Delivered on Lord's-day Morning, February 26th, 1871 by
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
|For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.| -- Colossians 1:19.
THE PREACHER IS UNDER NO DIFFICULTIES this morning as to the practical object to be aimed at in his discourse. Every subject should be considered with an object, every discourse should have a definite spiritual aim; otherwise we do not so much preach as play at preaching. The connection plainly indicates what our drift should be. Read the words immediately preceding the text, and you find it declared that our Lord Jesus is in all things to have the pre-eminence. We would seer; by this text to yield honor and glory to the ever-blessed Redeemer, and enthrone him in the highest seat in our hearts. O that we may all be in an adoring frame of mind, and may give him the pre-eminence in our thoughts, beyond all things or persons in heaven or earth. Blessed is he who can do or think: the most to honor such a Lord as our Immanuel. The verse which succeeds the text, shows us how we may best promote the glory of Christ, for since he came into this world that he might reconcile the things in heaven and the things in earth to himself, we shall best glorify him by falling in with his great design of mercy. By seeking to bring sinners into a state of reconciliation with God, we are giving to the great Reconciler the pre-eminence. On gospel shall be the gospel of reconciliation on this occasion. May the reconciling word come home by the power of Christ's Spirit to many, so that hundreds of souls may from this day forth glorify the great Ambassador who has made peace by the blood of his cross.
The text is a great deep, we cannot explore it, but we will voyage over its surface joyously, the Holy Spirit giving us a favorable wind. Here are plenteous provisions far exceeding, those of Solomon, though at the sight of that royal profusion, Sheba's queen felt that there was no more spirit in her, and declared that the half had not been told to her.
It may give some sort of order to our thoughts if they fall under four heads. What is here spoken of -- |all fullness.| Where is it placed -- |in him,| that is, in the Redeemer. We are told why, because |it pleased the Father;| and we have also a note of time, or when, in the word |dwell.| |It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.| Those catch words, what, where, why, and when, may help you to remember the run of the sermon.
I. First, then, let us consider the subject before us, or WHAT -- |It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.| Two mighty words; |fullness a substantial, comprehensive, expressive word in itself, and |all,| a great little word including everything. When combined in the expression, |all fullness,| we have before us a superlative wealth of meaning.
Blessed be God for those two words. Our hearts rejoice to think that there is such a thing in the universe as |all fullness,| for in the most of mortal pursuits utter barrenness is found. |Vanity of vanity all is vanity.| Blessed be the Lord for ever that he has provided a fullness for us, for in us by nature there is all emptiness and utter vanity. |In me, that is, in my flesh, there dwelleth no good thing.| In us there is a lack of all merit, an absence of all power to procure any, and even an absence of will to procure it if we could. In these respects human nature is a desert, empty, and void, and waste, inhabited only by the dragon of sin, and the bittern of sorrow. Sinner, saint, to you both alike these words, |all fullness,| sound like a holy hymn. The accents are sweet as those of the angel-messenger when he sang, |Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy.| Are they not stray notes from celestial sonnets? |All fullness.| You, sinner, are all emptiness and death, you, saint, would be so if it were not for the |all fullness| of Christ of which you have received; therefore both to saint and sinner the words are full of hope. There is joy in these words to every soul conscious of its sad estate, and humbled before God.
I will ring the silver bell again, |all fullness,| and another note charms us; it tells us that Christ is substance, and not shadow, fullness, and not foretaste. This is good news for us, for nothing but realities will meet our case. Types may instruct, but they cannot actually save. The patterns of the things in the heavens are too weak to serve our turn, we need the heavenly things themselves. No bleeding bird nor slaughtered bullock, nor running stream, nor scarlet wool and hyssop, can take away our sins.
|No outward forms can make me clean,
The leprosy lies deep within.|
Ceremonies under the old dispensation were precious because they set forth the realities yet to be revealed, but in Christ Jesus we deal with the realities themselves, and this is a happy circumstance for us; for both our sins and our sorrows are real, and only substantial mercies can counteract them. In Jesus, we have the substance of all that the symbols set forth. He is our sacrifice, our altar, our priest, our incense, our tabernacle, our all in all. The law had |the shadow of good things to come,| but in Christ we have |the very image of the things.|Hebrews 10:1. What transport is this to those who so much feel their emptiness that they could not be comforted by the mere representation of a truth, or the pattern of a truth, or the symbol of a truth, but must have the very substance itself! |The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.|John 1:16.
I must return to the words of the text again, for I perceive more honey dropping from the honeycomb. |All fullness| is a wide, far-reaching, all-comprehending term, and in its abundant store it offers another source of delight. What joy these words give to us when we remember that our vast necessities demand a fullness, yea, |all fullness,| before they can be supplied! A little help will be of no use to us, for we are altogether without strength. A limited measure of mercy will only mock our misery. A low degree of grace will never be enough to bring us to heaven, defiled as we are with sin, beset with dangers, encompassed with infirmities, assailed by temptations, molested with afflictions, and all the while bearing about with us |the body of this death.| But |all fullness,| ay, that will suit us. Here is exactly what our desperate estate demands for its recovery. Had the Savior only put out his finger to help our exertions, or had he only stretched out his hand to perform a measure of salvation's work, while he left us to complete it, our soul had for ever dwelt in darkness. In these words, |all fullness,| we hear the echo of his death-cry, |It is finished.| We are to bring nothing, but to find all in him, yea, the fullness of all in him: we are simply to receive out of his fullness grace for grace. We are not asked to contribute, nor required to make up deficiencies, for there are none to make up -- all, all is laid up in Christ. All that we shall want between this place and heaven, all we could need between the gates of hell, where we lay in our blood, to the gates of heaven, where we shall find welcome admission, is treasured up for us in the Lord Christ Jesus.
|Great God, the treasures of thy love
Are everlasting mines,
Deep as our helpless miseries are,
And boundless as our sins.|
Did I not say well that the two words before us are a noble hymn? Let them, I pray you, lodge in your souls for many days; they will be blessed guests. Let these two wafers, made with honey, lie under your tongue; let them satiate your souls, for they are heavenly bread. The more you bemoan your emptiness the sweeter these words will be; the more you feel that you must draw largely upon the bank of heaven, the more will you rejoice that your drafts will never diminish the boundless store, for still will it retain the name and the quality of |all fullness.|
The expression here used denotes that there is in Jesus Christ the fullness of the Godhead; as it is written, |In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.| When John saw the Son of Man in Patmos, the marks of Deity were on him. |His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow| -- here was his eternity; |His eyes were as a flame of fire| -- here was his omniscience; |Out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword| -- here was the omnipotence of his word; |And his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength| -- here was his unapproachable and infinite glory. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Hence nothing is too hard for him. Power, wisdom, truth, immutability, and all the attributes of God are in him, and constitute a fullness inconceivable and inexhaustible. The most enlarged intellect must necessarily fail to compass the personal fullness of Christ as God; therefore we do no more than quote again that noble text: |In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and ye are complete in him.|
Fulness, moreover, dwells in our Lord not only intrinsically from his nature, but as the result of his mediatorial world. He achieved by suffering as well as possessed by nature a wondrous fullness. He carried on his shoulders the load of our sin; he expiated by his death our guilt, and now he has merit with the Father, infinite, inconceivable, a fullness of desert. The Father has stored up in Christ Jesus, as in a reservoir, for the use of all his people, his eternal love and his unbounded grace, that it may come to us through Christ Jesus, and that we may glorify him. All power is put into his hands, and life, and light, and grace, are to the full at his disposal. |He shutteth and no man openeth, he openeth and no man shutteth.| He has received gifts for men; yea, for the righteous also. Not only as the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, is he the possessor of heaven and earth, and therefore filled with all fullness, but seeing that as the Mediator he has finished our redemption, |he is made of God unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.| Glory be to his name for this double fullness.
Turn the thought round again, and remember that all fullness dwells in Christ towards God and towards men. All fullness towards God and -- I mean all that God requires of man; all that contents and delights the eternal mind, so that once again with complacency he may look down on his creature and pronounce him |very good.| The Lord looked for grapes in his vineyard, and it brought forth wild grapes, but now in Christ Jesus the great Husbandman beholds the true vine which bringeth forth much fruit. The Creator required obedience, and he beholds in Christ Jesus the servant who has never failed to do the Master's will. Justice demanded that the law should be kept, and, lo, Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth. Seeing that we had broken the law, justice required the endurance of the righteous penalty, and Jesus has borne it to the full, for he bowed his head to death, even the death of the cross. When God made man a little lower than the angels, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and so made him immortal, he had a right to expect singular service from so favored a being -- a service perfect, joyful, continuous; and our Savior has rendered unto the Father that which perfectly contents him; for he cries, |This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.| God is more glorified in the person of his Son than he would have been by an unfallen world. There shines out through the entire universe a display of infinite mercy, justice, and wisdom, such as neither the majesty of nature nor the excellence of providence could have revealed. His work in God's esteem is honorable and precious; for his righteousness sake, God is well pleased. The Eternal mind is satisfied with the Redeemer's person, work, and sacrifice; for |unto the Son, he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.|Hebrews 1:8,9.
What unspeakable consolations arise from this truth, for, dear brethren, if we had to render to God something by which we should be accepted, we should be always in jeopardy; but now since we are |accepted in the Beloved,| we are safe beyond all hazard. And we to find wherewithal we should appear before the Most High God, we might still be asking, |Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil?| But now hear the voice which saith, |Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein:| we hear the same divine voice add, |Lo, I come to do thy will,| and we rejoice as we receive the witness of the Spirit, saying, |By the which will ye are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all,| for henceforth is it said, |Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more for ever.|
The all-fullness of Christ is also man-ward, and that in respect of both the sinner and the saint. There is a fullness in Christ Jesus which the seeking sinner should behold with joyfulness. What dost thou want, sinner? Thou wantest all things, but Christ is all. Thou wantest power to believe in him -- he giveth power to the faint. Thou wantest repentance -- he was exalted on high to give repentance as well as remission of sin. Thou wantest a new heart: the covenant runs thus, |A new heart also will I give them, and a right spirit will I put within them.| Thou wantest pardon -- behold his streaming wounds wash thou and be clean. Thou wantest healing: he is |the Lord that healeth thee.| Thou wantest clothing -- his righteousness shall become thy dress. Thou wantest preservation -- thou shalt be preserved in him. Thou wantest life, and he has said, |Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee life.| He is come that we might have life. Thou wantest -- but indeed, the catalogue were much too long for us to read it through at this present, yet be assured though thou pile up thy necessities till they rise like Alps before thee, yet the all-sufficient Savior can remove all thy needs. You may confidently sing --
|Thou, O Christ, art all I want,
More than all in thee I find.|
This is true also of the saint as well as the sinner. O child of God, thou art now saved, but thy wants are not therefore removed. Are they not as continuous as thy heart-beats? When are we not in want, my brethren? The more alive we are to God, the more are we aware of our spiritual necessities. He who is |blind and naked,| thinks himself to be |rich and increased in goods,| but let the mind be truly enlightened, and we feel that we are completely dependent upon the charity of God. Let us be glad, then, as we learn that there is no necessity in our spirit but what is abundantly provided for in the all fullness of Jesus Christ. You seek for a higher platform of spiritual attainments, you aim to conquer sin, you desire to be plentiful in finis unto his glory, you are longing to be useful, you are anxious to subdue the hearts of others unto Christ; behold the needful grace for all this. In the sacred armoury of the Son of David behold your battle-ax and your weapons of war; in the stores of him who is greater than Aaron see the robes in which to fulfill your priesthood; in the wounds of Jesus behold the power with which you may become a living sacrifice. If you would glow like a seraph, and serve like an apostle, behold the grace awaiting you in Jesus. If you would go from strength to strength, climbing the loftiest summits of holiness, behold grace upon grace prepared for you if you are straitened, it will not be in Christ; if there be any bound to your holy attainments, it is set by yourself. The infinite God himself gives himself to you in the person of his dear Son, and he saith to you, |All things are yours.| |The Lord is the portion of your inheritance and of your cup.| Infinity is ours. Be who gave us his own Son has in that very deed given us all things. Bath he not said, |I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt; open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it|?
Let me remark that this is not only true of saints on earth, but it is true also of saints in heaven, for all the fullness of the church triumphant is in Christ as well as that of the church militant. They are nothing even in heaven without him. The pure river of the water of life of which they drink, proceedeth out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. He hath made them priests and kings, and in his power they reign. Those snowy robes were washed and made white in his blood. The Lamb is the temple of heaven (Revelation 21:22), the light of heaven (Revelation 21:23), his marriage is the joy of heaven (Revelation 19:7), and the Song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, is the song of heaven (Revelation 15:3). Not all the harps above could make a heavenly place if Christ were gone; for he is the heaven of heaven, and filleth all in all. It pleased the Father that for all saints and sinners all fullness should be treasured up in Christ Jesus.
I feel that my text overwhelms me. Men may sail round the world, but who can circumnavigate so vast a subject as this? As far as the east is from the west so wide is its reach of blessings.
|Philosophers have measured mountains,
Fathomed the depths of seas, of states, and kings,
Walked with a staff to Heaven, and traced fountains:
But there are two vast spacious things,
The which to measure it doth more behove:
Yet few there are that sound them: Grace and Love.|
Who is he that shall be able to express all that is meant by our text? for here we have |all| and |fullness| -- and in fullness and a fullness in all. The words are both exclusive and inclusive. They deny that there is any fullness elsewhere, for they claim all for Christ. They shut out all others. |It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.| Not in you, ye pretended successors of the apostles, can anything dwell that I need. I can do well enough without you; nay, I would not insult my Savior by trading with, you, for since |all fullness| is in him, what call there be in you that I can require? Go to your dupes who know not Christ, but those who possess the exceeding riches of Christ's grace bow not to you. We are |complete in Christ| without you, O hierarchy of bishops; without you, ye conclave of cardinals; and without you, O fallible infallible, unholy Holiness of Rome. He who has all in Christ would be insane indeed if he looked for more, or having fullness craved for emptiness. This text drives us from all confidence in men, ay, or even in angels, by making us see that everything is treasured up in Jesus Christ. Brethren, if there be any good in what is called catholicism, or in ritualism, or in the modern philosophical novelties, let religionists have what they find there; we shall not envy them, for they can find nothing worth having in their forms of worship or belief but what we must have already in the person of the all-sufficient Savior. What if their candles burn brightly, the sun itself is ours! What if they are successors of the apostles, we follow the Lamb himself whithersoever he goeth! What if they be exceeding wise, we dwell with the Incarnate Wisdom himself! Let them go to their cisterns, we will abide by the fountain of living water. But indeed there is no light in their luminaries, they do but increase the darkness; they are blind leaders of the blind. They put their sounding emptinesses into competition with the all-fullness of Jesus, and preach another gospel which is not another. The imprecation of the apostle be upon them. They add unto the words of God, and he shall add to them its plagues.
While the text is exclusive it is also inclusive. It shuts in everything that is required for time and for eternity for all the blood-bought. It is an ark containing all good things conceivable, yea, and many that are as yet inconceivable; for by reason of our weakness we have not yet conceived the fullness of Christ. Things which ye yet have not asked nor even thought, he is able to give you abundantly. If you should arrive at the consecration of martyrs, the piety of apostles, the purity of angels, yet should you never have seen or be able to think of anything pure, lovely, and of good report, that was not already treasured up in Christ Jesus. All the rivers flow into this sea, for from this sea they, came. As the atmosphere surrounds all the earth, and all things live in that sea of air, so all good things are contained in the blessed person of our dear Redeemer. Let us join to praise him. Let us extol him with heart and voice, and let sinners be reconciled unto God by him. If all the good things are in him which a sinner can require to make him accountable with God, then let the sinner come at once through Such a mediator. Let doubts and fears vanish at the sight of the mediatorial fullness. Jesus must be able to save to the uttermost, since all fullness dwells in him. Come, sinner; come and receive him. Believe thou in him and thou shalt find thyself made perfect in Christ Jesus.
|The moment a sinner believes,
And trusts in his crucified God,
His pardon at once he receives,
Redemption in full through his blood.|
II. Having thus spoken of what, we now turn to consider WHERE.
|It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.| Where else could all fullness have been placed? There was wanted a vast capacity to contain |all fullness.| Where dwells there a being with nature capacious enough to compass within himself all fullness? As well might we ask, |Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?| To him only could it belong to contain |all fullness,| for he must be equal with God, the Infinite. How suitable was the Son of the Highest, who |was by him, as one brought up with him,| to become the grand storehouse of all the treasures of wisdom, and knowledge and grace, and salvation. Moreover, there was wanted not only capacity to contain, but immutability to retain the fullness, for the text says, |It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell| that is, abide, and remain, for ever. Now if any kind of fullness could be put into us mutable creatures, yet by reason of our frailty we should prove but broken cisterns that can hold no water. The Redeemer is Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever: therefore was it meet that all fullness should be placed in him. |The Son abideth ever.| |He is a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.| |Being made perfect he became the author of eternal salvation unto all they that obey him.| |His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.|
Perhaps the sweetest thought is, that the |all fullness| is fitly placed in Christ Jesus, because in him there is a suitability to distribute it, so that we may obtain it from him. How could we come to God himself for grace? for |even our God is a consuming fire.| But Jesus Christ while God is also man like ourselves, truly man, of a meek lowly spirit, and therefore easily approachable. They who know him, delight in nearness to him. Is it not sweet that all fullness should be treasured up in him who was the friend of publicans and sinners: and who came into the world to seek and to save that which was lost? The Man who took the child up on his knee and said, |Suffer the little children to come unto me,| the Man who was tempted in all points like as we are, the Man who touched the sick, nay, who |bore their sicknesses,| the Man who gave his hands to the nails, and his heart to the spear; that blessed Man, into the print of whose nails his disciple Thomas put his finger, and into whose side he thrust his hand; it is he, the incarnate God, in whom all fullness dwells. Come, then, and receive of him, you who are the weakest, the most mean, and most sinful of men. Come at once, O sinner, and fear not.
|Why art thou afraid to come,
And tell him all thy ease?
He will not pronounce thy doom,
Nor frown thee from his face.
Wilt thou fear Immanuel?
Or dread the Lamb of (God,
Who, to save thy soul from hell,
Has shed his precious blood?|
Let it be noted here, however, very carefully, that while fullness is treasured up in Christ, it is not said to be treasured up in the doctrines of Christ; though they are full and complete, and we need no other teachings when the Spirit reveals the Son in us; nor is it said to be treasured up in the commands of Christ, although they are amply sufficient for our guidance; but it is said, |It pleased the Father that in him,| in his person, |should all fullness dwell.| In him, as God incarnate dwelleth in all the fullness of the godhead bodily;| not as a myth, a dream, a thought, a fiction, but as a living, real personality. We must lay hold of this. I know that the fullness dwells in him officially as Prophet, Priest, and King -- but the fullness lies not in the prophetic mantle, nor in the priestly ephod, nor in the royal vesture, but in the person that wears all these. |It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.| You must get to the very Christ in your faith and rest alone in him, or else you have not reached the treasury wherein all fullness is stored up. All fullness is in him radically; if there be fullness in his work, or his gifts, or his promises, all is derived from his person, which gives weight and value to all. All the promises are yea and amen in Christ Jesus. The merit of his death lies mainly in his person, because he was God who gave himself for us, and his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree. The excellence of his person gave fullness to his sacrifice.Hebrews 1:3. His power to save at this very day lies in his person, for |he is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.| I desire you to see this, and feel it; for when your soul clasps the pierced feet of Jesus, and looks up into the face more marred than that of any man, even if you cannot understand all his works and offices, yet if you believe in him, you have reached the place wherein all fullness dwells, and of his fullness you shall receive.
Beloved, remember our practical aim. Praise his person, ye saints! Be ye reconciled to God through his person, ye sinners! Ye angels, lead us in the song! Ye spirits redeemed by blood, sing, |Worthy is the Lamb that was slain,| and our hearts shall keep tune with yours, for we owe the same debt to him. Glory be unto the person of the blessed Lamb. |Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever.| Would God we could see him face to face, and adore him as we would. O sinners, will you not be reconciled to God through him, since all fullness is in him, and he stoops to your weakness, and holds forth his pierced hands to greet you? See him stretching out both his hands to receive you, while he sweetly woos you to come to God through him. Come unto him. O come with hasty steps, ye penitents; come at once, ye guilty ones! Who would not be reconciled unto God by such a one as this, in whom all fullness of grace is made to dwell?
III. The third question is, WHY? |It pleased the Father.| That is answer enough. He is a sovereign, let him do as he wills. Ask the reason for election, you shall receive no other than this, |Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.| That one answer may reply to ten thousand questions, |It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good.| Once |it pleased the Father to bruise him,| and now |it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.| Sovereignty may answer the question sufficiently, but hearken! I hear justice speak, should not be silent. Justice saith there was no person in heaven or under heaven so meet to contain the fullness of grace as Jesus.
None so meet to be glorified as the Savior, who |made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and being found in fashion as a man, humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.| It is but justice that the grace which he has brought to us should be treasured up in him. And while justice speaks wisdom will not withhold her voice. Wise art thou, O Jehovah, to treasure up grace in Christ, for to him men can come; and to him coming, as unto a living stone, chosen of God and precious, men find him precious also to their souls. The Lord has laid our hell, in the right place, for he has laid it upon one that is mighty, and who is as loving as he is mighty, as ready as he is able to save. Moreover, in the fitness of things the Father's pleasure is the first point to be considered, for all things ought to be to the good pleasure of God. It is a great underlying rule of the universe that all things were created for God's pleasure. God is the source and fountain of eternal love, and it is but meet that he should convey it to us by what channel he may elect. Bowing, therefore, in lowly worship at his throne, we are glad that in this matter the fullness dwells where it perpetually satisfies the decree of heaven. It is well that |it pleased the Father.|
Now, brethren, if it pleased the Father to place all grace in Christ, let us praise the elect Savior. What pleases God pleases us. Where would you desire to have grace placed, my brethren, but in the Well-beloved? The whole church of God is unanimous about this. If I could save myself I would not; I would think salvation to be no salvation if it did not glorify Jesus. This is the very crown and glory of being saved, that our being saved will bring honor to Christ. It is delightful to think that Christ will have the glory of all God's grace; it were shocking if it were not so. Who could bear to see Jesus robbed of his reward? We are indignant that any should usurp his place, and ashamed of ourselves that we do not glorify him more. No joy ever visits my soul like that of knowing that Jesus is highly exalted, and that to him |every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.| A sister in Christ, in her kindness and gratitude, used language to me the other day which brought a blush to my cheek, for I felt ashamed to be so undeserving of the praise. She said, |Your ministry profits me because you glorify Christ so much.| Ah, I thought, if you knew how I would glorify him if I could, and how far I fall below what I fain would do for him, You would not commend me. I could weep over the best sermons I have ever preached because I cannot extol my Lord enough, and my conceptions are so low, and my words so poor. Oh, if one could but attain really to honor him, and put another crown upon his head, it were heaven indeed! We are in this agreed with the Father, for if it pleases him to glorify his Son, we sincerely feel that it pleases us.
Ought not those who are yet unrenewed, to hasten to be reconciled to God by such a Redeemer? If it pleases the Father to put all grace in Christ, O sinner, does it not please you to come and receive it through Christ? Christ is the meeting-place for a sinner and his God. God is in Christ, and when you come to Christ, God meets you, and a treaty of peace is made between you and the Most High. Are you not agreed with God in this -- that Christ shall be glorified? Do you not say, |I would glorify him by accepting this morning all his grace, love, and mercy|? Well, if you are willing to receive Jesus, God has made you willing, and therein proved his willingness to save you. He is pleased with Christ. Are you pleased with Christ? If so, there is already peace between you and God, for Jesus |is our peace.|
IV. We must close by dwelling upon the WHEN. When is all fullness in Jesus? It is there in all time, past, present, and to come. |It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.| Fulness, then, was in Christ of old, is in Christ to-day, will be in Christ for ever. Perpetuity is here indicated; all fullness was, is, shall be in the person of Jesus Christ. Every saint saved under the old dispensation found the fullness of his salvation in the coming Redeemer, every saint saved since the advent is saved through the selfsame fullness. From the streaming fount of the wounds of Christ on Calvary, redemption flows evermore; and as long as there is a sinner to be saved, or one elect soul to be ingathered, Christ's blood shall never lose its power, the fullness of merit and grace shall abide the same.
While the expression |dwell| indicates perpetuity, does not it indicate constancy and accessibility? A man who dwells in a house is always to be found there, it is his home. The text seems to me to say that this fullness of grace is always to be found in Christ, ever abiding in him. Knock at this door by prayer, and you shall find it at home. If a sinner anywhere is saving, |God be merciful to me!| mercy has not gone out on travel, it dwells in Christ both night and day; it is there now at this moment. There is life in a look at the crucified One, not at certain canonical hours, but at any hour, in any place, by any man who looks. |From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed,| and my prayer shall not be rejected. There is fullness of mercy in Christ to be had at any time, at any season, from any place. It pleased the Father that all fullness should permanently abide in him as in a house whose door is never shut.
Above all, we see here immutability. All fullness dwells in Christ -- that is to say, it is never exhausted nor diminished. On the last day wherein this world shall stand before it is given up to be devoured with fervent heat, there shall be found as much fullness in Christ as in the hour when the first sinner looked unto him and was lightened. O sinner, the bath that cleanses is as efficacious to take out spots to-day as it was when the dying thief washed therein. O thou despairing sinner, there is as much consolation in Christ to-day as when he said to the woman, |Thy sins are forgiven thee, go in peace.| His grace has not diminished. He is to-day as great a Savior as when Magdalen was delivered from seven devils. Till time shall be no more he will exercise the same infinite power to forgive, to renew, to deliver, to sanctify, to perfectly save souls.
Shall not all this make us praise Christ, since all fullness is permanent in him? Let our praises abide where the fullness abides. |All thy works praise thee, O God, but thy saints shall bless thee;| yea, they shall never cease their worship, because thou shalt never abate thy fullness This is a topic upon which we who love Christ, are all agreed. We can dispute about doctrines, and we have different views upon ordinances; but we have all one view concerning our Lord Jesus. Let him sit on a glorious high throne. When shall the day dawn that he shall ride through our streets in triumph? When shall England and Scotland, and all the nations become truly the dominions of the great King? Our prayer is that he may hasten the spread of the gospel, and his own coming as seemeth good in his sight. O that he were glorious in the eyes of men!
And surely if all fullness abides perpetually in Christ, there is good reason why the unreconciled should this morning, avail themselves of it. May the blessed Spirit show thee, O sinner, that there is enough in Jesus Christ to meet thy wants, that thy, weakness need not keep thee back, nor even the hardness of thy heart, nor the inveteracy of thy will; for Christ is able even to subdue all things to himself. If you seek him he will be found of you. Seek him while he may be found. Leave not the seat until your soul is bowed at his feet. I think I see him; cannot your hearts picture him, glorious to-day, but yet the same Savior who was nailed like a felon to the cross for guilty ones? Reach forth thy hand and touch the silver scepter of mercy which he holds out to thee, for those who touch it live. Look into that dear face where tears once made their furrows, and grief its lines; look, I say, and live. Look at that brow radiant with many a glittering gem, it once wore a crown of thorns; let his love melt you to repentance. Throw yourself into his arms now feeling, |If I perish I will perish there. He shall be my only hope.| As the Lord liveth, before whom I stand, there shall never be a soul of you lost who will come and trust in Jesus. Heaven and earth shall pass away but this word of God shall never pass away. |He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved.| God has said it; will he not do it? He has declared it, it must stand fast. |Whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.| O trust ye him! I implore you by the mercy of God, and by the fullness of Jesus, trust him now, this day! God grant you may, for Christ's sake. Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON -- Colossians 1.
The attention of all our friends is earnestly directed to the SERIES OF SPECIAL SERVICES AT THE TABERNACLE. In order that London friends may unite with us we publish the meetings week by week, and at the same time our country friends will join with us in spirit: --
Lord's-day, March 5th. -- A deputation will address Mrs. Bartlett's class and the senior classes of the Sabbath School; as also Mrs. Bartlett's children's meeting at the Almshouses.
Monday, March 6th. -- Prayer-meeting for females only, at six. For young people at the same time. Special prayer-meetings at seven for the various agencies of the church. Meetings for enquirers at half-past eight.
Tuesday, March 7th. -- The Pastor and others will meet the parents of the Sabbath School to tea, and speak with them upon heavenly things.
Wednesday, March 8th. -- Annual Meeting of Mrs. Bartlett's class.
Thursday, March 9th. -- Closing gathering. May our hearts be filled with adoring praise. We shall meet to commemorate our Lord's death. Members will please show their tickets. Spectators will find room in the gallery.