Blog Entries

Sermon of the Week: No. 1350, “Enlivening and Invigorating”

Phillip Ort November 5, 2019

“Quicken thou me according to thy word.” – Psalm 119:25


Charles Spurgeon began this sermon by noting that “you will frequently find David uttering this petition.” He believed that “it is a favorite prayer of [David’s].” According to Spurgeon, whenever David felt a spiritual “coldness” or “deadness” “stealing over him” his first cry was “Quicken thou me, O Lord!”


However, Spurgeon also wisely asked “How are we to understand this quickening?” The term of course meant “making alive,” “keeping alive,” or “enlivening” but David was already “alive” in that he was a “spiritual man.” Rather, Spurgeon distinguished between two types of “quickening.” The first “comes to us…by regeneration” when we are born again. But this new life, like a fire, “must be fed with fuel and supported with air.” And so the second “quickening” was God’s “divine act of power” which “maintains the life” he had given.


In the first section of his sermon, Spurgeon addressed the “Many reasons why we should seek quickening.” First, Spurgeon lamented “the deadening influence of this world.” He declared “We are surrounded with dust….The best and brightest things that are in this world are made of dust.” This “dust” was incapable of truly satisfying the soul as Spurgeon said “The new life in us craves for something higher.” Nonetheless, worldliness was a great struggle as the “old nature tries to be contented with dust.”


Second, Spurgeon cautioned his congregation saying, “we are surrounded by deceivers.” He knew that it was difficult to be “a dove in the midst of ravens” or “a lamb in the midst of wolves.” The world itself was lying “in wait to entrap” Christians and heap “scorn” and “contempt” upon them at the slightest offense. And so, Spurgeon advised that “Unsullied purity is the safest policy,” a purity of character sustained by vital union with Jesus Christ.


In the second section of his sermon, Spurgeon discussed “Some of the motives for seeking quickening.” First, he exhorted his congregation to “Seek it because of what you are.” Simply, “Life seeks more life,” in fact it was a “law of nature.” To long for “life,” for growth in holiness and fruitful service to the Lord Jesus was to be expected.


Second, Spurgeon declared that “We want quickening in order to obedience.” Here he warned that “If our life decays, then the power of sin will get the mastery over us.” Furthermore, he insisted that “There is no such thing as dead holiness, it must be living holiness, and you must be made alive in order to be obedient, for there is no such thing as dead obedience.”


Third, Spurgeon warned of the “terrible consequences of losing spiritual life.” Now here, “life” meant the vitality of spiritual life, not its presence. He was not speaking of “losing it altogether, but of lacking it in its manifest display.” Here Spurgeon warned of churches, and church members, which were “cold,” “apathetic,” and “spiritless.” Likewise, there were ministers whose preaching was a lot of “dozing,” “dreaming,” and “snoring.” Unfortunately, this resulted in a stagnant spiritual decay that blighted whole neighborhoods and hindered the gospel’s advance.


In the third section of his sermon, Spurgeon focused on “Some on the ways by which this quickening may be wrought in us.” First of all, he noted that “the Lord himself must do it.” After all, “Whence can life come but from the ever living God?”


Second, Spurgeon noted that God often “quickens his people by his word.” Now, while Spurgeon rejoiced that “Promises are quickening” and that “doctrines are quickening” he emphasized David’s mention of “precepts.” While some would accuse a preacher of being “legal” for preaching the commands of God, Spurgeon declared that “when you are alive you will love God’s precepts, and those precepts will quicken you.”


In the fourth, and final, section of his sermon Spurgeon closed by asking “Where are our pleas when we come before God to ask for quickening?” Here Spurgeon asked “What arguments shall we use?” First, Spurgeon counselled his congregation to plead “your necessity.” Whether hunger, or affliction, or any other distress Spurgeon asserted that “your wants shall be the argument for the oil and wine.” Simply, God would supply what his people truly needed.


Second, Spurgeon advised his congregation in all instances to “plead the word of God.” Any promise rightly applied would provide for a powerful plea because God always keeps his promises.


Finally, in light of all these things, Spurgeon charged his congregation “do tenderly watch over your spiritual life….take heed lest you neglect the food of your souls.” The blood-bought life which Christ had given was precious, and so Spurgeon warned “Keep out of all the deadening influences of the world as much as you can.”


Why you should take up and read:


For Charles Spurgeon, the vitality of one’s spiritual life was crucial. Like a fire, each Christian’s spiritual life “must be fed with fuel and supported with air.” This is why Spurgeon, like David, cried out “Quicken thou me, O Lord!” In this sermon, Spurgeon wisely modeled how to seek the Lord for fresh enlivening and invigorating. For those wanting like refreshment please take up and read.


Here is the link to the Sermon of the Week:

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.