Sermon 2834. Conceit Rebuked
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, JUNE 17, 1903.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, JULY 5, 1877.
"Should it be according to your mind?" Job 34:33.
ELIHU thought that Job had spoken too boastfully and that there was too much of self about him and, therefore, he reprovedhim by asking this question, "Should it be according to your mind?" It is a question which, in the original, has a great wealthof meaning in it and, as the language of the Book of Job is extremely ancient and very terse, it is not easy to get the fullnessof Elihu's meaning. But it has been said that upon the whole, our translation not only gives the meaning of his enquiry, butalso more of the meaning than can be conveyed in any other words, so that we may be perfectly satisfied with it and may prayGod the Holy Spirit to apply it to us. And if we have grown to be high and mighty, and have begun to criticize the way ofGod in dealing with us, this question may come to us very sharply, "'Should it be according to your mind?' Should everythingbe arranged just to suit your whims and wishes? Should everything in the world be fashioned according to your taste and thewhole globe revolve just to serve you and please your fancy? Should it be according to your mind?'"
There are four things I am going to say concerning our text. First I shall ask, Are there really any people in the world whothink that everything should be according to their mind? Then, secondly, I shall enquire, what leads them to that notion?Thirdly,I shall try to show you what a mercy it is that they cannot have everything according to their mind. And then, fourthly, Ishall urge you to keep this evil spirit in check, so that, henceforth, you will not wish that things should be according toyour mind.
I. Our first question has a measure of astonishment about it. ARE THERE REALLY ANY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD WHO WOULD HAVE EVERYTHINGACCORDING TO THEIR MIND? Oh, yes, there are such people! I should not wonder if there are some of them here right now. Infact, I question whether we have not, all of us, at times, drunk very deeply into this naughty, haughty spirit. If we havedone so, may we be speedily delivered from it!
First, there are some people who would have God, Himself, according to their mind. Now, as a matter of fact, all that I canknow of God I must learn from God revealing Himself to me. I cannot discover Him by myself-He must unveil Himself to me-andthat He has done in Holy Scripture. All that He intends us to know about Himself, He has revealed in the written Word andin the Incarnate Word, His ever-blessed Son. But there are some people who get their idea of God out of themselves. You mayhave heard of the German philosopher who evolved the idea of a camel out of his own consciousness-at least, so he said. Ido not think it was much like a camel when he had evolved it, but there are many persons who try to evolve the idea of Godout of their own consciousness. It cannot be, they say, that certain statements in the Bible are true because there is somethingor other, in their inner consciousness, that contradicts the Scriptural declarations. God, as they believe in Him, is whatthey think He ought to be, not what He really is. And there are some, in these days, who have even gone so far as to rejectthe Old Testament altogether because its teaching concerning God does not meet the approval of their very marvelous minds.
Practically, these people are idolaters, for an idolater is one who makes a god unto himself. The true worshipper of God-theaccepted worshipper-is one who worships God as He is and as He reveals Himself in His Word. But there are many persons whomake a god out of their own thoughts. The teachers of the modern school of theology work in a kind
of god-factory. The people in some heathen lands make their gods out of mud, but these men make their gods out of their ownthought, their imagination, their "intellect." That is what they call it, though I am not sure that it is that organ whichis at work in this instance. But when a man makes a god of thought, he is just as much an idolater as if he had made a godof wood or of gold. The true God-the God of Scripture thus revealed Himself to His ancient people, "I am the Lord your God,which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." This God is our God, "the God of Abraham, andthe God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob," "the God of the whole earth He shall be called." Many a man refuses to accept thisGod as his, but I would like to ask him, "Should God be according to your mind?" That would be a strange god, indeed! ShouldHe have no other attributes but such as you would give to Him? Should His Character and conduct be only such as you can comprehendand justify? Must there be nothing in Him that shall puzzle you? Are there to be no Divine deeps that shall be beyond thereach of your finite mind? Are there to be no heights beyond your power to soar?
That is what seems to be your notion and if there is anything that staggers you a little, you say, "I cannot believe it."If it were possible, you would eliminate from the Character of God everything that is stern and terrible-though these attributesclearly appertain to the Most High as He has been pleased to reveal Himself in Scripture. I beg you, dear Friends, never toattempt to mold the Character of God with the fingers of your own fancy! Worship Him just as He is, though you cannot comprehendHim. Believe in Him as He reveals Himself and never imagine that you could, by making any change in Him, effect an improvementin Him. By toning down His justice, you think that you are increasing His love and, by denying His righteous vengeance, youimagine that you are honoring His goodness. But, instead of doing so by the removal of these things which alarm and annoyyou-if you could do so-you would take away part of God's grandeur and strength which make His goodness and His mercy to shineas brightly as they now do!
Leave God just as He is, remembering how He has said, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higherthan your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." The Infinite God must be past finding out by the creatures whom He hasmade. I confess that it is one of my greatest joys to find myself completely baffled when I am trying to comprehend the Characterof God. Sometimes, when I have tried to preach upon the Deity of Christ, I have been fairly staggered under the burden ofthat stupendous Truth and I have felt the utter uselessness and poverty of human language to describe our great and terrible,yet loving Lord! And I have been glad to have it so, for, verily, God is altogether above our comprehension and none of uscan speak of Him as He deserves to be spoken of! But never let us try in any way to diminish His glorious perfections.
A more common way of offending God and setting up our self-will, is by quarreling with His Providential dealings. If anyonehere is doing so, let me ask, "Should it be according to your mind?" You look, sometimes, upon the arrangements of Providenceon a great scale in reference to the nations of the earth. You see them at war with one another and you note how slow theprogress of civil and religious liberty are and how few there are to rally in defense of right principles. Sometimes you getgreatly distressed about the general state of affairs and you wish you could alter it-but the Lord looks down from His eternalThrone and He seems to say to you, "Should it be according to your mind?" The world was wisely ordered by God before we wereborn and it will be equally well ordered by Him after we are dead!
When Alexander Peden, the Covenanter, was dying, he sent for one of his brethren, a fellow-minister of the Word, James Renwick,and he bade him stand out in the room and turn his back to his departing friend. When he had done so, Peden said to him, "Ihave looked at you and I perceive that you are only a little man and you have but feeble shoulders and weak legs." "Yes,"replied Renwick, "that is true, but why have you made that observation?" "Because," said Pe-den, "I perceive that you cannot,after all, carry the whole world upon your back-you are not made for any such work as that." And I may say of all of us whoare here that we were not made to carry the world on our backs. Yet some of us attempt to play the part of Atlas and not onlytry to carry the world, but seek to set the Church right as well! We fancy that we can do that, poor worms that we are, butthe Lord knows that we can do nothing of the kind. "He remembers that we are dust," though we are apt to forget it ourselves!
Well, Beloved, after all, "should it be according to your mind?" Will you, like Jonah, sit pining, mourning and complaining?Does not the Eternal Ruler understand the politics of nations and the best way of governing the world infinitely better thanyou do? Do not attempt to drive the horses of the sun-your puny hands are unfit for so tremendous a task as that. Leave allthings with God! As long as they are ordered by Him, they are well ordered!
Probably, however, it is with the minor Providence that we more often quarrel when we are in an ill state of heart. You thinkthat you would like to be rich, yet you are poor. "Should it be according to your mind?" You would have liked to be healthyand strong, but you are weak and sickly, or you have a suffering limb that troubles you and you sometimes think, "Mine isa very hard loss. I wish it could be changed." "Should it be according to your mind?" Should the fashioning of yourself andyour circumstances have been left to you? What do you think? Possibly you have recently sustained a great loss in businessand you cannot quite get over it. "Should it be according to your mind?" Should Providential circumstances have been arrangedotherwise so as to suit you? Should God have stopped the great machinery of the universe and put it out of gear in order toprevent you from losing a few pounds? "Should it be according to your mind?"
Perhaps it is worse than that-a dear child has been taken away just when he had become most closely entwined around your heart.You would gladly have kept him with you, but was it right that he should go, or right that he should stay? Come now, thereis a difference of opinion between you and God-who is in the right? Should it be according to His mind, or according to yourmind? "Ah," says someone else, "it is the mainstay of the home who has been taken away from us-the husband-the father of thefamily." Well, though it is so, again I ask concerning this bereavement, or any other trial that comes to you, "Should itbe according to your mind?" It should be sufficient for you to know that the Lord has permitted it or actually performed it.
Should it be according to your mind, or according to His mind? It is not easy, I know, to submit without murmuring to allthat happens to us. I am probably touching very tender places in many who, at divers times and seasons, have really felt thatGod, in His Providential dealings with them, had been unkind to them, or that, at least, He had been showing His kindnessin a very strange way.
There are some who carry this difference between them and God into another sphere, for they do not approve of the Gospel asit is taught in the Bible. You know that the Gospel, as revealed in the New Testament, is so simple that a child can understandit. And you may go and teach it to the poorest and the most illiterate and many of them will leap at it, and grasp it at once!But there are others who think that it should be something which is much more difficult to understand, something which wouldneed a higher order of intellect than the common people possess. Do you really think so, my dear Sir? "Should it be accordingto your mind?" Would you shut out the poor and the needy and the illiterate from the privileges of the Gospel-and keep themto yourself and to a few others who have been highly educated? Surely not! O Brothers and Sisters, if it were possible forus to preach a Gospel that we had made obscure, or which could only be comprehended by the elite of society, we would soonhave cause to sadly deplore before God that we had lost that simple, blessed, plain way of instruction which the wayfaringman, though a fool, can understand, and in which he need not err!
Many try to bring down the Doctrines of Grace. They would get rid of Election if they could. Anything like the specialty ofthe Atonement of Christ they cannot bear! The sweet and blessed Doctrine of Effectual Calling they abhor and they would gladlymake a Gospel of their own. But should they want to do so? Is it not your duty and mine, Brother, rather to try to find outwhat the Gospel really is than to seek to make it what we consider it ought to be? "Should it be according to your mind?"We have known some people take a text of Scripture and, because it did not square with the system in which they were broughtup, they tried to cut it down to make it fit in with their notion! But, Sirs, is not the Gospel grander than any of our comprehensionof it? Are there not in it great Truths of God that cannot be cut down to fit any system that the human mind can make? Andought we not to be thoroughly glad that it is so? For, surely, it is better that the Gospel should be according to God's mindthan that it should be according to the mind of Toplady, or the mind of Wesley, or the mind of Calvin, or the mind of Arminius!The mind of God is greater than all the minds of men, so let all men leave the Gospel just as God has delivered it unto us.
Sometimes this difference comes up concerning the Church of Christ. Some people do not like God's order of Church membershipand Church government-they would like to see the world welcomed inside the Church. They do not approve of the ordinances asthey were instituted and observed by our Lord Jesus Christ. Believers' Baptism is peculiarly objectionable to them. Sometimesthey disapprove of God's ministers-they pick holes in the most useful of them. This man ought to be so-and-so, and that otherman ought to be something else. I can only ask again, with regard to the whole matter, "Should it be according to your mind?"Are you to make the ministers and to teach them what they are to preach? Are they your servants or God's servants, and arethey to deliver their message in your way or in God's way? Let
the question be honestly considered and then, perhaps, much of the murmuring that is sometimes heard, and much of the discordthat often arises among professing Christians would be cleared away. For, surely, these things should not be according toour mind, but we should let God appoint, equip and send forth His own servants just as He pleases-not as we please. Christmust decide everything concerning His own Church! He must be free to choose whom He likes to be members of it and to fashionHis Church after His own model.
II. Now, secondly, we are to enquire-WHAT LEADS PEOPLE TO THINK THAT EVERYTHING SHOULD BE ACCORDING TO THEIR MIND?
My answer is, first, that there is a great deal of self-importance in such a notion. There are some people who seem to fancythat they are the center of the whole universe. The times are always bad if they do not prosper. If the earth does not sorevolve as to bring grist to their mill, then the times must be out of joint. But who are you, dear Friend, that you shouldsuppose that for you, the sun rises and sets? That for you seasons change and that God is to have respect to you and to nobodyelse? "Should it be according to your mind?" Then, if so, why not according to my mind, also? And why not according to themind of another Brother? And why not according to the mind of yet another? But no, it is according to yourmind that you wouldhave it! Ah, does not this show what overweening importance we attach to ourselves? We are mere ants, creeping insects uponthe bay-leaf of existence-here today and gone tomorrow-yet we suppose that all things are to be ordered for our special benefitand we quarrel with God if we suffer even a little inconvenience!
This notion also arises from self-conceit. We really seem to fancy that we could arrange things much better than they noware-we would not dare to plainly say so, much less would we be willing to put it in writing, but we talk and feel as if itwere really so. If only we had had the ordering of things, we are quite sure that they would not have happened as they havedone! But then, depend upon it, they would have happened wrongly if they had been other than they have been! "Should it beaccording to your mind?" No! Unless you are self-conceited enough to put your folly in comparison with the wisdom of God,you know that it should not be according to your mind!
Then there is the spirit of murmuring that so easily comes upon us. We have known some who really became slaves to that evilspirit. They complained of everything, nothing was right in their eyes. It was not possible, it seemed, even for God, Himself,to please them. "Should it be according to your mind?" How would it be possible to please one who is so changeable, so whimsical,so fanciful as you are? Poor simpleton, surely you cannot think that such a thing should be.
But, oftentimes, this quarrel arises from lack of faith in God. If we did but believe in Him, we would see that all thingsare ordered well. If we did but trust in God as a loving child trusts in its father, we would feel safe enough at all timesand we would not want to have anything different from what it is. Have you ever heard of the woman who was in a great stormat sea and terribly frightened? She saw her husband, who was the captain of the ship, perfectly composed even while the vesselwas tossed about by the mighty billows-but he could not calm her troubled heart. So he drew a sword from its scabbard andheld it close to her breast. As he did so, he said to her, "Do you not tremble, my wife?" "No," she replied, "I am not inthe least afraid." "But this sword is close to you." "I am not afraid of that," she said, "because it is in my husband's hand."Well," he said, "is it not even so with this storm? Is it not in the hands of God? And if it is in His hands, why shouldwe be alarmed?" So, if we have true faith in God, we shall accept whatever God sends us, and we shall not want to have thingsarranged according to ourmind, but we shall quite agree with what His mind ordains.
So would it be, too, if you had more love to God, for love always agrees with that which its object delights in. So, dearFriends, when we come to love God with a perfect heart, we are glad for God to have His way with us. If He wills that we shouldbe sick, we would not wish to be otherwise. If He wills that we should be poor, we are willing to be poor-and if He willsthat we should pass through a sea of trial, we would not wish to have a drop less than His blessed will appoints.
III. But now, thirdly, WHAT A MERCY IT IS THAT THINGS ARE NOT ACCORDING TO OUR MIND! If they were, I wonder what sort of worldwe would live in?
If things were according to our mind, God's Glory would be obscured. He knows what will best glorify Him and He has been pleasedto so arrange His Providential dealings with men that all shall glorify Him to the highest possible degree. And, Beloved,if we were to alter anything of this-if we could altar anything, it is evident that the Glory of God
would not be so well promoted. So, "should it be according to your mind" that God would lose a measure of the Glory that isdue unto His name? God forbid!
If it were according to our mind, others would often have to suffer. At any rate, if things were arranged according to themind of some people, they would grind the poor in the dust and utterly crush them. If things were settled according to themind of man, we would often be in a terrible plight. Did not David say to God, "Let us fall now into the hands of the Lord,for His mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hands of man"? When God is most grieved with His people, He neverdeals with them in so harsh a manner as the ungodly would deal with them if they had them in their power. Let us trust inthe Lord, my Brothers and Sisters, and thank Him that He does not allow things to be according to the mind of man, for itwould be terrible, indeed, for us, then!
Here is another reflection. If things were according to our mind, we would have an awful responsibility resting upon us becausewe would feel that if anything went amiss, we would be the cause of it. If we had the choosing of our circumstances and thedetails of all that happened to us, we would straightway feel that we would be called to account for everything by our fellowmen and by our own conscience. But now that it is according to the mind of God, you have no responsibility concerning it.If it is according to His will, it must be that which is right and that which is best! So let us bless His name that all thingsare left at His disposal.
If things were according to our mind, I am afraid our temptations would soon be greatly increased, for many who are poor wouldspeedily become rich-and they do not know what the temptation of riches might be, nor the Grace they would need to resistit. And some, who are now sick and are praising God upon their sickbeds-if they were well, might find much of their spiritualitydeparting and they might be thrown into a thousand troubles which they now escape in the quiet of their own room. Some ofyou are in a condition of life where you may not have many comforts, but, on the other hand, you are not subject to thosetrials which come to us who are prominent in public life. You can be sure you are in your right place if God put you there."Should it be according to your mind?" If so, you would have more temptations and less Grace-more of the world, but less ofyour Lord. So thank Him that it is not according to your mind.
If it were according to our mind, we would seldom know our own mind. If a man could manage everything as he liked, he wouldnot long like his own management. Unrenewed men, especially, are never satisfied. The way for a man to be happy is not tohave his own will, but to sink his will in the will of God. Look at Solomon when he had his own way. As one time he gave allhis thoughts to grand buildings-and when he had built his palaces he got quite tired, so he took to making gardens, aqueductsand fountains of water. When he had made them, he did not get much satisfaction out of them, so he got instruments of musicand singing men and singing women, but he was soon tired of them. Then he took to study, but he said, "Of making many booksthere is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh." He had whatever he chose to have, yet it was all vanity andvexation of spirit to him! And he never had what filled his soul till he came to rest alone in his God, which, we trust, hedid in his old age.
I do not know a more horrible endowment that a man could have than for God to say to him, "Everything shall be as you liketo have it." He would probably be the most miserable and most dissatisfied person under Heaven! "Should it be according toyour mind?" Ah, then sin would go uncorrected in you, for you would never have a mind to use the rod! Then your dross wouldremain, for you would never have a mind to be put into the furnace! Should all things go with you according to your own will,then your flesh would get the mastery over you and be pampered and indulged-you would be settled on your less, not emptiedfrom vessel to vessel-and you would bring upon yourself unutterable woe! O Beloved, for this reason, also, it is a thousandmercies that things are not arranged according to the mind of even the best saint out of Heaven except when his mind is broughtinto full subjection to the will of God!
"Should it be according to your mind?" Then there would be universal strife. If this were the case, think what a terriblecondition the Church of God and the world, too, would soon be brought into, because, as I have already hinted, if it wereaccording to your mind, why should it not be according to my mind, or according to the mind of every other person? Then whatchaos, what confusion there would be! How would the world be managed if you, I, and 50 others, each one with a different mindfrom all the rest, must have it according to our minds? It would mean that the King of Heaven must resign His Throne and giveplace to universal anarchy! It could not be-it would be impossible that such an arrangement should continue for an hour! Wewould have to go, in tears, before the Lord and cry to Him, "O Lord, come back and reign over us, for we cannot get on withoutYou! Everything is going to destruction for need of an Almighty
Will to manage it." Should it be according to your mind? "No, Lord never let it be so except when you have made my mind tobe filled with Your mind and then it shall be well." "I always have my way," said a holy man. "How is that?" asked one whoheard him. And the good man replied, "Because God's way is my way." "I always have my will," said another, and he gave a similarexplanation, "because it is my will that God should have His will." When God's will gets to be your will, then it may be accordingto your mind-but not till then-thank God, not till then!
IV. So now, in the last place, dear Friends, I am going to say to you, let us try, by the help of God's Holy Spirit, to
CHECK THAT SPIRIT WHICH LEADS MEN TO THINK THAT ALL THINGS SHOULD BE ACCORDING TO
First, because it is impracticable. As I have already shown you, it is quite impossible that all things should be accordingto the mind of men so long as their mind is in its natural carnal state.
Again, it is unreasonable that it should be so. In a well-ordered house, whose will ought to be supreme? Should it not bethe father's? Do you expect everything in your home to be ordered according to the will of your little boy? No, you know thatyou take a comprehensive view of all who are in the house and all their concerns-and you are better able to judge than heis, what is right. It would be very unreasonable for your child to say, "Everything is to be managed according to my will."If he were to talk like that, you would soon teach him better, I guarantee you-and it is unreasonable to imagine that theLord should make your will to be the rule of His dispensations. Do not cultivate a spirit which you cannot justify by anysensible and reasonable arguments.
In the next place, it is un-Christlike.''Should it be according to your mind?" Why, if ever there was a Son of the great Father,according to whose mind things should be, it was our blessed Lord Jesus Christ! Yet what did He say? "Not as I will, but asYou will." And as Jesus said, "Not as I will," is there one among us who shall dare to say, "Let it be as I will?" "Will younot join your Elder Brother in that sweet resignation of all desire to be the ruler in order that the great Father, who fillsall things, may have His way? If you wish to have all things according to your mind, you are not like Christ-for in all thingsHe did the Father's will and suffered the Father's will, too, and rejoiced in it. Let us pray the Holy Spirit to help us todo the same!
Once more, if we desire to have our own mind, it is atheistic, for a god without a controlling mind is no god. And a god whosewill was not carried out would be no god. If you were to have your way in all things, you would be taking the place of God-doyou not tremble at the very thought of it? His Throne ill becomes you. Would you-
"Snatch from His hand the balance and the rod, Rejudge His judgments, be the God of God"? If you are truly converted, youshudder at the bare mention of such a thing as that! Yet, dear Sister, was not that the spirit in which you came into thisHouse? Did you not feel, "The Lord has dealt very harshly with me. I can scarcely be reconciled to Him"? Oh, drop that rebelliousspirit! You are but a poor, helpless creature, and He is God Over All! Let His supreme will sweetly rule your heart at thishour-and labor to get rid of that waywardness and that revolting from the Most High!
I knew one who was in mourning many, many years for a child. And a good Quaker said to her, "Friend, have you not forgivenGod yet?" There are some to whom we might put the same question. And we have heard of some who professed to be Christians,who, when they met with a very terrible reverse, said they could never understand it- really meaning that they could neveracquiesce in the Divine Will about that loss. It must not be so with us. Whenever a child falls out with his father, the bestthing he can do is to fall in again, for a sullen child who is angry with his father, will have to come round if he has awise father. The father will say to him, "My dear Boy, there is one of us who must change before we can be perfectly agreed.And I cannot, for I know I am in the right. It is you who must change and come round to my way of thinking." And if you havefallen out with God by willfulness and stubbornness, He cannot come round to you, but you will have to come back to Him. Soyield to Him at once! Bow down before Him, your own Father in Heaven, who infinitely loves you! Do you mean to say that youwill keep up the quarrel with Him? You began the dispute and you know that you are in the wrong and He is right, so say, "Itis the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him." Or if you cannot say as much as that, at least do what Aaron did in his greatbereavement, "Aaron held his peace," or what David did when he said, "I was dumb, I opened not my mouth because You did it."Oh, for that blessed silence which springs from acquiescence to the Divine Will!
I should like you to go further than that, however, and even to praise and bless the Lord for poverty, pain and bereavement.In Heaven, among the sweetest notes of your song will be those you sing over your trials here below. There was one who losthis eyesight, but he always praised God for that, for he said that he never saw till he was blind. I have heard of anotherwho had lost a leg, and he said that he never stood on the Rock of Ages till he had that leg amputated. We, who are branchesof the true vine, will have more of Christ's sharp pruning-knife than of anything else, but let us praise and bless God forit and henceforth labor, by the Spirit's Power, to chase out of our soul the idea that things should be according to our mind.Get away to your room and confess your willfulness and pride, dear Brother, if you have fallen into that sad state. Ask theLord to make your soul even as a weaned child-
"Pleased with all the Lord provides Weaned from all the world besides."
I know that I have been speaking to some who do not love the Lord. I wonder what it is that keeps them where they now are-outof Christ? You want something to be changed, you say. Well, ask the Lord to change you, for that is the alteration that isneeded. The plan of salvation does not quite suit you. Well, there will never be another. Does not Jesus Christ please you?God will never lay another foundation for a sinner to build his hopes upon, so you had better be pleased with God' s way andbuild upon Christ Jesus, the sure Foundation Stone. We tell people, sometimes, that they had better not fall out with theirliving and I can tell you, Soul, that you had better not fall out with your salvation! God's way of saving you is the bestconceivable way-and it is also the only way.
He says that whoever believes on the Lord Jesus Christ shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life. May the EternalSpirit bring you to believe in the Lord Jesus now-and if you do so believe you shall be saved at once! But do not think thatthe plan of salvation will be altered to please you. It will not be made according to your mind. There is the Gospel-takeit or leave it, but change it you cannot! May the Lord grant that you may accept it and rejoice in it for His dear Son' ssake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: GALATIANS 6:6-18.
Verses 6, 7. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teaches in all good things. Be not deceived; Godis not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap. Paul puts that in connection with the support of those whoare teachers of the Truth. And I have sometimes thought that in certain Churches where God's ministers have starved, it wasnot very surprising that the people should starve, too. They thought so little about the pastor that they left him in need,so it was not strange that, as they sowed little, they reaped little. One of these misers said that his religion did not costhim more than a shilling a year-and somebody replied that he thought it was a shilling wasted on a bad thing, for his poorreligion was not worth even that small amount!
8. For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption. He shall reap what flesh turns to in due time-"he shallof the flesh reap corruption." What is the end of flesh? The fairest flesh that ever was molded from the most beauteous formends in corruption! And if we live for the flesh, and sow to it, we shall reap "corruption."
8. But he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. He shall reap what the Spirit really is and whatthe Spirit really generates-"life everlasting." Of course if a man sows tares, he reaps tares. If he sows wheat, he reapswheat. If we sow to the flesh, we reap corruption. If we sow to the Spirit, we shall "reap life everlasting."
9. Andlet us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. It is a pity to faint just whenthe time is coming to reap, so, sow on, Brothers and Sisters, sow on!
10. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.Extend your love, your charity to all mankind. But let the center of that circle be in the home where God has placed you-inthe home of His people-"especially unto them who are of the household of faith."
11. You see how large a letter I have written unto you with my own hand. I suppose that he meant, "See what big letters Ihave made. My eyes are weak, and so, when I do write a letter," says Paul, "in the dimness of this dungeon, with my poor weakeyes and my hands chained, I have to write text-hand and give it to you in large letters. Well," he says, "then carry it outin big letters. You see with what large letters I have written to you, now emphasize it all, take it as
emphatic and carry it out with great diligence. As I have written this with my own hand and not used a secretary, I beseechyou to pay the more attention to it, you Galatians who seem to be so bewitched that to deliver you from false doctrine andan evil spirit, I would even write a letter with my own blood if it were necessary."
12, 13. As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should sufferpersecution for the Cross of Christ For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the Law; but desire to have you circumcised,that they may glory in your flesh.' 'See," they say, "these Gentiles. We have converted them and we have got them circumcised.Is not that a wonderful thing?" No, not at all, for he says-
14. But God foretold that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified untome, and I unto the world.' 'I have ceased to care," says Paul, "about glorying in men and making other people glory in myconverts. The world is dead to me, and I to it."
15-17. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walkaccording to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From henceforth let no man trouble me: forI bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. I have the marks of the whips upon my body. I am the branded slave of JesusChrist. There is no getting the marks out of me. I cannot run away. I cannot deny that He is my Master and my Owner! "I bearin my body the marks of the Lord Jesus."
18. Brethren, the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit Amen. And that is our benediction to you. The Lord fulfillit to each one of you!