“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10
For Charles Spurgeon, the contrast between Jesus Christ and the thief in John 10 was acute. Christ came that those who believe in him “might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” On the other hand, “The thief cometh not but to steal, to kill, and to destroy.”
For Spurgeon false teachers were like thieves because they “seriously injure and emperil the souls of men, and in the end cause their destruction.” In fact, “their selfish ends can only be answered by the ruin of their dupes.”
On the other hand, Jesus Christ was “the true teacher of men” who caused “injury to no one.” His teaching was full of “goodness,” “kindness,” and “love.” Simply put, “error is deadly; truth is life-giving,” and Jesus only one who can give life “more abundantly.”
In the first section of his sermon, Spurgeon focused on the fact that “Jesus Christ has come that men may have life.” Here Spurgeon celebrated the truth that “life in the sense of pardon, and deliverance from the death penalty, is the great result of Christ’s coming.” While “all men in their natural condition are under the sentence of death” Spurgeon declared that “Life there is in a look at Jesus.” So, while “unregenerate men have physical life and mental life,” yet “spiritual life they have not.” Indeed, none could ever have spiritual life “except as Jesus gives it to them.”
In the second, and final, section of his sermon, Spurgeon articulated seven ways in which “Jesus has come that those to whom he has given life may have it more abundantly.” However, before moving to his seven points, Spurgeon emphasized that “Life is a matter of degrees.” The life that Christ came to give was not static, rather it was “life in all its fulness.” Accordingly, Spurgeon asserted that “We grow in grace, we advance in knowledge, in experience, in confidence, and in conformity to the image of our Lord.” As the “babes” grow into adults “thus do we possess life more abundantly.”
First, Spurgeon noted that “abundant life” included” “stamina.” Using the example of digging a ditch, Spurgeon observed that a wise foreman would recruit men with “ruddy faces,” “broad shoulders,” and “mighty limbs,” and not those with “sunken cheeks” and “hollow…coughs.” Accordingly, Spurgeon believed that “Jesus has come…so that we may be capable of arduous service and powerful action.” In terms of spiritual service Jesus “would have us walk without weariness,” “run without fainting,” and “be strong.”
Third, Spurgeon remarked that “abundant life” increases as “our powers are brought into exercise.” Speaking in spiritual terms, he noted that “all the powers of the man are in the child.” Put simply, “none of us know what we may be,” for God’s power to transform is great. To make his point, Spurgeon asked, “Would you believe that the Peter of the gospels could be the same person as the Peter of Acts?” And so, Spurgeon declared “Fain would I fire you with a holy ambition. Pray to Jesus to make you all you can be.”
Fourth, Spurgeon noted “an increased degree of energy.” While he acknowledged that many have “powers,” or ability, he observed that many choose to “not exercise them” due to a “lack of intensity of purpose.” But for the Christian, Christ is the great “stimulus and impetus.” Spurgeon believed that “Energetic, forceful, triumphant life belongs to souls enamoured with the cross.” And so, looking to the cross was not only the spark of life, but the fuel which sustained the flame.
Seventh, and finally, Spurgeon declared that life, when in abundance, “becomes supreme.” Here by “supreme” he meant a resilient life, an enduring life which “circumstance should not be able to overcome.” Spurgeon believed that a life which “defies circumstances” was “glorious” and this was exactly the kind of life Christ had given. Eternal, enduring, persevering life.
Why you should take up and read:
Charles Spurgeon rejoiced in the “abundant life” brought by Jesus Christ. The life that began with a look to Jesus would increase as “we grow in grace,” and “we advance in knowledge, in experience, in confidence, and in conformity to the image of our Lord.” For those wanting to grow in grace and experience life in all its fulness please take up and read.
Here is a link to the Sermon of the Week:https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/life-more-abundant#flipbook/
Phillip Ort serves as the Director of The Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City while studying in The Residency Ph.D. program.