*Pastor’s Note: I want to depart a bit from my normal practice of posting short sermons by these great men of God for one that is rather long. Because of the fact that it IS long, I am going to break it up into parts. I truly hope you can enjoy AND be inspired by the preaching/teaching of some of these great men as much as I do. God Bless for your patience. – Pastor Roland
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (19 June 1834 – 31 January 1892) was an English Particular Baptist preacher. Spurgeon remains highly influential among Christians of various denominations, among whom he is known as the “Prince of Preachers.” He was a strong figure in the Reformed Baptist tradition, defending the Church in agreement with the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith understanding, and opposing the liberal and pragmatic theological tendencies in the Church of his day.
The Sheep and Their Shepherd
Delivered At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” – John 10:27
Every saint here, mixed up as he may be at times with parties and professors of all sorts, knows Christ, and Christ knows him, and he is therefore bound to his owner. That is the mark on the ear. You have seen sometimes in the country two flocks together on the road, and you say: “I wonder how the shepherds will manage to keep them distinct? They will get mixed up.” They do not; they go this way and that way; and after a little commingling they separate, for they know their master’s voice; “and a stranger will they not follow.” You will go to-morrow, many of you, out into the world, some to the Exchange, others to the market, and others again into the factory: you are all mixed. Yes; but the seeming confusion of your company is temporary, not real and permanent. You will come right again, and you will go to your own home and your own fellowship. And at the last, when we shall have ended our pilgrimage, the one shall wend his way to the glory land, and the other to the abyss of woe. There will be no mistake. You will hear the Master’s call, and obey. There is a mark on the ear which identifies every saint.
Christ’s sheep hear his voice obediently. This is an important proof of discipleship. Indeed, it may serve as a reproof to many. Oh, I would that you were more careful about this! “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them,” said Jesus, “he it is that loveth me.” “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings.” How comes it to pass, then, that there are certain commands of Christ which some Christians will suffer to lie in abeyance? They will say, “The Lord commands this, but it is not essential.” Oh, unloving spirit, that can think anything unessential that thy Bridegroom bids thee do! They that love, think little things of great moment, especially when they are looked upon as tokens of the strength or the tenderness of one’s regard. It may not be essential, in order to prove the relation in which a wife stands to her husband, that she should study his tastes, consult his wishes, or attend to his comfort. But will she the less strive to please, because love, not fear, constrains her? I know not. And can it be that any of you, my brethren, would harbour such a thought as your negligence implies? Do you really suppose that after the choice of Christ has been fixed on you, and the love of Christ has been plighted to you, you may now be as remiss or careless as you like? Nay, rather, might we not expect that a sacred passion, an ardent zeal, a touch of inspiration would stir you up, put you on the alert, make you wake at the faintest sound of his voice, or keep you listening to do his will? Be it ours, then, to act out with fidelity that verse we have often sung with enthusiasm:–
“In all my Lord’s appointed ways
My journey I’ll pursue.”
However little the precept may appear in the eyes of others; however insignificant as compared with our salvation, yet–doth the Lord command it?–then his sheep hear his voice, and they follow him.
Christ has marked his sheep on their feet as well as their ears. They follow him: they are gently led, not harshly driven. They follow him as the Captain of their salvation; they trust in the power of his arm to clear the way for them. All their trust on him is stayed; all their hope on him they lean. They follow him as their teacher; they call no man “Rabbi” under heaven, but Christ alone. He is the infallible source of their creeds; neither will they allow their minds to be ruled by conclaves, councils, nor decrees. Hath a Christ said it? It is enough. If not, it is no more for me than the whistling of the wind. They follow a Christ as their teacher.
And the sheep of Christ follow him as their example; they desire to be in this world as he was. It is one of their marks, that to a greater or less degree they have a Christ-like spirit; and if they could they would be altogether like their Lord.
They follow him, too, as their Commander, and Lawgiver, and Prince. “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it,” was his mother’s wise speech; and it is the children’s wise rule: “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” Oh, blessed shall they be above many of whom it shall be said, “These are they that have not defiled their garments.” “These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.” Some of his followers are not very scrupulous. They love him. It is not for us to judge them. Rather we place ourselves among them and share in the censure. But happiest of all the happy are they who see the footprint–the print of that foot that once was pierced with the nail–and put their foot down where he placed it, and then again, in the selfsame mark, follow where he trod, till they climb at last to the throne. Keep close to Christ; take care of his little precepts unto the end. Remember, “Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.” Do not peril being least in the heavenly kingdom though it is better to be that than to be greatest in the kingdom of darkness. O seek to be very near him, to be a choice sheep in his chosen flock, and to have the mark distinctly upon your foot!
I will not stay to apply these truths but leave each one of you to make such self-searching enquiries as the text suggests. Have I the ear mark? Have I the foot mark? “My sheep hear my voice,” “and they follow me.” I hope that I am among the number.
Next time we will conclude with Part Six of Spurgeon’s Sermon