John 12:24
Truly, truly, I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a seed; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Death and FruitfulnessJ.R. Thomson John 12:24
Easter DayCharles KingsleyJohn 12:24
Sermon for St. Stephen's DaySusannah Winkworth John 12:24
The Fruitfulness of the Dying JesusD. Young John 12:24
A Lesson to Pastors and TeachersPastor Funcke., W. Baxendale.John 12:20-33
A Sight of JesusL. H. Wiseman, M. A.John 12:20-33
A Sight of JesusC. A. Stakeley.John 12:20-33
Andrew: Leading Others to ChristT. Gasquoine, B. A.John 12:20-33
Certain GreeksG. M. Grant, B. D.John 12:20-33
Congregations Want to See ChristPastor Funcke.John 12:20-33
East and West Coming to ChristG. M. Grant, B. D.John 12:20-33
Every Christian May be UsefulW. Arnot.John 12:20-33
Manifestations of HumanityD. Thomas, D. D.John 12:20-33
Opportunity to be UsedG. A. Sowter, M. A.John 12:20-33
Seeing ChristR. Collyer, D. D.John 12:20-33
The Consequences of Seeing JesusH. Bonar, D. D.John 12:20-33
The Desire to See JesusW. Birch.John 12:20-33
The Great ExhibitionD. Griffiths.John 12:20-33
The Incident and its SignificanceF. Godet, D. D.John 12:20-33
The Inquiring GreeksC. S. Robinson, D. D.John 12:20-33
The Movement of Greek Thought Toward ChristH. Macmillan, D. D.John 12:20-33
The Two EpiphaniesH. Macmillan, D. D.John 12:20-33
We Would See JesusG. A. Sowter, M. A.John 12:20-33
What the World Owes to the GreeksH. Macmillan, D. D.John 12:20-33
Wishing to See JesusJ. Vaughan, M. A.John 12:20-33
Christ's Cross, Christ's GloryDean Alford.John 12:23-26
The Glorification of the Son of ManC. H. Spurgeon.John 12:23-26
The Hour of Christ's Suffering and TriumphT. Raffles, LL. D.John 12:23-26
The Hour of RedempW. B. Pope, D. D.John 12:23-26
The Law of Self-Sacrifice Exemplified in the Death of ChristF. W. Robertson, M. A.John 12:23-26
The Significance of This Declaration in Connection with the IncidentF. D. Maurice, M. A.John 12:23-26
The Work and Glory of the SaviourT. Guthrie, D. D.John 12:23-26
Mors Janua VitroGeorge Brown John 12:24, 25
A Corn of WheatH. Macmillan, LL. D.John 12:24-26
AloneJ. T. Pitcher.John 12:24-26
Christian ServiceH. C. Trumbull, D. D.John 12:24-26
Christian Service and its HonoursJ. W. Jones.John 12:24-26
Christian Service and its RewardJ. Fleming.John 12:24-26
Christ's Servant: His Duties and RewardsC. H. Spurgeon.John 12:24-26
Following ChristS. S. Times., S. S. TimesJohn 12:24-26
Following ChristJohn 12:24-26
Life Loved and LostJohn 12:24-26
Self-DenialJ. Erskine, D. D., C. H. Spurgeon.John 12:24-26
Service and its RewardWeekly PulpitJohn 12:24-26
The Bearing of the Present on the Future LifeF. Godet, D. D.John 12:24-26
The Christian a Follower of ChristJ. A. James.John 12:24-26
The Christian Service and HonourJohn 12:24-26
The Corn of Wheat DyingD. Howell.John 12:24-26
The Corn of Wheat Falling into the Ground and DyingJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 12:24-26
The Corn of Wheat; or Growth Through DeathS. C. Gordon, B. D.John 12:24-26
The Death of JesusW. Jay.John 12:24-26
The Dying Seed FruitfulH. W. Beecher.John 12:24-26
The Honour God Confers Upon Those Who Serve ChristC. H. Spurgeon.John 12:24-26
The Law of FruitfulnessBp. Boyd Carpenter.John 12:24-26
The Seed CornA. Gray.John 12:24-26
The Seed CornJ. Krummacher.John 12:24-26

The principle here stated, and applied by Christ to himself, is one ordained by the Creator of the moral universe. The only true enrich-merit is through giving, the only true gain is through loss, the only true victory is through suffering-and humiliation, the only true life is through death. The earth yields a harvest when the grain is entrusted to its keeping, even when the Egyptian husbandman casts his bread upon the waters. And the Son of God saw clearly that he must die and be buried, in order that he might become to mankind the source of spiritual and eternal life.

I. THE LIFE OF THE WORLD'S SPIRITUAL SEED. Imagination can see in an acorn all which may arise from it - an oak, a ship, a navy; for the acorn has a life-germ which is capable of increase and multiplication. Imagination can see in a handful of seed-corn carried to a distant isle, a nation's food. So in one Person, the speaker of these words, there lay - though only Omniscience could clearly foresee this - the spiritual hopes of a whole race. Jesus himself knew that this was so, and foresaw and foretold the results of his obedience unto death. In the coming of these Greeks he discerned the earnest of a glorious future; and the prospect of approaching suffering and of future victory stirred and troubled his soul with a mighty emotion. The explanation of this marvelous potency is to be found in the fact that Christ was Life - the Life of men. His Divine nature, his great vocation, his faultless character, his gracious ministry, his spiritual power, his unrivalled love, his incomparable sacrifice, are all signs of the possession by him of a wonderful life. Only a divinely commissioned and qualified Being could become the world's Life. Because he was the Son of God, it was possible for him to bring to this human race what none other could confer - spiritual vitality and fruitfulness. The claim which Jesus made may have seemed to an observer of his ministry incredible or even presumptuous. Yet as a tiny seed- may produce a majestic tree, because in the seed is a germ of life, so in the lowly Nazarene was the promise of a new and blessed life for this humanity. "I am come," said he, "that they may have life, and may have it abundantly." Such sayings, from his lips, were the simple, literal truth.

II. THE DISSOLUTION OF THE WORLD'S SPIRITUAL SEED. To one unacquainted with the mystery of growth, it must seem that the strangest use to which a seed could be put is to bury it in the ground. Death is the unlikeliest road to life. Yet experience teaches us that dissolution is necessary to reproduction. The substance of the grain dissolves, and nourishes and protects the living germ, which by means of warmth and moisture puts forth the signs of life, grows and develops into a corn-plant or a tree. Had not the seed been planted, it would have remained by itself alone and unfruitful. The law obtains in the moral realm. Our race gains its best of knowledge, experience, progress, happiness, virtue, not from the prosperous and the peaceful, but from those whose life is a life of toil, endurance, patience in suffering, and sacrifice. The world is infinitely indebted to its confessors, its martyrs, its much-enduring heroes. The highest exemplification of this law is to be found in the sacrifice of the world's Redeemer. His life of labor and weariness was closed by a death of shame and anguish. He gave up his body to the cross and to the tomb. His whole life was a death unto self, unto the world; and he did not shrink from that mortality which is the common lot of man. This death did not come upon him by accident; he several times distinctly foretold it - it was part of his plan. He is not to be numbered among the many who might have been spiritual forces for highest good, but who remained fruitless because they dared not die. The ignominious cross has ever been a stumbling-block to many; but to multitudes, spiritually enlightened, and touched in the heart by his Spirit, it has been the supreme revelation of God. The cross and the grave are to the unspiritual an offence; but to Christians they are a glory and a joy, the power of God and the wisdom of God. Via crucis, via lucia. Christ's body did not indeed see corruption; yet his life's close was an exact correspondence to the dissolution of the seed. A bystander might naturally have said, "Here is the end of the professions and the work of Jesus! But God's ways are not our ways.

III. THE FERTILITY OF THE WORLD'S SPIRITUAL SEED. One grain of wheat, if sown, and its produce resown, may in time produce a vast, all but incalculable crop. One grain seems thrown away, but millions are gathered and garnered. Much fruit rewards the faith of the husbandman. Our Lord teaches us that, in the spiritual realm, a similar result follows a similar process. He knew that he was about to die; but he knew also that his death should be rich in spiritual fruit. The immediate results verified his prediction. In a short space of time after our Lord's death, the number of his disciples was not merely increased, it was multiplied. The fruit borne upon the day of Pentecost was the firstfruit of a rich, abundant harvest. Not only in the Jewish world, but among the Gentiles also, it was speedily manifest that Jesus had not died in vain. Israel had conspired to kill him; but he became the Savior of the true Israel - the Israel of God. The Romans had put him to death; but in a few generations the Roman empire acknowledged his supremacy. The world had cast him out; but the world was saved by him. The history of Christendom is the story of one long harvest - a harvest yielded by the spiritual seed which was sown on Calvary. The future has yet to reveal the vastness of the work which Christ has wrought. He shall draw all men unto himself. "Many shall come from the East and from the West." A great multitude, whom no man can number, shall join in the grateful praise and reverent adoration of heaven.


1. Our indebtedness to Christ.

2. Our identification with Christ.

3. Our hope in Christ. - T.

Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die.
The original word is not sperma, a seed, but kokkos, a berry, a fruit. It shows the extreme, even scientific, accuracy of our Saviour's language; for the corn of wheat, and other cereal grains, consist of seeds incorporated with seed vessels, and are in reality fruits, though they appear like seeds. It is not the bare seed that falls into the ground, and, by dying, yields much fruit, but the corn of wheat — the whole fruit with its husk-like coverings. A corn of wheat is beautiful and complete in itself. It is full of latent life; it contains the germ of boundless harvests. But it is hard and narrow and isolated. How then are its dormant capabilities to be quickened? Clearly not by keeping it as it is. In its present state it abideth alone. It can never be anything else but bare corn if kept out of the ground. But if sown in the field, and covered by the earth, and quickened by the sunshine and showers of heaven, it softens and expands. It seems to die. It surrenders itself to the forces of nature which take possession of it, and seem to put it altogether aside. But this apparent death is in reality more abundant life. Its burial place becomes the scene of a wonderful resurrection. The spark of vitality has been kindled by the very elements that seemed to work its destruction. The embryo grows at the expense of the decomposing perisperm. Lengthening downwards by the radicle and upwards by the plumule, the seed becomes a bright, green, beautiful plant which lays all nature under contribution for its sustenance, borrows the materials of growth from earth and sky, and at length becomes a luxuriant stalk of corn laden with its fruitful ear. Seed time in this country is in spring. The sower goes forth to sow when the day is lengthening and brightening, and a warmer feeling is in the air. The dark days and wild storms of winter are over; and before the seed sown there is an almost uninterrupted continuance of genial weather till the harvest. But in nature seed time is at the close of autumn, when "the melancholy days have come, the saddest of the year." The important process of scattering the seed over the waste places of the earth is accomplished amid the fading and falling of leaves, and the destruction of nature's strength and beauty. The chill air and feeble sunlight put a stop to all further growth; and the dreary rain and boisterous storms which prevail at this season are needed to shake down the ripe fruits from stem or bough, to scatter them over the face of the earth, and to rot them in the ground, so that the imprisoned seeds may escape and find a suitable soil in which to grow. Thus, the dark ungenial weather which so often proves disastrous to our cereal crops when they are about to be gathered into the barn, is a wise provision of nature to facilitate the dispersion of the ripened fruits and seeds of the earth. We step between nature and her purpose, snatch the corn from its appointed destiny as the seed of a future crop, and convert it into human food; and thus diverting a law of nature into a new channel, we cannot always expect that the weather which would be favourable to the natural process should be equally favourable to the artificial. Nature fulfils her designs perfectly; she is faithful to the law of her God. But when she comes into contact with man she does not harmonize with his designs. The primeval curse rests upon the toil of man's hands, and the earning of man's bread; and nature therefore will not give us her blessings without a stern struggle with hostile elements. How true is all this of the stormy end of our Saviour's life; that dreary autumn seed time of which He said, "Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say, Father, save me from this hour; but; for this cause came I unto this hour." And further, how true of His entombment is the natural fact that the seed thus sown in the decaying autumn, amid the wreck of life and beauty, and to the wailing dirge of the devastating storm, lies passive and inert in the soil all the winter, chilled with the frosts, drenched with the rains, and buried in its grave of darkness beneath a shroud of snow, waiting for its resurrection under the bright skies of spring.

(H. Macmillan, LL. D.)

We see the principle of propagation by self-surrender operating in the region of —


1. if a man will be an individual in the strict sense of the term he will be his own destroyer. If the seedling of a babe would grow physically he must —(1) give, by stretching forth the tendrils of its undeveloped faculties; and(2) take, by the aliment which such exercise supplies. Thus the first condition of physical life is faith. The same law operates in —

2. The acquisition of knowledge. A man must believe before he knows, and faith is the depositing of self in the ground of human testimony, a boy must work with self deposited in the ground of study under disciplinary influences, and convert his time, etc., into materials for developing the seeds of knowledge.

3. The formation of character. When we say that a man has character we mean he has acquired self-control. Self-control is the fruit of submission. Submission during the period of youth grows into those principles of conduct which are the polestar of manhood, through mortifying acts of obedience.

II. SOCIAL LIFE. A man is obliged to work for others if he would enlarge and propagate his life and influence. We see this illustrated in —

1. Family relationships. The law of marriage enjoins the giving up of self to another, so as to become a larger, happier self. Parents who fulfil God's idea, think, work, pray, live for and in their children. If the father does not thus lose himself and die he "abides alone," and when he departs this life he has no one to propagate his likeness, and becomes extinct except in name.

2. Legislation. Law, to a certain extent, consists of those things which individuals have agreed to surrender for the maintenance of society and is the fruitage of seeds of individual knowledge put into the soil of public experience.

3. The extension of knowledge. Ideas and schemes in the mind are so many seeds having life in them which have to be cast into the ground of public opinion in order to bear fruit. They must get out of the mind if they are not to "abide alone." The thinker communicates his scheme to another, or publishes it in the newspaper, and by and by, under the influence of the opinions and suggestions of others, the thought, once his, bears fruit. This holds true of apparently trivial thoughts. A casual remark made in the hearing of a thoughtful friend may yield a rich harvest of knowledge.

4. Historic influence. The good that men do lives after them. Men in advance of their age are never known till they die. This is true of poets, statesmen, etc., but of none so much as Christ. No one was ever so misunderstood — so little known; but every succeeding century carries a truer picture of His unique life.


1. Christ who was "the Life" had to surrender that life in order that He might be for and in the world. Had he "spared Himself" He would have abode alone, had He never been "bruised" He would not have been the "Bread of life."

2. So in regard to the principle of Christian life. Self is given away in holy efforts for others, in order to produce in them, and so be found again in, the fruits of righteousness.

3. The mainspring which sets all going is love. Love is self-sacrifice, and by that principle we live unto God and are filled.

IV. THE RESURRECTION. Like the seed corn the body must be put into the ground if it would rise again and bear fruit. Conclusion: The subject teaches —

1. The difficulties of selfishness and the terrible daring and force of sin.(1) God has placed us under a system of laws which make it natural and imperative to serve others. To break through this system involves effort and secures self-destruction.(2) Yet sin has the audacity to recommend this course, and is thus the grand antagonist of nature as well as grace.

2. The nature and functions of Christianity — that it is no afterthought suggested by the fall, but what agrees with principles already in operation.

3. The feelings of awe and hope with which we should regard death.

(S. C. Gordon, B. D.)

1. A corn of wheat — how insignificant. A little child may hold it in its tiny hand; and yet not all the science of the world could produce it. That depends on the strict preservation of all the laws and influences of the universe; were one interfered with all life would perish.

2. Our Lord's disciples were probably excited over the triumphal entry, and expectant that their Master would assume that throne they had imagined for Him. Hence He reminds them of His approaching death and its significance.

3. The great truth here declared is that life comes through death and exaltation through humiliation. Again and again had our Lord taught this, but the disciples failed to apprehend it. Nor can we wonder at that, for it is the great stumbling block of our day.

4. But of what use is a corn of wheat except it die? It would hardly supply a meal for the smallest bird. It is a thing of beauty perfectly shaped and you may put it in a casket worthy of it, but it is worthless while kept "alone." But place it in the earth where showers and sunshine may reach it, and who can tell what may become of it? So it was with Him who compared Himself to one. The disciples would have kept that inestimably precious life all to themselves. Had they done so it would have stood "alone," and been but an angel's visit. It would have supplied man with a pattern, but one which would have filled the race with despair, and made it at best local and temporary. What man wanted was an adequate motive power which death only could supply.

5. Not only so, but "except it died" how could it multiply itself? Place a corn of wheat among the regalia of the realm, and it will remain "alone," but place it in suitable soil and it will spring up thirty, sixty, etc. "The Son of Man came to give His life a ransom for many." The preaching of a crucified Christ won three thousand on the Day of Pentecost; and it is this same truth which has ever since been the lifeblood of the Church.

6. Moreover, it is by the death of the corn of wheat that we have hope and promise of a more glorious body by and by. Turn up the earth in a month or so after the seed has been sown, and what do you find but a black, mouldy mass with death written on every particle of it? But go to the same spot on the reaping day, and can any contrast be greater? "Sown in corruption," etc.

(D. Howell.)


1. The symbolical corn of wheat has a real existence — Christ.(1) Wheat! The Word of God is called by this name. It is not like chaff; it has nourishment in it, and is preeminent among all words, as wheat is among grain. Believers are called wheat. The wicked are chaff, tares, which have no value in them. Christ is the Word of God in a higher sense than scripture, and between Christ and believers there is union. The rank which wheat holds among cereals may remind us that Christ is chief among ten thousand; the delicate purity of it, that He is the Holy One of God; and the great purpose that it serves, that He is the bread of life.(2) A corn of wheat. There is life in that, so there is in a blade or leaf; but these cannot propagate their life, whereas that has life to give away. Their life, too, is dependent and continually derived from the stem and root from which they must not be divided; but that has life that it carries with it wherever it goes. So the life that is in Christ comes not by transmission. He is "the Life."(3) Acorn of wheat keeps its life a long time. It has been found in the hand of a mummy after thousands of years. The Son of God became a corn of wheat, for the purpose expressed in our text, before the foundation of the world.

2. The corn of wheat, has fallen into the ground. This is a figurative expression of the fact of the incarnation. When the vital powers of wheat are to he called into action it is necessary to take it from the garner and sow it. One corn of wheat was taken from the Father's bosom and put into this sinful world. How great an abasement! The Creator became a creature, and was subjected to a creature's duties and obligations.

3. When a corn of wheat falls into the ground it dies. One corn of wheat has died because it was sown. If the Eternal Son had not been sent down His death would not have taken place. He was made under the broken, offended law which slew Him with its curse.

4. When a corn of wheat dies its life-giving power is developed. One corn of wheat has not remained alone. Christ's death has great results. It was to Him what the deep sleep was to Adam — it gave Him a spouse. His death is the root, the collective Church is the stem, and individual believers its fruit with which the stem is laden. "When thou shalt make His soul," etc. He saw this seed at Pentecost and at many a Pentecost since, and will continue to see it till the Church is complete. And when He sees His seed He recognizes them, and that because of their likeness to Himself. When a corn of wheat produces seed, it is seed of its own nature. So the seed of Christ are like Him.


1. Its character.(1) Glorious. The shame was outward and transient, the glory essential and imperishable.(2) Fruitful. In this its glory largely consists. The consequences are destined to cover the earth and outlive time.(3) Not a natural death but a death of violence. There are various kinds of violent deaths.(a) Martyrdom. This is glorious, and has fruits. Christ was a martyr.(b) That of a soldier. A peculiar lustre attaches to Wolfe, Nelson, and the heroes at Thermopylae, who conquered while they died, as did Christ.(c) The felon's death, which answers useful ends. And Christ suffered the punishment sin deserved. The holy law was trampled underfoot; His death lifted it up and took away its reproach.(d) The death of a substitute, such as David wished for when Absalom was slain, and Paul, in Romans

1. The ram substituted for Isaac and the sacrifices of Judaism were examples of the same thing. Christ's death was vicarious. "The Lord laid on Him," etc.

2. Its necessity.(1) The simple fact proves this. Christ was not capable of throwing away His life, and God would never have given it had it not been necessary.(2) Its character proves this — as that of a warrior, martyr, etc.(3) But there was a special necessity for it. "Except a corn of wheat," etc. Had He not died He had been a head without a body, a shepherd without a flock, a king without a kingdom, etc.

(A. Gray.)

Two travellers, journeying together, tarried to rest by the way at an inn, when suddenly a cry reached their ears that there was a fire in the village. One of the travellers forthwith sprang up, and leaving his staff and his bundle behind him, hastened to afford assistance. But his companion strove to detain him, saying, "Why should we waste our time here? Are there not hands enough to assist? Wherefore should we concern ourselves about strangers?" The other, however, hearkened not to his words, but ran forth to the fire; when the other leisurely followed, and stood and looked on at a distance. Before the burning house there was a mother transfixed with horror, and screaming, "My children! my children!" When the stranger heard this, he rushed into the house among the falling timbers, and the flames raged around him. "He must perish!" exclaimed the spectators. But after they had waited a short time, behold, he came forth with scorched hair, bringing two young children in his arms, and carried them to their mother. She embraced the infants, and fell at the feet of the stranger; but he lifted her up, and spoke words of comfort to her. The house meanwhile fell with a dreadful crash. As they two, the stranger and his companion, were returning to the inn, the latter said, "But who bade thee risk thy life in such a rash attempt?" "He," answered the former, "who bids me put the seed corn into the ground, that it may decay and bring forth new fruit." "But how," said the other, "if thou hadst been buried beneath the ruins?" His companion smiled, and said, "Then should I have been the seed corn myself."

(J. Krummacher.)

I. The corn of wheat ABIDING ALONE. It is Christ's humiliation which we are mainly called in these words to ponder. But in order, by contrast, to bring out the wonders of that humiliation, let us, as here suggested, go back to a past Eternity, and contemplate that corn of wheat abiding alone. Immensity a void. The mysterious Trinity in unity, pervading and filling all space: No need of worlds or angels to glorify them. There was the corn of wheat abiding alone: the Eternal Son with the Eternal Father, in the glory which He had with Him before the world was.

II. We are next called to consider the corn of wheat FALLING INTO THE GROUND, AND DYING. Impelled by nothing but His own free, sovereign, unmerited grace, Christ resolves not to abide alone. He is to come down to a ruined world in order to effect its ransom and salvation. But, how replace it? How, in other words, is this redemption from sin and death to be effected? There are two words in our text, on which we may for a moment instructively pause. The one suggesting the necessity, the other the voluntariness of the death of Jesus.

1. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground." "Unless." There was no other possible way by which the world could be redeemed. Without the dying of corn seed — no life.

2. We have the voluntariness of Christ's death here set forth. "If it die!" — "If." This same monosyllable He Himself repeats with similar emphasis a few verses further on: "And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me." This leads us —

III. To the corn of wheat BRINGING FORTH MUCH FRUIT. It was prophesied regarding the Redeemer, that He should "see His seed" (Isaiah 53:10). "This," says He, "is the Father's will who hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day" (John 6:39). He — the Tree of Life — was to be felled to the ground; the axe was already laid to the root. But as many a noble denizen of the forest, coming with a crash on the sward, scatters its seed all around, and in a few years there starts up a vast plantation, so Christ, by dying, scattered far and wide the grain of spiritual and immortal life. The seed and the leaves of this Tree are for the healing of the nations. The Divine corn seed drops into the ground; a golden harvest waves, and heaven is garnered with ransomed souls. Oh wondrous multitude which no man can number! A multitude growing ever since Abel bent, a solitary worshipper, in the heavenly Sanctuary, with his solitary song — the first solitary sheaf in these heavenly granaries. Yes! the song is deepening; the sheaves are multiplying.

(J. R. Macduff, D. D.)

The blood of the martyrs has evermore "been the seed of the Church." Thus have the "corns of wheat" been again and again planted, to die and live again in great harvests. We are reminded of the saying of Cranmer to Ridley, as they were fastened to the stake and the fire was lighted under them: "Be of good courage, Master Ridley. We will kindle a fire this day that will be a light to all England." The life of Christ without and within: —

I. In one point of view Christ's life was AN ENTIRE FAILURE. He did not get the things which men think to be most valuable; nor did He derive much gratification in those faculties which men live to gratify; nor, though endowed with a wondrous versatility of powers, did He employ those powers as to make it appear that He gained the object of life. Regarding our Saviour in His general relations —

1. He could scarcely have entered life at a worse door than at the portal of Jewish nationality. For in that age it was a misfortune to be born a Jew in the estimation of everybody except a Jew. So far as worldly opportunities were concerned He might better have been born a heathen.

2. He had but few opportunities in youth. Men are dependent for their standing on the fact that they began with the capital of their predecessors. Christ had nothing of the kind, and He never strove to repair these conditions of fortune.

3. He secured no wealth, not even enough to redeem Himself from dependence.

4. Though He had great power of exciting enthusiasm, He never gained or kept a steady influence over the people. Even His disciples failed to enter into His ideas or career.

5. He failed even more, if it were possible, to secure any personal or professional influence on the minds that ruled that age. There were political rulers of great sagacity whom He never seems to have fallen in with, and He never had a place among men of letters, nor was He a power in any philosophical circle.

6. Even more remarkable is it that He did not produce any immediate impression on the religion and feelings of His age.

7. Nor did He found a family, the object of most great men's ambition. All this being the case, what could His life produce that should remain? Nothing, apparently. It seemed to be like an arrow shot into the air. His trial and condemnation were more than ordinarily ignominious and fruitless, whereas there are many whose trial, etc., is the most glorious event in their history. He died leaving no trace behind. In His resurrection there was not much alleviation, for He never appeared in public; and His ascension closed His career. Was there ever a life that seemed to be thrown away more than Christ's?

II. WHAT ARE THE FACTS ON THE OTHER SIDE? Did He not save His life by losing it.

1. Born a Jew, no man now ever thinks of Him as a Jew. There is victory in that what hung about Him as a cloud is utterly dissipated.

2. Born without opportunity in His social relations, there is not a household or community in Christendom that is not proud to call itself Christian. The very kings of the earth bring their glory and baptize it with His name.

3. Having no learning, when has there been a school or university, or philosophical system for a thousand years that has not been conscious of receiving its germ from Christ?

4. He was indifferent to the ordinary sources of wealth, yet from out His life there has issued an influence that is to control money making.

5. He never gained much influence with the masses, yet what name evokes so much enthusiasm among the common people as Christ's?

6. He made little impression on political and intellectual rulers, but He has now filled the channels of thought and poetic sentiment, and more and more do you find in treaties of law the principles of Christian justice. His life was thrown away, just as grain is thrown away, into the soil: it died to give growth to life.

III. WHAT WAS THE SECRET OF IT ALL? If you had asked at that time, "What are the secrets of power in the world?" any Jew would have pointed to the temple. If, as he did so, you had seen some Greek smiling and asked him the same question, he would have said, "Have you been in Athens?" And if, while he yet spoke, a disdaining Roman had passed by, and you had asked him, "Wherefore that smile?" he would have said, "Jews and Greeks are full of superstitions and are blinded as to the true source of the world's power. That power is centred in Rome." And how would Jew and Greek and Roman joined in the derision if you had pointed to Jesus crucified as the secret of the world's power. And yet Jews, Greeks, and Romans have gone down while this shadow fills the world. It was His death, and the sacrifice involved by that death that was and is the secret of His unique power. But His life was a daily death — a constant self-surrender, and only in so far as we copy Him shall we share His power.

(H. W. Beecher.)


1. The death of the believer has been the life of the sinner. After turning their backs on a sermon men have been convinced by a dying bed.

2. The death of a parent has proved the life of the child. The expiring change has never been forgotten.

3. The death of a minister has been the life of the hearer. Little regarded when living, his word has come with power when gone.

4. The death of a martyr has been the life of the beholder. "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."

5. But where are we now? The death of Jesus is the life of the world.

II. THE DEATH OF JESUS CONFERS THE LARGEST BLESSING. By His death Christ fills heaven with praise, the Church with blessings, the world with followers.

1. A grain of corn multiplies by yielding other grains like itself. If barley is sown, barley comes up; if wheat, wheat; if Christ, Christians. He was not of the world — they are not of the world; He went about doing good — they serve their generation by the will of God; He was meek and lowly of heart — they are learning of Him.

2. A grain of corn is capable of yielding a large crop — one may stock a country. Christ was asked, "Are there few that be saved?" He told the questioner to strive himself to enter into the straight gate; a wiser course for us than speculation. But were the question asked properly we might reply, No, He is leading "many sons to glory" — a multitude which no man can number.


1. The convincing and renewing influences of the Spirit.

2. Deliverance from spiritual enemies.

3. The lively hope by which we draw nigh to God.

4. Holiness.

(W. Jay.)

The people were full of expectation of the temporal kingdom of the Messiah. Therefore our Lord lays down the principles on which His kingdom shall come. It is spiritual, but conforms to the law which says, No power comes into this world, or attains its end, but on the condition of suffering: only in death can life be achieved.

I. ILLUSTRATIONS OF THIS LAW. When we distinguish between the laws of Christian and the laws of ordinary life, we make a false distinction. The former are but the highest spiritual expression of the conditions which underlie and rule all nature.

1. Our Lord takes us to the lower side of life — that of physical nature.

2. So it is with every beautiful and joyous thing that exists. Not a little child's laughter makes home ring with gladness but it has found its life in the trembling agony that has gone before.

3. Take life on its commercial side. The spirit of enterprise does not mean the hugging of your savings, but reinvesting them. A man wins wealth by his readiness and wisdom in fulfilling the law of sacrifice.

4. It is true also in the world of intellect. The power of genius and talent largely consists in the power of self-denial and industry. It is only when a man puts his whole will into the subject he is studying, denying himself pleasure, enduring physical pain and hardship, patiently proving the certainties of his discoveries, that he stands at last amongst his fellows as one who has something to teach.

5. So in all noble and high enterprise. Columbus has his dream, but he must first incur the ridicule and indifference of those who plume themselves on being the wise men of the day.

6. It is true in regard to social life. The same law has its illustration in the case, e.g., of Israel. Their position at first was that of a mere assemblage of tribes with individual preferences, needs, etc., surrounded by the determined hostility of the nations of Canaan. The duty of tribal suffering was the condition of the nation's unity. The Song of Deborah teaches this. That was in its youth; but. Solomon taught that the same principle was at work. "There is that scattereth and yet increaseth," etc. The real wealth of the nation depends on the people's willingness to sacrifice themselves. When the spirit of selfishness came into the land it was easy for the prophets to predict its doom.

II. WHAT DO WE OWE TO CHRIST IN CONNECTION WITH THIS PRINCIPLE? Christ did for it that which makes it capable of operating throughout the whole length and breadth of human life.

1. Christ unfolded to the intellect and brought into the consciousness of life this law. This is His claim to originality. No man can claim originality in inventing new laws. Sir Isaac Newton only brought into human thought the law of gravity, which bad existed ever since the stars were made. The truest benefactor is not he that brings novelties, but who makes us acquainted with the laws which underlie our national existence.

2. But intellectual perception is not enough. Example is the potent agent of action, and therefore Christ brought the law home to the will. You teach a law by an example because you thus stir up the principles of admiration and emulation. Christ is no mere demonstrator; He stood to the yoke of the very laws He had made. He passes by all temptations to selfishness leading a life of self-consecration from Bethlehem to Calvary. And what is the harvest? His power is the kingdom which is the measure of the world's empire today. Where is the power of Egypt and Assyria, the wisdom and genius of Greece? These, founded on mere selfishness, have passed away. But every land has worshippers of Him who died on the cross.

3. The work must be carried yet further. A man may clearly perceive a thing and most earnestly resolve it. You may gain his intellect and will, but you have not won the man until you have got hold of the affections. It is love which illuminates the actions and understanding, and lifts men's lives into courses which make the whole life obedient to them. Christ was not only the educator and the embodiment of the law; behind both there was the inspiration of His love. And so "we love Him because He first loved us."

(Bp. Boyd Carpenter.)

There are two conditions of being possible, either of which must constitute our character — rove and self. Love seeks its life outside itself: self seeks its life in itself. Love, in order to possess, sacrifices selfishness; while self, in order to possess, keeps itself and sacrifices love. An unloving soul is —

I. WITHOUT GOD IN THE WORLD. God's love toward us is certain; but of what avail is that if our hearts are closed against Him. "He that loveth not knoweth not God." He may be, as He is, everywhere present; but unless the heart receives His love and returns it, it is the same to us as if God did not exist. The world is without the sun at noon-day to the blind man.

II. WITHOUT CHRIST. Jesus is one with the Father in Being and in love to man. He came not merely to atone for sin, but to impart His life of love. He represents Himself accordingly, as knocking, etc., the symbol of fellowship of brotherly love. But how can such fellowship be realized if self bars the door? Jesus may be as near to us as He was to Satan in the wilderness, and yet between us the same moral gulf. Judas was as far from Him when he sat by His side as when he went forth to his own place. So we may be near Christ when He saves others, but abide "alone." He cannot dwell in the selfish heart.

III. WITHOUT THE SPIRIT. The Spirit sheds abroad the love of God. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ," etc. "The fruit of the Spirit is love." But if we quench Him, whatever His love may be, it may be said of us "not having the Spirit."

IV. WITHOUT COMMUNION WITH SAINTS. There is but one family in heaven and earth, and one Spirit pervades the whole — love. Prisons, loss, and bereavement cannot shut Christians out from this. The unloving soul is not rejected: he is invited, "Come thou with us and we will do thee good"; but he responds, "I desire only myself."

V. What is to become of such a man? He has rejected God, etc. As years advance the conviction steals over him that his companions are falling away. Old age comes, and the world becomes like a cell where he must suffer solitary confinement. The deathbed at last is reached, and he must go forth "alone" into the unknown. How sad and dreary. He has lived alone and now finds himself WITHOUT HEAVEN.

(J. T. Pitcher.)

He that loveth his life shall lose it.
The text —

I. APPLIES TO THE POSITION CHRIST OCCUPIED AT THE TIME. The gratification of a selfish desire in Christ at this time meant the world's ruin — ruin intensified by the fact that the work of deliverance was so nearly completed. Christ was the exemplification of the text (chap. John 10:17, 18; 15:13; Galatians 2:20).

II. THE GENERAL APPLICATION TO US. It points to two subjects on which we propose to dwell.

1. Selfishness indulged — the cause of irreparable loss. "He that loveth His life shall lose it." See how selfishness operates on and affects the life.(1) It isolates. Man is intended to be a social being. Selfishness shuts out society and turns a man in upon himself.(2) It debases. Man is intended to benefit his race. While getting good he is to do good. Selfishness obstructs the work of charity and usefulness. The life that should find loving room for all is reduced to its own enjoyment and gratification.(3) It destroys. "Shall lose it." An irreparable loss, which cannot be fully understood, but of which some conception may be formed when you consider —

(a)The excellence of its nature — God-bestowed.

(b)The duration of its existence — eternal.

(c)The price of its redemption — the sacrificial death of Jesus.This leads us to ask, What is meant by loving life? Not the pure enjoyment of life by a healthy vigorous person, but the love bestowed without restraint on the purely animal life, indulging appetite, fulfilling sensual lusts and delights, following fashion, craving for fame, a passion for riches and pleasures — loving these more than Christ. The worldling who gives his soul for the world.

2. Self-denial practised — the security of eternal life. "He that hateth," etc. Self-denial is not a gift, but a cultivation developed by exercise and practice. It is the resurrection of our personality buried in the grave of deception. In self-denial we find our true selves. Man's choice lies between temporary gain and eternal loss. The false says the present; the true part of our nature says the future. "Hatred" of life is not misanthropy. It is this life loved less than the life to come; everything here treated as being incompetent to give true joy, preferring God's favour to all below. Crucifying the flesh, keeping the body under, enduring persecution for Christ's sake — the seed of "much fruit." "Shall keep it," etc. Selfishness enervates, loosens the grasp, and allows the treasure to slip away. Self-denial tightens the hold and retains possession. "Life eternal" — deliverance from trial, the enjoyment of rest and reward.

(J. E. Hargreaves.)

Richard Denton, a blacksmith, residing (in Cambridgeshire, was a professor of religion, and the means of converting the martyr, William Woolsey. When told by that holy man that he wondered be had not followed him to prison, Denton replied that he could not burn in the cause of Christ. Not long after, his house being on fire, he ran in to save some of his goods, and was burnt to death.

If any man serve Me, let him follow Me
S. S. Times., S. S. Times.





(S. S. Times.)





(S. S. Times.)

When Amurah II died, which was very suddenly, his son and destined successor, Mohammed, was about a day's journey distant in Asia Minor. Every day of interregnum in that fierce and turbulent monarchy is attended with peril. The death of the deceased Sultan was therefore concealed, and a secret message despatched to the prince to hasten at once to the capital. On receiving the message he leaped on a powerful Arab charger, and, turning to his attendants, said, "Let him who loves me follow!" This prince afterwards became one of the most powerful sovereigns of the Ottoman line. Those who approved their courage and loyalty by following him in this critical moment of his fortunes were magnificently rewarded. There is another Prince — the Prince of Peace — who says to those around him, "Let him who loves Me follow."

The motto of the Prince of Wales is "Ich dien — I serve; it should be the motto of every prince of the blood royal of heaven.


1. We should all like to minister to Christ. If He were here now there would be nothing which we would not do for Him, so we say. But much of this is mere sentiment. If Christ were to come now as He came at first, probably we should treat Him as He was treated. This sentimentalism has at the bottom of it the idea that we should be honouring ourselves by it. But if you really would serve Christ, you can, by following, i.e., imitating Him.(1) One says, I should like to do something to prove that I really would obey my Lord. I would show that I am not a servant in name only." Imitate Christ, and you then show your obedience.(2) Another says, "I would joyfully assist Him in His wants." Imitate Him, then, and go about doing good. Behold His wants in the poor saints.(3) "I would do something to cheer Him." The solace of His sorrow is the obedience of His people. When He sees that He sees of the travail of His soul, etc.(4) "I would honour Him." Christ is most honoured when His saints are most sanctified. Follow Him thus, and you will honour Him more than by strewing palm branches in His way and shouting "Hosannah!"

2. Let me mark out Christ's way, and then, if you would serve Him, follow Him. The proud flesh wants to follow Christ by striking out new paths, to he an original thinker. It is not for us to be originals, but humble copies of Christ.(1) He went to Jordan to be baptized. If you would serve Him don't say this is not essential; it is not a servant's business to determine that.(2) The Spirit led Him to be tempted of the devil; don't think that temptation is a mark of being out of Christ.(3) Now He comes forth to work. So you must follow Him in labour. If you cannot preach to thousands you can to tens, or to one, as He did by Jacob's well.(4) He bears bold witness before His adversaries. Let there not be a foe before whose face you would fear to plead His cause.(5) He comes into the black cloud of reproach; they say He has a devil and is mad. Follow Him there.(6) He comes to die. Be ready to yield thy life if called upon, and if not, devote every moment of it to Him.

II. GENEROUS STIPULATIONS FROM A NOBLE MASTER. "Where I am," etc. Whoever heard of such conditions. The master is in the drawing room, the servant in the kitchen; the master presides at the table, the servant waits at the table. Not so here.

1. This was Christ's role all His life long.(1) He went to a wedding, to the house of Lazarus, to the Pharisee's house, and had He been an ordinary man He would have said, "I can. not take these poor fishermen with Me;" but they were always with Him: with Him too in His triumphal entry and His last great feast. "With desire," etc.(2) But if He thus shared His comforts among His disciples, He expected them to share His discomforts. He was in a ship in a great storm, and they must be with Him though they were sore afraid. He goes to Gethsemane, and they must be with Him there; and though He had to tread the winepress alone, yet they were with Him in death, for they suffered martyrdom.

2. This stands true to us. Where Christ was we must be. He is gone to heaven now, and where He is we shall be also. Fare ill or well we are to have joint stock with Christ.


1. In his own soul. He shall have such peace and fellowship that this honour shall be apparent. How greatly God honoured Knox, who never feared the face of man, with unruffled serenity of heart!

2. By success in whatever he may attempt. Why is it that little success rests on some who labour for God? Because they do not serve Christ by imitating Him. Ecclesiastical courts and rubrics confine too many.

3. At the last, before the angels.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Weekly Pulpit.
I. THE COURSE OF CHRISTIAN SERVICE. What are men's ideas of life? The gratification of animal appetites, the desire for social pleasures, the love of distinction. Is it any wonder that these ideas should prompt the question, "Is life worth living?" These are ends which life itself will ultimately disdain. Turn, then, to Christ's idea — service true and lasting.

1. Christ's life was one of full consecration to God. This consecration was —

(1)Active — "I come to do Thy will."

(2)Entire — "My meat is to do the will," etc.

(3)Realized in the largest degree — "Into Thy hands I commit My Spirit."

(4)Triumphant, "It is finished."

(5)Was maintained by prayer.

2. Christ's life was inspired with one aim — the elevation of mankind. Archimedes said that if he could find a fulcrum he would make a lever that would lift the world. The fulcrum in our redemption was God's eternal purpose, and the lever Christ's own life — His teaching and example. This is the Church's mission today.

3. Jesus never made present success the ground of His life. After 1800 years there is more power in it than when He saved the dying thief.

II. THIS SERVICE LEANS WHERE JESUS IS. There is elevation in the very nature of Christian service. Men wearing titles and honours which they have never deserved are looked upon with contempt. To bear Christ's name and to wear His livery without serving Him is despicable. But that service is calculated to destroy one of our most debasing passions — selfishness; and the moment that that is dead at the feet of Jesus we begin to rise. We are not Mind to other elevating influences — knowledge, taste, industry, uprightness, but a heart consecrated to Christ is higher than all. It has higher conceptions of life, sweeter sentiments of duty, aims at higher ends.


1. A place in heaven.

2. Distinguished signs of approbation.

3. Association with Jesus.

(Weekly Pulpit.)


1. It was free. Voluntariness is the essence of this virtue. For others to deny us a benefit or to constrain us to hardship we would avoid is not self-denial. Christ "emptied Himself," etc.

2. It was wise. It was not placed in trifles. If He restrained innocent desires or endured what was painful it was for noble and generous ends.

3. It was extensive, reaching from the humble stable to the malefactor's cross, and all was foreseen.

4. It was disinterested. Many deny to serve themselves; but "ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," etc. Would we be Christ's followers? Our self-denial must be like His — free, wise, etc.


1. It is great and honourable in itself. These qualities arise from character and conduct, and are independent of the judgments of men. They are not derived from noble descent, magnificence, dominion, etc. To rise above self-love requires a vigour in which there will always be found true greatness of mind.

2. It conducts to true greatness. Voluptuousness rusts the best talents, blunts the most undaunted courage, perverts the soundest judgment, and corrupts the purest heart. All these qualities a habit of self-denial improves. That which the world counts greatness can only be achieved by self-denial — learning, statesmanship, war. But Christian self-denial makes man truly great.

3. It is honoured by God. This is seen in the case of Christ. For His self-denial God gave Him a name above every name.

(J. Erskine, D. D.)

Where I am there shall also My servant he. I have heard that a noted Methodist preacher, who commenced his ministry very early in life, suffered not a little at first because of his humble origin and unpromising exterior. Being sent on the circuit plan to a certain house on a Saturday night, to be in readiness for preaching on the Sunday, the good woman, who did not like the look of him, sent him round to the kitchen. The serving man was surprised to see the minister in the kitchen when he came from labour. John, rough as he was, welcomed the despised preacher, and tried to cheer him. The minister shared John's meal of porridge, John's bed in the cockloft, and John's humble breakfast, and walked to the House of God with John in the morning. Now, the preacher had not long opened his mouth before the congregation perceived that there was somewhat in him, and the good hostess, who had so badly entertained him, began to feel a little uneasy. When the sermon was over there were many invitations for the minister to come home, and the hostess, fearful of losing her now honoured guest, begged he would walk home with her, when, to her surprise, he said, "I supped with John, I slept with John, I breakfasted with John, I walked here with John, and I'll walk home with John." So when dinner came he was, of course, entreated to come into the chief room, for many friends wished to dine with this young minister, but no, he would dine in the kitchen; he had supped with John, he had breakfasted with John, and he would dine with John. They begged him to come into the parlour, and at last he consented on the condition that John should sit at the same table. "For," he said, very properly, "John was with me in my humiliation, and I will not sit down to dine unless he be with me in my exaltation." So on they went till the Monday morning, for "John was with me at the beginning, and he shall be with me to the end." This story may be turned to account thus: our Master came into this world once, and they sent Him into the servants' place, where the poor and despised ones were. Now the name of Christ is honoured, and kings and cardinals, popes and bishops, say, "Master, come and dine with us." Yes, the proud emperor and philosopher would have Him sup with them, but still He says, "No, I was with the poor and afflicted when I was on earth, and I will be with them to the end, and when the great feast is made in heaven the humble shall sit with Me, and the poor and despised who were not ashamed of Me, of them will I not be ashamed when I come into the glory of My Father, and all My holy angels with Me."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

If any man serve Me, him will My Father honour.


1. It is not a condition of serfdom. It is perfect freedom.

2. It is not a condition of menialism. In a modified sense it gives equality with Christ (John 15:15). The relation between the Saviour and His servants is tender, intimate, mysterious. "Christ in you the hope of glory."

3. It involves a complete renunciation of every other service and our entire dedication to Christ. Hand and head and heart, time and influence and wealth must be laid on His altar.

4. It is a voluntary service. The Bible, the history of each saint of God, and our own inward consciousness unite in attesting that we possess the power to discern moral distinctions, to recognize the character, and to appreciate the claims of God; the power to render implicit obedience or proudly to defy our Maker.


1. The service of Christ is the only path of real honour; but it is the sure way to certain and glorious distinction.

2. This service elevates the physical, gives majesty to the intellectual, and arrays in robes of richest glory the moral and spiritual. It inspires an unwavering purpose. It raises to all the privileges of an adopted sonship.

3. It is emphatically royal. Those engaged in it are "a royal priesthood." Already they have in possession the highest good, and in prospect an "inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away." They are kings, albeit as yet uncrowned, but awaiting patiently their coronation.

(J. W. Jones.)

Few men love service. Man prefers to be his own master, to do as he pleases, But he who spurns the counsel of God commits an act of suicide on his liberty. He is the free man who serves God. But he who refuses is a slave to Satan or self.

I. WHAT IS IT TO SERVE JESUS? We may serve Him —

1. In the faith we hold. Studying it, mastering it, loving it, practising it.

2. In suffering for His sake. Bearing meekly persecution, calumny, Divine discipline, and poverty.

3. In the outward acts we perform. Some may serve God in ecclesiastical duties, others in the private duties of religion, and those of daily life. If you cannot serve Christ in one way you can in another — the servant in the household, the nurse in the hospital, the merchant in the rectitude of his dealings. It is not necessary to be a clergyman; you may serve Christ behind the counter or at the plough.


1. In this world.(1) In the midst of the Church. Whatever a man's rank may be, the most useful are after all the most honoured. Let a man deserve position, and his fellow Christians will not be backward in giving it.(2) In the world. You may not know it, but the conscience of the wicked respects the righteous, however scornful the tongue. And for whom does the sinner send on his death bed? His boon companions? No; the man of prayer.(3) After he is dead. The servant of Christ has honour at the hands of his family, his business connections, his neighbourhood, after he is gone.

2. In the world to come.(1) At the judgment — from persecutors, the wicked, the devil himself.(2) Throughout eternity. "Well done," etc.


1. The master who is served. Jesus — Divine and human — One in whom are associated the might of omnipotence and the tenderness of love, who strengthens the weakness of His servants and uniformly leads them to victory and reward. And what else can it be but a service of honour to follow one so preeminently glorious? The subject may be proud of the sovereign, the scholar of the teacher, etc., but what sovereign, etc., can be compared with Christ. The conclusion is irresistible. There is no one who ought to be so trusted, loved, and obeyed.

2. The men who serve. Not men of any description, but fit men, chosen, justified, sanctified. How animating to be associated with such — men at the head of their species, whatever the world may say. The soldier congratulates himself on belonging to a profession which includes a Wellington; the student that he traverses a path trodden by Plato and Newton; the artist that he follows in the wake of Raphael and Reynolds; but we follow in the footsteps of Paul, , Luther, etc. "Wherefore seeing we are encompassed," etc.

3. The object contemplated — the loftiest at which man can aim — the evangelization of the world. The politician may alleviate the burdens of many, the merchant increase the comfort of thousands, the physician and inventor minister to multitudes, but the Christian carries light to the benighted and life to the dead, deposes Satan and enthrones God.

4. Its motive. The love of Christ. Think of that in the constancy of its exercise, the depth of its intensity, the fulness of its abundance, the felicity of its influence, and the munificence of its bestowment, and you will feel with Paul, "the love of Christ constraineth," etc.

II. THE REWARD. God honours those who serve His Son —

1. By crowning their labours with success. Admiration and advantages are nothing with success, but that compensates all sacrifices and exertions; and Christians always have it, although in a different way and of a different sort to what they expect.

2. By bestowing upon them His friendship and presence. This atones for worldly neglect and contempt.

3. By making them the almoners of His grace. All right-minded men esteem it an honour to dispense blessings, but Christians are channels of the living waters of salvation.

4. By raising them to the blessedness and glory of heaven.

(J. Fleming.)

I. EVERY TRUE CHRISTIAN IS A SERVANT OF CHRIST. This is a very frequent description of His people, "My servants." In one sense all men and all creatures are the servants of Christ: they are subject to the control of His power, the direction of His wisdom, the accomplishment of His purposes, and the manifestation of His glory. But it may be more properly said He serves Himself by them, than that they serve Him. We are not to confine this relationship to those who serve Christ in the ministry of the word, either at home or amidst the moral wilds of pagan superstition. They, indeed, are His servants in an eminent, but not in an exclusive sense. To be a servant might seem to imply no very lofty eminence of distinction, no very rich honour. This, however, depends upon the dignity of the person we serve. When the queen of Sheba saw the glory, and heard the wisdom of Solomon, she poured forth her raptures in congratulations to his servants, who stood continually in his presence, and ministered before his throne.

II. IT IS ESSENTIAL TO THE CHARACTER AND CONDUCT OF A SERVANT OF CHRIST TO FOLLOW HIM. This, in fact, is the service; the follower is the servant, and no other. The servant keeps his eye upon his master, and avoiding all other persons, and all other streets, treads in his footsteps, and presses as closely as possible to him. Just observe for a moment whom a Christian does not follow. He does not follow the teachers of false opinions in religion, in philosophy, or in morals, with whatever specious sophisms, or seductive eloquence, their notions may be advanced and supported. He does not follow the votaries of pleasure or of fashion, in their epicurean revels, with whatever elegance or refinement they may endeavour to recommend their habits.

1. In what views of Christ do His servants follow him? As their Teacher.

2. We are to follow Him as our Saviour. He came not only to instruct us, but to redeem us.

3. We are to follow Christ as a Master. "Ye call me Master and Lord," said Jesus to His disciples, "and ye say well, for so I am" (John 13:13). Here it may be proper to consider the rule of our service to Christ. This is the word of God. If I were asked to describe the character of a servant of Christ, not such as His professing people are too generally found, but such as they ought to be, I should say, they are His willing servants; they choose His service with their whole heart, and would not quit it for any consideration of wealth, rank, station, or fame. They are His servants without terms or conditions as to the kind, quantity, time or place of service. If it be not degrading the subject to apply to it a common phrase in domestic use, I would say they are servants of all work: willing to do the work of God in any place, in any condition, in any circumstances; so that if they can serve Him better by suffering than by active duties, in adversity than in prosperity, they are willing to do it. They are His inquisitive servants, searching the Scriptures as the rule of conduct, to know His will. They are His loving servants; loving their Master and His work too. They are His diligent servants, satisfied with no measure of duty, wrestling against a slothful and indolent disposition, and forgetting the things that are behind, in going on unto perfection. They are His faithful servants, taking account of all the gifts, graces, opportunities of usefulness, and means of doing the will of God and serving their generation. They are His waiting servants, looking for the coming of their Master.

4. We are to follow Him as an example. We are to imitate His holy life. Christ must be followed in humble dependence on Divine grace; and with a fixed resolution and dauntless courage in the face of danger, and at the risk of suffering.


(J. A. James.)

Labour is not necessarily service. A good worker may be a poor server. A cook who lets the dinner spoil because she persists in scrubbing the floor when she should be watching the pot, is laborious, but not faithful. Service rather than labour is the measure of usefulness everywhere. God's service is not merely in the church meeting, nor in the home closet, but in every legitimate undertaking of life. Whatever distracts us in our proper business distracts from our proper service. The bookkeeper who makes a wrong entry because he is dreaming of the pleasures of last night's prayer meeting, is practically forgetting God, because he forgets present duty. The paymaster who makes an overpayment because he is framing his next Sunday school lesson, may think more about God than he thinks of Him. He is a religious worker more than a godly server. And one may serve the Church to the neglect of the Master. He may forget God in thinking about God.

(H. C. Trumbull, D. D.)

We will suppose that the Prince of Wales is wrecked on a certain voyage, and is cast on shore with only one companion. The Prince falls into the hands of barbarians, and there is an opportunity for his companion to escape; but he says, "No, my Prince, I will stay with you to the last, and if we die, we will die together." The Prince is thrown into a dungeon; his companion is in the prison with him, and serves him and waits upon him. He is sick — it is a contagious fever — his companion nurses him — puts the cooling liquid to his mouth — and waits on him with a mother's care. He recovers a little: the fond attendant carries the young Prince, as he is getting better, into the open air, and tends him as a mother would her child. They are subject to deep poverty — they share their last crust together; they are hooted at as they go through the streets, and they are hooted at together. At last, by some turn in Providence, it is discovered where the Prince is, and he is brought home. Who is the man that the Queen will delight to honour? I fancy she would look with greater affection upon the poor servant than upon the greatest statesman; and I think that as long as she lived she would remember him above all the rest, "I will honour him above all the mighty ones in the land." And now, if we shall be with Christ, the King's Son, if we shall suffer with Him, and be reproached with Him, if we shall follow Him anywhere and everywhere, making no choice about the way, whether it shall be rough or smooth — if we can go with Him to prison and to death, then we shall be the men whom heaven's King delighteth to honour. "Make room for Him, ye angels! Stand back ye peers of heaven's realm Here comes the man; he was poor, mean, and afflicted; but he was with My Son, and was like My Son. Come hither, man! There, take thy crown, and sit with My Son in His glory, for thou wast with My Son in His shame."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

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