3076. The Cause And Effect Of Heart-Trouble

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No. 3076-54:37. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, March 12, 1874, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, January 23, 1908.

Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. {Joh 14:27}

For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 247, “Best of Masters, The” 240}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 300, “Spiritual Peace” 291}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3076, “Cause and Effect of Heart Trouble, The” 3077}

   Exposition on Joh 14:15-31 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2895, “Blessed Gospel Chain, A” 2896 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Joh 14:15-31 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2953, “Spiritual Sight and Eternal Life” 2954 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Joh 14:15-31 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3272, “How to Become Full of Joy” 3274 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Joh 14:21-31 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3519, “Gospel Promise, A” 3521 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Joh 14 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2515, “Something Worth Seeking” 2516 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Joh 14 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3076, “Cause and Effect of Heart Trouble, The” 3077 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Joh 14 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3307, “Over the Mountains” 3309 @@ "Exposition"}

1. There appeared to be great cause for their heart to be troubled, and abundant reason for being afraid, for their Lord was about to be taken from them. What would a few timid disciples be able to do without their Master? He had always been their Teacher, and Friend, and Guide. When they had been assailed by adversaries, he had always espoused their cause, and routed their enemies. They were safe enough as long as he was with them, but what would they be without him? And, alas! he was going away to die. He was about to be dragged away like a common felon, falsely accused by bribed witnesses, and then put to the cruel and shameful death of the cross. Would not the ignominious death of the Captain be followed by the destruction of the army, and the disastrous end to the holy war? The disciples might well be seriously afraid when they knew that their great adversary was very powerful, extremely cunning, and desperately determined to crush out the new kingdom. It must have sounded somewhat strangely in their ears that the Saviour should say to them, “Do not be troubled about it, and do not be afraid.”

2. I am sure that the tone of voice which he used would prevent them from imagining that he was mocking them. Sometimes, when a man is in very great trouble, it sounds almost like mockery to say to him, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” “How can I help it?” he says. “How can I be otherwise than troubled under such a trial as this? You tell me not to be afraid; but if you were in a similar case as mine, would you not be afraid?” and we are half inclined not to repeat the exhortation, lest we should seem to be exalting over the weakness of the desponding. But we must not forget that Jesus Christ himself was in trouble at that time, and yet he was perfectly calm. He was about to bear the brunt of the storm, yet he was not afraid; and, therefore, being a fellow sufferer with his disciples in the trouble, and being himself the perfect pattern of sublime patience and dauntless courage, he could most properly say to them, “Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” And, moreover, there would be such a charm about the way in which he would say it, and such a gracious influence would go with every syllable, that the most cowardly among them must have been strengthened, and the most desponding would endeavour to shake off his fears. May the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, apply to every troubled soul here our Saviour’s words of exhortation which form our text, “Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

3. I. And, first, dear friends, let me remind you that, if we are troubled and fearful, THERE IS VERY OFTEN AN EVIL CAUSE AT THE BOTTOM OF IT.

4. “An evil cause?” one says. Yes, an evil cause. Permit me to use a paradox, and say that it is not trouble that troubles a man so much as something else that is the secret of the trouble. I have seen many in severe trouble who, nevertheless, have not been troubled. They have been tried, but their heart has not even been wounded in the trial. The more their troubles have happened to them, the higher they have risen in grace. Just as their afflictions have abounded, so their joys have abounded through Christ Jesus. Do not tell me that sickness naturally depresses, for I have seen many, under various forms of sickness, who have been able to sing cheerily on their beds, and to praise God amid the fires. Do not tell me that poverty puts an end to a Christian’s joy, for it is not so. The golden oil that feeds the lamp of the Christian’s joy is not drawn from the wells of earth; it comes from quite another source. The Christian’s joy does not spring from what he possesses, nor his sorrow from what he lacks. Just as his exaltation does not come from the world, so neither does his depression, if he lives near to God. So it is not trouble that troubles saints, it is something far worse than that; let us see if we can discover what the evil cause of it may be.

5. With some, it is a proud heart. I am afraid that there are many Christians, in great trouble, who are so proud that they will not admit that God has a right to deal with them as he is dealing. They think that there ought to be some more lenient workings of providence for them. They imagine themselves to be the kind of people on whom the sun should always shine, who ought to walk in silver slippers, and whose path should be always smooth; and if it is not so, they imagine that God is dealing harshly with them, that he is not kind to them, and they doubt his love. You may tell them that the martyrs suffered far more than they do; you may point them to many of their fellow Christians who are in much worse circumstances than they are; but that will not reconcile them to their own trials. The fact is, there is a self-love about them which has exaggerated itself beyond all due proportions into a sinful self-esteem, and this proud, arrogant idea of what they ought to have, and ought to be, rebels against the sovereignty of God, and refuses to submit to the will of the Most High.

6. Remember that our sorrows usually spring out of ourselves; and that, when self is conquered, sorrow is to a great extent banished from the human heart. We may have a rebellious spirit concerning the providence of God in many ways. I have heard of one, whose husband had died, and she was wearing mourning clothes for him many years after his death, and refused to be comforted, until a member of the Society of Friends {Quakers} said to her very pointedly, “Woman, have you not forgiven God yet?” and the remark struck home to her. There are some who actually quarrel with God over the loss of husband, or wife, or child, or parent, or friend. Now, in such a quarrel as that, one or the other must bend, and it is certain that God cannot. He has done what was right, and he had a right to do what he pleased, and it is the proud heart which sets up its judgment in opposition to God’s judgment, and dares to think that God has been unkind or even unjust. It is this wicked pride which is at the root of some of the worst sorrows which have embittered the lot of mankind. Oh my dear friend, shall not God do as he wishes with you and with yours? God gives, so shall he not take? Will you receive good from the Lord, and will you not receive what you think to be evil? Are you so different in disposition from Job that you cannot, and will not say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord”? Then I must remind you that the Holy Spirit will never begin to comfort you until this proud spirit of yours is subdued. You must get rid of this rebellion against the Most High, or else your heart must continue to be troubled.

   Mortals, be dumb; what creature dares

      Dispute his awful will?

   Ask no account of his affairs

      But tremble, and be still.

If it is God who has done it, no question can be raised concerning it. If it is God who has done it, no doubt concerning the rightness of it can arise in the mind of any intelligent believer. Brethren, if we could see what God sees, we should feel that the heaviest trouble we have ever had was the thing that we would choose above all other things. You probably sometimes think that the course of divine providence is very mysterious; but if you were as well informed concerning all the circumstances as the Lord is, you would say, “That is the course I myself would choose.” I do not doubt that, when believers get to heaven, and look back on their pathway on earth, and recall God’s dealings with them, they will admire the amazing lovingkindness and unerring wisdom of God in arranging all that they have passed through, and that they will feel that they would not have anything altered, but have had it all just as it has happened.

7. In many others, perhaps in the majority, the cause of heart-trouble lies in doubting God. This is especially true in reference to being afraid. They are afraid that their present trials will crush them, or that some future trial will cause their destruction; but, brethren, you need not be afraid because of the greatness of your trial, for you must be well aware that others have had greater trials, and yet have survived them; nor need you be afraid because of the severity of your present distress, for you have been in equal distress before, and yet have been delivered out of it. The real secret of your being troubled and afraid lies in the fact that you doubt your God. Either you do not think that he is equal to the emergency, or else you conceive that he has forgotten you, or is angry with you, or that his mercy is completely gone for ever, and that he will be favourable to you no more.

8. In any case, you are dishonouring him by doubting him. I know that it is the notion of some people that a state of doubting is really a high state of perfection. I heard, the other day, of a man of whom I was told that he had walked in holiness and godliness for many years, yet he had never uttered an expression which could lead anyone to think that he really believed himself to be saved; he did not dare to say that lest he should be guilty of presumption. As I listened to the story, I could not help asking, “How long has he lived in this state?” “Forty years,” was the answer. “Well then,” I replied, “he has been living for these forty years in grievous sin, for there is no sin which so dishonours God as does the sin of unbelief; and for a professor of religion to continue, year after year, in such a state as that until it becomes chronic is indeed terrible.” Yet, as I said just now, there are some people who think it is right to continue in such a state as this. I do not wonder that their hearts are troubled. Beloved, if you believe in your God, you know that he will bring you through your present trouble, and all future trials as well. If you truly love him, you know that all things are working together for your good. Therefore, do not let your heart be troubled; indeed, it cannot be, for your faith will drive out your fear, your confidence in God will keep your heart from being troubled.

9. The third evil cause of trouble of heart in some is, I fear, covetousness. I believe in calling things by their right names. I have known people, who have possessed quite enough to guarantee to them, according to all human probabilities, that they would never lack food and clothing as long as they live, yet they were troubled. Why? Well they were losing some of their money; but why did that trouble them? It was because they had not obeyed that injunction of the apostle, “Having food and clothing let us be content with it.” I have known people, who have had so much money that, if they had lived to be as old as Methuselah, they would probably have had plenty; yet, when some small loss happened to them, you would suppose that they were so poor that they must go to the workhouse. Although they had an abundance left, they were afraid because of their covetousness. A man may be covetous of his own things as well as of the things of other people. He may covet his own goods by grasping them, holding them, and making them his god; and when the Master comes to take away some of the goods which he has lent to him as his steward, he is troubled and afraid, and cannot endure the loss of what he has learned to love too well. It is very difficult for man to have much money running through his hands without some of it sticking. It is very sticky stuff; and when it once sticks to the hands, they are not clean in the sight of the Lord. Unless a man is able to use money without abusing it, accepting it as a talent lent to him, and not as a treasure given to him, it will very soon happen that, the more money he has, the more troubles he will have. Just in proportion as our wealth is increased, our daily cares will be increased; and on that very soil which we most covet will grow the thorns and thistles which will make our bed uneasy by night, and our death-bed hard to lie on when we come to die; so beware of covetousness, brethren; for, otherwise, you will very soon fall into trouble and fear.

10. Suppose, my friend, you have more wealth than another man possesses, then you owe to God more gratitude than that other man does. Besides, if you have more to carry than another man has, probably you also have more care than that other man has; and what is there in that to make you proud? Would even a donkey, that has to carry a double load, be proud because its burden was twice as heavy as that of another donkey? No, it would not be so stupid. The man who has one cane when he starts on his journey, has all that he needs; shall another man who carries twenty canes boast over him when only one of them will be of any use to him? He who has a sufficiency should be satisfied with it, but he who has more than a sufficiency has no reason to be proud concerning it. If you have more than others have, you have a greater trust and a greater charge than others have; therefore, be humbler than others are, and wait on God more than others do. You have a full cup to carry, so you need a steady hand, and must beware of having an unsteady head. Ask God to keep you meek and lowly as your worldly circumstances rise, for so you will rise with your circumstances; but if you are exalted and puffed up because God prospers you, you will come down even though your circumstances go up. It is poor prosperity when a man becomes outwardly richer, but inwardly poorer; — when he has more gold, but less grace; when he has more land, but less love for God. May God, in his mercy, preserve us all from such “prosperity” as that, and preserve us also from the pride which so often accompanies such prosperity! Remember what Paul was inspired to write to the Corinthians “Who makes you to differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”

11. I am afraid there are some professors who are troubled and afraid through an equally bad cause, namely, envy. Alas! some good men have fallen into this gross sin. The psalmist was envious when he saw the prosperity of the wicked; and he said, “Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Truly I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning.” It seemed as if he had the rough side of the road although he feared his God, while the wicked had the smooth path. Yes, and the poor Christians very apt to get into a similar state of mind, and to say, “How is it that I have to pine in poverty while God’s enemies are pampered in luxury? Why should I have to go hungry, and in rags, while that rich man over there is clothed in purple and fine linen, and fares sumptuously every day?” If any of you have felt like this, the best way to cure you of your daily trouble must be to get you no longer to look with the green eye of jealousy on the good things that others have, but to feel that God has a right to give where he pleases; and if he chooses to give an abundance of husks to the swine, you who are his children should be the last to envy them.

12. I think I have, at least once before, quoted in your hearing an illustration used by William Huntington with reference to those who live by faith, depending on the daily bounty of God. He says, “Their case is something like that of a daughter, whose father does not give her a large dowry when she is married, but who gives her what is called in the country a hand-basket portion; that is to say, one day he will send down to her house a ham, another time a basket of eggs, sometimes a sack of flour, but every week something or other is sent to her from her old home, ‘with father’s love,’ and by these, continued love-tokens the daughter probably gets more than if she had received her portion in a lump sum, and she gets her father’s love sent with it every time.” It is possible that, if the Lord gave to his people, all at once, everything that they would need this side of heaven, they might afterwards think that he had forgotten them, or they might forget him; but his daily gifts, bestowed in answer to their prayers, and each one coming with their Father’s love stamped on it, must keep him constantly in their mind. In this way, we also shall have many loving reminders that he does not forget us, and oft-renewed assurances that he does not change, and will not allow his children to lack any good thing. Then let the fact that God gives us all that we have sweeten it all, and make us satisfied even if that all is sometimes only a scanty supply.

13. In other cases, I am afraid that anger is the cause of heart-trouble and fear. Some people — I will not say some Christians, because, where anger resides in the heart, it is very questionable whether the life of God can exist there at the same time, — but some professors have grown angry, possibly without reason, and because they could not work their will on the person who had offended them, they have never been at rest, and they have really done themselves serious injury through cherishing such an evil spirit. It is a desperately bad case when a professor of religion begins to feel as Haman did when Mordecai would not bow down to him. It was nothing to Haman that he was the greatest favourite of King Ahasuerus as long as Mordecai at the gate would not cringe before him. You also know how he planned to rid himself of his enemy, and how he was hanged on the very gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. His sad end ought to be a warning to all who are at all like him in spirit. I implore you, beloved, to love each other; and if, at any time, you have been grieved and vexed by others, forgive them. A forgiving spirit is a quickest way to peace. Your hearts must be troubled if you have in them any vestige of malice, or anger, or enmity, or unkindness towards anyone. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God”; and if anyone can have God’s peace to the full in their hearts, it is those who are fully at peace with their fellow men. Search and see, therefore, whether your trouble of heart may not have been caused by something of that kind.

14. Alas, I must also mention another evil cause of heart-trouble and fear; it is what is displayed by people of a very fretful disposition, peevish, self-willed, and very exacting of other people. Some of them are good people, too, when they are in their right minds, and in a right humour; but when they happen to be in their fits, the best place to be in with regard to them is as far off as possible. This kind of disposition may sometimes spring from constitutional peculiarities, or it may be the result of sickness; and therefore we ought to be very patient with such people. But if any of us are at all afflicted in that way, we ought not to expect too much patience from other people, neither ought we to try their patience more than we can help. It should be our determination, in the name and strength of God, to fight against the propensity to be troubled, and vexed, and cross, and murmuring, for all of us know what a disagreeable thing it is. I do not wonder that God is angry with murmurers, and it is not very surprising if we also get vexed with them. Suppose you help a poor man again and again, yet he never shows the slightest gratitude, but always has more complaints and more murmurs each time he comes to you, it will give you no pleasure to have further dealings with him. Let us all take care not to fall into that state of mind; a child of God should not be like that. Certainly, he is not like his Master if he is, for you never read of Jesus Christ murmuring or fretting, and being peevish. You never heard anyone, who really knew him, say that Jesus Christ was one of those exacting people whom no one could please. Why, on the contrary, he was one of those whom you could scarcely displease; and even when wicked men nailed him to the tree, he prayed for them, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 897, “The First Cry from the Cross” 888} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2263, “Christ’s Plea for Ignorant Sinners” 2264} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3068, “Unknown Depths and Heights” 3069}

15. “Do not let your heart be troubled,” for the probability is that, if you look below the trouble, you will find that there is underneath it some evil thing which is the real cause of the trouble. Therefore, oh you children of God, in whom dwells the Spirit of God, strive against it!

16. II. Now, in the second place, and briefly, if we are God’s children, we ought not to have our heart troubled and afraid, because THERE IS REALLY NO GOOD REASON IN ALL THE WORLD FOR SUCH TROUBLE AND FEAR.

17. Remember, first of all, that you are forgiven. Nothing ought to be a cause of trouble for a man whose sins are forgiven. There is a poor man, at this moment, lying in prison, in the condemned cell. Suppose that you were able to go to him, and say, “Here is a free pardon for you.” If, after that, you were to say to him, “You will have to work hard all your life, you will have to live in a poor cottage,” I am sure that he would say, “I do not care what work I do, nor where I live, as long as I am pardoned. If I only escape the gallows, you may do anything else that you like with me.” So, dear friend, you are forgiven, you are a child of God, you are an heir of heaven, and you can never be cast into hell. Can you not also say, “Well, then, you may do what you wish with me, as long as I am pardoned?” When a man’s sins are forgiven, what reason can he have to complain? Rather we would say, with the psalmist, “He has not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities”; and therefore let each one of us say, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and do not forget all his benefits: who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.”

18. Then, next, there is no reason for you Christians to be troubled, for your best interests are perfectly safe. You have not lost your spiritual birthright, and you will never lose it; being children of God, you are children of God for ever. You have not lost your redemption; you were bought with a price, and you are free for ever. You have not lost your union to Christ, you are still one with him; and because he lives, you shall live also. You have not lost your hope of heaven, you have not lost your interest in the eternal joys, you have not lost the justifying righteousness of Christ, nor the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. All these precious things and many more are yours, therefore you have no reason to be troubled or fearful. If you were going home after this service, and you were carrying a very large sum of money in your pocket; and if, when you reached your destination, you put your hand in your pocket, and found that you had lost your handkerchief; and if you put your hand in your pocket again, and found that the bag of gold was all right, you would surely not be worried about the loss of your handkerchief. Your money being safe, — the loss of which would have been your ruin, — you would be so delighted that you would not care about your trivial loss. Suppose we heard of great shipwreck, and that, among those who were rescued, was a man who, as soon as he was brought ashore, set up a great lament because he had lost his hat, everyone would laugh at him for being so foolish; and that is very much like the trouble of a child of God, who sits down and frets and worries over insignificant trifles while his immortal interests are all safe. His soul is safe; God is his, heaven is his, he has not lost any of his real treasures; therefore, then, let him give heed to the Master’s words to his first disciples, “Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

19. Remember, too, oh children of God, that the troubles you are now enduring have not come to you by chance; they were laid on you by the gracious hand of the all-wise Jehovah who is your loving Father and Friend.

   To his Church, his joy, and treasure,

      Every trial works for good:

   They are dealt in weight and measure,

      Yet how little understood;

         Not in anger,

   But from his dear covenant love.

Well then, if God sends you your trials, why are you troubled and afraid because of them?

20. Remember, too, that your present trials are working for your eternal good, as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Our light affliction, which is only for a moment, works for us a far more great and eternal weight of glory.” Do you not know that your troubles have been already blessed to you? Were you ever so spiritually enriched as you have been in times of storm and in hours of pain? Have you not often thought, when you grew well again, that you would like to go back to the bed of suffering, so that you might grow in grace as you did when you were there? So, since your trials have enriched you so much, why should you be troubled and afraid because of them?

21. Then, besides this, all the troubles of the children of God will work out for God’s glory. The poet was right when he represented God himself as saying of his people, — 

   From all their afflictions

      My glory shall spring,

   And the deeper their sorrows,

      The louder they’ll sing.

Will you not, therefore, be glad to be troubled, since God is being glorified in you by this?

22. Remember, too, that your trials will soon be over, and then there will begin the bliss of heaven, which will never, never end. So the Christian pilgrim can sing, — 

   The road may be rough,

      But it cannot be long,

   And I’ll smooth it with hope,

      And cheer it with song.

What if the shadows of the night fall grimly around you, and the cold blast chills you to your bones? It is only a little sleep, and then morning breaks, and the sun arises in the land where — 

      Everlasting spring abides,

   And never-withering flowers; — 

and you shall be where no night winds can ever come, or darkness ever again oppress your happy spirits. Therefore, comfort yourselves, and comfort each other with these cheering thoughts.

23. III. Lastly, believers ought not to be troubled or afraid, because, just as such a spirit comes from evil, and there is no just cause or reason for it, SO IT GENERALLY LEADS TO EVIL.

24. It leads to evil for yourself. It is a very mischievous thing for a child of God to be constantly troubled and afraid. It makes him selfish; he gets to be looking for comfort for himself. It makes him weak, faint, fretful, and so leads him into further rebellion and murmuring against the Lord. God seems to attach very great importance to his people being happy. You know Isaiah was inspired to write, “‘Comfort, comfort my people,’ says our God”; and that David was moved to say, “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, you righteous: and shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart”; and again, “Let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yes, let them greatly rejoice”; while Paul writes to the saints at Philippi, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, ‘Rejoice.’” “The oil of joy” is to the soul what oil is to the body, it gives suppleness, and helps to make us strong.

   Why should the children of a King

   Go mourning all their days?

He would not have them do so for their own sakes. Genuine Christians may have two heavens if they wish, — a heaven below, and a heaven above; we may drink of both the upper and the nether springs if God’s grace shall enable us to believe in God and to believe also in Jesus Christ. So do not let trouble be your trouble, for it is an evil thing for yourself.

25. Further, do not let it be your trouble, because it leads to evil for your fellow Christians. They see your mournful face, and they are very apt to catch the infection. Some of you remember dear old Mr. Dransfield, our beloved elder who has gone to heaven. Whenever he used to come into this building, it was like the shining of the sun. On a Lord’s day morning, when he came into the vestry, if it was a heavy, foggy morning, he would say to me, “Well, my dear Pastor, the morning is not very bright, but we can be very happy in our souls even on such a morning as this is. The fog cannot get into our hearts, blessed be God!” And then he would be sure to tell me some cheering thing that had happened during the week, — some soul had been converted, — or something that would help to gladden us all before we began the service. I have heard of deacons who have always been sure, on the Sabbath morning, to tell the minister any unpleasant thing that had happened during the week, so as to depress his spirit in order that they might feel duly miserable under his ministry during the rest of the morning. Never do that, brethren, but be bright and cheerful for the sake of your fellow Christians. I always think there is quite enough misery in the world without my making any more. There are more than enough wild beasts to howl in this wide wilderness, so I need not do any howling. Let us be among the people of whom it is written, “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them.” As God’s great caravan of saints goes travelling through the Sahara of this world, let them make the clarion of holy joy ring out triumphant notes, until the desert itself shall “rejoice even with joy and singing.”

26. Make it to be so, beloved. Here is Mr. Ready-to-Halt coming along on his crutches; smile at him, and bid him welcome. Here is Miss Much-Afraid; do not go to her with the story of the dragons and the giants, but tell her about the great King of the way, and about the Celestial City that you have seen from the top of Mount Clear. And if you find anyone who is giving way to despondency so much that he scarcely thinks that he can be a child of God at all, let the very light of your countenance tell him that there is no real reason for a believer’s distress of mind, and lead him to expect that even he will find precious promises in the Word which shall enable him to rejoice in the Lord. I do think that many Christians have scandalized the Lord’s name and cause before the ungodly. Many professors make it appear that there is not much difference between the Church and the world; but I believe that there is sufficient power in true religion to lift a Christian right up above the world, and to make him live in such a serene atmosphere that, notwithstanding all the trials and troubles that may happen to him, he will be able to say, as David did when he fled from Saul, “My heart is fixed, oh God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. Awaken, my glory; awaken, psaltery and harp: I myself will awaken early.”

27. Moreover, this being troubled and afraid does much mischief among sinners. They hear that we are the children of God, that we have found grace and favour in the sight of the Lord, and they watch to see what kind of people we are. If they see us prosper, and see that we are happy then, they say, “Yes, we also are happy when we prosper.” If they see us at services and meetings, and find us rejoicing, they say, “Yes, of course, that is a kind of religious exuberance, and they are happy.” They watch until they catch us on the sick-bed; and then, when pain is sharp on us, if they see us patient, they say, “There is something in religion after all.” They wait until we are poor, or until we are bereaved; and then, if we are calm under losses and crosses, and still praise the Lord, they say “Ah! There is something real in it.” They watch when we come to die; and if they can hear us sing some sweet song in the midst of the river, and can witness a calm hallowed peace resting on us in the last solemn hour, they whisper to each other, “There is something real and true here; there is a supernatural power that makes these men able to die as we could not die.” So they are often led by the Spirit of God to seek grace for themselves, so that they also may be saved.

28. Patient Christians and joyful Christians are better preachers in the homes where they live than we can ever be from our pulpits; and happy Christians, who at all times, and under all circumstances, wear a cheerful aspect, greatly commend the gospel to others. You know that if you saw a man-servant, who looked very thin and lean, and as he went about he seemed to be always wringing his hands in misery and sighing, you would say, “That poor fellow must have a hard time of it. He has a bad master, you may depend on it. I should think he has small wages, and very scanty rations. He lives in the house, does he not? There is very little to be had there, I am sure.” You hear that the gentleman wants another servant, and as you read the advertisement, you say, “That will not suit me, the poor wretch he has already is such a woe-begone creature that I do not wish to be as he is.” How different it is in other households. A bright, cheerful man-servant says, “I have been with my master for many years; and the longer I live with him, the better I like him. He is the best master I ever heard or read about. I used to serve another man, but he treated me so shamefully that I ran away from him; but ever since I have been in this house I cannot tell you how happy I have been. I like my master’s service, I like his other servants, I like his wages, I like everything about him; and I shall be very glad to see you in the same happy service.” “Oh!” you would say, “That place will do well for me if the master will only have me.” You know that there are more flies caught with honey than with vinegar; and there are more souls brought to Christ by happy Christians than there ever will be by all the dreadful gloom and solemnity which some people find it necessary to put on. I say that because I suspect that some of it is not genuine. There are some who think that it is right to look as if true religion were the summit of misery; but it is not so. “Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”; lest you should bring up a bad report, and make people think that the land which flows with milk and honey is not a good land, but a land that eats up its inhabitants.

29. To close in a sentence or two, if you are always troubled and afraid, you will bring dishonour on the name of God, and you will make the ways of religion to be evil spoken of. Do not let it be so, oh mourning Christian! Ask the Lord to help you to put away the ashes, and to take the oil of joy instead of mourning, and the garment of praise in the place of the spirit of heaviness.

   Sing, though sense and carnal reason

      Fain would stop the joyful song:

   Sing, and count it highest treason

      For a saint to hold his tongue.

   Sing, for you shall heaven inherit,

      Sing, and ne’er the song have done:

   Sing to Father, Son, and Spirit,

      One-In-Three, and Three-In-One,

30. My one regret, in preaching this sermon, is that I cannot address it to you all. There are some unconverted people here who are troubled. I hope you will be even more troubled. I cannot say to you, “Do not be afraid”; for you ought to be even more afraid than you are, and you have everything to make you afraid. But though you are troubled and afraid, remember that there is a Saviour, and that this Saviour may be yours, for whoever believes in him shall have his sins forgiven, and shall be delivered from the wrath to come. If you believe in him with all your hearts, then my text may be addressed to you; but not until then. May God lead you to believe, and then we will say to you, “Do not let your heart troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Joh 14} {a}

1. “Do not let your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 730, “Do not let Your Hearts Be Troubled” 721} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1741, “Do not let Your Heart Be Troubled” 1742} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3076, “The Cause and Effect of Heart-Trouble” 3077}

Here is a troubled company of disciples, very much cast down, so their divine Master, full of infinite tenderness, talks to them in this gentle manner, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” He does not like to see them troubled; and when they are, he is troubled also.

Our Lord here prescribes faith as the only remedy for heart-trouble. If you, poor troubled soul, can believe, you will stop fretting. Twice our Lord uses the word “believe.” He seems to say to his disciples, “Take another dose of faith; it will take away from you this faintness of heart from which you are suffering: ‘You believe in God, believe also in me.’” And then he tries to make them forget their heart-trouble by talking most sweetly to them about his Father, and his Father’s dwelling-place. It is a great thing to divert the mind, when it is troubled, from what bores into it, and threatens to destroy it.

2. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.

“You have all my heart, so I have no secrets from you. ‘If it were not so, I would have told you’; even in going away from you, I am going away for your good.”

2. I go to prepare a place for you. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2751, “A Prepared Place for a Prepared People” 2752}

“I am all yours, and always yours, and everywhere yours; and I am doing everything for you.”

3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself;

“I will not send an angel to bring you, but I myself will come for you. If you die, I will come for you in that way; but if you live on until my Second Advent, ‘I will come again, and receive you to myself.’”

3. That where I am, there you may be also.

“So do not be troubled because I am going away from you. I am going first in order that you may follow afterwards; I am going as the Pioneer into that blessed state where you shall dwell with me for ever; so do not be troubled at my departure.” How tenderly and lovingly this is all put!

4. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

“I am not going to take a leap into the dark; you know where I am going, and you also know the road along which I am going.” Ah! but sometimes sorrow forgets what it knows, and so creates a cloud of unnecessary ignorance which darkens and increases the sorrow.

5. Thomas says to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; and how can we know the way?”

It was a pity that Thomas had such a thought as this in his mind; but since it was there, it is a great mercy that he told his Lord about it. Sometimes, to put your trouble down in black and white is a quick way to get rid of it; but to bring it to your Lord in prayer is an even better plan.

6. Jesus says to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 245, “The Way to God” 238} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 942, “The Way” 933}

How impossible it is fully to describe our Lord in human language! He is going away, yet he himself is the way; and he himself is the beginning and the end, he is everything to his people: “the way, the truth, and the life.” We are obliged to have mixed metaphors when we talk about Christ, for he is the mixture of everything that is delightful and precious. Our Lord is glorious all over; there is no way of describing him to the full in our poor halting speech.

7. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also: and from henceforth you know him, and have seen him.”

It cheers the children of God to talk to them about their Father, and about their Father’s house, so that is what the Elder Brother did in his great kindness to his disciples, he talked to them about their Father and his heaven.

8-10. Philip says to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it satisfies us.” Jesus says to him, “Have I been so long a time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; and why do you say then, ‘Show us the Father?’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak of myself: but the Father who dwells in me, he does the works.

Christ and the Father are indissolubly one. Even when he was here in his humiliation, he was not separated from his Father, except in that dread hour when he was bearing his people’s sins on the cross. Now he is visibly one with his Father on the throne of glory.

11, 12. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Truly, truly, I say to you, ‘He who believes in me, the works that I do he shall do also’;

“I am going away from you; but do not be dismayed, for I shall not take my power away from you; that will still remain with you.”

12. And he shall do greater works than these; because I go to my Father.

“My very absence will let loose a greater power than you could have experienced while I was here. You will need more power when I am gone from you, and you shall have more. Therefore, ‘do not let your heart be troubled.’ Besides, you will be still able to pray, and prayer will bring you greater blessings than any that I ever gave you.”

13, 14. And whatever you shall ask in my name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.

Every word in this address of Christ was full of comfort for his disciples.

15, 16. If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, so that he may remain with you for ever; — 

There was the One who would enable the disciples to meet every trial, — that other Comforter whom Christ promised to them. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 4, “The Personality of the Holy Spirit” 5} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 5, “The Comforter” 6} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1074, “The Paraclete” 1065} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2074, “Intimate Knowledge of the Holy Spirit” 2075} Their trouble was that their Lord was going away from them; that other Comforter made amends for that, and he will make amends to you, believer, for every form of trial to which you may be exposed. Is it bodily weakness? Is it the infirmity of old age? Is it depression of spirit? Is it losses and crosses at home? Is it crooked things that cannot be made straight? Well Christ’s promise still stands good, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may remain with you for ever”; — 

17. Even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see him, neither knows him: but you know him; — 

“You are on familiar terms with him, you are intimate with him, you know him”; — 

17-20. For he dwells with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world sees me no more; but you see me: because I live, you shall also live. At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

These are the three wonderful mysteries of the union between God, and Christ, and his people: “I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”

21, 22. He who has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is who loves me: and he who loves me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and will reveal myself to him.” Judas says to him, not Iscariot, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?”

“Perhaps, if you revealed yourself to the world, the world would bow down before you, and worship you.” But Christ’s plan was to reveal himself to the inner circle of his own chosen ones.

23-27. Jesus answered and said to him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our abode with him. He who does not love me does not keep my sayings: and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me. I have spoken these things to you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your memory, whatever I have said to you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 247, “The Best of Masters” 240} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 300, “Spiritual Peace” 291}

He had given them peace while he was with them. His divine presence had been their continual comfort; but now, although he was going away from them, he would leave his peace behind him as the most precious legacy that he could bequeath to them: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.”

27, 28. Not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard how I said to you, ‘I go away, and come again to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice, — 

“I know that you do love me; but if you really acted as if you loved me, you would rejoice,” — 

28. Because I said, ‘I go to the Father’: for my Father is greater than I.

The Lord Jesus, though equal with the Father, had voluntarily laid aside his glory, and taken the form and place of a man, making himself of no reputation, so his disciples ought to have rejoiced that he was going back to his original glory.

29, 30. And now I have told you, before it comes to pass, that, when it is come to pass, you might believe. Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world comes, and has no claim on me.

Still, Christ would have enough to do to meet that arch-enemy, and to endure all that would happen to him during that dread encounter.

31. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so do I. Arise, let us go from here.”

{a} This exposition was originally published with sermon No. 3078 for lack of room to publish it with this sermon to which it properly belongs. Editor.

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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