3249. Under The Apple Tree

by Charles H. Spurgeon on May 28, 2021
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No. 3249-57:217. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, May 11, 1911.

I sat down in his shade with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. {So 2:3}

 

For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1120, “Apple Tree in the Woods, The” 1111}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3249, “Under the Apple Tree” 3251}

   Exposition on Ps 116:10-19 So 2:1-7 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3539, “Fine Pleading” 3541 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on Ps 22:1-22 So 1:1-7 2:1-7 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3373, “Man’s Scorn and God’s Help” 3375 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on So 2:1-3:5 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2485, “Love’s Vigilance Rewarded” 2486 @@ "Exposition"}

   Exposition on So 2:1-7 3:1-5 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3552, “Soul’s Desertion, The” 3554 @@ "Exposition"}

 

1. Christ known should be Christ used. The spouse knew her Beloved to be like a fruit-bearing tree, and at once she sat down in his shade, and fed on his fruit. It is a pity that we know so much about Christ, and yet enjoy him so little. May our experience keep pace with our knowledge, and may that experience be composed of a practical using of our Lord. Jesus casts a shadow, let us sit under it: Jesus yields fruit, let us taste its sweetness. Depend on it that the way to learn more is to use what you know; and, moreover, the way to learn a truth thoroughly is to learn it from experience. You know a doctrine beyond all fear of contradiction when you have proved it for yourself by personal test and trial. The bride in the Song as good as says, “I am certain that my Beloved casts a shadow, for I have sat under it, and I am persuaded that he bears sweet fruit, for I have tasted it.” The best way of demonstrating the power of Christ to save is to trust in him and be yourself saved by him; and of all those who are sure of the divinity of our holy faith, there are none so certain as those who feel its divine power on themselves. You may reason yourself into a belief of the gospel, and you may by further reasoning keep yourself orthodox; but a personal trial, and an inward knowing of the truth are incomparably the best evidences. If Jesus is as an apple tree among the trees of the woods, do not keep away from him, but sit in his shade and taste his fruit. He is a Saviour; do not believe that fact and yet remain unsaved. As far as Christ is known to you, so far make use of him. Is this not sound common sense?

2. We would further remark that we are at liberty to make every possible use of Christ. Shade and fruit may both be enjoyed. Christ in his infinite condescension exists for needy souls. Oh, let us say it over again; it is a bold word, but it is true, — as Christ Jesus, our Lord exists for the benefit of his people. A Saviour only exists to save. A physician lives to heal. The good Shepherd lives, yes, dies, for his sheep. Our Lord Jesus Christ has wrapped us around his heart; we are intimately interwoven with all his offices, with all his honours, with all his traits of character, with all that he has done, and with all that he has yet to do. The sinners’ Friend lives for sinners, and sinners may have him and use him to the uttermost. He is as free to us as the air we breathe. What are fountains for except that the thirsty may drink? What is the harbour for except that storm-tossed barques may find refuge there? What is Christ for, except that poor guilty ones like ourselves may come to him, and look and live, and afterwards may have all our needs supplied out of his fulness?

3. So we have the door opened for us, and we pray that the Holy Spirit may help us to enter in while we notice in the text two things which we pray that you may enjoy to the full. First, the heart’s rest in Christ: “I sat down in his shade with great delight”; and secondly, the heart’s refreshment in Christ: “his fruit was sweet to my taste.”

4. I. To begin with, we have here THE HEART’S REST IN CHRIST.

5. To explain this, let us notice the character of the person who uttered this sentence. She who said, “I sat down in his shade with great delight,” was one who had known before what weary travel meant, and therefore valued rest. The man who has never laboured knows nothing of the sweetness of repose. The loafer who has eaten bread he never earned, from whose brow there never oozed a drop of honest sweat, does not deserve rest, and does not know what it is. It is to the labouring man that rest is sweet; and when at last we come, toil-worn with many miles of weary plodding, to a shaded place where we may comfortably “sit down,” then we are filled with delight.

6. The spouse had been seeking her Beloved, and in looking for him she had asked where she was likely to find him. “Tell me,” she says, “Oh you whom my soul loves, where you feed, where you make your flock to rest at noon.” He told her to go and seek him by the footsteps of the flock. She did go her way, but after a while she came to this resolution; “I will sit down in his shade.” Many of you have been severely wearied with going your way to find peace. Some of you tried ceremonies, and multiplied them, and the priest came to your help; but he mocked your hearts’ distress. Others of you sought by various systems of thought to come to an anchorage; but, tossed from billow to billow, you found no rest on the seething sea of speculation. More of you tried by your good works to gain rest for your consciences. You multiplied your prayers, you poured out floods of tears, you hoped, by alms-giving and by the like, that some merit might accrue to you, and that your heart might feel acceptance with God, and so have rest. You toiled and toiled, like the men who were in the vessel with Jonah, when they rowed hard to bring their ship to land, but could not, for the sea swelled and was tempestuous. There was no escape for you that way, and so you were driven to another way, even to rest in Jesus. My heart looks back to the time when I was under a sense of sin, and sought with all my soul to find peace, but could not discover it, high or low, in any place beneath the sky; yet when — 

 

   ”I saw One hanging on a tree,” — 

 

as the Substitute for sin, then my heart sat down in his shade with great delight. My heart reasoned like this with herself, — Did Jesus suffer in my place? Then I shall not suffer. Did he bear my sin? Then I do not bear it. Did God accept his Son as my Substitute? Then he will never strike me. Was Jesus acceptable with God as my sacrifice? Then what satisfies the Lord may well enough satisfy me, so I will go no further, but “sit down in his shade,” and enjoy a delightful rest.

7. She who said, “I sat down in his shade with great delight,” could appreciate shade, for she had been sunburned. This was her exclamation, “Do not look at me, because, I am black, because the sun has looked on me.” She knew what heat meant, what the burning sun meant; and therefore shade was pleasant to her. You know nothing about the delightfulness of shade until you travel in a thoroughly hot country; then you are delighted with it. Did you ever feel the heat of divine wrath? Did the great Sun — that Sun without variableness or shadow of a turning, — ever blaze his hottest rays on you, — the rays of his holiness and justice? Did you cower down beneath the scorching beams of that great light, and say, “We are consumed by your anger”? If you have ever felt that, you have found it a very blessed thing to come under the shadow of Christ’s atoning sacrifice. A shadow, you know, is cast by a body coming between us and the light and heat; and our Lord’s most blessed body has come between us and the scorching sun of divine justice, so that we sit in the shade of his mediation with great delight.

8. And now, if any other sun begins to scorch us, we flee to our Lord. If domestic troubles, or business care, or Satanic temptation, or inward corruption oppresses us, we hurry to Jesus’ shadow, to hide under him, and there “sit down” in the cool refreshment with great delight. The intervention of our blessed Lord is the reason for our inward tranquillity. The sun cannot scorch me, for it scorched him. My troubles need not trouble me, for he has taken my trouble, and I have left it in his hands. “I sat down in his shade.”

9. Note well these two things concerning the spouse. She knew what it was to be weary, and she knew what it was to be sunburned; and just in proportion as you, also, know these two things, your valuation of Christ will rise. You who have never pined under the wrath of God have never prized the Saviour. Water is of little value in this land of brooks and rivers, and so you commonly sprinkle the roads with it; but I warrant you that, if you were making a day’s march over burning sand, a cup of cold water would be worth a king’s ransom; and so, to thirsty souls, Christ is precious, but to no one else besides.

10. Now, when the spouse was sitting down, restful and delighted, she was overshadowed. She says, “I sat down in his shade.” I do not know a more delightful state of mind than to feel quite overshadowed by our beloved Lord. Here is my black sin, but there is his precious blood overshadowing my sin, and hiding it for ever. Here is my condition by nature, an enemy to God; but he who reconciled me to God by his blood has overshadowed that also, so that I forget that I was once an enemy in the joy of being now a friend. I am very weak, but he is strong, and his strength overshadows my feebleness. I am very poor; but he has all riches, and his riches overshadow my poverty. I am most unworthy; but he is so worthy that, if I use his name, I shall receive as much as if I were worthy; his worthiness overshadows my unworthiness. It is very precious to express the truth the other way, and say, — If there is anything good in me, it is not good when I compare myself with him, for his goodness quite eclipses and overshadows it. Can I say that I love him? So I do, but I hardly dare call it love, for his love overshadows it. Did I suppose that I served him? So I would; but my poor service is not worth mentioning in comparison with what he has done for me. Did I think I had any degree of holiness? I must not deny what his Spirit works in me; but when I think of his immaculate life, and all his divine perfections, where am I? What am I? Have you not sometimes felt this? Have you not been so overshadowed and hidden under your Lord that you became as nothing? I knew myself what it is to feel that, if I die in a workhouse, is does not matter as long as my Lord is glorified. Mortals may cast out my name as evil, if they like; but what does it matter since his dear name shall one day be printed in stars across the sky? Let him overshadow me; I delight that it should be so.

11. The spouse tells us that, when she became quite overshadowed, then she felt great delight. Great “I“ never has great delight, for it cannot bear to acknowledge anything greater than itself, but the humble believer finds his delight in being overshadowed by his Lord. In the shade of Jesus we have more delight than in any imagined light of our own. The spouse had great delight. I trust that you Christian people do have great delight; and if not, you ought to ask yourselves whether you really are the people of God. I like to see a cheerful countenance; indeed, and to hear of raptures in the hearts of those who are God’s saints. There are people who seem to think that religion and gloom are married, and must never be divorced. Pull down the blinds on the Lord’s day, and darken the rooms; if you have a garden or a rose in flower, try to forget that there are such beauties; are you not to serve God as dolorously as you can? Put your book under your arm, and crawl to your place of worship in as mournful a manner as if you were being marched to the whipping post. Act like this if you wish; but give me that religion which cheers my heart, fires my soul, and fills me with enthusiasm and delight, for that is likely to be the religion of heaven, and it agrees with the experience of the inspired Song.

12. Although I trust that we know what delight means, I question if we have enough of it to describe ourselves as sitting down in the enjoyment of it. Do you give yourselves enough time to sit at Jesus’ feet? There is the place of delight, do you remain in it? Sit down in his shade. “I have no leisure,” one cries. Try and make a little. Steal it from your sleep if you cannot get it anywhere else. Grant leisure to your heart. It would be a great pity if a man never spent five minutes with his wife, but was forced to be always hard at work. Why, that is slavery, is it not? Shall we not then have time to commune with our Best Beloved? Surely, somehow or other, we can squeeze out a little time in which we shall have nothing else to do but to sit down in his shade with great delight. When I take my Bible and want to feed on it for myself, I generally get thinking about preaching on the text, and what I should say to you from it. This will not do; I must get away from that, and forget that there is a Tabernacle, so that I may sit personally at Jesus’ feet. And, oh, there is an intense delight in being overshadowed by him! He is near you, and you know it. His dear presence is as certainly with you as if you could see him, for his influence surrounds you. Often I have felt as if Jesus leaned over me, as a friend might look over my shoulder. Although no cool shade comes over your brow, yet you may as much feel his shade as if it did, for your heart grows calm; and if you have been wearied with the family, or troubled with the church, or vexed with yourself, you come down from the room where you have seen your Lord, and you feel braced for the battle of life, — ready for its troubles and its temptations, because you have seen the Lord.

13. “I sat down,” she said, “in his shade with great delight.” How great that delight was she could not tell, but she sat down as one overpowered with it, needing to sit still under the load of bliss. I do not like to talk much about the secret delights of Christians, because there are always some around us who do not understand our meaning; but I will venture to say this much, — that, if worldlings could only even guess what are the secret joys of believers, they would give their eye-teeth to share them with us. We have troubles, and we admit it, we expect to have them; but we have joys which are frequently excessive. We should not like that others should be witnesses of the delight which now and then tosses our soul into a very tempest of joy. You know what it means, do you not? When you have been quite alone with the heavenly Bridegroom, you wanted to tell the angels of the sweet love of Christ for you, a poor unworthy one. You even wished to teach the golden harps new music, for seraphs do not know the heights and depths of grace as you know them.

14. The spouse had great delight, and we know that she had, for this one reason, that she did not forget it. This verse, and the whole Song is a memory of what she had enjoyed. She says, “I sat down in his shade.” It may have been a month, it may have been years ago; but she had not forgotten it. The joys of fellowship with God are written in marble. “Engraved as in eternal brass” are memories of communion with Christ Jesus. “More than fourteen years ago,” says the apostle, “I knew a man.” Ah, it was worth remembering all those years. He had not told his delight, but he had kept it stored up. He says, “I knew a man in Christ more than fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell; God knows;)” so great had his delights been. When we look back, we forget birthdays, holidays, and bonfire nights which we have spent after the manner of men, but we readily recall our times of fellowship with the Well Beloved. We have known our Tabors, our times of transfiguration-fellowship; and, like Peter, we remember when we were “with him in the holy mount.” Our head has leaned on the Master’s bosom, and we can never forget the intense delight; nor will we fail to put on record for the good of others the joys with which we have been indulged.

15. Now I leave this first part of the subject, only noticing how beautifully natural it is. There was a tree, and she sat down in its shade; there was nothing strained, nothing formal. So ought true piety always to be consistent with common sense, with what seems most fitting, most beautiful, most wise, and most natural. There is Christ, we may enjoy him, do not let us despise the privilege.

16. II. The second part of our subject is THE HEART’S REFRESHMENT IN CHRIST. “His fruit was sweet to my taste.” Here I will not enlarge, but give you thoughts in brief which you can beat out afterwards.

17. She did not feast on the fruit of the tree until first she was in its shade. There is no knowing the excellent things of Christ until you trust him. Not a single sweet apple shall fall to the lot of those who are outside its shade. Come and trust Christ, and then all that there is in Christ shall be enjoyed by you. Oh unbelievers, what blessings you miss! If you will only sit down in his shade, you shall have all things; but if you will not, neither shall any good thing of Christ’s be yours.

18. But as soon as she was ever in the shade, then the fruit was all hers. “I sat down in his shade,” she says, and then “his fruit was sweet to my taste.” Do you believe in Jesus, friend? Then Jesus Christ himself is yours; and if you do own the tree, you may well eat the fruit. Since he himself becomes altogether yours, then his redemption and the pardon that comes from it, his living power, his mighty intercession, the glories of his second advent, and all that belong to him are signed over to you for your personal and present use and enjoyment. All things are yours since Christ is yours. Only be careful to imitate the spouse: when she found that the fruit was hers, she ate it. Copy her closely in this. It is a great fault, in many believers, that they do not appropriate the promises, and feed on them. Do not err as they do. In the shade you have a right to eat the fruit. Do not deny yourselves the sacred pleasure.

19. Now it would appear, as we read the text, that she obtained this fruit without effort. The proverb says, “He who would gain the fruit must climb the tree.” But she did not climb, for she says, “I sat down in his shade.” I suppose the fruit dropped down to her. I know that it is so with us. We no longer spend our money for what is not bread, and our labour for what does not satisfy; but we sit in our Lord’s shade, and we eat what is good, and our soul delights itself in sweetness. Come, Christian, enter into the calm rest of faith by sitting down beneath the cross, and you shall be fed even to the full.

20. The spouse rested while feasting; she sat, and ate. So, oh true believer, rest while you are feeding on Christ. The spouse says, “I sat, and I ate.” Had she not told us, in the former chapter, that the King sat at his table? See how like the Church is to her Lord, and the believer to his Saviour! We sit down also, and we eat, even as the King does. We are entertained very royally. His joy is in us, and his peace keeps our hearts and minds.

21. Further, notice that, as the spouse fed on this fruit, she had a relish for it. It is not every palate that likes every fruit. Never dispute with other people about tastes of any kind, for agreement is not possible. That dainty which for one person is the most delicious is for another nauseous; and if there were a competition concerning which fruit is preferable to all the rest, there would probably be almost as many opinions as there are fruits. But blessed is he who has a relish for Christ Jesus! Dear hearer, is he sweet to you? Then he is yours. Every heart that relished Christ has Christ. If you have been feeding on him, and he is sweet to you, go on feasting, for he who gave you a relish gives you himself to satisfy your appetite.

22. What are the fruits which come from Christ? Are they not peace with God, renewal of heart, joy in the Holy Spirit, love for the brethren? Are they not regeneration, justification, sanctification, adoption, and all the blessings of the covenant of grace? And are not each of them all sweet to our taste? As we have fed on them, have we not said, “Yes, these things are pleasant indeed; there are nothing like them; let us live on them for evermore”? Now, sit down, sit down and feed. It seems a strange thing that we should have to persuade people to do that, but in the spiritual world, things are very different from what they are in the natural. In the case of most men, if you put a sirloin steak before them and a knife and fork, they do not need many arguments to persuade them to eat, but I will tell you when they will not do it, and that happens when they are full; and I will also tell you when they will do it, and that happens when they are hungry. Even so, if your soul is weary after Christ the Saviour, you will feed on him; but if not, it is useless for me to preach to you, or invite you to come. However you who are there, sitting in his shade, may hear him utter these words, “Eat, oh friend; drink, yes, drink abundantly.” You cannot have too much of these good things; the more of Christ, the better the Christian.

23. We know that the spouse feasted herself very heartily with this food from the tree of life; for, later she wanted more. Will you kindly read on in the fourth verse? The verse which contains our text describes, as it were, her first love for her Lord, her country love, her rustic love. She went to the woods, and she found him there like an apple tree, and she enjoyed him as one relishes a ripe apple in the country. But she grew in grace, she learned more of her Lord, and she found that her Best Beloved was a King. I should not wonder that she learned the doctrine of the second advent, for then she began to sing, “He brought me to the banqueting house,” as much as to say, — He did not merely let me know him out in the fields as the Christ in his humiliation, but he brought me into the royal palace; and, since he is a King, he brought out a banner with his own brave escutcheon, {a} and he waved it over me while I was sitting at the table, and the motto on that banner was love.

24. She grew very full of this. It was such a grand thing to find a great Saviour, a triumphant Saviour, an exalted Saviour; but it was too much for her, and she became sick of soul with the excessive glory of what she had learned; and do you see what her heart craves for? She longs for her first simple joys, those countrified delights. “Comfort me with apples,” she says. Nothing but the old joys will revive her. Did you ever feel like that? I have been satiated with delight in the love of Christ as a glorious, exalted Saviour when I have seen him riding on his white horse, and going out conquering and to conquer; I have been overwhelmed when I have beheld him in the midst of the throne, with all the brilliant assembly of angels and archangels adoring him; and my thought has gone forward to the day when he shall descend with all the pomp of God, and make all kings and princes shrink into nothingness before the infinite majesty of his glory. Then I have felt as though I must fall at his feet as dead at the sight of him; and I have wanted someone to come and tell me over again the old, old story of how he died in order that I might be saved. His throne overpowers me, let me gather fruit from his cross. Bring me apples from “the tree” again. I am awe-struck while in the palace, let me get away to the woods again. Give me an apple picked from the tree, such as I have given out to boys and girls in his family, such an apple as this, “Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”; or this, “This man receives sinners.” Give me a promise from the basket of the covenant. Give me the simplicity of Christ; let me be a child and feast on apples again, if Jesus is the apple tree. I would gladly go back to Christ on the tree in my place, Christ overshadowing me, Christ feeding me. This is the happiest state to live in. Lord, for evermore give us these apples. You remember the old story we told years ago of Jack the huckster, who used to sing, — 

 

   I’m a poor sinner, and nothing at all,

   But Jesus Christ is my all in all.

 

Those who knew him were astonished at his constant composure. They had a world of doubts and fears, and so they asked him why he never doubted. “Well,” he said, “I cannot doubt that I am a poor sinner, and nothing at all, for I know that, and feel it every day; and why should I doubt that Jesus Christ is my All in all, for he says he is?” “Oh!” said his questioner, “I have my ups and downs.” “I do not,” says Jack; “I can never go up, for I am a poor sinner, and nothing at all; and I cannot go down, for Jesus Christ is my All in all.” He wanted to join the church, and they said he must tell his experience. He said, “All my experience is that I am a poor sinner, and nothing at all, and Jesus Christ is my All in all.” “Well,” they said, “when you come before the church meeting, the minister may ask you questions.” “I cannot help it,” said Jack, “all I know I will tell you; and this is all I know, — 

 

   I’m a poor sinner, and nothing at all,

   But Jesus Christ is my all in all.”

 

He was admitted into the church, and continued with the brethren, walking in holiness; but that was still all his experience, and you could not get him beyond it. “Why,” said one brother, “I sometimes feel so full of grace, I feel so advanced in sanctification, that I begin to be very happy.” “I never do,” said Jack; “I am a poor sinner, and nothing at all.” “But then,” said the other, “I go down again, and think I am not saved, because I am not as sanctified as I used to be.” “But I never doubt my salvation,” said Jack, “because Jesus Christ is my All in all, and he never changes.” That simple story is grandly instructive, for it illustrates a plain man’s faith in a plain salvation; it is the likeness of a soul under the apple tree resting in the shade, and feasting on the fruit.

25. Now, at this time, I want you to think of Jesus, not as a Prince, but as an apple tree; and when you have done this, please sit down in his shade. It is not much to do. Any child, when he is hot, can sit down in the shade. I want you, next, to feed on Jesus; any simpleton can eat apples when they are ripe on the tree. Come and take Christ, then. You who never came before, come now; come and welcome. You who have come often, and have entered into the palace, and are reclining at the banqueting table, you lords and peers of Christianity, come to the common woods, and to the common apple tree, where poor saints are shaded and fed. You had better come under the apple tree, like poor sinners such as I am, and be once more shaded with boughs, and comforted with apples, for otherwise you may faint beneath the palace glories. The best of saints are never better than when they eat their first fare, and are comforted with the apples which were their first gospel feast.

26. May the Lord himself bring out his own sweet fruit to you. Amen.


{a} Escutcheon: Shield containing a coat of arms. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ga 5}

1. Stand firm therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

“You are not under the law, but under grace. Do not subject yourselves, therefore, to legal principles. Do not live as if you were working for wages, and were earning your own salvation. Do not submit yourselves to the ritual and commandments of man, which would rob you of your liberty in many ways; but having once become a free man, never again wear the chain of a slave: ‘Stand firm therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made us free.’ Because you are the seed of Isaac, who was born according to the promise, you are not the children of the bondwoman, you are not Ishmaelites; therefore, since you were born free, since Christ has made you free by virtue of your new birth, stand firm in that glorious liberty.”

2, 3. Behold I Paul say to you, that if you are circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man who is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

If you begin being saved by the law, you must go through with it. You cannot take the principle of law and the principle of grace, and blend those two together. They are like oil and water, they will never mix. If salvation is by works, it is not by grace; and if it is by grace, it is not by works. You cannot go on the two contrary principles of merit and of favour.

4. Christ is become of no effect to you, you who are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace.

You have turned aside from it. You are not standing with one foot on grace, and one foot on the law but you have gone right away from grace. You must cling to one or the other. If you take the law to be your hope, you must stick with it; and the end will be that you will die in despair.

5, 6. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1228, “Salvation by Faith and the Work of the Spirit” 1219} For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1553, “Faith Working by Love” 1553} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1750, “The Luther Sermon at Exeter Hall” 1751}

It is not any rite, and it is not the neglect of any rite which can produce righteousness. It is as easy to trust in your non-observance of a ceremony as to trust in the ceremony itself, and it will be quite as delusive. It is faith in Christ that brings righteousness, the “faith which works by love.”

7. You ran well; who hindered you that you should not obey the truth?

“You Galatians seemed to receive the gospel very readily, and to be very earnest in obeying it; what has caused you to turn aside to the old legal righteousness? You are very changeable, very fickle; you seemed very energetic in running the Christian race; whatever has gotten in your way? ‘Who hindered you?’ Someone or other must have done so.”

8. This persuasion does not come from him who calls you.

“It does not come from God. He called you to faith in his dear Son, and to all those virtues and graces which naturally spring from the root of faith. Someone else has called you aside, some false shepherd, who is only a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and who would destroy you if he could.”

9. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

One false doctrine very soon sours all your belief; the whole lump is leavened with it. If you have a wrong basis of confidence, you are wrong altogether.

10. I have confidence in you through the Lord, that you will have no other mind: but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.

Depend on it, every man who troubles a church with false doctrine is liable to the High Court above; and, sooner or later, he may expect even a temporal judgment here below.

11. And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offence of the cross is ceased. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2594, “The Offence of the Cross” 2595}

“The offence of the Cross” is that it sets up faith in the infinite merit of Christ’s atonement, and knocks down all confidence in outward ritual and ceremonies. Paul says that, if he had preached the flesh-pleasing doctrines of men, he would not have been persecuted; but the fact that he was persecuted was a proof that he was standing firm in the liberty by which Christ had made him free.

12. I could wish that they were even cut off who trouble you.

Excommunicated, and put out of the church; no, it would be better if they were even dead, rather than that they should live to spread such evil leaven in a Christian church. Sometimes, when we think of the interests of immortal souls, we are apt to grow indignant, and rightly so, towards wilfully false teachers.

13. For, brethren, you have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve each other.

Do not let liberty become licence; do not say, “I may do this or that, and therefore I will do it because it pleases me.” You are not to do anything because it pleases you, but you are to do everything because it pleases God. When a man is no longer a slave to sin, or self, or Satan, let him begin to serve his brethren: “By love serve each other.”

14. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

The legal spirit is all for expansion; it multiplies it commands, and lays down its ritual for this, and that, and the other; but the gospel spirit is all for condensation. It has condensed the whole law into a single word, that is “love.”

15. But if you bite and devour each other, take heed that you are not consumed by each other.

This man finds fault, the other must have his own way, a third is for something quite new, a fourth is for nothing but what is old, and so they start squabbling and quarrelling.

16. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Be obedient to that great principle of the Spirit which goes with the doctrine of grace and salvation by faith, and then you will not be obedient to that lusting of the flesh which is in you by nature.

17. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary to each other: so that you cannot do the things that you want to do.

You are pulled about by two contrary forces; you are dragged downward by the flesh, and you are drawn upward by the Spirit.

18. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.

The Spirit never brings the soul into bondage; the terrors and the fears which come from legal slavery are not the work of the Spirit of God. Where he works, holiness is delight, and the service of God is a continual joy. Oh, that we may be led like this by the Spirit!

19. Now the works of the flesh are revealed,

They are clear, plain, self-condemned.

19-21. Which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambition, dissensions, heresies, envy, murder, drunkenness, revelling, and such-like: of which I also told you beforehand, as I have also told you in time past, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Observe that the gospel gives no tolerance to sin. Some people tell us that the doctrine of faith is not practical, but they know better although they say that. They have only to observe those who are motivated by the principle of faith, and they will find them abounding in good works, while the men who are swayed by the principle of law talk a great deal about works, but have little enough of them in practice. The gospel denounces sin, indeed, and kills it; it gives us the force with which we fight against it and overcome it.

22, 23. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1582, “The Fruit of the Spirit: Joy” 1582} {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1782, “The First Fruit of the Spirit” 1783} peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Either human or divine; everyone is agreed that these things are all good.

24. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the passions and desires.

Condemned it to die, nailed it up to the cross, and kept it in a dying, mortifying posture.

25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

If our spiritual life is the result of a divine work, let our actions be in harmony with it: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

26. Let us not become conceited, — 

We call it glory, but it is conceit; it is marred by vanity if it arises from anything done by us. Glory for you or for me because of anything that we can do is too absurd an idea to be entertained for a moment: “Let us not become conceited,” — 

26. Provoking each other, — 

For, whenever a man is proud, and blustering, and conceited, he is sure to provoke someone or other, and then those who are so provoked fall into another sin, that is, the sin of — 

26. Envying each other.

Oh brethren, let us try to get over all this, and reach out to that blessed state of love which will bring to us peace and joy in the Holy Spirit!

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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