«Sermon #3430 Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 1 CHIDING AND CHEERING NO. 3430 A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29, 1914, DELIVERED BY C. H. ...»
Sermon #3430 Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 1
CHIDING AND CHEERING
PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29, 1914,
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
“Have I been with you so long, and yet have you not known Me, Philip?”
THIS chapter gives us a very delightful picture of the companionship and kindly conversation which were kept up between our Savior and His 12 disciples when He dwelt with them in this world. Though they looked up to Him as if they felt there was none upon earth beside Him, yet they were as simple and free in speaking to Him as if they merely talked to one another. And did not He behave to them like a true friend, always mindful of their childishness, but gentle, tender, and patient? Warning without wounding, correcting without much censure, and comforting them without concealing the dangers to which they were exposed? Thus we notice how they speak to Him with a natural, easy familiarity. And He talks to them in full sympathy with their weakness, teaching them little by little as they are able to learn. They ask just such questions as a boy might ask of his father. Often they show their ignorance, but never do they seem timid in His presence, or ashamed to let Him see how shallow and hard of understanding they are. Yet He is never petulant with them. Even though He would chide them for their dullness, His rebukes are not harsh. Thus, when Philip says to Him, “Lord, show us the Father and it suffices us,” Jesus answers him with a question which quietly rebukes his simplicity: “Have I been with you so long, and yet have you not known Me, Philip?” What lenience, what compassion! “Like as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities them that fear Him.” Oh, how should the children of such a Father cling to His knees, sit at His feet, hang on His lips and pour out their hearts before Him! Such, beloved, was the demeanor that Jesus loved to exhibit towards His disciples! And such was the behavior that He liked to encourage on their part towards Himself. As there were no chills in that friendliness of His, so there could hardly be much shyness or backwardness in those conversations of theirs. I linger on the picture. He, on whose brow majestic sweetness reigns, is all generous, condescending and, I might almost say, He is affable, while they, poor in spirit, weak in faith, grow open and ingenuous, confidential and confiding in His society.
Language fails me to describe to you what I see in the text and its surroundings. Here is the Man, Christ Jesus, divine in His Person, in His character and in His conduct, unveiling the Father to babes in grace who do not and cannot understand the charm that first drew them and then bound them to Him!
But He who once sojourned here below, now sits exalted high at the right hand of God. In bodily presence He is not among us. He is not to be seen by mortal eyes, yet in spirit He abides with us and His presence is known and felt by gracious hearts. Believe me, then, He is the same Jesus! He is by no means changed. The terms on which He would have us live with Him and walk with Him are far above mere service. He calls us “friends.” Why, do you think He does that? Is it because we have done so much for Him? No, it is because He has done so much for us, and told us so much, and kept nothing back from us! In truth, He is our friend and counselor, and He would have us come to Him and ask His advice in the most frank and simple manner. When we feel that we lack wisdom, He never upbraids us, but He always gives liberally to those who ask Him. We may play the child with Him—He deigns to be pleased with our childish prattle. Our prayers may be full of inquiries. Our supplications may be laden with difficulties that we cannot unravel. Yet He will condescend to explain them all, and by His Spirit He will continue to teach and lead us further into the truth of God. Oh, how I wish we always cultivated this childlike spirit towards Jesus, for He always has a compassionate spirit towards us!
Volume 60 www.spurgeongems.org 1 2 Chiding and Cheering Sermon #3430 What dull scholars we all are! “Have I been with you so long, and yet have you not known Me?” These words suggest two clarifications, on each of which I shall have a few remarks to offer. First, notwithstanding the highest privileges that can be enjoyed in obtaining instruction, we may yet remain ignorant of Jesus Christ; and secondly, when we do know Him, the most favored disciples have still much to learn. So far as our religious training is concerned—
I. THE BEST OF MEN CANNOT IMPART TO US A KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST.
Here were apostles who had been with Jesus, Himself, for three years in His public labors and in His private retirement. They had been, as it were, students in His college: He Himself had been their tutor.
They could not have been placed in more advantageous circumstances! No better tutor could have been found. He taught them both by His works and by His words. He was constantly doing miracles and performing wondrous actions, by which He showed His glory and revealed His nature. But there were some of them that, after all this teaching, did not know—did not know what? Why, they did not know Him! They did not know the main point of all His teaching. They did not know the teacher, Himself! He had been so long with them, and yet they did not know Him! I am not now, in this first part of our discourse, alluding so much to Philip, whose knowledge was imperfect, his light but a glimmer and his thoughts, therefore, often perplexed, as I am to Judas Iscariot. The career of that unhappy man—his calling, his course, his character, his conduct, his crime and the consequences of his crime—all conspire to produce a picture on which we gaze with wild amazement! And as we ponder it, we feel a sinking at the inmost heart. It shows us how near a man may be to Christ in the daily walks of life. How much he may see of Christ in His works of mercy toward the children of men, and how often he may hear of Christ the words of counsel and comfort, of wisdom and warning— and yet be totally ignorant of Christ, deriving no virtue from Him, entering into no sympathy with Him—till at length he falls away to perish with an awful, terrible destruction! Or, to make the peril more thoroughly our own, it would appear that we might associate with the followers of Christ in our homes, have constantly before our eyes the charities which are dispensed in the name of Christ, and be privileged to listen to the most enlightened and eloquent preachers of Christ—and yet never discern Him as the Son of God, sent of the Father, the very essence and quintessence of the covenant of grace! His name may be most familiar to our ears, while, alas, our hearts are alien to Him! Had Judas known his Master more truly, could he have dealt Him so treacherously? Had He known Christ to be One with the Father, would he have sold Him for 30 pieces of silver? Had he known Him to be “God over all, blessed forever,” would he have betrayed Him to the chief priests? Oh, no! Though he had seen Him tread the sea and heard the voice that called back Lazarus from the tomb, yet Judas saw only the man, the Nazarene, whom he could sell and give over traitorously to His foes! Certainly he did not so know Jesus as to trust Him—he had never yielded up his soul to rely upon the Messiah, the Christ, the appointed, the anointed Savior. Judas was pre-eminently one who, though he had been a long time with Christ, yet knew Him not in the matter of saving faith.
And I am sure he did not know Him so as to love Him. If he had loved Him, he would not have deceived Him, or given Him the traitorous kiss. Learn, then, from Judas’ example, rather than from Philip’s, just now, that you and I may have been hearers of the Word for years and yet may not know Jesus!
Oh, but if we do know Him, let us be very grateful that the Holy Spirit has taught us something of His sacred mission! How much more, if you have been made acquainted with the dignity and excellence of His Person, and confessed Him to be the Son of God! What thanks will you then render unto the Father? Remember what Christ said to Simon Peter when he proved that he knew Him beyond all the rumors that were floating about, beyond all the opinions that were entertained, beyond all the prejudices that were nursed among the rulers or the people of those days. He said, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood have not revealed this unto you, but My Father who is in heaven.” No minister can make us know Christ! No book, no, not even the Bible, itself, apart from this celestial teaching! So Paul prays “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened.” This will make Jesus Christ in the Deity of His Person, in the excellence of His work, in the love of His heart, in the faithfulness of His character, to be truly known by us, so that we shall trust Him implicitly and love Him undividedly! I do beg to press this very earnestly upon many of you here 2 www.spurgeongems.org Volume 60 Sermon #3430 Chiding and Cheering 3 present. The question of our text has a strong admonition, when set in this light, for some of you. Has not Jesus been, as it were, a long time with you, you who are regular attendants at this place of worship?
Ah, you have discerned His presence by the words spoken and the signs worked in your midst. When we have preached the gospel earnestly and faithfully, with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven, as at least we sometimes have preached it, then Jesus has come very near to you—often and often has He pleaded with you—you have felt a presence greater than that of man while His truth has been declared.
“Has He been with you so long and yet have you not known Him?” That He has been with you is certain, for His saints bear witness of Him. While you have been sitting on these seats, there have been all around you gracious hearts that have rejoiced because they have seen the Savior! Sorrowing hearts have been relieved of many cares, and weeping eyes whose tears have been wiped away. The presence of Jesus has made the heartstrings of many here to sound like harps of joy! Has He been with you so long, near unto you, seen by your neighbors and yet have you not known Him? Oh, poor souls! Poor Philip! Poor John! Poor Mary who could sit in such an assembly where others saw the Savior, and yet not to have known Him! Moreover, Jesus has been here, for many like you have seen Him. Perhaps your own wife has been converted. Your brother has seen the Lord. Your sister has come to know Christ as her Savior. And so long has He been with you that now you could count some dozen or more of your companions that have come to know Jesus, yet you have not known Him! Oh, it is hard to live where divine grace is freely distributed, and yet have none of it yourself! Where there is a general famine, as there lately was in the city of Paris, each man bears the stress with some patience, the more so because others are in a same plight. But oh, to starve in this city, when you see others feasting on plenty! Oh, this is sad, sad work! And some of you are being lost, while others are being saved—the very Sabbaths when others find Jesus, you go away without a thought of Him! The sermon which pierces others’ hearts glides past you! The exhortation which points others to Calvary, you hear, but never heed! You are still a stranger to Him, though He has come so very rear you! And has it been so long that He has been with you, and yet, and yet, have you not known Him? Oh, this is grievous!
“So long,” the Savior says, have I been with you so long—so long? I must linger just one minute on that word. To be an unbeliever a day or even an hour after you have heard the gospel is a very long time.