Sermon 858. The Fullness of Jesus the Treasury of Saints
Delivered on Lord's-day Evening, FEBRUARY 28, 1869, by
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"Of His fullness have we all received and Grace for Grace."- John 1:16.
THESE are not words spoken by John the Baptist, as a cursory reader might imagine, but they were written by John the Evangelist.The verse preceding is a paragraph cast into the midst of the Gospel, causing a temporary break. Omitting that verse, we readas follows: "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of theFather), full of Grace and truth; and of His fullness have we all received and Grace for Grace."
In its more limited meaning, as it stands in its connection, the text appears to teach that while Jesus Christ dwelt on earththere was a Divine Glory about His Person and Character which His Apostles and disciples clearly beheld, perceiving in Himand in His teaching a fullness of Divine Grace and the Truth of God. And further, that this Grace and Truth were Divinelycontagions, so that the disciples participated in it and men took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus and learnedof Him-this being especially true of the Apostles who drank most fully into the life and power of Jesus and continued to revealto the world, after their Master was taken up-the Grace and Truth of the Gospel committed to them.
But this passage is not to be restricted to so limited a sense-it is of far wider range and of much greater depth. We understandit of our Lord Jesus in the whole of His Character and work. Looking beyond His earthly life we see Him in His Crucifixion,His Resurrection, His Ascension, His sitting at the right hand of God and His Second Advent. And beholding Him as the all-sufficientSavior, we this day behold His Glory, the Glory as of the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth! And we, thatis, the whole range of the saints in all ages past and in all periods to come-we receive out of this fullness superabundantGrace!
I. In discussing this text I shall first remind you of the ONE GLORIOUS PERSON concerning whom this verse is written. Thereare other persons in the verse, but they are comparatively insignificant. "We all" are mentioned as the receivers-we occupythe most humble place. The one throne of the text, (and a glorious high throne it is), is reserved for Him who is intendedin the pronoun, "His." "Of His fullness have we all received." We know that this is no other than that august Person whomJohn calls, "The Word," or the speech of God, so called because God in Nature has revealed Himself, as it were, inarticulatelyand indistinctly-but in His Son He has revealed Himself as a man declares his inmost thoughts-by distinct and intelligiblespeech.
Jesus is to the Father what speech is to us. He is the unfolding of the Father's thoughts, the revelation of the Father'sheart. He that has seen Christ has seen the Father. "Would you have me see you?" said Socrates, "then speak," for speech revealsthe man. Would you see God? Listen to Christ, for He is God's Word, revealing the heart of Deity. Lest, however, we shouldimagine Jesus to be a mere utterance, a mere word spoken and forgotten, our Apostle is peculiarly careful that we should knowthat Jesus is a real and true Person, and therefore tells us that the Divine Word, out of whose fullness we have received,is most assuredly God!
No language can be more distinct. He ascribes to Him the eternity which belongs to God-"In the beginning was the Word." Heclearly claims Divinity for Him-"The Word was God." He ascribes to Him the acts of God-"Without Him was not anything madethat was made." He ascribes to Him self-existence which is the essential characteristic of God-"In Him was life." He claimsfor Him a Nature peculiar to God-"God is light and in Him is no darkness at all." And the Word is "the true light, which lightsevery man that comes into the world." No writer could be more explicit in his utterances, and beyond all question he setsforth the proper Deity of that Blessed One of whom we all must receive if we would obtain eternal salvation.
Yet John does not fail to set forth that our Lord was also Man. He says, "the Word was made flesh"-not merely assumed manhood,but was made. And made not merely Man as to His nobler part, His Soul, but Man as to His flesh, His lower element. Our Lordwas not a phantom, but One who, as John declares in his Epistle, was touched and handled. "The Word dwelt among us." He tabernacledwith the sons of men-a carpenter's shed His lowly refuge and the caves and mountains of the earth His midnight resort in Hislater life. He dwelt among sinners and sufferers, among mourners and mortals, Himself completing His citizenship among usby becoming obedient to death, even the death of the Cross.
See, then, my beloved Brothers and Sisters, where God has treasured up the fullness of His Grace! It is in a Person so augustthat Heaven and earth tremble at the majesty of His Presence and yet in a Person so humble that He is not ashamed to callus, "Brethren." The Apostle, lest we should by any means put a second person in comparison with the one and only Christ, throughoutthis chapter continually enters caveats and disclaimers against all others. He bars the angels and shuts out cherubim andseraphim by saying, "Without Him was not anything made that was made"! At the creation of the world no ministering spiritmay intrude a finger. Angels may sing over what Jesus creates, but as the Builder of all things He stands alone.
Further on the Apostle guards the steps of the Throne against John and virtually against all the other witnesses of the Messiah,albeit among those that are born of women there was not a greater than John the Baptist, yet, "he was not that Light." Thestars must hide their heads when the sun shines-John must decrease and Christ must increase. No, there was One whom all theJews reverenced and whose name is coupled with that of the Lamb in the triumphant song of Heaven! They sang the song of Moses,the servant of God and of the Lamb. But even he is excluded from the glory of this text, "For the Law was given by Moses,but Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ." Moses must sit down at the foot of the Throne with the tablets of stone in hishands, but Jesus sits on the Throne and stretches out the silver scepter to His people.
Lest there should remain a supposition that another person yet unmentioned should usurp a place, the Apostle adds, "No manat any time has seen the Father." The best and holiest have all, alike, been unable to look into that excellent Glory! Butthe Word has not only seen the Father, but has declared Him unto us! The text is as Tabor to us and while in its consideration,at the first we see Moses and Elijah and all the saints with the Lord Jesus, receiving of His fullness, yet all these vanishfrom our minds and our spirit sees "no man, but Jesus only." Gazing into this text, one feels as John did when the gates ofHeaven were opened to him and he looked within them and he declared, "I looked and lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion."
He saw other things afterwards, but the first thing that caught his eye and filled his mind was the Lamb in the midst of theThrone! Brothers, it becomes us as ministers to be constantly making much of Christ, to make Him, indeed, the first, the lastand the midst of all our discourses! And it becomes all Believers, whenever they deal with matters of salvation, to set Jesuson high and to crown Him with many crowns. Give Him the best of your thoughts and works and affections, for He it is who fillsall things and to whom all things should pay homage.
II. Secondly, there are TWO PRECIOUS DOCTRINES in the text. The first doctrine teaches us that in this glorious Person ofJesus all fullness is treasured up, and the second-without which the first might yield us little comfort-that all this treasureof Divine Grace is received by His saints, so that all His saints receive all they have that is gracious and truthful fromHim.
1. First consider this master Truth of God, that all Divine Grace is treasured up in Christ Jesus. "His fullness," says thetext. Ah, what a word, "His fullness!" If I had no other text given me to preach from until all preaching should be ended,this might suffice. His fullness! O Brothers and Sisters, here is a fullness which cannot be measured for length, or breadth,or depth-for He is filled with all the fullness of God! "In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." The fullnessof which the text speaks particularly is His double fullness of Grace and Truth. There is in Jesus Christ a fullness of essentialGrace for it is His Nature to overflow with free mercy to the miserable sons of men.
It was a fullness of Grace in Him that made Him enter into the Eternal Covenant and undertake suretyship engagements for us.It was a fullness of love and Grace which sustained Him in the discharge of His liabilities as our Great Substitute and thefullness of Grace it is which constrains Him, still, to persevere in His work, saying, "For Zion's sake I will not rest, andfor Jerusalem's sake I will not hold My peace." In Christ there is a fullness of Grace to impart to us and to that the textrefers a fullness ofpardoning Grace, so that no sin can ever exceed His power to forgive!
It refers a fullness of justifying Grace, so that He justifies the ungodly. A fullness of converting Grace, so that He callsto Him whom He pleases. A fullness of quickening Grace, for "He quickens whom He wills." Here is a fullness ofpurifying Grace,for His blood cleanses us from all sin and a further fullness of comforting Grace, of sustaining Grace, of satisfying Grace,of restoring Grace-Jesus has a fullness in whatever office you regard Him-and with whatever needs. He is never limited inany gift or Grace, but always full thereof. This fullness, time would fail us to rehearse! Drink of it! Plunge into it, andyou shall know far more than I can, by any possibility, tell.
This, however, I may say-the fullness which dwells in Christ is, from the text, clearly proved to be an abiding fullness,for, mark, "We all," says he, "have received of it." And yet he calls it a "fullness," still. It was a fullness before a singlesinner came to it to receive pardon-before a solitary saint had learned to drink of that river the streams of which make gladthe Church! And now, after thousands and even myriads of blood-redeemed saints have drank of this life-giving stream, it isjust as overflowing as ever!
We are accustomed to say that if a child takes a cupful from the sea it is just as full as before, but that is not literallytrue-there must be just so much the less of water in the ocean. But it is literally true of Christ, that when we have notonly taken out cups full-for our needs are too great to be satisfied with such small quantities-when we have taken out oceansfull of Divine Grace-and we need as much as that to carry us to Heaven-there is actually as much left! Although we each havedrawn upon the treasury of His love to an extent so boundless that we cannot understand it, yet there is as much mercy andDivine Grace left in Christ as there was before. And it is a "fullness," still, after all the saints have received of it.
Brethren, there is a fullness of Truth in our Lord as well as Grace, that is to say, everything which Christ says is not onlytrue, but emphatically true. And not only true in one sense, but true in multiple senses-true to the letter and to the jotsand to the tittles-true today and true tomorrow and true forever! True to one saint and true to every saint! True at one seasonand true in all seasons! There is a blessed emphasis of Divine reality in Christ Jesus. Every word He speaks is as the decreeof God. Every doctrine that He promulgates is clear as the Great White Throne. In Him there is no admixture of error. "Neverman spoke like this Man," because His teaching is unalloyed gold. All doctrine which He reveals is as pure and celestial asthe dew from Heaven.
Brethren, there is an abiding fullness of truth in Christ! After you have heard it for 50 years, you see more of its fullnessthan you did at first. Other truths weary the ear. I will defy any man to hold together a large congregation, year after year,with any other subject but Christ Jesus! He might do it for a time. He might charm the ear with the discoveries of science,or with the beauties of poetry. And his oratory might be of so high an order that he might attract the multitudes who haveitching ears, but they would, in time, turn away and say, "This is no longer to be endured. We know it all."
All music becomes wearisome but that of Heaven! But oh, if the minstrel does but strike this celestial harp, though he keepshis fingers always among its golden strings and is but poor and unskilled upon an instrument so Divine, yet the melody ofJesus' name and the sweet harmony of all His acts and attributes will hold His listeners by the ears and thrill their heartsas nothing beside can do! The theme of Jesus' love is inexhaustible! Though preachers may have dwelt upon it century aftercentury, a freshness and fullness still remain.
2. The second doctrine is that all the saints have received all of Grace out of the fullness of Christ. It is not one saintwho has derived Grace from the Redeemer, but all. "Of His fullness have we all received." And they have not merely deriveda part of the blessings of Grace from Jesus, but all that they ever had they received from Him. It would be a wonderful visionif we could now behold passing before us the long procession of the chosen, the great and the small- the goodly fellowshipof Apostles, the noble army of martyrs-the once weeping but now rejoicing band of penitents. There they go! I think I seethem all in their white robes, bearing their palms of victory.
But you shall not, if you stop the procession at any point, be able to discover one who will claim to have obtained Gracefrom another source than Christ. Nor shall one of them say, "I owed the first Grace I gained to Christ, but I gained otherGrace elsewhere." No, the unanimous testimony is, "of His fullness have we all received." My inner eye beholds the throngas the procession pauses before the Throne of God. Oh, can you see how every man prostrates himself before the Throne of theLamb and altogether they cry, "Of His fullness have we all received"?
Whoever we may be. However well we may have served our Master. Whatever honor we have gained-though our Lord has helped usto finish our course and to win the prize-yet it is ALL of him-"Non nobis Domine!" Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Yourname be all the praise! What a precious Truth of God, then, we have before us, that all the saints in all ages have been justwhat you and I must be tonight if we would be saved-receivers! They did not, any one of them bring anything to Christ, butreceived from Him.
If they, at this moment, cast their crowns at His feet, their crowns were first given to them by Him! Their robes are weddinggarments of His providing. The whole course of saintship is receptive. None of the saints talk of what they gave. None ofthem speak of what came of themselves, but they all bear testimony without a solitary exception that they were all receiversfrom Jesus' fullness! Oh, but this casts mire into the face of human self-sufficiency! What? Not one saint who had a littleof his own? Not one of all the favored throng who could furnish himself? No, not one! Did none of them look to the works ofthe Law? No, they all went to Jesus and His Grace and none to Moses and the Law.
Did none of them trust in priests of earthly anointing? Did none of them bow down before holy fathers and saintly confessorsto obtain absolution? There is not a word said about such foolishness! Nor even a syllable concerning appeals to saints-butall the saved ones received direct, "from His fullness," who fills all in all. I must not leave this second doctrine, however,without noting that these receptive saints received very abundantly. They drew from an abundance, even a fullness-and theyalso drew largely, as indicated by the words, "and Grace for Grace," which words are only difficult to understand by reasonof the extent of meaning hidden in them-for they might be translated a dozen ways with equal accuracy.
Do they not mean this?-Just as Samson slew so many Philistines that he cried out, "Heaps upon heaps," so our Lord has givento His people Divine Grace at such a rate that they have Grace upon Grace for abundance? They have received from Him sucha plenty, such a plenitude of Divine Grace and the Truth of God that as the ancients fabled Mount Pelion to be piled uponOssa by the giants to make a staircase to the skies, so our great Savior has piled mountains of Grace upon mountains of Grace-thaton these, as on a stupendous ladder-His elect might climb to the Throne of God! Not one step to Heaven is other than of DivineGrace-and all comes out of His fullness.
III. We advance to the third point and mark THREE EXPERIENCES indicated by the text. And first, Beloved in the Lord, if youand I would receive of the fullness of Christ, it is imperatively necessary that we should have an experience of our own emptiness.All saints receive of Christ, but no vessel can receive beyond the measure of its emptiness. The more full it is, so muchthe less is its capacity for reception. And the more empty it is, so much the greater the space which can be filled. Thisis a hard lesson for human nature, for we firmly believe in ourselves.
You say, "I am rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing." We learn this with our mother tongue and we repeatit so often that we believe it! And like the Pharisee, we make it our daily boast, "God, I thank You that I am not as othermen are." The Pharisee would see no chaff in his wheat, whereas Divine Grace makes us to be like the publican who could seeno wheat in his chaff and would only say, "God be merciful to me a sinner." It is hard going down the ladder of self-knowledge.We give up with great reluctance our flattering opinions of ourselves. We are hard to empty of the notion of our own inherentmerit-and if the Lord spills that upon the ground-we then hold to the idea of our own inherent strength!
What if we have no merit, yet at least we will have some, by-and-by, and we spin out our poor resolves as freely as a spiderspins her web and the fabric is as frail. And if our notion of power is taken from us, we then betake ourselves to our self-justificationby endeavoring to persuade ourselves that we are not responsible! Or, wrapping ourselves in despair, we declare that we cannothelp ourselves and wickedly cast our ruin upon destiny. Man is hard to be dragged away from the rock of self-justification.Like Theseus in the old mythology, he is glued so fast to the great stone of self-conceit which lies hard by the gates ofHell, that a stronger than Hercules is needed to tear him from it! And even such a deliverer must rend him from it, leavinghis skin behind.
When the Lord comes and makes the sinner stand before His bar and plead, "Lord, I am guilty," the man is made ready to receiveof Christ's merits because he is emptied of his own. Hear him again: "Lord, I would gladly repent and believe, but oh, forthis I have no strength! Be You my Helper." The man's own power is gone and with it his hardness of heart. He confessed thathe has willfully and wickedly sinned, and now the Lord pours out His Grace and mercy. Our
Lord withholds from those who are full-but He is always ready to give to those who are empty! Never does He keep back anythingfrom those who are consciously in need. Never does He give anything to those who say they need nothing.
There must be in each of us, then, an emptiness of self if we are to enjoy the fullness of Christ. But he who knows the emptinessof self is not, therefore, saved. The man who knows he has the fever is not cured by that knowledge. The man who knows heis condemned to die is not, for that reason, pardoned. It is a dreadful thing to stop short with a mere sense of sin-we mustgo on to the second experience-a personal reception of Christ Jesus. Here I shall put the question to each of my hearers,especially to professors of religion-Have you received out of Christ's fullness? I am not asking you whether you are Churchmembers. We sorrowfully know that it is one thing to be that, and quite another thing to receive Christ.
I do not ask you whether you received the ordinance of the Lord's Supper. Alas, to receive bread and wine is a very differentthing from feeding upon the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ! The one is a carnal act which Judas might perform, who had adevil, but the other is a spiritual act, possible only for spiritual men. "Oh," says one, "do not put high standards beforeus." No, I am not. I am putting the lowest standard that can prove a soul to be saved-have you received Christ? I want tocall your attention to the marvelous simplicity of this one act by which salvation comes to all the saints. It is receiving.Now, receiving is a very easy thing. There are 50 things which you and I cannot do, but, my dear Friend, you could undoubtedlyreceive a penny, could you not?
There is not a man, nor woman, nor child here, so imperfect in power as to be unable to receive. Everybody seems capable ofreceiving any amount. Mark, then, in salvation you do nothing but merely receive. There is a hand, a beggar's hand and ifit is needed to write a fair letter, it cannot do that, but be assured it can receive! Try it, and the beggar will soon letyou know. Look at that hand again. Do you see that it has the palsy? It quivers and shakes! Ah, but it can receive, for allthat! Many a palsied hand has received a jewel. But do you not see that in addition to being filthy and palsied, it has afoul disease? The leprosy lies within and is not to be washed out by any mode of purification known to us, and yet it canreceive!
The saints all came to be saints and remained saints through doing exactly what that poor dirty, leprous, quivering hand cando. All their Divine Grace came by receiving! So, dear Hearer, I am not setting up a high test, though I am assuredly settingup a very safe and necessary one. Have you received out of the fullness of Christ? Did you come all empty-handed and takeJesus Christ to be your All? I know what you did at first. You were for accumulating the shining heaps of your own meritsand esteeming them as if they were so much gold-but you found out that your labor profited not, so at last you came empty-handedand said, "My precious Savior, do but give me Yourself and I will have done with merit. I renounce all merit and all doingand working and I take You to be everything to me."
Then, Friend, you are saved if that is true, for the acceptance of Christ is the mark of the saint. I said there were threeexperiences-the first was emptiness. The second is receiving. And the third is that blessed experience, the discovery thatall we receive comes to us by Divine Grace. Look at the last words, "And Grace for Grace," which words may be read, "And Gracebecause of Grace," that is to say, the only reason why we get Grace is because of Grace! Grace is the cause of itself. Itis a self-creating thing. God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy. He is gracious because He is gracious and He givesDivine Grace to men NOT because they deserve it, or ask for it-but because He is gracious and chooses to bless them. I trust,beloved Brethren, you all have experienced this. If you know your own emptiness and Christ's fullness, I am sure you know,in a measure, the doctrine of Divine Grace and I hope you will go on to know it more and more. May you also get Grace to havemore Grace-Grace to qualify you for a higher degree of Grace!
Now, you do not get some Grace from God's Grace and then the rest from your own efforts, but every step you have to go fromthe gate of the City of Destruction up to the pearl gates of the New Jerusalem, is all Grace. The road to Glory is paved withstones of Grace. The chariot in which we ride to Heaven is all of Grace. The strength that draws it and the axle that bearsit up is all of Grace and Grace alone. In the whole Covenant of Grace, from the first letter of the charter down to its lastword, there is nothing at all of merit or man's goodness, but it is Grace, Grace, Grace. As Grace laid the foundation, soGrace brings out every stone and as we sing-
"It lays in Heaven the topmost stone, And well deserves the praise."
I cannot make out where some of the Lord's children get their creed when they preach up the dignity and free will of man.There are good people but who seem to me to use part of the speech of Ashdod and only part of the speech of Jerusalem. Tomy mind, free will seems such an incongruity when tacked on to Divine Grace and makes a man's ministry like Nebuchadnezzar'simage, with its head of gold and its feet of clay-the two things do not consort. O for a Gospel that is all of one piece-thatreveals the sinner as saved by Grace from first to last-that God may have all the praise!
IV. As briefly as possible we shall speak of FOUR DUTIES.
1. First, if we have received from Christ all we have, then let us praise Him. If we live on His fullness, let us magnifyand bless His name. Gratitude is a natural virtue and it ought always to be in us a spiritual Grace. O let our tongues talkwell of Him to whom we owe everything! There was a poor man who was a pauper, but a kind friend had taken care of him andthe old man was never better pleased than when he could ramble out his thanks to passing strangers. "That's a dear man wholives up at the white house, there, Sir.
"Do you see these clothes? He has given me all. I have not a rag on me but what is of his finding and I have a nice littlecottage down there and, you know, he gave it to me-told me I might live there rent free! He lets me walk through his groundsand tells me I am welcome to all I can desire." It was the old man's joy to expatiate upon the extraordinary goodness of hisbenefactor. I wish we all imitated him. Do you see anything that is happy and peaceful in me? It all came from Jesus. I ama poor worm with nothing at all in myself that I could boast of, but if there is anything at all that could commend the Gospel,I received it all from my dear Lord and Master who has done more for me than tongue can tell!
Brethren, speak more of Him and sing more His praise! If you have the gift of song, never prostitute it (as I think it mustbe) to light, giddy, loose verses. Keep your sweetest notes for Him. Music, reserve your charms for him. If the things ofthis world might claim a note or two, yet, oh, let Him have the loudest of your harmony. You daughters of Israel, go forthto meet your David-for if any of this world has helped you-if Saul has slain his thousands-this David has slain His ten thousands!The mightiest of your foes He has overthrown. One of the best ways of praising Jesus is by trusting Him more. Faith is oftencompact praise. A trustful heart has in it the quintessence of music. Jesus loves to be trusted-it is a true, if indirect,form of gratitude, when we repose confidence because of mercies received.
Once more, if you wish to praise the Prince of Peace, as I trust you do, go and beg harder of Him. Go to Him this very nightand say-
"The best return for one like me, So wretched and so poor, Is from Your gifts to draw a plea, And ask You still for more."
You cannot do your Lord a better turn nor make His heart more glad by way of praising Him, than by opening your mouth widerthan ever tonight that you may receive more out of His fullness than you have ever had since you have known Him!
2. The second duty is this-if up till now we have received out of Christ's fullness, then let us repair to Him again. As youhave received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him. I find it my best and safest way and I recommend it to you all, to livedaily on Christ, as I did when first I trusted in Him. If I have ever known Him at all. If He has ever been revealed to meand in me. If He has ever answered my prayers. If He has ever blessed me to your souls and made me the spiritual parent ofany that are in the skies, I do know that I had it all from Him, for I never had a grain of anything good of my own-all myGrace has been the free grant of His sovereign will!
But Satan says, "Ah, but you never knew Jesus!" Well, if I never did, I know what to do now. I will go to Jesus at once. IfI never did go to Him before, I will hasten to Him now. Now, when I go to Jesus Christ in that way, not as a saint but asa sinner-not as a preacher but as a poor, miserable offender-I find my comfort returns to me. I would like to be as a babe,always hanging on the breast of Jesus' love. I would like to be the fruit which remains on the bough and so grows ripe andsweet. I would like to be always locked up in Christ's pantry and never live on what I had before fed on, but feeding evermore!To this duty I invite you tonight. If you have received-come and receive again-you have not received the whole of Christ'sfullness yet!
But all that is in Christ is meant to be received. Jesus Christ is like the sun-He is a storehouse of light, but the lightis there to be shed abroad. He is like the clouds-a storehouse of waters, but all that is in Him is to descend in showersupon thirsty souls. There is nothing in Christ but what was meant to be distributed! He is like Joseph's granaries in
Egypt, full of corn for hungry men. Do you read of mercy in Christ?-say, "That mercy was meant for a needy sinner. Even Iwill have it." Little children, when they come to the table, seem to know by instinct that everything there is meant to beeaten, so they cry, "Give me this. Give me that."
Now, in this be children. If you see anything in Christ, however rich and rare, however precious and choice, say, "Lord, giveme that and give me that," for it is all meant to be given away-it is all provided on purpose to meet the needs of the Lord'speople. So we leave that duty, but I trust not till we have attended to it.
3. The third duty is, if you have been receiving of Christ, try to obtain more, for the text says, "Grace for Grace"- thatis, Grace upon Grace-Grace to fit you for higher Grace. If you are no richer than the old Believers under the Law and youhave found only Jewish Grace, come and ask for clearer views. If you have Grace as a babe, ask Grace to be a young man. Andif you have grown to be a young man, ask Grace to be a father. Aspire to the highest point of Christian perfection! In othermatters we are very covetous, but in the things of God, what an accursed contentment we soon fall into!
I use the word advisedly, for it is accursed, since it brings the curse of barrenness upon us. I loathe to hear a Believersay, "Well, if I am but just saved, that is enough for me. If I may but just get in behind the door in Heaven, I shall becontent." So you will, my dear Brother, but you ought not to talk that way! Your business is to show forth as much of Christto His Glory as you possibly can. What? Are you so selfish that if you can creep into Heaven that will content you? I wouldLike to carry my Master a whole casket of jewels in my bosom! I would gladly say to Him, "Here am I and the children whomYou have given me." I would desire to die with the sweet satisfaction, "I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,therefore there is laid up for me a crown of life that fades not away."
Wrestle for more Grace! If you are up to your ankles, wade into this river of gracious fullness up to your knees. If you areup to your knees, be thankful, but do not be content. I ask you to advance till you are up to your loins and be not fullysatisfied even then. Forget the things that are behind, be not satisfied till you find a river to swim in! Strike out tillyou feel you are utterly out of your depth and then dive into it and strike out! Glory in Christ to think that it pleasedthe Father that in Him should all fullness dwell and be glad that you have learned to comprehend with all saints what arethe heights and depths and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.
4. The last duty and the last word. If you have received of Christ, encourage others to receive of Him. Indeed, you need notgo far for the encouragement, for you may first of all look at home. If Jesus Christ received you, whom will He not receive?If my Master's heart opened wide its doors to let me in, I know He has received one of the blackest that ever was accepted.And I feel confident in recommending you, poor, needy, troubled, conscience-stricken Sinner, to come to Jesus by simple trusttonight! I am sure if He had meant to reject you, He would not have accepted me. If you want to encourage souls to come toChrist, what a wonderful text this is: "Of His fullness have we all received."
I must bring that little dream of mine up to your mind's eye again. There are all the saints-millions of them-and they tellyou, all of them, that they were all receivers. Now, suppose you were a beggar. You know what beggars do. If they go to adoor and get anything, they make a little mark-you and I do not understand it, but it means, "Good house to knock at." Andthe next beggar who comes sees that token and he knocks boldly. If they get nothing, of course, they make some scurvy remarkor another, after their own fashion, which the next beggar understands.
Now, I have already made that mark on Christ's door and I have told you of it! It is a good house to knock at, for I havetried it. But suppose, being a beggar, you were to meet some 50 or 60 tramps, all coming down the street and they were tosay to you, "Are you in the same trade as we are?" "Yes, I am a beggar." "Well," they say, "there's a good house down there,we have all of us been to it and they have given us all something." "What? Given something to all of you?" "Yes, to everyone of us." "What? To that man yonder? Why, he looks good for nothing!" "Ah, well, they gave him something." "What? To thewhole of you?" "Yes." "Then I shall be as quick as I can to knock and get the next turn."
Why, of course, everybody would feel that that is the shop to beg at where nobody has been rejected. Now, since the worldbegan there never has been a sinner who sincerely asked for mercy through faith in the precious blood of Jesus who has beenrejected! Since Adam was cast out of the Garden, there has never been a sinner, whoever he might have been, that has casthimself by simple trust upon the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, whom God has cast out! Well, but if they all receivedand all received, "of His fullness," why not you?
One thing more-it may be that you will still say, "Perhaps the Lord will change His mode of dealing and reject me!" Oh, butlet me tell you, He has pledged Himself that He will not, for, in addition to all those who have received at His hands, thereis a promise given, "Him that comes unto Me, I will in no wise cast out." He cannot cast you away, for He has said He willnot and that word, "no wise," is like the flaming cherub's sword, which turns every way, not to keep you out of the gardenof life, but to keep out all your doubts and fears.
Observe, "I will in no wise cast out." Then, if any man says, "But I am too old," that cannot be the reason for your rejection,for Christ has said, "Him that comes, I will in no wise cast out." "Oh, but I have sinned beyond all reason. I have gone toan excess of riot. Sir, I'm a damnable sinner. No one can say too bad of me." I do not care what you are! He cannot cast youout, for He has said, "in no wise," that is, on no account, on no consideration, under no circumstances! If you come to Christ,Heaven and earth may pass away and yon blue sky may be folded up and put away as a worn-out mantle, and the stars shall falllike withered leaves in autumn, and the sun be turned into darkness and the moon into blood-but NEVER shall a praying, trustingsinner be cast away from the Presence of God!
O come, then, you most guilty, you most empty, you most worthless! Come and welcome! Hark! The silver trumpet sounds tonight,"Come and welcome! Come and welcome! Come and welcome!" Come to the dear wounds of Jesus and be hidden there! Come to thefountain filled with blood and be cleansed there! Come to the heart of Christ in Heaven by trusting Him and be saved bothnow and forever!
May God bless you and everyone in this great house tonight! May He bless every one of you young women up there and of youmen down there and you strangers thronging the aisles! May every one of us have to say, "Of His fullness have we all receivedand Grace for Grace." The Lord bless you. Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-John 1:1-18