Philippians 3:10
I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to Him in His death,
Being Made Conformable unto His DeathR. Burns, D. D.Philippians 3:10
By the Fellowship of His SufferingsP. J. Gloag, D. D.Philippians 3:10
Characteristics of the Knowledge of ChristProfessor Eadie.Philippians 3:10
Christ Suffering in His MembersT. Guthrie, D. D.Philippians 3:10
Conformity to Christ's DeathDean Alford.Philippians 3:10
Do You Know HimC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 3:10
Experimental Knowledge of ChristT. Boston, D. D.Philippians 3:10
Fellowship with Christ's SufferingMusical AnecdotesPhilippians 3:10
Fellowship with Suffering Longed ForS. Coley.Philippians 3:10
Knowing ChristT. M. Herbert, M. A.Philippians 3:10
Saving KnowledgeAlexander MaclarenPhilippians 3:10
Sweetness of Fellowship with ChristS. Rutherford.Philippians 3:10
The Believer's AspirationsJ. Sherman.Philippians 3:10
The Experimental Knowledge of ChristT. Manton, D. D.Philippians 3:10
The Fellowship of Christ's SufferingsJ. Lyth, D. D., J. Daille.Philippians 3:10
The Fellowship of Christ's SufferingsA. Pope.Philippians 3:10
The Fellowship of Christ's SufferingsT. Raffles, D. D.Philippians 3:10
The Fellowship of Christ's SufferingsW. M. H. H. Aitken, M. A.Philippians 3:10
The Fellowship of Christ's SufferingsDean Alford.Philippians 3:10
The Fellowship of Christ's SufferingsBishop Magee.Philippians 3:10
The Fellowship of Christ's SufferingsS. Martin.Philippians 3:10
The Fellowship of Christ's SufferingsDean Vaughan.Philippians 3:10
The Fellowship of Christ's SufferingsAnna Shipton.Philippians 3:10
The Fellowship of His SufferingsV. Hutton Philippians 3:10
The Knowledge of Christ a Personal KnowledgeDean Vaughan.Philippians 3:10
The Martyr SpiritPhilippians 3:10
The Natural Desire of a Christian for the Knowledge of His SaviourC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 3:10
The Path of LifeJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 3:10
The Power of Christ's ResurrectionT. C. FinlaysonPhilippians 3:10
The Power of Christ's ResurrectionC. Graham.Philippians 3:10
The Power of Christ's ResurrectionBaldwin Brown, B. A.Philippians 3:10
The Power of Christ's ResurrectionT. Binney, D. D.Philippians 3:10
The Power of Christ's ResurrectionS. Martin.Philippians 3:10
The Power of Christ's ResurrectionHomiletic MonthlyPhilippians 3:10
The Power of Christ's ResurrectionCanon Liddon.Philippians 3:10
The Power of the ResurrectionBishop Lightfoot., C. Neat.Philippians 3:10
The Power of the ResurrectionH. Stowell, M. A.Philippians 3:10
The Power of the Resurrection in SorrowJ. N. Norton.Philippians 3:10
The Progressive Knowledge of ChristC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 3:10
The Resurrection is a PowerBishop Thorold.Philippians 3:10
Uses of the Knowledge of ChristDean Vaughan.Philippians 3:10
Vicarious Suffering CommonH. W. Beecher.Philippians 3:10
Christian JoyJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 3:1-11
Grounds of Christian RejoicingJ. Lyth, D. D., W. D. Pope, D. D.Philippians 3:1-11
It is God's Will that We Should Rejoice in HimPhilippians 3:1-11
Joy in the LordR. Johnstone, LL. B.Philippians 3:1-11
Joy in the LordKnox Little.Philippians 3:1-11
Joy is not Always EcstasyH. W. Beecher.Philippians 3:1-11
Prideless PrideJ. J. Goadby.Philippians 3:1-11
Repeating the Same TeachingJ. Hutchison, D. D.Philippians 3:1-11
RepetitionH. Airay, D. D., R. Sibbes, D. D.Philippians 3:1-11
The Elevating Power of JoyKnox Little.Philippians 3:1-11
The Importance of Christian JoyR. Johnstone, LL. B.Philippians 3:1-11
The Joy of Christian BrethrenR. Sibbes, D. D.Philippians 3:1-11
The Repetition of Old Truth IsJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 3:1-11
The Usefulness of RepetitioH. Melvill, B. D.Philippians 3:1-11
The True CircumcisionR. Finlayson Philippians 3:1-16
Privileges no Ground of TrustR. Johnstone, LL. D.Philippians 3:4-10
The Faith of St. PaulT. Jones, D. D.Philippians 3:4-10
Phases of ChristD. Thomas Philippians 3:8-11
The EnthusiastR.M. Edgar Philippians 3:8-11
The True Ground of a Sinner's HopeT. Croskery Philippians 3:8-11
The Knowledge of Christ: its Degrees and its PurposeV. Hutton Philippians 3:10, 11

I. THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS PERSON. This is the initiatory step. We must first recognize him to be our own God and Savior, and One who is to be altogether longed for. Nathanael thus knew him (John 1:49), and St. Peter (Matthew 16:16).

II. THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION. This is a step beyond the simple knowledge of his person. It can be found only in our own spiritual experience when we recognize his power in the victory which he wins in us over the power of sin. St. Peter did not learn the power of Christ's resurrection until he had received the Holy Ghost.

III. THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS. When we have experienced the power of his resurrection we begin to find that his sufferings are ours and ours are his. We begin to feel something of that keenest of all his sufferings, the misery of the presence and the power of sin. At the same time, we find that, by a certain law of reciprocity, our own sufferings are no longer exclusively our own, but that he is bearing them with us and for us,

IV. BY THESE STAGES WE ARE MADE CONFORMABLE TO HIS DEATH. His death was an entire death unto sin; by our thus dwelling in him and he in us we also die unto sin.

V. THUS DYING UNTO SIN WE ATTAIN TO THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD; i.e. not merely to the extension of life after physical death, but to the complete resurrection, which is the entire victory over every form of death, natural or spiritual. - V.W.H.

That I may know Him




(J. Lyth, D. D.)

It is said that St. wished to have seen three things before he died; Rome in its glory, Christ in the flesh, and Paul in his preaching. But many have seen the first without being the holier, the second without being happier, and heard the third and yet went to perdition. But Paul, in this and the previous chapters, expresses seven wishes which centre in Christ — that he might know Christ, win Christ, magnify Christ, be conformed to Christ, be found in Christ, rejoice in the day of Christ, and be forever with Christ. Now these correspond perfectly with the desires of every child of God. Here Paul desires —

I. TO KNOW CHRIST. St. Paul appreciated the value of other departments of knowledge. He was a scholar and a theologian; but after he had learned Christ they seemed to fade in interest. This knowledge was the subject of his preaching everywhere, as he told the Corinthians and the Galatians. He wished to know Christ.

1. Increasingly. The more he knew Him the more he wanted to know, and no wonder, for(1) in Him is everything worthy to be known.(2) This knowledge never cloys.

2. Experimentally. To know in Scripture is to see and to taste. It is not the speculative knowledge that devils have, nor mere historical knowledge, but such as a hungry man has when he eats, and a thirsty man when he drinks. It is appropriative of Christ — "My Lord," "My Saviour."

3. Superlatively (ver. 8). For what is the widest and most delightful knowledge in the presence of this? but as sounding brass, vanity.

II. THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION. The word "power" makes all the difference between religion in the head and in the heart, between possession and profession. It is one thing to have knowledge, and another to have it vitally and brought into action. Christ's resurrection has a vast power.

1. In our justification. His ransom could avail nothing without His resurrection. "If Christ be not raised your faith is vain." But by it the Father publicly testified His approval

2. In our sanctification, which is the renewing of our nature and the strengthening of our graces by the Holy Spirit, who is the fruit of the resurrection.

3. In our edification. Every sermon, etc., is vain if Christ be not risen. All the means of Christian growth are dependent upon it (Ephesians 4:7-14). What power it gave to apostolic preaching.

4. In our glorification. There had been no resurrection for us without Christ's. As in Adam, the covenant head, all died; so in Christ, the covenant head of Adam's posterity, all shall be made alive.

III. THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS. Not in His merits: the crown must be forever on His head. We know this.

1. By partaking of the benefit of His sufferings, pardon, etc.

2. By communion with Him through the channel of His sufferings — His Divine humanity, hanging on the Cross, and commemorated in the sacrament.

3. By enduring for His sake the same sufferings which He endured — the world's frowns, Satan's temptations. "Is the servant above his master."

IV. CONFORMITY UNTO HIS DEATH. Why not His life? That is not excluded. But His death presents in a condensed form all that we could desire to he on earth. We see in Him —

1. Great patience under suffering.

2. Great faith.

3. Great compassion for dying men.

4. Great filial tenderness.

5. Great love for repenting sinners.

(J. Sherman.)

He who of mortal men knew Christ best confesses that he knew Him but imperfectly.

1. How much, then, must there be in Him to know. Do we lose a sense of the Redeemer's majesty by familiarity with His name? See, then, His chief disciple, after years of contemplation, imitation, and adoration, confessing that the great object of God, manifest in the flesh, seems greater than ever, so that at the last he offers the prayer suitable to a novice.

2. This is true of all the works of God, whether in the material or the spiritual world, and is illustrated by what a climber sees of the starry firmament: from the bottom the mountain tops seem among the stars, but as he ascends they seem to recede, and their vastness and distance are best seen from the summit.

3. What Paul meant is clearer from the following explanations.

I. KNOWING THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION. Paul laboured and suffered much, and was pursued by great infirmity and frequent depression; but he saw above him the figure of the once suffering but now risen Christ — his brother throned and crowned. Looking up it seems as if he were moved to say, "Would that I could be raised out of what I am, and become as He is — victor over sin, sorrow, and death." In this sense we may feel the power of Christ's resurrection. In Christ, risen and glorified, is the image in which we may behold what we may become.

II. A SHARE OF CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS THE CONDITION OF A SHARE IN HIS RESURRECTION. He has just expressed a desire to resemble Christ glorified, but he here checks himself in order to show that what he desires is not an easy and instantaneous change. What he seeks is not simply repose and relief. He is perfectly willing to resemble Christ glorified by passing through the intermediate stages. He, too, would reach the crown through the Cross, remembering that "it is enough for the disciple to be as his Master." Whoever then would know Christ must face —

1. Suffering — the suffering of arduous effort, patient resignation, and trust when faith is tempted to fail.

2. Death — the death to much that is attractive here, and especially to sin, as well as to the death of the body.

(T. M. Herbert, M. A.)

I. AN EXPERIMENTAL KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST IS SO GREAT A BLESSING THAT WE SHOULD COUNT ALL THINGS BUT LOSS TO GET IT. It is sometimes expressed by taste. Sight is the knowledge of faith, taste that of experience (1 Peter 2:3; Psalm 34:8). When we taste His goodness or feel His power we have an experimental knowledge of Christ. Many know how to talk about Him but feel nothing. Men speak of His salvation from day to day, but have not the effects of it. When we find within ourselves the fruits of His sufferings, the comfort of His promises, the likeness of His death, the power of His resurrection, then we know Christ experimentally. The benefits it confers show its value. Experience —

1. Gives us a more intimate knowledge of things. While we know them by hearsay we know them only by guess and imagination, but when we know them by experience we know them in truth. He that reads about the sweetness of honey may guess at it, but he that tastes it knows what it is (Colossians 1:6). A man who has travelled through a country knows it better than he who knows it only by a map.

2. Gives greater confirmation of the truth. A man needs no reason to convince him that fire is hot who has been scorched, or that weather is cold who feels it in his fingers. So when the promises of God are verified we see that there is more than letters and syllables (Psalm 18:30; 1 Corinthians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:5).

3. Gives greater excitement to the love of Christ and His ways. The more we feel the necessity of Christ and know His usefulness in binding up our broken hearts, the more we shall love Him as our Saviour (1 John 4:19). We may know the truth of the gospel by other means, but we cannot know that it belongs to us by any other means.

4. Engages us more to zeal and diligence in the heavenly life, which reports and exhortations often fail to do.(1) Because when, e.g., we have experience of the power of Christ's resurrection it begets a new life within which inclines us to heavenly things — there is a principle to work with (Galatians 5:25).(2) When this life is gratified with the rewards of obedience, such as peace and comfort, it is an argument above all others to press for more. The Cauls when they had once tasted the Italian grape must get into the country where it grew. The spies were sent to bring the clusters of Canaan into the wilderness to animate the Israelites to put in for the good land. So God gives us the Spirit not only as an earnest (1 Corinthians 1:22) to show us how sure, but as first fruits to show us how good (Romans 8:23).(3) When this life is obstructed by folly and sin, you find more of Christ's displeasure in your inward man (Ephesians 4:30) than can possibly be represented to your outward condition.


1. It is a dangerous temptation when the gospel comes in word only (1 Corinthians 4:20). It must follow either that you settle in a cold form (2 Timothy 3:5) or into an open denying of Christ and the excellency of His religion.

2. If you have not this knowledge how will you be able to carry on this spiritual life with any delight, seriousness, or success? (1 John 5:3-10).

3. Without it you can have no assurance of your own interest (Romans 4:4-5; 1 John 4:17).

4. Without it you will neither honour Christianity nor propagate it.(1) By word (Psalm 34:8). A report of a report at second or third hand is no valid testimony. None can speak with such confidence as those who feel what they speak (2 Corinthians 1:4).(2) By work (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-7).


1. A sound belief of the doctrines of the gospel (1 John 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). We cannot feel the power of the truth till we receive it.

2. Serious meditation and consideration (Psalm 45:1; Acts 16:14).

3. Close application. Things work not upon us at a distance (Job 5:27). Conclusion:

1. Look for experience rather in the way of sanctification than of comfort. The one is not so necessary as the other, and the Spirit may cease to comfort that He may sanctify.

2. Look to the thing end not to the measure or degree

(T. Manton, D. D.)

1. A man may have a competent and very extensive acquaintance with the whole doctrine of the Christian religion, and yet if he has not an experimental knowledge of Christ it is all vain as to salvation.

2. In the previous verse the apostle deals with his gain in point of justification, here in point of sanctification.

I. WHAT THIS EXPERIMENTAL KNOWLEDGE IS. An inward and spiritual feeling of what we hear and believe, concerning Christ and His truths, whereby answerable impressions are made on our souls (Psalm 34:8; John 4:42).

1. The Scripture says of Christ that He is the way to the Father (John 14:6). Now the man who has tried many other ways and finds no access, at length comes by Christ and finds communion with God. This is experimental knowledge (Romans 5:1-2).

2. Christ's blood purges the conscience, etc. (Hebrews 9). The experimental Christian knows that sin defiles the conscience and unfits him to serve God. At length he looks to God in Christ and throws his guilt into the sea of Christ's blood; then the sting is taken from the conscience and the soul is enabled to serve God as a son with a father.

3. Christ is fully satisfying to the soul (Psalm 83:25; Habakkuk 3:17-18). We all know this by report, the Christian knows it by experience. Sometimes in the midst of all his enjoyment he says, "These are not my portion," and when deprived of these he can encourage himself in God (1 Samuel 30:6; 1 Samuel 1:18).

4. Christ helps His people to bear afflictions and keeps them from sinking under them. The Christian sometimes tries to bear his burden alone and finds it too heavy for him. Then he goes to Christ and lays it on the great burden-bearer and is helped (Psalm 28:7; Isaiah 43:2; 2 Corinthians 8:9-10).

5. Christ is made unto us wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:20). When the Christian leans to his own understanding he mistakes his way at noonday, but when he gives himself up to be led by Christ as a blind man, he is conducted in a way he knew not, and blesses the Lord who has given him counsel.

6. Christ is made unto us sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30), Apart from Christ the Christian wrestles in vain and his graces lie dead; but when he renews the actings of faith in Christ, and flings down self-confidence, he becomes more than conqueror.


1. The Scripture testimonies concerning this.(1) To learn religion in all the power and parts of it is to learn Christ (Ephesians 4:20-24).(2) There needs no more to be known, for this comprehends all (1 Corinthians 2:2).(3) It is the sum and substance of a believer's life (Philippians 1:21). Yea, eternal life itself (John 17:3).

2. All true religion is our likeness to God. This is impossible without Christ, for He is the only channel of those influences which makes us partakers of the Divine nature (2 Corinthians 4:6).

3. Whatever religion a man seems to have that does not come and is maintained in this way, is but nature varnished over: for "he that honoureth not the Son," etc.

III. THE MEANS. Faith closing with Christ.

1. Belief that Christ is such a one as He is held out in the gospel to be. It is the want of this that mars this knowledge (Isaiah 53:1).

2. Closure with Christ, to the very end that the soul may so know Him.

3. Union with Christ, so making way for this knowledge which is the happy result of union.


1. Religion is not a matter of mere speculation to satisfy curiosity, but a matter of practice. An unexperimental professor is like a foolish sick man who entertains those about him with fine discourses of the nature of medicines, but in the meantime is dying for the want of application of them.

2. The sweet of religion lies in the experience of it (Psalm 63:5; Psalm 19:11). Religion would not be the burden it is if we would by experience carry it beyond dry, sapless notions.

3. All the profit of religion lies in the experience of it (Matthew 7:22). Painted fire will never burn, and the sight of water will never wash.

4. The experimental Christian is the only one whose religion will bring him to heaven, which is experimental religion perfected.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

? —

I. LET US PASS BY THAT CROWD OF OUTER-COURT WORSHIPPERS WHO ARE CONTENT TO LIVE WITHOUT KNOWING CHRIST. I do not mean the ungodly and profane, these are altogether strangers and foreigners, but —

1. Those who are content to know Christ's historic life. These know the life of Christ, but not Christ the life.

2. Those who know and prize Christ's doctrine, but do not know HIM. Addison tells us that the reason why so many books are printed with the portraits of their authors is that the interested readers want to know what appearance the author had. This is very natural Why then do you rest satisfied with Christ's words without desiring to know Him who is the "Word"?

3. Those who are delighted with Christ's example. That is well as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough. His example will be better understood as we know Himself.

4. Those who are perfectly at ease with knowing Christ's sacrifice. This is a blessed attainment, but we should not forget that He was the sacrifice and is greater than it.

5. Those who look for His coming and forget His presence.

6. Those who are satisfied with hearing or reading about Christ: but Paul did not say, "I have heard of Him whom I believe," but "I know."

7. Those who are persuaded to their ruin that they know Him but do not.


1. We know a person when we recognize him: and to this extent we know the queen, because we have seen her, and so by a Divine illumination we must know Christ who He is and what He was.

2. By a practical acquaintance with what He does. They tell me Christ is a cleanser, I know Him because He has washed me in His blood; that He is a deliverer, I know Him because He has set me free; that He is a sovereign, I know Him because He has subdued my enemies; that He is food, my spirit feeds on Him.

3. We know a man in a better sense when we are on speaking terms with him. I know a man not only so as to recognize him, and because I have dealt with him, but because we are speaking acquaintances. So we know Christ if we pray to Him.

4. But we know a person better when he invites us to his house; we go and go again, and the oftener we go the better we know him. Do you visit Christ's banquetting house, and has He permitted you to enjoy the sweets of being one of His family?

5. And yet after frequent visits you may not know a man in the highest sense: you say to his wife, "Your husband never seems to suffer from depression, or to change." "Ah," she says, "you do not know him as I do." That man has grown much in grace who has come to recognize his marriage union with his Lord. Now we have the intimacy of love and delight.

6. But a Christian may get nearer than this. The most loving wife may not perfectly know her husband, yet a Christian may grow to be perfectly identified with Christ. Looking at all this might not Christ well say now, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me."


1. If I know Him I shall have a very vivid sense of His personality. He will not be to me a myth, a vision, a spirit, but a real person. Then there must be a personal knowledge on my part, not a hearsay, second-hand knowledge.

2. It must be intelligent. I must know His nature, offices, works, and glory.

3. Affectionate. It was said of Garibaldi that he charmed all who got into his society. Being near Christ His love warms our hearts.

4. Satisfying.

5. Exciting. The more we know the more we want to know.

6. Happy.

7. Refreshing.

8. Sanctifying.


1. It is worth having. Paul gave up everything for it.

2. There is nothing like this to fill you with courage. When Dr. Andrew Reed found some difficulty in founding one of his orphan asylums, he drew upon a piece of paper the cross, and then he said to himself, "What, despair in the face of the Cross;" and then he drew a ring round it and wrote, nil disperandum!

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Paul's acquaintance with Christ —




(Dean Vaughan.)

The apostle aimed to know Him as being in Him. Such knowledge is inspired by the consciousness — not elaborated by the intellect. It rises up from within; is not gathered from without. It does not accumulate evidence to test the truth — it "has the witness" in itself. It needs not to repair to the cistern and draw — it has in itself "a well of water springing," etc. It knows, because it feels; it ascertains, not because it studies, but because it enjoys union, and possesses the righteousness of God through faith. She that touched the tassel of His robe had a knowledge of Christ deeper and truer by far than the crowds that thronged about Him: for "virtue" had come out of Him, and she felt it in herself. Only this kind of knowledge possesses "the excellency," for it is connected with justification, as was intimated by Isaiah; and it is "eternal life," as declared by Jesus (Isaiah 53:11; John 17:3). The apostle could not set so high a value on mere external knowledge, or a mere acquaintance with the fact and dates of Christ's career. For it is quite possible for a man to want the element of living experience, and yet be able to argue himself into the Messiahship of the Son of Mary; to gaze on His miracles and deduce from them a Divine commission without bowing to its authority; aye, and to linger by the Cross, and see in it a mysterious and complete expiation, without accepting the pardon and peace which the blood of the atonement secures.

(Professor Eadie.)

The knowledge about which the apostle speaks is a personal knowledge. It presupposes intellectual knowledge, but is something else. It is the knowledge of which we speak when we say of a man "I know him." What do we mean when we say this? Do we not mean, I have seen him, observed him, conversed with him, interchanged thoughts with him, spent time with him, done things with him, have been admitted into his confidence, written to him, and heard from him? These things and such as these are what make up personal knowledge between man and man. We should never say, "I know such or such a great man of history — I know Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon" — merely because we have read of them, and could give an account of their exploits. We should not say this even of the great men of our own time, its statesmen, generals, or philosophers — no, not even if we had seen them in public, or heard them speak, or read their writings — unless also we had been admitted to their society, and had exchanged with them the confidences which a man gives his friend. Even thus is it with the knowledge of Christ. We have no right to say, "I know Christ," merely because we have read of Him in Scripture, or because He has taught in our streets. We have no right to say so unless He has spoken to us, and we to Him. Unless we have access to His privacy, and can tell Him our secrets. Unless we can go in and out where He dwells, and talk with Him as a man talketh with his friend. Unless we have not only read in Scripture that He is wise and merciful, etc., but have also acted on that information, and found Him so for ourselves. Unless in temptation we have cried unto Him, and received strength; unless in trouble we have applied to Him and experienced a very present help.

(Dean Vaughan.)

Suppose yourself a man condemned to the lions in the Roman amphitheatre. A ponderous door is drawn up, and forth there rushes the monarch of the forest. You must slay him or be torn to pieces. You tremble; your joints are loosed; you are paralyzed with fear. But what is this? A great unknown leaps from the gazing multitude and confronts the monster. He quails not at the roaring of the devourer, but dashes on him till the lion slinks towards his den, dragging himself along in pain and fear. The hero lifts you up, smiles into your bloodless face, whispers comfort in your ear, and bids you be of good courage, for you are free. Do you not think that there would arise at once in your heart a desire to know your deliverer? As the guards conducted you into the open street, and you breathed the cool, fresh air, would not the first question, be, "Who was my deliverer, that I may fall at his feet and bless him?" You are not, however, informed, but instead of it you are led away to a noble mansion, where your wounds are healed with salve of rarest power. You are clothed in sumptuous apparel; you are made to sit down at a feast; you rest upon the softest down. The next morning you are attended by servants who guard you from evil and minister to your good. Day after day, week after week, your wants are supplied. I am sure that your curiosity would grow more and more intense. You would scarcely neglect an opportunity of asking the servants, "Tell me, who is my noble benefactor, for I must know him?" "Well, but" they would say, "is it not enough for you that you are delivered from the lion?" "Nay," say you, "it is for that very reason that I pant to know him." "Your wants are richly supplied — why are you vexed by curiosity as to the hand which reaches you the boon? If your garment is worn out, there is another. Long before hunger oppresses you, the table is well loaded. What more do you want?" But your reply is, "It is because I have no wants, that, therefore, my soul longs to know my generous friend." Suppose that as you wake up one morning, you find lying upon your pillow a precious love token from your unknown friend, and engraved with a tender inscription. Your curiosity now knows no bounds. But you are informed that this wondrous being has not only done for you what you have seen, but that he was imprisoned and scourged for your sake, for he had a love to you so great, that death itself could not overcome it, you are informed that he is every moment occupied in your interests, because he has sworn by himself that where he is there you shall be; his honours you shall share, and of his happiness you shall be the crown. Why, methinks you would say, "Tell me, men and women, any of you who know him, who and what he is;" and if they said, "But it is enough for you to know that he loves you, and to have daily proofs of his goodness," you would say, "No, these love tokens increase my thirst. If ye see him, tell him I am sick of love. The flagons which he sends me, and the love tokens which he gives me, they stay me for awhile with the assurance of his affection, but they only impel me onward with the more unconquerable desire that I may know him. I must know him; I cannot live without knowing him. His goodness makes me thirst, and pant, and faint, and even die, that I may know him."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Did you ever visit the manufactory of splendid porcelain at Sevres? I have done so. If anybody should say to me, "Do you know the manufactory at Sevres?" I should say, "Yes, I do, and no, I do not. I know it, for I have seen the building; I have seen the rooms in which the articles are exhibited for sale, and I have seen the museum and model room; but I do not know the factory as I would like to know it, for I have not seen the process of manufacture, and have not been admitted into the workshops, as some are." Suppose I had seen, however, the process of the moulding of the clay, and the laying on of the rich designs, if anybody should still say to me, "Do you know how they manufacture those wonderful articles?" I should very likely still be compelled to say, "No, I do not, because there are certain secrets, certain private rooms into which neither friend nor foe can be admitted, lest the process should be open to the world." So, you see, I might say I knew, and yet might not half know; and when I half knew, still there would be so much left, that I might be compelled to say, "I do not know." How many different ways there are of knowing a person — and even so there are all these different ways of knowing Christ; so that you may keep on all your lifetime, still wishing to get into another room, and another room, nearer and nearer to the great secret, still panting to "know Him." Good Rutherford says, "I urge upon you a nearer communion with Christ, and a growing communion. There are curtains to be drawn by, in Christ, that we never shut, and new foldings in love with Him. I despair that ever I shall win to the far end of that love; there are so many plies in it. Therefore, dig deep, and set by as much time in the day for Him as you can, He will be won by labour."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

And the power of His resurrection
There are those who think it indicative of an unspiritual state of mind to lay stress on the physical resurrection of Christ. They tell us that the all-important matter is His resurrection in the hearts of His disciples. But Paul regarded it as a fact of transcendent importance. He and the other apostles regarded it as a power.


II. FOR OUR JUSTIFICATION (Romans 4:25). The resurrection was a pledge that God had accepted the sacrifice.

III. FOR INSPIRING WITHIN US THE HOPE OF GLORY. Death is to the eye of sense a mystery, and the materialistic doctrine darkens what faint hope of immortality may be within us. But Christ's resurrection "brought life and immortality to light." He conquered death, and to believe that He is "the first fruits of them that slept," is to receive power to break the tyranny of death (ver. 21).

IV. TO SANCTIFY OUR NATURE. This is perhaps Paul's leading idea. To identify ourselves with a risen Redeemer must exert a purifying effect on our souls (Colossians 3:1).

(T. C. Finlayson).

I. AS SEEN IN CHRIST HIMSELF (Ephesians 1:17-21).

1. In it Christ as man was invested with all the power and glory of the Godhead. "All power is given unto Me."

2. When He returns it will be in the fulness of the resurrection glory.


1. Resurrection implies death, and to know Christ in His resurrection is to know that we died in His death as our surety (Romans 6:7)

2. As judicially one with Christ in His death, the believer is one with Him in His resurrection.


1. We who were dead in trespasses and sins are quickened by it into life.

2. This life is sustained by a constant supply from the fountain head.

3. By this power we rise above the world and sit in heavenly places with Christ.


1. Observe its acting in the earliest possessors of it.

2. Employ it in testifying to its power.


1. Christ's resurrection is the pledge of ours.

2. Ensures the triumph and glorification of the Church.

(C. Graham.)


1. The death of Christ, had the redemptive effort ended there, had sealed man's doom forever; the resurrection made it vital, the spring of purifying and renewing for the world. From the ground the blood of Christ, like that of Abel, cries out against humanity. It is from heaven that Jesus preaches peace through His blood, and makes it a power to save.

2. The resurrection brought to man precisely the power he needed for victorious resistance to that by which his higher life was in process of being destroyed. The risen form threw glorious light on the flesh, as completing the incarnation. The body was redeemed by it from degradation, and consecrated as the Spirit's organ and shrine forever.

3. When Christ had risen, men saw that the vileness, the curse, the stain, was the work of an alien and intrusive force which might be expelled, and in the might of that belief men for the first time rose in victory over those passions which had defiled the body.


1. The mountains of the world are great or as nothing according as we view them from a valley or from a star, so all the storms and crosses of life dwindle looked at from the height of "Jesus and the resurrection."

2. The resurrection maintains the continuity of the life of the man of sorrows and the reigning king. So we need not shrink from our sorrows if we but bear in mind the glory that shall follow.

3. Nay, the men who first realized the power of the resurrection, "gloried in tribulations." It made them one with Christ, which guaranteed the ultimate victory.


1. We have little power of realizing the anguish with which the men of old peered into the unseen. This was the world of light, of life — that of shadows and ghosts. To the children of the resurrection it is exactly the reverse. The sorrow and gloom is of time, the light and joy are everlasting.

2. The resurrection wedded the two worlds. Who now dreads to live or to die? Because "living or dying we are the Lord's."

(Baldwin Brown, B. A.).

I. AS A FACT. That is our faith. Your philosophers who do not believe in miracle do not believe it possible, because they do not allow that God can interfere with, and is above the system He arranged. But we believe that God who made the world administers His own laws and interposes if He thinks fit. The power of the resurrection, proving the truth of Christianity as a whole, proves its exclusiveness as a system of Divine thought which is to constitute the religion of man.

II. AS A DOCTRINE. The fact enshrines a thought. Simply considered as a fact, having power over the reason, as a part of the evidence of Christianity, the resurrection of Jesus is the same as that of Lazarus. But as a doctrine it is very different. "Jesus died," according to the Scriptures, and according to the Scriptures "He rose again." It is the fulfilment of a Divine purpose; and its power is an appeal to our spiritual nature, our conscience, and sense of guilt.

III. AS A TYPE. As Christ died and rose, we are to die to sin and live to God, "as those who are alive from the dead."

IV. AS A MOTIVE. Observe how these thoughts interweave. The resurrection as a fact operates upon the intellect and gives assurance of truth; as a doctrine it deepens the truth and touches consciences and expresses reconciliation with God; as a type, we rising from the dead and walking with Christ — that is the developed experience of the Christian man in the life of God. Christ was not glorified immediately. He lived for forty days a different life from His former one. So must we under the power of the resurrection. Christ is risen, therefore "Seek those things that are above."

V. AS A MODEL (ver. 21). Conclusion: These transcendental thoughts, so far from unfitting us for the sober duties of life, ennoble and beautify life. A servant girl may act on a principle which may bring her into harmony with the angels. You need not wait for Sunday to engage in Divine service. You have but to realize in the shop or the market the power of the resurrection.

(T. Binney, D. D.)

1. We need more and more to look at the facts of the Christian dispensation; the doctrines we are required to believe have their foundations in these facts. Our tendency is to treat Christian doctrines as if they were speculations.

2. The resurrection is an accomplished fact. It is sometimes attributed to Christ alone; sometimes to the Father; sometimes to the Spirit; so that it is brought before us as a blessed manifestation of the power of the redeeming God.

3. The power of the resurrection may signify —

(1)The power which effected it;

(2)the power of the fact itself, or —

(3)the power with which Christ was endowed at it, and these words may include all.

4. To know the power, etc., is —

(1)To recognize it as a reality.

(2)To comprehend and appreciate it in its relation with man's redemption.

(3)To feel its force upon the life. The resurrection of Christ is —

I. AN EXAMPLE OF THE ALMIGHTY LIFE-GIVING POWER OF GOD. To know its power is to be conscious of the working of the same upon ourselves, quickening, renewing, enlightening, invigorating.

II. A CONFIRMATION FOREVER OF THE CLAIMS OF JESUS OF NAZARETH. To know its power is to feel assured that the son of Mary is the Son of God. This is essential to our taking full advantage of His riches and resources.

III. THE SIGN AND SEAL OF THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL. To know its power is to see that truth sealed not by His blood simply, but by His hand in the newness of His glorified life. Why is it we do not declare that truth more constantly and zealously? Because of our unbelief. Those who cordially believe it are constantly repeating it.

IV. ADAPTED TO STRENGTHEN OUR TRUST IN HIM. To know its power is to feel our confidence strengthened in sorrow and death.

V. CALCULATED TO AWAKE WITHIN US THE MOST GLORIOUS HOPES. To know its power is to become the subjects by its influence of new and enlarged expectations, desires, aspirations and affections.

VI. FITTED TO RAISE US INTO NEWNESS OF LIFE. To feel its power is to rise with Him and set our affections on things above. VII. ABLE TO GIVE COURAGE IN APPROACHING SUFFERING. To know its power is to feel strengthened to endure all the will of God. VIII. SUITED TO RAISE THE BELIEVER ABOVE THE FEAR OF DEATH. To know its power is to feel that it is a pledge of immortality.

(S. Martin.)

I. AS THE ASSURANCE OF IMMORALITY (Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 15:14, etc.).



IV. Thus STIMULATING THE WHOLE MORAL AND SPIRITUAL BEING (Romans 6:4, etc.; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 2:5; Colossians 2:12).

(Bishop Lightfoot.)

I. WHAT IS INTENDED BY THE POWER OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION. The influence which that great event has upon the other parts of His mediatorial character and offices, connected with the safety and happiness of His people. This may be traced —

1. In the open and uncontroverted declaration of His Divine Sonship (Romans 1:4; Psalm 2:1; cf. Acts 13:32; Hebrews 1:3-5).

2. In its influence upon our justification (Romans 4:25).

3. In its effect on our sanctification (John 7:39; John 16:7-8).

4. In the exaltation of the saints to glory of which it is the procuring cause — "Because I live," etc. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).


1. Not merely the illumination of the understanding but —

2. The heart felt experience of what is said to be known (Colossians 2:12-13; Colossians 3:1; Ephesians 2:4-57, corresponding to what the resurrection meant for Christ.

(1)Our Sonship — "begotten again to a lively hope."

(2)Our freedom from the law's penalties, which He has satisfied.

(3)Our entrance into the glory whither He as our fore runner has gone.


1. It is essential to the Christian character.

2. It tends to strengthen faith.

3. It teaches the true estimate of life with all its cares, and death with all its terrors.Inferences:

1. The religion of Christ in all its parts is intended to be practical and experimental.

2. The Christian should be always pressing onwards to higher attainments of knowledge, faith, and holiness.

(C. Neat.)


II. IN OUR REGENERATION. The Divine Agent in this is He of whom Christ said, "If I go not away the Comforter will not come." So that the resurrection was essential to our being raised morally "from the death of sin to the life of righteousness."

III. IN OUR SANCTIFICATION. Our continuance and progressive growth in grace begun at regeneration is the work of the same Spirit.

IV. IN OUR CONSOLATION AND HOPE (1 Thessalonians 4; 1 Corinthians 15:1).

V. IN OUR ANTICIPATION. The moral magnet that draws up the grovelling affections and hopes of a man from earth to heaven is the risen Christ. Conclusion: We must know this power, by being justified, etc., which is the moral proof of Christ's resurrection.

(H. Stowell, M. A.)(Text in conjunction with Mark 16:3-4.)

I. TO HEAL CONSCIENCE. No system of thought that does not admit the fact of sin, or attempt to explain its meaning, or assist us in becoming delivered from its dominion, can hope to satisfy the needs of mankind. In all ages and countries the human heart has had two questions to ask about it, which nothing but the resurrection can completely answer. One is about pardon, and the other about righteousness. The one seeks peace with God, the other His image. And the resurrection is the power for both. It looks back and it points forward. It implies the Cross, and it presumes the Ascension. Why did He die? Not only as a Martyr, but as a Sin-bearer (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24). But if He had only died, while we should have admired the unparalleled sacrifice, we should have mourned its uselessness. But in the resurrection we see the sacrifice accepted, peace ensured, and eternal life given. Sin on the conscience is one stone rolled away, and sin in the will another. His grace helps us to die to sin, and live to God through union with Him who, as He bore our sins, and identified Himself with our misery, is also made righteousness unto us, whereby we through our regeneration grafted into Him, are before God righteous in His righteousness.

II. TO ENNOBLE DUTY. What is life? Is it but as the dipping of an insect's wing into the brimming flood of some tropical river — the quick submerging into a devouring sea of one after another of the myriad barks that are ever being launched on it, each with its solitary voyager — a journey between two nights. Then assuredly the saddest mystery about it is that it should ever have been given us at all. But in the light of the resurrection life is seen to be worth living, for the stone of a purposeless existence is rolled away (1 Corinthians 15:22); and with its new aims and responsibilities and functions and motives this life has a new meaning and force. There is —

1. Its stupendous responsibility, for some day we shall rise to receive the things done in our body — that is, their results, whether they be good or bad.

2. Its potential grace (Colossians 3:1).

3. Its majestic consecration (Romans 12:1).

(Bishop Thorold.)

Homiletic Monthly.
In it —





(Homiletic Monthly.)

In every occurrence there are to be considered the fact — that which actually occurs — and the consequences, actual or possible — what St. Paul calls "its power." We know the fact of an occurrence when we have handled the proofs which show that it really took place; when we know how it has been described, what were its several aspects; but we know of the "power" of the fact when we can trace what its effects have been, or what they might have been or might be. It is easier to apprehend a fact than to take the measure of its consequences, its practical meaning, its power. If I throw a stone, I can ascertain the weight of the stone, the moment at which it leaves my hand, the distance of the spot at which it touches the ground. But what is hard to ascertain is the effect of the stone's passage through the air; the thousands of insects instantaneously disabled or destroyed by it; the radiation of disturbance caused by the displacement of the atmosphere, and extending, it may be, into regions which defy calculation. All of us understand more or less, at least, the general outline of the succession of recent events in Egypt; but what will be, in the course of time, their import and influence upon the condition and history of our own country and of the world, who shall say? So to apprehend a fact is one thing; it is quite another to feel its power. When then St. Paul utters his prayer he implies that already he has knowledge of the fact. St. Paul, being thus sure of the resurrection as a fact, was not embarrassed by an a priori doctrine forbidding him to ignore it. He was not like those old schoolmen whom Lord Bacon condemned, and who, instead of learning what to think about nature from the facts of nature, endeavoured to persuade themselves that the facts of nature corresponded somehow with what they already thought about it. St. Paul, then, had no need to pray, as have many in our time, that he might be assured of the fact of Christ's resurrection; what he did pray for was that he might increasingly understand its power. This power may be observed —

I. IN THE WAY IS WHICH A TRUE BELIEF IN IT ENABLES A MAN TO REALIZE HABITUALLY THE MORAL GOVERNMENT OF THE WORLD BY GOD. Our age is not one in which men believe, that whatever happens, all is overruled by a Being who is perfectly good and wise. There are circumstances in the modern world which make belief in the Divine government harder than it was for our ancestors. One is our wider outlook. Thanks to the Press, to the railway, to the telegraph, we know a great deal more of what is going on all over the world than did any previous generation of men; and one consequence is this — that human life presents itself to many minds as a much more tangled and inexplicable thing than it ever did before. The disappointments in store for the conscience which is eagerly searching for clear traces of a law of right vigorously asserting itself are so frequent and so great, that men lose heart where heart and purpose are specially needful. Now, here the certainty that Jesus Christ arose from the dead asserts what St. Paul calls its "power," for when Jesus Christ was crucified it might have seemed — it did seem — that the sun of God's justice had gone down, that while all the Vices were being feasted and crowned in Rome, all the Virtues could be crucified with impunity in Jerusalem. But when He burst forth from the grave He proclaimed to men's senses as well as to their consciences that the real law which rules the world is moral and not material, and that the sun of God's righteousness, if it is at times overclouded in human history, is sure to reappear.


1. It is a proof that the Christian creed is true. There are many truths of Christianity which do not contribute anything to prove its general truth, although they could not be denied or lost sight of without fatally impairing its integrity. Take, for example, our Lord's perpetual intercession in heaven. We believe in this because the apostles have so taught us. We do not believe in the creed as a whole, because we believe in Christ's intercession. It is otherwise with the resurrection, which is a proof that the Christian faith is true because it is the certificate of our Lord's mission from heaven, to which He Himself pointed as the warrant of His claims (John 2:19; Matthew 12:39-40; John 6:62; Matthew 17:9; Mark 9:9-10; Matthew 17:21, 23; John 10:18; Matthew 30:17-19; Mark 10:32-34; Luke 18:31-33. John 16:16; Matthew 26:31-33). The resurrection was thus constantly before Christ's mind, because it was to be the warrant of His mission. And when He did rise, He redeemed the pledge which He had given to His disciples and to the world. The first preachers of Christianity understood this. The resurrection was the proof to which they constantly pointed that our Lord was really what He claimed to be (Acts 17:18; Acts 2:22-24, 32),

2. What is the true value of this fact among the credentials of Christianity?(1) Paley makes a great mistake when he rests the whole case of Christianity upon the fact that the resurrection was so certain to its first preachers, that they willingly gave their lives to attest it. This mistake lay not in insisting on this fact — which is, indeed, of the very first importance as an evidence of Christianity — but in insisting on it as if it stood alone, and would of itself and unsupported prove to all minds the truth of the Christian creed; the truth being that the evidences of Christianity are not one and simple, but many and complex. Their strength lies in their convergence. The fabric which its Divine Architect meant to rest upon a group of pillars cannot be safely rested, even by a man of genius, upon one.(2) Another mistake is, that it is of no value whatever as an evidence of Christianity — Christianity is said to be recommended solely by the moral character of Christ; the supernatural incidents of His earthly life, and notably His resurrection, are treated as an embarrassing addition. This estimate of the evidential value of the resurrection is altogether opposed to the mind of our Lord and His apostles. They did not mean the resurrection to stand alone; but they assigned to it the highest place among the facts and considerations which go to show that Christianity is true: a countersign in the world of Nature to the teaching of our Lord in the court of conscience — the outward miracle assures us through the senses that the Being who is the Author of Nature is the same Being as He who speaks to conscience in the moral law, in the Sermon on the Mount, in the whole character and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we heard the inward voice of conscience alone we might doubt whether there was really anything external which warranted it; if we witnessed the outward miracle alone we might see in it a mere wonder with no moral consequence. But when the Teacher whose voice pierces, rouses, quickens the conscience is accredited by an interference with the observed course of Nature, the combined evidence is in reason overwhelming.

III. IN THE SPIRITUAL LIFE OF CHRISTIANS. Our Lord is not merely our authoritative Teacher, or Redeemer, but also, through real union with us, the Author of a new life within us. St. Paul teaches us this again and again. Sometimes he speaks of our Lord as though He were a sphere of being within which the Christian lives: (2 Corinthians 5:17); sometimes as the inhabitant of the Christian soul (Colossians 1:27). This union is not metaphor, it is a certain experience. Our Lord, then, dwells in Christians, and, as a consequence, the New Testament teaches us that the mysteries of His earthly life are reproduced, after a manner, in the Christian soul. If Christ is born supernaturally of a virgin mother, the Christian is made God's child by adoption and grace; apostles are in travail until Christ be formed in their converts. If Christ is crucified on Mount Calvary, the Christian, too, has a Calvary where he. crucified with Christ, crucifies "the flesh, with the affections and lusts." If Christ, while apostles behold, is taken up into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Christian in heart and mind with Him ascends, with Him continually dwells, is made to sit together with Him in heavenly places. And, in like manner, if Christ rose from the dead the third day, according to the Scriptures, the Christian also has experience of an inward resurrection. Conclusion: Of this power lodged in the Christian soul there are three characteristics.

1. Christ rose really. It was not a phantom that haunted the upper chamber, etc. And our Easter resurrection from sin will be no less real if it is His power by which we are rising (Revelation 3:1).

2. Our Lord rose to lead, for the most part, a hidden life. On the day of His resurrection He appeared five times, but rarely afterwards during the forty days. So it is with the risen life of the soul. It is not constantly flaunted before the eyes of men; it seeks retirement, solitude, and the sincerities which these ensure (Colossians 3:1-4).

3. Our Lord being raised, "dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him," etc. So with him who shares that risen life.

(Canon Liddon.)

The letter of condolence written by Sulpicius to his friend Cicero who was mourning the loss of his beloved daughter, beautiful as it is, shows us that the best comfort which sentiment and philosophy can offer, is utterly powerless to bind up the broken heart. "Why grieve?" asks the sympathizing Roman, doing all that kindness and ingenuity could suggest to comfort his afflicted friend. "Surely after seeing your country enslaved, your heart should be indifferent to so small a matter as the loss of a poor, weak, tender woman." And then Sulpicius gravely adds, as if such considerations could console the afflicted, "Do not forget that you are Cicero — the wise, the philosophical Cicero, who was wont to give advice to others. Remember those judicious counsels now, and let it not be said that fortitude is the single virtue to which my friend is a stranger." Philosophy had not quite expended itself in these vapid platitudes, but the chief ground of comfort was reserved for the last. "In my return out of Asia," the well-meaning Sulpicius goes on to say, "as I was sailing from AEgina towards Megara, I amused myself with contemplating the circumjacent countries. Behind me lay AEgina, before me Megara; on my right I saw Piraeus, and on my left Corinth. These cities, once so flourishing and magnificent, now presented nothing to my view but a sad spectacle of desolation. Alas, I said to myself, shall such a short-lived creature as man complain, when one of his race falls either by the hand of violence, or by the common cause of nature, while in this narrow compass so many great and glorious cities, formed for a much longer duration, thus lie extended in ruins?" Cold comfort, this! Would such reasoning help you to dry your scalding tears? Does it not seem like a hollow mockery of the heart's great grief? When, however, "the power of Christ's resurrection" is known and felt, with what different eyes we look upon the grassy mounds which cover the remains of the departed! The dismal spot is changed at once into a field sown with the seeds of immortality. The Saviour's blood-stained banner, emblazoned with the cross, which is carried before His people, in their triumphal march, bears the cheering inscription, "I am the resurrection and the life!"

(J. N. Norton.)

The fellowship of His sufferings
I. WHAT IT IMPLIES — a believing appreciation of them — evidenced by suffering in Christ's service, for His sake, with and for the benefit of His people.

II. WHY AN OBJECT OF AMBITION. It implies gratitude, honour, hope, union with Christ.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)These sufferings may be considered in two ways.

I. AS EXPIATORY OF OUR, SINS, BORNE BY JESUS CHRIST IN OUR STEAD IN HIS QUALITY OF SURETY. And of these we are partakers, inasmuch as, embracing them by faith, God imputes them to us, and communicates to us the fruit thereof, namely, Divine and perfect righteousness, by which, absolved from all our sins, we become acceptable to God as His dear children, and can never more be called to endure any meritorious or expiatory sufferings as were those of the Saviour.

II. AS MODELS, patterns which Jesus has left us to follow, showing us the path by which it is the good pleasure of the Father to conduct us to salvation. And thus we are partakers with Him, being called to suffer after His example. And this fellowship may also be considered —

1. As interior, the mortification of sin within us, the crucifixion of the old nature, transpiercing it with His thorns and nails, drinking of His vinegar, and thus putting it to death by degrees; in which the passion of the Saviour is represented within our hearts (Romans 6:5-6; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 5:24).

2. Exterior; the part we have in the afflictions and persecutions of the Church, for the confirmation of the truth of God, for the glory of Jesus, for the edification of men (Romans 8:29; 2 Timothy 3:12.)

(J. Daille.)


1. In the enjoyment of the Divine favour — "This is My beloved Son," "We are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." "Behold what manner of love," etc. What a word for

(1)Aliens and outcasts.

(2)Timorous disciples.

(3)Happy believers.

(4)Dying saints.

2. In the possession of the Spirit. To Him the Spirit was given without measure for the perfect fulfilment of all His offices; and because we are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.

(1)For conversion.



(4)As an earnest of heaven.

3. In His merits.

(1)The righteousness of Christ was perfect in its universality, motive, duration, spirituality.

(2)We may have fellowship in these merits, for Christ is "the Lord our righteousness."

4. In His resurrection.

5. In His glory.

II. FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRIST IN HIS SUFFERINGS. This is explained by the following clause.

1. What is there in the saints which should die? Sin. How does this principle of sin manifest itself? In —


(2)Hardness of heart.


(4)Alienation from God.




2. How does this principle die, so that we may be conformed to the death of Christ?(1) Not by a natural death, but a violent one inflicted by an outside hand. It will never die of its own accord, or of disease. It must be mortified, crucified.(2) Crucifixion was an ignominious death reserved for slaves and rebels, and does not sin merit such a death?(3) A lingering death. And so sin does not die all at once. This should teach us patience, watchfulness, continued looking unto Jesus.

3. How may we know that we have His fellowship? By

(1)our hatred of sin;

(2)our fervent prayer against it;

(3)our desire for sanctification;

(4)our joyful anticipation of a sinless world.

(A. Pope.)

1. We are not here to understand a participation in those He endured as the substitute for sinners, although in a certain sense we do share them, and that not only in the sense of enjoying their advantages. They are ours because Christ suffered in our room and stead. But here Paul refers to Christ's sufferings in general.

2. Nor are we to understand them as metaphorical; that as Christ died, so are we to die to sin; as Christ was nailed to the cross, so are we to crucify our corrupt passions. This is an important truth, and Paul emphasizes it elsewhere. But here it is a real fellowship in positive pain to which he adverts.

3. This was a strange desire, one which few of us would entertain. We wish to have fellowship in joy, and seek how we can pass through life with the least inconvenience. It would not have been surprising had the apostle denied fellowship with Christ in His glory. Yet he did not desire suffering for its own sake, but for its benefit. He knew well that God's order was first the cross, then the crown; fellowship with Christ, first in suffering, then in glory.


1. Negatively.(1) Not in His atoning sufferings. These He bore alone, and we cannot partake in them. No man can make atonement for his own or others' sins.(2) Not in sufferings which arise out of guilt. As we cannot be partakers in Christ's atoning, He cannot partake of our sinful sufferings. In. the accusation of conscience, sense of guilt, fear of wrath, loss of character, evil effects in self and others, He can have no share. He "was holy, harmless," etc.(3) Not in certain forms of bodily affliction. Christ never was sick or unwell. Of course there is an important sense in which He was a partaker of this class of sufferings. His deep sympathy, sensitive tenderness, made Him feel the afflictions of others keenly.

2. Positively. We are partakers in those which arise —(1) Front persecution for righteousness' sake. Such constituted a large portion of our Lord's. His whole life was one of persecution, beginning with His birth, closing only with His death. In this respect the apostles were conformed to their Master. It is true, thank God, that we are not now liable to sufferings of the same nature; but a man who maintains a high standard of religion, and condemns the world by his conduct, will meet with persecution in the way of petty annoyances, designed misconceptions, and coldness.(2) From sympathy with the distressed. Every distress Christ witnessed was photographed on His soul. "We have not a High Priest who cannot be touched," etc. In this sense believers must be conformed to Christ. The same loving, sympathizing spirit that was in Him must be in them.(3) From grief for sin. Much of Christ's sorrow arose from unavoidable intercourse with the wicked. When infinite purity comes in contact with impurity, sorrow and moral indignation must be the result. And so it is with true believers. The state of the world around them, drunkenness, Sabbath profanation, etc., must be peculiarly afflictive.(4) From spiritual distress. This Christ knew well in Gethsemane and on the cross, when He complained of spiritual desertion, and similar sufferings are experienced by believers when the light of God's countenance is obscured.

II. THE BENEFITS ARISING FROM THIS FELLOWSHIP. "Sorrow is better than laughter." Uninterrupted prosperity has a prejudicial influence over our spiritual nature, and tempts us to forget God. Suffering —

1. Purifies the soul. In the furnace of affliction the dross of earth is removed, passions are mortified; pride is humbled, and so our graces are confirmed and strengthened.

2. Draws forth the better qualities of a man. The seeds of virtue germinate in the hotbed of affliction.

3. Enables us to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:4, etc.).

4. Prepares for heaven. "Our light afflictions," etc. Conclusion: Suffering by itself will not produce these benefits; only when accompanied by the operation of the Holy Ghost. The fire which melts some substances hardens others: so some are improved by affliction, while others by reason of their own perverseness are made worse.

(P. J. Gloag, D. D.)


1. By an actual participation in suffering for His sake. Many persons of affected sensibility feel a sort of delight in following Christ into the judgment hall and to Calvary who have no heart to make sacrifice for His service. Their hearts seem moved, but when persecution arises they walk no more with Him.

2. By the cordial reception of the benefits secured to us by His sufferings in the exercise of a lively faith.



(3)Reconciliation and peace.

(4)Life spiritual and eternal.

3. By a tender sympathy with all His followers in the sufferings they endure. All the members of the body feel if one be afflicted, so do all the members of the body of Christ.


1. The knowledge transcends all other as to its importance. All else is earthly and therefore transient; this affects the dearest and eternal interests of men.

2. It is infinitely more valuable than testimony or theory.

(T. Raffles, D. D.)

Historically the disciples found themselves incapable of entering into the fellowship and sufferings of Jesus till touched by the power of His resurrection. They gathered with Him round the supper table, and gazed into His sorrowful countenance, but could not understand the mystery of His sufferings. There was a veil upon their heart, and a strange indescribable barrier between them and Him. "They were amazed" as Jesus went before them to Jerusalem, "and as they followed they were afraid." They stood beside Him bravely for a moment in the garden, but when they saw Him bound and helpless when they expected miraculous power, they all forsook Him and fled. How different it was when these very men saw things as in the light of the glory that burst from that broken tomb; then they began to understand all that Moses and the prophets had spoken, and their hearts burned within them as they began for the first time to enter into the fellowship of His sufferings. A little further on in their history, and the power of the risen Christ has come down in the flood tide of Pentecost, and what a change is wrought. They who shrank back from suffering — that Peter who was ready to say, "That be far from Thee, Lord," and denied his Master — that man gathers his fellows round him, and they lift up the voice of praise, rejoicing that they are counted worthy to suffer persecution for the sake of Christ. And as it was with them historically, so it seems to be doctrinally here. Do we desire that the Lord may nerve us to participate in His sufferings? In pro portion to the tide of new resurrection, life is strong in us. Shall we dare to stretch out our trembling hand to grasp His cup?

I. THE FELLOWSHIP of His sufferings. The word "fellowship" occurs in the case of the partnership which existed between the fishermen of Galilee, and in the case of the early Christians, who "had all things common." So we are not only permitted to sympathize with Christ as the Man of sorrows, but that, just as two partners in a firm are both joint possessors of the capital which belongs to the firm, so that wondrous wealth of sorrow which belonged to the Lord Jesus Christ, so far as it is a source of wealth, belongs in a measure to us, who are partners with Him. As the wealth of the disciples was thrown into one fund, and distributed amongst all, so the wealth of sorrow which belonged to our great Head is thrown into one fund with all the sorrows of those who are His members, and we are partakers with Him of that which is no longer to us a source of loss, but, on the contrary, a perennial source of gain. And to this common fund we are each of us permitted in our measure to contribute (Colossians 1:24).

II. The fellowship OF HIS SUFFERINGS.

1. Fellowship with the sufferer. Mere suffering will do nothing for us. We may torture ourselves if we will, but shall continue as ungodlike as before. What we want is to suffer in the right way, and that is in fellowship with Christ. How did He suffer? Not by entailing suffering on Himself, or courting it for its own sake. He was the Man of sorrows because it was His meat to do His Father's will. Considerations of pleasure and pain were subordinate. Psalm 118:27, is prophetic of the passion.(1) God's light — the light of the Divine purpose resting upon the problem of human life — indicated the way that led to Calvary. It led the Son into the darkness; yet it was not the less precious to the heart of the Son for that. And we, too, if we would have real fellowship with Jesus, must see to it that our fellowship is intelligent fellowship. Some of the broken hearted followers of Christ gathered round His cross, and certainly suffered while He suffered. Yet had they no real fellowship in His sufferings, because they had not risen to the discovery of His design. Is it not too often so even with us? We have our sorrows; but the ray of light has not yet entered our souls, and the result is that we have no fellowship with Christ in our sufferings; and this, not so much because God is unwilling to give us the light, as because we shrink, like Peter, from the illumination which reveals the cross, and thus His light becomes obscured, and we lose the moral power which should have raised us into fellowship with His sufferings.(2) How strong were the cords with which Christ was bound! It was not the brute force of the soldiers, nor the mandate of the governor, nor even the cruel nails that fastened Him to the tree. These He could have broken, but there were other cords, and of how strong, that bound Him there. There was the cord of —(a) Obedience. The Father's will had revealed itself, and that was law to Him.(b) Love, and that glowed with furnace heat towards God and man that proved itself stronger than death. Blessed are they whose love grows with sorrow. It is only thus that we rise to true fellowship with the sufferings of Christ.(c) Faith. His very enemies bore witness that He trusted in God. His last words upon the cross testified that His trust remained unshaken. If we would rise into fellowship with His sufferings, it must be by stepping forward in the spirit of faith, even though it should be into a burning, fiery furnace. Suffering ceases to be sanctified when it is infected with mistrust.

2. Our privilege of fellowship in the sufferings. Much was borne that we might not have to bear; but as I gaze at yonder cross I interpret the nature of our fellowship in the light of the next clause. Take the voices which sound from the dying Son of Man.(1) "Father, forgive them; they know not what they do!" Can I have fellowship in that? I believe there is not one of us that follows our Lord fully, but we shall be more or less misunderstood, misinterpreted, but let us endeavour to enter into sympathy with the heart and mind of Jesus; and then, if a rough word is spoken, or a brother does not seem to understand us, Christ's prayer will rise to our lips.(2) "I thirst." Thank God our thirst shall never be what His was. Yet I am reminded, "Blessed are they that thirst," etc. And do not be cast down that you have not received the fulness of blessing. Is it not something that your thirst for God and righteousness makes you in a sense partaker of the sufferings of Jesus.(3) "Woman, behold thy son! Son, behold thy mother." In that I see something that I may have fellowship with. In the midst of all His agony He found time to think upon the sorrows of His broken hearted mother and His lonely disciple, and to mingle their griefs with His own. How is human sorrow sanctified by such a revelation as this? Does bereavement come? The same pangs that shot through my Saviour's heart are become mine, and I am a partaker with Him.(4) "My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" He was forsaken in order that you and I might not be forsaken. And yet, let us consider what it was that caused that cry: it was the dark shadow of imputed sin coming between His soul and God. And as we enter into the fellowship of the sufferings of Jesus, our views of sin will become more keen and clear, and also bring along with them a more painful emotion than could otherwise be ours. Let me enter into the fellowship of the sufferings of Jesus, that will make me hate sin.(5) "This day shalt Thou be with Me in Paradise." Parched are His lips, and His heart breaking; yet when that dying malefactor's cry reaches His ear, His eye is turned upon that poor dying man, and the word of peace and pardon is spoken; and the suffering Son of Man takes on Himself the burden of the dying sufferer at His side. Oh for a heart to sorrow in all the sorrows of humanity!(6) "It is finished." Oh to be partakers with Christ in the glory of that last cry, which is the triumphant issue of suffering. When the will has been so fully yielded that God has been able to work out His own purpose in us, and to reveal His Son in us, then may it one day come to our turn to exclaim with St. Paul, "I have finished my course."

3. Fellowship in the result of His sufferings. He, the Captain of our salvation, was made "perfect through suffering." Even so, while there never was a time that the will of the Man Christ Jesus was opposed to the will of the Father, yet there was a time when its obedience was not completed, and thus He learnt obedience by the things which He suffered. If we learn what it is to be conformed to the image of His death, as our wilfulness and waywardness learn to submit themselves to the gentle discipline of suffering, and if in each fresh cross we find a fresh revelation of the loving will of the Father, how calm, how resurrection-like our lives must needs become!

(W. M. H. H. Aitken, M. A.)


1. They were distinct in kind from ours.(1) They were meritorious, whereas we cam never have any merit in God's sight.(2) Voluntary, whereas all ours are deserved being entailed by sin.

2. They were distinct in degree.(1) In all their bitterness they were foreseen, whereas ours are hidden, and come in drops only.(2) In absolute magnitude. He bore the whole burden of human suffering. Our sympathies are mighty, but the facts on which they are founded, and the persons they concern, are limited.(3) In capacity for suffering He surpassed us. It is a token of God's mercy as well as our infirmity that we are benumbed by pain. The crash which lights on a man and maims him, leaves him feeling for a moment unhurt. And so with great mental suffering. Often in the course of mighty calamities the chief sufferer endures less than those who pity him. But when in the depth of the valley of humiliation Christ was ever awake to each particular of His great load of woe, and when they offered Him the stupefying potion He put it from Him.(4) In the matter and form and nature of His suffering He surpassed us. What was it that wrung that "My soul is exceeding sorrowful." Was it the mere prospect of pain and shame? Can we suppose that that courage which has often borne on the sons of men to torture and ignominy, foreseen and chosen, was not present in Him? No. Death had a sting, but it was not pain, nor shame; it was sin.

II. BUT HERE WE TOUCH A POINT WHERE WE MAY ENTER INTO THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS. If He became sin for us we are the sinners. Imputed guilt crushed Him; shall actual guilt bring to us. no similar suffering? Of this the natural man knows nothing. Terror on account of sin may throw over his soul its dark shadow, but this is not fellowship with Christ's sufferings.

1. Whence, then, does this fellowship date? When first the Holy Spirit convinces of the hatefulness of sin.

2. This fellowship is an acquirement worthy of our highest ambition. We may avoid it, and live as we think a far more comfortable life. Shall we with the dread of death ever before us? Is it not worth while to get rid of this with all its grievous bondage?

3. The Christian should need no such argument, for the very purpose of his existence is to be conformed to Christ, but this he cannot be without the fellowship of His sufferings. The Captain of our salvation was made perfect through them; so must we be.

(Dean Alford.)

It seems an awful wish that any mortal should dare to aspire to share the sufferings of the Man of sorrows; stranger still when we remember the actual sufferings of that mortal; stranger still that He should tell us to wish it for ourselves.


1. It is not any imitation of Christ's sufferings. Paul might have had them as had the impenitent thief, without any fellowship with Christ. We, too, may suffer beside Christ without suffering with Him.

2. The sufferings of Christ were peculiarly His own. Every heart knows its own bitterness.(1) We shall not find them in the outward circumstances of His life. There have been more painful lives and agonizing deaths than His.(2) We see their intensity in the fact that Christ's life was perfectly holy. He loved God perfectly in a world where God was not loved, where His law was broken, and His name defamed. And remember He saw iniquity as none else could see it; and yet He loved the men whose sin He loathed, and because He loved them He bore the awful burden of their sin.(3) In this our Lord's life followed a universal law. It is a law of organic life, that the lowest form of it has least power of suffering; the highest form of it most. The eye that is the quickest to see beauty is most pained by deformity; the ear that most loves harmony is most pained by discord. But give a spiritual eye that loves the beauty of holiness; a spiritual ear that loves the harmony of righteousness, and place them in the midst of disorder and evil, and you have a nature that, just because it is perfect, must be sorrowful.

3. Now we see what is meant by this fellowship. Paul wished to be raised in the scale of being, and he knew that he could not have Christ's holiness without Christ's sadness, His grace without His grief. Such must be the law of our life. If we would come nearer Christ we must have His sufferings. You may escape them, but only by descending in the scale of being, just as a deaf man escapes the pain of discord, the palsied the pain of touch.

4. Is this a gloomy view of religion? Yes, to those who have mistaken what religion is, to the selfish, the cowardly, and the slothful, whose religion is only a device for getting to heaven as comfortably as they can.


1. Those who share the pains of Christ are entitled to His joys. The same capacity for pain that marks the highest nature also shows its capacity for pleasure. The joy of Christ was in the love He bore His Father, although that also made His grief. If He grieved that the world had not known His Father, it was joy to Him to gather those to whom He taught the Father's love. If it was grief to the Good Shepherd to see the sheep wandering, it was joy to bring it back to the fold. And for this joy He endured the cross. And it may be our joy to do likewise, and to have the brighter fellowship even in the meanness of your toil.

2. In every pain you endure for Christ there is a prophecy of the glory that you shall yet share with Christ. God has made nothing for pain. For every creature God has provided its proper element, and for every desire its lawful gratification. If, then, God has made a new creature in Christ Jesus, He has provided for it an element and gratification for its spiritual desires. The plant that struggles toward the light testifies that light is its proper element; the captive eagle that spreads its wings in vain testifies that its proper home is in the broad fields of air. And when the soul of the Christian pines for the light, and its wings of faith and hope spread themselves, unable to bear him to the home he loves, it is a certain proof that there is a light, a freedom, and a blessedness in the place our Lord has gone to prepare, and he welcomes the pain as preparing him for the place.

(Bishop Magee.)


1. By comprehending their character, objects, and results.(1) Those who think of them as chiefly corporeal, or proceeding from the treatment of men, or from natural causes, cannot share this fellowship. The body was tortured, but "my soul is troubled." There was no cross in the garden; nor does the prospect of suffering explain the agony there; nor the endurance His cry. "God hath put Him to grief," and those who regard His sorrows as those of a martyr can have no fellowship with Him who was "wounded for our transgressions."(2) They who limit the effect of these sufferings to their moral influence can have no fellowship with Him. it is true that Christ has set all mourners an example; but "He also offered Himself without spot." God setting him forth as a propitiation is something distinct from setting us an example.(3) But the belief of this is not everything, notwithstanding what doctrinal Pharisees may say. The devils have it but are not better for it, and a man may be sound in his ideas about these things without caring an atom for them.

2. By faith in them as real and efficacious, and by appropriating their fruits to ourselves. When I feel and know that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth me from sin I have the highest kind of this fellowship. I may not know all that God has revealed about the blood of Jesus, nor be able to satisfy a theologian, but just as I know that the sun gives me light, and food nourishment, so I may know that Christ's blood takes away sin.

3. By suffering as far as possible in His Spirit. There were sorrows into which we cannot follow Him, and His Spirit was so perfect that our imitation must be very imperfect. But we have fellowship thus:(1) The lowly born and despised disciple may have fellowship with the sufferings of Him whom sinners contemned because He was the carpenter's son.(2) The poor may have fellowship with Him who had not where to lay His head.(3) The hidden disciple, called to stand and wait, may have fellowship with Him who lived, with but one exception, in the seclusion of Nazareth for thirty years.(4) The tempted likewise.

(5)The despised.

(6)The forsaken.

(7)The agonized; and

(8)The dying.


1. Our enjoyment of the everlasting benefits of Christ's sufferings is dependent on this fellowship.

2. It assists our comprehension of Christ's love.

3. We learn to value more highly what has been secured by Christ's suffering.

4. It tends to relieve the burden of our sorrows.

5. It extinguishes our love for the world.

III. HOW MAY I ATTAIN IT? Like Paul, you must count all things loss. Such knowledge requires much sacrifice.

1. If you pride yourself on your family you can have no fellowship with Him who endured contempt as the carpenter's son.

2. If your great aim is to be wealthy you can have no fellowship with the sufferings of Christ in His poverty.

3. If your object is applause, what communion can there be between you and "the despised and rejected of men"?

(S. Martin.)


1. The pains of life are as various as bodies and souls. Our sensibilities are very various; one thing hurts one person and another another; what is agony to me my neighbour scarcely feels. This is true of the roughnesses of life, its calumnies, its disappointments; of those trials which come through the affections, and those which come through the ambitions of our nature. And those to whom sorrow does not come go in quest of it; they have self-made troubles as hard to endure as those God sends. Nay, there is this compensation, that real suffering drives out imaginary, and where the lot is that of want or anguish the distresses of mere sentiment are excluded. But no Christian escapes distress of some kind.

2. But in all this there is lacking as yet the essential feature of a fellowship in Christ's sufferings. For this faith is needful, and devotion, submission, the support of a heavenly arm, and the expectation of a heavenly home. St. Paul's life was Christ. All his desires, interests, objects, were swallowed up in the living to Christ's glory. It was in this sort of life that trouble met Him (2 Corinthians 6:5). What becomes of us when we drag ourselves into this comparison. But if we suffer no great things on Christ's behalf, let us see at least that common life is lived in remembrance of Him, life's pleasures subordinated to His will, life's anxieties, sorrows, sicknesses, endured patiently in His strength.

II. IN RELATION TO SIN. In the highest sense we cannot share Christ's sufferings, and, thank God, need not. He has done all. We can add nothing. But that conflict with sin, with its assaults, wiles, contradictions, and perversenesses, temptations which He waged, every one of His servants must have his share, and that conflict means suffering, as every man who has had to do battle with a besetting sin will bear witness. He carries its scars yet, and will carry them to his grave. As Christ, the Captain of our salvation, resisted unto blood, striving against sin, so must we, and in the midst of the conflict remember that He is with you (1 John 4:4; 2 Kings 6:15-17).

(Dean Vaughan.)

Some two hundred years ago, there was a dark period of suffering in Scotland, when deeds of bloody cruelty were committed on God's people, not out done by Indian butcheries. One day the tide is flowing in Solway Firth, rushing like a race horse with snowy mane to the shore. It is occupied by groups of weeping spectators. They keep their eyes fixed on two objects out upon the wet sands. There, two women, each tied fast by their arms and limbs to a stake, stand within the sea mark; and many an earnest prayer is going up to heaven that Christ who bends from His throne to the sight would help them now in their dreadful hour of need. The elder of the two is staked furthest out. Margaret, the younger martyr, stands bound, a fair sacrifice, near by the shore. Well, on the big billows come, hissing to their naked feet; on, and further on they come, death riding on the top of the waves, and eyed by these tender women with unflinching courage. The waters rise and rise, till, amid a scream and cry of horror from the shore, the lessening form of her that had death first to face, is lost in the foam of the surging wave. It recedes, but only to return, and now, the sufferer gasping for breath, her death struggle is begun; and now for Margaret's trial, and her noble answer. "What see you yonder?" said their murderers as they pointed to her fellow confessor in the suffocating agonies of a protracted death. Response full of the boldest faith, and brightest hope; she firmly answered, "I see Christ suffering in one of His own members."

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

A dear suffering Christian on a bed of sickness, which has now proved the portal of heaven, shrank for a while from the prospect of prolonged anguish which opened before her. In the vision of the morning there appeared to her a minute crown twined here and there with thorns, and by the side of this tiny ensign of the Saviour's deep, abounding love, lay another crown, composed wholly of thorns, large murderous spines, such as doubtless composed the wreath of painful mockery that bound the brow of the Son of God. "I thought," said she, "the angels might have brought it; for some one seemed to say, pointing to the large heavy crown, 'I wore this for thee; wear thine for Me,'" and meekly she bent her head, and wore the wreath, and now she has laid it by for the crown which she wears.

(Anna Shipton.)

Oh! how sweet a cross it is to see a cross betwixt Christ and us; to hear our Redeemer say, at every sigh, and every blow, and every loss of a believer, "Half mine!"

(S. Rutherford.)

Musical Anecdotes.
An intimate friend of Handel's called upon him just as he was in the middle of setting the words of "He was despised" to music, and found the great composer sobbing with tears, so greatly had this passage and the rest of his morning's work affected the master.

(Musical Anecdotes.)

Suffering in human life is very widely vicarious. Every man feels this in himself; one part of his being paying another's penalty. If he loves overmuch, it is not love that suffers, but conscientiousness. If his passions are unduly excited, it is his moral nature that feels the transgression. If the brain be overwrought, the body feels it. The first lesson of life is one of vicarious suffering. As we go to the ship to see friends depart, and leave them with cheers and benedictions, and wafted kisses; so, when a young spirit is about to be launched into this earthly life, one would think that troops of angels would attend it, and with hope and gladness see it on its way. But no. Silently it passes the bounds of the unseen land; and the gate which opens to admit it to this is a gate of tears and moans. Through the sorrow of another is it ushered into existence. Love cannot clasp all it yearns for in its bosom, without first suffering for it. The child lives upon its parent's life. The child which has no one to suffer for it is a miserable wretch. And from this point onward, in every relation of life, one man suffers for another's benefit. It is the law of social life; and I do not see why we should think it strange that Christ obeyed the same law, only in a grander way.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Thuanus tells, that a Gallic lord being led forth to martyrdom in company with some equally faithful, though plebeian professors, saw that out of regard to his rank the officers put on him no chains, while each of his brethren bore them; upon which he cried, "Let me, I pray you, be clipped of none of my honours; I, too, for love of Jesus, would wear a chain!"

(S. Coley.)

The death of Christ is presented to us in three different lights.

1. As the noblest expression of Divine love for man; as the infinitely meritorious price of our redemption; as the only safe ground of a trembling sinner's hope.

2. As the strongest and most endearing motive to holiness of life — "constraining us."

3. As a suitable pattern for imitation, which is the meaning here.


1. To the principles involved in the Saviour's death. It was not merely an affecting and mysterious historical event. It represents the principles which lie at the foundation of God's moral character and government, and are most vitally connected with man's hopes as a guilty and helpless being.(1) These principles are —(a) That Jehovah is a just and holy Being, and that evil cannot dwell with Him.(b) That the Divine administration implies the punishment of sin as well as the reward of righteousness.(c) That the moral law of God is a transcript of His own character, and as such, must be vindicated in all its honours and claims.(d) That God has an unalterable right to the obedience of His creatures.(e) That satisfaction must he given to the demands of the perfect law before transgressors can be admitted to mercy.(f) That without shedding of blood is no remission of sins.(2) To these principles the mind of the believer must and will be conformed.(a) He acquiesces in them as essential and worthy of God.(b) He looks on man as a guilty being and on God as a righteous judge.(c) He adores and admires the holiness as well as the love of Jehovah.(d) He contemplates with delight at the foot of the Cross the harmony of the Divine attributes.(e) And in opposition to the infidel who derides the scheme, the Socinian who extracts from it all its value, the Pharisee who seeks to achieve a salvation for himself, he exclaims, "God forbid" (Galatians 6:16; 1 Corinthians 2:2).

2. In the motives which prompted to it.(1) Love to God and man; the former because God s honour required vindication; the latter because man needed mercy. This love, of course, passeth knowledge, and in a sense cannot be imitated; but still in the experience of its benefits we may be conformed to it and cherish a corresponding feeling towards God and man, by giving to our Creator and Redeemer the highest place in our affections and service, and by devoting ourselves to the welfare of mankind.(2) A holy desire to glorify God in the destruction of sin and the advancement of universal holiness. We are conformed to this when the Divine glory is the end of all our actions, and when we wage war against sin.

3. In the ends for which He died.(1) As a witness for truth; and we must conform ourselves to this by acknowledging the reality and Divine original of truth thus attested.(2) To expiate the guilt of sin: to conform to this we must repent, believe, and accept His salvation fully, and seek the salvation of others.

4. In the temper and spirit of His death. He suffered —(1) Voluntarily and cheerfully — do we suffer willingly?(2) With patience and resignation — are we stubborn?(3) With meek benevolence — are we revengeful?(4) In the exercise of lively faith — do we give way to despair?


1. The practical character of the doctrine of the atonement. Having for one of its main objects deliverance from the power of sin and the promotion of universal holiness, it is fitted to cherish a love of practical godliness.

2. The inseparable connection between faith and holiness. Without faith, the principles and motives which most powerfully prompt to holiness could not gain access to the mind: without holiness, there can be no genuine faith, for the graces of holiness are its effects and fruits.

3. The subject enters deeply into the essentials of Christian experience and life. Religion does not consist in the use of means; the ordinances of religion are only the means of leading the soul to God and holiness, of being conformable to Christ's death.

(R. Burns, D. D.)

The participle "being made" is present, and implies a process that is going on and will continue through life — not an act like justification, simultaneous with the exercise of faith. "Made conformable" means being cast in the same form, being brought into such a community and likeness that one sketch, outline, shape, will represent both.

I. THIS SHAPING IN THE FORM OF CHRIST'S DEATH IS ONE OF THE CHRISTIAN'S EARNEST ENDEAVOURS AND MOST CHERISHED OBJECTS. No advantage in life, nothing that tempts ordinary men can attract Him in comparison of this. Here is a text for us to try ourselves by. What is the shape that we must be like. Christ's death was a death unto sin. "In that He died He died unto sin." The suffering of the previous verse is a different thing from this, yet it co-exists with this in the spiritual life. Fellowship with Christ's sufferings is the endless conflict of the believer's course, ever wearing and wearying Him. Conformity to Christ's death is the deep calm of indifference to sin with all its allurements, ever setting in together with and over against the conflict. The two are in different portions of His being. The conflict with sin is carried on at the surface, and also very much beneath the surface — even in the region where the two wills, the old and the new, are ever struggling and wrestling for the mastery; and sometimes its more terrible paroxysms seem to penetrate, and shake, and threaten to carry away the whole man: but there is an inner depth, in which the peace which passeth understanding has its hold and reign: and there, in that centre of his being, is this death to sin going on. As Christ died to sin, passed out from the penalty and imputation of sin, He had no more to do with it. So each of the brethren who are being made like Him are losing part and interest in sin, weaned from its power, alienated from its motives and objects; the distance ever widening between it and them; the breach becoming ever more and more irreconcilable.


1. Not by any mere strong action of the will — any acquired philosophical indifference to sin and temptation. Sin is too strong for any resolve.

2. No; in our Christian life, Christ is first and midst and last: and no mere moral strength or determination can be reckoned on as accessory to Him in his great work. This being conformed to Christ's death is brought in, is carried on, is completed, by faith. When I first see Christ linked to me by the bonds of God's everlasting covenant, then faith begins its work within me; then, the first utter dislike to sin, as sin, is bred in my heart.

3. But faith in what? In Christ's death, in its atoning efficacy and its necessity. Then alone does sin appear in its proper hatefulness when I see that this was what helped to nail Him there; when I enter into my Redeemer's woe and understand what it was that caused it. I become knit to Him and weaned from it — crucified with Him, so that though the motions towards it are yet felt in my body, yet I have no disposition in its favour.


1. We have seen it in its total severance from sin and sinners. But where were they meantime? Did they rest quiet? Did they allow this ever lasting protest against the pollution, the selfishness, the hatefulness of sin before God, to be lifted up in peace? Ah no: there they were beneath His cross, scoffing at Him and aggravating His death pangs. And so it will be with us. Sin and the devil will not let us alone in its various stages. The nearer we approach in like ness to Him, the more will His enemies treat us as they treated Him. No longer by the scourge, and the crown of thorns, and the cross — but by mockery and scorn, by coldness and alienation, which in our present state of ripened social order are weapons as powerful as any outward persecution was then.

2. He died to all human ambition. Whatever projects His followers may have formed for Him were defeated by it. Just so thy fondly cherished hopes of earthly distinction must be laid down at the foot of His cross; thou must be content, so far as they are concerned, to be stripped and nailed to the cross of shame, and made a spectacle to men.

3. All self-righteousness is nailed to the cross, His was the only meritorious death. If I am being conformed to it I am nothing; nothing as ground of hope, or as cause of fear.

4. Nor should we entirely dismiss such a theme without one look onwards. "If we be dead with Christ, we shall also live with Him." The Christian should never end with Calvary, nor with the mortification of the body, nor with deadness to sin; but ever carry his thoughts onward to that blessed consummation, to which these are the entrance and necessary conditions.

(Dean Alford.)

A Chinese convert, when trying to persuade his countrymen to give up their idols and believe in Christ, was ridiculed and scorned, and at last pelted with mud and stones till his face was red with the blood that flowed from the cuts in his temples. Mr. Johnson, the missionary, meeting him, said, "You have had bad treatment today." He smilingly replied, "They may kill me if they will love Jesus."

Benjamin, Paul, Philippians
Becoming, Christ, Conformable, Conformed, Dead, Death, Die, Died, Fellowship, Pains, Power, Resurrection, Rising, Share, Sharing, Sufferings
1. He warns them to beware of the false teachers;
4. showing that himself has greater cause than they to trust in the righteousness of the law;
7. which he counts as loss, to gain Christ and his righteousness;
12. acknowledging his own imperfection and pressing on toward the goal;
15. He exhorts them to be thus minded;
17. and to imitate him,
18. and to decline carnal ways.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Philippians 3:10

     1105   God, power of
     2066   Christ, power of
     2570   Christ, suffering
     5030   knowledge, of Christ
     5457   power, human
     5565   suffering, of believers
     5568   suffering, causes
     5787   ambition, positive
     6139   deadness, spiritual
     6214   participation, in Christ
     7025   church, unity
     7028   church, life of
     7922   fellowship, with God
     8162   spiritual vitality
     8441   goals
     8451   mortification
     9313   resurrection, spiritual

Philippians 3:4-11

     7552   Pharisees, attitudes to Christ

Philippians 3:7-11

     8356   unselfishness

Philippians 3:7-14

     8454   obedience, to God

Philippians 3:8-10

     5492   restitution

Philippians 3:8-11

     2560   Christ, resurrection
     6679   justification, results
     8206   Christlikeness

Philippians 3:10-11

     6756   union with Christ, significance
     8217   conformity
     9310   resurrection

Philippians 3:10-14

     8164   spirituality
     8672   striving with God

Philippians 3:10-17

     5109   Paul, apostle

September 6. "Finally, My Brethren, Rejoice in the Lord" (Phil. Iii. 1).
"Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord" (Phil. iii. 1). There is no spiritual value in depression. One bright and thankful look at the cross is worth a thousand morbid, self-condemning reflections. The longer you look at evil the more it mesmerizes and defiles you into its own likeness. Lay it down at the cross, accept the cleansing blood, reckon yourself dead to the thing that was wrong, and then rise up and count yourself as if you were another man and no longer the same person; and then, identifying
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

May 25. "That I May Know Him" (Phil. Iii. 10).
"That I may know Him" (Phil. iii. 10). Better to know Jesus Himself than to know the truth about Him for the deep things of God as they are revealed by the Holy Ghost. It was Paul's great desire, "That I may know Him," not about Him, not the mysteries of the wonderful world, of the deeper and higher teachings of God, but to enter into the Holy of Holies, where Christ is, where the Shekinah is shining and making the place glorious with the holiness of God, and then to enter into the secret of the
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

January 27. "This one Thing I Do" (Phil. Iii. 13).
"This one thing I do" (Phil. iii. 13). One of Satan's favorite employees is the switchman. He likes nothing better than to side-track one of God's express trains, sent on some blessed mission and filled with the fire of a holy purpose. Something will come up in the pathway of the earnest soul, to attract its attention and occupy its strength and thought. Sometimes it is a little irritation and provocation. Sometimes it is some petty grievance we stop to pursue or adjust. Sometimes it is somebody
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

May 15. "I Press Toward the Mark" (Phil. Iii. 14).
"I press toward the mark" (Phil. iii. 14). We have thought much about what we have received. Let us think of the things we have not received, of some of the vessels that have not yet been filled, of some of the places in our life that the Holy Ghost has not yet possessed for God, and signalized by His glory and His presence. Shall the coming months be marked by a diligent, heart-searching application of "the rest of the oil," to the yet unoccupied possibilities of our life and service? Have we known
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Twenty Third Sunday after Trinity Enemies of the Cross of Christ and the Christian's Citizenship in Heaven.
Text: Philippians 3, 17-21. 17 Brethren, be ye imitators [followers] together of me, and mark them that so walk even as ye have us for an ensample. 18 For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is perdition, whose god is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. 20 For our citizenship [conversation] is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 who
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

Laid Hold of and Laying Hold
'I follow after if that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended of Christ Jesus.'--PHIL. iii. 12. 'I was laid hold of by Jesus Christ.' That is how Paul thinks of what we call his conversion. He would never have 'turned' unless a hand had been laid upon him. A strong loving grasp had gripped him in the midst of his career of persecution, and all that he had done was to yield to the grip, and not to wriggle out of it. The strong expression suggests, as it seems to me, the suddenness
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Rule of the Road
'Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule.'--PHIL. iii. 16. Paul has just been laying down a great principle--viz. that if the main direction of a life be right, God will reveal to a man the points in which he is wrong. But that principle is untrue and dangerous, unless carefully guarded. It may lead to a lazy tolerance of evil, and to drawing such inferences as, 'Well! it does not much matter about strenuous effort, if we are right at bottom it will all come
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Soul's Perfection
'Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.'--PHIL. iii. 15. 'As many as be perfect'; and how many may they be? Surely a very short bede-roll would contain their names; or would there be any other but the Name which is above every name upon it? Part of the answer to such a question may be found in observing that the New Testament very frequently uses the word to express not so much the idea of moral completeness
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Warnings and Hopes
'Brethren, be ye imitators together of me, and mark them which so walk even as ye have us for an ensample. For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is perdition, whose God is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Preparing to End
'Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not irksome, but for you it is safe. 2. Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the concision: 3. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God, and glory in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.'--PHIL. iii. 1-3 (R.V.). The first words of the text show that Paul was beginning to think of winding up his letter, and the preceding context also suggests that. The
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Saving Knowledge
'That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, becoming conformed unto His death; if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead.'--PHIL. iii. 10-11 (R.V.). We have seen how the Apostle was prepared to close his letter at the beginning of this chapter, and how that intention was swept away by the rush of new thoughts. His fervid faith caught fire when he turned to think of what he had lost, and how infinitely more he had gained in
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Race and the Goal
'This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize.'--PHIL. iii. 13, 14. This buoyant energy and onward looking are marvellous in 'Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.' Forgetfulness of the past and eager anticipation for the future are, we sometimes think, the child's prerogatives. They may be ignoble and puerile, or they may be worthy and great. All depends on the future
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Loss of All
'Though I myself might have confidence even in the flesh: if any other man thinketh to have confidence in the flesh, I yet more: circumcised the eighth day of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; as touching zeal, persecuting the church; as touching the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless. Howbeit what things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Gain of Christ
That I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.'--PHIL. iii. 8, 9 (R.V.). It is not everybody who can say what is his aim in life. Many of us have never thought enough about it to have one beyond keeping alive. We lose life in seeking for the means of living. Many of us have such a multitude of aims, each in its turn drawing us, that no one of
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Preached at Bideford, 1854] Philippians iii. 15, 16. And if in any thing ye shall be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. My friends, allow me to speak a few plain and honest words, ere we part, on a matter which is near to, and probably important to, many of us here. We all know how the Christian Church has in all ages been torn in pieces by religious quarrels; we all know
Charles Kingsley—Sermons for the Times

Do You Know Him?
Have I imagined emotions which would not be natural? I think not. The most cool and calculating would be warmed with desires like these. Methinks what I have now pictured before you will wake the echoes in your breasts, and you will say, "Ah, it is even so! It is because Christ loved me and gave himself for me that I want to know him; it is because he has shed his blood for me and has chosen me that I may be one with him for ever, that my soul desires a fuller acquaintance with him." Now may God,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 10: 1864

The Power of Christ Illustrated by the Resurrection
Beloved, how intimately is the whole of our life interwoven with the life of Christ! His first coming has been to us salvation, and we are delivered from the wrath of God through him. We live still because he lives, and never is our life more joyous than when we look most steadily to him. The completion of our salvation in the deliverance of our body from the bondage of corruption, in the raising of our dust to a glorious immortality, that also is wrapped up with the personal resurrection and quickening
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

False Professors Solemnly Warned
Note, too, that the apostle was a very honest pastor--when he marked anything amiss in his people, he did not blush to tell them; he was not like your modern minister, whose pride is that he never was personal in his life, and who thus glories in his shame, for had he been honest, he would have been personal, for he would have dealt out the truth of God without deceitfulness, and would have reproved men sharply, that they might be sound in the faith. "I tell you," says Paul, "because it concerns
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 2: 1856

The Freedom of the City.
(Twenty-third Sunday after Trinity.) PHIL. iii. 20. "Our conversation is in Heaven." People often fail to get at the meaning of this glorious text because they mistake that word conversation. Really the text means--our citizenship is in Heaven, we belong to the Eternal City. Once S. Paul declared with pride that he was a Roman citizen; and when the Chief Captain in surprise declared that he himself had purchased that privilege at a great price, the Apostle answered, "but I was free born." Every
H. J. Wilmot-Buxton—The Life of Duty, a Year's Plain Sermons, v. 2

"To what Purpose is the Multitude of Your Sacrifices unto Me? Saith the Lord,"
Isaiah i. 11.--"To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord," &c. This is the word he calls them to hear and a strange word. Isaiah asks, What mean your sacrifices? God will not have them. I think the people would say in their own hearts, What means the prophet? What would the Lord be at? Do we anything but what he commanded us? Is he angry at us for obeying him? What means this word? Is he not repealing the statute and ordinance he had made in Israel? If he had reproved
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"But Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God," &C.
Matth. vi. 33.--"But seek ye first the kingdom of God," &c. II. The Christian's chief employment should be to seek the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof. "Seek first," &c. Upon this he should first and chiefly spend his thoughts, and affections, and pains. We comprehend it in three things. First, He should seek to be clothed upon with Christ's righteousness, and this ought to take up all his spirit. This is the first care and the chief concern. Did not this righteousness weigh much
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

--that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.--Ep. to the Philippians iii. 8, 9. What does the apostle mea
George MacDonald—Unspoken Sermons

Entire Sanctification
By Dr. Adam Clarke The word "sanctify" has two meanings. 1. It signifies to consecrate, to separate from earth and common use, and to devote or dedicate to God and his service. 2. It signifies to make holy or pure. Many talk much, and indeed well, of what Christ has done for us: but how little is spoken of what he is to do in us! and yet all that he has done for us is in reference to what he is to do in us. He was incarnated, suffered, died, and rose again from the dead; ascended to heaven, and there
Adam Clarke—Entire Sanctification

That True Solace is to be Sought in God Alone
Whatsoever I am able to desire or to think of for my solace, I look for it not here, but hereafter. For if I alone had all the solaces of this world, and were able to enjoy all its delights, it is certain that they could not endure long. Wherefore, O my soul, thou canst be fully comforted and perfectly refreshed, only in God, the Comforter of the poor, and the lifter up of the humble. Wait but a little while, my soul, wait for the Divine promise, and thou shalt have abundance of all good things
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

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