —

It is much to be desired that all who preach Christ should preach in a right spirit; but even if they do not, let us be glad that Christ is preached anyway. Even though it is only a portion of the gospel that is proclaimed, and there is much mixed with it from which we greatly differ, yet, if Christ is preached, his gospel will win its own way, and work out his great purposes of love and mercy. You have, perhaps, sometimes seen a little fire kindled among the dead autumn leaves which are dank and damp; and you have noticed that, despite all the smoke, the fire has continued to live and burn. So it is with the eternal truth of God. Notwithstanding all the error with which it is often dampened, and almost smothered, it will live, and the truth will conquer the error which is piled on it. So Paul says, “I know that this shall turn out for my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,” —

20, 21. According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it is by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Again notice Paul’s devotion and self-forgetfulness. It seems to be a matter of no choice with him whether he serves God in life or glorifies him in death. The emblem of the American Baptist Missionary Union is an ox standing between a plough and an altar, with the motto, “Ready for either,” — Ready to spend and be spent in labour, or to be a sacrifice, whichever the Lord pleases.

22-27. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; so that your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again. Only let your conduct be as it becomes the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.

What a happy church is that where the members all “stand firm in one spirit,” and where they are all “with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”; — not striving with each other, but all fighting against their common adversary, the devil, and earnestly contending for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints!

28. And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.

They give you up as lost because they cannot frighten you; they take it as a proof of your perdition that you are not terrified by them, and it is so to them; yet, to you, the peacefulness with which you can endure slander and persecution should be a sign of your salvation.

29. For to you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake;

What an honour this is to be conferred on any follower of Christ, — “not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake!” It is not every Christian who receives this mark of honour. There are some believers who have particularly tender places in their hearts, and who are wounded and gashed by the unkind remarks of those who do not love them because they love the Lord Jesus Christ. To you, my brother, my sister, it is given — and you may well rejoice in such a gift, — “not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake.”

30. Having the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

2:1-4. If there is therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercies, fulfil my joy, that you be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or conceit; but in lowliness of mind let each one esteem others better than themselves. Let each of you look out not only for his own things, —

Do not obey the world’s maxim “Take care of Number One.” “Let each of you look out not only for his own things,” —

4-7 But also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, —

Observe that expression: “of no reputation,” —

7. And took on him the form of a servant, —

A slave, —

7, 8. And was made in the likeness of men: and being found in form as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.

What a cruel and ignominious death for the Son of God to suffer! Did he lose anything by all this wondrous condescension? Will you lose anything by any dishonour that may come on you for Christ’s sake, for the truth’s sake? No; listen to what followed our Saviour’s humiliation: —

9-11. Therefore God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Note how the apostle, after writing on this high theme, again seeks the practical good of his friends at Philippi: —

12, 13. Therefore, my beloved, since you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you both to will and to do his good pleasure.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Deity and Incarnation — Jesus The Son Of Man” 260}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — ‘They Crucified Him’ ” 278}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — All For Us” 297}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Aspirations for Heaven — The Pilgrim’s Song” 848}

Jesus Christ, Deity and Incarnation
260 — Jesus The Son Of Man
1 It is my sweetest comfort, Lord,
   And will for ever be,
   To muse upon the gracious truth
   Of thy humanity.
2 Oh joy! there sitteth in our flesh,
   Upon a throne of light,
   One of a human mother born,
   In perfect Godhead bright!
3 Though earth’s foundations should be moved,
   Down to their lowest deep;
   Though all the trembling universe
   Into destruction sweep;
4 For ever God, for ever man,
   My Jesus shall endure;
   And fix’d on him, my hope remains
   Eternally secure.
                     Edward Caswall, 1858.

Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
278 — “They Crucified Him”
1 Oh come and mourn with me awhile;
   Oh come ye to the Saviour’s side;
   Oh come together, let us mourn:
   Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.
2 Have we no tears to shed for him,
   While soldiers scoff and Jews deride?
   Ah! look how patiently he hangs;
   Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.
3 How fast his hands and feet are nail’d
   His throat with parching thirst is dried;
   His failing eyes are dimm’d with blood;
   Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.
4 Come let us stand beneath the cross;
   So may the blood from out his side
   Fall gently on us drop by drop;
   Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.
5 A broken heart, a fount of tears
   Ask, and thy will not be denied;
   Lord Jesus, may we love and weep,
   Since thou for us art crucified.
         Frederick William Faber, 1849, a.

Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
297 — All For Us <8.7.>
1 Great High Priest, we view thee stooping,
   With our names upon thy breast,
   In the garden, groaning, drooping,
   To the ground with horrors press’d
   Weeping angels stood confounded
   To behold their maker thus;
   And can we remain unwounded,
   When we know ‘twas all for us?
2 On the cross thy body broken
   Cancels every penal tie;
   Tempted souls, produce this token,
   All demands to satisfy.
   All is finish’d; do not doubt it;
   But believe your dying Lord;
   Never reason more about it;
   Only take him at his word.
3 Lord, we fain would trust thee solely;
   ‘Twas for us thy blood was spilt,
   Bruised Bridegoom, take us wholly;
   Take and make us what thou wilt.
   Thou hast borne the bitter sentence
   Past on man’s devoted race;
   True belief and true repentance
   Are thy gifts, thou God of grace.
                        Joseph Hart, 1759.

The Christian, Aspirations for Heaven
848 — The Pilgrim’s Song <11s.>
1 My rest is in heaven, my rest is not here,
   Then why should I tremble when trials are near?
   Be hush’d my dark spirit, the worst that can come
   But shortens thy journey, and hastens thee home.
2 It is not for me to be seeking my bliss,
   Or building my hopes in a region like this;
   I look for a city that hands have not piled,
   I pant for a country by sin undefiled.
3 Afflictions may press me, they cannot destroy,
   One glimpse of his love turns them all into joy;
   And the bitterest tears, if he smile but on them,
   Like dew in the sunshine, grow diamond and gem.
4 Let doubt, then, and danger my progress oppose,
   They only make heaven more sweet at the close:
   Come joy or come sorrow, whate’er may befall,
   An hour with my God will make up for them all.
5 A scrip on my back, and a staff in my hand,
   I march on in haste through an enemy’s land;
   The road may be rough, but it cannot be long,
   And I’ll smooth it with hope, and cheer it with song.
                  Henry Francis Lyte, 1834.

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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