Charles Spurgeon was not only a great preacher, but a great teacher. Shortly after his conversion, he began teaching Sunday school classes to children at his local church. He was so dynamic, clear, and faithful that adults often slipped into his class in order to hear him teach the Bible. Certainly Spurgeon counted those days before taking the pulpit as a sweet time in service to the Body of Christ.
"I see not anywhere in the Bible, anything that should lead me to believe that the office of the preacher is more honorable than that of the teacher. It seems to me, that every Sunday-school teacher has a right to put 'Reverend' before his name as much as I have."
Even in his teaching to children, Charles Spurgeon hold back the call to repentance and salvation. Evidence for his conviction is found in Lost Sermon No. 83, "Count the Cost".
"THE COST OF RELIGION — Some say, why tell it to young beginners? But Jesus did."
Just months into his preaching ministry, the reverend preacher issues a stern and concise call to consider the cost of following Christ. The life of the Christian requires "much trouble". Sinners must give up their self-sovereignty, and be willing to be made enemies with the world. Sin must be put to death, laid aside "great and small". The taking up of the cross of Christ also demands a life of obedience, humble submission, "entire consecration".
For many, the cost may seem too high. Why give up the pleasures of sin for a life of sacrifice? Spurgeon reminds us the cost of denying Christ is much higher. Most of all, there is a loss of Jesus himself, enjoyment of him and his love. No other temporal happiness can match the kind of eternal and unwavering joy that he brings. Upon death, the unrepentent pays the final cost of losing the opportunity to joy in God for eternity. The alternative is the torment of seperation in hell, which Charles calls "vast loss".
Following Jesus is not easy, but it is good. The rewards of heaven, union with Christ, justification under God, and joy in God's love are great gain. The young Sunday school teacher turned preacher reminds us the truth of our sacrifice:
"How much the gain exceeds the loss."
You can read an excerpt from “Count the Cost” below. Be sure to pick up The Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon, vol. 2, available now, for more sermons from Spurgeon’s earliest ministry.
About The Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon
In 1857, Charles Spurgeon–—the most popular preacher in the Victorian world—–promised his readers that he would publish his earliest sermons. For almost 160 years, these sermons have been lost to history. In 2017, B&H Academic began releasing a multi-volume set that includes full-color facsimiles, transcriptions, contextual and biographical introductions, and editorial annotations. Written for scholars, pastors, and students alike, The Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon will add approximately 10 percent more material to Spurgeon’s body of literature. Click here for an interview between Jared Wilson and Christian George about the Lost Sermons project.