Sermon 3266. The Priesthood of Believers
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 1911.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, AUGUST 28, 1864.
"An holy priesthood." 1 Peter 2:5.
IN this Epistle Peter is speaking of the scattered saints in all parts of the world and, taught by the Holy Spirit, he saysof them that they were "an holy priesthood." He is not talking about ministers! He is not speaking of a certain number ofmen who have passed through many grades of office and are, thereby, qualified to wear robes of a certain color- he is speakingof every Believer and he calls every saint a member of "an holy priesthood!" Every Mary and every John, every peasant girland every laborer that puts his hands upon the plow, every servant of God in every capacity is a member of this "holy priesthood"-atleast so Peter says, and Peter was not mistaken, for he spoke as he was "moved by the Holy Spirit."
Let us, for the ten-thousandth time, state our own solemn conviction that it is time for England to wake up and solemnly rebukethe priestcraft that seems rising up in our midst! No man has any right to call himself, in any exclusive sense, a priest.When I take down the Book of Common Prayer and read, "Then shall the priest say"-I shut it up again with detestation! Andif it were the best human book ever printed and had no other blunder and error in it, yet if it ventured to call any classof men, priests, I would denounce it as being tainted with Roman Catholicism! Christ is the only Priest who can offer sacrificefor the expiation of sin! He is "the Great Apostle and High Priest of our profession." But there is another priesthood-oneof offering prayers and praises-and this belongs not to me because I am a minister, nor to any number of men who are called"Reverend," or "Very Reverend," or "Right Reverend," but to you as well, and to everyone else who by faith has believed inJesus Christ as Savior and Lord! If truly converted to God, a man though barely able to read his Bible, is a priest unto Him,because he has a new heart and a right spirit! He may never mount a pulpit, nor preside at a Church Meeting, but he may bea priest unto God! His only pulpit may be a cobbler's stall-his only platform for witnessing to Christ may be behind the counteror in the factory-but he is a priest for all that!
Or if the Lord calls a sister to Himself, she is to be silent in the Church Meeting, but she belongs to the Divine priesthoodand her prayers and praises will go up with as much acceptance before God, through Jesus Christ, as if she were an eminentDivine, or the most gifted of the saints! All God's children are priests and this is the song of all in Heaven and all onearth who are truly saved-"He has made us kings and priests unto God, and we shall reign forever and ever."
Now, it is on this theme of priesthood that I desire to speak tonight. And the way in which priests were made under the Lawof God is described for us in the 8th Chapter of Leviticus. So I invite you to turn with me and look at the subject as expoundedthere, for surely the way in which the sons of Aaron were ordained to their earthly and temporal priesthood is richly suggestiveand intentionally typical of the manner in which God calls all His people to their holy priesthood! On turning to that Chapterwe find that one of the first things with regard to the ordination of Aaron and his sons to their priesthood was that, THEYWERE CLEANSED. We read in Leviticus 8:6, "andMoses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.''" That was one cleansing. But several times in the Chapterwe find that a second cleansing was theirs and that by blood! In verse 2 we find that they brought a bullock far a sin-offering,and two rams, and with the blood of one of the rams, and the blood of the sin-offering they were sprinkled that they mightbe clean before God. This powerfully teaches that every one of us aspiring to be a priest for God must first be cleansed,and that with a double purifying-
"Let the water and the blood, From His riven side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure, Cleanse us from its guilt and power."
If we look closer into this cleaning by blood we see that Aaron and his sons put their hands upon the ram, confessing theirsins. Then the ram was slain, the blood sprinkled upon the altar and the laver, and upon all the vessels of the sanctuary-andthen upon Aaron and his sons. What deep instruction is here! If we are God's priests, we lay our hand upon Christ, acceptHim as our Substitute, trusting in that blood shed for the remission of sins! He will have no priests in His sanctuary whohave not been cleansed with the blood of Christ! All service until this is experienced, is a vain oblation which He cannotaccept. Go to the altar, confess your sin and lay it upon the Lamb of God-and then, but not until then-can you be a holy priest.
Moreover, the priests were afterward also washed in water. On this first occasion they were cleansed from head to foot, buton later occasions when going into the Tabernacle, they needed only to wash their hands and feet. So is it with our Christianlife. By the Holy Spirit's application of our Lord's merits, Believers are completely cleansed and there remains neither spotnor wrinkle on their acceptance with Him. But though a man is perfectly clean who leaves his bath, yet his feet may be soiledas he goes to his room and he needs to wash them again. So you and I need to pray, "Forgive us our sins," though they haveall been forgiven! We are washed, but daily defiling calls for constant cleansing. Though every true Christian has been cleansed,as was Peter, he must not say, "You shall never wash my feet." When Jesus comes by His cleansing Word and Spirit, and girtwith the towel and carrying the basin, we must be willing to let Him cleanse us-no, begHim to wash our feet-that we may beclean, every whit. We need to pray, "Forgive us our sins." It is not in the least in conflict with the Doctrine of a completeSanctification, or complete Justification.
The priests, every one of them, were washed. They had a clear right to go into the sanctuary, yet none the less, they hadto wash their hands and feet each time they entered.
So we are clean. God accepts us. We are His children and yet, day by day, we must go with the prayer to Him, "Lord cleanseme again in the Redeemer's Blood: make me pure by the washing of water by the Word!" So when defiling comes, His cleansingpower may be proved again and again.
Well, Beloved, have we ever attempted to serve God without this cleansing? If so, may we repent of our imagined righteousnessas much as of our sins, for even our righteousnesses are nothing but sins until we have been washed! Do we long for this perfectcleansing? The fountain is full-the blood, the water, have the same efficacy as they ever had. "Though yoursins are as scarlet,they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Step down into this heavenly bath!Trust Christ to save you and, being cleansed by Him, you shall be forever a member of this "holy priesthood."
Referring again to Leviticus 8, we see that the second thing in the ordaining of the priesthood was THEY WERE DIVINELY CLOTHED. However clean they were,they must be suitably arrayed, or they cannot appear before the Lord. We have given to us a list of the garments and findthat Aaron, as High Priest, was sumptuously clothed, but not so his sons. In the 13th verse we are told that they had coats,and belts and bonnets. Let us glance at each of these for they are packed with spiritual significance. The "Coat" is a priestlyrobe. Everyone who ministered at the altar put on an ephod, a coat hanging from the shoulder, generally in one piece and wovenfrom the top throughout, like that which the Lord Jesus wore. So every Believer is to put on the imputed righteousness ofJesus given to us at our conversion!
He officiates as High Priest before the Throne of God clothed in white linen, and so do all the saints-"white linen whichis the righteousness of the saints," says John in the Revelation. Now we have no righteousness of our own, but the voice fromHeaven speaks, "I counsel you, buy of Me white raiment that you may be clothed." We come to Christ just as we are and He clothesus with His righteousness, active and passive, and this is the ephod in which we minister unto God. With our Lord's righteousnessclothing us, we can stand without fear before the awful searching eyes of God now and hereafter, and not fear-
"Bold shall I stand at that Great Day For who anything to my charge shall lay, While through Your blood absolved I am Fromsin's tremendous curse and shame?"
Are you, Beloved, robed in the righteousness of your Savior? Then come forward and officiate as His priest!
Next to the ephod, came the belt In the case of Aaron we are told it was a "curious" belt. Ah, how curious, how matchless,how marvelous is the belt which encircles the loins of Christ! He is girt about the waist with a golden belt. His faithfulness,His truth, His love, His every attribute of excellency combined, make up this curious belt comprising the ephod. But everyother true priest has his belt. You and I, if called to this holy office, are to have our loins girt about, standing alwaysready, instant to obey God's command and revel in His service. Orientals wore flowing garments and when these were loose,they could not hasten in their activities. So they used the belt to brace themselves, gathering up their robes for speciallabor, or conflict, or flight. So every priest of Christ must wear his belt of faithfulness. There is a wicked world alwayson the watch. Be careful! Be vigilant! You may be tripped up by the sin that does so easily beset us. See to it that you arewell braced, so that if the enemy came suddenly you may meet him with courage, or if a message came from your Master you mayrun upon it with diligence.
Yet another part of the priest's clothing is called "the bonnet"-literally, "the turban." This, so we are told, "was for gloryand for beauty." Truly our Lord has put upon His people His own Glory and beauty. We are not merely acceptable, but beloved.Not passable, but admirable. Not merely not to be condemned, but full of imparted loveliness. Jesus says to every saved soul,"You have ravished My heart, My sister, My spouse-with one look of your eyes, with one chain of your neck." Jesus so fallsin love with His own image in each saved soul, that His heart is captured. Here is "the Glory and beauty" with which He hasinvested us. Every Believer is looked upon by God as if he were Christ. Christ took your place and was cursed for you-youtake Christ's place and, notwithstanding all the blemishes, all the backslidings, all the hardness you may feel within-ifyou are truly in Christ, you are so clothed that Glory Divine and beauty is yours! The priests were not only washed but clothed.My Soul, what joy is this! Ponder it until it masters and enthralls you!
After the cleansing and clothing, came this to the priests, THEY WERE ANOINTED. This is mentioned more than once. Aaron hadthe holy oil poured upon his head until it ran down to the skirt of his garment. So Jesus was anointed of the Holy Spiritwithout measure. The other priests were also touched with the oil-sprinkled with it.
And you and I, if we have been both washed and clothed, must yet be anointed. Child of God, do you distinctly and intenselyrecognize your need of this anointing? If I have preached without the Holy Spirit I have preached in vain. If I have goneto my prayer chamber, no matter how earnest I desired to be, I have prayed in vain unless the Spirit of God has been uponme. This anointing is the Christian's supreme need! Dear Joseph Irons very often used to say as he went into the pulpit, "Oh,for an unction from on high!" Sunday school teacher, you are a priest and this is your great need- anointing! You who preachin the streets. You who are intercessors in private for Christ. You who seek to show God in your daily life-you all need theanointing! What can we not do when the Spirit is in us? What can we do if He is withholding His Presence and power? As God'spriests we may-we must have a daily unction-anointing-from the Holy
After this, THEY WERE CONSECRATED. Here I must enlarge more than upon the last point. This setting apart to priestly functionand work was very remarkable. We find that blood was taken and that Moses touched the priests with it (according to the 24thverse) first, "upon the tip of the right ear, then upon the thumbs of their right hand and then upon the great toes of theirright feet. And Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about." This description is very full and suggestive. EveryChristian is to be consecrated to God by blood as to his ear. That is, we are to be eager to hear God's voice, whether inHis Word printed or preached. "Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound!" They only recognize it because the bloodis on the ear. We are to hear God's voice in Providence. When there is a sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees,like David, we are be bestir ourselves! We are to be willing to hear even the rod and Him that has appointed it. There aremany voices that the sanctified ear detects that the carnal ear has never listened to. The godly man has monitions from theMost High when the natural man catches no whisper. To always hear the "still, small voice," is the listening we should desire.So too, with regard to man, we should hear his misery and feel for it-hear his sin and pray to God for its full forgivenessas Jesus did. Yet on the other hand, there are some sounds that the ear so consecrated must not hear. We are deaf to the insinuationsof suspicion, the slander of calumny, yes, to many an intended insult that otherwise might have provoked and angered us! Maywe always feel that as there was blood on the priest's ear, so all our reception powers are to be consecrated to God! If so,I shall feel that there are some books I cannot read, for I have blood on my ear-some songs I dare not listen to-some talkI dare not share in, for I have a consecrated ear. I am to use thatfor Him, for I am His priest.
Next in order was the thumb. This consecrated the hand. And as the ear stands for our receptive faculties, so the hand representsour active powers. There are some things we must not touch nor handle-some things we cannot do, in which we can have no hand,no, cannot finger. Since our hand is sanctified by the blood, all it does must be pleasing to God. I know that a common mistakeis to think that you cannot serve God unless you get into a pulpit, or attend a Prayer Meeting. Nonsense! You can truly serveGod behind the counter, in the work-room! You can serve God by digging a ditch, or clipping a hedge. I believe that God isoften served by the tailor or shoemaker who is conscientious in his calling, quite as well as by bishops and archbishops,or by men of any Church in the world! At any rate if you cannot serve God in all that you do, you have need to ask to be taughtthe secret of the Christian life, for that secret is the consecration of everything to Jesus Christ!
You are to make your garments, vestments, your meals, sacraments, your everyday a holy day, your every hour a consecratedseason unto God! Our hands, with all their manifold activities, are to be consecrated-blood-marked-to
After this, came the feet. The blood was put on the great toe of the right foot, so the feet were set apart for God. Ah, theselegs of ours used to carry us to theaters! We could run fast enough the downward road with them! I recollect a man who wouldstand in the aisle for a long time-he said he would "serve his legs out"-they had served the devil so long, that they shouldbear a little hardship for his new Lord and Master, Jesus Christ! I know some of you who used to walk many miles to come tothe House of God-six miles. I used to say to you that it was too far. It was not too far for you, then, but lately it hasbecome much too far. The road has not grown longer, but you have gone backward as to your zeal! And when the zeal declines,the miles get dolefully long. But I have marked that when men and women are in a right state of mind and soul, it does notmatter how far they walk, nor what they have to do for Christ-the consecrated feet can do it joyfully. If I have consecratedfeet, I must not let them take me into bad company. If anybody says to you, "Can you come with me to such-and-such a place?"You must answer, "No! I cannot. I have feet that won't go and I cannot go without them!" And if any should say, "What is thematter with your feet?" say, "I have a foot that has blood upon it!" They will say, "Strange!" They will not understand you,but if you attempt to explain to them that the blood of your Lord Jesus Christ bought you and so, your feet-then they willunderstand that it cannot go anywhere except where Christ would have you go. It may mean that you will have to change yourposition in life-you have to move and have a choice as to where you shall go. Make that choice on the principle of havingconsecrated feet! Do not go where you cannot hear the pure Word of God. A Jew heard of a good business where there was muchmoney but no synagogue-and of another where there was a synagogue though but little trade. And being a pious Jew, he chosethe place with the synagogue. I am afraid that there are but few Jews who would do that today-and quite as few Christianswho think first of God's house and the hearing of the Gospel! Better to have a dinner of herbs and the Gospel with it, thana stalled ox and not to listen to the Truth of our Lord Jesus Christ! In choosing your home-in fact in everything that concernsyour progress in life-act as if you had and knew you had consecrated feet!
Gathering up all, it surely teaches that a Christian is always, and everywhere, and altogether not his own, but consecratedto Christ! Not merely to be baptized, to come once a month to the Lord's Table, to take a pew and sit and look so heavenly-minded.Any hypocrite can do that! But it is the mark of a Christian to be so honest, upright, charitable, kind, Christlike, holy,that all who see may be compelled to say, "That man differs from other men." The secret, though they may not discover it,is that while other men are but common men, where father Adam left them in the Fall, this man has been found and made anewin Jesus Christ! Ear, thumb and foot all consecrated to Christ's service!
Hastily running through the rest of this chapter (Leviticus 8) we observe that the consecration was very thorough There is mention made of unleavened bread. This teaches that a Christianis not to follow religion for the sake of honor, gain, or fame. None of the leaven of hypocrisy, or mere formalism is to betolerated. We are to serve Christ for Christ's sake, and follow God because our heart is right with Him.
Again, the consecration is set forth-though I have little time to notice it-by the different parts of the victim being offeredto God. You will observe that the deepest feelings of the Christian are to be with God-that the inwards and the fat of thekidneys were to be burnt upon the altar. Thus the richest and fullest emotions of the Christian's mind and heart
are to belong to God, for the fat and marrow were to be burned as well. And the Christian's greatest strength is to be theLord's, for the right shoulder was to be offered as a wave offering, and then to be consumed with fire. We are to give Godour inmost thoughts, our deeper passions, our greatest strength. "Blessed is the man whose strength is in You!" Some peoplecan call loud enough to wake up a town when they are in their business, but when they come to pray you can scarcely hear them.But I would have a Christian never so much, or so fine a man as when he is serving God. Give the world, if you will, the endsof your mind, soul and strength-but give God your whole man, your inward and your outward life, every part and power and passion,strung to its greatest height and all devoted to Him!
But to conclude once more, the Christian's consecration is to be constant This remarkable Chapter has greatly interested mein observing that these priests were to be for one whole week associating in the Tabernacle. They were not either by day ornight to leave their holy work. How they found strength enough, or whether this really included absolutely necessary seasonsof rest, I cannot tell. But it says that for seven days they were to serve without intermission both by day and night. Sothe Christian priesthood is to be perpetual! We are never to cease to serve God. You have heard of one that was so in lovethat he did eat, drink and sleep for such an one! So the Christian is to "do all to the Glory of God." Says one, "Can thisbe done? Are we to follow Romish monks and get into a monastery?" No! I have no doubt they are right in shaving their heads-thereis probably a great necessity for it. But unless we become demented, there is no need for us to imitate their example! TheChristian is not to shut himself up and become a hermit, and think that thereby he can cultivate holiness! That is unholiness!Christian holiness is social-the light of the world, the salt of the earth. We are to be in the world, though not of it-ourpriesthood exercised is in the street, the shop, the family and at the fireside-by day and night, to offer up prayers andpraises and thanksgivings unto God-and so be perpetually a priest.
But what am I talking about? There are some, here, that have never yet been priests to God. What have they been doing today?Why even on God's holy day they do not serve Him but themselves! Why, Sir, God has never reaped a solitary ear of grain fromyour field. Take care lest having lived to yourself, you die to yourself-having lived without God, you die without God andfind it a tremendous thing to stand and be judged without a Savior to be your helper, or interceding priest! I say nothingto you about being a priest to God. You need a priest for yourself, first. Do not go to any man. No man has power to helpyour soul except to pray and plead for you. The saving, pardoning power lies only with Jesus Christ. Look away to Him! Hedied-trust in His Sacrifice! He rose, He ascended-He is standing at God's right hand. There is life for a look at Him. Look!Trust! And you shall then be cleansed, clothed, anointed, consecrated and so serve God. But your first business is to go toChrist. Oh, may Christ come to you and save you now-and He shall have Glory out of us, world without end! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: 1 JOHN 2.
Verse 1. My little children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not For this we ought to watch and strive, that wesin not.
1. And if any man sins-What then? Is it a hopeless case? Oh, no, far from it! It is a sad case, but there is a remedy forit! "And if any man sins"-
1, 2. We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous: and He is the Propitiation for our sins: and not forours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. Come you, then, to Christ for pardon, whether you are Jews or Gentiles,whether you are saints or sinners, whether you are old or young, whether you are moral or immoral, for God is both able andwilling to forgive all manner of sin because of the Propitiation offered by His well-beloved Son "Jesus Christ the Righteous."
3. And hereby we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. Obedience is the test of discipleship. Mere head knowledgeis all in vain, and all in vain our fears unless we render a practical obedience to the commandments of Christ. We shall notonly savingly know Him, but we shall "know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments."
4. He that says, I know Him, and keeps not His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him. This is a terrible conditionfor anyone to be in-to say that he knows Christ, and yet to have the Holy Spirit calling him a liar because he is not keepingChrist's commandments! Again I remind you that obedience is essential to Christian discipleship. If we refuse to obey Christ'scommandments, it is clear that we do not really know the Savior at all-we are not even beginners in the school of Christ.
5. But whoever keeps His Word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. When every wordof His is precious to us and when we strive to live according to His precepts, then we know that "we are in Him." This iseven more than knowing that we know Him, for it is the assurance that we are united to Him by a living connection which cannever be broken.
6. He that says he abides in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked [See Sermon #1732, Volume 29-in him-likeHE IS.] What a walk would that be! How holy, harmless, unde-
filed and separate from sinners is the man who tries to walk even as Christ walked-
"Lord, I desire to live as one Who bears a blood-bought name, As one who fears but grieving You, And knows no other shame.As one by whom Your walk below Should never be forgot As one who gladly would keep apart From all You love not."
7-9. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandmentis the word which you have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in Himand in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now yours. He that says he is in the light, and hates his brother,is in darkness even until now. Love is the true test of light-that light which leads us to love God, to love Christ, to lovethe Truth of God, to love God's people, yes, and to love the whole world of men for their good-this is the love that atteststhe light we have to be the very Light of God!
10. He that loves his brother abides in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. A loving spirit, kind,generous, forgiving, unselfish, seeking the good of others-this is one of the best proofs that our natural darkness has goneand that true spiritual Light of God is within us. Some persons think very much of the Doctrine of Christ, but very littleof the Spirit of Christ. Let such remember that it is written, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His."If we do not know what it is to love, then we do not, in the Scriptural sense, know what it is to live! We are dead! Hatredis the cerement in which the dead soul is wound up, the grave clothes in which it is put away in the tomb. But love is thegarment of life in which a truly quickened spirit arrays itself. The one who is full of hatred dwells in darkness, but hethat loves, abides in the light. Note how love and life and light are most blessedly linked to one another.
11-13. But he that hates his brother is in darkness, and walks in darkness, and knows not where he goes, because that darknesshas blinded his eyes. I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you, for His name's sake. I writeunto you, fathers, because you have known Him that is from the beginning. "You are old men, and you like to think of old things.The everlasting love of God, the Covenant made with Christ before the worlds were formed- these are things that are very dearto you-and you prize beyond all other, 'Him that is from the beginning.'"
13. I write unto you, young men, because you have overcome the Wicked One. "In the days of your strength, you have won thevictory which no human power can ever win unaided. You have overcome that Wicked One who would easily have overcome you ifyou had been left to fight him by yourselves."
13. I write unto you, little children, because you have known the Father That is all that little children need to know atfirst. They may not know the great mysteries that the fathers have fathomed, they may not well know some things that the youngmen know, but even babes in Christ know the Father and rejoice in His love!
14. I have written unto you, fathers, because you have known Him that is from the beginning. Twice, you see, John says thesame thing about the fathers and he says nothing more concerning them. But truly, to "have known Him that is from the beginningis practically to know all that even the fathers need to know or can know, for this knowledge includes all other that is worthknowing!
14. I have written unto you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome theWicked One.Here again John repeats his former statement concerning the young men, but he adds to it
"because you are strong and the Word of God abides in you." There is a purpose in the repetition of each case-it is to emphasizethe importance of the Apostolic declarations.
15. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. "Your affections are meant for something better than thesetransient and defiled things, so let not your heart's love flow out to things so soiled and base. 'Set your affection on thingsabove, not on things on the earth.'"
15. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. These two things are such deadly opposites that theycannot live together! Where the love of the Father is, there cannot be the love of the world! There is no room in us for twoloves. The love of the world is essentially idolatry and God will not be worshipped side by side with idols. "If any man lovesthe world, the love of the Father is not in him." Does not that text draw a very sharp distinction between those who lovethe Lord and those who love Him not? Remember, children of God, that this is the language of John, the Apostle of Love-andtrue love is honest, outspoken, heart-searching, heart-trying! Do not imagine that there is any love to your souls in theheart of the preacher who preaches smooth things and who flatters you with his, "Peace, peace," when there is no peace! No,the highest, deepest, most Heaven-inspired love is that which searches and tries the heart lest there should be any deceptionthere.
16. Forall thatis in the world, the lust ofthe flesh, and the lust ofthe eyes, and thepride oflife, is not ofthe Father, butis ofthe world. That devil's trinity-"the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life"-"is not of theFather, but is of the world."
17. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof.It is only a puff, a phantom, a bubble, a mirage which will melt awayas you try to approach it! There is nothing substantial in it.
17. But he that does the will of God abides forever Not, "he that does some great thing to be seen of men." Not, "he thatbuilds a row of almshouses, or leaves a great mass of money to charity when he dies because he could not possibly carry itaway with him." Not, "he that sounds a trumpet before him to let everybody know what a good man he is." Not, "he that mustoutdistance everybody else." But, "he that does the will of God abides forever." Obedience to the will of God is the pathwayto perpetual honor and everlasting joy!
18. Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists;whereby we know that it is the last time. And now, I think, even more than when John wrote, is this the fact, for antichristsare multiplying on all sides and there are even worse evils to come than we have seen as yet! And it, therefore, behoovesChristians to be upon the watch and to let this Truth comfort them, that, "it is the last time." Once get through this dispensation,and the battle is ended even though the dispensation should be protracted beyond our hope
and [See Sermons #811, Volume 14-UNTO YOU YOUNG MEN and #1715, Volume 29-A DESCRIPTION OF YOUNG MEN IN CHRIST.] desire, yet,still, once get through it and it is over! This is to be the last charge of our great adversary and all his hosts. Stand fast,therefore, you soldiers of the Cross, stand like rocks amidst the onslaught of the waves, and the victory shall yet be yours!
19. They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us:but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.The worst of men go out from among the bestof men. The antichrists go out from the Church of Christ. The raw material for a devil was an angel. To make a Judas, youmust make him out of an Apostle! May God purify His professing Church since even in her own loins she breeds adversaries ofthe faith.
20. But you have an unction from the Holy One, and you know all things. The Spirit of God will teach you as you need to know.He will so instruct you that you shall know all that is for your soul's good and for His Glory.
21. I have not written unto you because you know not the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.Thatwhich is of man's making is false, "but the Word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word which by the Gospel ispreached unto you."
22. 23. Who is a liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ?He is antichrist, that denies the Father and the Son. Whoeverdenies the Son, the same has not the Father: [but] he that acknowledges the Son, has the Father also. Some pretend to honorthe Father while they dishonor the Son, but this can never really be done. Jesus truly said, "I and My Father are One," sothat he that denies the Son, also denies the Father.
24. Let that therefore abide in you, which you have heard from the beginning. If that which you have heard from the beginningshall remain in you, you also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. As it was the Truth of God that was revealed tothem at the first, there was no need of a later Revelation to correct the mistakes of the first, as some foolishly and falselyteach nowadays.
25. And this is the promise that He has promised us, even eternal life. Let those that want them have these novelties, theseconstant changes. We who believe in Jesus have something far better, even the promise of eternal life!
26. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. They would lead you astray if they could, so bewareof them. "Forewarned is forearmed."
27. 28. But the anointing which you have received of Him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as thesame anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in Him.And now, little children, abide in Him-How John continues to urge us to stand fast in Christ! As the Holy Spirit has taughtus to trust Christ, so would He have us "abide in Him." And this is one great reason why we are to abide in Him-
28. 29. That, when He shallappear, we may have confidence, andnot be ashamed before Him at His coming. Ifyou know that Heis righteous, you know that everyone that does righteousness is born of Him.