Sermon 1205. All For Jesus!
A SERMON DELIVERED OF LORD'S-DAY MORNING, NOVEMBER 29, 1874,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"You serve the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:24.
The Gospel does not merely supply us with directions for holy living but furnishes us with reasons for obedience and tellsus where to find the power to obey. Hence in the commencement of this chapter, before the Apostle comes to any practical exhortation,he reminds us of our position and privileges. He bids us remember who and what we are as Believers in Christ, that we mayact accordingly. We are risen with Christ and, therefore, our affection should not be set on earthly things. We are dead tothe world and, therefore, we must not, cannot live in sin. Christ is our life and, therefore, we must walk after His example.
The Apostle knew right well that the conditions of Believers here below are various and, therefore, he laid down distinctprecepts for each position. Some are masters and others servants. Some parents and others children-and in each case the requirementsdiffer. But while he suited the exhortation to each one, he proposed a common motive for all. He reminded all Believers, whetherwives or husbands, children or fathers, servants or masters, that there is another and a better life which rewards are worthyof our ambition, which service should engross all our strength. He bade them have respect to that higher life, for they hadbeen representatively lifted up into the highest Heaven in the Person of Jesus Christ and with Him their hearts and desiresshould always be.
He bade them live the life of Heaven here below and order their footsteps, not in accordance with the fleeting things of time,but the enduring realities of eternity. He knew that in so doing, the inconveniences of the present would be forgotten inthe glories of the future-and the trials of today would be more than counterbalanced by the joys of the hereafter. Our authorizedtranslation is in the indicative and states the fact, "You serve the Lord Christ." Is it the fact with each of you? To howmany in this place can it be truly said, "You serve the Lord Christ"? I find it might also, and not incorrectly, be translatedin the imperative. "Serve you the Lord Christ." In this sense it may be directed to those who have no share in it as a statementof fact.
Let us take it in both senses. If we dare to hope that we serve the Lord Christ, let us listen to further exhortation andserve Him better, still. Let us thank God for the measure of service which He has worked in us, and let us earnestly ask Himto work in us still further to will and to do. But if any of you are not yet included in the sacred band who call Jesus, "Masterand Lord," then when you have trusted in His blood, come and yield your whole selves unto Him. If, indeed, you are redeemedfrom wrath through Him, I charge you to not be disloyal to the obligations under which you are laid, but from this time forthmake it your joy to "serve the Lord Christ."
To me, my text is one of the most joyful sentences from which I have ever preached. "You serve the Lord Christ." What an exaltationfor a slave of Satan to become a servant of Christ! With what exultation do I hail permission to do anything for my Lord!To be blessed by Him, to be enriched with priceless gifts from His bounteous hand-this is lovingkindness! But to be allowedto render tokens of gratitude in return is sweetest of all! Truly, we may say of this condescension, "Your gentleness hasmade me great." By receiving anything from us, the Lord has lifted us as beggars from the dunghill and set us among princes,even the princes of His people! It is a greater honor to serve Christ in the most menial capacity than to occupy the throneof the Caesars!
I speak of honor. I may also dilate upon the happiness of the service of Jesus! It is the purest of pleasures. We long toexpress our affection for Jesus by acts of zeal. Love pants for expression and is not obedience the tongue of Love? That loveis counterfeit which does not declare itself in some practical form or other by deeds of kindness, or gifts, or sacrifices,or patient endurance, or hearty praise. Beloved, let us count it an unrivalled honor and an unsurpassed delight
to do anything for Jesus! For this service let us be insatiably ambitious, resolved at all costs to show our loyalty to ourPrince.
To serve us He laid aside His glorious array and girt about Him the garments of a servant! For us He took a basin and toweland stooped to wash His disciples' feet! For us He became obedient to death, even the death of the Cross! Now, therefore,in our turn, by all the shame He bore, by all the labor He endured, by all the agonies He suffered, let us serve Him and Him,alone, forever!
In handling the subject of Christian service, I shall note three things-first, we serve the Lord Christ in the common actsof life. Secondly, we serve Him in what are usually called religious acts. And thirdly, we have learned to serve Him, and,I trust, we may do it more and more, in special acts of direct homage to Himself.
I. First, then, "you serve the Lord Christ," IN THE COMMON ACTS OF LIFE. The fact that our text was addressed to the lowestrather than to the highest in worldly circumstances is very instructive. Paul has been visiting a family and he has spokena word to the wife and a word to the husband. He has paid attention to the children and given a warning to the father. Hehas, also, a message for the master of the house-but he does not address to either master, mistress, or children, that choicesaying which he reserves for servants-"You serve the Lord Christ."
The Greek word, here, translated servants, may be rendered, "slaves," though its meaning is not confined to slaves, yet itincludes them-and there were many such in the Christian Church in Paul's days-truly converted men and women who were stillheld in bondage according to the cruel Roman law. The Apostle goes into the kitchen, the cellar, the field, the winepress,the stable and he says to his Brothers and Sisters toiling there-"You serve the Lord Christ." He whispers in the ear of theaged man who acts as porter at the door, whom he knows to be a devout Believer-and this is the secret which he whispers-"Fearnot, Brother, for despite your bonds you serve the Lord Christ."
In those hard days, when Paul wrote from Rome to Colosse, many a slave crept out from Caesar's household by stealth to listento his gracious words. And poor workpeople gathered around him and were converted-and as he felt deep sympathy with them,he did not merely admonish them to be honest, industrious, conscientious and obedient, as many a preacher would have done-buthe went further and cheered them in the performance of their duties by assuring them that they served the Lord Jesus, andfrom Him they would receive a reward! He knew their sorrows and their provocations and, therefore, presented them with a richconsolation and a stimulus.
He exhorted them to act "as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, asto the Lord, and not unto men." This he said to servants and to no other class in particular. He did not mean, thereby, thatthe wife, the husband, the master and the child might not and did not serve Christ, but he would have us infer that of thosewho did-whose lot was least distinguished-much more should those do whose responsibilities and opportunities are so much greater.If my poor servant should serve Jesus, how much more ought I to do it? If those with the least education and means are boundto serve Him, how much more should those who have 10 talents, lay out all for
My Brothers and Sisters, you see that those to whom Paul spoke were not preachers, nor deacons, nor elders of the Church.Neither were they magistrates, or persons of influence-they were simple servants, engaged in domestic duties-but he says ofthem, "You serve the Lord Christ." Though what I have to say bears upon all present, I will keep to the line of thought whichthis fact naturally suggests. Those who are in low estate serve the Lord Christ by a quiet acquiescence in the arrangementof Providence which has placed them where they are. Everyone knows that while the human race exists in its present condition,somebody must serve. It is a paradox, but it is also a truth, that if there were no servants we should practically be allservants.
There are a thousand offices which, if each person were obliged to perform them for himself, would be exceedingly tediousand unpleasant. They are now done for us by persons to whom use renders them not at all irksome. As things are at presentconstituted, there will be poor and there will be rich, there will be servants and there will be masters. And when a man cansay, "I have learned in whatever state I am therewith to be content, for I bow to the Providence of my heavenly Father," thatman is, in his heart, serving the Lord Christ. To stand where the Lord places us and keep our position cheerfully, has init the essence of obedience.
We serve the Lord, next, in service, or in any other form of life, if we exercise the Graces of the Holy Spirit in the dischargeof our calling. The servant who is in all things trustworthy and neither wastes his employer's time nor goods-
the servant who does not watch his master's steps so as to loiter when he is out of sight, but conscientiously renders a fairday's work for his wage, treating his master as he would wish to be treated if their positions were exchanged-such an one,exhibiting truthfulness, gentleness, sobriety, honesty and industry, serves the Lord Christ as much in his labor as if hewere an Evangelist or an Apostle!
He does not preach vocally, but his life is a powerful sermon. He is a standing evidence of the power of religion, an argumentwhich logic cannot overthrow, nor the most cunning sophistry confute. Holy living preaches where the minister cannot enter-itpreaches from the nursery to a worldly mother, from the shop to a graceless tradesman-from the workroom to a godless employer.Where the preachers' words are denied a hearing, your lives will, nevertheless, win attention. At the first the Gospel wasvery much spread in the noble families at Rome by means of their slaves. They noticed how different they were from other slavesand as they observed their conduct, they inquired what this new religion was which so much improved them.
Christians were Christians then! They made their Lord their first and last object. They surrendered their whole lives to Hisservice and hence they were a power in all places. The poorest and meanest did not think themselves exempt from the sacredduty of spreading the faith! None, indeed, asked for a discharge in this war. Domestic servants became missionaries to thefamilies in which they resided and acted as Apostles in houses where the Apostles could not enter! We serve Christ in sucha position by displaying the joy of the Lord in our service. I lay great stress upon this point. Many a soul has been convertedto our Lord Jesus by noticing the cheerfulness of poor Christians.
If a heathen master had a Christian slave, he noticed how contentedly he accepted his hard toil and hard fare. He saw hiscountenance beaming with delight and he even heard him sing for joy! He would naturally want to know the reason for that cheerfulness.Servants had a sorry lot with Roman masters and mistresses. I have seen some of the mere dog holes in which the slave whokept the door found sleeping quarters in the city of Pompeii-yet from such wretched abodes would rise the voice of Psalmsand hymns and spiritual songs-and the children would wish to hear them and the mistresses, too. Thus would the Truth of Godbe spread!
The Christian would not join in the general jollity upon heathen festivals-he would be absent from the amphitheatre when allthe rest of the family were eager to view the spectacle. He had a quiet cheerfulness and settled calm of mind which was allhis own. And when trouble and distress were in the house he was the general comforter and friend. When he lay sick and scarcelyanybody cared for him, he still did not lose heart. And when he was near to die, his joy came to a climax and he breathedout his soul with a song! Such a servant served the Lord most effectually. I hope there are many in this Church who, in thesebetter days, are rendering equally valuable service in households where the name of Jesus is not reverenced.
We, too, should be doing the same in the circles in which we move. Our holy cheerfulness should be an invitation to our friendsto come to Jesus. We shall never bring men to believe in a Master whose servants are unhappy in His service! To toll a knellas an invitation to a wedding feast is most absurd! When we invite men to the banquet of Saving Grace let us do it with smilingfaces. Beloved, let us mingle with the sternness of our integrity and the solemnity of our life purpose that cheerfulnessand joy which are the most natural and the most attractive ornaments of the Christian character. The true way to serve theLord in the common acts of life is to perform them as unto Himself and this can be done with everything which is lawful todo. God forbid we should maintain, as some do, a broad, unbending distinction between things secular and religious.
This wicked age must, indeed, have its holy places and its holy days. What is this but a confession that most of its buildingsare unholy and its days unholy, too? Of Heaven it is written, "I saw no temple there," and we get nearest to the heavenlystate when all superstitious notions about sacred places and sacred substances shall be swept away once and for all! To aman who lives unto God nothing is secular, everything is sacred! He puts on his workday garment and it is a vestment to him.He sits down to his meal and it is a sacrament. He goes forth to his labor and exercises the office of the priesthood. Hisbreath is incense and his life a sacrifice. He sleeps on the bosom of God and lives and moves in the Divine Presence. To drawa hard and fast line and say, "This is sacred and this is secular," is, to my mind, diametrically opposed to the teachingof Christ and the spirit of the Gospel!
Paul has said, "I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself." Peter saw a sheet letdown from Heaven in which were all manner of beasts and four-footed creatures which he was bid to kill and
eat. And when he refused because they were unclean, he was rebuked by a Voice from Heaven, saying, "What God has cleansedthat call not you common." The Lord has cleansed your houses, my Brethren. He has cleansed your bed chambers, your tables,your shops. He has made the bells upon your horses holiness to the Lord. He has made the common pots and pans of your kitchensto be as the bowls before the altar if you know what you are and live according to your high calling.
You housemaids, you cooks, you nurses, you plowmen, you housewives, you traders, you sailors-your labor is holy if you servethe Lord Christ in it-if by living unto Him as you ought to live. The sacred has absorbed the secular! The overarching Templeof the Lord covers all your houses and your fields. My Brothers and Sisters, this ennobles life! The bondsman is henceforthfree-he serves not man, but God. The galley slave tugs the oar for Jesus! The menial ministers to the Lord. This cheers thedarkest shades, for now we no longer complain of the hardness of our lot, but rejoice in it because we bear all for Jesus-andthe burden which we carry is His Cross which He, Himself, places on our shoulders! This ensures us a reward for all we do.
If in our service we receive but little thanks from man and, if, after a life of toil, find ourselves but scantily furnishedfor old age, we will not complain, for our recompense is sure, our reward is in the hands of One who never forgets His servants!There is no unrewarded toil in the service of the Lord Christ, even a cup of cold water He remembers. He who serves Christshall have it said of him at last, "Well done, good and faithful servant," and in the fullness of His Master's joy, into whichHe shall enter, He shall forget that for a while he lived unremunerated among the sons of men! Let this stimulate your zeal,my Brethren! If you serve the Lord Christ, serve Him well! If you had work to do for her Majesty the Queen, you would tryto do your best. If she honored you with her commands you would cheerfully obey them-how much more should you be aroused todiligence by the call of the Infinite Majesty of Him who bled for you!
Perform your daily work with a heartiness which nothing else could beget in you. Serve the Lord with gladness and do all forlove of His name. This I thought most important to bring forward, and though I cannot speak upon it as I would, yet I do earnestlyurge all of you to remember that piety shines best around the domestic hearth-and that true religion is always best esteemedby unconverted men when they see it in connection with the common duties of life. They do not care how beautifully you prayat Prayer Meetings.
They have very little respect for the excellent addresses you deliver in the Sunday school. But to live godly, soberly, righteously-tomake other people happy, to be gentle in temper, to be yielding and forgiving, to be strictly upright and honest in your dealingswith your fellow men-this is what the world will read and recognize! And when they see these things in you, the Gospel willbe commended to them and they will be the more likely to listen to the Truth of God as it is in Jesus.
II. Secondly, Brethren, we ought to serve the Lord Christ in what we more commonly, but incorrectly, call RELIGIOUS ACTIONS.Every professor of religion should have something to do for Jesus Christ. Though the discipline of our Church does not turnout of it everyone who is an idler, I almost wish it did. I am afraid such a rule would diminish our numbers, but it wouldmaterially quicken our energy! Drones in the hive are of very little use as to making honey. They are at the bottom of allthe quarrels, but they cannot really benefit the community. God save us from being drones! Let every man and woman who isreally redeemed by the blood of Jesus have something to do and do it.
I wish I could go round the whole of this company, this morning, and say, "Brother, do you serve the Lord Christ? Sister,do you the same?" But I will ask Conscience to be my deputy and leave your own hearts to answer the question. Brother, Sister,do you really serve Christ, or does it amount to this-you enjoy hearing, you enjoy singing, and so on, but you do nothingfor Jesus? Bestir yourself, dear Brother-put out your talent to interest! Your Lord has said, "Occupy till I come." Take heedlest He come and find your talent buried in the earth-your Lord's money and your napkin rotting in the soil. Let each onebe serving Christ always according to his ability.
But supposing that we are serving Christ, as we think? It is well to raise a further question-are we with our whole soul servingChrist. For mark you, it is very easy to make a mistake here! We may be working in a legal spirit and so not serving Christ.No doubt many attend to the outward matters of religion that they may win merit, or that they may prepare themselves for thereceipt of the Divine blessing. I do not wonder at the zeal and earnestness which some people show-if they hope to get toHeaven by their works they ought to be zealous, indeed! The legal spirit has a measure of power in it-the lash drives theslave on-the fear of punishment impels man to toil.
But from such bondage you are free-"you are not under the Law, but under Grace." Do, therefore, nothing with the hope of deservingwell at the Lord's hands, for this would be serving self. You are saved-serve, then, your Savior out of gratitude! Work, notto obtain life, but because you have life already and delight to exercise that life to the honor of Him who gave it!
Some, I fear, do not serve Christ in what they do, for they go about it as a part of the general routine of their existence.It is the proper thing to go to a place of worship, therefore they go. It is generally expected of persons in their stationto teach in the Sunday school and they do so accordingly. They reckon that they ought to give a guinea if they see the nameof a friend down on the list, therefore they do it. I am afraid that a great deal which is put down as work for Christ isa kind of sleep-walking, done without thought, or heart, or desire to glorify God! May the Holy Spirit awaken us out of suchmere mechanical acts and bring us to be in heart and soul the Lord's willing, ardent workers.
Some, I fear, render service in a party spirit. They serve and they think it is Christ they are serving-but in fact it istheir own denomination or little Church. They would be almost vexed to hear of God's being honored among any other sort ofChristians! They hope there will be a revival, but they would like it to be pretty nearly confined to the walls of their ownChapel. They serve a clique, not Christ. Their sympathies never go beyond the particular section of the Church to which theybelong and they are rather moved by emulation to see their own opinions dominant than by zeal for the Glory of God. Oh, Brothersand Sisters, break those bonds if they hold you! We ought to be zealous for the whole Truth of God! We ought to labor to increasethe number of those Christians who hold the Gospel in its purity-but still- never let our jealousy for pure religion degenerateinto bigotry! Let us love the whole Church more than a part, and Christ best of all!
In more instances, still, the self-spirit comes in to usurp the place of Jesus. I wonder how large a proportion of our zeal,if it were analyzed, could be accounted for by the desire of prominence, the ambition to be thought useful and the wish toshine among our fellow men? I cannot set up a furnace here and put my own zeal or yours into the crucible just now, but againI ask your conscience to be my deputy to analyze, honestly, the motive which sways you and to tell you plainly how far youare serving self and how far you are serving Christ. We are not always serving Jesus, I fear, when we think we are most doingso, for our main object may be to please our fellow creatures.
Our parents wish us to be active in the Church and, therefore, we do it. Our friends would not be pleased if we were idleand, therefore, we make ourselves active. From our position we are expected to be engaged in some department of Christianservice and, therefore, we enter upon it. Brothers and Sisters, we must rise above this! What we do-whether we teach in theschool, or visit the sick, or distribute tracts, or preach the Gospel-we must do as unto the Lord, alone. And the master motivewhich should, indeed, crush out every other, must be this-"we serve the Lord Christ." Brethren, let others take what theywill for their motto, I charge you by the Holy Spirit-write this upon your banners-"We serve the Lord Christ."
If any request you to serve this literary group or that political faction, or to give your whole attention to some great moralreform, let your answer be, "We serve the Lord Christ." Aid in anything that is good-whatever things are lovely and of goodreport, and are for the benefit of mankind, you are bound to consider-but still your main lifework, your true business whichmust absorb your energies and eat you up, is this-"We serve the Lord Christ." They beckon us from this point, crying, "Comeover and help us." They call to us from the other corner, "Come and work with us," but our answer must be, "We are an independentbrigade. We are already committed to the noblest cause-we are sworn to a Captain who has no rival! We are not able to promiseourselves to any of you, though in which you do good we are your allies. Jesus we serve and none else. God forbid that weshould glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." May God help us to do this always!
III. Now I am coming to the last part of my discourse, which, to me, is the most interesting, and I trust it may be so toyou. We serve the Lord Christ IN SPECIAL ACTS DONE TO HIMSELF. I cannot tell how you feel, but I often wish I could do somethingfor my Lord, Himself, personally. I frequently meet with kind souls to whom God has blessed my ministry. They express theirthankfulness to God and their love to me by aiding the various works committed to my charge, for which I am deeply gratefulto them. But now and then a friend says, "I will cheerfully subscribe to your work, but I desire, also, to show my personalthanks to yourself. What can I do for you?"
Now, towards those whom we esteem, this is a natural feeling. And in spiritual things there is a similar desire towards ourDivine Benefactor. Our hearts long to offer something to Jesus, distinctly to Jesus, Himself. He has gone from us, or we woulddelight to minister to Him of our substance, to make Him a feast, to furnish Him a chamber, or to wash His feet. How gladlywould we lend Him our coat, our animal, our guest chamber or anything we possess! We would watch His every need and endeavorto forestall it if He were here. But He has gone. Are we, therefore, denied the privilege of rendering personal service toHim? I think not.
Let it be our pleasant task, now, to consider what we can do directly and distinctly for Him. First, we can adore our Lord.We can bow at His feet and worship Him as our Lord and our God. We shall do well to exercise our hearts in frequent acts ofdevotion to the Son of God. I do not mean offering prayers and petitions, excellent as these are, but holy contemplation,meditation, admiration, thanksgiving and worship of Jesus. Far be it from us to neglect the adoration of any one Person ofthe adorable Trinity in Unity-that were a grievous sin-but to worship Jesus does not involve forgetfulness of the Father orof the Holy Spirit.
Fix your eyes on the Person of Jesus. View His work on earth. Contemplate His holy life and expiatory death. Meditate uponHis great love, His dying love, His living love. Follow Him from the tomb to Olivet, and from the mountain's brow to Heaven'sgate and the right hand of the Father. Pay your homage before His Throne, blessing, praising and adoring Him. We ought notto be satisfied without special acts of personal thanksgiving in which we exercise our love and reverence for Him who is altogetherlovely in our eyes. True, we may be doing nothing for our fellow men while thus occupied, but Jesus is dearer to us than thewhole race of men-and it is only His due that we render Him when we bow adoringly at His ever-blessed feet.
Then, Brethren, when you have adored Him in secret, you should do the like in public by speaking well of Him and extollingHim before others-not so much for their good as for Christ's Glory. I must confess I enjoy a sermon, best, in which I haveto speak most of my Beloved. If I have to set Him forth rather than to exhort you, I feel best pleased. There are other thingsto be done besides, but this is the sweetest task. I love to spend all my preaching time in making Jesus lovely in man's eyes,in lifting Him up on a gloriously high Throne in the esteem of those who listen to me. Brothers and Sisters, do this, yourselves,in your common talk! Make a point of turning the conversation round till it bears on Him. Frequently begin a conversationabout Jesus and let men know that you glorify Him! In such special acts of devotion to His Person, I pray you abound.
Next, we should pray for Him. Do you understand that? Some do not. The Psalmist says, "Prayer also shall be made for Him continually."It is very delightful to pray for sinners and pray for Believers-but there should be special prayer for Jesus Christ-for theextension of His kingdom. That He may see of the travail of His soul and that His Second Advent may speedily arrive. We shouldpray for the conversion of those who deny His Deity and those who fall into deadly errors as to His substitutionary sacrifice.We should make earnest supplication for the quickening of the love of Jesus in the hearts of the faithful and for the turningof the disobedient to the knowledge of the Truth of God. Such prayers should be very frequent with us for His sake and withan eye to His Glory. We pray for this and that, but surely Jesus ought to have a larger measure of our supplications!
Brethren, next to this there should be much communion with Him. I think I hear someone say, "Is that serving Him? I call itenjoying Him!" Yes, I know it is, and you may take it in which way you will, for He says, "If any man serve Me, let Him followMe, and where I am there shall also My servant be." So that you will be sure to be with Him if you serve Him. To be near Himis one of the great essentials of true service. Remember His dying request, "This do you in remembrance of Me." And what wasthat? Why, it was to observe the Lord's Supper, which is the outward and visible sign of communing with Him! If He attachesso much importance to the outward sign, how much more does He value the inner reality of fellowship with Himself?
The fact is that the head which leans upon His bosom is thereby consecrated to His love and is rendering Him service. Thecheek on which He imprints the kisses of His month is doing Him its best homage while it receives His best favors. Walk notat a distance from Jesus or you will grieve Him! Abide in Him and you will bring forth fruit to Him. Let no day pass withouta word with Jesus. You are His spouse-can you live without a loving word from your Husband? You are of His flesh and of Hisbones-let unbroken communion be the very habit of your being! Brethren, the Lord's Supper is worship rendered to Jesus andis mainly an act which begins and ends upon Him-you commemorate His death, you set
forth His flesh and blood. Your union and communion with Christ are not so much meant to benefit others, as to spend itselfupon Him. Therefore attend to it for His sake. Let your eyes be fixed upon only Him. Whatever others may think of your rapturesand delights in Jesus-however much they may call them emotional and unpractical-remain content with having done it unto Him.
Bear with me while I mention other ways in which you may serve Jesus personally. You may do so by sitting at His feet andlearning of Him, studying the Word and pleading for the Holy Spirit to give you light into its meaning. Martha prepared afeast for Him and our Lord did not blame her. But He gave Mary the preference who sat at His feet. One in the crowd said concerningChrist, "Blessed is the womb that bore You and the paps that gave You suck." To administer to His childhood seemed the highestof earthly favors. But Jesus said, "Yes, rather, blessed are they that hear the Word of God, and keep it." Get that blessing!Hear it from His own lips! Study His Word-make much of every syllable. Try to get at the essential spirit and do not tarryin the killing letter-and you will then be personally serving Him, for as a Teacher He is pleased when we are His attentivepupils. This is a sweet way of pleasing the Lord Christ.
Then, Brothers and Sisters, remember, if you would serve Christ personally, you must obey Him. "Oh," you say, "I did not thinkthat would be a very choice way of serving Him." Listen! "If you love Me, keep My commandments." He has chosen obedience asthe special pledge and token of our love! You have said, "I wish I could build a Chapel, or support a minister or a missionaryout of my own purse." I wish you could, but still, Jesus has not selected that as the love token. He has said, "If you loveMe, keep My commandments." Complete, prayerful, habitual obedience to Christ is the most choice pledge of affection whichwe can present to our Lord. May Infinite Mercy help us to present it!
We may do to Christ personal service, next, by being willing to bear reproach for His sake. When you are willing to take uponyourself the defense of a man's character. To throw yourself so completely into him that the reproaches of them that reproachhim fall upon you-you have rendered to that man no mean proof of love. Oh, Brothers and Sisters, if, when they laugh at youfor Christ's sake, you clap your hands for very glee to be counted worthy to be ridiculed for Him! If you take, joyfully,the spoiling of your goods, or the slandering of your character! If you know the meaning of this word, "Rejoice in that dayand leap for joy, for so persecuted they the Prophets that were before you"-then have you rendered personal service to Himwhom you love! And then you may sit down and be thankful for having been allowed to drink of His cup and to be baptized withHis Baptism.
Further, you can show personal kindness to Christ by caring for His Church. The Lord had forgiven Peter and Peter, no doubt,wished to do something to prove his love. His Lord somewhat vexed him by three times putting to him the question, "Simon,son of Jonas, do you love Me?" And when the disciple had protested his love, the Master said to him, "Feed My sheep," and,"Feed My lambs." Go, then, and teach the little children and instruct those of riper years. What He has taught you, teachto others, and you will be doing service to Him. He bids you consider it so, for to you who love Him, He says, "Feed My sheep."
If you cannot serve with your tongue, there remains another mode of pleasing Jesus. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visitthe sick and relieve distress of every kind. "But that is not doing service for Him." I have the best authority for sayingthat it is, for, "Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, I was hungry and you gave Me meat, I was thirsty andyou gave Me drink. Sick and in prison, and you visited Me. Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, Mybrethren, you have done it unto Me."
Actual gifts to the poor and helps afforded to those who need them are grateful love tokens to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesusis not here, but His poor saints are. Any saint is an image of Christ, but a poor saint is the express image of Christ! Thereis a something more about him than about the rich, in which he is even, in detail and circumstances, more like his Lord. Do,then, to your Lord's own members what you would have done to Him if He, Himself, were here. Still, I think that every nowand then, for Jesus, there ought to be a little special wastefulness of love. The woman with her alabaster box of very preciousointment would, no doubt, gladly have joined with the holy ones of substance who ministered to Him. I have no doubt she wouldvery gladly have poured water on His feet when He came into the house weary, or she would have waited at the table when Heate.
But all this would not have sufficed her ardent love. She wanted to perform an extraordinary act which would be all for Him-shelooked at that precious box-she must break that, for she would give Him something which she could not afford to do every day-infact, which she never did attempt to give but once in her life! Brothers and Sisters, think of
something special you can do for Jesus. Let it cost you something and if it pinches you, so much the better! It will be sweetto bear a pinch for Jesus! Think of something that you could not justify in prudence if you had to sit down and talk it over.Do it for Him, not to talk about to others, afterwards, nor for others to brazen abroad. But do it for Him-and then if theydo publish it you need not be angry, for Jesus said, "Where ever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shallalso this, that this woman has done, be told for a memorial of her."
Be not ostentatious, but do not be in such a great worry to hide your work for Jesus, for the knowledge of it may do otherpeople good and lead them to imitate the deed. Still, do it unto Jesus, only. I cannot suggest what you shall do. And it wouldbe indelicate for me to attempt to do so. Who would think of suggesting to a wife what she should give to her husband as aspecial private love token? Oh, no! These things are too choice for others to meddle with. They are secrets between the Lordand His elect, suggestions of personal love which cannot come from without. Do you enquire, "What shall I do for Jesus topraise Him?" Bring forth the choicest that you have and offer it when your heart is best attuned and ready for the givingof it.
My whole soul thirsts to be doing this often, for I owe all I have and all I am to Jesus, my Lord! Here stands a man beforeyou who has not one single thing in all the world but what he has received from his Lord! He has not a penny but what is lenthim! He is clothed by charity and fed by mercy! He is a pauper by nature and yet wealthier than a millionaire because he livesas a gentleman commoner upon the daily bounty of God in Christ Jesus! Here stands before you an unworthy servant of the bestof masters! He is a poor relation of the most generous of householders! He is happy to be in such a case!
Are there other men and women here who owe all to my Lord? If they do, let it be said of them, "You serve the Lord Christ."So let it be said of them while they live and till they die! What better can they desire? For myself, I am resolved, by DivineGrace, more fully to yield my whole body, soul and spirit to Him whose I am, whom I serve. Grace be with you. Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-Colossians 3,4:1-6. HYMNS FROM "OUR OWN HYMN BOOK"-179, 710, 784.