A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, February 26, 1871, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. 7/11/2011*7/11/2011
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell. (Colossians 1:19)
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1. The preacher is under no difficulties this morning concerning the practical object to be intended in his discourse. Every subject should be considered with an object, every discourse should have a definite spiritual purpose; otherwise we do not so much preach as play at preaching. The connection plainly indicates what our intent 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 preeminence. We would seek by this text to yield honour and glory to the ever blessed Redeemer, and enthrone him in the highest seat in our hearts. Oh that we may all be in an adoring frame of mind, and may give him the preeminence in our thoughts, beyond all things or people in heaven or earth. Blessed is he who can do or think the most to honour such a Lord as our Emmanuel. The verse which follows the text, shows us how we may best promote the glory of Christ, for since he came into this world so that he might reconcile the things in heaven and the things in earth to himself, we shall best glorify him by submitting ourselves to his great plan of mercy. By seeking to bring sinners into a state of reconciliation with God, we are giving to the great Reconciler the preeminence. Our 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 forward glorify the great Ambassador who has made peace by the blood of his cross.
2. The text is a great deep, we cannot explore it, but we will sail over its surface joyously, the Holy Spirit giving us a favourable wind. Here are plentiful 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.
3. It may give some sort of order to our thoughts if they fall under four headings. What is here spoken of — “all fulness.” 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 fulness dwell.” Those catch words, what, where, why, and when, may help you to remember the contents of the sermon.
4. I. First, then, let us consider the subject before us, or WHAT — “It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” Two mighty words; “fulness,” a substantial, comprehensive, expressive word in itself, and “all,” a great little word including everything. When combined in the expression, “all fulness,” we have before us a superlative wealth of meaning.
5. Blessed be God for those two words. Our hearts rejoice to think that there is such a thing in the universe as “all fulness,” for in most mortal pursuits utter barrenness is found. “Vanity of vanity all is vanity.” Blessed be the Lord for ever that he has provided a fulness for us, for in us by nature there is all emptiness and utter vanity. “In me, that is, in my flesh, there dwells 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, or saint, for both of you these words equally apply, “all fulness” 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 fulness.” You, sinner, are all emptiness and death, you, saint, would be so if it were not for the “all fulness” 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 for every soul conscious of its sad estate, and humbled before God.
6. I will ring the silver bell again, “all fulness,” and another note charms us; it tells us that Christ is substance, and not shadow, fulness, and not foretaste. This is good news for us, for nothing except realities will satisfy our case. Types may instruct, but they cannot actually save. The patterns of the things in the heavens are too weak to serve our case, we need the heavenly things themselves. No bleeding bird nor slaughtered bull, 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 portrayed 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 portray. 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)
7. I must return to the words of the text again, for I perceive more honey dropping from the honeycomb. “All fulness” 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 needs demand a fulness, yes, “all fulness,” 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 fulness,” indeed, that will suit us. Here is exactly what our desperate estate demands for its recovery. Had the Saviour 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 would have for ever dwelt in darkness. In these words, “all fulness,” we hear the echo of his death cry, “It is finished.” We are to bring nothing, but to find all in him, yes, the fulness of all in him: we are simply to receive from his fulness 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 need 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 urge 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 you will rejoice that your withdrawals will never diminish the boundless store, for still it will retain the name and the quality of “all fulness.”
8. The expression here used denotes that there is in Jesus Christ the fulness of the Godhead; as it is written, “In him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” When John saw the Son of Man in Patmos, the signs of Deity were visible on him. “His head and his hair 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 twoedged sword” — here was the omnipotence of his word; “And his countenance was as the sun shines in its 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 fulness inconceivable and inexhaustible. The most enlarged intellect must necessarily fail to comprehend the personal fulness of Christ as God; therefore we do no more than quote again that noble text: “In him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in him.”
9. Fulness, moreover, dwells in our Lord not only intrinsically from his nature, but as the result of his mediatorial work. He achieved by suffering as well as possessed by nature a wondrous fulness. 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 fulness of excellence. 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, so 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 fully at his disposal. “He shuts and no man opens, he opens and no man shuts.” He has received gifts for men; yes, for the rebellious also. Not only as the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, is he the possessor of heaven and earth, and therefore filled with all fulness, but seeing that as the Mediator he has finished our redemption, “he is made by God to us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” Glory be to his name for this double fulness.
10. Turn the thought around again, and remember that all fulness dwells in Christ towards God and towards men. All fulness towards God — I mean all that God requires of man; all that satisfies and delights the eternal mind, so that once again with satisfaction he may look down on his creature and pronounce him “very good.” The Lord looked for grapes in his vineyard, and it produced wild grapes, but now in Christ Jesus the great Husbandman sees the true vine which produces 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 who believes. 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 exceptional service from so favoured a being — a perfect, joyful, continuous service; and our Saviour has rendered to the Father what perfectly satisfies 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 excellency of providence could have revealed. His work in God’s esteem is honourable and precious; for his righteousness’ sake, God is well pleased. The Eternal mind is satisfied with the Redeemer’s person, work, and sacrifice; for to the Son, he says, “Your throne, oh God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.” (Hebrews 1:8,9)
11. 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 would always be in jeopardy; but now since we are “accepted in the Beloved,” we are safe from all dangers. And if we had to find the means to 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 rivers of oil?” But now hear the voice which says, “You did not desire sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin, neither had pleasure in them”: (Hebrews 10:8) we hear the same divine voice add, “Lo, I come to do your will,” and we rejoice as we receive the witness of the Spirit, saying, “By that will you are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all,” (Hebrews 10:10) for henceforth is it said, “I will remember no more for ever their sins and iniquities.” (Hebrews 10:17)
12. The all fulness of Christ is also toward man, and that in respect of both the sinner and the saint. There is a fulness in Christ Jesus which the seeking sinner should behold with joyfulness. What do you need, sinner? You need all things, but Christ is all. You need power to believe in him — he gives power to the faint. You need repentance — he was exalted on high to give repentance as well as remission for sin. You need a new heart: the covenant runs like this, “also I will give them a new heart, and I will put within them a right spirit.” You need pardon — behold his streaming wounds, wash and be clean. You need healing: he is “the Lord who heals you.” You need clothing — his righteousness shall become your clothing. You need preservation — you shall be preserved in him. You need life, and he has said, “Awake, you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you life.” He is come so that we might have life. You need — but indeed, the catalogue would be much too long for us to read it through at this present time, yet be assured though you pile up your needs until they rise like Alps before you, yet the all sufficient Saviour can remove all your needs. You may confidently sing —
Thou, oh Christ, art all I want,
More than all in thee I find.
13. This is true also of the saint as well as the sinner. Oh child of God, you are now saved, but your needs are not therefore removed. Are they not as continuous as your heart beats? When are we not in need, my brethren? The more alive we are to God, the more are we aware of our spiritual needs. 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, since we learn that there is no need in our spirit except what is abundantly provided for in the all fulness of Jesus Christ. You seek for a higher platform of spiritual attainments, you plan to conquer sin, you desire to be plentiful in fruit for his glory, you are longing to be useful, you are anxious to subdue the hearts of others to Christ; behold the required grace for all this. In the sacred armoury of the Son of David behold your battle axe and your weapons of war; in the storehouse of him who is greater than Aaron see the robes in which to fulfil your priesthood; in the wounds of Jesus behold the power by 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 constrained, it will not be in Christ; if there is any limit 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 says to you, “All things are yours.” “The Lord is the portion of your inheritance and of your cup.” Infinity is ours. He who gave us his own Son has in that very deed given us all things. Has he not said, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide, and I will fill it?”
14. 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 fulness 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 from which they drink, proceeds out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. He has 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 absent; for he is the heaven of heaven, and fills all in all. It pleased the Father that for all saints and sinners all fulness should be treasured up in Christ Jesus.
15. I feel that my text overwhelms me. Men may sail around 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 “fulness” — and in fulness and a fulness in all. The words are both exclusive and inclusive. They deny that there is any fulness elsewhere, for they claim all for Christ. They exclude all others. “It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” Not in you, you pretended successors of the apostles, can anything dwell that I need. I can do well enough without you; indeed, I would not insult my Saviour by dealing with you, for since “all fulness” is in him, what can there be in you that I can require? Go to your dupes who do not know Christ, but those who possess the exceeding riches of Christ’s grace do not bow to you. We are “complete in Christ” without you, oh hierarchy of bishops; without you, you conclave of cardinals; and without you, oh fallible infallible, unholy Holiness of Rome. He who has all in Christ would be insane indeed if he looked for more, or having fulness craved for emptiness. This text drives us from all confidence in men, indeed, or even in angels, by making us see that everything is treasured up in Jesus Christ. Brethren, if there is 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 except what we must have already in the person of the all sufficient Saviour. What if their candles burn brightly, the sun itself is ours! What if they are successors of the apostles, we follow the Lamb himself wherever he goes! What if they are exceedingly wise, we dwell with the Incarnate Wisdom himself! Let them go to their cisterns, we will stay by the fountain of living water. But indeed there is no light in their luminaries, they only increase the darkness; they are blind leaders of the blind. They put their sounding emptinesses into competition with the all fulness of Jesus, and preach another gospel which is not another. The imprecation of the apostle is upon them. They add to the words of God, and he shall add to them its plagues.
16. 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, yes, and many that are as yet inconceivable; for by reason of our weakness we have not yet conceived the fulness of Christ. Things which you yet have not asked for nor even thought of, he is able to give to 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. Just 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 to God by him. If all the good things are in him which a sinner can require to make him acceptable with God, then let the sinner come at once through such a mediator. Let doubts and fears vanish at the sight of the mediatorial fulness. Jesus must be able to save to the uttermost, since all fulness dwells in him. Come, sinner; come and receive him. Believe in him and you shall find yourself 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.
17. II. Having thus spoken of what, we now turn to consider WHERE.
18. “It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” Where else could all fulness have been placed? There was needed a vast capacity to contain “all fulness.” Where does there exist a being with a nature large enough to contain within himself all fulness? As well might we ask, “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and measured out heaven with the span, and calculated 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 fulness,” 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 required not only capacity to contain, but immutability to retain the fulness, for the text says, “It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell” that is, abide and remain for ever. Now if any kind of fulness could be put into us mutable creatures, yet by reason of our frailty we should prove to be only broken cisterns that can hold no water. The Redeemer is Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and for ever: therefore it was proper that all fulness should be placed in him. “The Son abides for ever.” “He is a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” “Being made perfect he became the author of eternal salvation for all those who 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.”
19. Perhaps the sweetest thought is, that the “all fulness” is properly 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 a man like ourselves, truly a man, with a meek lowly spirit, and therefore easily approachable. Those who know him, delight in nearness to him. Is it not sweet that all fulness should be treasured up in him who was the friend of tax collectors and sinners: and who came into the world to seek and to save those who were lost? The Man who took the child upon his knee and said, “Permit the little children to come to me,” the Man who was tempted in all points like we are, the Man who touched the sick, indeed, 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 fulness dwells. Come, then, and receive him, you who are the weakest, the most lowly, and most sinful of men. Come at once, oh sinner, and do not fear.
Why art thou afraid to come,
And tell him all thy case?
He will not pronounce thy doom,
Nor frown thee from his face.
Wilt thou fear Emmanuel?
Or dread the Lamb of God,
Who, to save thy soul from hell,
Has shed his precious blood?
20. Let it be noticed here, however, very carefully, that while fulness 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 fulness dwell.” In him, as God incarnate, dwells in “all the fulness 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 fulness dwells in him officially as Prophet, Priest, and King — but the fulness does not lie in the prophetic mantle, nor in the priestly ephod, nor in the royal vesture, but in the person who wears all these. “It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” You must get to the very Christ in your faith and rest alone in him, or else you have not reached the treasury where all fulness is stored up. All fulness is in him radically; if there is fulness 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 he himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree. The excellence of his person gave fulness 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 those who come to God by him, seeing he ever lives 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 where all fulness dwells, and you shall receive from his fulness.
21. Beloved, remember our practical intent. Praise his person, you saints! Be reconciled to God through his person, you sinners! You angels, lead us in the song! You spirits redeemed by blood, sing, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,” and our hearts shall keep tune with yours, for we owe the same debt to him. Glory be to the person of the blessed Lamb. “Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be to our God for ever and ever.” Oh that we could see him face to face, and adore him as we wish to. Oh sinners, will you not be reconciled to God through him, since all fulness is in him, and he stoops to your weakness, and holds out 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 to him. Oh come with hasty steps, you penitents; come at once, you guilty ones! Who would not be reconciled to God by such a one as this, in whom all fulness of grace is made to dwell?
22. III. The third question is, WHY? “It pleased the Father.” That is answer enough. He is a sovereign, let him do as he wishes. Ask for the reason for election, you shall receive no other than this, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in your sight.” That one answer may reply to ten thousand questions, “It is the Lord, let him do what seems good to him.” Once “it pleased the Father to bruise him,” and now “it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” Sovereignty may answer the question sufficiently, but listen! I hear justice speak, she cannot be silent. Justice says there was no person in heaven or under heaven so suitable to contain the fulness of grace as Jesus.
23. No one is so suitable to be glorified as the Saviour, 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 only 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. You are wise, oh Jehovah, to treasure up grace in Christ, for men can come to him; and coming to him, as to a living stone, chosen by God and precious, men find him precious also to their souls. The Lord has laid our help, in the right place, for he has laid it upon one who 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 for 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 only fitting that he should convey it to us by whatever channel he may select. Bowing, therefore, in lowly worship at his throne, we are glad that in this matter the fulness dwells where it perpetually satisfies the decree of heaven. It is well that “it pleased the Father.”
24. Now, brethren, if it pleased the Father to place all grace in Christ, let us praise the elect Saviour. 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 honour to Christ. It is delightful to think that Christ will have the glory of all God’s grace; it would be shocking if it were not so. Who could bear to see Jesus robbed of his reward? We are indignant that anyone should usurp his place, and be ashamed of ourselves that we do not glorify him more. No joy ever visits my soul like 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, spoke to me the other day making me blush, 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 short of what I gladly 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 only really honour him, and put another crown upon his head, it would be heaven indeed! We are agreed in this with the Father, for if it pleases him to glorify his Son, we sincerely feel that it pleases us.
25. Ought not those who are yet unrenewed, to hurry to be reconciled to God by such a Redeemer? If it pleases the Father to put all grace in Christ, oh 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 by it proven 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.”
26. IV. We must close by dwelling upon the WHEN. When is all fulness in Jesus? It is there in all time, past, present, and to come. “It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” Fulness, then, was in Christ of old, is in Christ today, and will be in Christ for ever. Perpetuity is indicated here; all fulness was, is, and shall be in the person of Jesus Christ. Every saint saved under the old dispensation found the fulness of his salvation in the coming Redeemer, every saint saved since the advent is saved through the very same fulness. From the streaming fount of the wounds of Christ on Calvary, redemption flows for evermore; and as long as there is a sinner to be saved, or one elect soul to be gathered in, Christ’s blood shall never lose its power, the fulness of merit and grace shall remain the same.
27. While the expression “dwell” indicates perpetuity, does it not 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 fulness of grace is always to be found in Christ, always residing in him. Knock at this door by prayer, and you shall find it at home. If a sinner anywhere is saying, “God be merciful to me!” mercy has not gone out on a journey, 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 I will cry to you, when my heart is overwhelmed,” and my prayer shall not be rejected. There is fulness of mercy in Christ to be had at any time, at any season, from any place. It pleased the Father that all fulness should permanently reside in him as in a house whose door is never shut.
28. Above all, we see here immutability. All fulness dwells in Christ — that is to say, it is never exhausted nor diminished. On the last day when this world shall stand, before it is given up to be devoured with fervent heat, there shall be found as much fulness in Christ as in the hour when the first sinner looked to him and was enlightened. Oh sinner, the bath that cleanses is as efficacious to take out spots today as it was when the dying thief washed in it. Oh you despairing sinner, there is as much consolation in Christ today as when he said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven you, go in peace.” His grace has not diminished. He is today as great a Saviour as when Magdalene was delivered from seven demons. Until time shall be no more he will exercise the same infinite power to forgive, to renew, to deliver, to sanctify, to perfectly save souls.
29. Shall all this not make us praise Christ, since all fulness is permanent in him? Let our praises remain where the fulness resides. “All your works praise you, oh God, but your saints shall bless you”; yes, they shall never cease their worship, because you shall never abate your fulness. 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 seems good in his sight. Oh that he were glorious in the eyes of men!
30. And surely if all fulness remains perpetually in Christ, there is good reason why the unreconciled should avail themselves of it this morning. May the blessed Spirit show you, oh sinner, that there is enough in Jesus Christ to meet your needs, that your weakness need not hold you back, nor even the hardness of your heart, nor the inveteracy of your will; for Christ is able even to subdue all things to himself. If you seek him he will be found by you. Seek him while he may be found. Do not leave the seat until your soul is bowed at his feet. I think I see him; can your hearts not picture him, glorious today, but still the same Saviour who was nailed like a felon to the cross for guilty ones? Reach out your hand and touch the silver sceptre of mercy which he holds out to you, 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 lives, 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 who believes and is baptised shall be saved.” God has said it; will he not do it? He has declared it, it must stand firm. “Whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Oh trust him! I implore you by the mercy of God, and by the fulness of Jesus, trust him now, today! May God grant that 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: —
Sunday, March 5. — A deputation will address Mrs. Bartlett’s class and the senior classes of the Sunday School; as also Mrs. Bartlett’s children’s meeting at the Almshouses.
Monday, March 6. — 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 7. — The Pastor and others will meet the parents of the Sunday School for supper, and speak with them upon heavenly things.
Wednesday, March 8. — Annual Meeting of Mrs. Bartlett’s class.
Thursday, March 9. — 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.
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