“Wist ye not that I should be about my Father’s business?” – Luke 2:49
For Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the “great interest God the Father takes in the work of salvation” was stunning. Even though “Jesus Christ came to accomplish our redemption” and “establish a way of salvation” it was called “my Father’s business.” Truly, “the great heart of the Father” was as “full of love as the bleeding heart of the Son.”
However, equally as wonderful was the “condescension of the Son,” in order to “become the servant of the Father, to do not his own business, but his Father’s business.” Even though he was “equal in power with God” he nonetheless “took upon himself the nature of man” and was “‘obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’”
And so before beginning in earnest, Spurgeon exhorted his hearers to “love all the persons of the Divine Trinity alike” and “remember that salvation is no more the work of one than of the other.” In creation they all said “Let us make man,” and in salvation they all say “Let us save man.” And so, Christians should praise and glorify the Triune God of their Triunely wrought salvation.
In the first section of his sermon, Spurgeon expounded upon “The spirit of Christ.” Here Spurgeon exclaimed “It was a spirit of undivided consecration to the will of God his Father. It was a spirit urged onward by an absolute necessity to serve God.”
Using an analogy from personal experience, Spurgeon remarked “There is something in me which prevents me from doing other work.” He said:
I feel an all-controlling, overwhelming, influence which constrains me at all times and in every place to be about my Father’s business; the spirit of high, holy, entire, sincere, determined consecration in heart to God.
From here, Spurgeon turned to ask “what was the impelling power which (as it were) forced Christ to be about his Father’s business[?]” First, he noted that it was a “spirit of obedience.” Recalling his youthful affections for Christ, Spurgeon asked “Beloved believer! Do you not remember when you were first converted to God[?]” He said, “I can remember well how I could scarcely abide myself five minutes without doing something for Christ.”
Second, Spurgeon noted that Christ “had a sacred call to the work which he had undertaken.” Simply, Christ’s “sacred call forced him on.” Similarly, Spurgeon asserted that on a human level “the belief in a special call to do a special work is like the arm of omnipotence to a man.” In his view, a man with such a “special call” takes the matter as the “commission of his life.”
Third, Spurgeon observed that Christ “had a vow upon him.” This was because in eternity past Christ “had become the surety of the covenant.” He had “taken a solemn oath that he would become man,” “pay the ransom price,” and “do his Father’s business, what ever that might be.”
Turning to “the business,” Spurgeon saw three aspects of Christ work: “example, establishment, and expiation.” First, Christ came into the world as a “perfect example for our imitation.” Indeed, “you never find Christ doing a thing you cannot imitate.”
Second, Christ brought the “establishment of a new dispensation” in the gospel. Third, Christ ransomed his people in his “great work of expiation.” Truly “the Father’s business” cost Christ dearly as he “sweat great drops of blood,” let his back be “ploughed…with many gory furrows,” and “yield himself to death” “upon the tree.” But in so doing, he decisively accomplished the salvation of his people.
In the second, and final, section of his sermon, Spurgeon exhorted his hearers to “Imitate” Christ’s example. And to make his point Spurgeon asked “why [is] the religion of Christ so very slow in spreading[?]” He responded by exclaiming, “it is because the professors of it do not believe it!” Or rather, “they believe it in the head,” but not “in the heart.”
Spurgeon simply stated, “Religion can not go halves with anything else; it must be all.” Christians were to be wholly consecrated to the Lord regardless of their station or walk of life. Furthermore, Spurgeon said “Do not think you need to be a minister to dedicate yourself to Christ. Many a man has disgraced a pulpit, and many a man has sanctified an anvil…many a man has consecrated a plough.” Indeed, “We ought in all our business, as well as in our sacred acts, to do all for Christ.” And so, whatever you do, do it in devotion to Christ and consecration to God.
Why you should take up and read:
For Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the “great interest God the Father takes in the work of salvation” was stunning. Through Scripture he saw that “the great heart of the Father” was as “full of love as the bleeding heart of the Son.” In this sermon Spurgeon expounded upon Christ’s consecration to “his Father’s business.” For those wanting to grow in consecration please take up and read.
Here is a link to the Sermon of the Week:https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/christ-about-his-fathers-business#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.