3179. A Comprehensive Benediction

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No. 3179-56:13. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, November 18, 1866, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, January 6, 1910.

Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, who has loved us, and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work. {2Th 2:16,17}

For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1096, “Divine Love and Its Gifts” 1087}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1542, “Free Grace a Motive for Free Giving” 1542}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2363, “Comfort and Constancy” 2364}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2991, “What We Have, and Are to Have” 2992}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3179, “Comprehensive Benediction, A” 3180}

   Exposition on 2Th 1; 2 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3179, “Comprehensive Benediction, A” 3180 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on 2Th 2:1-3:5 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2363, “Comfort and Constancy” 2364 @@ "Exposition"}

   {See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "2Th 2:17"}

1. All through his epistles, Paul is continually expressing his best wishes for the friends to whom he writes. The Christian should be a well-wisher to all men. No cursing should ever come out of his mouth, but his lips should always distil blessings even on his enemies, and much more on his friends. Brethren in Christ Jesus, it should be a part of our religion to be desiring the best of blessings for our fellow men. Just as the high priest of old blessed the people, so should those whom God has made to be priests and kings to himself—a privilege that pertains to all saints,—exercise the function of blessing the people by desiring good things for them.

2. The blessing invoked in the text is very comprehensive; but although there is much to crave, there is much more to acknowledge with gratitude. Blessings already secured in covenant are the foundation of a rich expectancy for the supply of all our present needs. We may reasonably expect that God will do in the future what he has done in the past. Hence the apostle speaks very plainly of what God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ have already bestowed, and then he couples with it the kindest wishes concerning the future of his friends at Thessalonica.

3. With as much brevity as possible, I shall first speak on that part of the text which contains two positive facts, and then on that part of it which expresses two holy desires.

4. I. The sixteenth verse contains A VERY CLEAR STATEMENT OF THE TWO POSITIVE FACTS.

5. Paul, writing concerning believers in Christ, at Thessalonica and everywhere else, says, “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, has loved us, and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace.” From this we gather that every true believer, everyone who rests on Christ, and is saved through the effective working of the Holy Spirit, is at the present moment, first of all, the object of the love of God: “who has loved us.” So, my friends, Paul does not speak of God as though we were strangers to him, and he is a stranger to us, but he says, “who has loved us.” Concerning this matter, he does not speak as one who was in doubt, with mixed hope and fear, but he says positively, “Our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God even our Father, who has loved us.” He is quite sure of it; he is certain that these people to whom he is writing, and all believers in Jesus, are the objects of divine love.

6. Will you think that truth over in your minds, dear friends, making a personal application of it at this moment? If you are now trusting in Jesus Christ, God loves you! That he should think of you, is something; that he should pity you, is more; that he should bear with you, and have patience with you, is no little thing, but think of God loving you! That infinite Being whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, whose years are eternal, whose existence knows no limit nor shadow of a change, he loves you; and yet you are, as compared with him, as nothing; yes, less than nothing, and vanity. Could you conceive of an angel loving an ant? Could you imagine one of the seraphs being in love with the gnat which dances in the sunbeam? It would be wonderful condescension for the august spirits to love such insignificant creatures, yet it would be only one creature loving another creature; and between one creature and another the distance cannot be so great as between the Creator and the created one. That God, the eternal, infinite, almighty I AM, should actually condescend to love us, who are only as worms compared with him, and who are only as things of yesterday, soon gone, oh! it is strange, it is incredibly strange, it is wonderful; yet though it exceeds marvel, it does not, thank God, exceed belief. But if God himself has not revealed it, we might have reason enough to suppose it to be impossible that the Lord Jesus Christ and God, even our Father, should have loved us.

7. Being spoken of in the past tense, I infer that the love which God has for believers is no novelty. He did not begin to love them yesterday. Brethren, we believe that as many as have been called by grace have been the objects if a love that never knew a beginning. Long before the stars were lit, or the sun’s refulgent ray had pierced through primeval shade, the heart of Deity had fixed itself on the chosen. The prescient eye of God had seen them when as yet they were not, and in his book all their names were written, which the days fashioned for us, when as yet there were none of them. They were not merely fore-known, but they were fore-loved; they were the favourites of his heart, the dear ones of his choice. He “has loved us.” Fly back as far as you wish, until time is not begun, and the work of creation is not accomplished, and God dwells alone; it was still true of all believers, even then, that “God, even our Father, has loved us.”

8. Is it not marvellous that we should have been the objects of a love that has been so constant? For, just as there never was any beginning to it, so there never has been a time in which that love has grown dim towards those who were its objects. The river of God’s love has gone flowing on in one undiminished stream even until now. He “has loved us.” He loved us when our father Adam plunged us into the ruins of the fall. He loved us when he spoke the first promise in the garden of Eden, that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head. He loved us all through the prophetic days when he was writing the Book of love on which our delighted eyes were afterwards to gaze. He loved us when he sent his Son, his only Son, to live our life, and to die our death. He loved us when he exalted that Son of his to his own right hand, and in his person exalted us there too, and made us to sit in heavenly places together with him. He loved us when we were little children, in the weakness of infancy nursing on our mother’s breasts. He loved us when, in the follies of our youth, we seemed determined to destroy ourselves while he was determined that we should be saved. He loved us when we did not love him. He drew us with the cords of a man, and with the bands of love; and now, even today, each one of us can look up to him, and say, “Abba! Father! you are mine, and I am yours by the Spirit of adoption.” Yes, we can say this; we can look back all along our past lives, and right beyond our birth into the past eternity, and we can thank him that we can truly say, “God, even our Father, has loved us.”

9. Now, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, you must not be satisfied unless you can speak about God’s love for you in the same positive terms as those that were used by the apostle Paul. Never rest contented if you do not know that God loves you. Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids until, by a living faith, you have been able to read your title clear to this love of God. It may be that you have lost the warm presence of that love; then ask for grace to search until you find it again. You may be saved, and yet you may not be happy; but you ought never be content unless you are certain that you are saved, and then such certainty will infallibly bring you peace and joy. If now your full assurance has departed, and your faith is under a cloud, come and knock again at mercy’s door, and cling to its posts, looking up at the crucified One. Turn your tearful eyes to Calvary, trusting afresh in him whose wounds must give you healing, and in the crimson lines of whose agonies you must read your acceptance. Go there, I say, and do not be content until you can say with Paul, “Our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, has loved us.” This is the first positive fact which is mentioned here.

10. There is another fact which is equally positive: “and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace.” It is absolutely certain that God has given his people this double blessing. What a delightful blessing this is, “everlasting consolation!” There is music in the word “consolation.” Barnabas was called “the son of consolation.” No, more than that, it is the name of One who is far greater than Barnabas, for the Lord Jesus is called “the consolation of Israel.” But God is said here to have given this blessing to his people in a very special form: “everlasting consolation.” A man goes to work to make money, and after toiling hard for it he gets it, and it is a consolation to him; but it is not an everlasting consolation, for he may spend or he may lose all his money; he may invest it in some company (limited or unlimited), and very soon find that it has vanished; or he may be compelled by death to leave it; it cannot be, at the best, more than a temporary consolation. A man toils hard for knowledge; he acquires it; he becomes eminent, his name is famous. This is a consolation to him for all his toil, but it cannot last for long; for, when he comes to feel the headache or the heart-ache, his degrees and his fame cannot cheer him; or when his soul becomes a prey to despondency, he may turn over many a learned tome before he will find a cure for melancholy. His consolation is only frail and fickle; it will only serve to cheer him at intermittent times, it is not “everlasting consolation.” But I venture to say that, through the consolation which God gives to his people, they are unsurpassed for their endurance. They can withstand all tests,—the shock of trial, the bursting out of passion, the lapse of years; indeed more, they can even endure the passage to eternity, for God has given to his people “everlasting consolation.”

11. What is this “everlasting consolation?” It includes a sense of pardoned sin. A Christian man, when his heart is right, knows that God has pardoned his sins, that he has cast them behind his back, and that they will never be mentioned against him again. He has received in his heart the witness of the Spirit that God has blotted out, as a thick cloud, his transgressions, and, as a cloud, his sins. Well, if sin is pardoned, is that not a consolation? Yes, and an everlasting consolation too; one that will do to live with, and that will do to die with, and that will do to rise again with. Oh, joy! my sins are pardoned; now do what you wish with me, my God; since my sins are put away, you have given me “everlasting consolation.”

12. This “everlasting consolation” also gives an enduring sense of acceptance in Christ. The Christian knows that God looks at him as he is in Christ; and inasmuch as God put Christ into his place, and punished Christ for his sin, he now puts the believer into Christ’s place, and rewards that believer with his love just as if he had been obedient to death, as Christ was. It is a blessed thing to know that God accepts us, and to be able to sing, with Hart,—

   With my Saviour’s garments on,

      Holy as the Holy One;—

and this is an enduring consolation; it is, in fact, everlasting. Now let sickness come; the consolation still remains. Have we not seen hundreds of believers as happy in the weakness of disease as they would have been in the strength of hale and vigorous health? Let death come; the consolation still remains. Have not these ears often heard the songs of dying saints as they have rejoiced because the love of God was shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit? Yes, a sense of acceptance in the Beloved is an “everlasting consolation.”

13. Moreover, the Christian has a conviction of his security in Christ. God has promised to save all those who trust in Jesus, the Christian does trust in him, and he believes that God will be as good as his word, and will save him. He feels, therefore, that whatever may occur in providence, whatever onslaughts there may be of inward corruption, or of outward temptation, he is safe by virtue of his union to Christ; and is this not a source of consolation? Why, some men might freely give their eyes to know that they are saved; it would be a good bargain for men even to be halt or maimed if they only entered into life. The Christian knows that he is secure; beneath the shield of the divine omnipotence he laughs at the rage of hell, feeling that no fiery arrow can ever pierce that sacred protection. Are you rejoicing in this everlasting consolation? If not, you should seriously question whether you know what true religion means. Do you find that your losses make you wretched? Do bereavements in your family make you murmur and complain? Are you never happy? Does joy never come into your spirit? Do you always hang your head like a bulrush? Have you no peace of mind, no sacred mirth? Do the bells of your heart never ring? Do the heart-strings of your soul never sound out the music of grateful praise? Then gravely question whether you can be a child of God, for concerning the children of God it is written, “God, even our Father, has given us everlasting consolation.”

14. I am sure there are many here who, if they were to speak from experience, would say, “Well, we are very poor, but we are rich in faith, and faith makes us rich towards God. We do not have anything to spare, yet surely goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our life. We are sick in body, yet our afflictions are so sanctified that we rejoice in deep distress. We are ridiculed and slandered by the ungodly, but we rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer anything for Christ’s sake. Yes, God has given to us everlasting consolation.” John, Bunyan says that the man who wears the flower “heart’s-ease” {pansy} in his lapel need not envy a king; and that is a flower which the Christian always wears in his button-hole; or if he does not always wear it there, it is his own fault, for God has given it to him; he has given to us everlasting, unchanging, unfading, inexhaustible fountains of consolation.

15. Another thing which God has given us is “good hope through grace,”—a hope, a good hope, a “good hope through grace.” What is the Christian’s hope? It is a hope that he shall be preserved in this life by God’s love and kindness; a hope that, when he comes to die,—for die he must unless the Lord shall come first,—he shall have all-sufficient grace to be able to play the man in the last solemn article. He has the hope that, after death, his soul, outsoaring sun, and moon, and stars, shall enter into the realm of spirits, and be with Christ. He believes that the day shall come when his very body, though it has become food for worms, shall be quickened, and called by the voice of the archangel from its bed of dust and its silent sleeping place. He believes that those bones of his shall live again, and that his soul and body shall be reunited, and that, when the Lord Jesus shall stand at the latter day on the earth, in his flesh he shall see God. So he sings, with Toplady,—

   These eyes shall see him in that day,

      The God that died for me;

   And all my rising bones shall say,

      “Lord, who is like to thee?”

This is the Christian’s hope, that he shall then live, world without end, in the perfection of enjoyment, that he shall have all spiritual joys in communion with Christ, and all joys that shall be suitable to his new and spiritual body as he shall walk the golden streets, and for ever praise the love which brought him into an existence of perfect bliss. This is the Christian’s hope; and, consequently, the thought of death does not alarm him; rather, he looks forward to it with joy. Just as the toil-worn labourer does not dread the evening when he shall take off his dusty clothes, but longs for the night that he may rest in his bed, so the Christian, when he is in his right mind,—

   Longs for evening, to undress,

      That he may rest with God.

He is willing to put off the cumbrous clay of his body, and commit it to the purifying earth, so that he may, as a disembodied spirit, depart to be “with Christ, which is far better,” expecting that, afterwards, body and soul together shall be for ever gratified with Christ.

16. This is the Christian’s hope, and it is a good hope. It is good for what it brings us, but it is especially good for what is based on. The reason why the Christian expects this eternal happiness is because God has promised it to him, and has given him a foretaste of it. He has heaven in his heart even now; that is to say, he has within him the beginning of that life which shall, in due time, become the heavenly life. In olden times, when men bought estates, it was customary for the seller to give to the purchaser a tuft of grass and a leaf from one of the trees on the land, signifying that the purchaser then had what was called seisin (a} of the property, and they were proofs that it belonged to him. And when God gives true faith in Christ, and enables a soul to have peace with God through the precious blood, this is the earnest of heaven, a foretaste of its bliss, and sure evidence that heaven indeed is ours. I trust that there are many of us who have this earnest, and feel comforted by it. We have a good hope because it is founded on God’s promise in his Word, and on the witness of the Spirit within our heart that we are born by God.

17. And it is said to be a “good hope through grace.” Ah, friends! there is no good hope except “through grace.” You cannot have a good hope through merit. If anyone expects to have a good hope through baptism, he is very much mistaken. Baptism is simply the testimony of a good conscience towards God; it cannot give any hope of heaven. If we were to build on such a foundation as baptism, confirmation, the Lord’s supper, or anything of the kind, we should be sad losers, for there is nothing in all these things put together to make a Christian’s hope. Nor must we build our hopes on our prayers or our tears, or on anything that we can do; for, if so, it will be a sandy foundation, and when the time of trial comes, it will give way under us. But to have a good hope through grace, such a hope as this,—that I, a poor unworthy sinner, have been invited by God to put my trust in his dear Son, and that he has promised that, if I do so, I shall be saved; I trust in Jesus, and therefore, if God has promised truly, I shall be saved,—this is indeed a foundation on which I may build without fear. Is this not, my brethren, the top and bottom of the Christian’s hope, that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” and that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life? You do believe in him, and therefore you can say that you do possess eternal life. I solemnly declare that, if I have ever at any time begun to say in my own mind, “I shall be saved, for I have preached the gospel, I have experienced such and such enjoyments, I have drawn near to God in secret prayer,”—if ever I have talked to myself like that, I have soon been led to see that, if I had not something infinitely better than all that to trust in, I should be resting on a broken reed. But, oh! to come to Jesus just as one came, at the first, saying,—

   Nothing in my hand I bring:

   Simply to thy cross I cling;

   Naked, come to thee for dress;

   Helpless, look to thee for grace;

   Foul, I to the fountain fly;

   Wash me, Saviour, or I die;—

this is indeed to have a “good hope through grace.”

18. Now let us take these two statements, look at them again, and then lay them up among our choicest treasures. The one statement is that God has loved us. Oh Christian friends, try to drink in that great truth! Do not be satisfied simply to hear the words repeated, but get them right into your very spirits: “Our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, has loved us.” Oh you angels in heaven, you do not even have a greater joy than this, to know that God has loved us! The other statement is that God “has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace.” So we cannot be without consolation. Whatever your trouble may be, my dear Christian friend, though you may have lost your dearest one, though your property may have melted as the snowflake melts into the sea, yet God has given to you eternal consolation, and whatever you may have to fear concerning the future, you have a hope that is broader than your fears.

   This is the hope, the blissful hope,

      The hope by Jesus given;

   The hope when days and years are past,

      We all shall meet in heaven.

19. As I thought this text over, I could not help pitying those who have no hope, no good hope through grace. When I opened my letters, this afternoon, after coming back from Liverpool, the first one I opened was to tell me of the death of one with whom I spent a very happy day about a fortnight ago. He seemed to me to be in perfect health when I spoke to him then, but now he is gone to his eternal rest. The next letter I opened came from the deacon of a church in Devonshire, to say that one of our students, who was settled there as a minister, had been suddenly taken ill, and had just died. I did not care to open any more letters just then, for fear that I should read of someone else being gone; but I thought, “Well, both of these dear brethren have served their generation by the will of God, and they have fallen asleep, and it is good.” I could only look forward with hope to the day when someone would read just such a letter about me, and could only trust that they would be there to say of me what I could say of these brethren, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”

20. But what a sad thing it is to live in this world and to have no home! It would have been better not to have lived at all than to live without a “good hope through grace.” I do not really know how some of you manage to live. I know you have your troubles,—troubles at home, and troubles in business,—and I cannot figure out how you manage to put up with this poor existence without the hope of a better one. Knowing what we do about a future state, if we did not have a good hope concerning it, we really might wish that we had never been born; and we sometimes wonder how some of you can be so easy and so careless about the unknown state when you, perhaps, know that you will soon be in that state, and also know that, if it is not a better state than this one, it will be a very sad thing for you to have had an existence at all. Oh, “seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” A good hope can be had through grace, and grace is free, even to the chief of sinners. If we come to God on the footing of grace, he will never cast us out. Oh, that we might all have this infinite treasure of a “good hope through grace!”

21. II. Now I can spend only a few minutes on the second part of the subject, in which we have TWO GOOD WISHES, TWO HOLY DESIRES. The first part of the text has told us what God has given us, the second part tells us what we ought to desire God to give us: “Comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work.”

22. I pray God for those who are about to be baptized, and also for you who have long made a profession of your faith, that you may get the first blessing, namely, divine comfort. May God comfort you! It is a bad case when a Christian is not happy, when he is not full of comfort. I know it is treated by some people as though it were a very insignificant matter whether a Christian is happy or not, but I am sure it is an extremely important matter that he should have comfort. A wretched, miserable Christian is, to a great extent, an injury to the church, and a dishonour to the cross of Christ, for worldly people will pick out such a one, and say, “That is what your religion does for a man.” Now, genuine godliness gives peace and joy. In its first beginning, when a man is under a sense of sin, it does make him wretched to feel his sin; but when the soul is obedient to the command of Christ, and trusts in him, it gives him joy and peace. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace”; and for a Christian not to have this fruit of the Spirit is to libel Christianity.

23. When one’s heart is sad, it is not always best to show it. “When you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; so that you do not appear to men to fast.” Even if you have some sorrow of heart, do not tell it at once to your neighbour, who may have quite enough trouble of his own to bear without having yours added to it. Christian, seek to get the comfort of which the apostle speaks here. Is there ever a position into which you and I can be placed where there is no comfort for us in the divine promises? There is, in God’s Word, a key to open all the locks of trouble in Doubting Castle. If we will only search the sacred pages, we shall find there a promise exactly suited to our case. Do you lack comfort, Christian? How can you while there is a mercy seat to go to, and One there whose ear is always open to hear your petition, and to relieve your trouble? Do you lack comfort while you can pray? Surely it must be neglect of prayer that makes your burdens so heavy. How can you be without comfort while your Saviour lives? If Jesus Christ still bears your name on his heart, that should be enough for you. Is it not really a comfort to think that the Father himself loves you? My Father, who is in heaven, knows my needs; ought not that to cheer me? Amid the darkest shadows, if I feel that he is with me,—yes, even in the valley of the shadow of death, if his rod and his staff comfort me, what have I to fear? Yes, Christian friends, you have abundant reasons for comfort; so do not be content unless you enjoy that comfort. May God, even your Father, put you and keep you in a comfortable frame of mind!

24. I would say especially to young Christians,—Do not imagine that, as soon as you become believers in Christ, you are to cast away those cheerful looks and those bright eyes of yours. God forbid! If you were happy before, be far happier now. You need not have levity; that is to be avoided, and the pleasure which consists in sin should be no pleasure to you; but now your joy should be deeper as it is purer, more lively as it is more sound.

25.And establish you in every good word and work.” These are the two forms of establishment, in good doctrine and in good practice. When a Christian receives good words, the devil would like to drive them from him, and to drive him from them. It is one of the masterpieces of Satan to try to spoil our faith. If he can lead us to believe falsely, he will all the more easily lead us to act falsely. So may God “establish you in every good word.” You cannot help noticing, if you look at the spiritual firmament just now, how like it is to what the natural firmament was the other night. It is said that there were thousands of shooting stars visible within an hour; {b} and I might almost say that, if you look out into the Christian world, you can see thousands of shooting stars within a minute. I do not know what new error we shall have within the next twenty-four hours. There are some people, who are so fond of novelties that they have advanced pretty nearly every form of error that our poor imagination can conceive of, yet they seem to be studious to make new ones. We have new “isms” and “ites” of all kinds, and old-fashioned truths, which we thought would never have been doubted, are contested nowadays. An age of great religious activity is pretty sure to be also an age in which error is active, and therefore it is all the more necessary that we should pray for believers that they may be established in every good word.

26. I should like you, who are members of this church, not only to believe the truth, but to know why you believe it, and to be so sure and certain of it that you cannot be shaken from it. I would have you be, not like the dry leaves in autumn, which are carried away by the first wind because they have lost their vitality; but like the green leaves in spring, which will bear the March winds, and cannot be torn off because their sap is flowing in them, and they are fresh and vigorous. I wish that you were always able to give a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. The faith which we had has been handed down to us by martyr-hands all along the ages;—not through the corrupt Church of Rome, but down along the line of martyrs and confessors who have sealed their testimony with their blood, and that testimony is with us until this day. Search God’s Word, and if we teach you anything that is inconsistent with it, then reject us as we would have you reject all false teachers. If we set before you anything which is of our making, and not of God’s making, cast it to the dogs, and have none of it; but if it is God’s truth, be established in it. Garner it in your soul. Hold it firm as for dear life, and never let it go. Believe that the truth as it is in Jesus is worth the blood which martyrs have shed in its defence, and will be worth all that it can possibly cost you in holding it. May you be established in every good word; not merely in some good words, but in every good word! Believe all the truth. Many Christians, alas! believe only one truth or so. One man gets a hold of the doctrine of predestination, and he is like a child with a doll, it is all the world to him. Another man gets a hold of the doctrine of human responsibility, and he looks at it, as Luther says, “like a cow at a new gate”; he stands staring at that, and can see nothing beyond it. But I would have you see all the truth, and be always ready to receive anything that God has revealed; be steadfast “in every good word.”

27. But the blessing invoked by the apostle is that you may be established in every good work as well as in every good word. Alas! there are some Christians who like the word very well, though they do not like the work; but unless our godliness extends to our daily work, it is not godliness at all. May you brothers and sisters in Christ, be established in every good work! May there be the good work of holiness in all the relationships of life! May you be the best of sons, the best of daughters, the best of parents, the best of husbands, the best of wives, the best of employers, the best of employees! Wherever your lot may be cast, may you be established in every good work in all the relationships of life!

28. Then, in this Christian church, my you work in prayer, may you work in teaching, may you work according to the ability which God has given you, and may you be established in it! If there is any good work which you have not yet attempted, but to which you are called by God, may you have grace to enter into it; and, once engaged in it, may you never take your hand from the plough until you have finished the task that God has set for you! Oh beloved, I can pray this prayer from my heart for every one of you! May you who have served the Master for years still be kept serving him! Oh, may none of you turn your backs in the day of battle! May you be faithful to death, and so obtain the great reward! May the grace, which he has helped you forward so far, impel you onward until your hairs are grey, and until you throw yourselves back on the couch of death to sleep with God! So may you be established in every good word and work! Every Christian ought to be a member of the established Church; I do not mean the church which is established by the English law, but the church which is established by God. Oh, to be established by grace; to be established by knowing what we believe, by practising it, and by being established in that practice! These apostolic good wishes I leave with you; may you inherit them!

29. But remember that we must first come to Christ, or these good wishes will only be wishes. We must first trust the Saviour, or else these blessings can never be ours. May grace bring us to Jesus, and keep us at his feet, and grace shall have the praise for ever and ever.

{a} Seisin: Scots Law. The act of giving possession of feudal property by the delivery of symbols; infeftment. Also, the instrument by which the possession of feudal property is proved. OED.
{b} On Saturday, November 17, 1866 there was a Leonid meteor storm, to which we think Spurgeon makes an allusion to in this sermon. It was the only storm that happened the day before he preached. We assumed the sermon was preached the following Lord’s Day evening and dated the sermon accordingly. See Explorer "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_shower"

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {2Th 1; 2} {c}

1. Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians—

Paul loved to associate his fellow workers with himself when writing to his brothers and sisters in Christ. Although he had a superior experience to theirs, he put Silvanus, and Timothy, his own son in the faith, with him as his fellow evangelists in writing to “the church of the Thessalonians”—

1. In God our Father—

What a wonderful expression! The Church is in God as God is in the Church, what a blessed dwelling-place for the people of God in all generations: “in God our Father”—

1, 2. And the Lord Jesus Christ: grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the apostle’s usual greeting when he is writing to a Christian church. When he is writing to a minister, it is “grace, mercy, and peace,” for God’s most prominent servants especially need great mercy on account of their heavy responsibilities and many shortcomings; but to the church Paul’s greeting is, “Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

3. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows greatly, and the love of every one of you all towards each other abounds; {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 205, “A Lecture for Little-Faith” 198} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1856, “The History of Little-Faith” 1857} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1857, “The Necessity of Growing Faith” 1858}

What a kind of sacred network Christian love makes, intertwining every believer in Christ with every other believer! “The love of every one of you all towards each other abounds.” Oh, that this might really be the case in all the churches of our Lord Jesus Christ!

4, 5. So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure: which is an obvious sign of the righteous judgment of God,

One of the clearest proofs of the judgment to come is to be found in the present sufferings of the saints through persecutions and tribulations; for if they, for the very reason that they love God, have to suffer here, there must be a future state and time for rectifying all this that is now so wrong.

5-7. That you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God for which you suffer: since it is a righteous thing with God to repay tribulation to those who trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us,

For us who believe in Jesus there is a long Sabbath yet to come, to be spent with the apostles and the other holy ones around the throne of God and of the Lamb, even as Paul wrote to the Hebrews, “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.”

7-11. When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all those who believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. Therefore we also pray always for you,—

The very people in whom Paul gloried, and over whom he rejoiced, were those for whom he still continued to pray; and he did well, for the highest state of grace needs preserving, and there is a possibility of going beyond the utmost height to which any have yet attained. Hence Paul says, “Therefore we also pray always for you,”—

11, 12. That our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: so that the name of Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2:1, 2. Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together to him, that you are not soon shaken in mind, or are troubled, neither by Spirit, nor by word, nor by letter from us, as though the day of Christ is at hand.

In the Church of Christ, the teaching has always been that Christ is coming quickly, and that teaching must never be withdrawn, for he is coming quickly, as he said to John in the Revelation. At the same time, this teaching has given an opportunity to certain presumptuous people to prophesy that at such and such a time Christ will come. They know nothing about it, and their prophecies are not worth the breath they spend in uttering them, and we have to say today what the apostle wrote to the Thessalonians:—

3. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, unless there comes a falling away first, and that man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition;

I believe that, to a large extent, this has already happened, and that the “man of sin” has been revealed. This “son of perdition” has had a long, dark, and terrible reign over myriads of men, and he still sits on the seven hills of Rome, and rules over multitudes of his fellow sinners. But Paul held that it was consistent to expect the Lord to come quickly, and yet to know that certain events must occur before he did come. That is just the condition, I think, to which a man’s mind will come if he diligently and impartially reads the Scriptures, especially their prophetic parts. The Lord will come in such an hour as we do not think, yet there are clear indications of certain things which are to happen before he does come.

4. Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

It has been said that the Pope of Rome is infallible, that his interpretation of Scripture, whatever it may be, is as valid as the Scripture itself, and that whatever he chooses to decree must be obeyed by the faithful. Such are some of the pretensions even at this day of the “man of sin.”

5-7. Do you not remember, that, when I was still with you, I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining so that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity already works:

There were certain reasons why that gigantic iniquity should begin to be developed even while the Roman Empire was in power to keep it in check; and when that passed away, there was the opportunity for “the mystery of iniquity” to become the despot of the world.

7-10. Only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then that wicked one shall be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in those who perish; because they did not receive the love of the truth, so that they might be saved.

This is the last sin of all, that ungodly men do not receive “the love of the truth.” If they were themselves true, they would love the truth; if the grace of God was in them, his own precious truth would be prized by them above everything else; but when men finally reject the truth by which they might be saved, God visits them with terrible judgments.

11-17. And for this reason God shall send them a strong delusion, so that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who did not believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: to which he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand firm, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, who has loved us, and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work.

So may it be, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.

{c} This exposition for 1 Thessalonians chapter 1 was originally published with sermon No. 3185 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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