Sermon 2935. Christ's Joy and Ours
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, MAY 11, 1905.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JANUARY 3, 1875.
"These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." John 15:11.
THERE is a sentence which has crept among our common proverbs so that it is repeated as if it were altogether true-"Man wasmade to mourn." There is a truth in that sentence, but there is also a falsehood in it. Man was not originally made to mourn-hewas made to rejoice. The Garden of Eden was his place of happy abode and, as long as he continued obedient to God, nothinggrew in that garden which could cause him sorrow. For his delight the flowers breathed out their perfume. For his delightthe landscapes were full of beauty and the rivers rippled over golden sands. God made human beings as He made His other creatures,to be happy. They are capable of happiness. They are in their right element when they are happy and now that Jesus Christhas come to restore the ruins of the Fall, He has to bring back to us the old joy-only it shall be even sweeter and deeperthan it could have been if we had never lost it! A Christian has never fully realized what Christ came to make him until hehas grasped the joy of the Lord. Christ wishes His people to be happy. When they are perfect, as He will make them in duetime, they shall also be perfectly happy. As Heaven is the place of pure holiness, so is it the place of unalloyed happinessand, in proportion as we get ready for Heaven, we shall have some of the joy which belongs to Heaven. And it is our Savior'swill that oven now His joy should remain in us and that our joy should be full.
I. My first remark upon the text will be this-all THAT JESUS SPEAKS IS MEANT TO PRODUCE JOY IN HIS PEOPLE. "These things haveI spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you."
If you will read through the Chapter from which our text is taken and also the Chapter which precedes it, you will see thenature of the words which Jesus Christ speaks to His people. Sometimes they are words of instruction. He talks to us thatwe may know the Truth of God and the meaning of the Truth. But His objective is that, knowing the Truth, we may have joy init. I will not say that the more a Christian knows, the more joy he has, but I can truly say that ignorance often hides fromus many wells of delight of which we might otherwise drink, and that all other things being equal, the best-instructed Christianwill be the happiest man. He will know the Truth and the Truth will make him free. The Truth of God will kill a thousand fearswhich ignorance would have fostered within him. The knowledge of the love of God, the knowledge of the full Atonement madeon Calvary, the knowledge of the Eternal Covenant, the knowledge of the immutable faithfulness of Jehovah-indeed, all knowledgewhich reveals God in His relationship to His people-will tend to create comfort in the hearts of the saints. Be not, therefore,careless about Scriptural Doctrine-study the Word of God and seek to understand the mind of the Spirit as revealed in it,for this blessed Book was written for your learning, that "through patience and comfort of the Scriptures you might have hope."If you are diligent students of the Word, you will find that you have good reason to rejoice in the Lord under all circumstances.
But sometimes our Lord also spoke words of warning. In this Chapter, we find Him telling His disciples that they were branchesof a vine and that branches which bore no fruit had to be cut off and cast into the fire. At first sight, it seems to us thatthere is nothing consoling in such words as those-they sound sharply in our ears and make us start and be afraid-and we askourselves, "Are we bearing fruit?" Well, Brothers and Sisters, but such heart-searching as that is eminently beneficial andtends to deepen true joy in us! Christ would not have us rejoice with the false joy of presumption, so He bares the sharpknife and cuts thatjoy away. Joy on a false basis would prevent us from having true joy and, therefore, the Master gives usthe sharp and cutting word that we may be sound in the faith, that we may be
sound in the life of God and that so the joy we may get may be worth having-not the mere surf and foam of a wave that is drivenwith the wind and tossed, but the solid foundation of the Rock of Ages!
Our Lord also tells us that even the branches that bear fruit will have to be pruned that they may bring forth more fruit."Unpleasant Truth that!" Somebody might say-"It will give me no joy to know that I shall have to endure the knife of correctionand affliction." Yes, dear Brother, but, "tribulation works patience, and patience, experience, and experience, hope, andhope makes one not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us."So, beginning rather high up in this pedigree, you finally get to joy and get to it by the only right method! To try to sailup to joy by the balloon of fancy is dangerous work, but to mount up to it by Jacob's ladder, every round of which God hasplaced at the proper distance, is to climb to Heaven by the safe road which He has appointed! There is nothing which the LordJesus says to us, by way of warning, which does not guard us against sorrow, conduct us away from danger and point us to thepath of safety. If we will but listen to these words of warning, they will thus guide us to the truest happiness that mortalscan ever find either here or hereafter!
You will notice, as you read the Chapter, that our Lord, in addition to words of instruction and words of warning, utterssome very humbling words. I think that is a very humbling verse in which He says, "As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in Me." But it is good for us to be humbled and brought low.The Valley of Humiliation has always struck me as being the most beautiful place in the whole of the pilgrimage which JohnBunyan describes. To see that shepherd boy sitting down among the sheep and to hear him playing upon his pipe, and singing-
"He that is down need fear no fall,
He that is low no pride.
He that is humble ever shall
Have God to be his Guide"
teaches us that to be brought down to our true condition of nothingness before God and made to feel our entire dependenceupon the power of the Holy Spirit is the true way to promote in us a joy which angels themselves might envy! Be thankful,therefore, Beloved, whenever you read the Scripture, whether it instructs you, or warns you, or humbles you. Say to yourself,"Somehow or other, this tends to my present and eternal joy and, therefore, I will give the more earnest heed to it lest byany means I should lose the blessing it is intended to convey to me."
The Chapter also abounds in gracious words of promise such as this-"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shallask what you will and it shall be done unto you." There are other promises here, every one of which is full of consolationto the children of God. Are any of you lacking in joy at this time? Do you feel dull and heavy of heart? Are you dead andtried? Then listen to what Jesus Christ says here-"These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, andthat your joy might be full." What are the things that He says to you in other parts of His Word? He says, "Take thereforeno thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself." "Let not your heart be troubled: youbelieve in God, believe also in Me." "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternallife; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of My hand." In this strain does our Lord graciously talkto us-do not let Him talk to us in vain! My Brothers and Sisters, do not allow His precious promises to fall upon your earsas the good Seed fell upon the rocky or stony soil! The promise of harvest gives joy to the earth. Rob not your Lord of thesheaves which He deserves to gather from your heart and life, but believe His Word, rest upon it and rejoice in it, realizingthat His Words of promise are meant to bring you great joy!
So are His Words of precept. This chapter contains many of them, for He tells us that it is His command that we should loveour brethren and also that we should continue in His love. He gives us many precepts of that kind, and every precept in God'sWord is a signpost pointing out the road to joy. The Commandments upon the tablets of stone seem very hard, even though cutby the finger of God, Himself, and the granite on which they are engraved is hard and cold. But the precepts of the Lord Jesusare tender and gracious and bring us joy and life. As you read them, you may be quite sure off two things-that is, if Christdenies you anything, it is not good for you and if Christ commands you to do anything, obedience will promote your highestwelfare! O child of God, never quibble at any precept of your Lord! If your proud flesh should rebel, pray it down, for restassured that if you were so selfish as only to wish to do that which would promote your own happiness, it would be the pathof wisdom to be obedient to your Lord and Master. I repeat what I said just now. The precepts of Christ are signposts indicatingthe way to joy. If you keep His Commandments, you
shall abide in His love. And if you carefully watch His eyes, as the handmaidens watch the eyes of their mistress, so as todo at once all that He bids you do, you shall have the peace of God flowing into your soul like a river and that peace shallnever fail to bring you solid and lasting joy!
II. Now secondly, I gather from the text that WHEN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST JOYS IN US, THEN WE ALSO HAVE JOY.
This meaning of the text is the interpretation given to it by several of the early fathers. "These things have I spoken untoyou, that My joy might remain in you." "That is to say," they say, "that I may rejoice over you, and rejoice in you, and bepleased with you, and that so your joy may be full." I am not certain that this is the meaning of the text, nor am I surethat it is not, but, anyway, it is a very blessed Truth of God. It means this. A child knows that its father loves it, andwhile it is quite sure that its father will never cease to love it, it also knows that if it is disobedient, the father willbe displeased and grieved. But the obedient child gives pleasure to its father by its obedience and when it has done so, itreceives pleasure, itself, from that very fact. There used to be servants in the olden time-and I suppose there are some now-whowere so attached to their masters that if they gave satisfaction to them, they were perfectly satisfied. But the least wordof displeasure from their master wounded them to the very heart. Perhaps a better illustration may be found in the nearerand dearer relationship of the wife and the husband. The wife, if she has pleased her husband, is delighted in the joy whichshe has given to him. But if by any means she has displeased him, she is unhappy until she has removed the cause of his displeasureand has again given him joy. Now I know that my Lord Jesus loves me and that He will never do anything else but love me. YetHe may not always be pleased with me and when He has no joy in me, my joy also goes if I have a heart that is true towardsHim. But when He has joy in me-when He can rejoice in me, then is my joy also full. And everyone of you whom the Lord hasloved will find this to be true-that in proportion as Jesus Christ can look upon you with joy as obedient and faithful toHim, in that proportion will your conscience be at ease and your mind will find joy in the thought that you are acceptableto Him.
What are the ways in which we can really please Christ Jesus and so have joy in Christ's pleasure? According to the Chapterbefore us, we please Him when we abide in Him. "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you will,and it shall be done unto you." If you sometimes abide in Christ and sometimes turn away from Him, you will give Him no pleasure,but if He is the indispensable Companion of your daily life-if you are unhappy should even a cloud come between you and yourLord-if you feel that you must be as closely connected with Him as the limb is with the head, or as the branch is with thestem, then you will please Him and He will take delight in your fellowship. Fervent love to Christ is very pleasing to Him,but the chilly, lukewarm love of Laodicea is nauseous to Him, so that He says, "Because you are lukewarm, and neither coldnor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth." If you continue, day by day, to walk with God carefully and prayerfully, and toabide continually in Christ, He will look upon you with eyes of satisfaction and delight and will see in you the reward ofHis soul-travail-and you, being conscious that you are giving joy to Him, will find that your own cup of joy is also fullto overflowing! What greater joy can a man have than to feel that he is pleasing Christ? My fellow creatures may condemn whatI do, but if Christ accepts it, it matters not to me how many may condemn it. They may misrepresent and misjudge me and imputewrong motives to me, and sneer and snarl at me, but if I can keep up constant and unbroken communion with the Christ of God,what cause have I for sorrow? No, if He is joyful in us, then our joy shall remain in us and shall be full.
Our Lord Jesus has also told us that He has joy in us when we bring forth much fruit "Herein is My Father glorified, thatyou bear much fruit; so shall you be My disciples." That is to say, "I will recognize in you the evidence of true discipleshipwith satisfaction and delight." Brothers and Sisters in Christ, are we bringing forth much fruit unto God? Are you calledto suffer? Then do you, in your suffering, bring forth the fruit of patience? Or, are you strong and in robust health? Thenare you, with that health and strength, rendering to the Lord the fruit of holy activity? Are you doing all you can for theLord Jesus who has done so much for you? You have received much from Him-are you yielding an adequate return to Him? It islittle enough when it is what we call, much, but, oh, how little it is when it is little in our own estimation! But when ourLord Jesus Christ sees us doing much for God, He is pleased with us, as the gardener is when, having planted a tree, and dugabout it, and fertilized it, and pruned it, he sees it at last covered with golden fruit. He is pleased with his fruitfultree and Christ is pleased with His fruit-bearing disciples! Are we making Christ glad in this fashion? If so, our own joyshall be full. I am not surprised that some Christians have so little joy when I remember how little joy they are giving toJesus because they are bringing forth such a little fruit to His praise and Glory. Brothers and Sisters, see to this matter,I pray you! If I cannot enforce this Truth of God with the power that it deserves, may the Holy Spirit cause the Truth tocome home with power to your hearts!
Our Lord also tells us that He has joy in us when we keep His Commandments. "If you keep My Commandments, you shall abidein My love; even as I have kept My Father's Commandments and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, thatMy joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is My Commandment, That you love one another, as I haveloved you." He that walks carefully in the matter of obedience to Christ's Commands, wishing never to do anything offensiveto Him, asking for a tender conscience that he may be at once aware when he is doing wrong, and earnestly desiring to leaveno duty undone-such a man as that must be happy! He may not laugh much. He may have very little to say when in frivolous company.But there is a joy that laughter would but mock. There is a sacred mirth within to which the merriment of fools is but asthe crackling of thorns under a pot. And the man with a tender conscience has that joy! The careful walker has that joy! Theman who, when he puts his head upon his pillow at night, can feel, "I have not been all that I want to be but still I haveaimed at holiness. I have tried to curb my passions, I have sought to find out my Master's will and in every point to do it."Such a man sleeps sweetly and if he wakes, there is music in his heart! And such a man, whatever the trials of life may be,has abundant sources ofjoy within himself. He is pleasing to Christ, Christ joys in him and his joy is full!
And this is peculiarly the case with those who love the brethren. Those are some who do not love their brethren at all. Orif they do, they love themselves a great deal more. They are very apt to judge and to condemn their brethren. If they canfind a little fault, they magnify it and if they can find none, they invent some. I know persons who seem to be, by nature,qualified to be monks or hermits, living quite alone. According to their notion of things, they are much too good for society.No church is pure enough for them. No ministry can profit them. No one else can reach as high as the wonderful position towhich, in their self-conceit, they fancy that they have attained! Let none of us be of that sort. Many of the children ofGod are far better than we are and the worst one in his family has some points in which he is better than we are. I feel,sometimes, as though I would give my eyes to be as sure of Heaven as the most obscure and the least in all the family of God!And I think that such times may come to some of you if you imagine yourselves to be so great and good. You strong cattle thatpush with horn and with shoulder-and drive back the weak ones-the Lord may say to you, "Get you gone! You belong not to Me,for My people are not thus rough and boastful-not thus proud and haughty. I look to the man who is humble, to him who hasa contrite spirit and who trembles at My Word."
Did you ever try to pray to God under the influence of a consciousness of possessing the higher life? Did you ever try topray to God that way? If you ever did, I do not think you will do it a second time! I tried it once, but I am not likely torepeat the experiment. I thought I would try to pray to God in that fashion, but it did not seem to came naturally from me.And when I had done so, I thought I heard somebody at a distance saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner," and he went hometo his house justified! And then I had to tear off my Pharisaic robes and get back to where the poor publican had been standing,for his place and his prayer suited me admirably! I cannot make out what has happened to some of my brethren who fancy themselvesso wonderfully good. I wish the Lord would strip them of their self-righteousness and let them see themselves as they reallyare in His sight! Their fine notions concerning the higher life would soon vanish them. Brothers and Sisters, the highestlife I ever hope to reach this side of Heaven is to say from my very soul-
"I the chief of sinners am, But Jesus died for me."
I have not the slightest desire to suppose that I have advanced in the spiritual life many stages beyond my brethren. As longas I trust simply to the blood and righteousness of Christ and think nothing of myself, I believe that I shall continue tobe pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ that His joy will be in me and that my joy will be full.
III. Now, thirdly, I think we may gather from the text that THE JOY WHICH JESUS GIVES TO HIS PEOPLE IS HIS OWN JOY. "ThatMy] oy might remain in you."
I daresay you have noticed that a man cannot communicate to another any joy except that of which he is himself conscious.Here is a man who is rich. He can tell you the joy or riches, but he cannot give that joy to a poor man. Here is another manwho takes delight in all sorts of foolery. He can tell you the joy of nonsense, but he cannot go beyond that. So, when Jesusgives us joy, He gives us His own joy and what do you think it is? I must put it very briefly.
The joy of Jesus is, first, the joy of abiding in His Father's love. He knows that His Father loves Him-that He never didanything else but love Him-that He loved Him before the earth was-that He loved Him when He was in the manger and that Heloved Him when He was on the Cross. Now that is the joy which Christ gives to you-the joy of knowing that your Father lovesyou! Let me stop a little while so that you who are really Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ may just roll that sweet morselunder your tongue-the everlasting God loves you! I have known the time when I have felt as if I could leap up at the verythought of God's love to me. That He pities you and cares for you, you can understand. But that He lovesyou-well, if thatdoes not make your joy full, there is nothing that can! It ought to fill us with delight to know that we are loved of theLord with an everlasting and infinite love, even as Jesus Christ is loved. "The Father Himself loves you," declares Christ,so surely you share Christ's joy-and that fact should make your own joy full!
Christ's joy is also the joy of hallowed friendship. He said to His disciples, "Henceforth I call you not servants; for theservant knows not what his Lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father, I havemade known unto you." The friends of Jesus are those who are taken by Him into most intimate fellowship-to lean upon His breastand to become His constant companions. Our Lord Jesus Christ has great joy in being on the most friendly terms with His peopleand have not you also great joy in being on such friendly terms with Him? What higher joy do you want or can you have? I haveheard a man say, very boastfully, that he once dined with Lord So-and-So. And another, just for the sake of showing off, spokeof his friend, Sir John somebody or other! But you have the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Friend, your Divine Companion!You are going to sit and feast with Him presently at His own table. He calls you no more His servant, but His friend! Doesnot that fact make you rejoice with exceeding joy? What is your heart made of if it does not leap with joy at such an assuranceas that? You are Beloved of the Lord and a friend of the Son of God! Kings might well be willing to give up their crowns ifthey could have such bliss as this!
Moreover, our Lord Jesus felt an intense delight in glorifying His Father. It was His constant joy to bring Glory to His Father.Have you ever felt the joy of glorifying God, or do you now feed joy in Christ because He has glorified His Father? I solemnlydeclare that if Christ would not save me, I would love Him for what He has done to exhibit the Character of God! I have sometimesthought that if He were to drive me out of doors, I would stand there in the cold and say, "Do what You will with me. Crushme if You will. But I will always love You, for there never was another such as You are, never one who so well deserved mylove and so fully won my affection and admiration as You have done." How gloriously has Christ rolled away the great loadof human sin, adequately recompensed the claims of Divine Justice and magnified the Law and made it honorable! He took thegreatest possible delight in doing this. It was for the joy that was set before Him that He endured the Cross, despising theshame. Let that joy be yours, also! Rejoice that the Law of God is honored, that Justice is satisfied and that Free Graceis gloriously displayed in the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was the joy of Christ that He should finish the workwhich His Father gave Him to do. And He has finished it and, therefore, He is glad!
Will you not also rejoice in His finished work? You have not to put a single stitch to the robe of righteousness which Hehas worked-it is woven from the top throughout and absolutely perfect in every respect. You have not to contribute even aquarter of a penny to the ransom price for your redemption, for it is paid to the uttermost farthing. The great redemptivework is finished forever and Christ has done it all! He is Alpha and He is Omega. He is the Author and He is also the Finisherof our faith! Sit down, my Brothers and Sisters in Christ, and just feed on this precious Truth of God! Surely this is the"feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined," of whichthe Prophet Isaiah long ago wrote. I see You, Lord Jesus, with Your foot upon the dragon's neck! I see You with death andHell beneath Your feet! I see the Glory that adorns Your triumphant brow as You wait till the whole earth shall acknowledgeYou as King, for You have once and for all said, "It is finished," and finished it certainly is! And shall not my poor heartrejoice because You have finished it, and finished it for me?
IV. My last observation is that WHEN CHRIST COMMUNICATES HIS JOY TO HIS PEOPLE, IT IS A JOY
WHICH REMAINS AND A JOY WHICH IS FULL.
No other joy remains. There is a great deal of very proper joy in many families when children are born, yet how many littlecoffins are followed by weeping mothers? There is joy when God fills the barn, and very properly so, for a bountiful harvestshould make men glad. But the winter soon comes, with its cold and dark and dreary weather. But,
Brothers and Sisters, when we get the joy of the Lord, it remains!'Why? Because the cause of it remains. The well will continueas long as the spring runs and the joy of a Christian is one that can never alter because the cause of it never alters! God'slove never changes towards His people. The Atonement never loses its efficacy. Our Lord Jesus Christ never ceases His intercession.His acceptableness with God on our behalf never varies. The promises do not change. The Covenant is not like the moon-sometimeswaxing and sometimes waning. Oh, no, if you rejoice with Christ's joy today, you will have the same cause for rejoicing tomorrow,and forever, and forevermore, for He says that His joy shall remain in you!
Then, next, this joy is full joy. Then, dear Brothers and Sisters, if our joy is full, two things are very clear. First, thereis no room for any more joy and, secondly, there is no room for any sorrow! When a man gets to know the love of God to him,he is so full of delight that he does not need any more joy. The pleasures of this world lose all their former charm. Whena man has eaten all he can eat, you may set whatever you like before him, but he has no appetite for it. "Enough is as goodas a feast," we say. When a man is forgiven by God and knows that he is saved, the joy of the Lord enters his soul and hesays, "You may take all other joys and do what you like with them. I have my God, my Savior, and I need no more." Then, ambitionceases, lust is quiet, covetousness is dead and desires that once roamed abroad, now stay at home. The saved one says, "MyGod, You are enough for me. What more can I require? Since You have said to me, 'I love you,' and my heart has responded,'My God, I love You, too,' I have more true wealth at my disposal than if I had all the mines of the Indies under my control!"
There is, also, no longer any room for sorrow, for if Christ's joy has filled us, where can sorrow go? "But the man has losthis gold." "Yes," he says, "but if the Lord likes to take it from me, let Him have it." "But the man is bereaved of thosethat are very dear to him, as Job was." Yet he says, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of theLord." When a man consciously realizes the love of God in his soul, he cannot want more than that. I wish that all of us hadthat realization, for then our joy would be so great that we would have no room left for sorrow!
Now, dear Brothers and Sisters, as you come to the Table of your Lord in this spirit, you will feel so full of joy that youwill be too full for words. People really full of joy do not usually talk much. A person who is carrying a glass that is fullto the brim does not go dancing along like one who has nothing to carry! He is very quiet and steady, for he does not wantto spill the contents of the glass. So, the man who has the joy of the Lord filling his soul is often quiet-he cannot saymuch about it. I have even known that joy to get so full that we have scarcely known whether we have been in the body or outof the body. Pain, sickness, depression of spirit-all seem to have been taken right away and the man has had so clear a viewof Christ and his mind has been so abstracted from everything else, that afterwards it has almost seemed like a dream to himto have felt the love of God in its almighty power lifting him above all surrounding circumstances!
Then, dear Brothers and Sisters, if it is so with us, the joy of the Lord will be much too full for us ever to forget it.If, at this moment, our soul is filled with Christ's joy, it is possible that 20 or 30 years hence, any one of us may be ableto say, "I remember that first Sabbath night in the year 1875 at the Tabernacle! My Lord then met with me, looked into mysoul and saw there was a void there-and He poured His own heart's joy into me until my soul could not hold any more!" Andperhaps, in some dark time in the future, your present experience will be a great stay to your soul and you will recall David'swords in a similar case, "O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember You from the land of Jordan,and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar." And you will say, "Though, now deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterspouts,the remembrance of that bright season causes me to know that You do not forsake those on whom Your love has once been set."Come close to your Lord, Beloved! I delight to come very near to Him. To touch the hem of His garment is enough for sinners,but it is not enough for saints. We need to sit at His feet with Mary and to lay our heads upon His bosom as John did.
O you unconverted ones, look to Jesus, for if you look to Him, you shall live! But as for you who are converted, a look willnot be enough for you. You need to keep on gazing at Him and for Him to keep on gazing at you till He shall say to you, "Youhave ravished My heart, My Sister, My Spouse; you have ravished My heart with one of your eyes, with one chain of your neck."And you also shall say, "He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love. Stay me with flagons, comfortme with apples: for I am sick of love." Oh, that there might now be such sweet fellowship between Christ and all His blood-sprinkledones that if we cannot pass the portals of Heaven, we shall be very
near them! And if we cannot hear the songs of the angels, at any rate they will hear ours! And if we cannot look within andbehold their joys, let us at least tempt them to look without and see ours, and half wish that they might be allowed to sitwith us at this Communion Table, though that is an honor reserved for sinners saved by Sovereign Grace, for-
"Never did angels taste above Redeeming Grace and dying love." Thus may the Master smile on you, my Dearly-Beloved, and makeyou to be such eminent saints that He can have great joy in you-for then His joy shall remain in you and your joy shall befull!
How I wish that everybody here knew my dear Lord and Master! I tell you who do not know Christ and do not experimentally knowwhat true religion is that five minutes realization of the love of Christ would be better for you than a million years ofyour present choicest delights! There is more brightness in the dark side of Christ than in the brightest side of this poorworld! I would sooner lie on a bed and ache in every limb with the death-sweat standing on my brow, by the month and yeartogether, persecuted, despised, forsaken, poor and naked, with the dogs to lick my sores and the devils to tempt my soul andhave Christ for my Friend-than sit in the palaces of wicked kings with all their wealth, luxury, pampering and sin! Even atour worst estate, it is better to be God's dog than the devil's darling! It is better to have the crumbs and the moldy cruststhat fall from Christ's table for the dogs than to sit at the head of princely banquets with the ungodly! "I had rather bea doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness."
God bless you and save you! And He will do so if you trust in Jesus, His dear Son. As soon as you trust in Jesus, you aresaved! God grant that you may do so this very hour for His dear name's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: JOHN15:1-11.
John 15:1. I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. All other vines were but types and shadows. Christ is the substance-God'sideal vine-"the true vine." Israel was a vine-the figure is a common one throughout the Old Testament-but it was a false vineand it bore bitter grapes!
2. Every branch in Me that bears not fruit He takes away. The true description of a real saint is that he is in Christ, thathe abides in Christ and that he bears fruit unto Christ. Where there are not these three things, there is no real saintshipand so the man is taken away. Whatever he seems to be and seems to have, he is taken away. Oh, the sad loss of many professorsin being taken away! What a terrible doom-to have had a name to live and then to be taken away!
2. And every branch that bears fruit, Hepurges it, that it may bring forth more fruit The vine is very apt to become uncleanand unhealthy. There are all sorts of creatures that love to suck its juices, so that even the most fruitful bough needs tobe cleansed. Besides, the vine has a great tendency to run to wood, so the pruning knife must be used very sharply. It willbe used upon all who are really in Christ and who are abiding in Christ.
3. Now you are clean. Those to whom the Savior spoke. "Now you are clean."
3. Through the word which I have spoken unto you. That is the great purger! Affliction is used, but it is rather the handleof the knife than the knife itself.
4. Abide in Me. "Now that you are clean, do not imagine that you can do without Me-"Abide in Me"
4. And I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abidein Me. It is not a transient faith. It is not saying, "I was converted so many years ago." But it is a livingfaith, an abidingfaith, a constant vital union with Christ that marks the true heir of Heaven.
5. I am the vine, you are the branches: he that abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for withoutMe you can do nothing. "Severed from Me, you can bear no fruit whatever. Not only can you not do much, but you can do nothingapart from Me."
6. If a man abides not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered. As I have already reminded you, it is only anabiding faith that is a real faith-the faith that remains fixed in Christ-the vital union with Christ maintains day by day.
6-11. And men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you,you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is My Father glorified, that you bear
much fruit; so shall you be My disciple. As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you: continue you in My love. If youkeep My commandments, you shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love. Thesethings have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full If you are Christ's disciplesnow, you are to keep on being His disciples and to grow more and more so as the years advance.