2846. “No Root In Themselves.”

by on
“No Root In Themselves.”

No. 2846-49:409. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, September 23, 1888, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, August 27, 1903.

And have no root in themselves. {Mr 4:17}

1. These rocky-ground hearers have occupied our thoughts twice recently. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2844, “This Seed on a Rock” 2845} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2845, “Lacking Moisture” 2846} You remember that the first sermon concerning them was on the text, “They had no depth of earth”; and that, in it, I tried to show the shallowness of some men’s religious character, — how the hard-pan of rock, below the thin layer of earth, had never been broken, so the seed could not really enter into them, but lay, for a little while, in the soil, rapidly springing up, and just as rapidly perishing. The other discourse was on the words, “It lacked moisture,” — a very instructive little sentence, full of meaning. Only Luke tells us that the rocky-ground hearers “lacked moisture.” This, you probably remember, I explained as meaning dry doctrine without gracious feeling, experience without humiliation, practise without heart-love, belief without repentance, confidence without self-distrust, action without spirituality, zeal without communion. I went somewhat deeply into that part of the subject, and I think that there must have been some who trembled as they thought that, possibly, they were among the number of those who have no depth of earth, and who lack moisture.

2. Now, my dear hearers, I feel intensely concerned that every work of grace, supposed to be accomplished in this house, should be real, and therefore permanent. We are thankful that we are constantly having conversions, but we are very grieved that we also have some perversions. It is a comparatively easy thing to increase the church roll, but it is only God’s almighty grace that can preserve to the end those whose names are written in our church records. Oh, for sure work! It is better to have only one convert who will endure to the end than twenty who only endure for a while, and in time of trial fall away. We have so much of the superficial, the merely topsoil work, in these days, that I feel that I am not laying too much stress on one point if, three times in succession, I preach on this same subject, taking these three forms of expression indicating different phases of the same evil, — no depth of earth, no moisture, and no root in themselves. According to our Saviour’s interpretation, this is what happens to people of this kind: “Afterwards, when affliction or persecution arises for the Word’s sake, immediately they are offended.”

3. I. Notice, first, that THEY WERE DEPENDENT ON EXTERNALS. They had “no root in themselves.” Their religion did not spring from within, and was not fostered from within.

4. This reminds us of a class of people who cause us much grief of heart, though at the first they give us reason for much hope; I mean, those whose religion depends on their parents. What a fearful calamity it often seems to a family when the father is taken away just when the boys are growing up! We have seen, in our own royal family, an example of it. {a} Wherever it happens, it is always a cause of very terrible hazard to the children. But do you not also think that there are many lads and lasses, who are, in the main, favourable to the things of God simply because their father is an eminently devout man? Where that is the case, and where there is no true work of grace in their hearts, the death of their father will give them such a measure of liberty, and release from restraint, as will afford them an opportunity of showing that their religion was not real. In another case, it may be the influence — the almost boundless influence — of a godly mother over her sons and daughters. Some women are queens at home; they reign with a kind of imperial sway over their children; and those gracious matrons often lead their sons and daughters in the way of truth and righteousness; yet, sometimes, it is not so much a work of grace within as the work of the mother on the surface; and so, if the dear mother falls asleep, the family is never again quite what it used to be. There is no longer that deep devotion, that intense earnestness, that there used to be in the religion of the household, and one reason is that its members have no root in themselves. Their root was in their mother, or their father. Now, dear young friends, any of you who are making a profession of religion, I say nothing against the gracious influence of your parents. God forbid that I should do so! I say everything in praise of it; but please do not let the influence of your parents be substituted for the work of the Holy Spirit on your own heart. The message to you, as to all others, is, “You must be born again.” Only he is the true Christian who can say, “If my father and my mother were gone, it would greatly grieve me, and I should feel it to be a serious loss; yes, if it should happen, I should hold onto Christ with no less intensity, but rather with even more, for I should feel it to be my duty to help to fill the great void which the loss of my parents had caused. I should think that I heard them speaking to me from the skies, and telling their son, their daughter, to follow them even as they followed Christ.”

5. So, dear friends, there are other cases in which the religious life is very much dependent on Christian association. That young lady was governess in a pious family, and she seemed to be everything that we could wish for, and affirmed herself to be a Christian; but is she the same now that she has taken a position in a worldly household, — perhaps in a distant land, where she never gets to hear the Word of God at all. If she has root in herself, she will grow, and be fruitful even in that unkindly soil. That working man, when he was apprenticed, and when he was a journeyman, had a godly employer, and he worked with those who feared the Lord, and he became, confessedly, a Christian. I am not speaking against the gracious influence of employers and of fellow workmen. May God grant that it may always be exercised in the right way! But, still, if any of you have a form of religion which is dependent on the position in which you live, you are without root in yourselves, and it will soon wither away. You must really know Christ, and trust him, and love him, so that you would be true to him even if you were carried off into a Mohammedan country, or if you were called to live in the midst of blasphemy and infidelity. Do not rely on someone else’s example, do not be dependent on external associations, but have root in yourselves.

6. I fear that, in the case of a great many, their religion is dependent on externals in respect of a faithful and earnest ministry. I have noticed, several times, that God has raised up different men to carry on his cause on the earth. Just now, it appears to me to be the age of the judges, for God appears to call, first one judge and then another, to deliver Israel. But we long for the time when King David will reign on his throne. It may be that we shall have antichrist first, and Saul will rule before David comes. But when Samuel is gone, where will the people go? In many a place I have seen a good man raised up, and he has gathered a large congregation around him. Many of them seemed to be truly converted; and while he lived, their lives seemed to be all that one could desire. But he died, and then where were they? At this present moment, I could put my finger on many of the followers of dear Joseph Irons. They are very aged people, but the Lord has preserved them faithful until now. I could pick out, here and there, those who were educated in divine things under Harrington Evans. What a gracious man of God he was! What sweet Christian people were fed at his table! If I were to make further enquiry, I should find a very large number of those who used to hear William Carter at the Victoria Theatre, but where are they now? A large number of them had no root in themselves; while, happily, still a large number of them had root in themselves, and are here with us, or in other churches of Christ to this very day. I could name other equally good men who used to labour in London, and of whom I could say that, when they were taken away, a considerable part of their work seemed to go with them. It was no fault of theirs that their hearers seemed to depend on them, and that their influence over them was very great. I do not doubt that it is the same in my own case, and that, when I sleep with my forefathers, there are some here, who have been unwise enough to hang onto me, who will go back again to the world, which they have never really left; and if so, when the man goes, their religion will go, too. But, dear friends, if you are vitally united to the Lord, then, even if the scythe of death should cut off every minister who now preaches in God’s name, — if every candle in the Lord’s house were put out, — you would still cleave to your God with full purpose of heart, and cry to him, in the cloudy and dark day, to return to bless his beloved Zion. But, alas! there are many professors who have no root in themselves; — parents, associates, and ministers supply them with all the root they have.

7. Then there are many more, whose religion must be sustained by enthusiastic surroundings. They seem to have been baptized in boiling water; and unless the temperature around them is kept up to that point, they wither away. There are some people, who, when they get thoroughly excited so that they do not know what they are doing, generally do right; but that is a poor kind of religion which always needs to have the drums beating, and the trumpets sounding; for the religion that is born from mere excitement will die when the excitement is over. I am not saying a word against genuine revivals, or even against excitement; and I do not think that it is any argument against revivals that some of those who profess to be converted at them go back to the world. I am reminded of that very good story — a somewhat amusing one, — which Mr. Fullerton told us. He said that some people find fault with revivals because all the converts do not endure. “Why,” he said, “they remind me of the tale that is told of a countryman of mine, who picked up a sovereign; but when he went to change it, they said that it was light weight, and he only got eighteen shillings for it. Still, you see, that was all clear gain to him. However, another day, seeing a sovereign lying on the ground, he said, ‘No, I will not pick up another sovereign, for I lost two shillings by the last one.’ ” That was very unwise, if it ever happened. So, suppose that we do lose some of the converts of a revival, — suppose that we even lose two out of twenty, — a very large percentage, — yet, still, the rest are all clear gain. Let us pick up another sovereign, even though there may be a discount on its value. Yet I am sorry for those lost two shillings. I begrudge the sovereign being light weight; I would like to have the whole twenty shillings, and to have all those, who profess to be converted, really converted to the living God. So I speak to those of you who, after a while, go back. When the cyclone of the revival is over, you drop to the earth like dead things. May God renew you by his grace, and work a work in your heart that will not be dependent on any surroundings! May you have root in yourselves!

8. For, you see that this class of people, who were dependent on their surroundings, changed when their surroundings changed. Their parents were gone, they were placed in ungodly families, and they became ungodly themselves. They simply floated with the tide. It was said, a long while ago, that someone was asking whether such and such a person, who was a Quaker, was bathing in the Thames; and the reply was, “How am I to know a Quaker when he is in the river? He would not have his broad-brimmed hat on, would he?” “No,” said the other, “but you can distinguish him without that, for he is sure to be swimming against the stream.” That is the way that we know a Christian; he is sure to be swimming against the stream. Live fish always do that; but dead fish go floating down the stream, and are carried away with it. Dead fish just drift with the tide. If the tide goes up, they go up; but if the tide goes out, they go out. Whatever others do, they do; “anything for an easy life,” is their motto. They profess to be Christians while they are with Christians; but they are ungodly as soon as they are with the ungodly. This will never do.

9. According to our Lord’s parable, this is especially the case when they have to endure affliction or persecution because of the Word. They fear that they will be losers if they are Christians, and they cannot afford to suffer like that. Someone points the finger of scorn at them, and laughs at them, and they cannot stand that. They do not mind being thought respectable for going to chapel, and taking a seat; but to be shouted at in the streets, and to be made the subject of jest at private parties, they cannot endure that, so away they go. Poor things, dependent on externals! May God deliver you from that evil, so that it may be no more said of you, “They have no root in themselves!” May you be straight, distinct, direct, thorough, true, solid, substantial, enduring, rooted, grounded, settled, by the grace of God!


11. These grains of wheat, when they fell on the loose soil lying on that hard-pan of rock, grew very fast. They grew all the faster because the soil was so shallow, and the sun so soon caused the seed to sprout; but it was only “for a time.” Listen to the sad note in my text: “They have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time.” They joined the church “only for a time.” They taught in the Sunday School “only for a time.” They were zealous about religious matters “only for a time.” These words seem to me to sound like the tolling of a death knell, — the death knell of all our hope concerning them, and of all their hope, too. Oh, what sorrow is hidden in those words! How terrible it is to be converted “only for a time,” to make a profession of religion “only for a time!” What innumerable curses seem to hiss out of every syllable, — “only for a time!”

12. The pity is, that they were deficient in the essentials of vitality. They were not deficient in blade, for they sprang up; but they were deficient in root, and that was a fatal deficiency. For a plant to have no root, is much the same as for a man to have no heart. There cannot be life in a plant, for any length of time, at any rate, where such an essential thing as a root is lacking.

13. What is meant by a root in such a case as this? First, it means hidden graces. You cannot see the roots, for they are underground. The best part of the plant is out of sight. It does not strike every casual observer; but I suppose that, as a rule, there is as much of a tree underground as there is aboveground; and that, in many cases, it needs to be so in order that it may retain its hold on the earth. Now, notice this, with a genuine Christian, there is always as much underground as there is aboveground. That underground work is often very much neglected, but it is extremely important; indeed, it is essential. One of the roots of a true Christian is secret repentance, and secret prayer is another; that is a root that runs down far into the soil. He who does not have it has no root. Secret communion with God, the talking of the heart with the great Father; secret love pouring itself out in fervent fellowship and praise; the inside life, of which none of our neighbours can see anything; — all that is the most important part of us. If you are a merchant, and have all your goods in your shop window, you will fail before long. If you can show all your piety to anyone, you have not much to show. Underground work is, however, absolutely necessary. How many builders have had to prove this! They have “run up” houses in a hurry without a good foundation; and, eventually, down they have come. Foundation work is all-important, though no one can see it, and therefore no one will praise it, and, perhaps, for a long time, no one may discover that it is not there. Oh my dear hearers, let us lay a good foundation! Let our souls be really built in secret on the living Christ by a true and genuine faith, — the faith of God’s elect. That is what a root is, then, — a hidden thing. These rocky-ground hearers had no root, that is, no hidden graces.

14. In the next place, a root is a holdfast. When the winds of March come tearing through the woods, the trees will fall if they have no roots. Even the mighty oaks will be torn away from their places in the forest if they have no roots. These are the anchors of those great plantlike ships, by which they are held firm in the earth; and it is essential to a Christian to have a holdfast, — to have hold of something that he is sure of, something that he no longer questions; or, if he does question it, he battles with the question, and holds firmly to the truth. A religion that may be true, or may not be true, is irreligion. The only real religion is that of which you are absolutely sure, — what you have tried, and tested, and proved in your very soul, and know to be as true as your own existence. Doubts yield nothing to you but continual fear and trembling, starvation for your strength, and restlessness for your soul. Christ invites you to come and believe in him with a childlike faith, for by doing so he will give you rest. Oh, how many Christians lack roots! Just look at them. They hear a certain form of doctrine taught one day; and they say, “That is not quite what I have been accustomed to hear; still, it was prettily put.” They go and hear another kind of doctrine, and the preacher is such a clever man, — since he needs to be to make that kind of stuff go down, — that they take in all he says just because he is so clever. I believe that the devil is clever; and if these people could only hear him preach, I expect they would receive all he said, for they do not know anything, they do not understand anything, they have no holdfast on anything. They are like ships drifting at sea, with no chart, no compass, no captain, and no rudder. They will probably end as derelicts, a menace to all ships that sail over the seas; or they will strike a rock, or founder at sea. Only God knows what their end will be; but a bad end it must be, for certain. Oh dear friends, I want all of you to have roots!

15. Truth understood is a grand holdfast. Resolution deliberately formed, — that is another root, another holdfast. Communion with God continually enjoyed, — that is another holdfast. A lady was once asked why she was so sure that the Bible was true, and she replied, “Because I know its Author”; and when you, beloved, know the Author, and know how true he is, then your doubts concerning his truth will fly away. Confirmations continually experienced, such as answers to your prayers, providential deliverances, and the like, — these things become infallible proofs for you, until you are as sure of your position as a mathematician is about the rules of geometry. He cannot be convinced that they are false, for he has tested, and tried, and proved them. When anyone says to me, “God does not hear prayer,” I never answer him. I laugh. The remark is as false and as foolish as if he had said that I did not hear. Do you say that God does not hear prayer, or that there is no God? Of course, there is no God for you who have no God, and who never go to him. If he does not hear your prayers, how can you expect him to hear such prayers as yours are, since you do not “believe that he is, and that he is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek him?” He never said that he would hear such prayers as yours; but if you believe in him, and know him, and come to him as a child comes to his father, he will as certainly hear your prayers as that you, being evil, give good gifts to your children. This is not a matter of supposition with us. It has become a matter of fact, because we have these holdfasts, these roots, in ourselves. If you do not have these, you will certainly wither.

16. A root, again, implies a means of continuance. The child, who picks the flowers from his father’s garden, and sticks them in his own little flowerbed, says, “Father, see how the dahlias have come up; my garden is pretty.” Yes, but in a couple of days they are all gone, because they had no roots in themselves. So, if you want to continue to be a Christian, there is a secret something, which only God can put into the soul, which ensures continuance; and where it once is, it will remain for ever. You remember how our Lord said to the woman of Samaria, “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.” He also said to the Jews, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give to them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone pluck them out of my hand.” That is what is meant by the root, — the root implies continuance.

17. And, once more, a root means living assimilation. A plant might be tied to a stick that was stuck in the soil, and it might continue there, and yet wither. But you know what a root does, it travels down until it finds the nourishment it needs. It is beautiful-to take the case of a fir tree, — to see it growing high up on a bare rock. I have often seen, among the Alps, a huge rock standing all by itself, with a fine pine growing right up the rock; one root comes down this side, and another down the other side, until it looks as if it were a colossal eagle’s claws that had grasped the big rock. What are these great roots doing? Why, there is some good soil down there, and the roots have gone travelling down that great rock until they have reached the earth. Eventually, these roots go to another rock; but, since there is nothing to be gotten out of it, they deliberately turn to the right, and to the left, and go in search of good soil and water, just as if they had a kind of intelligence, as I suppose they really have. It is amazing how they will wind and twist around for long distances. I have seen the roots of some trees, in the South of France, running along almost as far as the entire length of the Tabernacle galleries, — perhaps, even further still, — right on until they have found water, and then they have brought it up to an insignificant-looking tree, which was nourished by this. Such is the power of a root.

18. For what purpose do we need roots? To be able to go after spiritual food; to be feeling after it all through the Word of God, sending roots into every text of Scripture that is likely to afford us spiritual nutriment. What do the roots do for the trees and plants to which they belong? They begin to suck up the materials by some strange living chemistry which I cannot explain, and they convert it into the life-blood of the plant or tree, selecting out of the soil this or that, and rejecting the other, and enabling the plant or tree to make its leaves and its fruits with amazing skill. No chemist could perform this feat, but the chemistry of God accomplishes it by means of these little roots. What you need is to have roots in yourselves, to be constantly going after spiritual food, and especially laying hold of Christ to whom you are rooted, seeking from him the nourishment of the spiritual life that he has imparted to you, living because he lives, feeding on him, and understanding these words of his, which, if you truly understand them, will assure you that you shall live for ever: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. … For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.”

19. III. My time has gone, yet I must briefly tell you HOW THESE PEOPLE WERE DESTROYED BY UNAVOIDABLE INFLUENCES.

20. The sun shone; they could not help that, the sun was made to shine. The sun was hot; they could not help that, it was made to be hot. And this was quite sufficient to put an end to all the greenness of these poor dwindling things. So the common trials of life, the afflictions, the persecutions, which are inevitable to the Christian life, scorch those who are mere professors; and they, having no root in themselves, wither away.

21. First, they lost their original stamina. A seed, unless it is absolutely dead, has some nutriment within itself; almost every seed contains a measure of nourishment for the life-germ. So, at first, this wheat, that was sown, sprang up by itself through the influence of the heat. So some people seem to begin to be religious with a few right notions, and a little good feeling; but they soon use all this up.

22. Next, when that stamina was all used up, they had no means of taking in a fresh supply. A plant cannot live without roots, any more than you and I can live without mouths with which to eat. These people, having no root, could not go for anything more, they already had all they could get. They had no Christ to go to, they had no eternal life, no covenant purpose, no principle of the Holy Spirit to fall back on; and when their little all was gone, they could not come to the great All-in-all for more; they had no connection with him.

23. To drop the metaphor, and speak plainly, — what does actually happen in the case of such people? Sometimes, there is unholy conduct. At other times, there is a departure from sound doctrine, which is just as great an evil in the sight of God. In others, there is the losing of all their former zeal; and, eventually, there comes the perishing altogether.

24. I have in my memory many cases of this kind; but some of the friends of those people are still alive, — perhaps some of the people themselves are living, — so that, if I were to tell you about them, I might do harm instead of good. I remember, however, a man who was the terror of the village in which I preached in my early days. If ever there was a bad fellow on the earth, it was Tom ———— . One afternoon, after I had been preaching, I was told that he was in the right-hand gallery of the chapel. It was more than I could believe until my friends described to me a man whom I had noticed during the service, and then I was obliged to believe the evidence of my own eyes. He was a big rough navvy, {b} and oh, such a terribly bad fellow! He came to hear me preach again and again; and he became to me very much what a faithful dog is to his master. There was nothing that he would not have done to please me if he could. He was broken down with deep repentance, as it seemed, just for a very short time indeed; and then he became boisterously happy. I often wished that his sorrow had lasted longer. Whenever I went out to preach, no matter how far off it might be, he was always there. I have seen him pull a barge, loaded with people, up the river Cam, so that they might go to hear me at an open-air service. He was full of zeal and earnestness for a while; but, eventually, information reached me that Tom was drunk; and when he was drunk, he was capable of any evil. He remained drunk for months, and we never saw anything of him all that time. Then he came slinking back, and professed repentance. We hoped it was really so, but I never could make anything out of him. I think that he was just one of those who have “no root in themselves.” If I could have lived with him in the house always, he might have been as right as possible; but when he went out into the field to work, and met other men, he was as wrong as possible, for he had no root in himself. Strong as Samson, he was also as weak as Samson. I wonder if I am addressing anyone here who is like him. Dear friends, do not be satisfied with following a minister, and being earnestly in love with any Christian man; but go to God, and ask him to give you a new heart and a right spirit, or else it will only be a temporary reformation; and as good as that may be, it will never land you in heaven.

25. There came to this house of prayer a working man, whose father had induced him to come. I will not indicate where he sat. He was in the habit of wasting his week’s wages on a Saturday night, and his family were, consequently, miserable and poor; but he was brought here, and the change in him was very amazing. He had not been attending with us long before there was an alteration even in the rooms in which he lived, and in the appearance of his wife and children. We all felt glad, and his good old father, whom I know very well, was very happy about his boy. He said, “Surely, he will be converted.” He was such a hopeful character that it was even arranged for him to come to see me about joining the church. But, alas, he never comes now! Saturday night is just the same as it used to be in his worst days, and his family is just as unhappy. He had no root in himself; and he is just a picture of ever so many, who come in here, and get impressed, and are really blessed “for a time.” They take the pledge, but only to break it. May God grant that they may not go so far as to be baptized, and yet go back to their sin, as the sow that was washed goes again to wallow in the mire! Not long ago, I was asked for alms by one who begged me to help him to get a meal. I looked at him, and wanted to know who he was; and he said, at last, “Do you not know me?” “No, I do not know you.” He mentioned his name, but I did not remember him. Then he told me some things about himself that brought him to my memory, — how he had sat among us here, and we had esteemed and respected him, and he had been very zealous in all good things; but, after a while, that “sipping and nipping,” which is so common among businessmen nowadays, led him astray, — until he lost his job, and could not get another job. He has gone down, down, down, until, as he spoke to me, and his breath reeked with spirits, I could only say, “I could not recommend you for a job; no one could take you, you are not fit for it.” I gave him a little something to eat; I could do no more for him. It is an awful thing to think of the many, of that kind, who have no root in themselves, and so, presently, wither away. Bad company in one case, a wicked woman in another case, the wine cup in a third case, — all these things help to spoil the work which we had hoped had been a true work of grace. What, then, is to be done? Why, come along to Jesus Christ, and really trust him. If you give yourselves to him, he will change you, and you shall be truly changed. If you commit your souls into his keeping, he will keep you for ever and ever. Try to save yourselves, and you will surely be lost; but come to Christ so that he may save you, and you will be certainly and eternally saved. Oh, that his grace might lead you thoroughly to abandon yourselves, and entirely to rest in him, now and for evermore; and to his name shall be all the praise and glory. Amen and Amen.

{a} Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel; later the Prince Consort; August 26, 1819-December 14, 1861) was the husband of Queen Victoria. He died in the prime of life. See Explorer "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert,_Prince_Consort" {b} A labourer employed in the excavation and construction of earth-works, such as canals, railways, embankments, drains, etc. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {2Ti 1:1-8 3:1-4:6}

1:1, 2. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my dearly beloved son:

There is the greatest possible affection between the preacher and his convert. This is a relationship which even death will not destroy. They neither marry nor are given in marriage in the Heavenly Kingdom, but this fatherhood and sonship shall endure for ever.

2. Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

It is very remarkable that, when the apostle writes to churches, he usually wishes them “Grace and peace”; but when he writes to ministers, he generally prays for “Grace, mercy, and peace,” as if we needed more mercy than other Christians. Having so great a work to do, and falling into such great sin if we are unfaithful in it, we may well ask that we may have special mercy shown to us by the God of mercy.

3. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day;

At that time, Timothy was very specially laid on the apostle’s heart; and he did not seem to think of anything without young Timothy’s image rising up before him “day and night.”

4. Greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, so that I may be filled with joy;

Paul had seen Timothy’s tears when he parted from him. He remembered, perhaps, his tears when under conviction of sin, his tears of joy when he found the Saviour, and the tears he shed in his early preaching, when the gracious youth touched the hearts of others because he so evidently spoke out of his own heart.

5. When I remember the sincere faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice; and I am persuaded is in you also.

There is no transmigration of souls, but there is a kind of transmigration of faith, as if the very form and shape of faith, which was in Lois and Eunice, afterwards appeared in Timothy. Truly, there are certain idiosyncrasies which may pass from some Christian people to others; and when those idiosyncrasies are of a high and noble kind, it is a great mercy to see them reproduced in children and children’s children. “I thought I heard your mother speak,” one said, when she heard a Christian woman talking about the Saviour, “you speak in just the way in which she used to relate her experience, and describe the love of Christ.”

6. Therefore I remind you that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the laying on of my hands.

The fire needs stirring every now and then; it is apt to die out if it is not stirred.

7, 8. For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and or love, and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be partaker of the affliction of the Gospel according to the power of God;

Timothy, never be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, and never be ashamed of Paul when he is put in prison for the sake of the gospel; but ask to partake, not only of the gospel, and of its power, but even of the afflictions which come for its sake, for this is one of the highest honours that can be bestowed on us, that we may suffer with God’s saints for the truth’s sake.

Paul, in the third chapter, goes on to tell Timothy of the danger of his times.

3:1-7. Know this also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, without self-control, fierce, despisers of those who are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying its power: from such turn away. For of this kind are those who creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with various lusts, always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

This is the photograph of the present age, and I do not doubt that Paul spoke of it when the spirit of prophecy was on him. This is the very motto of the present age, “Always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” It boasts in knowing nothing; and its great boast is in its continual progress, “never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

8, 9. Now just as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be revealed to all men, as theirs was also.

For, when God was with Moses and Aaron, Jannes and Jambres were soon, by the power and wisdom of God, proved to be fools.

10-12. But you have fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

The world does not love Christ, or his gospel, a bit more today than it did in Paul’s day. “The carnal mind is” still “enmity against God.”

13. But evil men and seducers shall become worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

We may look for even worse days and darker days than we have at present.

14-17. But continue in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them; and that from a child you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: so that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished for all good works.

4:1-6. I charge you therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom, preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts they shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables. But watch in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of your ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 84” 84 @@ "(Song 2)"}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Names and Titles — Fountain” 375}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Stated — The Life Look” 538}
 Sermons in this series: —
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2842, “The Sower” 2843}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2843, “The Seed By The Wayside” 2844}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2844, “This Seed upon a Rock” 2845}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2845, “Lacking Moisture” 2846}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2846, “No Root In Themselves” 2847}

Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 84 (Song 1)
1 How pleasant, how divinely fair,
   Oh Lord of hosts, thy dwellings are!
   With long desire my spirit faints
   To meet the assemblies of thy saints.
2 My flesh would rest in thine abode,
   My panting heart cries out for God;
   My God! my King! why should I be
   So far from all my joys and thee?
3 Bless’d are the saints who sit on high
   Around thy throne of majesty;
   Thy brightest glories shine above,
   And all their work is praise and love.
4 Bless’d are the souls that find a place
   Within the temple of thy grace;
   There they behold thy gentler rays,
   And seek thy face, and learn thy praise.
5 Bless’d are the men whose hearts are set
   To find the way to Zion’s gate;
   God is their strength, and through the road,
   They lean upon their helper, God.
6 Cheerful they walk with growing strength,
   Till all shall meet in heaven at length,
   Till all before thy face appear,
   And join in nobler worship there.
                           Isaac Watts, 1719.

Psalm 84 (Song 2)
1 Great God, attend while Sion sings
   The joy that from thy presence springs;
   To spend one day with thee on earth
   Exceeds a thousand days of mirth.
2 Might I enjoy the meanest place
   Within thy house, oh God of grace!
   Not tents of ears, nor thrones of power,
   Should tempt my feet to leave thy door.
3 God is our sun, he makes our day;
   God is our shield, he guards our way
   From all th’ assaults of hell and sin,
   From foes without and foes within.
4 All needful grace will God bestow,
   And crown that grace with glory too;
   He gives us all things, and withholds
   No real good from upright souls.
5 Oh God, our King, whose sovereign sway
   The glorious hosts of heaven obey,
   And devils at thy presence flee;
   Bless’d is the man that trusts in thee.
                           Isaac Watts, 1719.

Psalm 84 (Song 3) <148th.>
1 Lord of the worlds above,
   How pleasant and how fair
   The dwellings of thy love,
   Thy earthly temples are!
   To thine abode,
      My heart aspires
      With warm desires,
   To see my God.
2 Oh happy souls that pray
   Where God appoints to hear!
   Oh happy men that pay
   Their constant service there!
   They praise thee still;
      And happy they
      That love the way
   To Zion’s hill.
3 They go from strength to strength,
   Through this dark vale of tears,
   Till each arrives at length,
   Till each in heaven appears:
   Oh glorious seat,
      When God our King
      Shall thither bring
   Our willing feet.
4 To spend one sacred day,
   Where God and saints abide,
   Affords diviner joy
   Than thousand days beside:
   Where God resorts,
   I love it more
   To keep the door
   Than shine in courts.
5 God is our sun and shield,
   Our light and our defence;
   With gifts his hands are fill’d;
   We draw our blessings thence;
   He shall bestow
      On Jacob’s race
      Peculiar grace
   And glory too.
6 The Lord his people loves;
   His hand no good withholds
   From those his heart approves,
   From pure and pious souls:
   Thrice happy he,
      Oh God of hosts,
      Whose spirit trusts
   Alone in thee.
                        Isaac Watts, 1719.

Jesus Christ, Names and Titles
375 — Fountain
1 The fountain of Christ, assist me to sing,
      The blood of our Priest, our crucified King:
   Which perfectly cleanses from sin and from filth,
      And richly dispenses salvation and health.
2 This fountain from guilt, not only makes pure;
      And gives, soon as felt, infallible cure:
   But if guilt removed, return, and remain,
      Its power may be proved again and again.
3 This fountain, though rich, from charge is quite clear,
      The poorer the wretch, the welcomer here:
   Come needy, and guilty, come loathsome and bare;
      You can’t come too filthy, come just as you are.
4 This fountain in vain has never been tried;
      It takes out all stain whenever applied:
   The water flows sweetly with virtue divine,
      To cleanse souls completely, though leprous as mine.
                        Joseph Hart, 1759.

Gospel, Stated
538 — The Life Look
1 There is life for a look at the Crucified One;
      There is life at this moment for thee;
   Then look, sinner — look unto him, and be saved —
      Unto him who was nail’d to the tree.
2 It is not thy tears of repentance or prayers,
      But the blood that atones for the soul:
   On him, then, who shed it, believing at once
      Thy weight of iniquities roll.
3 His anguish of soul on the cross hast thou seen?
      His cry of distress hast thou heard?
   Then why, if the terrors of wrath he endured,
      Should pardon to thee be deferr’d?
4 We are heal’d by his stripes; — wouldest thou add to the word?
      And he is our righteousness made:
   The best robe of heaven he bids thee put on:
      Oh! couldest thou be better array’d?
5 Then doubt not thy welcome, since God has declared,
      There remaineth no more to be done;
   That once in the end of the world he appear’d,
      And completed the work he began.
6 But take, with rejoicing, from Jesus at once
      The life everlasting he gives:
   And know, with assurance, thou never canst die,
      Since Jesus, thy righteousness, lives.
7 There is life for a look at the Crucified One;
      There is life at this moment for thee:
   Then look, sinner — look into him and be saved,
      And know thyself spotless as he.
                  Amelia Matilda Hull, 1860.

Spurgeon Sermons

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

Terms of Use

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

Spurgeon Sermon Updates

Email me when new sermons are posted:

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

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390