“You cannot better prove your love to your King than by fighting your King’s battles, and spreading abroad the savour of his name.”
For Charles Spurgeon the Biblical imagery of war was full of theological significance. While the historical narrative of the Bible highlighted the “petty sovereigns of the east” and their “regular seasons for warfare,” Spurgeon found comfort in knowing that “the Lord holdeth back the dogs of war.” Rather, God was unfolding his grand plan of redemption, and so the “whim and caprice” of the despot would not have the final say.
But Spurgeon also saw an inner warfare in the soul. He noted that “there is a time in our hearts when the inner warfare rages with unusual violence.” Indeed, at certain season “our corruptions” seem to “break forth with extreme violence,” and must be fought with “prayer and holy watchfulness, to keep ourselves from becoming slaves to our inward enemies.”
However, in this sermon Spurgeon examined his text as a reference to “Christians activities,” saying, “There are times when Christians, all of whom are kings unto God, should go forth to battle in a special and peculiar sense.”
In the first section of his sermon, Spurgeon declared, “The time for the kings to go forth to battle is come.” Here Spurgeon asserted that the “special time for Christian activities is just now.” Indeed, Jesus Christ had ascended into glory and the Kingdom of God had been inaugurated. As a result, Spurgeon asserted that “we are bound as soon as we receive the new birth, to let that spiritual life develop itself in zeal for our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Here Spurgeon also articulated four conditions which described “seasons suitable” for battle. First, Spurgeon said it was necessary that people “can be gathered for religious exercises.” Indeed, people needed to be able to be present, but also needed to be willing to hear the gospel.
Second, Spurgeon said that “suitable seasons” arise “when the king’s troops are fit for battle.” For Spurgeon, if any Christian found himself in a “holy and happy condition” he needed to ask himself “To what purpose is this strength?”
Third, Spurgeon said that “suitable seasons” arise when “discerning Christian men feel the motions of the Spirit of God calling them to unusual service.” Fourth, and finally, he noted that “suitable seasons” arise “when the Lord himself works.” Thus, Spurgeon concluded “faith’s discerning eye can see the God of providence moving heaven and earth to help his church.”
In the second section of his sermon, Spurgeon exclaimed “It behoves every soldier now to go to the wars.” Simply, “every professed Christian, every believer, and every saved sinner” was to go to battle for King Jesus. To this end Spurgeon offered four charges.
First, Spurgeon reminded his congregation that “All believers belong to Christ.” Indeed,” believers were Christ’s “bond servants” and bore “his brand.” It was the believer’s highest glory that they could sing “I am his, and he is mine.”
Second, Spurgeon reminded them that “all of you believers love Christ.” As a result, Spurgeon challenged his congregation to “prove your love then.” For Spurgeon, this meant “fighting your King’s battles, and spreading abroad the savour of his name.”
Third, Spurgeon reminded them that “God has appointed each one of you to a service.” Indeed, Spurgeon also knew that “it is not for me to point out in every case what your niche may be,” but believer’s were nonetheless appointed to some capacity of service.
Fourth, and finally, Spurgeon reminded them that “there is strength promised for each of you.” Indeed, Spurgeon insisted that “you must not excuse yourself from the battle because you are weak, for the Lord strengtheneth the feeble.” Truly, God would provide the power, the believer only needed to obey.
In the third section of his sermon, Spurgeon asserted “There are great motives to excite us to fight earnestly for Christ.” First, Spurgeon noted that Christ “is our King.” Indeed, the observation alone carried such weight that Spurgeon asked “Who would not fight for such a King, Immanuel God with us?”
Second, Spurgeon mentioned “the banner under which we fight.” Indeed, it was “the banner of the truth, of the atoning blood.” The glorious redemption Christ purchased for his people by his blood served as the rallying cry for all believers.
In the fourth, and final, section of his sermon Spurgeon concluded by noting “The highest encouragements readily present themselves to induce you to join the warring armies.” Here Spurgeon recounted four express reasons for service. First, “God has an elect people” and so the harvest would be sure.
Second, “God has never failed a true worker yet,” meaning that even the most discouraged servant had hope of their final reward. Third, even “if you did not see any souls converted, yet God would be glorified by your exaltation of Christ.” For the Christian the requirement was not success, but faithfulness. Fourth, were “the promises,” the sweet promises of God.
Finally, Spurgeon concluded by noting “the solemn danger of inaction.” Recalling the story of David and Bathsheba he said, “I do believe it is before every Christian either to serve his God with all his heart, or to fall into sin.” Therefore, take heed and serve.
Why you should take up and read:
For Charles Spurgeon the Biblical imagery of war was full of theological significance. Christians who had been bought and redeemed by the blood of Christ now found themselves drafted into the army of King Immanuel. In this sermon, Spurgeon emphasized that it was the particular duty of every Christian to serve, and it was “better for you to occupy the meanest place of service than to be an idle Christian.” For those wanting to grow in service to Christ, please be encouraged to take up and read.
Here is the link to the Sermon of the Week:https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/a-summons-to-battle#flipbook/
Phillip Ort serves at the Director of The Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City where he is also pursuing a Master of Divinity degree.