Sermon 2413. Despised Light Withdrawn
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S DAY, MAY 19, 1895.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, MAY 15, 1887.
"While you have light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light. These things spoke Jesus, and departed,and did hide Himself from them." John 12:36.
OUR Savior was very gentle with those who had real difficulties. He would argue with them over and over again. He would statea Truth of God, and re-state it. He would cast it into the form of a parable, or He would condense it into a sentence comparableto a proverb, or He would enlarge and expand it, for He was gentle with seeking souls as a nurse is with her child. I do notbelieve that there is any real difficulty in the hearts of those of you who are sincerely seeking Jesus that He will despise.He will not quench the smoking flax, nor break the bruised reed and, therefore, come to Him with your doubts and your anxieties,believing that His tender heart so loves you and so desires your good, that He will sit at your feet that He may induce youto sit at His feet-He will come down to your level that He may lift you up to His level!
I notice, however, that, while it is true that our gracious Master was very gentle and patient with those who had real difficulties,yet He did not always answer everybody's objection. When the difficulty was raised for the sake of questioning and disputing,when it was mere quibbling, when the enquirers were not in earnest and did not really wish to know the Truth of God, He oftendeclined to answer them. My Master has no desire to be merely victor in a debate-He did not come into the world to fight abattle of logic just for the sake of winning it. It is you and your salvation that He is seeking!
So was it in the case of these Jews-when they came with fresh objections, saying, "Who is this Son of Man?" our Lord, insteadof replying to them, exhorted them to believe and walk in the light while they had it. He assumed that He was the Light-Hetook that as a thing which had been proven-He did not go over that ground, again, but He let the quibblers know that He claimedto be the Light of Life, the Light of God whereby men can come to God. And He pressed them to cease from questioning and tobegin to practice real and true dealing with Himself. "While you have light," He said, "believe in the light, that you maybe the children of light."
I am not going, on this occasion, to attempt to meet any difficulties, or to answer any questions. The most of you have nodifficulties about the way of salvation and many whom I address, here, have done with asking questions about Christ. The pointis, how to come to a practical decision. Spirit of the Living God, make this the day and this the hour when many shall believein the great Light of God, and shall be made the children of Light once and for all!
I. First of all, I shall call your attention to a very solemn matter which may be described as THE THREATENED END TO A TIMEOF PRIVILEGE-"while you have the light." You have no freehold possession of it. You have the light, but the time of lightwill come to an end. Observe the 35th verse, "Yet a little while is the light with you." You have it at present, but it willsoon be gone from you. Take heed lest it be gone before you have used it, for when it has once been withdrawn, darkness willcome upon you and, "He that walks in darkness knows not where he goes."
Now what was this light of which our Lord thus spoke? To the Jews, it was the light of the Presence of Christ. It was a greatprivilege, indeed, for the people living in that age and in that country to have the Son of God among them bodily. John tellsus that there were some few who beheld His Glory, "the Glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth,"but the vast multitude were so blinded that, with God, Himself, in their midst in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ, theydid not perceive who the illustrious Stranger was! He came and He went away, again, and they knew not who it was that theyhad rejected, "for," as Paul said in writing to the Corinthians, "had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lordof Glory." That was the Light of God that the Jews had-and which they lost.
Christ has never personally come to you, dear Friends, in the flesh, but the light of His Gospel is still with you, and ina sense, that is His Presence, for Jesus is the very Life of the Gospel. There is also a light that comes to some men, I mighteven say in human form, for there are some ministers whom God specially appoints as His representatives to bless others. Icannot help looking back in history to such men as Whitefield and Wesley and their companions in that great revival period.It was a time of bright light while they were among the sons of men! They flew like flaming seraphs over this land, leavinga trail of light behind them which banished much of the darkness in which England had been shrouded. It was a great privilegeto have heard those men and, when they were gone, to a large extent, and to many people, the Light of God went with them."There are some preachers still on the earth whom God blesses very greatly in the conversion of souls, men whom you cannothear without being profited in your souls.
Without exalting anybody or depreciating anybody, it is a fact that there are some preachers who do not touch your heart anddo not stir your spirit-they may be very useful to others and useful in other directions-but they are not of service to you.On the other hand, there are those whom God does bless to your soul and if you find anywhere, in this Tabernacle, or in anyother House of Prayer where Christ is preached, a voice that really moves you, it is, so to speak, a manifestation of theLight of God to you. Do not, I beseech you, play with it, or trifle with it, for whoever the preacher may be, however humblethe instrumentality, if it is instrumentality that is adapted to your case, it should be honored in your conscience and itshould be highly regarded in your heart! That light may readily enough be quenched. The preacher and his hearers may be separated.He may be taken from you, or you may be taken from him. In either case, it may be a very sorrowful experience for you to haveto look back upon all you heard and saw in those days when there was an instrumentality exactly suited to your case and yetyou refused to be moved by it.
We have always with us the Gospel of Jesus Christ that you can read in this Book whenever you will, but the Holy Spirit mustgo with the Gospel to make it the power of God unto salvation! You cannot see the Light that is in the Word unless the HolySpirit reveals it to you. Some of you have been under the influence of the Holy Spirit in some measure and degree. There havebeen times when you have seen sin and have stood aghast at it, when you have seen the Savior, and have admired His blood andrighteousness. There have been times when you have been strangely inclined to come away from yourself and your sin, and tocome to Jesus and be saved, You remember those powerful drawings, those inward strivings. Remember that this work of the HolySpirit is but for a time, it lasts not forever. Those solemn words are still true, "My Spirit shall not always strive withman." A day may come when the same preaching that now greatly stirs you, will have no influence over you-and when the Spiritof God, Himself, will seem to be entirely absent, both from the means of Grace and from the Bible when you read it. ThereforeI put before you this serious consideration, that you are at present favored with the Light of God, but you are only favoredwith it for a certain term.
Do not reckon upon always having it, for the Light may be removed from you. My dear Hearer, the day may come when you willhave to go away from this country and be found far off in the bush of Australia, or the backwoods of America. Or you may even,in this country, be located where you will not be able to hear the Gospel, for what you will hear will not be the Gospel,and you will be obliged to confess that it is not! Therefore, while you have the Light of God, remember that it is a favorableseason for your decision for Christ. The day may come, as I said before, when the voice that has thrilled you, again and again,and that wakes the echoes of your soul's most secret chambers, shall be silent in death. The time may come when, althoughyour minister and you, yourself, are still left in the same place, yet, so far as you are concerned, the Holy Spirit willbe gone, and so the Light will have departed from you.
Take heed, I beseech you, lest it really be so, and use the Light while you have it. It may, perhaps, seem to some of youthat I am raising a needless alarm, but, indeed, it is not so. I do not think that, for many a day, I have come to this platformto speak to you without being informed, during the day, of some one or two who have passed into eternity out of this congregation.Years ago the bulk of us, as Church members, were young, and we lost comparatively few by the stroke of death. But, as itis with the pastor, so is it with the people-we are all getting older. We have entered middle life, the great mass of us,and, consequently, our mortality is largely increasing-and every time we meet we may be positively certain that we shall never,all of us, meet again here!
Between this Sabbath and next Sabbath some in the ranks of our membership will have passed into Heaven-and some out of ourcongregation will have been called to stand before God. I feel, therefore, like the guard of a train that is just ready tostart. The time is up for us to be off and the guard's whistle has been blown, but there is somebody who wants to talk tome about politics, or there is another person who wants to discuss a theological difficulty, and I feel bound to say, "Sir,the time is up. We must start at once-will you come on board, or must you be left behind? While the train is here at the platform,enter it, take your place, and journey with us to Zion, for now it is time for us to go! We cannot stop here forever." Timeand tide wait for no man! Neither will God forever wait for men to turn unto Him and live-the hour shall come when all opportunitieswill be past-when the gate of mercy will be finally shut. You remember how it was with the wise virgins and the bridegroom,"they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut."
God bless that Word of warning! He can bless it, however feebly it may have been spoken!
II. Now, secondly, I take you a little further into our theme. Here is AN ACT OF GRACE COMMENDED-"While you have the light,believe in the light." This believing is the most essential act of a man's life! Therefore our Lord said, "Believe in thelight."
First, believe that it is the true Light of God, believe the Gospel to be of God! Many here have proven in their own experiencethat it is of God and that, "it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes." That Jesus Christ, the Sonof God, came into this world and was made Man. That as Man He took upon Himself the sin of His people and suffered for us,"the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God," is most assuredly true! And, that in His name there is salvation, that in Himwe have eternal life is, also, equally true. "He that believes on the Son has everlasting life," even now. Believe this tobe true.
"Well, I do believe it to be true," says one, "but I am not saved for all that." Then, next, I pray the Holy Spirit to helpyou to go a little further. Not only believe the Gospel to be of God, but believe Jesus Christ, Himself. There is a text thatis often misquoted-I have many a time heard it said, "I know in whom I have believed," but Paul wrote, "I know whom I havebelieved." He had not only believed in Christ, but he had believed Christ! I want you, dear Friend, if you are sincerely seekingsalvation, to believe Christ. Believe Him to be what He says He is-believe that everything He says is true-believe that He,Himself, does save, and can save, and will save you! So believe Him as to hand yourself over to Him and take Him to be yourSavior! In a word, as our text says, "while you have light, believe in the light."
It is essential, also, that you should believe for yourselves. It is no use for people to try to believe the Gospel for theirfriends or for their children. Believe it for yourselves! I notice that some unsaved persons will read with great interestaccounts of conversions and even feel pleasure in hearing of this and that man being saved. My dear Friend, why not believeChrist yourself? Why not take Him to be your own Savior? Remember that it is true to you that, "He that believes in the Sonhas everlasting life." May you be led at this moment to make it true to yourself! You stand in a banqueting-hall tonight-thetables are delightfully spread with every kind of food that your hunger can crave and every drink that is suitable to quenchyour thirst-you have been up and down those table-and admired the generosity of Him that furnished them so liberally. Andyou have rejoiced as you have seen others sit down and feast!
Now I want you to do this. There is the chair for you. What is next? Sit down at the table and begin to feast. It is you,yourself, who will find the Gospel true! It is your own personal participation in this feast that shall be to you, your joyand your salvation! You do not simply need a Savior-knock that little letter "a" out and put in the blessed pronoun, "my,"and say from your heart, "my Savior!" Do not merely say, "I believe that there is pardon for sin"-take Christ to be your ownSavior and then you are pardoned-your sin is gone! All that is said in the Word of God to sinners in general is meant foreach sinner in particular when he comes and takes it to himself by his own individual faith. There is a passage in Bunyan'sPilgrim's Progress where he says-"These are the generals; come to particulars, Man." That is just what I want to say to you!All that you have heard, all that we have preached, may be put down as generals. But if it is to benefit you, you must cometo particulars, you must personally appropriate the general Truth of God and say, "This is for me. This I believe. This Iwill take. This Savior is mine."
"Still," says one, "suppose that I should take what was not mine." That is a supposition which every honest man might fairlysuggest, but, in this case, so free is the Gospel that you may freely take it and there will be no question about whetheryou had a right to it. Look, there is a hungry dog! He rushes into a butcher's shop, jumps up, steals a piece of meat andruns off with it. It is hardly worth the butcher's while to run after him, to take it away, but if the dog has actually eatenthe meat, then I am sure that no sensible butcher will even think of taking it away from him. Now, I would advise you to makea snatch at the Gospel and hungrily devour it by a ravenous faith-and I am sure that no one will ever take it away from you!Have you ever read that promise of our Lord, "Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out"? I see the Savior standingthere and His different disciples come to Him, one after another, and He does not put one of them away from Him!
At last there comes a filthy beggar, leprous as snow-the white scales are on his brow and men flee in terror from him! Hecomes right up to the Christ and tries to get into His arms. Will He not push Him away? No, for He says, "Him that comes toMe I will in no wise cast out," and He embraces this filthy, leprous beggar and, wonder of wonders, as He presses Him to Hisbreast, the leprosy is healed, the filth is all gone and His rags are transformed to shining raiment! Wonders of Grace belongto Christ! Come along with you, then, and try Him for yourselves! Did He not Himself say, "While you have light, believe inthe light"? If you dare to believe in that Light, you shall make no sort of mistake, for Jesus, Himself, bids you to do so!
Very often, at the bottom of our unbelief, there lies this thought, "I am, after all, somebody of importance." It is the oldstory of Naaman all over again. He went to the house of Elisha, we are told, "with his horses and with his chariot." Thatequipage was a very important part of the real Naaman-his horses and his chariot went to show that he was a great man withhis master and he would have Elisha to know that he was a great man and honorable, albeit that he was a leper. Such a greatman, when he goes to the Prophet's door, down that narrow street in the city of Samaria, must still have his horses and hischariot! The coachman thought he never would get down that lane but Naaman said, "You must drive right up to the door. I mustgo with my horses and with my chariot." The man of God was indoors and Elisha knew how to treat the proud warrior-he did noteven go out to him-he sent a message to him, saying, "Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall come, again,to you, and you shall be clean."
Naaman thought that Elisha should have come out to him! He said, "I thought, he will surely come out to me; the proudest manin all Syria has been glad to unloose the laces of my shoes! Did I not come to the Prophet's door with my horses and my chariot?Yet he sent out a bit of a boy, or a servant girl, with a message to me! Then, besides, he tells me to wash! Does he thinkthat I do not wash? I, a prince of Syria, need washing? And if I needed washing, must I come all the way to Jordan to washin that paltry stream? No, there are Abana and Pharpar, back there at Damascus, the rivers of my very respectable country-mayI not wash in them and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage." Yet you know that when he came to a proper state ofmind, he did as the Prophet bade him-he washed seven times in Jordan and his leprosy was cleansed. Thus, proud sinner, obeythe Gospel command, "Believe and live," and you, too, shall be made whole!
III. I want you, now, to advance another step. I have almost anticipated this third point-"While you have light, believe inthe light, that you may be the children of light." Here is A RESULT OF FAITH MENTIONED.
They who believe in Christ receive a change of nature. They were born heirs of wrath, but, by Grace they become children ofthe Light of God. "You were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord," as soon as you have believed in JesusChrist! This new birth, this regeneration, is a great puzzle to many poor sinners. One asks, "How can I make myself a newcreature in Christ?" Of course, you can do nothing of the kind! This is a miracle-it is as much a work of God to make us childrenof light as it was to make light in the first place! Only God can work this miracle, but mark you this, there never was asoul, yet, that truly believed in Christ, but at the same time it underwent the change called the new birth or regeneration.Christians have often been asked about which is first, faith or regeneration, belief in Christ or being born again. I willtell you, when you answer me this question-When a wheel moves, which spoke moves first? "Oh, they all start together!" yousay. So these other things all start together, whether it is the hub of the wheel, which is regeneration, or the spokes ofthe wheel, which are faith, repentance, hope, love and so on-when the wheel moves, it all moves at once!
If you believe in Jesus Christ and Him crucified, in the moment that you believe, this great change of nature is effectedin you, for faith has, in itself, a singularly transforming power. It is a fact in everyday experience that when a man comesto believe in his employer, he becomes, at once, a better employee. A person whom I disliked, because I suspected him, becomes,at once, pleasing to me as soon as I trust him. So, faith towards God, in itself, produces a total change of mind in the manwho has it.
But, beside that, there goes with faith a Divine energy which changes the heart of man. I have heard of an old sinner whohad been in prison many a day, growing gray in his iniquity, who took a little child up in his arms, and, as he put his handupon the boy's curly head, he said, "There would be some hope for me if I could become like this little child." Now, thatis exactly what God can do for you! If you believe in Jesus Christ, you shall receive a new and childlike nature. There shallbe created in you something better than what is called the primitive innocence of infancy-it shall be a really pure and holylife that shall be given to you and you shall become a new creature in Christ Jesus!
Is not this very wonderful? The text says, "Believe in the light, that you may be the children of light." The children oflight-what a wonderful picture that might be if I were an artist and could exercise the power of word painting which somehave! "The children of light." Why, in the morning, when the sun first shines forth, those myriads of dew-drops, all brighterthan diamonds of the first water-these are the children of light! And those innumerable flowers that open their cups and sweetenthe air with their dainty perfume-these are the children of light! And those birds that have been slumbering away, there,during the night, in their hidden corners in the grove, come out and begin at once their charming minstrelsy, for they arethe children of the light! I cannot tell you how many and how bright are these things in nature which are the children oflight, but God can make us, by His Grace, to be like these things, only far better, children of light spiritually.
What are the children of light spiritually? Well, I have met with some of them and it has been a great joy to know them, forthese children of light have a great delight in the Truth of God. They are not afraid of it, they love to dive into it! Aschildren of light they like to know, they wish to know, even the deep things of God. They do not shut their eyes to the Truthof God about eternity. They do not refuse to search their own hearts. They are children of the Light of God and they desirethe Light of God to shine! They come to the Light of God that their hearts, their thoughts and their works may be made manifest.They delight to know the Truth of God-error and falsehood are loathsome to them-but that which is true is charming to theirjudgment.
"Children of light." They are those who move in a world of knowledge. They have come to know what others do not know. To themthe world is peopled with invisible beings! To them eternal things are no dreams, but they have become realities. Their eyeshave been opened to a Light that shines not from the sun and they move in an atmosphere in which they behold things whichthe telescope cannot reveal. They are children of the Light of God who have come into a world of perception and discoveriesto which others are strangers!
"Children of light." I will tell you, again, how you may know them. They practice truth. They speak the truth. It is saidthat an ambassador is a gentleman who is sent abroad to lie for the good of his country. I suppose that common saying is sonearly true that we need not correct it. And a politician is often a gentleman who has learned the art of concealing his thoughts,or who expresses opinions which he trusts will be in accordance with those of his constituency! A child of God is a man whosays what he believes, let the world believe it or not! He does not understand, "policy." He is no mariner who trims his sailto every shifting wind but, believing in the difference between right and wrong, he chooses the right and eschews the wrong,for he is a child of the Light of God! He has made up his mind to follow the right, the true, the good and the gracious atall costs. Now, that is what faith in Christ will do for you. It will make you, by the good Spirit of God, to be a child oflight!
A child of light, further, is one who exhibits the mind and character of God. He is not an earthworm, hiding himself awayin the mold. He is not a rat which loves to be behind the wainscot except at nighttime-he is a child of light. He wears hisheart upon his sleeve where birds may peck at it and they will do so, but that will not affect him. It is not for him to concealanything-what has he to conceal? He lives in the sight of the eternal God and, as for how he appears in the sight of men,what is that to him? Such an one condemns me, but God acquits me, so let the other condemn if he will, what does it matterto me? Such a man acquits and applauds me, but if God condemns me, the acquittal of man is less than nothing and vanity! Achild of light should be very bold for his Lord.
You remember that the times were horribly dark in the days when William Farel lived in Switzerland and young John Calvin hadwritten his weighty volumes of treatises called the Institutes. They were the product of his early days and he wrote in aflowing style, either in French or Latin, and he thought, if he wrote books and sent them forth, he would have done his parttowards the Reformation. But Farel discovered this young writer and said to him, "You must take up the work of the Reformersand carry it on by preaching the Truth." Calvin replied, "I am a bookish man, I have not the courage and the strength to standout in the front of the battle-that is for men like Martin Luther. I am a studious person and not so much a man of action."
Farel reasoned with him and said, "You must come out and take the lead in this Reformation fight," and he asked him, "Areyou afraid of losing your life?" Calvin protested that he had no such fear, he would willingly lay down his life for JesusChrist if that were necessary, but he shrank from the tumult of controversy." Then Farel pronounced upon him a curse so terrible,if he did not immediately come and take his proper place, that John Calvin had to yield and he never doubted afterwards, butwas always to the front, and always the bravest of the brave! I have often admired the noble veteran, Farel, who could nottolerate that this young man, with so much in him, should simply hold the pen and keep in the background, but threatened thatthe Lord would follow him with all the vials of His vengeance if he did not take his place at the post of duty. I should likenow, if I could, to put my hand upon the shoulder of some young Brother, and call upon him to come out to serve his Lord.I feel myself, tonight, like an Elijah to you-and I charge you, Elisha, quit the cattle and betake yourself to this propheticministry! God calls you to it and woe be to you if you stay back from it!
Again, a child of light is one who, by God's Grace, is bright, happy, restful, full of joy, life, fruitfulness. These arethe children of the Light of God and if we believe in Christ, who is the Light of God, and take Him to ourselves with allour hearts, then we shall be the children of Light. I pray that some of you may become the children of Light even tonight.O God, work miracles of mercy in this house! Jehovah, true God, when You answer by fire, then are You known to be God andthe priests of Baal flee away. If you will convert men by Your own Omnipotent Grace, they will worship and adore You. If Youwill not do this, what can my voice do? Pray, O you people of God, that He may bring those who have His Light to believe inthe Light and to become the children of Light! These people to whom Christ spoke were bigoted persecuting Jews, yet He said,even to them, "Believe in the light, that you may be the children of light." Whoever may be in my congregation tonight-anddoubtless there is a mixed medley here-there are none within these walls whom the power of Divine Grace cannot at this momentsave! Our Lord Jesus Christ is as able to save the most abandoned as the most moral and to bring to Himself the most skepticalas well as the most credulous! May that miracle be worked in our midst by His great Grace!
IV. My last point is, A GRIEVOUS CLOSE TO A SERMON.
Christ Himself was the Preacher on this occasion-do you, therefore, infer that these people believed? Let me read to you whathappened when the sermon was done. They gathered about that extempore pulpit from which Jesus had addressed them, but, allof a sudden, they could scarcely tell how, He was gone! They said one to another, "Where is He?" According to the latter partof our text, this happened at the close of Christ's sermon-"These things spoke Jesus, and departed, and did hide Himself fromthem." So, although He had preached as never man preached, though His very soul had run over at His lips in a mighty cascadeof love, yet His hearers were not converted, but the Divine Preacher had to go and hide Himself from their malicious violence!The preacher, on this occasion, will not have to do that. No one will seek his life, or try to do him injury, but it is asad reflection that the same result may follow as followed from Christ's own preaching. Men may go their way with their eyesblinded and the question of Isaiah may have to be repeated again and again, "Who has believed our report? And to whom is thearm of the Lord revealed?"
Do you blame Jesus because these people rejected His testimony? Do you blame Jesus because He had to escape from their violence?No, no, no-a thousand times, no! And "in that day," in that last dread Day of Judgment, I trust that you will exonerate mefrom all blame if you are lost, for I have earnestly exhorted you to believe in Jesus, and in Jesus only! There is salvationto be had in Him-will you have it, or will you not? I would gladly grip your hand, to detain you, as that "ancient mariner,"of whom Coleridge tells us in his weird poem, transfixed with his glittering eyes the wedding guest, and held him when hewanted to be gone, and I would pray you to remember that tonight may be the turning point, the deciding hour, of your eternaldestiny! The scales, I see, are quivering-which way shall they turn? O blessed Christ, cast Your Cross in the balance andturn it, tonight, for the salvation of each one before You, and unto Your name shall be praise forever and ever! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON:
Verses 20-24. Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. Then they came to Philip, whowas from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." Philip came and told Andrew, and in turnAndrew and Philip told Jesus. But Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, itproduces much grain." I think that our Savior looked upon these Greeks as a sort of vanguard of the great army of Gentileswho would come to Him as the result of His death, but He fixed His eyes upon the cause rather than the result, and so He beganto talk about that death of His, and how it was that it would work such glorious results. If you want a corn of wheat to grow,you must put it into the ground. It must be resolved into its primary particles-for that is what, "to die," means-and thenit must spring up, again, with newness of life, or else it can never be multiplied. It was so with the Lord Jesus, Himself.It is still so with us, it is in proportion as we, ourselves, shall be prepared to die that we shall be prepared to give lifeto others.
25. He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. To hoardyour energies will be really to destroy them, like hoarded wheat which, in the end, becomes useless. But to give up your energies,to expend your life forces-this is to sow the wheat-and this is the way to ensure the harvest.
26. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me. Do not let him invent some new method of service-"Let him follow Me." If you woulddo Christ a service, it cannot be by will-worship, or by any way of your own devising! "If anyone serves Me, let him followMe."
26. And where l am, there shall also My servant be. "He shall be with Me in tribulation. He shall be with Me in hu-miliation-andhe shall ultimately be with Me in triumph and in Glory."
26. If anyone serves Me, him will My Father honor. Those servants of Christ who follow at their Master's heel and do His biddingat all times, are the true knights of the King who win the honors that God alone can give.
27. Now is My soul troubled and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour?' But for this cause came I unto this hour.Often, my Brothers and Sisters, should we be checked in prayer if we would be as wise as our Lord. "What shall I say? ShallI ask to be delivered from sickness? Shall I ask that I may not endure the troubles which are the common lot of men? ShallI pray to be screened from persecution?" You see, I am rendering our Lord's question into our language, bringing it down fromthe lofty height of His Divine thoughts to the level of our poor humanity! We must often pause before we pray, and say withour Lord, "For this cause came I unto this hour. Have I not been brought here on purpose to suffer? Have I not been led tothis place that I may glorify God by submitting to all His will?" Therefore, sometimes let us check ourselves in prayer lestwe should ask what is not for our own good or for God's Glory. The next word of the Savior will give us liberty enough, forHe went on to say-
28. Father, glorify Your name. When we are pleading about that glorious name of Jehovah, we may pray with vehemence and importunity-"Father,whatever I do or suffer, glorify Your name."
28, 29. Then came there a voice from Heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore,that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spoke to Him. Ah, they did not understand the voiceof God, or the cause of the voice speaking to them. If the men of the world in our Savior's day did not understand the Father'svoice to the Only-Begotten, do not expect that the men of the world, today, will understand the Divine voice in your heart.They will reckon that you are in error and that God has not spoken to you-it has only thundered. They will be ready to inventall kinds of stories of angels and I know not what, so as to get rid of the voice of God to you. But you know it-if you areGod's children, you know His voice and you also know what He means when He speaks!
30-32. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world:now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me. This isthe sermon which has the Greeks for a text. They are already coming, being drawn to Christ, but when He dies, when He is liftedup upon the Cross, instead of losing His attractive power, He will have greater drawing force than ever-"I, if I am liftedup from the earth, will draw all men unto Me."
33, 34. This He said, signifying what death He should die. The people answered Him. As they were always doing, capaciouslyanswering-not answering Him with sentiments that responded to His, but replying against Him with their caviling.
34-41. We have heard out of the Law that Christ abides forever: and how can say You, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up?' Whois this Son of Man? Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while you have the light, lestdarkness come upon you: for he that walks in darkness knows not where he goes. While you have light, believe in the light,that you may be the children of light. These things spoke Jesus, and departed, and did hide Himselffrom them. But though Hehad done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him: that the saying of Isaiah the Prophet might be fulfilled,which he spoke, 'Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?' Therefore they couldnot believe, because that Isaiah said again, 'He has blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, that they should not seewith their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.' These things said Isaiah, whenhe saw His Glory, and spoke of Him. It is an awful thing to resist the Spirit of God, for if His softening influences arewithdrawn, the heart grows hard! If His enlightening influences are taken away, the eyes of the understanding are darkened!I believe there are many who have so long trifled with conscience and violated the best instincts of their nature that theyare given up as those who are past hope. I pray God that it may not be so with any here. But it was so with many in the generationamong which Christ labored.
42. Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him. Christ has His secret followers in the darkest days. Thereare men who believe in Him even when the current of infidelity runs most strongly.
42, 43. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they lovedthe praise of men more than the praise of God. For which they deserved great censure! Yet some of them cast away their cowardiceat the last, for Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus were among those who confessed their love to the Crucified Christ.
44-49. Jesus cried and said, He that believes on Me, believes not on Me, but on Him that sent Me. And he that sees Me seesHim that sent Me. I am come a Light into the world, that whoever believes on Me should not abide in darkness. And if any manhears My word, and believes not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejectsMe, and receives not My words, has that which judges him-the words that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the lastday. For I have not spoken of Myself, but the Father which sent Me. He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and whatI should speak. Christ did not pride Himself upon being a great original thinker. He took His words from His Father's mouth-andthe preacher of the Gospel is to be no inventor of new thoughts. The "thoughtful" man of whom we hear so much is just a manwho is rebellious against God. The Lord's true servant is to repeat God's thoughts, not his own-to borrow from the Scriptures,to borrow from the teaching of the Holy Spirit-even as the Lord Jesus Christ did.
50. And I know that His commandment is life everlasting: whatever I speak, therefore, even as the Father said unto Me, soI speak. If the great Head of the Church was thus only a Messenger, the Deliverer of a message from the Father, should notwe, who at our best are such poor ministers of Christ, take heed to it that we, also, can say, "Even as the Father said untome, so I speak"? God grant it! Amen.