*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
III. The last point, with which we now proceed to close, is–THE PRIVILEGE OF CHRIST’S SHEEP. It does not look very large, but if we open it, we shall see an amazing degree of blessedness in it. “I know them,” “I know them.” What does it mean?
I have not time now to tell you all it means. “I know them.” What is the reverse of this but one of the most dreadful things that is reserved for the day of judgment? There will be some who will say, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name cast out devils?” And he shall say, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I never knew you; depart from me, ye cursed.” Now measure the height of that privilege by the depth of this misery. “I never knew you.” What a volume of scorn it implies! What a stigma of infamy it conveys! Change the picture. The Redeemer says, “I know them,” “I know them.” How his eyes flash with kindness; how their cheeks burn with gratitude, as he says, “I know them “! Why, if a man had a friend and acquaintance that he used to know, and some years after he found him a disreputable, abandoned, wicked, guilty criminal, I feel pretty sure he would not say much about having known such a fellow, though he might be driven to confess that he had some years ago a passing acquaintance with him. But our Lord Jesus Christ, though he knows what poor, unworthy ones we are, yet when we shall be brought up before the Lord, before the great white throne, he will confess he knew us. He does know us, we are old acquaintances of his, and he has known us from before the foundation of the world, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called.” There are riches of grace in this; but we will consider it in another way. Our Savior knows us, our Shepherd knows us. Beloved, he knows your person and all about you. You, with that sick body, that aching head, he knows you and he knows your son with all its sensitiveness; that timidity, that anxiety, that constitutional depression–he knows it all. A physician may come to see you and be unable to detect what the disease is that pains or prostrates you, but Christ knows you through and through; all the parts of your nature he understands. “I know them,” saith he; he can therefore prescribe for you. He knows your sins. Do not let that dismay you, because he has blotted them all out; and he only knows them to forgive them, to cover them with his righteousness. He knows your corruptions; he will help you to overcome them; he will deal with you in providence and in grace, so that they shall be rooted up. He knows your temptations. Perhaps you are living away from your parents and Christian friends, and you have had an extraordinary temptation, and you wish you could go home and tell your mother. Oh, he knows it, he knows it; he can help you better than your mother can. You say: “I wish the minister knew the temptation I have passed through.” Do not tell it; God knows it. As Daniel did not want Nebuchadnezzar to tell him the nature of his dream but gave him the dream and the interpretation at the same time, so God can send you comfort. There will be a word as plainly suited to your case as though it were all printed, and the preacher had known it all. It must be so. Depend upon it, the Lord knows your temptation, and watches your trial; or be it a sick child, or be it a bad matter of business that has lately occurred; or be it a slander that has wounded your heart, there is not a pang you feel but God as surely sees it as the weaver sees the shuttle which he throws with his own hand. He knows your trial, and he knows the meaning of your groans: he can read the secret desire of your heart, you need not write it nor speak it: he has understood it all. You were saying: “O that my child were converted! O that I grew in grace!” He knows it: he knows it every whit. There is not a word on your tongue, nor a wish in your heart, but he knoweth it altogether. O dear heart, he knows your sincerity! Perhaps you want to join the church, and your proposal has been declined, because you could not give satisfactory testimony. If you are sincere, he knows it; he knows, moreover, what your anxiety is. You cannot tell another what it is that is bitter to you–the heart knoweth its own bitterness–he knows it. As his secret is with you, so your secret is with him. He knows you: he knows what you have been trying to do. That secret gift–that offering dropped so quietly where none could see it–he knows it. And he knows that you love him. “Yes,” you are saying in your soul, “if ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.” No, you cannot tell him, nor tell others; but he knows it all.
So, now, in closing, let us say that in the text there is mutual knowledge. “I know them, but they also know me, because they hear my voice, and recognize it.” Here is mutual confession. Christ speaks, else there would be no voice: they hear, else were the voice not useful. “I know them;” that is his thoughts go towards them. “They follow me;” that is, their thoughts go towards him. He leads the way, else they could not follow. They follow, however, whom he leads the way. Being the counterpart of each other, what the one does the other returns through grace; and what grace puts into the sheep the shepherd recognizes and makes a return to them. Christ and his church become an echo of each other: his the voice, theirs is but a faint echo of it; still it is a true echo, and you shall know who are Christ’s by this. Do they echo what Christ saith? Oh, how I wish we were all sheep! How my soul longs that we may many of us who are not of his fold be brought in. The Lord bring you in, my dear hearers. The Lord give you his grace, and make you his own, comfort you, and make you to follow him. And if you are his, show it. These, dear brethren and sisters, here at this time, desire to confess Christ in your presence. If they are doing right, and you are not doing as they do, then you are doing wrong. If it is the duty of one, it is the duty of all; and if one Christian may neglect making a profession, all may do so, and then there will be no visible church whatever, and the visible ordinances must die out. If you know him, own him, for he hath said: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” God bless you, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
This concludes the six-part series of Spurgeon’s Sermon