Sermon 3406. Fullness of Joy Our Privilege
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, MAY 14, 1914.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And these things we write unto you, that your joy may be full." 1 John 1:4.
VERY closely does the Apostle John resemble his Lord in the motive that prompted him to write this Epistle! You remember howChrist said in His last discourse to His disciples on the eve of His passion, "These things have I spoken unto you that yourjoy may be full"-and how He counseled them, "Ask and receive that your joy may be full"-and how He prayed to the Father forthem, "that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves." Here, then, the beloved disciple, moved by the Spirit of God,reflects and follows out the same gracious purpose-"These things we write unto you, that your joy may be full." What an evidenceof our Savior's deep attachment to His people that He is not content with having made their ultimate salvation sure, but Heis anxious concerning their present state of mind! He delights that His people should not only be safe, but happy! Not merelysaved, but rejoicing in their salvation! It does not please your Savior for you to hang your head as the bulrush and go mourningall your days. He would have you rejoice in Him always and for this end He has made provision and to this end He has givenus precepts. Therefore it appears-
I. THAT THE CHRISTIAN'S JOY NEEDS LOOKING AFTER.
We should not find the Apostle John writing to promote that which, in the natural order of things, would be sure to occur.In this object of pastoral anxiety, he seems to include the whole of the Apostolic College with himself when he says, "Thesethings we write unto you that your joy might be full," as if your joy would not be full unless Inspired Apostles should becommissioned of God to further it. Your joy then, I say, needs looking after. I do not doubt but you have very suggestiveproofs of this, yourselves, in your external circumstances. You cannot always rejoice because, although your treasure is notin this world, your affliction is. Poverty will sometimes be too heavy a cross for you to sing under. Sickness sometimes castsyou upon a bed on which you have not, as yet, learned to rejoice. Losses befall you in business, failures of hope, forsakingof friends and cruelty of foes-and any of these may prove like winter nights which nip the green leaves of your joy and makethem fade and fall off your branches. You cannot always rejoice, but sometimes there is a necessity that you should be inheaviness through manifold temptations. I suppose none of you are so perfectly happy as to be without some trial. Your joywill need to be looked after, then, lest floods should come in and quench it. You will need to cry to Him who alone can keepits flame burning, to trim it with fresh oil.
I suppose, too, that you have moods and susceptibilities which make it no easy matter to maintain perpetual joy. If you havenot, I have. Sometimes there will be deep depression of spirit-you can scarcely tell why. That strong wing with which youmounted like an eagle will seem to flap the air in vain. That heart of yours, which once flew upwards like the lark risingfrom amidst the dew, will lie cold and heavy like a stone upon the earth, and you will find it hard to rejoice.
Besides, sin will stop the beginning of your holy mirth, and when you would dance for joy, like David before the Ark, someinternal corruption will come to hamper your delight. Ah, Beloved, it is not easy to sing while you fight. Christian soldiersought to do it-they should march to battle with songs of triumph, that their spirits may be nerved to desperate valor againsttheir inbred corruptions, but sometimes the garment rolled in blood and the dust, and the turmoil will stop for awhile thelooked for shout of victory. With trials many and manifold-trials from the thorns and briars of this fallen world, trialsfrom Satanic suggestions, trials from the uprisings of black fountains of corruption within your own polluted hearts-you have,indeed, need that your joy, to keep it full and flowing at high tide, should be guarded and supplied by an influence aboveyour own-and fed from a celestial spring!
I dare say you have learned by this time, my Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ, how exceedingly necessary it is that this joyof ours should be abundant. When full of joy, we are more than a match for the adversary of souls, but when our joy is gone,fear slackens our sinews, and, like Peter, we may be vanquished by a little maid! When our joy in the Lord is at its fullest,we can bear that the fig tree should not blossom, that the herd should be cut off from the stall and the flocks from the field,but how heavy our sorrows are to bear, how impatient we become when the chains that link Heaven and earth are disarranged,or the communication in any way intercepted. If we can see the Savior's face without a cloud between, then temptation hasno power over us, and all the glittering shams that sin can offer us are eclipsed in their brilliance by the true gold ofspiritual joy which we have in our possession. Oh, what rapture!-
"I would not change my blest estate
For all that earth calls good or great!
And while my faith can keep her hold,
I envy not the sinner's gold." Thus the Christian, by his holy joy, outbraves temptation and is strong to endure a martyrdomof vice. Why, you can do anything when the joy of the Lord is within you! Like a roe or a young hart, you leapt over the mountainsof Bether. The mountains cannot appall you-you make a stepping-stone across the brook. The heaviest tempests which lower overyou cannot chill nor dampen your courage, for your song pierces it, and your soul mounts above it all into the clear blueof fellowship with your God! But when this joy is gone, then are we weak, like Samson when his hair was shorn. We become theslaves of temptation and if we do not yield to its treacherous enticements, at any rate, it harasses us, and so enervatesthe power with which we were known to glorify our God. The Christian's joy needs looking to. If any of you have lost the joyof the Lord, I pray you do not think it a small loss. I have heard of a minister who said that a Christian lost nothing bysin-and then he added-"except his joy." And one replied, "Well, and what else would you have him lose?" That is quite enough!To lose the light of my Father's Countenance. To lose my full assurance of interest in Christ. To lose my Heaven below-oh,this is a loss great enough! Let us walk carefully, let us walk prayerfully so that we may realize perpetual joy and peaceeven to the fullest! Let none of us be content to sit down in misery. There is such a thing as getting habituated to melancholy.My bias is toward that state of mind, but, by the Grace of God, I resist it. If we begin to give way to this foolishness,we shall soon weave forged chains for ourselves which we cannot readily snap. Take your harp from the willows, Believers.Do not let your fingers forget the well-known strings. Come, let us praise Him. If we have looked black in the face for awhile,let us brighten up with the thoughts of Christ! At any rate, let us not be easy till we have shaken off this lethargic distemperand once again come into the normal state of health in which a child of God should be found-that of spiritual joy!
II. THE CHRISTIAN'S JOY LIES MAINLY IN THINGS REVEALED, otherwise it would not find its fitting sustenance in Inspired Words.
If the Christian's joy lay in the wine vat and in the barn, in the landed estate, or the hoarded purse, it would only be necessarythat the vineyard should yield plenteous clusters, that the harvest should be crowned with abundance, that peace should prevailand trade should prosper-and forthwith the heritor and the merchant have all that heart could wish. But the Christian's joyis not touched by these vulgar things. These commonplace satisfactions do not suit the noble mind of the Believer! He thanksGod for all the bounties of the basket and the barn, but he cannot feast his soul upon stocks or fruits that perish with theusing. He needs something better! The Apostle John seems to tell us this when he says, "And these things write I unto you"-nothingabout prosperity in this world, but all about fellowship with Christ-"And these things we write unto you, that your joy maybe full." From which I infer that everything which is revealed to us in Scripture has for its intention the filling up ofthe Christian's joy.
What is Scripture all about, then? Is it not, first and foremost, concerning Jesus Christ? Take this Book and distil it intoone word, and I will tell you what it is-it is JESUS! All this is but the body of Christ. I may look upon all these pagesas the swaddling-bands of the infant Savior, and if you unroll Scripture, you come to Jesus Christ, Himself. Now, Beloved,is not Jesus Christ the sum and summit of your joy? I hope we do not utter a falsehood when we sing, as it is our custom-
"Jesus the very thought of Thee, With rapture fills my breast, Tho'sweeter far Your face to see,
And in Your bosom rest."
Jesus-Man yet God-allied to us in ties of blood. Why, here is mirth! Here is Christmas all the year round! In the Nativityof the Savior there is joy for us-the Babe born in Bethlehem-God has taken Man into communion with Himself! Jesus the Savior-hereis release from the groans of sin! Here is an end to the means of despair! He comes to break the bars of brass and to cutthe gates of iron in sunder-
"Jesus, the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease!
'Tis music in the sinner's ears,
'Tis life, 'tis health, 'tispeace!" Scripture, surely, has well taken its cue! Would it make us joyful, it has done well tomake Christ its head and front.
All the doctrines of the Bible have a tendency, when properly understood and received, to foster the Christian's joy. Letus mention one or two of them. There is that ancient, much-abused, but most delightful Doctrine of Election, that "all worldsbefore," Jesus elected His people and looked with eyes of Infinite Love upon them as He saw them in the glass of futurity.What? Christian, can you believe yourself "loved with an everlasting love," and not rejoice? Was it not the Doctrine of Electionthat made David dance before the Ark? When Michel sneered at him for dancing, he said, "It was before the Lord who had chosenme before your father (Saul), and all his house." Surely to be chosen of God, to be selected from the mass of mankind andmade favorites of the heart of Deity-this ought to make us, in our worst moments, sing with joy of heart! Oh, that Doctrineof Election! I wish some of you would acquaint yourselves with it in the Psalmody of the Church, rather than in the wranglingof the schools! It is a tree that puts forth its luxuriance in the tropical climate of Divine Love-but it looks dwarfed andbarren in the arctic regions of human logic! Then there are the Doctrines which like living waters, drop from this sacredand hidden fountain. Take, for instance, that of Redemption. To be bought with a price-a price whose efficacy is not questionable-boughtso that we are now the property of Jesus, never to be lost! Bought not with that general redemption which holds to the sinner'seye a precarious contingency, but bought with an effectual ransom which saves every blood-bought sinner because he was redeemed-hisown proper self, of God's own good will! Oh, here is occasion for song!-
"Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God-
He to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood." Can you see the blood-mark on yourself, and not rejoice? Oh, Christian, surely your joy oughtto be full! Or turn to the Doctrine of Justification and consider how, through faith, every Believer is "accepted in the Beloved,"and stands, wrapped in Jesus' righteousness, as fair in God's sight as if he had never sinned. Why, here is a theme for joy!Know and acknowledge your union with Christ-
"One with Jesus,
By eternal union one!"
Members of His body, "of His flesh, and of His bones," and what?-not a song after this? How sweet the music ought to be wherethis is the theme! Then, too, to mention no more, there is one Doctrine which is like a handful of pearls-that of EternalPreservation unto Glory which is to be revealed at the appearing of Jesus Christ. You are "kept by the power of God throughfaith unto salvation." You shall be with Him where He is. You shall behold His Glory. "Whom He justified, them He also glorified."Oh, can you put on this robe of splendor and go up to the Throne where Christ has already made you sit representatively inHis own Person, and can you not begin, tonight, your song which shall never end? Truly we have but to mention a Truth of Godand you can think it over for yourselves-every Doctrine of Revelation is to the Christian a source of joy!
Well, and every part of Christian experience is to further our joy. "Why," says one, "all a Christian's experience is notjoyful." I grant you that, but remember that all a Christian's experience is not Christian experience! Christians experiencea great deal which they do not experience as Christians-but experience it because they are not such Christians as they oughtto be! I believe that much of that groaning which some people think such a deal of, is rather of the devil than of the Spiritof God. Certainly that unbelief which some people seem to look upon as such a precious flower, is rank herbage, never sownin us by the hand of God the Holy Spirit! Beloved, there is a mourning which comes from the Spirit of God that is a joyfulmourning, if I may use such a strange expression. Sorrow for sin is sweet sorrow. I would never wish to miss it. I think RowlandHill was right when he said that it would be his only regret in going to Heaven that he could not repent any more. Oh, repentance,true evangelical repentance, is not that half-bitter thing which comes from the Law! It is a sweet genial thing. I do notknow, Beloved, when I am more perfectly happy than when I am weeping for sin at the foot of the Cross! I find that to be oneof the safest and best places where I can stand. I have sometimes thought that the raptures of Communion I have known arenot altogether so deep-though they may be higher-not, I say, so deep as the pensive joy of weeping over pardoned sin, when-
"Dissolved by His goodness, I fall to the ground
And weep to the praise of the mercy I've found!" Yes, sorrow for sin is a part of the Christian's experience which helps tofill his joy. And though your cares and anxieties, dear Friends, with regard to the things of this world may be very distressing,yet remember, in every drop of gall which your Father gives you to drink, there is, if you can find it, a whole sea of sweetness!God sends you trials to wean you from the world-a happy result, however grievous the process! Oh, that I might never desireto suck of the breasts of her consolation anymore! Oh, to come to Christ, and find my all in Him! Believe me, Beloved, ourjoy ends where the love of the world begins. If we had no idols on earth-if we made neither our children, nor our friends,nor our wealth, nor ourselves our idols-we should not have half the trials that we have. Foolish loves make rods for foolishbacks. God save us from these, and when He does, though the means may seem severe, they are intended to promote our joys bydestroying the eggs of our sorrows. But there is much of a Christian's experience that is all joy, and must be all joy. Forinstance, to have faith in Christ, to rest in Him-is not that joy? To sing from one's heart-
"I know that safe with Him remains,
Protected by His power,
What I've committed to His hands,
Till the decisive hour." Is not that joy? And even that humbler note-
"Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to Your Cross I cling," has the germ of Heaven in it! Truly, there can be no more delightful place for the soul tostand than close to the Cross, covered with the crimson drops of blood and clasping Christ Himself! And then hope is anotherpart of the Christian's experience. What a fountain of joy it is! We are saved by hope. Sweetly does the Psalmist expresshimself, "My soul faints for Your salvation, but I hope in Your Word." To the followers of Christ there is a full assuranceof hope-"which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil."Above all things, Christian fellowship is the chief auxiliary of Christian joy. Read the verse that immediately precedes ourtext, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowshipis with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ." Ah, now we hit the mark! This is the center of the target. Fellowshipwith Christ is the summum bonum-it fills up the measure of joy! All other graces and gifts may help to fill our cup of blessednessbut fellowship with saints in their fellowship with the Father and the Son-surely this, of itself, must suffice to fill ourvessels to the very brim! Fullness of joy! Did you ever prove it, my Beloved? I think some of you have. No, I know you have!You could not have contained more joy-you were full to overflowing! Do you know that a little joy is healthful? Be it relieffrom anxiety, pleasure after pain, or even a cheerful thought in breasts to sorrow prone. But to have a fullness of joy, joythat pulsates through our every nerve and paints the entire universe of God's goodness before our eyes in a meridian glow,this is a myriad of blessings in one! If I held in my hand a glass, and poured water into it till it were full, right to thevery brim, till it seemed as if the least touch would make it run over-well, that is how the Christian sometimes is. "Why,"he says, "I could not feel more happy! If anyone should make me rich, if I could have all that the worldling craves, I couldnot be any happier! I am rich to all the intents of bliss since You, God, are mine." It is not every man that can go homeand say, "There is nothing on earth I want, and there is nothing in Heaven that I yearn after beyond the endowments my Godhas already bestowed on me! "Whom have I in Heaven but You, and who is there upon earth I desire beside You?" Go, you thatpine for joy, and traverse the wide earth round in fruitless search-my soul sits down at the foot of the Cross and says, "Ihave found it here!" Go, like the swallow. Fly across the purple seas to find another summer now that this is over-my soulwould stop just where she is-living at the foot of the Cross, my sunis in its solstice, and stands still forever-never stirring,never moving-without parallax or shadow of a tropic! Evermore the same-bright and full and glorious! Oh, Christian, this isa blessed experience! May you know it all your life!
Never doubt, my dear Friends, that every precept in the Word of God is intended to further the Christian's happiness. WhenI read the Ten Commandments, I understand them to be just and salutary directions not to do myself any harm. The spirit ofthe Law seems to be benevolent in its warnings. If I were commanded not to put my finger into the fire, and did not know thatfire would burn, I ought to be thankful for the prohibition. If I were commanded not to plunge into the sea, not having knownbefore that the sea would drown me, I should be thankful for the interdict. God's precepts are designed to enlighten our eyesand preserve our feet from falling. They forbid what is dangerous, hurtful. God never denies His servants anything that isreally for their good. His laws are freed-men's rules-they are never fetters to the Christian. And as for the precepts ofour blessed Christianity, they, every one of them, promote our happiness! Let me take one or two of them. "Love one another."That is the first. Well, now, when are you happiest? When you feel spiteful and bitter towards everybody else, or when youfeel charity towards the faulty, and love towards your fellow servants? I know when I feel best. There are some people whoseem to have been suckled upon vinegar-wherever they go, they always see some defect. Were there to be men on earth againsuch as Chrysostom and others of his day, who have been portrayed in history, or like the Nazarites of Jeremiah's plaintivehymn, "Purer than snow and whiter than milk," they would say, "Ah, well, though their reputation is unsullied, we do not knowwhat they do in secret!-we cannot scan their motives!" Some people are always in a cynical, suspicious humor, but they who"love one another" can see much to rejoice in everywhere. We are told in Scripture to "serve the Lord with diligence," andI am sure it is "the diligent soul" that is made fat. The do-nothing people are generally those who say-
"Lord, what a wretched land is this, That yields us no supplies."
It ought to be a wretched land to lazy people! Those that will not work, neither shall they eat, neither in spiritual thingsor in temporal shall they be fed. If, in the winter, you complain of cold, get to the plow and you will soon be full of warmth!Sit you down, groan, and complain, and blow on your blue fingers and you shall soon find the cold will starve you yet moreand more. Holy activity is the mother of holy joy! And growth in Grace, again-why, when is a man happier than when He growsin Grace? To be at a standstill, to contract one's self-why, this is misery! To force one's understanding, like a Chinesefoot into a Chinese shoe, is torture! But to have a mind that is capable of learning, to be able to sometimes say, "There,I was wrong"-to be able to feel that you know a little more today than you did yesterday because God, the Holy Spirit hasbeen teaching you, why, this is joy! This is happiness! This is such as God would have us know!
All the writings of Scripture, whether they are doctrinal, experimental, or practical, have the drift which John indicatesin these words, "That your joy may be full!" Having thus shown that the Christian's joy needs looking after and that it ismainly fed upon things revealed in Scripture, the inference clearly must be that-
III. WE SHOULD CONSTANTLY READ THE SCRIPTURES.
Read the Scriptures in preference to any other book What a deal of reading there is now-a-days! But how large a proportionof what you call, "popular literature," is mere chaff-cutting-nothing more! Why, I am really ashamed to state the fact thatI am bound, as a Christian minister, to denounce. You cannot publish a religious newspaper, or a religious magazine, as arule, to make it pay, without a religious novel in it-and these religious novels are a disgrace to the Christianity of the19th Century! People's minds must be in an odd state when they can eat nothing but these whipped-creams and syllabubs-forpeople who would be healthy, should sit down to something solid, and their stimulants should be consistent with sobriety.You will never attain the mental growth of men and women by feeding on such stuff as that! You may make lackadaisical peoplein the shape of men and women, but the thinking soul with something in it, the woman who would serve her God as a true helperto the Christian ministry, the young man who would proclaim Christ and win souls need some better nutriment than the poorstuff that modern literature deals out so plentifully. Oh, my dear Friends, read the Bible in preference to all such books!They only deprave your taste. If you want these books, have them. We would not deny pigs their proper food and I would notdeny any person living that which his taste goes after, provided it does not shock decent morals. I lament the taste ratherthan the indulgence of it! If you have a soul that canappreciate the pleasures of wisdom, eschew the trifles of folly. Andif you have been taught to love verities, and substantial truths, you scarcely need that I should say, "Search the Scriptures."Search them diligently and frequently!
Prefer the Scriptures to all religious books. In our books and our sermons-we will say it of all of them-we do our best togive you the Truth of God, but we are like the gold-beaters whose brazen arms you can see out over their doors- we get a littlebit of gold and we hammer it out. Some of my Brothers are mighty hands at the craft. They can hammer out a very small pieceof gold so as to cover a whole acre of talk. But the best of us, those who would seek to bring out the Doctrines of Gracein love, are poor, poor things. Read the Bible for yourselves more, and confide less in your glossaries. I would rather seethe whole stock of my sermons in a blaze, all burned to ashes, than that they should keep anybody from reading the Bible.If they may act as a finger pointing to certain chapters-"Read this! Read this!"-I am thankful to have printed them. But ifthey keep you away from your Bibles-burn them! Burn them! Do not let them lie on the top of the Scriptures-put them somewhereat the bottom, for that is their proper place. So with all sorts of religious books-they are a sort of mixture-their humanthinking dilutes Divine Revelation. Keep to the Revelation of God, pure and simple.
And, when you read your Bible, read it in earnest. There are several ways of reading the Bible. There is a skimming over thesurface of it-content with the letter. There is also diving into it and praying yourselves down deep into the soul of it-thatis the way to read the Bible! Do not always read it one verse at a time. How would Milton's Paradise Lost be understood ifread by little snatches selected at random? You would never scan the purpose or design of the poem. Read one book through.Read John's Gospel. Do not read a bit of John and then a bit of Mark, but read John through, and get at John's drift. Rememberthat Matthew, though he wrote of the same Savior as Luke, is not more various in his style than he is distinct in his aimand, in a certain sense, independent of the testimony he bears. The four Evangelists are four separate witnesses, each givinga special contribution to the Doctrine as well as the history of Christ. Matthew, for instance, shows you Jesus as a King.You will notice that most of his parables begin with "a king." "Then shall the Kingdom of Heaven be likened." Mark shows youChrist as the Servant. Luke shows you Christ as Man, giving sketches of His childhood. And His parables begin with, "A certainman," while John teaches you Christ in His Godhead, with a starting point far different from the other three, which have beenstyled the Synoptical Gospels. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Try, if youcan, to get a hold of what the books mean, and pray God the Holy Spirit to lead you into the drift and aim of the sacred writersin so writing. I would like to see my Church members, all of them, good, hard, solid Bible students. Beloved, I would notbe afraid of all the errors of Popery, Infidelity, Socinianism, Plymouth Brethrenism, or any other "ism" if you were to readyour Bibles! You will thus keep clear of the whole lot. There is no doubt about your standing firm to the good old faith whichwe seek to teach you, if you do but keep to Scripture-the Book, the one Book, the Book of books, the Bible! That studied,not hurriedly, but with a determination to compare spiritual things with spiritual, and to observe the analogy of faith, youshall find a well-spring of delight and holy joy which men of letters who dabble in the proudest classics might envy, forIsaiah is better than Homer, and David is richer than Horace. But better still, you shall stand while others fall!
IV. BUT ARE WE ALL BELIEVERS? IS THIS BOOK JOY TO ALL OF US?
That is a significant pronoun in the text, "These things we write unto you that your joy may be full." To whom writes he?Is it to you? Young woman, does the Scripture write to you that your joy may be full? Young man, does the Scripture speakto you to fill you with holy joy? You do not know whether it does or not-you do not care about it. Then, it does not speakto you. You get plenty of joy elsewhere. Well, it does not speak to you. It does not intrude upon you. It leaves you alone.It offers you no joy. You have enough. "The whole have no need of a physician, but they that aresick."
But there are some of you here who need a joy, and you have not found it. You are uneasy. You cannot find a tree to buildyour nest. You are like the needle, when it is turned away from its pole-you cannot be quiet. You have got a horseleech inyou, that is always crying, "Give! Give!" You are uneasy. Oh, dear Friend, I am glad to hear it! May that uneasiness go onincreasing. May you become weary of heart, and heavy-laden of spirit, for I have a whisper for you. Jesus Christ has comeinto the world to call to Himself all those who labor and are heavy-laden! And when you are sick and weary with the world,come to Him, come to Him! What? You have been turned out, have you? The world has got all it could out of you and thrust youaway? Now, Jesus Christ will have you. Come to Him! Come to Him! He will receive you.
So you are burnt out, are you? All the goodness that was in you is burned up and you have now become nothing but smoking flax-astench in the estimation of your once flattering companions? You are nowhere. They do not like you. You are mopish and miserable.Oh come to Him! Come to Him, come to Him! He will not quench you. Your music is all over, is it? You were like a reed, likeone of Pan's pipes. You could give out some music, once, but you got bruised and you cannot make one sound or note of joy.Well, poor Soul, come to Him! Come to Him! He will not break you. He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smokingflax-
"Wearysouls that wander wide
From the central source of bliss,
Turn to Jesus' wounded side
Look to that dear blood of His." Here is peace, here is joy in Christ Jesus! Oh, if you are sick of the world, come to myMaster! May God the Holy Spirit bless this sickness and make you come because you have nowhere else to go! Jesus Christ willreceive the devil's castaways. The very sweepings of pleasure, the dregs of the intoxicating cup, those who have gone so farthat now their friends reject them, Jesus Christ accepts! May He accept me, and accept you-and then in Him our joy shall befull! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM66:1-15.
Verse 1. Make a joyful noise unto God, all you lands. Let not Israel alone do it. Take up the strain, you nations. He is theGod of all the nations of the earth. "Make a joyful noise unto God, all you lands."
2-4. Sing forth the honor of His name: make His praise glorious. Say unto God, How terrible are You in Your works! Throughthe greatness of Your power shall Your enemies submit themselves unto You. All the earth shall worship You and shall singunto You. They shall sing to Your name. Selah. I still must always cling to the belief that this whole world is to be convertedto God, and to lie captive at the feet of Christ in glorious liberty! Do not fall into that lethargic, apathetic belief ofsome that this is never to be accomplished-that the battle is not to be fought out on the present lines, but that there isto be a defeat-and then Christ is to come. No, foot to foot with the old enemy will He stand, till He has worsted him anduntil the nations of the earth shall worship and bow before Him!
5, 6. Come and see the works of God: He is terrible in His doing toward the children of men. He turned the sea into dry land:they went through the flood on foot there did we rejoice in Him. Where God is most terrible to His enemies, He is most graciousto His friends! As Pharaoh and his hosts went down beneath the terrible hand of God, the children of Israel lifted up theirloudest hallelujahs and sang unto the Lord, who triumphed gloriously! And so shall it be to the end of the chapter. God willlay bare His terrible arm against His adversaries but His children shall, meanwhile, make music! "There did we rejoice inHim."
7-9. He rules by His power forever: His eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah O bless ourGod, you people, and make the voice of His praise to be heard. Who holds our soul in life and allows not our feet to be moved.Loudestamong the singers should God's people be! If others can restrain their praise, yet let the love of Christ so compel us thatwe must give it a tongue and tell forth the majesty of our God! It is He alone who keeps us from Hell- which holds our soulin life! It is He alone who keeps us from falling foully. Yes, and falling finally, "and allows not our feet to be moved."
10. For You, O God, have proved us. All God's people can say this. It is the heritage of the elect of God. "You have provedus."
10-11. You have tried us, as silver is tried. You brought us into the net Entangled, surrounded, captive, held fast. Manyof God's people are in this condition.
11. You laid affliction upon our loins. It was no affliction of hand or foot, but it laid upon our loins-a heavy, crushingburden.
12. You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water It was the full ordeal. One was notenough. Fire destroys some, but water is the test for others-but God's people must be tried both ways. "We went through fireand through water, but"-. Blessed "but."
12. But You brought us out into a wealthy place.Out of the fire and out of the water they came because God brought them! Andwhen He brought them, it was not to a stinted, barren heritage, but into a wealthy place. Oh, Beloved, when we think of wherethe Covenant of Grace has placed every Believer, it is a wealthy place, indeed!
13-15. I will go into Your house with burnt offerings: I will pay You my vows which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hasspoken when I was in trouble. I will offer unto You burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams. I will offer bullockswith goats. Selah. The best, I think. "The best of the best will I bring You, O my God. I will bring You my heart. I willbring You my tongue. I will bring you my entire being