3137. Soul Satisfaction

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No. 3137-55:145. A Sermon Delivered On Lord's Day Evening, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, March 25, 1909.

Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”


For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 384, “Full Assurance” 374}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3137, “Soul Satisfaction” 3138}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3546, “Assurance Sought” 3548}


1. This text may very properly be understood as a request that God would teach the soul to rest on him in temporal difficulties, and straits, and distresses. We are all apt to try to work out our own deliverance. We would go back to Egypt, or we would climb the rock on our right hand, or we would, if it were possible, force a passage on the left; but when the Red Sea rolls before, when Pharaoh is behind, and there are frowning rocks on the right hand and on the left, this most delightful truth is learned,—and probably it is the only occasion when we can learn it,—God is our salvation! If you are in trouble, Christian, ask who brought you there, for he shall bring you out again. If you are severely vexed and deeply grieved, why should you look to a human arm for help, or why should you turn your eye to the horses and to the chariots of Pharaoh? Lift up your eyes to the hills, where your help comes from, and in the solemn silence of your soul you hear the soft and cheering word, “I am your salvation; I have been with you in six troubles, and no evil has touched you; now I have brought you into another trouble, but I will deliver you out of them all; call on ME in the day of trouble, and I will deliver you.” Oh believer, the strongest sinew in an arm of flesh will crack, and the strongest hand of human strength will give way; but trust in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. Learn to stand still, and to see the salvation of God, as he says to you, “I the Omnipotent, I the Omnipresent. I who have servants everywhere, will accomplish your rescue, for I am your salvation.”

2. It is also very necessary for us to learn this verse in its teaching concerning soul matters; for no man is saved, or can be saved, unless he knows that God is his salvation. The greatest enemy to human souls—I think I am not wrong in saying so,—is the self-righteous spirit which makes men look to themselves for salvation.


   From the cross uplifted high,

   Where the Saviour deigns to die,—


there comes a voice, as soft as it is potent, “I am your salvation.” But the sinner plugs his ears, and listens perhaps to the enchantments of Rome, or to the mutterings of some false priest, or to the equal lying of his own heart, while these say, “We are your salvation.” We must get away, brethren, from every form of confidence which would take us from the finished work of Jesus Christ. From the beginning to the end of the entire matter the great “I AM” encompasses our entire salvation. Jesus, the “Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” was, nevertheless, JEHOVAH, the “I AM,” and as the “I AM” he speaks tonight to every soul that desires to know the way of salvation, and he says, “I am your salvation.” Sinner, there is no hope for you anywhere else. “Other foundation can no man lay than what is laid.” Your hopes, poor sinner, shall be baseless; they shall be as the fabric of a dream. Do not rest in them, but forsake them, pitying your own folly for having ever trusted in them. Jesus tells you to renounce them now. Flee away from everything which has so far yielded you a gleam of comfort, or a ray of joy, to the wounds of him who suffered in the sinner’s place, and to the cross of him who was made a curse for us so that we might be made a blessing. “I am your salvation.” You are to trust now. Are you saying, “How can I be saved?” Jesus answers, “I am your salvation.” Not “I will be,” but “I am.” Present salvation is stored up in Christ.


   There is life for a look at the Crucified One;

   There is life at this moment for thee.


“But,” you say, “what am I to do? What am I to feel? What am I to be?” The answer is,—


   Nothing, either great or small,

      Nothing, sinner, no;

   Jesus did it, did it all,

      Long, long ago.


“Yes, but surely there is something needed to prepare me for him?” No, come just as you are. He does not say, “I will be your salvation when you have done this and that, so as to prepare yourself for me.” No, but he says, “I am your salvation.” If you only trust him sincerely, and with your whole heart, this moment he forgives you, this moment he takes you into the family of grace, regenerates you, and makes you “a new creature” in himself. May God grant that we may all spiritually learn this doctrine, “I am your salvation.”

3. Not that I intend just now to use the text only in this sense, though I think it is highly proper both in temporal and in spiritual dilemmas to feel that God is our salvation. Rather let me show you how it embodies a prayer of the psalmist for the full assurance of faith. He is asking that, having believed in God, he may have a sign for good, so that he may be able to—


      Read his title clear

   To mansions in the skies.


He wants to hear a still, small voice within him saying, “I am your salvation.”

4. I shall try, first of all, to describe the assurance intended in the text; secondly, to show its blessedness; and, thirdly, to describe the way of reaching it.

5. I. First, let me DESCRIBE THE ASSURANCE INTENDED IN THE TEXT.

6. “Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation.’” The assurance which the psalmist seeks in this prayer is one concerning a very solemn business. People like to be sure about purchasing their estates. There is a great deal of searching every time the land is bought, in order to see that the title is good, valid, and uncontestable. Some people are very particular about their bodily health, and they like occasionally to have an assurance from the physician that every organ is in a sound condition. But, in this Psalm, David is perplexed, neither about his estate, though that was a kingdom, nor about his health, though that was more than a fortune to him, but he is concerned only about his soul. Oh my brethren, if we ought to be sure anywhere, it is here; oh, that we were half as diligent to make our “calling and election sure” as some are to make secure their bonds, and mortgages, and title-deeds! Not to be sure of heaven, what a wretched state to be in! To have a question about my soul’s eternal welfare,—a dying mortal, whose breath may depart any second in the hour!—oh, this is misery indeed! I had better know my true state. If it is bad, it will be good for me to know the worst of it while there is time, so that it may yet be mended; and if it is good, it will be a sweet thing for me to know that it certainly is so, and then my “peace shall be like a river,” and my joy shall flow on in perpetual waves of freshness. Oh my dear hearers, make sure work for eternity! If you must trifle anywhere, never trifle here! This anchor, this bower-anchor, {a} this sheet-anchor {b} of the soul, see that you have a good cable to this. There! let everything else go; but now that the dread storm is coming on, see that the anchor holds within the veil; and see also that it is God’s anchor of faith, created in you by God the Holy Spirit. At the very outset of this address, please breathe the prayer, “Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation.’”

7. And, you will notice, just as it is about a very solemn business, so, also, it is an appeal to One who knows about it, and who can speak on it with authority. Brethren, if you should come to a minister, whoever he may be, and say to him, “Sir, I will tell you my evidence, I will relate my experience; tell me, are these the signs of a child of God?” you may deceive him in your statements, and he himself may mislead you in his judgment. What would be the worth of the opinions of all the men in the world concerning the state of a soul before God? Certainly it would be very suspicious, and would give much cause for fear if God’s people were afraid of me, for I should begin to be afraid of myself; but still, though they have accepted me, let me not therefore take it for granted that God has done so. I may stand well with his church, I may be beloved by his servants, but for all that he may know that I am not his. I may be rather more thickly coated with gilt than some others, and yet I may not be real gold; I may be better made and varnished than some, and yes I may be only an imitation, and not the true wood. It is good, my dear hearers, when you dare to come before God, and have an investigation of your case. When a man is willing to have the title-deeds of his estate examined in any court in the world, I should think that those deeds were thoroughly sound. When you can say, “Search me, oh God, and know my heart; test me, and know my thoughts,” or can even pray, as this text does, “Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation,’” then there is hope for you.

8. But observe that the evidence the psalmist wants is personal assurance: “Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation.’” How many times do we have to cry out against that bad habit of generalizing in religion! Beloved, let us repeat what we have said a thousand times before, that national religion is altogether a dream; that even the idea of family religion, excellent as it is, is still often only a mere idea. The only godliness worth having is personal godliness, and the only religion which will really result in salvation is what is vital and personal to the individual. “You must be born again.” Now there is no way of being born again by proxy. The Church of England may invent its “sponsors” at will, but God has nothing to do with such things. Please, never let the soul-damning falsehood of another man standing for you be tolerated in your soul for a single second! Another man cannot promise anything for you, or, if he should promise it, he would not be able to accomplish what he had promised. These works must be accomplished in you personally by God the Holy Spirit himself, or else you can never be saved. I love you to pray for your children; I am glad, poor woman, that you are anxious for your husband; it is a good thing that you, husband, should pray for your wife; but oh, remember, the salvation of another will be very poor comfort for you if you yourself should be cast into the everlasting burnings! Let your prayer be first for yourselves. Let that be the leading point, and then you will breathe the prayer more hopefully for others: “Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation’; I hear that showers of mercy are dropping all around, let them also drop on me; I hear that conversions are numerous, oh, if I am not converted, convert me; I know that you do great wonders, Lord, let me be a monument of your power to save.” It is personal assurance that the psalmist wants.

9. Observe, also, for it lies on the surface of the text, that it is an assurance sent, not to the ear, but to the heart: “Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation.’” Now, God does speak to us through our ears. When the Word is read or preached, we often get a blessing through hearing it; but if the words you hear merely come to the ear, it involves responsibility without insuring a blessing. Certain people dream that God is their salvation! Go to bed and dream again, and dream fifty times, and when you have dreamed the same thing fifty times, there can and will be nothing but dreaming in it after all. You who build on dreams had better watch what you are doing.

10. “Well,” another says, “but I heard a voice in the air.” Nonsense! “But I did,” you say. Superstition! “But I am sure I did.” Well, what does it matter? I do not care where the voice came from, if you heard it only with your outward ears. It is as likely to have been the devil that spoke as anyone else, if indeed it was anyone at all. You are as likely to deceive yourself as anything in the world. The prayer of the text is not, “Say to my ears,” but “Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation.’” Do you understand what soul-talking is? Oh, dear, dear, most people do not understand anything that has to do with the spirit world; there are materialists in Christianity as well as in other matters. They suppose that, to worship God means to sing in a certain way, to bow the knee, and to say certain words. Why, you may do all that, and yet there may not be a fraction of worship in it; and, on the other hand, you may worship God without any of it. A man may sing God’s praises without ever opening his mouth; a man may pray to God, and yet never say a word, for it is soul-singing and soul-praying that God accepts; and when God speaks back again to the soul that has learned to talk with him, he does not speak lip-language, tongue-language, or ear-language, but soul-language. I have already said that this soul-language sometimes takes the body of preaching, or of the Word of God, and so becomes, as it were, a thing to appeal to the ear; but even then the letter kills, it is only the spirit that makes alive. It is God’s soul talking to man’s soul that is needed here. And notice that, dear friend, if ever God speaks to your soul, you will not have to ask who it is who speaks, for if ever the eternal God comes into direct contact with the human heart, there is no making a mistake. Do you understand this? Some of you think I am fanatical. I wish you were all as fanatical! May you have God talking with your soul, and may the Holy Spirit bear witness with your spirit that you are born by God! Pray the prayer, and may God hear it now, “Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation.’”

11. Then I want you also to notice that the prayer offered here is a present one. It means, “Say now to my soul, ‘I am your salvation.’” It is not “Do it eventually,” but “now, Lord, now.” Perhaps some of you have heard God’s voice in years gone by, but now you have gotten into Doubting Castle. Well, you may pray this prayer here, and while you are sitting in the pew, though no one shall hear it but yourself, yet God’s Spirit shall talk to you, and you shall hear him say, “I am your salvation,” and then your heart shall sing, “I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine.” Pray the prayer now, and it need not take a moment to be answered, for, while you are still speaking it, you shall feel it. You will be bowed down under a sense of gratitude, and yet you will be lifted up with a “joy unspeakable, and full of glory,” when you can sing—


   While Jesus whispers I am his,

      And my Beloved’s mine.


Come, believers, let us all pray this prayer, whether we have heard this voice before or not. Oh, my God, make us true believers now, and may we all pray it, “Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation.’” The preacher often needs to use this prayer himself, and he has no doubt that many of his brethren have been constrained to use just such a cry. Well, let it go up again tonight: “Oh God, give us back the love of our espousals, our first faith, our early joy, and speak, with your own voice, to our troubled hearts, and say to our souls, ‘I am your salvation.’”

12. II. And now we shall turn, very briefly indeed, to the second point? It was to be THE BLESSEDNESS OF THE ASSURANCE ASKED FOR.

13. I do not think I shall preach on that at all, but leave you to find it out for yourselves. You who know it know that I cannot describe it, for you cannot describe it yourselves; and you who do not know it would not understand it if I told you what it is. You will understand as much as this, that if you were able to feel tonight that God himself had said to your soul, “I am your salvation,” you would feel infinitely more happy than you do now. Some of you are very cheerful, but sometimes you get troubled and cast down. You apparently have, I know, a great deal of hilarity and mirth about you, but at night, or in the early morning, or when you have to go to a funeral, you do not feel quite as you would like to feel. There is an aching void somewhere or other, and you have not found what is to fill it yet. Now, if God himself should say to you, “I am your salvation,” would that not fill it? Oh, what a different life you would lead then! How happy you would be, and, being saved, how holy you would try to be; and, being holy, how near to God you would try to live! “If I were only saved,” one says, “then I would indeed praise the Lord as long as I had any being.” Well, poor soul, I pray that this may be your case, but you must taste its blessedness to know. “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!” There is no other way of understanding it than this.

14. I think I told you, once, the little story of the boy at the mission station who had received a piece of sugar from a missionary, and when he went home told his father that he had had something so sweet. The father asked if it were as sweet as such and such a fruit. Oh, sweeter than that! Was it as sweet as such another? Yes, much sweeter than that; and when the boy could not make his father understand how sweet it was, he ran down to the station, and said, “Oh, sir, would you give me another piece of that sweet stuff? Father wants to understand how sweet it is, and I want to make him understand it, but I cannot tell him.” So he got another piece of sugar, and back he went to his father with it. “Here, father, now you will understand how sweet it is.” This is a very good illustration of the text I just quoted, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!” Taste for yourselves, and then you shall know for yourselves.

15. III. Now let us go to the third point without delay. HOW ARE WE TO GET THIS ASSURANCE? HOW SHALL THE BELIEVER KNOW THAT HE IS SAVED?

16. The way to assurance is through the door of simple faith. The gospel is, “He who believes and is baptised shall be saved.” To believe is to trust Christ. Now, if I know that I do trust Christ, and that I have, in obedience to his command, been baptised, then, God says I shall be saved; and is that not enough for me? Ought it not to be, at any rate? If God says it, it must be true. I believe his Book to be inspired, and he has put it like this, “He who believes in him is not condemned.” Well, if I do believe in him, then I am not condemned. Conscience says, “You are a long way off from being perfect.” I know that. Ah, conscience! I know it to my shame and to my sorrow; but the Word says, “He who believes in him is not condemned.” I do believe in him, and I am not condemned, let conscience say what it likes. “Well, but” the devil says, “how can this be true?” That is neither my business nor yours, Satan; God says it is so, and therefore it is so. That is enough for me. We take men’s word, why should we not take God’s Word? He who simply believes in Jesus Christ must have some degree of assurance, for the simple act of reclining, recumbently resting, on Christ, if it is done truly and sincerely, is in its measure assuring to the heart. At any rate, it is the milk that brings the cream. Faith is the milk, and assurance is the cream. You must get your assurance from your faith; and if it is a simple faith which relies entirely on Jesus Christ, it will, if not directly, yet very speedily, bring you some degree of assurance of your interest in Christ.

17. There are many good people who say, “We are trusting in Christ, and we hope we are Christians.” They do not like to say that they know they are saved. They think they are very humble in saying, “We trust so; we hope so”; whereas there is nothing but pride, like a thick sediment, behind all that kind of talk. What right have I, when God tells me that a thing is so, to say that I hope it is so? If I were to promise to give a subscription of ten pounds to any object, and the person to whom I promised it should say, “Well, I hope you will give it”; I should answer, “But I have said that I will.” “Yes, I hope you will.” “But do you not believe me?” “Yes, I hope I do, but———” Why, if such talk as this prevailed among men of the world, they would be for showing the door to each other. It would be looked on as an insult not to believe a man; and why should you treat God in a way in which you would not like to be treated by your fellow men? God says that I am saved if I trust Christ. I do trust Christ, and I am saved; if I am not, then God’s Word is not true. It comes down to that. Since his Word must be true, then, if I really do trust Christ, and I know that I do,—if, whatever else I have left undone, my soul does cling to him, sink or swim, not having the shadow of a hope anywhere but in his precious blood, and if I can say this, then I know I am saved, for God says I am. Experience and conscience may say whatever they like, but “let God be true, and every man a liar.”

18. The way, however, to increase the measure of our assurance is to be found in more study of the Word of God. Some people do not have the confidence they might have because they do not understand the truth. I think that certain forms of Armenianism are detrimental to the faith of the Christian; those forms, for example, which deny the election of God, the effectual calling of the Holy Spirit, and the final perseverance, or the sure preservation, of the saints. These denials seem to me to cut the very ground from under a man’s foot everything he has to stand on, and I do not wonder that the man who believes them has no assurance. If I believe that God’s children may fall away and perish, it seems to me that full assurance, at any rate, becomes an impossibility, for if they may fall, why may not I? What is there in me that I should stand where others fall? But when I rest only on the finished work and righteousness of Jesus, and believe it is finished, then I can sing, “Now to him who is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with very great joy, be glory, majesty, dominion and power, for ever and ever. Amen.” Study the Word much, dear Christian brother. Never mind the magazines; never mind the newspapers. Only as they are necessary to your business, you need not trouble yourself with them. All of us would be a great deal better if we stuck with the one Book. Let us be as expansive in our knowledge as possible, but let us keep the Bible as the sun and centre of the solar system of our knowledge, and let everything we know revolve around that centre. If we knew more of God, we might be content to know less of men.

19. Next to this, I think, if we would have full assurance established, we must be more in prayer than we are. You will not be in a healthy state if you live without prayer. You cannot live without it if you are a Christian; but I mean you cannot be healthy if you live without much prayer. I am persuaded that none of us pray as we ought. I am not given to bandying accusations against God’s saints without thought; but I am afraid that this is not a praying age. It is a reading age, a preaching age, a working age, but it is not a praying age. When one reads of the Puritans’ prayers, one is astounded. Why, their public prayers were sometimes three quarters of an hour in length, and sometimes one hour and a half by the clock. I do not like that; but their private prayers were longer by far, and days of fasting and of prayer were quite common things. I wish we could have a day of fasting and of prayer about this cattle disease; but I only say this in passing. I wish all of us prayed a great deal more than we do. We just pray for a short time because we say that we are so busy; but we forget that the more we pray the more able we are to work. The farmer does not begrudge the time he spends in sharpening his scythe, or the scribe the interval for mending his pen. Martin Luther, when he had twice as much to do as he usually had, said, “I must pray for three hours today at least, or else I shall never get through my work.” The more work he had, the more he prayed in order that he might be able to get through it. Oh, that we did the same! We should have more assurance if we were more on the mount with God alone.

20. Let me also advise you to attend an edifying ministry, and to get with well-advanced Christians. Some of the young plants here, when they get moved away, suffer terribly from the cold; they come, perhaps, from the country, full of doubts and fears, and then some of my good brothers and sisters get around them, and talk to them, and cheer them up, and then they are so glad. Oh, that all churches were warm-hearted, cordial, and affectionate! There is so much stuck-upishness, so much keeping aloof from each other, that there can be no talking to each other about the things of God. By the grace of God, we will try to break this down, and get a little warm-heartedness for each other, and so we will hope to get the full assurance by talking to each other about the things of the kingdom, and so strengthening each other in our work.

21. But, dear friends, if you want to get full assurance, I can recommend another thing to you, and it is this, work for Christ. We are not saved by works, but working for God brings us many blessings. Rest assured that, if you spend and are spent for Christ, you shall never be out of spending-money. If you lay out your strength for him, he will lay in for you fresh supplies of strength. He does not give us faith so that we may bury it as the man buried his talent; but if we have five talents of faith, and use them, he will give us five more talents; and so we shall have assurance if we use our faith well.

22. And then, again, praise God for what you have. Old Master Brookes says, “If you only have candlelight, bless God for it, and he will give you starlight; when you have gotten starlight, praise God for it, and he will give you moonlight; when you have gotten moonlight, rejoice in it, and he will give you sunlight; and when you have gotten sunlight, praise him even more, and he will make the light of your sun as the light of seven days, for the Lord himself shall be the light of your spirit.” Praise and bless him, and your assurance shall grow.

23. Above all, press through ordinances, and means, and prayers, to the person of Christ himself. Thomas found that putting his finger into Christ’s wounds was a cure-all for his unbelief; and so will you. Ask him to—


   Wrap you in his crimson vest,

      And tell you all his name.


Pray to him to reveal himself to you in his sufferings, and in his glory. Ask him that you may read his heart, that he may speak to you, and show you the great unspeakable love by which he loved you from before the foundation of the world. Then your communion with Christ shall be as eagle wings to bear you up to heaven; your fellowship with Jesus shall be like horses of fire to drag your chariot of flaming love up to the throne of the Most High. You shall walk on the mountain top, talking with God, for you have learned to commune with Christ. Your spirit shall make its nest close by the throne of the Most High. You shall get above the cares of earth, you shall mount beyond the storm and strife of worldly conflict, and you shall even now bathe your souls in the unbroken sea of everlasting calm before the throne of God.

24. Let us ask him to say to each of our souls tonight, “I am your salvation.” Some of us are going to the communion table: perhaps he will say it to us there; and if he does not, we will go home to pray; and if he does not speak to us then, perhaps in the night-watches he will say it; and when we awaken, we will still plead on, until those lips which said, “Let there be light,” and there was light, shall again say, “Let there be light” for us, and we shall know that he is our salvation.

25. May God bless you very richly by hearing this prayer, for Jesus’ sake.


{a} Bower-Anchor: The name of two anchors, the best-bower, and small-bower, carried at the bows of a vessel; also the cable attached to such an anchor. OED.
{b} Sheet-Anchor: A large anchor, formerly always the largest of a ship’s anchors, used only in an emergency. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Php 1:21-2:11}

1:21. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 146, “The Good Man’s Life and Death” 140}

“For to me to live is Christ.” If he lived, he lived to know more of Christ studying his person, and learning by his happy experience so that he increased in his knowledge of his Lord and Saviour. If he lived, he lived to imitate Christ more closely, becoming more and more conformed to his image. If he lived, he lived to make Christ more and more known to others, and to enjoy Christ more himself. In these four senses, he might well say, “For to me to live is Christ,”—to know Christ more, to imitate Christ more, to preach Christ more, and to enjoy Christ more.

“And to die is gain,” because death, he felt, would free him from all sin, and from all doubts concerning his state in the present and the future. It would be gain for him, for then he would no longer be tossed on the stormy sea, but he would be safe on the land where he was bound. It would be gain for him, for then he would be free from all temptations both from within and from without. It would be gain for him, for then he would be delivered from all his enemies; there would be no cruel Nero, no blaspheming Jews, no false brethren then. It would be gain for him, for then he would be delivered from all suffering, there would be no more shipwrecks, no more being beaten with rods, or being stoned, for him then. Dying, too, would be gain for him, for he would then be free from all fear of death; and having once died, he would die no more for ever. It would be gain for him, for he would find in heaven better and more perfect friends than he would leave behind on earth; and he would find, above all, his Saviour, and be a partaker of his glory. This is a wide subject, and the more we think it over, the more sweetness we shall get out of it.

22. But if I live in the flesh,

That is a very different thing from living for the flesh.

22. This is the fruit of my labour;

He lived to work for Christ, and to see souls saved as the fruit of his labour.

22, 23. Yet I do not know which I shall choose. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 274, “Paul’s Desire to Depart” 266} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1136, “For Ever with the Lord” 1127}

There were the two currents flowing in opposite directions. The apostle seemed to hear two voices speaking to him; one of them said, “Live, and you will gather the fruit of your labour, you will see sinners saved, churches established, and the kingdom of Christ extended on the earth.” The other said, “Die, and you will be with Christ”; so he did not know which to choose.

24-26. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; so that your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

The apostle desired to die, yet he was willing to live. Death would have been gain for him, yet he would endure the loss of living if he might benefit others by it. Let us also always prefer the welfare of others before our own, and care rather to serve others than to make ourselves ever so happy.

Now the apostle gives these saints at Philippi a loving exhortation:—

27. Only let your conduct be as it becomes the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

The unity of the church is of the utmost importance. When there is a lack of brotherly love, the perfect bond is lost; and just as it is with a bundle of rods, when once the binding cord is cut, becomes merely a number of weak and single twigs, so it is with a divided church. May we always be kept in one holy bond of perfect union with each other!

28. And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an obvious sign of perdition,

“Away with them! Away with them!” cried the heathen; “those who are not ashamed to acknowledge the crucified Christ are only worthy of perdition.” But of what was their courage a sign to themselves?

28. But to you of salvation, and that of God.

For when saints can bear fierce persecution without flinching it is an obvious sign that they are saved by the grace of God.

29. For to you it is given on the behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him,

Which is a great gift,—

29. But also to suffer for his sake;

Which is an even greater gift.

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

“The same agony” it is in the Greek, as if every Christian must, in his measure, go through the same agony through which the apostle went, striving and wrestling against sin, groaning under its burden, agonizing to be delivered from it and labouring to bring others out of its power.

2:1, 2. If there is therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any heart of mercies fulfil my joy, that you be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord of one mind.

He knew that these saints at Philippi loved him. They had sent twice to relieve his needs, so he pleaded with them, by their love for him, to love each other. He as much as says, “If you really do love me, if it is not a sham, if you have any sympathy with me, and with my labours and sufferings, if you really have the same spirit that burns in my breast, make my heart full of joy by clinging to each other, by being like-minded, ‘having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.’”

3. Let nothing be done through strife or pride;

This would be a good motto for those who are intending to build new places of worship. Do not let them be built through strife, because of a squabble among the people of God, but make sure that all concerned are actuated by right motives, and seeking only the glory of God. Then, sometimes, if one gives a guinea, another feels that he must give two in order to excel him; this is giving out of pride. Let nothing be done in this way; but as to the Lord, and as in his sight, let us do all our works, and give all our gifts.

3, 4. But in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Consider how you can help others, and in what way you can prosper them both in temporal things and in spiritual. You are members of a body, so one member is not to think for itself alone, the unity of the whole body requires that every individual and distinct part of it should be in harmony with the whole body.

5-8. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2281, “Our Lord in the Valley of Humiliation” 2282}

He humbled himself, so do not be unwilling to humble yourself. Christ could not go lower than the cross, his death was one of such extreme ignominy that he could not have been more disgraced and degraded. Be willing to take the lowest place in the Church of God, and to render the humblest service; consider it an honour to be allowed to wash the saints’ feet. Be humble in mind; nothing is lost by cherishing this spirit, for see how Jesus Christ was honoured in the end.

9-11. Therefore God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 101, “The Exaltation of Christ” 96}

Some foolish and superstitious people make this passage a pretext for bowing their heads at the name of Jesus whenever it is mentioned. Nothing can be more senseless, because the passage means no such thing.

What we are taught here is the great truth that Jesus Christ, though he once stooped to the lowest shame, is now exalted to the very highest glory, and even the demons in hell are compelled to acknowledge the might of his power. We are also to learn from this passage that the way to ascend is to descend. He who would be chief must be willing to be the servant of all. The King of kings was the Servant of servants; and if you would be crowned with honour eventually, you must be willing to be despised and rejected by men now. May the Lord give us this gracious humbleness of mind, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

(Copyright (c) 2020, Answers In Genesis, Kentucky, United States. Permission for non-profit publishing or distribution of this sermon on paper is freely granted. Contact Answers In Genesis for permission for all other forms of publishing or distribution. Sermons updated by Larry and Marion Pierce of Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. We have not knowingly changed the meaning of this sermon. We intended only to eliminate archaic language. If you find a place where you think we have changed the meaning, please contact us so we can correct it. Contact information: email: [email protected], phone: (226) 243-6286.

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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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