Sermon 2144. Believers Sent by Christ, As Christ Is Sent By the Father
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, MAY 11, 1890,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"As You have sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world." John 17:18.
HERE is a great fact mentioned, namely, that the Father sent the Son into the world. Our Lord's disciples believed this. Jesussays Himself, "They have believed that You did send me." It is one of the first essentials of saving faith to believe in Christas the Sent One of God. They had proved, in their own experience, that Jesus was sent of God, for they had found Him to besent to them. Especially they knew this because they had found in Him eternal life. To them it had been eternal life "to knowthe only true God and Jesus Christ, whom He had sent."
They had entered into the possession of a new and heavenly life and they rejoiced in it so that to them the fact that Godhad sent His Son into the world was indisputable. It was a fact upon which they based their salvation! It was their hope,their joy, their theme of thought and subject of conversation. They declared it with the accent of assurance. Our Lord basedupon that fact another. He says to His Father, "As You have sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into theworld." As surely as Christ was sent into the world by the Father, so surely are the saints sent into the world by Christ.
Note well that I say, "the saints"-I mean not the Apostles only-but all Believers. I dare not limit the reference to whatare called ordained ministers or Apostles, for I believe it includes all the chosen of God. Was the prayer, contained in this17th chapter of John, for the Apostles only? I think not! Surely our Lord prayed for all whom the Father had given to Himand not for ministers only. Beyond question, our great Intercessor pleaded for all those whom the Father gave to Him and thereforeit is of all these that He speaks in the words of our text. He mentions not only the officers, but the rank and file of thechosen host who have been called by Divine Grace to know Him as sent of God. He says to them all without exception, "As theFather has sent Me, even so I send you."
I do not for a moment dispute the need of a special call to the office of pastor or elder in the Church of God. Nor do I questionthat there are officers in the Church of God upon whom peculiar responsibility rests-but no class of men may be exalted intoa caste of Brahmins who are, alone, sent into the world by the great Head of the Church. We who spend our lives in teachingare your servants for Christ's sake and we rejoice that you, also, have a high calling of God in Christ Jesus. If we havemore knowledge of Scripture or larger gifts of utterance, accept us as your fellow servants whose talents are cheerfully employedfor your sakes! But if you have not these same talents, you have others and you are equally given to Christ, to be by Himsent into the world.
This is no trifle, but a very solemn business. To our Lord it was a special matter of prayer. It is here in that prayer whichalways seemed to me to be the core of the whole Bible. Our Lord pleads not only about our being saved, but about our beingsent. There is something here which deserves our deepest thought. There are two petitions in our Lord's prayer which bearupon this. First comes the petition-"Holy Father, keep them." You cannot serve God unless He preserves you. You will neverkeep the Lord's flock unless He first shepherds you. The Lord of the vineyard must keep the keepers or their vineyards willnot be kept.
The other prayer immediately precedes the text-"Sanctify them." You cannot go out into the world as the sent ones of Christunless you are sanctified. God will use no unholy messenger-you must be consecrated and cleansed- devoted and dedicated toGod, alone, or else you will not have the first qualification for the Divine mission. Christ's prayer is, "Sanctify them throughYour Truth." The more Truth of God you believe, the more sanctified you will be. The operation of the Truth of God upon themind is to separate a man from the world unto the service of God. Just in proportion as Truth is given up, worldliness andfrivolity are sure to prevail.
A Church which grows so enlightened as to neglect the Doctrines of Grace also falls in love with the vain amusements of theworld. It has been so in all past ages and it is sadly so today. But a Church which, in a living way, holds fast the Truthonce and for all delivered to the saints will also separate itself from the ways of the world-in fact, the world and the worldlyChurch will shun it-and push it into the place of separation. The more separated we are, after our Master's fashion, the morefit shall we be to do His bidding! Our Lord was evidently most careful as to our commission which He bases upon His own commissionand declares to be as certain and real as His own sending by the Father.
He so values this that He prays, "Father, keep them," and, "Father, sanctify them." May those two prayers be heard for usand then we shall stand with our loins girt, our shoes on our feet, our lamps trimmed and our lights burning- ready to goforth at the command of the Most High to the very ends of the earth. Our mission by Jesus grows out of His mission by theFather-and we may learn much about it by considering how the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
I. I would open up this subject by asking you, first, WHAT OUR LORD'S BEING SENT INVOLVED TO HIMSELF, for, to a large extent,there will be a parallel between His being sent and ours. The parallel is drawn by way of quality, not of equality. Christ'scommission is on a higher scale than ours, for He was sent to be a Propitiation and Covenant-Head and so came into positionswhich it would be presumption for us to dream of occupying. Still, there is a likeness, though it is only that of a drop inthe sea.
Our Lord's mission involved complete subjection to the Father's will. He said, "My Father is greater than I"-this did notrelate to His essential Nature and dignity as God, but to the position which He took up in reference to the Father when Hewas sent to be our Savior. He that sends is greater than He that is sent-the Savior took up that subordinate position thatHe might do the Father's will. From that time forth, so long as He remained under His commission, He did not speak His ownwords nor do His own deeds-but He listened to the Father's will-and what the Father said to Him He both spoke and did.
That is exactly where you and I have to place ourselves now, deliberately and unreservedly. Our Lord sends us and we are tobe, in very deed, subordinate to His command in all things. We are no longer masters-we have become servants. Our will islost in the will of our glorious Superior. If we are ambitious and our ambition is guided by wisdom, it will take us downto that basin and the towel and we shall be willing to wash the disciples' feet to show that we are sent by our condescendingLord. We shall, from now on, have no respect unto our own dignity or interest, but shall lay ourselves out to serve Him towhom we belong. Whatever He says to us we shall aim to do. Although we are sons of God, yet now we are also servants and wewould not do our own will but the will of Him that sent us.
Oh, to be sound on this point so as to yield our members in perfect obedience and even bring every thought into subjectionto Christ! Oh, to die to self and live in Christ! Can you drink of this cup and be baptized with this Baptism? I trust youcan and, if so, you shall fulfill the errand upon which He sends you. This meant for our Lord the quitting of His rest. Hereigned in Heaven-all angels paid Him homage-but when the Father sent Him, He left His high abode. He was laid in the manger,for there was no room for Him in the inn. Where the horned oxen fed, there must the Holy Child be cradled. The royalties ofHeaven are left behind-the rest which He enjoyed in the bosom of the Father must be renounced for toil, hunger, thirst andweariness-and the death of the Cross.
Dear Friends, you may serve the Lord and yet be as happy as your Lord was. But if Jesus has sent you into the world you arenot to seek ease or comfort-you are not even to make your own spiritual comfort the first object of your thought. How nicethat evening at home would be! But you are sent and therefore must turn out to win souls. How delightful it would be to readthat book through and to leave the class alone! But you must not, for you are sent to instruct and save. From now on you areto consider nothing but how you can answer the design of Him who has sent you. Your aim must be to do the utmost possiblefor your Lord.
The Christian who does much is still an idler if he could do more. We have never reached the point of diligence till we aredoing all that lies in us and are, even then, wishing to do far more. Bought with His precious blood, the vows of the Lordare upon us and we renounce our natural love of ease that we may please Him who has sent us. When sent of God, the Savioralso had to forego even Heaven itself. He was here on earth the God-Man, the Mediator and He did not return to the splendorof His Father's court till He could say, "I have finished the work which You gave me to do and now, O Father, glorify YouMe." We must not sigh for Heaven while so much is to be done on earth. The rest of Glory will come
soon-but just now we have to do with the work of Grace. Let us stick to our work here below and do it thoroughly, for ourLord has gone above and is preparing a place for us.
Is it not wonderful how God, even now, denies Himself for the salvation of men? Why does not our Lord come at once in HisGlory? Why do we not see the millennial reign begin? It is because of the long-suffering of God-He waits and puts off theclosing scene because He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." He keeps back eventhe glorious Advent to give men space for salvation! That for which Jesus longs, and the Spirit longs, and the spouse longs,is kept back in mercy to the guilty!
The Bridegroom postpones His marriage day that men may be brought to Him by the Divine long-suffering. If Jesus can do this,surely we may well wait out of compassion to our fellow men. Even our hope of being forever with the Lord may wait a while.So long as there is another sinner for us to rescue we will remain in this land of our exile. That is what our Lord means-theFather has sent Me from Heaven and kept Me out of Heaven for the sake of men-and even so shall I detain you among the tentsof Kedar for a while that you may bring in My redeemed through the Gospel. The words of our text are, "As you have sent Meinto the world" and this implies affinity with men.
Our Lord was not sent to the edge of the world to look over the fence and converse hopefully from a distance. He was sentright into the world. He took on human Nature and became bone of our bone. We read, "Then drew near unto Him all the publicansand sinners for to hear Him." He was a Man among men. In this way Jesus has sent you, my Brothers and Sisters, into families,into offices, into establishments, into places where you labor for daily bread among a company of ungodly men. Do not cryout because you have thus to mingle with them.
Your Lord was sent into the world, not, I say, to the outskirts of it, nor to some elevated mountain high above it from whichHe might look down. He was sent into the world in an emphatic sense and so are you sent, wisely sent, to tarry even amongunconverted, infidel and impure men that you may do for Christ His great work and make known His salvation! He was sent intothe world and this involved abiding in humiliation. "The world knew Him not," therefore the world knows us not because itknew Him not. You are not sent into the world to be honored and pampered-nor even to receive your righteous due. If God aimedat your immediate glorification He would take you to Heaven. But He aims at your humiliation, that you may be like His First-Born.
You are to have fellowship with the Only-Begotten in many ways and among the rest you are to be partakers of His suffering!Expect to be misunderstood, misrepresented, belied, ridiculed and so forth-for so was the Sent of the Father. You are to expectevil treatment-for as the Father sent His Son into a world which was sure to treat Him ill, so has He sent you into the sameworld which will treat you in the same manner if you are like your Lord. Be not surprised at persecution but expect it andtake it as part of the Covenant consequences, for as Ishmael mocked Isaac, so will the seed after the flesh persecute thatwhich is born according to promise.
In a word, your being sent of Christ involves unreserved dedication to His work. When Christ came into the world He did nothingbut what His Father sent Him to do. He had no secondary objective of any sort. From the reservoir of His being no little streamtrickled away in waste-the whole of it went to turn the great mill-wheel of His life. The whole current and force of His Naturewent in one way, working out one design. Now, as the Father sent Jesus, so has Jesus sent you to be from now on by occupationa Christian. You are to be consecrated wholly and alone to the one object for which Christ has set you apart.
There may be other lawful objectives but these you render subsidiary to the one objective of your life. You have but two eyesand those eyes looks to your Lord. From now on you belong to Christ-body, soul and spirit-from the morning light to the eveningshade and through the night watches. There is not a hair of your head but what Jesus values, for He has put it down in theinventory-"the very hairs of your head are all numbered." Give Him, then, every single power, however feeble. Give Him everypert of your nature, however insignificant. Let your whole being be the Lord's for, "you are not your own; you are boughtwith a price."
"This is a high standard," says one. My Brothers and Sisters, it is none too high and it is sad that any should think it so.God help you to know that you are sent and clearly to perceive what your mission involves. We, too, are missioned from above!We, too, are to have a hand in the saving of the world!
II. Secondly, having thus shown you the parallel so far, I now ask you to CONSIDER WHY OUR LORD WAS SENT INTO THE WORLD. OurLord came here with one design. Christ was not sent to teach a correct system of
philosophy. He was not Plato, but Jesus-not a sage, but a Savior. He could have solved the problems of the universe but Hedid not even allude to them. He was not an Aristotle, ruling the world of human thought, although He could have done so easilyhad He chosen.
Blessed be His name, He came to save from sin and this no Plato or Aristotle could have done! All the sages and philosophersput together are not worth so much as the little finger of Christ! Christ entered into no rivalry with the academy-He cameon a very different errand. Neither was our Lord sent to be an inventor or a discoverer. All the discoveries that have beenmade in modern times could have been at once revealed by Him but that was not His objective and He kept scrupulously to Hisone design.
He could have told us the secret of the Dark Continent but He was not sent for that end. He could have anticipated all thatwe have slowly learned and saved the world the long processes of experiment and observation-but this was not the objectiveof His mission. He did not come to be a conqueror. God gave us in Him neither Alexander nor Caesar-of such slaughterers theworld has always had enough and to spare. He conquers evil but not by the sword. Our Lord did not come even to be a politician,a reformer of governments, a rectifier of social economics. There came one to Him who said, "Master, speak to my brother,that he divide the inheritance with me." You might have supposed that the Lord would have arbitrated in that case but He didnot do so, for He said, "Who made Me a judge or a divider over you?"
He kept to His one business and we shall be wise to do the same. Point me to a single instance in which He interfered withthe government of Pilate or of Herod! Had He anything to say about the tyranny of Caesar? When He takes Caesar's penny inHis hand, He simply says, "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." He wasnone of Caesar's for He belonged to God and to God alone! Should not Christian people take heed that they follow Christ inthis unity of aim and purpose?
This I know, I am not sent to preach to you any new philosophical system nor to advocate any political party, nor to meddlewith any of those social matters which can be better managed by others. It is mine to preach the Gospel of the Grace of Godand this one thing I do! If you can serve Christ and your fellow man in any way, do it-but never get away from your one aimand purpose. If we are enabled to save men's souls by the Holy Spirit resting upon our teaching we may die content even thoughwe have left 50 other excellent things undone. There are enough of the dead to bury the dead. Burying the dead is a good work-butthis will be a labor more congenial to the dead around us than to ourselves-let us leave it to them.
We cannot do everything-let us do that which we are sent to do. Oh, that every Christian would feel that whatever else hewould like to be, his first business is to be a servant of Christ! Your first concern is to serve Christ and it ought to beyour second concern to serve Christ! Then I would claim that it should be your third and I shall get far on in numbers beforeI should allow any other character to take a leading position. May no possible objective bear any comparison in your desiresand endeavors in comparison with your resolve to glorify God your Savior!
Notice, further, that our Lord was not sent to be ministered unto, but to minister. I fear that many of His professed servantsthink they have been sent to be ministered unto. Their religion consists in coming to places of worship to be ministered unto.Through the week they would like to have very particular attention from the pastor and the Church officers-and you hear themgrumbling that they are not sufficiently looked after. Surely they must have been sent, not to minister, but to be ministeredunto!
Brethren, let us give them as much as we can of our services for they evidently need them, but Jesus was not sent to be visitedand waited on, and served-He came to minister to others and He did so to the fullest! He could truly say, "I am among youas He that serves." Beloved Friend, you know that it is more blessed to give than to receive-therefore feel it to be yourjoy to live as one who is sent by Jesus to be the servant of the Church and the winner of souls! Let us enquire what was Christ'swork upon earth. It was, first, to teach. Wherever He went He was an instructor of the ignorant. He preached of the kingdomand of faith and of Divine Grace.
We are to teach. "I do not know anything," says one. Then do not tell it but first go to the Lord and ask Him to teach yousomething. And as soon as ever you know the A B Cs of the Gospel, go and teach somebody that A B C. You need not teach himD E F and G H I till you have advanced so far yourself-but teach all you are taught. Learn first, but when you have learned,then let others learn from you. As your Master, be teaching the Gospel everywhere. Forget not that He lived and His livingwas teaching. His actions were so many heads of His life-sermon. His every movement was
instructive. He went about doing good. Make your life tally with your teaching and make your life to be a part of your teaching-no,make it the best part of your discourse. The most solid and most emphatic teaching that comes from you should be what youdo rather than what you say-and Christ has sent you into the world for that end.
Our Lord came, also, to suffer for the cause of truth and righteousness. If you follow Him closely, you must expect to suffer,also. Do not cry out about it, as though some strange thing had happened to you. Take joyfully the spoiling of your good name.If Christ has sent you forth like sheep in the midst of wolves, wonder not that the wolf gives you a bite or two-is it nothis nature? Let the wolf howl, but do not trouble yourself about it for what else should a wolf do? When pain, weakness andbodily infirmity seize on you and you lie for days and weeks tossed with pain all through the sleepless nights, take it allpatiently and say, "I am sent to show patience, that men may see what Grace can do."
You are sent to save men. It is true that you have not to redeem them by blood-that the Lord has done most effectually! Youhave not to suffer as a substitute-for His one Sacrifice has sufficed. But you are sent to seek and to save that which waslost by proclaiming salvation by Christ Jesus. Every man who is saved, himself, should feel that he is called at once to laborfor the salvation of others! Your election is not only election to personal salvation but to personal service. You are chosenthat, through your being saved, others may be called into the like felicity. View this very clearly and get it fixed in yourminds-then carry it out in your daily lives.
"Ah," you say, "our Lord might very well give Himself up to His work, for if He had not done so the whole world must haveperished." Listen, your work is also indispensable. How is the work of Christ to be made effectual among the sons of men fortheir salvation? Must they not hear it that they may believe it? How shall they hear without a preacher? I venture to saythat as the salvation of man depended upon Christ, so, in another sense, the salvation of men at this hour depends upon theChurch of God. If Believers do not go and preach Christ, who will? If you that love Him do not commend Him, who will? Do youthink that the Houses of Parliament will ever meet together to consider the evangelization of the heathen? If the Governmentdid take such work in hand, it could do nothing for it is not a fit agent and it would hinder rather than help the good design.
Do you think the worldlings, the skeptics, the critics will ever unite to spread the kingdom of Christ and save the soulsof men? Do not dream it! If the Church of God does not go forth on her holy errand, nothing will be done. "But it might bedone by angels," says one. I know it might, but, "unto the angels has He not put in subjection the world to come, whereofwe speak." He has committed unto us the word of reconciliation, even to us who are men-and we must attend to it, or greatguilt will lie upon us. I should like every Christian to feel that he has to be the instrument of salvation to certain persons.It is all allotted-the whole country is measured and divided, and we have each our portion which we must conquer for our Lord.
If I belong to the tribe of Judah, I have to help my Brothers and Sisters to drive out the Canaanites from our portion. Ifyou belong to the tribe of Issachar, or Benjamin, you must look to your own allotment and clear it of the enemy. Joshua isthe leader, but every Israelite is in His army. Christ has power over all flesh, as the Head of the body, and He has givento each of His members a portion of His power so that each member of His body has power over some portion of the "all flesh,"and that power must be used in the giving of eternal life to as many as the Father has given to Jesus! God grant that youmay feel this and may go to your work as Christ went to His!
III. This leads me a little further and I now invite you to CONSIDER HOW OUR LORD CAME, for this will show
us how we ought to go forward when we are sent. First, our Lord came with alacrity. The work of our Redeemer was no forcedwork. He was sent, but He willingly came-
"Down from the shining seats above
With joyful haste He fled."
"Lo, I come to do Your will, O God," He said. He came cheerfully among the sons of men. You that are sent of Christ must alwaysgo gladly to your service-never look as if you were driven to the field like oxen which love not the plow.
God does not delight in a slavish spirit. If we serve Christ because of the yoke of duty, we shall serve badly. But when ourservice is our pleasure-when we thank God that to us is this Grace given that we should "preach among the Gentiles the unsearchableriches of Christ"-then we shall labor wisely, zealously and acceptably. Next, our Lord came with authority. The Lord God hadsent Him. He had the Father at His back. Be sure that when Jesus sends you, you are invested with authority and they thatdespise you do it at their peril. Your blunders and mistakes are not
authorized-but so far as you speak His Word with a desire for His Glory-he that receives you receives Christ, even as ourLord said, "He that receives Me receives Him that sent Me." God is with you, be not afraid-your Lord will not let your wordsfall to the ground.
Our Lord came with ability, too. What did His ability consist in? Mainly in this-"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, becauseHe has anointed Me." This is also where your sufficiency must be found and you can have as much as you please of it. You cannotget every faculty of the brain, but you can have every influence of the Spirit. It may be you cannot reach the highest formof education or of utterance, but these things are not vital-God can speak by your stammering tongue, even as in the caseof Moses. You shall do the Lord's work and do it well, if you are anointed of the Holy Spirit. He who does Christ's work inChrist's power works an abiding work which will eternally glorify God. He who sends us out into the world to carry the Gospelto every creature will give us Divine Grace to obey His bidding.
Our Lord came with absorption. Jesus came, as I have said before, to do what He was sent to do and nothing else. He meddledwith nothing beyond His vocation-every thought of His Manhood, every power of His Godhead He devoted to fulfilling the errandon which He came. His zeal had eaten Him up. He was covered with it as with a cloak. The Man Christ was all on fire and allon fire with one desire-that He might finish the work which His Father had given Him to do-for this joy He endured the Cross,despising the shame.
Our Lord came with abiding resolve to go through with His mission to the end. He never thought of going back. He steadfastlyset His face to go to Jerusalem. He pressed through shame and through death to accomplish our redemption. In these days weshall not do much unless we have a desperate determination to persevere in the teeth of difficulties. Those who can go backwill go back. Remember how Gideon proclaimed throughout the host that if any man was faint-hearted he might go home? So dowe proclaim today-go home if you are wavering! If you do not love Christ enough to be resolved to serve Him to the last, whatis the good of you? You will break down and lose us the victory at some important crisis.
He that has been bought with the blood of Christ and knows it, feels that he must endure to the end-for only he that enduresto the end shall be saved. We go because our Lord's sending constrains us. "Woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel!" Woeis unto you if you do not teach the children, or speak to individuals, or write letters, or in some way fulfill your mission!
IV. Bear with me a little, while I bid you CONSIDER HOW OUR LORD BEHAVED AS THE SENT ONE. Oh, that we may learn from Him howto fulfill our own mission! Our Lord began early. While He was yet a youth, He said, "Know you not that I must be about MyFather's business?" As soon as ever a man is converted, he should enquire, "Lord, what will You have me do?" Young Believer,do not let many weeks pass over your head before you have attempted something for your Lord. I will correct that exhortation-Iwish you would not let a single day pass away without your bearing testimony for your Master.
But, next, our Lord waited very patiently. He was 30 years old before He preached openly. We do not know all that He did inthe workshop at Nazareth. Is it not possible that He supported His widowed mother by His labor? We do not know, but of thiswe are sure, that it is the first duty of many young men to look after their parents. It is the duty of all to "show pietyat home." Many Christian women will have done well if they have carried out home duties. She was a holy woman upon whose gravethey placed this epitaph, "She made home happy." This is what Jesus did for the first 30 years of His life. He was doing theFather's will when He was a young Man at home.
Though He did not preach, yet while He was working and learning He was carrying out the purpose for which He was sent. Whenthe time came for Him to commence His more public service, He sought proper entrance into it. He did not blunder into God'swork by a rush and a leap-He went to John to be baptized and to be publicly recognized as the Messiah. John was the porterand he opened the gate to the Good Shepherd who came in by the door and did not climb up some other way. He came to John whorepresented the prophetic chair of the Jewish Church and so He entered into His work as Minister in a lawful and proper way.
I like our young friends, when they feel their time has come for public service, to begin in right style and due order, carryingout the Lord's mind in the Lord's way. Willfulness in beginning may throw a man out of gear as to his future work and it arguesa spirit ill-prepared for acceptable service. That being passed, see how He labored at His work. He was always doing the Father'swill. He worked all day and every day and everywhere, with everybody. Some Christian people
can only render occasional service. They are very good at a Convention. They save up their holiness for meetings. At a religiousgathering they are in fine form, but they are not everyday saints. The kind of person the Church needs most is the maid-of-all-work-theworker who can turn his hand to anything which Providence allots him and is glad to do so, however humbling it may be.
My venerated grandmother owned a set of choice china, which, I believe, is, part of it, in existence today. Why does it existnow? It has seen little service! It only came out on high-days and holidays-maybe once in six months when ministers and friendscame to tea. It was a very nice set of old china-too good for children to break. Some Christians are like that fine old ware-itwould not do to use them too often. They are too good for everyday. They do not teach their servants and try to win the poorpeople in their own neighborhood to Christ-but they talk well at a Conference. Oh, you fine bits of egg-shell china, I knowyou! Don't fear! I am not going to break you. Yet I would somewhat trouble you by the remark that in the case of such wareas you are more pieces get broken in the cupboard than on the table!
You will last all the longer if you get to work for Christ in everyday work. Jesus was not sent out for particular occasionsand neither are you. We use our Lord for a thousand hallowed purposes and even so will He use us from time to time if we arebut ready and willing. Notice about our Lord's service, that His prayers always kept pace with His work. This is where mostof us fail. When our Lord had a long day's work, we find Him taking a long night's prayer. "I have so much to do," says one,"that I could not be long in prayer." That is putting the case upwards the wrong way! When you have most to do, you have mostneed to pray-and unless you keep up the proportion, your offering will fail in quality.
The holy incense was sweet before God because in that sacred compound there was a proportion of each spice. And so, in ourlives, there must be a due measure of Word, work, prayer and praise. I may say of prayer what one said of salt in the Scripture,"Salt without prescribing how much." Prayer can never be in excess. You can salt meat too much but you cannot salt your servicetoo much with prayer. If you are accustomed to pray in your walk and works at all hours and seasons you do not err. Therenever will be in any of us a superfluity of devotion. God help you to be like His Son, who, though He was sent and had theFather with Him, yet could not live without prayer! May you not only feel your need of prayer but fill up that need abundantly!
Once more, in all that Jesus did He remained in constant fellowship with the Father. He said, "He that sent Me is with Me."That is a beautiful sentence. Let me repeat it-"He that sent Me is with Me." The great Father had never to call to Jesus andsay, "Come nearer. You are departing from Me. You are too busy with Mary and Lazarus and Peter and John and so You are forgettingMe." No, no. He did always the things that pleased God and He was always in communion with the great Father in everythingthat He did. "Ah!" says one, "it is hard to commune with God and be very busy." Yes, but it will prove harder, still, to havebeen very busy and not to have dwelt with God. It is easy to do much when you walk with God-and easier, still, to make a greatfuss and do nothing because the Lord is away.
To get near Omnipotence will not make you omnipotent, but it will make you feel Omnipotence working with you. Oh, that wemight thus dwell with God as Jesus did, for He has sent us for this, even as the Father sent Him! I would leave with you fourwords. We are sent, therefore whenever we try to press Christ upon men we are not guilty of intrusion. We have sometimes knownstrangers asked in this place about their souls, by certain of our friends, and they have grown angry at such a question.This is very silly of them, is it not? But I hope the friend who meets with an angry answer will not be at all hurt.
You are not intrusive though the angry person says you are. You are sent and where Jesus sends you, you have a right to go.The postman frequently knocks at the door as late as ten o'clock. I suppose you need to be asleep. Do you cry out-"How dareyou make that noise?" No, he is the postman-an officer of Her Majesty-and he is sent out with the last mail and must deliverthe letters. You cannot blame him for doing that for which he is sent! Go and knock at the doors of the careless and the sleepy!Give them a startling word. Do not let them perish for lack of a warning or an invitation. Go on without fear-your commissionis your warrant-if Jesus has sent you, you have a right to speak even to princes and kings!
Next, we are sent, therefore we dare not ran away. If Jesus bids us go forward, we must not retreat. If what we have preachedand taught is of God, if we are ridiculed for it let us take no notice but steam ahead. Put more coals in the furnace! Getthe steam up and go faster than ever in the same course. We defy the devil to stop us for we are sent! Next, we are sent,therefore we are sure to be helped. Our King never sends a servant on an errand at his own charges. Our own
power fails us, but He never allows His power to fail us when engaged in His service. Those who are sent shall be sustained!But, if we are sent, remember, lastly, we have to give an account. Our Lord does not call for the timesheet every night, buta timesheet is kept, all the same-and there will be a day for passing in the checks and we shall have to answer for what wehave done.
I speak not now to you ungodly ones, whose account will be terrible at that Last Great Day. God save you! May you believeon Him whom God has sent! But now I speak to Christian people-you will have to render in your account and may God grant youmay not have to make a lamentable return in this fashion-"On such a day so much wood, and on such a day so much hay, and onsuch a day so much stubble." Let there be down in your book nothing but gold, silver and precious stones-for it must all betried with fire-and if you yourself are saved, if your work is burned up you will suffer loss. What pain to find your lifeworkto be a lot of wood, hay and stubble which will blaze furiously and die out in ashes!
You know what I mean-so much time spent in planning frivolous amusements for the people, so much talent expended in teachingwhat is not the Gospel, so much zeal consumed upon matters which do not concern eternal things-all this will burn. Beloved,do your Master's work! Win souls! Preach Christ! Expound your Bibles! Pray men to be reconciled to God-plead with men to cometo Christ! This kind of work will stand the fire and when the Last Great Day shall dawn, this will remain to glory and honor!God bless you, Brethren, for Christ's sake!
PORTIONS OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON- John 17. HYMNS FROM "OUR OWN HYMN BOOK"-257, 258, 262.