2759. The Pleasures Of Piety

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The Pleasures Of Piety

No. 2759-47:613. A Sermon Delivered On A Thursday Evening, During The Summer Of 1858, By C. H. Spurgeon, At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, December 29, 1901.

My meditation on him shall be sweet. {Ps 104:34}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2403, “Sweet and the Sweetener, The” 2404}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2690, “Meditation on God” 2691}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2759, “Pleasures of Piety, The” 2760}
   Exposition on Ps 104 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2403, “Sweet and the Sweetener, The” 2404 @@ "Exposition"}

1. It has often been insinuated, if it has not been openly affirmed, that the contemplation of divine things has a tendency to depress the spirits. Religion, many thoughtless people have supposed, is not becoming to the young; it checks the ardour of their youthful blood, it may be very well for men with grey heads, who need something to comfort and solace them as they descend the hill of life into the grave; it may be suitable for those who are in poverty and deep trial; but that it is at all congruous with the condition of a healthy, able-bodied, successful, and happy young man, this is generally said to be out of the question.

2. Now, there is no greater falsehood than that. No man is so happy but he would be even happier if he had true religion. The man, with the greatest abundance of earthly pleasure or treasure, whose barns are full of crops, and whose presses burst with new wine, would not lose any part of his happiness, if he had the grace of God in his heart; rather, that joy would add sweetness to all his prosperity, it would strain off many of the bitter dregs from his cup, it would purify his heart, and freshen his taste for delights, and show him how to extract more honey from the honeycomb. Religion is a thing that can make the most melancholy joyful, at the same time that it can make the joyful ones even more joyful. It can make the gloomy bright, as it gives the oil of joy in the place of mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Moreover, it can light up the face that is joyful with a heavenly gladness; it can make the eye sparkle with tenfold more brilliance; and happy as the man may be, he shall find that there is sweeter nectar than he has ever drunk before, if he comes to the fountain of atoning mercy, if he knows that his name is registered in the book of everlasting life. Temporal mercies will then have the charm of redemption to enhance them. They will be no longer to him as shadowy phantoms which dance for a transient hour in the sunbeam. He will consider them more precious because they are given to him, as it were, in some codicils of the divine testament, {bequests in the divine will} which has promise of the life that now is, as well as of what is to come. While goodness and mercy follow him all the days of his life, he will extend his grateful anticipations to the future, when he shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. He will be able to say, as the psalmist does in this Psalm, “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation on him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.”

3. I. First, let us consider THE VERY PRECIOUS SUBJECT OF MEDITATION mentioned in our text: “My meditation on HIM shall be sweet.”

4. Christian, you need no greater inducement to motivate you to meditation than the subject proposed here: “My meditation on HIM shall be sweet.” To whom does that word “him” refer? I suppose: it may refer to all the three Persons of the glorious Trinity. My meditation on Jehovah shall be sweet! And, truly, if you sit down to meditate on God the Father, and reflect on his sovereign, immutable, unchangeable love towards his elect people, — if you think of God the Father as the great Author and Originator of the plan of salvation, — if you think of him as the mighty Being who has said that, by two immutable things, by which it is impossible for him to lie, he has given us strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us, — if you look to him as the Giver of his only-begotten Son, and who, for the sake of that Son, his best gift, will with him also freely give us all things, — if you consider him as having ratified the covenant, and pledged himself ultimately to complete all its stipulations in the ingathering of every chosen, ransomed soul, you will perceive that there is enough to engross your meditation for ever, even if your attention were limited to the kinds and matter of the Father’s love.

5. Or, if you choose, you shall think of God the Holy Spirit; you shall consider his marvellous operations on your own heart, — how he quickened it when you were dead in trespasses and sins, — how he brought you near to Jesus when you were a lost sheep, wandering far from the fold, — how he called you with such mighty efficacy that you could not resist his voice, — how he drew you with the amazing cords of his almighty love. If you think how often he has helped you in the hour of peril, — how frequently he has comforted you with a promise in times of distress and trouble; and, if you think that, like holy oil, he will always supply your lamp, and until life’s last hour he will always replenish you with his influences, proving himself still to be your Teacher and your Guide until you get up to heaven, where you shall see your Saviour face-to-face, in the blessed presence of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, — in such contemplation you might find a vast and infinite subject for your meditation.

6. But, at this time, I prefer to confine the application of this word “him” to the person of our adorable Saviour:“ My meditation on HIM shall be sweet.” Ah! if it is possible that the meditation on one Person of the Trinity can excel the meditation on another, it is the meditation on Jesus Christ.

    Till God in human flesh I see,
       My thoughts no comfort find;
    The holy, just, and sacred Three
       Are terrors to my mind.
    But if Emmanuel’s face appear,
       My hope, my joy begins;
    His name forbids my slavish fear,
       His grace forgives my sins

7. You precious Jesus! what can be a sweeter theme for my meditation than to think of your exalted being, — to conceive of you as the Son of God, who, with the golden compasses, struck out a circle from space, and formed this round world? To think of you as the God who holds this mighty orb on your shoulders, and are, at the same time, the King of glory, before whom angels bow in lowliest homage; and yet to consider you as likewise “bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh,” —

    “In ties of blood with sinners one”; —

to conceive of you as the Son of Mary, born of a virgin, wearing flesh like men, clothed in garments of humanity like mortals of our feeble race; to picture you in all your suffering life; to trace you in all your passion; to view you in the agony of Gethsemane, enduring the bloody sweat, the severe amazement; and then to follow you to Gabbatha, the pavement, and from there up the steep side of Calvary, “enduring the cross, despising the shame,” when your soul was made an offering for my sins, when you died the reconciling death amid horrors still to all but God unknown; — truly, here is a meditation for my soul, which must be “sweet” for ever. I might begin, like the psalmist who wrote the forty-fifth Psalm and say, “My heart is inditing (the marginal reading is, bubbles up,) a good matter; I speak of the things which I have made touching the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.”

8. Consider our Lord Jesus Christ in any way you please, and your meditation on him will be sweet. Jesus may be compared to some of those lenses you have seen, which you may take up, and hold in one way, and you see one kind of light, and then hold in another way, and you see another kind of light; and, whichever way you turn them, you will always see some precious sparkling light, and some new colours springing up to your view. Ah! take Jesus for your theme, sit down, and consider him, think of his relationship to your own soul, and you will never get through that one subject. Think of his eternal relationship to you; remember that the saints, in union with the Lamb, were free from condemnation before the world was made. Think of your everlasting union with the person of Jehovah-Jesus before this planet was sent rolling through space, and how your guilty soul was accounted, spotless and clean, even before you fell; and after that dire lapse, before you were restored, justification was imputed to you in the person of Jesus Christ. Think of your known and revealed relationship to him since you have been called by his grace. Think how he has become your Brother; how his heart has beaten in tenderest sympathy with yours; how he has kissed you with the kisses of his love, and how that love has been to you sweeter than wine.

9. Look back on some happy, sunny places in your history, where Jesus has whispered to you, “I am yours,” and you have said, “My Beloved is mine.” Think of some choice moments, when an angel has stooped from heaven, and taken you up on his wings, and carried you aloft, to sit in heavenly places where Jesus sits, so that you might commune with him. Or think, if it pleases you, of some pensive moments, when you have had what Paul places so much value on, — fellowship with Christ in his sufferings. Think of times when the sweat has rolled from your brow, almost as it did from that of Jesus, — yet not the sweat of blood, — when you have knelt down, and felt that you could die with Christ, even as you had risen with him. And then, when you have exhausted that portion of the subject, think of your relationship to Christ which is to be fully developed in heaven. Imagine the hour to have come when you shall —

    Greet the blood-besprinkled bands
       On the eternal shore; —

and range the —

    Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood,
       Array’d in living green.

Picture in your mind that moment when Jesus Christ shall greet you as “more than a conqueror,” and put a pearly crown on your head, glittering more brightly than the stars. And think of that transporting hour when you will take that crown from off your own brow, and climbing the steps of Jesus’ throne, you shall put it on his head, or lay it at his feet, and once more crown him Lord of your soul, as well as “Lord of all.” Ah! if you come and tell me you have no subject for meditation, I will answer, — Surely, you have not tried to meditate; for your meditation on HIM must be sweet.

10. Suppose you are finished thinking of him as he is related to you; consider him, next, as he is related to the whole wide world. Remember that Jesus Christ says he came into the world so that the world through him might be saved; and, undoubtedly, he will one day save the world, for he, who redeemed it by price, and by power, will restore it, and renew it from the effects of the Fall. Think of Jesus in this relationship as “the Repairer of the breach, the Restorer of paths to dwell in.” He will come again to our earth, one day; and when he comes, he will find this world still defaced with the old curse on it, — the primeval curse of Eden. He will find plague, and pestilence, and war still here; but when he comes, he shall tell men “to beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks”; war shall be obliterated from among the sciences; he shall speak the Word, and there shall be a great company who will proclaim it. “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Yes, our Lord Jesus Christ shall surely come again! Christians, be waiting for the second coming of your Lord; and while you wait, meditate on that coming. Think, oh my soul, of that august day when you shall see him with all his pompous train, coming to call the world to judgment, and to avenge himself on his enemies! Think of all his triumphs when Satan shall be bound, and death shall be crushed, and hell shall be conquered, and he shall be greeted as the universal Monarch, “Lord over all, blessed for ever. Amen.” “My meditation on him shall be sweet.”

11. Ah, Christian! you are not afraid to be alone for a little while now, for lack of subjects of meditation. Some people say that they cannot bear to be even for an hour in solitude; they have nothing to do, nothing to think about. Surely no Christian will ever talk like that; for let me only give him one word to think of, — Christ, — and he may think that over for ever; let me give him the word Jesus, and only let him try to think it over, and he shall find that an hour is nothing, and that eternity is not half long enough for our glorious Saviour’s praise. Yes, beloved, I believe that even when we get to heaven, we shall want any subject for meditation there, except Jesus Christ; I know that there are some great divines, and learned philosophers, who have been telling us that, when we go to heaven, we shall occupy our time in flying from star to star, and from one planet to another; that we shall go and see Jupiter, and Mercury, and Venus, and all the host of celestial bodies, we shall behold all the wonders of creation; we shall explore the depths of science, so they tell us, and they say that there are no limits to the mysteries we shall understand. My reply to people who imagine all this concerning heaven, is, that I have no objection that it should be so, if it will afford them any pleasure. I hope you Christians all will have, and I know my Heavenly Father will let you have, whatever will make you happy; but while you are viewing stars, I will sit down, and look at Jesus; and if you told me you had seen the inhabitants of Saturn and Venus, and the man-in-the-moon, I would say, — Ah! yes: —

    But in his looks a glory stands,
    The noblest labour of God’s hands;
    God in the person of his Son,
    Has all his mightiest works outdone.

But you will say, “Surely you will become tired of looking at him.” No, I should reply; I have been looking at only one of his hands, and I have not yet thoroughly examined the hole where one of the nails went in; and when I have lived ten thousand years more, I will take his other hand, and sit down, and look at each gaping wound, and then I may descend to his side, and his feet, and still I shall be able to say to him, —

    Millions of years my wond’ring eyes
       Shall o’er thy beauties rove;
    And endless ages I’ll adore
       The glories of thy love.

12. You may go flitting about as far as you like; I will sit there, and look at the God in human flesh, for I believe that I shall learn more of God, and more of his works, in the person of Jesus than you could with all the advantage of travelling on wings of light, though you should have the most elevated imaginations and the most gigantic intellects to help you in your search. Brethren, our meditation on Christ will be sweet. There will be little else we shall want in heaven besides Jesus Christ. He will be our bread, our food, our beauty, and our glorious dress. The atmosphere of heaven will be Christ; everything in heaven will be Christ-like; yes, Christ is the heaven of his people. To be in Christ, and to be with Christ, is the essence of heaven.

       Not all the harps above
       Can make a heavenly place,
    Should Christ his residence remove,
       Or but conceal his face.

13. So, you see that Christ is the very precious subject of our meditation. Our meditation on him shall be sweet.

14. II. Now, in the second place, let me proceed to point out A BLESSED RESULT OF THIS MEDITATION: “My meditation on him shall be SWEET.”

15. This result depends very much on the character of the one who meditates. I know some people, who come to chapel, who are very glad when they hear the minister pronounce the Benediction, and dismiss the assembly; they are very glad when it is all over, and they would rather hear the parting Doxology than the text. As for a meditation on Christ, instead of saying it is sweet, they would say, “It is precious dry.” If they happen to hear an anecdote or a tale, they do not mind listening to that; but a meditation entirely on Christ, would be dry enough for them, and they would be glad to hear it brought to a close. Ah, friend! that is because of the taste you have in your mouth; there is something wrong with your palate. You know, when we have been taking a certain kind of medicine, and our mouth has been impregnated with its strong flavour, whatever we eat acquires that taste. So it is with you. You have got your mouth out of taste with some of the world’s poor dainties; you have some of the powder of the apples of Sodom hanging on your lips; and that spoils the glorious flavour of your meditation on Jesus; in fact, it prevents your meditating on Christ at all. It is only a hearing of the meditation with your ears, not a receiving it into your hearts. But the psalmist says, “My meditation on him shall be sweet.”

16. What a mercy, dear friends, that there is something sweet in this world for us! We need it. For, I am sure, as for most other things in the world, they are very, very bitter. There is little here that seems sweet, at first, but has a bitter flavour afterwards; and there are too many things that are actually bitter, and void of any relish. Go through the great laboratory of this world, and how many will be the cases and bottles that you will see marked bitter! There are, perhaps, more of aloes put in our cup than of any other ingredient. We have to take a great quantity of bitters in the course of our lives. What a mercy, then, it is that there is one thing that is sweet! “My meditation on HIM shall be sweet”; so sweet, beloved, that all the other bitters are quite swallowed up in its sweetness. Have I not seen the widow, when her husband has departed, and he who was her strength, the support of her life and her sustenance, has been laid in the grave, — have I not seen her hold up her hands, and say, “Ah! though he is gone, still my Maker is my Husband: ‘The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord’ ”? What was the reason for her patient submission? It was because she had a sweet meditation to neutralize the bitterness of her reflections. And do I not remember, even now, seeing a man, whose property had been washed away by the tide, and his lands swallowed up, and become quicksands, instead of being any longer profitable to him. Beggared and bankrupt, with streaming eyes, he held up his hands, and repeated Habakkuk’s words, “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be on the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no crops; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be glad in the God of my salvation.” Was it not because his meditation on Christ was so sweet that it absorbed the bitterness of his trouble? And, oh! how many, when they have come even to the dark waters of death, have found that surely their bitterness was past, for they perceived, through their meditation on Jesus Christ, that death was swallowed up in victory!

17. Now, if any of you have come here with your mouths out of taste, through affliction and trouble, if you have been saying about the Lord, with Jeremiah, “He has filled me with bitterness, he has made me drunk with wormwood. He has also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he has covered me with ashes”; take a little of this choice cordial; I can assure you that it is sweet: Lacrimae Christi , it is called. If you will take these tears of Jesus, and put them in your mouth, they will take away all the unpleasant flavour that is there now. Or again, I ask you to take this meditation on Christ as a piece of frankincense that was perfumed in heaven. It does not matter what you have in your house; this shall make it redolent of Paradise, and shall make it smell like those breezes that once blew through Eden’s garden, wafting the perfume of perfect flowers. Ah! there is nothing that can so console your spirits, and relieve all your distresses and troubles, as the feeling that now you can meditate on the person of Jesus Christ. “My meditation on him shall be sweet.”

18. But, my dear hearers, shall I send you away without asking whether you have all had such a meditation on our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? I do not like ever to preach a sermon without pressing it home on the consciences of all my hearers. I never care to bring to you the sword of the Spirit, and show it to you, and say, “There is a sword and it is sharp.” I always like to make you feel that it is sharp, by cutting you with it! Oh that the sword of the Spirit might penetrate many of your hearts now! When I see so many gathered together even on a weekday, I am astonished. When I came to London, I did not imagine that there would be half such a congregation as this even on the Sabbath, much less on a weekday. But why have you come, my brethren? What did you go out to see? A reed shaken with the wind? What have you come to see? A prophet? No, but I say that you have come to see something more than a prophet. You have come to see and to hear about Jesus Christ, our Saviour and our Lord. How many of you really do meditate on Christ?

19. Christian men and women, do not many of you live below your privileges? Are you not living without having choice moments of communion with Jesus? I think, if you had a free pass to heaven’s palace, you would use it very often; if you might go there, and hold communion with some person whom you dearly loved, you would often be found there. But here is your Lord Jesus, the King of heaven, and he gives you what can open the gates of heaven, and let you in to hold sweet fellowship with him, and yet you live without meditating on his work, meditating on his person, meditating on his offices, and meditating on his glory. Christian men and women, I say to you, — Is it not time to begin to live nearer to God? What is to become of our churches? I do not know what to think of Christendom at large. As I travel through the country, and go here and there, I see the churches in a most awfully dwindled state. True, the gospel is preached in most places; but it is preached as it might be by bumble bees in pitchers, — always with the same monotonous sound, and little or no good is done. I feel that the fault lies in the pews, as well as in the pulpit. If hearers are meditative, preachers must be meditative. It is very true that water does not run uphill; but when you begin to meditate and pray over the Word, your ministers will see that you have gone beyond them, and they will apply themselves and meditate all the more, and give you the gospel just as it comes fresh from their hearts, and it will be precious food for your souls.

20. As for you who have never meditated on Jesus Christ, what do you think will become of you when your greatest bitterness shall be in your mouth? When you taste death, how do you hope to destroy its bad flavour? Yet, “that last, that bitter cup which mortal man can taste” is only a dire foretaste. When you have to drink that gall in hell for ever, — when the cup of torments, which Jesus did not drain for you, will have to be drained by you — what will you do then? The Christian can go to heaven because Christ has drunk damnation dry for him; but the ungodly and unconverted man will have to drink the dregs of the wine of Gomorrah. What will you do then? The first taste is bad enough, when you sip here the drops of remorse on account of sin; but that future cup in hell, — that terrific mixture which God deals out to the lost in the pit, — what will you do when you have to drink that; — when your meditation will be, that you rejected Jesus, that you despised his gospel, that you scoffed at his Word? What will you do in that dread extremity? You business men, will your ledger serve you with a sweet meditation in hell? Lawyer, will it be sweet for you to meditate on your title-deeds when you go there? Labouring man, will it be a sweet meditation for you, to think that your wages were spent in drunkenness, or your Sabbaths profaned, and your duties neglected? And you, professor, will it be a sweet meditation to sit down, and think of your hypocrisy? And, ah! you carnally-minded men, who are indulging the flesh, and pampering the appetite, and not serving the Lord, “whose God is your belly, and whose glory is in your shame,” will your career furnish a sweet meditation for you at last? Be assured of this; your sins must be your meditation then, if Christ is not your meditation now. May there be great searchings of heart among you! How often do your convictions disperse like the smoke from the chimney, or the chaff from the winnower’s hand; they soon vanish. It will not profit you to live at this rate, — hearing sermons and forgetting them. Take heed to the voice of warning, lest God should say, “He, who being often reproved hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”

21. Oh wicked men! wicked men! I want to say just this last word to all of you who do not know God, and then you shall go. I will give you a subject for your meditation; it shall be a parable. A certain tyrant sent for one of his subjects, and said to him, “What is your employment?” He answered, “I am a blacksmith.” “Go home,” he said, “and make me a chain of such and such a length.” He went home; the work occupied him for several months, and he had no wages all the while he was making the chain, only the trouble and the pains of making it. Then he brought it to the monarch, and he said, “Go back, and make it twice as long.” He gave him nothing to do it with, but sent him away. Again he worked on, and made it twice as long. He brought it up again, and the monarch said, “Go and make it even longer.” Each time he brought it, there was nothing but the command to make it still longer. And when he brought it up at last, the monarch said, “Take it, bind him hand said foot with it, and cast him into a furnace of fire.” That was his wages for making the chain. Here is a meditation for you tonight, you servants of the devil! Your master, Satan, is telling you to make a chain. Some of you have been fifty years welding the links of the chain; and he says, “Go, and make it still longer.” Next Sunday morning, you will open that shop of yours, and put another link on; next Saturday night, you will be drunk, and put another link on; next Monday, you will do a dishonest action, and so you will keep on making new links for this chain; and when you have lived twenty more years, the devil will say, “Put more links on still!” And then, at last, the command will be, “Take him, and bind him hand and foot, and cast him into a furnace of fire.” “For the wages of sin is death.” There is a subject for your meditation. I do not think it will be sweet; but if God makes it profitable, it will do you good. You must have strong medicines sometimes, when the disease is bad. May God apply his own Word to your hearts, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {1Jo 5}

1. Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God:

These are very simple words, but they contain a great depth of meaning. The teaching conveyed by this Epistle is very profound, though the language is such that even a child can understand. There must be faith in Jesus Christ as the anointed Son of God; otherwise, there is no new birth, no regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

1. And everyone who loves him who begot also loves him who is begotten of him.

If we love the Father, we love the Son. If we love God, we love all his people: all who are born into the divine family are the objects of our affection.

2, 3. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments:

Not, that we talk about our experience; not, that we use endearing expressions concerning the Saviour; not, that we are attentive to outward religious ordinances; but “this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” A holy life is the best possible proof of true love for God.

3. And his commandments are not grievous.

For his people, they are charming not grievous. They delight themselves in the law of God; and they only wish that they could be perfectly conformed to the divine will.

4. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.

And the apostle gives a description of what kind of faith it is that overcomes the world.

5. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

So that, it is faith in Jesus which is, first of all, the evidence of the new birth, and which is, afterwards, the weapon wielded by the new-born soul, with which it fights until it gains the victory over the world.

6. This is he who came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, —

Cleansing our lives: “not by water only,” —

6. But by water and blood.

The blood which takes away the guilt of our offences. There is a double cure for us in Christ Jesus our Lord; first, the putting away of all our past guilt; and, then, the delivering of our hearts from defilement, so that we live in a holy way.

6, 7. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three who bear record in heaven, —

Or, “witness in heaven,” —

7, 8. The Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

Blessed is the man who has that threefold witness, — the Spirit of God quickening him, the water cleansing his daily life, and the blood delivering his conscience from trouble, because he is delivered from sin by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

9. If we receive the witness of men, —

And we are constantly obliged to do that, for we could not get on at all if we did not believe our fellow men; yet —

9-12. The witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he has testified concerning his Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself: he who does not believe God has made him a liar; because he does not believe the record that God gave concerning his Son. And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and that life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; and he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Ah, then, my soul, if you have, by faith, embraced the Son of God, you have a life which can never die! You have the life of God within you; you have heaven begun within you; and you have it now. Dear hearer, do you have the Son of God? Have you taken him to yourself by a distinct believing grasp, saying, “This Christ shall be mine, — this blessed Jesus shall be my Saviour?” Then, you have the apostle’s inspired declaration, “He who has the Son has life”; and his other declaration is equally true, “He who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

13. I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe in the name of the Son of God.

The apostle said that they did believe, yet he wrote to them that they might believe in the name of the Son of God; because, he who believes needs to believe more, — more as for matter, and more as for the firmness of the grip of his faith. There are some who do really believe in Christ who do not know that they have eternal life. They have it, but they scarcely realize that they have it; they are afraid to believe that it is theirs. But, here, the Holy Spirit assures us, through the apostle, that those who believe in the name of the Son of God have eternal life. Oh, what a comfort this is! Then, you can never perish. There are some who say that you can fall from grace; but how can that be? What kind of life would that be? It would be temporary life. But the Scripture says, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life.” Then, if it is everlasting, it is everlasting, and there cannot be any end to it. Our Lord Jesus Christ said to the woman at the well of Sychar, “Whoever drinks from the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

14. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us:

We do not wish to have a more unlimited promise than that; we do not ask God to hear our prayer if it is not according to his will. The true child of God does not wish to have his own will; but he says, “No, Lord; you know much better than I do what to grant; so, when my will is contrary to your will, your will, not mine, be done! This is as gracious an assurance of answers to prayer as the true children of God wish to have: ‘If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.’ ”

15. And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired from him.

That is, before we actually receive the answers to our petitions. After the prayer of faith, we know that our request has been granted, and we act on the belief that we have already received what we asked for from God. A true man’s promise is as good as the performance of it; we unhesitatingly take a cheque from his hand, or a promissory note, when we know that it is drawn on a reliable firm. We treat it as money; it passes from hand to hand, through the bankers, and is regarded as if it were the coin itself; — then, shall we not treat our God in this way when we have his promise to pay or to give? We have pleaded it in prayer; so, let us rise from our knees, not merely hoping that we shall receive what we have asked for, but believing that we shall surely have it: “If we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired from him.”

16, 17. If any man sees his brother sin a sin which is not to death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for those who do not sin to death. There is a sin to death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not to death.

There are multitudes of such sins; but there is a place, beyond which, if a man passes in sin, he becomes henceforth dead, and utterly insensitive; and he will never be quickened, and never be saved. If we knew a man to be in such a condition as that, the apostle’s words would apply to such a case: “I do not say that he shall pray for it” But, since we cannot tell that any man is in that condition, it is good for us to ask for grace to be able to pray for every sinner, however great his sin may be. We know that “all unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not to death”:

18. We know that whoever is born of God does not sin;

That is to say, that is not the habit and current of his life. He makes mistakes, and he falls into errors, and he sins; but that is not the habitual description of his life.

18-21. But he who is begotten of God keeps himself, and that wicked one does not touch him. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know him who is true, and we are in him who is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

At the time of the Reformation, there was a general order that this text should be put around the communion tables. I think it is time that it was put around the communion tables again. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols”; — for that is one place where idols are often found, though not by any means the only place.

21. Amen.

And we say, “Amen; so let it be.”

Dr. W. Robertson Nicoll writes, in “The British Monthly” Christmas Number: —

We do not know more refreshing, awakening, suggestive, warning, and comforting pages in religious literature than those of “The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit.” For ministers and teachers they are simply indispensable. The preacher who does not possess some volumes of “The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit,” — the more the better, — who does not read them to kindle his own soul, is poorly furnished for his work. It is by those who speak in the spirit of Spurgeon that England will be raised from its religious lethargy. Better part with all commentaries, German and otherwise, and be content with the Bible of Spurgeon, than neglect this exceptional trumpet voice.

End of Volume XLVII.

(Copyright (c) 2017, Answers In Genesis, Kentucky, United States. Permission for non-profit publishing or distribution of this sermon on paper is freely granted. Contact Answers In Genesis for permission for all other forms of publishing or distribution. Sermons updated by Larry and Marion Pierce of Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. We have not knowingly changed the meaning of this sermon. We intended only to eliminate archaic language. If you find a place where you think we have changed the meaning, please contact us so we can correct it. Contact information: email: [email protected], phone: (226) 243-6286.

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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