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Christ Is All (1006 and 3446)
Christ Is All
Published on Thursday, February 18th, 1915.
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"Christ is all" Colossians 3:11 .
MY text is so very short that you cannot forget it; and, I am quite certain, if you are Christians at all, you will be sure to agree with it. What a multitude of religions there is in this poor wicked world of ours! Men have taken it into their heads to invent various systems of religion and if you look round the world, you will see scores of different sects; but it is a great fact that, while there is a multitude of false religions, there is but one that is true. While there are many falsehoods, there can be but one truth; real religion is, therefore, one. There is but one gospel the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. What a wonderful thing it is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, should be born of humble parents, and live as a poor man in this world, for the purpose of our salvation! He lived a life of suffering and trial, and at length, through the malignity of his enemies, was crucified on Calvary as an outcast of society. "Now," said they, "there is an end of his religion; now it will be such a contemptible thing, that nobody will ever call himself a Christian; it will be discreditable to have anything to do with the name of the man Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth." But it is a wonderful fact that this religion has not only lived, but is at this hour as strong as ever. Yes! the religion he founded still exists, and is still powerful, and constantly extending. While other religions have sunk into the darkness of the past, and the idols have been cast to the moles and to the bats, the name of Jesus is still mighty; and it shall continue to be a blessed power so long as the universe shall endure.
The religion of Jesus is the religion of God; hence, notwithstanding all the obloquy and persecution which it has had to encounter, it still exists, and still flourishes. It is this religion which I shall attempt to preach to you the one gospel of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ and the text embraces it all in the most comprehensive manner, "Christ is all."
I shall use it, first as a test to try you, and, afterwards, as a motive to encourage you. I want, first, to sift you, to see how many of you are the people of God, and how many are not. I shall make my text a great sieve, and put you in it to see which is wheat and which is chaff. We must consider this passage in two or three senses in order, first, to use it as:
I. A TEST TO TRY YOU.
Christ must be all, as your Great Master and Teacher. There are some who set up a certain man as their authority; they regard him as their master, they look up to him as their teacher, and whatever he says is right; it is the truth, and is not to be disputed. Or, perhaps, they have taken a certain book, other than the Bible, and say, "We will judge all things by this book"; and if the preacher does not teach exactly the creed written in that book, he is set down as not sound in the faith, and this they do not hesitate to say at once, because he does not come up to the standard of their little book! We meet with many people in this world who make their creed, their one little narrow creed, everything, and they measure everything and everybody by that. But, my friends, I must have you say that "Christ is all," and not any man, however good or great, before I can allow that you are Christians. We have not to follow men. Our faith stands not in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God. We are to follow no man, except so far as he follows Christ, who alone is our Master. Be not deceived; submit not yourselves to creeds, to books, or to men; give yourselves to the study of God's Word, derive your creed and the doctrines of your faith from it alone, and then you will be able to say:
"Should all the forms that men devise
Assault my faith with treacherous art,
I'd call them vanity and lies,
And bind the gospel to my heart."
Let Christ be your only Master, and say, in the words of our text, "Christ is all." Now can you say this, or are you boasting, "The Baptists are all" "The Wesleyans are all" "The Church of England is all"? As the Lord lives, if you are saying that, you do not know his truth; because you are not testifying that "Christ is all," but simply uttering the Shibboleth of your little party. I should like to see the word party blotted out from the vocabulary of the Christian Church. I thank God that I have no sympathy whatever with that which is merely sectarian, and have grace given me to protest against it, and to exclaim:
"Let party names no more
The Christian world o'erspread";
"Gentile and Jew, and bond and free,
Are one in Christ, their Head."
If "Christ is all" to you, you are Christians; and I, for one, am ready to give you the right hand of brotherhood. I do not mind what place of worship you attend, or by what distinctive name you may call yourselves, we are brethren; and I think, therefore, that we should love one another. If, my friends, you cannot embrace all who love the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter to what denomination they may belong, and as belonging to the universal Church, you have not hearts large enough to go to heaven; because, if such be your contracted views, you cannot possibly say, "Christ is all."
Next, Christ must be all, as your principal object in life your chief good. Your great aim must be to glorify Christ on the earth, in the hope and expectation of enjoying him for ever above. But as it regards some of you, Christ is not your all. You think more of your shop than you do of him. You are up early in the morning looking at your ledgers, and all day long toiling at your business. Do not mistake me: I dislike lazy people, who let the grass grow over their shoes; and God disapproves of them too. We want no lazy gospellers. The true Christian will say, "I know that I am bound to be diligent in business; but I want to work for eternity as well as for time. I need something besides earthly riches; I want an inheritance not made with hands, a mansion not built by man, a possession in the skies." Are you making this world you all? Poor souls, if you are, the world and the fashion thereof are passing away; your all will soon be gone. I fancy I see a rich man, one whose gold is his all, when he gets into the next world, looking for his gold, and wondering where it is, and being at length compelled to exclaim, in despair, "Oh! my all is gone!" But if you can say that Christ is your all, then your treasure will never be gone; for he will never leave you, nor forsake you. Not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, you shall be happy and blessed, for you shall be crowned with glory, and made to sit with Christ on his throne for ever.
"Well," says some easy-going gentleman, "I do not make business my all, I assure you; not I: my maxim is, let us enjoy this life, let us fill the glass to the brim, and live in pleasure while we may." I have a word also for you Do you think that such a course of conduct will fit you for heaven, for the enjoyments of eternity? Do you imagine that, when you come to die, it will be any pleasure for you to think of your drunkenness? When you are lying on a sick bed, will your oaths bring you any peace, as they reverberate upon your conscience, just as I hear my voice, at this moment, echoing back to my ears the words I am saying? I think I see you starting up as you hear your blasphemies against God thus returning upon you, while, with a mind oppressed with anguish, and eyes starting from their sockets, you exclaim in your terror, "I hear my own oaths again! God is coming to call me to judgment; to demand of me why I dare blaspheme his name!" and the Judge will say, "You, with oaths and curses, profaned my holy name; you asked me to curse your soul, and now I will do it; you prayed in your profane moments that you might be lost, and now you shall be." How horrible that would be! You who say pleasure is all, let me warn you that you will have to drink the bitter dregs of the cup of pleasure to all eternity, no matter how sweet the draught may now be to your taste.
But there are some more moderate people, who are by no means extravagant in their pleasures, and are great sticklers for religion; they go to church or chapel every Sunday, and believe themselves to be very good sort of people, and such as will be accepted at the last day, and placed on the right hand of the throne. Again I put the question, can you say, "Christ is all"? No; you cannot say that. Many of you make the externals of religion your all, resting in the letter, but knowing or caring nothing for the spirit. This will not do; and you are not such Christians as Christ will own if you are making anything your all but himself. Religion is not to be stowed away in the dark garret of the brain. Christianity is a heart religion, and if you cannot say, from the very depths of your being, "Christ is all," you have neither part nor lot in the blessings and privileges of the gospel, and your end will be destruction, everlasting banishment from the presence of the Lord. God grant it may not be so; but that in both your lives and mine we may each be enabled to say of a truth, "Christ is all"; and that we may meet again around the eternal throne!
Next, Christ will be all, as the source of your joy. Some people seem to think that Christians are a very melancholy sort of folk, that they have no real happiness. I know something about religion, and I will not admit that I stand second to any man in respect of being happy. So far as I know religion, I have found it to be a very happy thing.
"I would not change my blest estate,
For all that earth calls good or great."
I used to think that a religious man must never smile; but, on the contrary, I find that religion will make a man's eye bright, and cover his face with smiles, and impart comfort and consolation to his soul, even in the deepest of his earthly tribulations. In illustration of this, I might tell you the story of a poor man who lives in one of the courts in Holborn, who experiences great joy in religion, even in the midst of the deepest poverty. A Christian visitor, going up into the poor man's room at the top of the house, said, "My friend, how long have you been in this place?"
"I have not been downstairs, nor walked across the room, these twelve months."
"Have you anything to depend upon?"
"Nothing," he replied; but recollecting himself, he added, "I have a good Father up in heaven, and I depend upon him entirely, and he never lets me want. Some kind Christian friends are sure to call, and they never go away without leaving me something; and I get enough to live on and pay my rent, and I am very happy. I would not change places with anybody in the world, for I have Jesus Christ with me, and my heavenly Father will take me home by-and-bye, and then I shall be as rich as any of them shall I not, sir? Sometimes I get very low, and Satan tells me that I am not a child of God, and that I had better give up all as lost; but I tell him that he is a great coward to come and meddle with a poor weak creature like me; and I show him the blood, sir; and I tell him the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin; and when I show Satan the precious blood, sir, he leaves off tempting me, and flees directly, for he cannot bear the sight of the Saviour's blood."
Thus we see that true religion can cheer the sick man's couch, can make the poor man feel that he is rich, and bid him be joyful in the Lord. Well did the old man say that the devil cannot bear the sight of the Saviour's blood; and if, beloved friends, you can take Christ's blood, and put it on your conscience, however sinful you may have been, you will be able to sing of Christ as all your hope, all your joy, and all your support. I ask you who love Jesus, does religion ever make you unhappy? Does love to Jesus distress you, and make you miserable? It may bring you into trouble sometimes, and cause you to endure persecution for his name's sake. If you are a child of God, you will have to suffer tribulation; but all the afflictions which you may be called upon to endure for him will work for your good, and are not worthy to be compared with the glory which is to be revealed hereafter.
Now, then, let me ask, could you go with me while I have been speaking? Can you now say that Christ is your only Master, your chief good, your only joy? "Oh! yes; I do love Jesus, because he first loved me." Then, welcome, brother; you are one with Jesus, and we are one with each other. But if you cannot say it, how terrible it shall be with some of you, when you shall find your gourds wither, the props whereon you now lean struck down at a blow, your false refuges swept away, and, deprived of all your feathers and finery, your soul will appear before God in its true character! May it not be so with any of you, but may you be united to Christ by living faith, which works by love, and purifies the heart! Secondly, I shall now consider the text as:
II. A MOTIVE TO ENCOURAGE YOU.
"Christ is all." My beloved friends, in what is he all? Christ is all in the entire work of salvation. Let me just take you back to the period before this world was made. There was a time when this great world, the sun, the moon, the stars, and all which now exist throughout the whole of the vast universe, lay in the mind of God, like unborn forests in an acorn cup. There was a time when the Great Creator lived alone, and yet he could foresee that he would make a world, and that men would be born to people it; and in that vast eternity a great scheme was devised, whereby he might save a fallen race. Do you know who devised it? God planned it from first to last. Neither Gabriel nor any of the holy angels had anything to do with it. I question whether they were even told how God might be just, and yet save the transgressors. God was all in the drawing up of the scheme, and Christ was all in carrying it out. There was a dark and doleful night! Jesus was in the garden, sweating great drops of blood, which fell to the ground; nobody then came to bear the load that had been laid upon him. An angel stood there to strengthen him, but not to bear the sentence. The cup was put into his hands, and Jesus said, "Father, must I drink it?" and his Father replied, "If thou dost not drink, sinners cannot be saved"; and he took the cup and drained it to its very dregs. No man helped him. And when he hung upon that accursed tree of Calvary, when his precious hands were pierced, when:
"From his head, his hands, his feet,
Sorrow and love flowed mingled down,"
there was nobody to help him. He was "all" in the work of salvation.
And, my friends, if any of you shall be saved, it must be by Christ alone. There must be no patchwork; Christ did it all, and will not be helped in the matter. Christ will not allow you, as some say, to do what you can, and leave him to make up the rest. What can you do that is not sinful? Christ has done all for us; the work of redemption is all finished. Christ planned it all, and worked out all; and we, therefore, preach a full salvation through Jesus Christ.
What could we poor mortals do towards saving ourselves? Our best works are but mean and worthless to that great end; I am sure I could not do it. My preaching I am ashamed of that, and there are a thousand faults in my prayers. God wants nothing of us by way of "making up" Christ's work; but he cancels all the sins, and blots out all the transgressions of everyone who trusts to his Son's death.
If I have found Christ, I have found all. "I have not strong faith," say you. Never mind; Christ is all. "I do not feel my sins sufficiently"; but Christ is all. Many people think they must feel a load of repentance before they may hope Christ will receive them. I know every child of God will repent; but we are not all brought to the cross by the terrors of the law. It is not your feelings, my friends, that will save you; but Christ only, Christ standing in your stead, Christ being your Substitute. If, feeling your need of his grace to pardon you, and his righteousness to justify you before God, you can but just look to Christ, though you have nothing good about you, you will have done all that is necessary to carry you to heaven; because it is not your act that can save you, but the act of Christ alone. A little while ago, I had a conversation with an Irishman, who had been to hear me preach. He had come to ask me, he said, the way of salvation. "What troubles me," said he, "is this: God says that he will condemn the sinner, and punish him; then how can God forgive, because he must punish if he would keep his word?" I placed before him the Scriptural view of the atonement, in the substitution of Christ for the sinner; and the poor man was astonished and delighted beyond measure, never having understood the beauty and simplicity of the gospel way of salvation before. "Is it really so?" said he. "It is in the Bible," I replied. "Then the Bible must be true," said he, "for nobody but God could have thought it."
If Jesus Christ is our Surety, friends, we are safe from the demands of the law. If Christ is our Substitute, we shall not suffer the penalty due to sin; for God will never punish the same sin twice. If I have nothing but Christ, I do not want anything else, for Christ is all. If Christ is your all, you will not want anything to help you, either in living or in dying. Now for two thoughts before I close.
1. If a man has Christ, then what does he want else? If a man has Christ, he has everything. If I want perfection, and I have Christ, I have absolute perfection in him. If I want righteousness, I shall find in him my beauty and my glorious dress. I want pardon, and if I have Christ, I am pardoned. I want heaven, and if I have Christ, I have the Prince of heaven, and shall be there by-and-bye, to live with Christ, and to dwell in his blessed embrace for ever. If you have Christ, you have all. Do not be desponding, do not give ear to the whisperings of Satan that you are not the children of God; for if you have Christ, you are his people, and other things will come by-and-bye. Christ makes you complete in himself; as the apostle says, "Ye are complete in him." I think of poor Mary Magdalene; she would have nothing to bring of her own; she would remember that she had been a harlot; but when she comes to heaven's gates, she will say, "I have Christ," and the command will go forth, "Let her in, Gabriel; let her in." Here comes a poor squalid wretch, what has he been doing? He has never learned to write, he scarcely went even to a Ragged- school, but he has Christ in his heart. "Gabriel, let him in." Next comes a rich bad man, with rings on his fingers, and fine clothes upon his person; but the command is, "Shut the gates, Gabriel; he has no business here." Then comes a fine flaming professor of the gospel; but he never knew Christ in his heart. "Shut the gate, Gabriel." If a man has Christ, he has all for eternity; and if he has not Christ, he is poor, and blind, and naked, and will be miserable for ever. Will not you, then, who are listening to me now, resolve, in the strength of the Lord, to seek him at once, and make him your Friend? No matter what may be your state or condition, you are invited to come to him.
Ye blind, ye lame, who are far from Christ, come to him, and receive your sight, and obtain strength! He is made your all; you need bring nothing in your hand to come to him. "Ah!" says one, "I am not good enough yet." Beggars do not talk thus: they consider that, the more needy they are, the more likely are they to obtain that for which they ask. The worse the dress, the better for begging. It is the same with respect to the gospel; and you are invited to come to Christ just as you are, naked and miserable, that he may clothe and comfort you.
2. My last thought is this: How poor is that man who is destitute of Christ! If I were to say to some one of you that you are poor, you would reply, "I am not poor; I have 250 pounds a year coming in, a decent house, and an excellent situation." And yet, if you have not Christ, you are a poor man indeed. Look at that poor worldling with a load of 10,000 pounds upon his back, a quantity of stocks and annuities in one hand, policies and railway scrip in the other; but he is wretched with all his wealth, though he can hardly carry it. There is a poor beggar-woman, who says to him, "Let me take a part of your burden"; but the miserable man refuses all assistance, and resolves to carry all his load himself. But by-and-bye he comes to a great gulf, and, instead of finding these riches help him, they hang around his neck like millstones, and weigh him down. Yet there are some who would do anything for gold. If there be one man more miserable than another in hell, it must be the man who robbed his neighbours to feather his own nest; such feathers will help the flight of the arrows which shall pierce his soul to all eternity. No matter what your wealth, if you have not Christ, you are miserably poor; but with Christ, you are rich to all eternity.
Methinks I see one of you ungodly ones in your last moments; someone stands by your bedside, and watches your face; the death-sweat comes over you, and the big drops stand on your brow; the strong man is bowed down, and the mighty one falls; and now the eye closes, and the hand falls powerless life is fled. Ah! but the soul never dies! Up it flies to appear at God's bar. How will it appear there? Oh! the poor soul without Christ! It will be a naked soul; it will have no garment to cover it it will be a perishing soul, no salvation for it. Mercy cannot be secured then; it will be in vain to pray then, because the lamp will be put out in eternal darkness. And the Judge will say, in tones that will pierce you to the quick, "Depart from me, ye cursed."
May God give all of you grace to repent, and to embrace the salvation which is revealed in the gospel! Every sin-sick soul may have Christ; but as for you who are Pharisees, and trusting in yourselves that you are righteous, if you know nothing about sin, you can know nothing about Christ. The way to be saved is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. "But what is it to believe?" you say. I have heard of a captain who had a little son, and this little boy was very fond of climbing aloft. One day he climbed to the mast-head, and the father saw that, if the boy attempted to return, he would be dashed to pieces; he, therefore, shouted to him not to look down, but to drop into the sea. The poor boy kept fast hold of the mast; but the father saw it was his only chance of safety, and he shouted once more, "Boy, the next time the ship lurches, drop, or I will shoot you." The boy is gone; he drops into the sea, and is saved. Had he not dropped, he must have perished. This is just your condition: so long as you cling to works and ceremonies, you are in the utmost peril; but when you give yourselves up entirely to the mercy of Christ, you are safe. Try it, sinner; try it, that is all. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," is Christ's promise, and it shall never fail you. The invitation is to all who thirst. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come, and take the water of life freely." I have heard that, in the deserts where they can only get water at long intervals, they send a man on a camel in search of it; when he sees a pool, he springs off his beast, and before he himself drinks he calls out, "Come," and there is another man at a little distance, and he shouts, "Come," and one further away still repeats the word, "Come," until the whole desert resounds with the cry, "Come," and they come rushing to the water to drink. Now I do not make the gospel invitation wider than the declaration of the Word of God, "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Whosoever you are, and whatsoever you may have been, if you feel your need of Christ, "Come," and he will receive you, and give you to drink of the water of life freely.
Colossians 3:1-25 ; Colossians 4:1-4 .Psalms 28:1-6; Psalms 28:1-6 .
Verse 1. If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Oh! how often we need to be called to this, for the flesh is grovelling, and it holds down the spirit; and very often we are seeking the things below as if we had not yet attained to the new life, and did not know anything about the resurrection power of Christ within the soul. Now, if it be that you, believers, have risen with Christ, do not live as if you had never done so, but "seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God."
2. Set your affection.
Not "your affections." Tie them up into one bundle. Make one of them.
2. On things above, not on things on the earth.
You say that you were dead with Christ, and that you have risen with Christ. Live, then, the risen life, and not the life of those who have never undergone this matchless process. Live above.
3. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
The old life is dead. You are dead to it. You will not be consumed by it: you cannot be controlled by it. You have a newer and higher life. Let it have full scope.
4. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Christ was hidden while he was here. The world knew him not. So is your life. But there is to be a glorious manifestation. When Christ is made manifest, so shall you be. Wait for him.
5. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Since you are dead, let all the lusts of the flesh be put to death. Kill those. They were once a part of you. Your nature lusted this way. Mortify them. Do not merely restrain them and try to keep them under. These things you are to have nothing to do with.
6, 7. For which things sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
"When ye lived in them" But now you do not live in them. You are dead to them. If it should ever come to pass that you fall into any of these things, you will loathe yourself with bitterest repentance that you could find comfort, satisfaction, life in them. You are dead to them.
8-10. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds: And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
No lies. Such communications are filthy. But you put these things away through your union with Christ in his risen life. Therefore, abhor them. Avoid the very appearance of them, and cry for grace to be kept from them, for you have been "renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him."
11. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
In the new life there is no distinction of race and nationality. We are born into one family; we become members of Christ's body; and this is the one thing we have got to keep up separation from all the world beside: no separations in the church, no disunion, nothing that would cause it, for we are one in Christ, and Christ is all. Now, as we have to put off these things, that is the negative side: that is the law's side, for the law says, "Thou shalt not" "Thou shalt not." But now look at the positive side.
12. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering:
This is what you have got to wear, even on the outside to put it on; not to have a latent kindness in your heart, and a degree of humbleness deep down in your soul if you could get at it; but you are to put it on. It is to be the very dress you wear. These are the sacred vestments of your daily priesthood. Put them on.
13. Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Just as readily, just as freely, just as heartily, just as completely.
14-15 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts.
For that is the great foundation of every godly fruit. We are in such a hurry, in such dreadful haste, so selfish, so discontented, so impetuous, and the major part of our sins spring from that condition of mind. But if we were godly, restful, peaceful, how many sins we should avoid! "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts."
15. To the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
It looks like a very small virtue to be thankful. Yet, dear friends, the absence of it is one of the grossest of vices. To be ungrateful is a mean thing: to be ungrateful to God is a base thing. And yet how many may accuse themselves of it! Who among us is as grateful as he should be? Be thankful.
16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you.
Alexander had a casket of gold studded with gems to carry Homer's works. Let your own heart be a casket for the command of Christ. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you."
16-18 Richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
See how our being Christians does not relax the bonds of our Christian relationship, but it calls us to the higher exercise of the responsibilities and duties connected therewith.
19. Husbands love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
Oh! there are some spirits that are very bitter. A little thing puts them out, and they would take delight in a taunt which grieves the spirit. I pity the poor woman who has such bitterness where she ought to have sweetness: yet there be some such husbands.
20-21 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
The duties are mutual. Scripture maintains an equilibrium. It does not lay down commands for one class, and then leave the other to exercise whatever tyrannical oppression it may please. The child is to obey, but the father must not provoke.
22. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers;
How much there is of that! How quickly the hands go when the master's eye looks on! But the Christian servant remembers God's eye, and is diligent always. "Not with eye service as men-pleasers."
22. Chap. 4:2 But in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done; and there is no respect of persons. Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.
See how he keeps putting that in "Be ye thankful" "with thanksgiving." Why, that is the oil that makes the machinery go round without its causing obstruction. May we have much of that thanksgiving.
3, 4. Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
So the preacher of the gospel asks your prayers: and it is a part of the duties arising out of the relationship between Christian men that those who are taught should pray for those who teach God's Word.
Christ Is All
Delivered on Lord's-day Morning, August 20th, 1871, by
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"Christ is all in all." Colossians 3:11 .
THE APOSTLE WAS ARGUING for holiness. He was earnestly contending against sin and for the maintenance of Christian graces, but he did not, as some do, who would like to be thought preachers of the gospel, resort to reasons inconsistent with the gospel of free grace. He did not bring forward a single legal argument; he did not say, "This do, and ye shall merit reward;" or, "This do not, and ye shall cease to be the beloved of the Lord." He knew that he was writing to believers, who are not under the law but under grace, and be therefore used arguments fetched from grace, and suitable to the character and condition of "the elect of God, holy and beloved." He fed the flame of their love with suitable fuel, and fanned their zeal with appropriate appliances.
Observe in this chapter that he begins by reminding the saints of their having risen with Christ. If they indeed have risen with him, he argues that they should leave the grave of iniquity and the graveclothes of their sins behind, and act as those who are endowed with that superior life, which accounts sin to be death and corruption. He then goes on to declare that the believer's life is in Christ, "for ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." He infers holiness from this also. Shall those who have Christ for their life defile themselves with guilt! Is it not inevitable that, if the Holy One of Israel be in them as their life, their life should be fraught with everything that is virtuous and good? And then he brings forward the third argument that in the Christian church Christ is the only distinguishing mark. In the new birth we are created in the image of Jesus, the second Adam, and in consequence all the distinctions that appertain to the old creation are rendered valueless; "there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Sythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all": the argument from this fact being, that since the only abiding distinction in the new creation is Christ, we should take care that his image is most clearly stamped upon us so that we may not only confess with our tongues that we are Christians, but our conversation and our entire character shall bespeak us to be such. As you may recognize the Jew by his physiognomy, the Greek by his gracefulness, and the barbarian by his uncouthness; so should the Christian be known by his Christliness, by the light, love, and life of Christ streaming forth from him. This is the seal of God which is set upon the forehead of the faithful, and this is the mark of election which is in due season graven in the right hand of all the elect.
Now, as the only distinction which marks the Christian from other men, and the only essential distinction in the new world of grace, is Christ, we are led to see beneath this fact a great underlying doctrine. In the realm of grace, things are what they seem. Christ is apparently all, because he is actually all. The fact of a man's possessing Christ is all in all in the church, because in very deed Christ is all in all. All that is real in the Christian, all that is holy, heavenly, pure, abiding, and saving, is of the Lord Jesus. This great granite fact lies at the basis of the whole Christian system, Christ is really and truly all in all in his church, and in each individual member of it.
We shall, this morning, in trying to open up this precious subject, by the help of the Divine Spirit, first, notice by whom this truth is recognised; secondly we shall consider what this truth includes; thirdly, what it involves; and fourthly, what it requires of us; for if you observe, the text is followed by a "Therefore;" there is a conclusion logically drawn from it.
I. First, then, BY WHOM IS THIS TRUTH RECOGNISED? Paul does not say that Christ is all in all to all men, but he tells us that there is a new creation, in which the man is "renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him," where all national and ceremonial distinctions cease, and Christ is all and in all. It is not to every man that Christ is all and in all. Alas! there are many in this world to whom Christ is nothing; he scarcely enters into their thoughts. Some of the baser sort only use his name to curse by; and as to many others, if they have a religion, it is a proud presumption which excludes a Savior. The creed of the self-righteous has no room in it for the sinner's Savior; the justifier of the ungodly is nothing to them. The worldly, the frivolous, the unchaste, the licentious, these do not permit themselves to think of the Holy Redeemer. Perchance some such are now present, and though they will hear about him this morning, and of nothing else but him, they will say, "what a weariness it is," and be glad when the discourse is ended. Jesus is a root out of a dry ground to multitudes, to them he hath no form nor comeliness, and in him they see no beauty that they should desire him. Ah, what will they do when he is revealed in the glory of his power? They thought it nothing to them as they passed by his cross, but they will not be able to despise him as they stand convicted before his throne. O ye who make Jesus nothing, kiss the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Without Christ, you are to-day without peace, and will be for ever without hope! Nothing remains for Christless souls at the last, but a fearful looking for of judgment and of fiery indignation. I could well pause here, and say, let us pray for those who are unbelievers, and so are living without a Savior, that they may not remain any longer in this state of condemnation.
There are others in this world to whom Christ is something, but not much. They are anxious to save themselves, but since they must confess some imperfections they use the merits of Christ as a sort of makeweight for their slight deficiencies. Their robe is almost long enough, and by adding a little fringe of the Redeemer's grace it becomes all they can wish. To say prayers, to go to church, to take the sacrament to observe Good Friday, these are the main reliances of many a religionist, and then if the coach sticks a little in a deeper rut than usual they call in the help of the Lord Jesus, and hope that he will put his shoulder to the wheel. They commonly say, "Well, we must do our best, then Christ will be our Savior, and God is very merciful." They allow the blessed and all-sufficient work and sacrifice of the Savior to fill up their failures; and imagine that they are extremely humble in allowing so much as that. Jesus is to them a stopgap, and nothing more. I know not whether the condition of such people is one whit more desirable than that of those to whom Jesus is nothing at all, for this is a vile contempt and despising of Christ indeed, to think that he came to help you to save yourselves, to dream that he is a part Savior, and will divide the world; and honor of salvation with the sinner. Those who yoke the sinner and the Savior together as each doing a part rob Christ of all his glory; and this is robbery indeed, to pilfer from the bleeding Lamb of God the due reward of his agonies. "He trod the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with him." In the work of salvation Jesus stands alone. Salvation is of the Lord. It Christ is not all to you he is nothing to you. He will never go into partnership as a part Savior of men. If he be something he must be everything, and if he be not everything he is nothing to you.
There are many who, unconsciously to themselves, think Jesus Christ to be much, but yet they do not understand that he is all in all. I allude to many seeking souls, who say, "I would put my trust in Jesus this morning, but I do not feel as I ought." I see, thou thinkest that there is at least a little of thy feeling to be added to the Savior's work ere it can avail for thee. "But I am not as penitent as I should be, and, therefore, I cannot rest in Jesus." I see, thy penitence is to add the topstone to the Savior's yet unfinished work. Perhaps it is one of the hardest works in the world, so hard as to be impossible except to the Holy Spirit himself, to drive a man away from the idea that he is to do something, or to be something, in order to his own salvation. Sinner, thou art the emptiness, and Christ the fullness; thou art the filthiness, and he the cleansing; thou art nothing, and he is all in all; and the sooner thou consentest to this the better. Have done with saying, "I would come to the Savior if this, and if that," for this quibbling will delude, delay, and destroy thee. Come as thou art, just now, even at this moment, for Christ is not almost all, but all in all.
There are some, too, who think that Christ is all in some things, but they have not yet seen the full teaching of the text; for it saith: "Christ is all, and in all." He is all, "say they, in justification; he it is that pardons all our sins and covers us with his righteousness, but as to our sanctification, surely, we are to effect that ourselves; and as to our final perseverance, it must depend wholly upon our own watchfulness. Are we not in jeopardy still? Are there not some points which depend upon our own virtue and goodness?" Beloved, God forbid I should say a word against the most earnest watchfulness, against the most diligent endeavors, but I beseech you do not place them in a wrong position, or speak us though the ultimate salvation of the believer were based upon such shifting sand. We are saved in Christ. We are complete in him. We are sanctified in Christ Jesus: "And he is made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." Christ is all, not in my justification only, but in my sanctification too. He is all, not only in the first steps of my faith, but in the last. "He is Alpha and Omega; he is the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord." There is no point between the gates of hell and the gates of heaven where a believer shall have to say, "Christ fails me here, and I must rely upon my own endeavors. From the dunghill of our corruption up to the throne of our perfection there is no point left to hazard, or set aside for us to supply; our salvation has Christ to begin with, Christ to go on with, and Christ to finish with, and that in all points, at all times, for every man of woman born that ever shall be saved. There is no point in which the creature comes in to claim merit, or to bring strength, or to make up for that which was lacking. "Christ is all, and in all." The saints are "perfect in Christ Jesus." He said, "it is finished," and finished it is. He is not the author of our faith only, but the finisher of it too. He is all in all, and man is nothing at all.
This is a truth which every believer has recognised. There are a great many differences among believers, but there is no difference as to this essential point. Unhappily, the Christian church has been divided into sections, but those divisions do not affect our agreement upon this one point, that Christ is all. It is no uncharity if I say that the man who does not accept this is no Christian, nor is it too wide a liberality to affirm that every man who is sound in heart upon this point is most certainly a believer. He who trusts alone in Christ, who submits to him as his sole teacher, king, and Savior, is already a saved man; but he who gives not Christ the glory, though he should speak with the tongues of men and of angels, though he should have the gift of prophecy, and all knowledge, and though he should have all faith, and could remove mountains, and he should appear to have all virtue, yet he is no Christian if Christ be held in light esteem by him, or be anything less than all in all; for in the new creation this one thing stands as the mark of the newly created, that "Christ is all, and in all" to them, whatever he may be to others.
II. Having thus shown where this truth is recognised, we pass on to notice WHAT THIS TRUTH INCLUDES.
It was the advice of an aged tutor to a young student not to take too magnificent a text. I have sounded that warning in my own ears this morning. This little text is yet one of the greatest in the whole Bible, and I feel lost in its boundless expanse. It is like one of those rare gems which are little to look upon, and yet he who carries them bears the price of empires in his hand. It would not be within the compass of arithmetic to set down the value of this sapphire test. I might as soon hope to carry the world in my hand as to grasp all that is contained in these few words. I cannot navigate so huge a sea, my skiff is too small, I can only coast along the shore. Who can compress "all things" into a sermon? I will warrant you that my discourse this morning will be more remarkable for its omissions than for what it contains, and I shall hope indeed that every Christian here will be remarking upon what I do not say; for then I shall have done much good in exciting meditations and reflections. If I were to try to tell you all the meaning of this boundless text, I should require all time and eternity, and even then all tongues, human and angelic, could not avail me to compass the whole. We will swim in this sea though we cannot fathom it, and feast at this table though we cannot reckon up its costliness.
1. According to the connection, Christ is all by way of national distinction, subject for glorying, and ground for custom. Observe, "there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor tree," in the new creation, but "Christ is all, and in all." In the new world there is no difference between Jew and Gentile; barbarian simplicity and Greek cultivation are as nothing. I suppose as long as we are in the flesh we shall set some store by our nationality, and like Paul shall somewhat glory that we were free born: but surely the less of this the better. Within the gates of the Christian church we are cosmopolitan, or rather we are citizens of the New Jerusalem only. As a man, I rejoice that I am an Englishman, but not with the same holy joy which fills me when I remember that I am a Christian. When I meet another man who fears God, I do not want him to think me an Englishman, nor do I desire to regard him as an American, a Frenchman, or a Dutchman; for we are no longer strangers and foreigners but fellow-citizens. If any man be a Christian and a foreigner after the flesh, he is yet in spirit ten thousand times more allied to me than if he were an Englishman and an unbeliever. Greatly is it to be deplored whenever the convulsions of nations drag Christian men into opposition to one another on the ground of politics. One part of the body of Christ cannot be at war with another. It is a shameful thing whenever we suffer our earthly nationality to dominate over our heavenly citizenship. Queen Victoria and President Grant are well enough in their places, but King Jesus is Lord of all; we are above all things subjects of his Imperial Highness the Prince of Peace. Nobody comes into the church as a Jew or a Gentile, nor does he remain there as a Greek or a Scythian, whatever he may have been before; when he becomes a Christian, Christ is all. Earthly distinctions of rank, if they still exist, as they must while we are in this world, are brought to a minimum within the church, they are almost obliterated, and what remains is sanctified to sacred ends.
Christ is all in the church by way of glorying. The Greek said, "The Hellenes are a race of heroes; remember Sparta and Athens. Are we not foremost in civilisation, and were we not chief in war? Who set bounds to the Persian tyrant, and bade the boastful monarch bite the dust? We hold our heads erect when we think of Marathon and Salamis." But when the Greek joined the Christian church, he forgot his national boastings, and henceforth gloried only in the cross of him whose single arm defeated the hosts of Satan, and led captivity captive. The Jew when despised returned scorn for scorn, and said to Greek and Roman, "You may speak of Marathon, but I sing of the Red Sea; you may boast of Persia broken, but I tell of Egypt vanquished, mine are the glories of the Lord of hosts in the far off ages. We were a people when you were as get unknown, and we are the chosen favourites of Jehovah." The moment the Jew sat down at the gospel supper, he laid aside his hereditary pride and bigotry, and recognised the fact that the Greek was a, much a brother as the believing Hebrew at his side. So the Sythian, when he came into the Christian church, was no longer a Barbarian, he spoke the language of Canaan as correctly as his Grecian fellow Christian. The slave no sooner breathed the air of the Christian church than his shackles fell from him. He might be a slave at home with his master, but he was no slave there. While the freeman, though he had been born free, or with a great price had obtained his freedom, never in the Christian church looked down upon the slave. Bond and free were one in Christ Jesus. Nobody had any personal ground for glory; neither race, nor pedigree, nor rank, nor position, were of any account, but Christ was all. "Christianus sum," I am a Christian was and is the universal glorying of all saints.
This at the same time obliterated all their sinful national customs. The Greek said originally, "I may certainly indulge in this vice, because the Lacedaemonians have always observed this custom;" and the Jew, perhaps, might have said, "I will eat nothing common or unclean, neither will I consort with Gentiles, because our fathers did not so." The Barbarian said, "I cannot submit to the laws of civilised life; my father ranged the desert;" and the Sythian said, "I shall rob, and pillage, and kill, for I am a wild man; why should I not? Did not my fathers do so from generation to generation?" When the various tribes came into the Christian church, down went all separating and evil customs at once. What hath Christ said? What hath Christ done? What hath he bidden us? These are law to us and nothing else.
Thus the distinctions of race, the gloryings of the nationality, and the habitudes and customs of various nations, all sank into nothing, for Jesus Christ in the Christian church became all in all. That, I doubt not, is the meaning of the text in its connection. Christ all and in all by way of distinction.
2. Secondly, Christ is all in all to us in another three-fold way to God, before our enemies, within ourselves. Happy art thou, O child or God, that in all thy relationships to the Great Judge of all the earth, Christ is all in all to thee. Thou needest a mediator to stand between thee and God; Christ is that. Thou wantest a high Priest to present with his own sacrifice thy prayers and praises; Christ is that. Thou wantest a representative to stand at all times before God, an intercessor to plead for thee, one who shall be a daysman akin to thee and akin to God, who can put his hand upon both; Christ is that to thee. Whenever God looks upon thee in Christ, he sees in thee all that ought to be there. Did he look upon thee apart from Christ, he would see in thee nothing he could commend: but thou art "accepted in the Beloved." Even the omniscient eye of God detects nothing for which to condemn the soul which is covered with the righteousness of Christ. "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth." Without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, is the entire church as seen in the person of Christ Jesus, her representative and head. Christ is all for us before the throne of God.
But, alas! we need some one to stand between us and our enemies. There is Satan; how shall I meet him? He will accuse me; Who shall plead my case? Christ is all in all for that. Whatever fiery darts Satan may shoot, Christ is the shield that can quench those darts. If Satan tempt me, Christ shall plead for me before the temptation comes. Whenever I have to contend with Satan, this is the weapon with which I should arm myself: If I reason with him, if I bring forward any strength of my own to oppose him, he may well say to me: "Jesus I know; but who art thou?" But if I bring Jesus into the conflict, and wield the merit of his blood, and the faithfulness of his promise, the destroying angel cannot overcome the sprinkled blood. We overcome through the blood of the Lamb. Christ Jesus is both shield and sword to us, armor and weapons of war.
So in our conflict with the world. Whatever trials you have, my dear brother, Christ is all in all to meet them. Are you poor? He will make you rich in your poverty by his consoling presence. Are you sick? He will make your bed in your sickness, and will so make your sick-bed better than the walks of health. Are you persecuted? Be it for his sake, and you may even leap for joy. Are you oppressed? Remember how he also was oppressed and afflicted; and you will have fellowship with him in his sufferings. Amidst all the vicissitudes of this present life, Christ is all that the believer wants to bear him up, and bear him through. No wave can sink the man who clings to this life-buoy; he shall swim to glory on it.
So, too, within myself Christ is all. If I look into the chambers of my inner nature, I see all manner of deficiencies and deformities, and I may well be filled with dismay; but when I see Christ there, my heart is comforted, for he will both destroy the works of the devil, and perfect that which he has begun in me. I am a sinner, but my heart rests on its Savior; I am burdened with this body of sin and death but behold my Savior is formed in me the hope of glory. I am by nature an heir of wrath, even as others, but I am born into the second Adam's household, and therefore I am beloved of the Most High, and a joint-heir with Christ. Is there Christ in thy heart beloved? Then everything that is there that would make thee sorrow may also suggest to thee a topic for joy. The saint is grieved to think that he has sin to confess, but he is glad to think that he is enabled to confess sin. The saint is vexed that he should have so much infirmity, yet he glories in infirmity because the power of Christ doth rest upon him. He is grieved day by day to observe his wanderings, but he is also rejoiced to see how the Good Shepherd follows him and restores his soul. So that all the evils and short comings in me which make me weep, also make me glad when Jesus is seen within. For all I see within myself lacking or sinful, I see a sufficient remedy in Christ who is all in all.
Thus I have given you a second way of meditating upon our text. Christ is not only all by way of distinction, but he is all to God, all between us and our enemies, and all within ourselves.
3. We may see another phase of the same meaning if we take a third division. Christ is all for us, he is all to us, he is all in us.
Christ is all for us, the surety, the substitute in our stead to bear our guilt; "For the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." "The chastisement of our peace was upon him." "He hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." He is also the worker standing in our place to fulfill all righteousness for us. He is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. All that God requires us to be, Christ is for us. He has not presented to God a part of what was done, but has to the utmost farthing paid all that his people owed. Acting as our forerunner in heaven, he has taken possession of our inheritance, and as our surety he secures to us our entrance there. For us all Jesus is all.
And this day he is all to us. We trust wholly in him. I often question myself upon many Christian graces, but there is one thing I never can doubt about, and that is I know I have no other hope but in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. If a soul can perish relying with all its power upon the finished work of the Savior, then I shall perish; but if saving faith be an entire reliance upon Him whom God hath sent forth to be a propitiation for sin, then I can never perish until God's word be broken. Can you not say that, dear brethren, and will it not yield you comfort? Have you anything else you could trust to? Have you one good work that you could rely upon? Is there a prayer you have ever offered, an emotion you have ever felt, that you would dare to use as a buttress, or as in some degree a prop, to your hope of salvation? I know you reply, "I have nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing; but Christ my Savior is all my salvation and all my desire, and I abhor the very idea of putting anything side by side with him as a ground of my dependence before God." Oh, then, assuredly you have the mark of Christ's sheep, for to all of them Christ is all.
I said also that Christ is all in us, and so he is. Whatever there is in us that is not of Christ and the work of his Spirit, will have to come out of us, and blessed be the day in which it is ejected. If I am growing and advancing, but it is a growth in the flesh and an advance in self, it is a spurious fungus growth; and, like Jonah's gourd, it will perish in a night. Wood, hay, stubble, are quick building, but they are also quick burning; only that which belongs to "Christ formed in me the hope of glory," will prove to be gold, silver, precious stones, this may seem slow building, but it will abide the fire. O Christian, pray much and labor much to have Christ in thee, for he is all that is worth having in thee. He is only the husk of a Christian who has not the precious kernel of Christ in his heart. Christ on the cross saves us by becoming Christ in the heart. Jesus is indeed all for us, all to us, all in us.
4. Shift the kaleidoscope, and take the same truth in another way Christ is the channel of all, the pledge of all, the sum of all.
The channel of all. All love and mercy flow from God through Christ the mediator. We get nought apart from him. "No man cometh unto the Father but by me." Other conduits are dry, but this channel is always full. "He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."
Christ is the pledge of all. When God gave us Christ, he did as much as say, "I have given you all things." "He that spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" He is a covenant to us, the title-deeds of the promised rest.
And, indeed, Christ is not only the channel of all, and the pledge of all, but the apostle says he is all; so I take it he is the sum of all. If you are going to travel on the Continent, you need not carry a bed with you, nor a house, nor a table, nor medicine, nor food; if you only have gold in your purse, you have these condensed. Gold is the representative of everything it can buy, it is a kind of universal talisman, producing, what its owner wishes for. I have never yet met with a person in any country who did not understand its meaning. "Money answereth all things," says the wise man, and this is true in a limited sense; but he that has Christ, has indeed all things: he has the essence, the substance of all good. I have only to plead the name of Jesus before the Father's throne, and nothing desirable shall be denied me. If Christ is yours, all things are yours. God, who gave you Christ, has in that one gift summed up the total of all you will want for time and for eternity, to obliterate the sin of the past, to fulfill the needs of the present, and to perfect you for all the work and bliss of the future.
5. Once more let us view our text in another light. Christ is all we need, all we desire, and all of good that we can conceive. He is all I need. Jesus is the living water to quench my thirst, the heavenly bread to satisfy my hunger, the snow-white robe to cover me, the sure refuge, the happy home of my soul, my meat and my medicine, my solace and my song, my light and my delight.
He is all I desire, and when most covetous I only covet more of his presence; when most ambitious, it is my ambition to be like him; when most insatiable in desire, I only long to be with him where he is. He is all I can conceive of good. When my imagination stretches all her wings to take a flight into realms beyond where the eagle's wing hath been, yet even then she reacheth not the height of the glory which Christ Jesus hath promised her; she cannot conceive with her most expanded powers of anything more rich and precious than Christ, her Christ, herself Christ's, and Christ all her own. Oh, if you want to know what heaven is, know what Christ is, for the way to spell heaven is with those five letters that make up the word Jesus. When you get him he shall be all to you that your glorified body shall need, and all your glorified spirit can conceive. O precious Christ, thou art all in all.
III. I have shown you then, in a very hurried way, what it is that this truth includes, now, with greater brevity still, WHAT DOES THIS TRUTH INVOLVE? It involves a great many things. First, it involves the glory and excellence of Christ. Of whom else could it be said that be is all in all? There are many things in this world that are good, but there is nothing that is good for everything. Some plants may be a good medicine, but not a good cordial; the plant of renown is good every way. Good clothing is not able to stay your hunger, but Christ the bread of heaven is also the Father's best robe. You cannot expect any finite thing to be good for all things, but Christ is infinite goodness. This tree of life bears all manner of fruits, and the leaves are for the healing of the nations. He is strength and beauty, safety and sanctity, peace and plenty healing and help, comfort and conquest, life here, and life for ever. Glory be to the Lord Jesus Christ! What can he be less than God, if he be all? "All." Is it not a synonym for God? We say there cannot be two Gods, because the one God is everywhere, and fills all space; and who then can he be who is called "all in all," but "very God of very God?" Worship him, my brethren, with all your hearts, rejoice in him, bless him from day to day. Let not the world think you poor who are so rich in him. Never suffer men to think you unhappy, who have perfect happiness in the ever blessed Immanuel.
See, in the next place, the safety and the blessedness of the believer. Christ is all; but the believer can add, "And Christ is mine." Then the believer has all things all that he will want, as well as all he does want. No emperor that has not Christ is half as rich as he that has Christ and is a beggar. He that hath Christ, being a pauper, hath all things; and he that hath not Christ, possessing a thousand worlds, possesses nothing for real happiness and joy. Oh, the blessedness of the man who can say, "Christ is mine." On the other hand, see the wretchedness of the man who has not the Savior: for if Christ is all, you who believe not on him are devoid of all, in being destitute of Christ. But you say, "I try my best, I attend public worship, I do a great deal that is good;" you have nothing if you have not Christ. Do not flatter yourself that you are getting on and adding goods to goods in spiritual things; if you have not a Savior you are naked and poor and miserable; you are without all if you are without Christ, who is all. The Christian, then, is rich, but everyone who is destitute of Christ is poor to the extreme of poverty.
See, too, in the truth before us a rebuke for the doubts of many seekers. They will say, "I have not this, I have not that." Suppose thou hast it not, Christ has it, if it be good for anything. "I would fain cast myself upon the mercy of God in Christ this day, but," Ah, away with thy "buts." What dost thou want? "I want true belief," saith one. Come to Christ for it then. "I want a broken heart," says another. If you cannot come with a broken heart to Christ, come for a broken heart.
"True belief, and true repentance
Every grace that brings us nigh,
Come to Jesus Christ and buy."
We have an odd proverb about the folly of taking coals to Newcastle; but what folly must that be which makes a man think that he can take something to Christ, when Christ is all. Come, come, come, come to him, poor sinner, and let him be all in all to thee. Simply rely upon him and be at peace.
How this, again, rebukes the coldness of saints. If Christ be all in all, then how is it we love him so little? If he is so precious, how is it we prize him so little? Oh! my dull, dead, cold heart, what art thou at? Art thou harder than adamant, and baser than brutish, that thou art not much more moved with ardor and fervent affection towards such a Lord us this? Christ is all, my brethren, yet look how little we offer to him of our substance how scant a portion of our time how slender a part of our talents how small a parcel! God stir us to holy fervency, that if Christ be all for us, we may be all for Christ. May we lay ourselves out without reservation to the utmost stretch of our power, asking fresh strength from him, that we may do all that can be done by mortal men, and that all may be done with us by God, that he shall see it to be compatible with his glory to do.
Again, by our text another lesson is furnished us. We learn here how to measure young converts. We ought not to expect them to be philosophers or divines; Christ is all. If they know Christ, and are resting in him, we are bound to say, "Come, and welcome." Be they poor, be they unlettered, if Jesus Christ be formed in their hearts, even though we can see him there only as a dim outline, we are to open wide the gate, and receive them as Jesus received us.
Here is a measure, too, by which to measure ministers. The fashion of the world is to admire him most who shall speak most rhetorically. Accursed be the day in which oratory was tolerated in the Christian pulpit. It has been the bane and plague of the church of God. This labor after flowery speech, this seeking after polished periods and gaudy sentences, what is it but a pandering to the world, and a prostitution of the ministry of reconciliation. Had men learned what the apostle meant when he said, "I brethren, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom," they would have preached far other wise than they have done. We should strive to speak the gospel simply from our hearts, and then men's hearts will be impressed with the truth. Alas, this toying with fair words, and seeking after pleasing expressions, this dressing up of truth in the flaunting finery of falsehood, degrades rather than adorns the gospel, and it has done incalculable damage to souls, and to the advance of truth. Measure ministers by this, What is there of Christ about them? That ministry which hath no savor of Christ in it, be it what it may, is a ministry which the Lord will not own, and that you ought not to own; it is not God-sent, and ought not to be received by you. Give me Christ Jesus, though the speech in which he be set forth be of the most uncouth kind, rather than the choicest inventions of the most ingenious thinkers, from which Jesus Christ is absent, or in which he is not exalted.
Brother, this will also help you to estimate your own devotions. You came to the communion table the other day, but you did not enter into fellowship with Christ. Ah! then there was a lost opportunity. You were in your closet this morning in prayer, but you did not plead the name of Jesus. Ah! then again there was a lost season of devotion. You are a Bible reader, and your eye glances over the holy words but you do not see Jesus in each page; then your reading has failed. You have been giving to the poor of late; but have you done it for Christ's sake? You have sought to win souls: have you done it in Christ's strength? If Jesus be absent, you have offered a sacrifice from which the heart is gone; and among the Romans, no omen was supposed to be so damaging as the absence of the heart from the sacrifice. No Christ, then there can be no acceptance, but a fullness of Christ proves a fullness of acceptance with God.
IV. There are many other things which I could have said, but time has failed me, and therefore I must close by noticing WHAT THIS TRUTH REQUIRES OF US. Christ is all in all; therefore "put on, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering." The exhibition of the Christ-life in the saints is the legitimate inference from the fact that Christ is all to them. If Christ is all, and yet I being a Christian am not like Christ, my Christianity is a transparent sham, I am nothing but a base pretender, and my outward religiousness is a pompous pageantry for my soul to be carried to hell in nothing more. It is a gilded coffin for a lifeless spirit. I shall perish with a double destruction, if I have dared to profane the name of Christ by taking it upon me, when I have not the essence of the Christian religion within me. Orthodoxy, though it be of the most assured sort, is vanity of vanities, unless there be with it an orthodoxy of life: and experience, whatever man may say about it, is but a dream, a fiction of his own imagining, if it does not display itself in shaking off the sins of the flesh, and putting on the adornments of holiness. O brethren, these are searching things to everyone of us. Who amongst us lives as he should at home? Could you bear that the angel who visits your house should publish, before the great cloud of witnesses, all that he has seen there? In your shops, in your businesses, you professors, are you always upright and straightforward as Christians should be! You merchants on the Exchange, are not some of you, who profess to be Christians, as greedy and as overreaching as others? I charge you, if you have any respect for Christ, lay down his name if you will not endeavor to honor it you will be lost, you covetous money-grubbers, you earth-scrapers, who live only for this world, you will be lost; you need not doubt of that, you will be lost sure enough; but why need you make the assurance of your condemnation doubly sure by the base imposture of calling yourselves Christians. Meanwhile, let the Ethiopian call himself white, if he will; let the leopard declare that he has no spots; these things shall not matter; but the falsehood of a man who lives without Christ, while calling himself a Christian, brings such dishonor upon him who was nailed to the tree, and whose religion is that of holiness, that I beseech you, by the living God, give up your profession, if you do not endeavor to make it true. If you are not living as you should, do not pretend to be what you are not. Seek ye unto God, that the life of Christ being in you, you may manifest it in your conversation.
Without Christ ye are nothing, though ye be baptised, though ye be members of churches, though ye be highly esteemed as deacons, elders, pastors. Oh, then, have Christ everywhere in all things, and constrain men to say of you, "To that man Christ is all in all: I have marked him; he has been with Jesus, he has learned of him, for he acts as Jesus did. God grant a blessing on these words, for Christ's sake. Amen.
PORTIONS OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON Colossians 3:1-25 , and Colossians 4:1-6 .
Sermon Readers are respectfully reminded that the 200 boys at the Stookwell Orphanage are supported by voluntary contributions, and that these are always thankfully received by C. H. Spurgeon, Clapham.
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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Colossians 3". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30