3151. The Lord's Supper, Simple But Sublime!

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No. 3151-55:313. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, In The Year 1866, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, July 1, 1909.

Do this, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you show the Lord’s death until he comes. {1Co 11:25,26} {a}

For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2638, “Right Observance of the Lord’s Supper, The” 2639}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3130, “‘In Remembrance’” 3131}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3151, “Lord’s Supper, Simple But Sublime, The” 3152}

   Exposition on 1Co 11:17-34 Lu 22:14-24 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2638, “Right Observance of the Lord’s Supper, The” 2639} @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Mt 26:17-30 1Co 11:18-34 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2865, “Fencing the Table” 2866 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Mt 26:17-30 1Co 11:20-34 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2595, “What the Lord’s Supper Sees and Says” 2596 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Mt 26:17-39 1Co 11:20-34 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2699, “Examination Before Communion” 2700 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Mt 26:26-30 1Co 11:20-34 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2268, “Question for Communicants, A” 2269 @@ "Exposition"}

   {See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "1Co 11:26"}

1. It would be a waste of time, and would tend to mar our fellowship with Christ, if I were to attempt an enumeration of the errors and misapprehensions into which men have fallen concerning the purpose of the Lord’s supper. There are some communities of men among us—and they seem to be multiplying,—who turn the communion table into an altar, and convert the bread and wine, which are only a memorial, into the semblance of a sacrifice. I will only say, into their secret may we never enter, and with their confederacy may we never be united; for their table is the table of idolatry, and their altar is little better than a sacrifice to demons. Such offerings cannot be acceptable to God, for those who observe them turn aside altogether from the simplicity of the truth to the cabalistic {b} devices of Antichrist.

2. This simple feast of the Lord’s supper, consisting of the breaking and eating of bread, and the pouring out and drinking of wine, has two objects on its very surface. It is intended as a memorial of Christ, and it is intended as a showing or a display of our faith in Christ, and of Christ’s death, to others. These are the two objects: “Do this in remembrance of me”; and “By this you show the Lord’s death until he comes.”

3. I. First, then, WE VIEW THE SUPPER OF OUR LORD AS BEING A MEMORIAL OF HIM; and as such, it is simple, and very significant.

4. How plainly it represents Christ’s incarnation. We take the bread. That bread, on which we feed, and which becomes assimilated with our flesh, is the type of the incarnation of the Saviour, who veiled his glory in our human clay. The same bread broken becomes the type of that body of the Saviour rent and torn with anguish. We have there the nails, the scourge, the cross, all represented by that simple act of breaking the bread. And when the wine is poured out, there is no mystification, but rather the disclosure of a mystery. It represents the blood of him who took blood in order that he might become one blood with us, his incarnate people; and who, “being found in appearance as a man,” “became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.” So that, just as the wine is pressed from the cluster, and is poured out into the cup, so his blood was pressed from him in the wine-press of divine wrath, and poured out so that he might make atonement for the sin of men. A child, standing by the communion table, and asking his father this question, “What do you mean by this ordinance?” might very soon be told, “My child, we break this bread to show how Jesus Christ’s body suffered; and we pour out this wine as a sign that Jesus Christ poured out his heart’s blood for the sins of men.” It is marvellous that men should have added so many things of their own invention to screen and veil this very simple, and, therefore, very sublime ordinance. Brethren, let us come to those two symbols, and here discern Christ’s body broken for our sin, and view his blood streaming out for our redemption.

5. The type, however, is suggestive, because it not only represents the suffering of Christ, but also the result of that suffering. It pictures the end as well as the means; that is to say, when I take that bread, and eat it, and take that cup, and drink it, I bring to memory,—to my own memory, and the memory of those all around me,—not merely the fact that Christ suffered, but that he suffered for me, and that I had an interest in him. Believe me, beloved, this truth is so simple, that, while I speak, I can half imagine some of you saying, “Why does he not tell us something new?” But let me say to you, it is always a new truth, and there is no truth which the Christian heart more readily forgets. Oh, that I could always feel that he loved me, and gave himself for me! I know he did; it is a long time since I had a doubt about it, but I do not always remember it. Going out into the world, how apt we are to let the memory of the Saviour’s love slip! The love of wife and husband follows us like our own shadow; the love of our dear child seems to encompass us like the atmosphere in which we live; but Jesus Christ is not visibly here, and therefore the memory of him requires spirituality of mind, and we are carnal,—too often only babes in grace, and so we forget his sufferings; and, worse still, we forget our interest in them. Oh, that I could have the cross painted on my eyes, so that I could not see anything except through the medium of my Saviour’s passion! Oh Jesus, set yourself as a seal on my hand, and as a signet on my arm, and let me wear the pledge for ever where it is conspicuous before my soul’s eye! Happy is that Christian who can say, “I scarcely need that memorial.” But I am not such a one; and I fear, my brethren, that most of us need to be reminded by that bread and wine that Jesus died; and need to be reminded, by the eating and drinking of the same, that he died for us.

6. I do not want to say a word tonight that shall have any oratory in it,—any elocutionary display about it. I want to speak so plainly, that those of you who are not Christians will say that it was a dry and dull sermon. I shall not care what you say, and what you feel, if I can get each believer here just to think over this thought, and to remember it,—“The Lord of glory loved me, and gave himself for me. That head which now is crowned with glory was once crowned with thorns,—and crowned with thorns for me. He whom all heaven adores, who sits on the loftiest throne in heaven, once hung on the cross, in extreme agony, for me,—for me.” I know you are apt to think that he died for so many that he did not have a special purpose to serve in redeeming you; but it has been very beautifully said that, since the love of Christ is infinite, if you divide the infinite by any number you please, (I do not care what the divisor is, whether it is ten, or whether it is twenty million,) the quotient is infinite; and so, if the love of Jesus Christ, infinite as it is, can be supposed to be divided among us, each one of us should have an infinite love. It is our arithmetic that teaches us this; but, oh! if we only know by experience the infinite depth, the wonderful abyss of the love of Jesus for each one of us, our souls will be comforted, and rejoice with joy unspeakable. The sign, then, is significant.

7. But, in the next place, it is worthy of notice that the memorial which we are about to celebrate tonight is a joint one. There is something painful, but pleasing, when the father dies, for the children to come together at the funeral, and to go together to his grave. Many family heart-burnings have been healed when the various members of the family have joined in a memorial to their father. The poor man’s grave, especially, has much charm in it for me. There come the sons and daughters, and gather together their shillings to buy the grave and to buy the coffin. Often, over the rich man’s grave, there is a squabble concerning who shall share his wealth; but there is not any such quarrel in this case. The man has died penniless, and John, and Mary, and Thomas, all come; and they all see who can do the most in providing the patriarch’s grave; and if there is a tombstone, it is not one that pays for it, but they all put their money together, so that father’s memorial may be shared in by them all. How I like that thought! So, in this ordinance, “we being many are one bread,” and we being many are one cup. Brethren, I cannot do without you. If I want to celebrate the Lord’s death, I cannot go into my room, and take the piece of bread and the cup, and celebrate the ordinance alone; I must have you with me, I cannot do without you. And you, the most spiritually-minded of you, if you shut yourselves up in a cell, and try to play the monk and the super-excellent, cannot keep this ordinance. You must have fellowship with other believers, you must come down among the saints, for our Saviour has given us this memorial which cannot be celebrated except jointly, by all of us together. You Christians must come together to break this bread, and to drink this cup. “Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” Did the Master foresee that we should be so apt to split up into sections? Did he know that we should be so apt to be individualised until we forgot to bear each other’s burdens? And did he, therefore, while he made baptism the personal, solitary confession of faith, make this communion to be a united joint memorial in order that we might be compelled to come together,—might by sweet constraint be driven to meet in the same place with one accord, or else be unable to make a memorial of his death?

8. It is a joint memorial. You have thought that over. Well, now, let us try and link hearts together. Are there any differences between us tonight? I am not conscious, my beloved, of any difference with any one of you. If I were, I would seek grace to shake it off; and if you tonight are conscious of anything against any brother with whom you will commune at the table, now please settle it all away before you come here. Remember that you must eat and drink jointly with that very friend with whom you are offended now, and therefore make up the offence, and so come together. God has forgiven you so much that you may well forgive your brother this little, supposing him to have offended you. Come, then, together, beloved; together let us keep the feast.

9. At the same time, I must not forget to remind you that, while a united memorial, it is most distinctly a personal one. There can be no Lord’s supper, though we all meet, unless every man puts the bread into his mouth, and unless each one of us himself drinks the wine. That cannot be done as a joint act. The bread is passed around, and there must be a distinct reception on the part of every person here. So let us not lose ourselves in the crowd. We are drops in one great sea; but, still, we must remember that we are drops; and, just as no drop of the sea is without its salt, so let no one among us be without the salting influence of true communion with Jesus. Dear friend, I cannot commune for you, and you cannot commune for me. If you are all happy, I shall be glad, but it will be little benefit to me unless I can see the Saviour too, and so it will be with each one of you. Therefore let me ask you to cry to God to cause you now to personally remember the Lord Jesus Christ,—his love for you, his death for you, his rising for you. “He loved me, and gave himself for me”; let that thought be uppermost in your mind just now.

10. Yet further, I must not fail to remind you that, as a memorial of Christ, while it is very solemn, it is exceptionally happy. Christ has ordained, as a memorial of his death, what? Why, a feast; not a funeral, not a meeting together to sing dirges over his mangled body, or to go to a grave to weep there. That might have been a memorial, but we have a better one; we have a happy one. It is very significant that, after supper, they sang a hymn. Singing then? Oh, yes, singing! Joy becomes a feast, and joy is to attend our memory of the woes of Jesus. The position which we ought to occupy at the Lord’s table suggests also that Christ meant us to be happy. Did he ordain that we should kneel? No, there is not a hint of it. Did he for intend us to stand? There is not a syllable about it. How was the Lord’s supper originally received? The guests reclined around the table, leaning their heads on each other’s bosoms. It was the relaxing posture of the ordinary feaster in oriental nations. The most proper posture for us, since we could not well lie along, is to sit in the most relaxing posture conceivable. Choose for yourselves; never mind what people say about reverence; familiarity with Jesus is the highest reverence. Put your body at the communion table into the easiest possible position in which you can rest, and you have then reached Christ’s ideal. It is a feast where you are to be perfectly at ease, in contrast, notice that, with the Passover. There they stood, with their loins girt about, with their hats on, and with their staves in their hands, and they ate like men in a hurry, who had to go through the wilderness. Now, we have gone through the wilderness. We who have believed have entered into rest; our Passover has been eaten. We do not fear the destroying angel; he has passed over us. We are out of Egypt, we have entered into Canaan, and though the Canaanite is still in the land, we are driving him out. We are not now keeping the Passover with haste, and hurry, and fear, and confusion; it is the Lord’s supper of rest, and joy, and peace, for, “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is a happy memorial. Joy becomes the face of everyone who shall come to the table tonight, or at any other time.

11. Well now, brethren, if to remember Christ is the object of the Lord’s supper, then you will not have come here to any account unless you remember him. So please put away every other thought. Do you have doctrinal difficulties? Leave them until tomorrow. Do you have a sick child, or does business go amiss? Well you will not relieve your cares by violating this sacred hour. Let these burdens be cast on him who cares for you. One thing you have to deal with, it is Jesus Christ crucified,—crucified for you, received by you. Now blot out the other stars, and let only one star shine in the sky,—the Star of Bethlehem. Bid farewell now to every love but the love of Jesus, and to every fellowship but fellowship with him. Ask the Lord to take your heart as an arrow, and fit it to his bow, and shoot it right up to where Christ is in heaven. “Set your affection on things above.” Many people misquote that, “Set your affections.” Paul wrote no such thing! “Set your affection”—tie your affections into one bundle, and make them one affection, and then set it on things above. Let your whole heart lie in the bosom of the Saviour. I pray the Master that not one of us may hold back; not even you, Mrs. Much-Afraid; nor you, Little-Faith; and you, Ready-to-Halt, may you forget your crutches, and may you now remember only him who is the All in all of both the strong and the weak.

   The strong, the feeble, and the weak,

      Are one in Jesus now;—

and let them know it as they sit here, and remember him.

12. II. The second object of this supper of communion is THE SHOWING OF CHRIST’S DEATH UNTIL HE COMES.

13. “Until he comes.” I must not say anything about that, except that he will come, and I think that ought to be enough for Christians. To my great sorrow, I had sent to me, this last week, two or three copies of a tract purporting, according to the title-page, to have been written by myself, prophesying the coming of the Lord in the year 1866. Now, you may expect to hear of me being in Bedlam Asylum whenever, by my tongue or my pen, I give countenance to such rubbish. The Lord may come in 1866, and I shall be glad to see him; but, I do not believe he will; and one reason why I do not believe he will, I have told to you before: it is because all these false twopenny-halfpenny prophets say that he will. If they said he would not, I should begin to think he would; but inasmuch as they are all crying as one man that he will come in 1866, or 1867, I am inclined to think he will not come at any such time. It seems to me that there are a very great many prophecies which must be fulfilled before the coming of Christ, which will not be fulfilled in the next twelve months; and I prefer, beloved, to stand in the position of a man who knows neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of man comes; always looking for his appearing, but never interfering with those dates and figures, which seem to me to be proper amusement for young ladies who have nothing to do, and who take to them instead of reading novels, and for certain divines who have exhausted their stock of knowledge about sound doctrine, and therefore make up, and gain a little ephemeral popularity by shuffling texts of Scripture as the Norwood gypsies shuffled cards in days gone by. Leave the prophets to divide the profits which they get from simpletons; and as for you, watch for Christ’s coming, whether it shall be today, or tomorrow, and set no limits, and no dates, and no times. Only work while it is called today; work so that, when he comes, he may find you, as faithful servants, ready to come into the wedding with him. “Until he comes,” then, the Lord’s supper is to be a memorial of his death.

14. Let us just notice how we remember it.

15. I think we show it to ourselves. The Lord’s supper may be celebrated without any spectators. It should be in public where it can be; but if there is no one to look on, it may be otherwise. In Venice, in Milan, in Paris, and in other cities, where Romanism prevails, five or six of us have met together in our room at our hotel, and we have had the true Lord’s supper there, though there was no one to look on; and probably if there had been, in some cities where we have partaken of it, we might have been to answer to the law. It is a showing of Christ’s death to ourselves. We see the bread broken, and see the wine poured out, and we ourselves see here, in symbol, Christ crucified; and we see as before our eyes, when we eat and drink, our interest in the sacrifice offered on Calvary.

16. But next, we show it to God. We do, in effect, say before the all-witnessing Jehovah, “Great God, we break this bread in your august presence as a sign that we believe in your dear Son; and we drink this wine here before you, you Searcher of hearts, solemnly to say to you again, ‘We are yours, bought with Jesus’ blood, and washed clean in it.’” It is a showing of Christ’s death to God.

17. Moreover, it is a showing of it to our fellow Christians. We say to those who sit with us, “Come, brothers and sisters, let us join together; we join with you, join with us. We say to you, ‘We love him,’” and you say the same to us. Together we hold hands, and renew our Christian fellowship with each other, through renewing our fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ. We do, as it were, teach each other, and admonish each other, and comfort each other, when we show the Lord’s death like this.

18. But besides showing Christ’s death to ourselves, to our God, and to our fellow Christians, we also show it to the world. We do, in effect, say to the world, “Here we show that we believe in him whom you crucified. He who went outside the camp, the Man of Nazareth, despised and rejected by men, is our Master. You may trust in your philosophies; we trust in him. You may rely on your own merits, sacrifices, and performances; but, as for us, his flesh and his blood are our dependence. As we eat this bread, and drink this cup, Christ Jesus is presented to you as being All in all to us,—the bread which sustains our spiritual life, and the wine which gives us joy and sacred exhilaration and delight.”

19. And then, in addition to saying this to the world, we also say it to sinners, who may happen to be present, and to whom it may be blessed. How often within these walls has God blessed the breaking of bread to the conversion of souls! Let me refresh the memories of such. Some of you had been looking on from these galleries; you dared not come down with the people of God, but you did not like to go away; and so you sat, and you looked on, and your mouths were watering, not for the bread and wine, but for Christ. You wanted him, and gradually you were like the robins in the cold wintry days. You first, as it were, tapped at the church’s window-pane very gently, and you were afraid, so you stepped back again; but all the world was cold, and there was not a crumb for you anywhere else. Then you saw the open window of a gracious promise, “Whoever comes to me I will by no means cast out”; and, pressed by absolute necessity, you came to Jesus. You came into the family circle of Jesus Christ’s people, and you feasted, and you are glad tonight.

20. Well, dear friends, as we come together at the table, we will be remembering any among the onlookers who are not yet brought to Christ; we will think of them, and we wild breathe this prayer, “Lord, save them! As we show Christ, help them to see him. May they say, ‘Yes, his body was broken for sinners, his blood was poured out for sinners; so, we will trust him.’” And if they trust him, they shall be saved.

21. Well, now, may we accomplish these two intentions, to remember Christ, and to show his death. We can only do it by his Spirit. Let us, with bowed head, ask for that Spirit; let us seek so that we may worship Christ in spirit and in truth while we receive the outward symbols of his suffering.

{a} Mr. Spurgeon preached many times on these and the preceding verses. The following Sermons have been already published:— {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2, “The Remembrance of Christ” 3} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2307, “The Greatest Exhibition of the Age” 2308} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2595, “What the Lord’s Supper Sees and Says” 2596} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2638, “The Right Observance of the Lord’s Supper” 2639} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2872, “The Lord’s Supper” 2873} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2942, “The Object of the Lord’s Supper” 2943} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3099, “The Double Forget-Me-Not” 3100} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3130, “In Remembrance” 3131}

There is also a volume of Communion Meditations and Addresses by Mr. Spurgeon, entitled “Till He Come,” now issued by Messrs. Passmore & Alabaster at 2s. 6d.
{b} Cabalist: A secret intriguer or plotter. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Joh 17:1-18:9}

17:1. Jesus spoke these words, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour is come; glorify your Son, so that your Son also may glorify you:

Christ’s great intercessory prayer begins with his appeal to his Father to glorify his Son. Christ knew all that he would have to suffer during that “hour” to which he had looked forward from eternity, but his eye could see, beyond the cross with all its shame, the crown with all its glory. The Son being glorified, he would also glorify his Father, and there is a wonderful glory that comes to the Father through the death of his Son on the cross.

2. Since you have given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 566, “General and Yet Particular” 557}

Some people seem unable to see that there is perfect harmony between the general and the particular aspects of Christ’s atonement. As the one Mediator between God and men, he has absolute power over all men, to do with them as he wishes, yet that power has a special relationship to those whom his Father gave him before the foundation of the world, and they are those who come to him in accordance with his declaration, “All whom the Father gives me shall come to me; and whoever comes to me I will by no means cast out.”

3. And this is eternal life, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2396, “Eternal Life!” 2397}

So that the only way to obtain eternal life is to know God the Father and God the Son; and the best way to know them is to ask God the Holy Spirit to teach us what is revealed concerning them in the Sacred Scriptures which he inspired holy men of old to write.

4, 5. I have glorified you on the earth: I have finished the work which you gave me to do. And now, oh Father, glorify me with yourself with the glory which I had with you before the world was.

Since Christ had carried out his Father’s will, and done the work he had been sent to do, it was only right that he should go back to the glory which he had for a time voluntarily laid aside. You notice that, although he had not then died on the cross, he was certain that he would complete his great mediatorial work there that he spoke of it as being already “finished.”

6. I have revealed your name to the men whom you gave me out of the world: yours they were, and you gave them to me; and they have kept your word.

No one but Christ could or would have borne such a testimony concerning his fickle, feeble followers; happy will it be for us if he can say also concerning us who profess to be his disciples, “They have kept your word.”

7, 8. Now they have known that all things whatever you have given me are from you. For I have given to them the words which you gave me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me.

You see how the truth reached these disciples. The Father gave the words to his Son in his mediatorial capacity, and he gave those words to his disciples, and they received them, and believed that Christ was indeed the Sent One from the Father.

9, 10. I pray for them: I do not pray for the world, but for those whom you have given to me; for they are yours. And all mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I am glorified in them. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2331, “Christ’s Pastoral Prayer for His People” 2332}

See what perfect union there is between the Father and the Son, and note their mutual relationship to the chosen people, “They are yours. And all mine are yours, and yours are mine.”

11, 12. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to you. Holy Father, keep through your own name those whom you have given to me, so that they may be one as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name: those whom you gave to me I have kept, and not one of them is lost, but the son of perdition; so that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

So it is clear that Judas was not among those who were given to Christ by his Father; if he had been, he also would have been “kept.”

13. And now I come to you;

Christ looked beyond all that was to happen to him before he could return to his glory, and as he saw his Father waiting to welcome him, he cried, “And now I come to you.” These might be appropriate words in the mouth of a dying believer: “And now I come to you.”

13, 14. And I speak these things in the world, so that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Never did anyone more thoroughly mix with men than Christ did, and never had anyone greater sympathy with human beings than he had; yet everyone knows that he never was “of the world.” He was distinct from all who were around him, and he says that his disciples were as he was: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Christ’s people have a life that others do not have; they have a relationship to God that others do not have; they are swayed by motives which others do not understand; and they are journeying onward toward a perfection to which others do not even desire to attain. So they are not of the world, and the world treats them as speckled birds, and hates them even as it hated their Lord and Master.

10. I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 47, “Christ’s Prayer for His People” 45} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2355, “Christ’s Negative and Positive Prayer” 2356} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2703, “The Preservation of Christians in the World” 2704}

Christ did not pray that there might be monasteries and nunneries where his servants might be isolated from the world, nor even that his followers might die in early youth, and go home to heaven; but he prayed that, remaining in the world for gracious purposes,—to be its salt and its light,—they might themselves be kept from the evil that is in the world. It would be a dreadful thing indeed if the chosen people of God were to be overcome by the world; so Christ prayed that his Father would keep them from the evil, for he well knew that they could not be kept from it by any power that was not divine. There is no less power needed for the preservation of a believer than for his regeneration. The sustaining of a saint is a constant miracle, which can only be accomplished by God himself.

16, 17. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1890, “Our Lord’s Prayer for His People’s Sanctification” 1891}

Some men tell us that the truth is in the Word, but that the Word is not the truth. I read, the other day, that we might regard the Bible as a chest which contained the jewel of the truth, but was not itself the jewel. Christ did not talk in that way, for he said to his Father, “Your word is truth.” This shows that God’s Word is not merely the chest of truth, but is the truth itself.

18. Just as you have sent me into the world, even so I have also sent them into the world.

They are sent ones, even as Christ was the Sent One. Since he is the Christ, they are Christ-ians, anointed with the same anointing as he himself is, and they should endeavour to be in all respects missionaries to the world, even as Christ was God’s great Missionary to the lost.

19. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

“I set myself apart entirely for them, so that they also may be set apart for holy uses.”

20. Neither do I pray for these alone,—

“For these who are already saved by my word,”—

20. But for those also who shall believe in me through their word;

And so his blessed arm encircled not only the converts gathered to him by his own personal ministry, but also those who should, in later days, be converted under his servants’ ministry; and it always seems to me to have been great condescension on his part to have said, “I pray for those also who shall believe in me through their word.” We should have expected that he would have said, “through my word”; and, indeed, it is his Word that leads sinners to repent and to believe; yet Christ places this honour on those who speak his Word out of the fulness of their hearts. They have by experience made it their own, so he calls it theirs, and gives them this honourable position as the messengers of the gospel of salvation.

21. That they all may be one, as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that you have sent me.

I wish that we could see more of this blessed unity, yet it does exist, even if we cannot see it. Wherever there is any true spiritual life,—it does not matter how much it may be marred by denominational divisions,—there is, and there always must be, an essential unity. All Christians are one family in Christ. I do not mean all who call themselves Christians, but all who really are believers in Christ. The inner life is one, the source of that life is one, the nourishment of that life is one, and the end of that life is one, so that all who possess it must be one,—one in Christ, and one with each other, even as Christ is one with the Father.

22, 23. And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one;—

That is the real secret of the saints’ unity: “I in them,” together with the everlasting union of Christ Jesus with the Father: “and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one”;—

23. And that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1472, “The Glory, Unity, and Triumph of the Church” 1472}

This is a great deep, the words are very simple and clear, but their meaning is unfathomable. Is it really true that the Father has loved his chosen ones as he has loved his only-begotten Son? It is such an amazing thing that one might be willing to lie awake at night to meditate on the amazing truth revealed here in our Saviour’s words: “You have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me.”

24. Father, I will that they also, whom you have given to me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me: for you loved me before the foundation of the world. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 188, “The Redeemer’s Prayer” 181} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1892, “Why They Leave Us” 1893}

Some foolish folk talk about the saints being put away for a while into some purgatorial “limbo” in order that they may be made ready for heaven but Christ does not say that, he says, “I will that they…be with me where I am.” We do not care to answer curious questions about the disembodied state, it is enough for us that Christ knows everything, and that we shall be with him for ever.

What shall be the occupation of those who are with Christ? “That they may behold my glory.” There will be something worth looking at, something to be delighted with for ever and ever: “the glory which you have given to me: for you loved me before the foundation of the world.” So God must have loved his people before the foundation of the world, for he has loved them as he has loved his Son. There was no beginning and there shall be no end to the Father’s love for his people; he says to each one of them, “I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Here are waters to swim in; plunge into them, and revel in the bliss they are meant to convey to all who are in Christ Jesus.

25-26. Oh righteous Father, the world has not known you: but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me. And I have declared to them your name, and will declare it: that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1378, “The Righteous Father Known and Loved” 1369} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1667, “‘Love and I’—A Mystery” 1668}

How rich is this language! How musical! Surely, never did any human poem match this peerless prose of the Divine Teacher.

And now, what a descent it is as we pass on to the next scene in his life!

18:1, 2. When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, where he entered, and his disciples. And Judas also, who betrayed him, knew the place: {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2767, “Jesus in Gethsemane” 2768}

He was familiar with the Master’s place of retirement for private prayer, and he had, doubtless, heard the Master pray there. Yes, and many a Judas knows the place where the saints meet for worship, and knows the communion table too, and knows some of the most hallowed gatherings of God’s people where they pour out their hearts in private prayer; and the pity is that, knowing all that, both the ancient Judas and the modern one do not savingly know the Master himself.

2. For Jesus often resorted there with his disciples.

If ever any man might have lived without prayer, it was our Lord Jesus Christ. His humanity was perfect, yet he abounded in prayer; and the nearer we grow to Christian perfection the more we shall pray. I heard of one who said that she was so perfectly acquiescent in the will of God that she had stopped praying, she had gotten beyond that! What a fearful delusion! May God save all of us from ever falling into it! Here is One who could say from his heart, “Oh my Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as you will.” He expressed in prayer his perfect acquiescence to his Father’s will, Did Christ, our Lord and Master pray like that, and will any who profess to be his followers speak so presumptuously as to say that they can live without prayer? God forbid!

3. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, comes there with lanterns and torches and weapons.

What strange paraphernalia they brought with them to the garden of Gethsemane,—“lanterns” to show them the way to the Sun of righteousness, “torches” with which to find the bright and morning Star, and “weapons” with which to overcome the Lamb of God, who had nothing to oppose them except his own innocence.

4. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should happen to him, went out, and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”

It is a wonderfully suggestive thought that Jesus knew everything that would happen to him. Martyrs and other sufferers for Christ’s sake have had some measure of foresight of what they had to endure; but none of them could have so exquisite a foretaste of everything as our blessed Lord had. He knew it all,—every single bit of pain, and anguish, and heart-break. He knew it all, yet he calmly “went out” to meet it, and said to those who came to drag him away to his death, “Whom do you seek?”

5, 6. They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus says to them, “I am he.” And Judas also, who betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said to them, “I am he,” they went backward, and fell to the ground.

“Jesus says to them, ‘I am’”; as though appropriating to himself the name of Jehovah, and “they went backward, and fell to the ground,” astounded and confounded. Even though he restrained his omnipotence, he claimed the omnipotent name I AM, and before the majesty of that name they prostrated themselves on the ground.

7-9. Then he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am he: if therefore you seek me, let these go their way”: so that the saying might be fulfilled which he spoke, “Of those whom you gave to me have I lost none.” {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2368, “The Living Care of the Dying Christ” 2369} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2616, “Christ’s Care of His Disciples” 2617}

That was a very gracious saying of Christ’s, “If therefore you seek me, let these go their way.” This is what Christ says on his people’s behalf to death, and to the law and the justice of God; and though this saying does not excuse the disciples’ flight, it does make some kind of apology for every man going away to his own home. Christ knew that they would be safer there. One of them followed him afar off instead of going his way, and you know what became of it. There is a time for publicly following Christ, and there is a time when Jesus says, “Let these go their way.” So, right to the end he takes care of his sheep, and tells them to scatter for a while now that the sword is about to enter their Shepherd’s heart.

Spurgeon Sermons

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

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

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