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Christ About His Father's Business

Written by: Spurgeon, C.H.    Posted on: 04/02/2003

Category: Sermons

Source: CCN

                                              Christ About His Father's Business                   A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, March 15, 1857, by the                     REV. C.H. SPURGEON at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.



              "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"Luke 2:49.

          Behold then, how great an interest God the Father takes in the work of salvation. It is called "his           business;" and though Jesus Christ came to accomplish our redemption, came to set us a perfect           example, and to establish a way of salvation, yet he came not upon his own business, but upon his           Father's businesshis Father taking as much interest in the salvation of men as even he himself           didthe great heart of the Father being as full of love as the bleeding heart of the Son, and the mind of           the first person of the Trinity being as tenderly affected towards his chosen as even the mind of Christ Jesus, our           substitute, our surety, and our all. It is his "Father's business" Behold, also, the condescension of the Son, that he           should become the servant of the Father, to do not his own business, but the Father's business. See how he stoops           to become a child, subject to his mother; and mark how he stoops to become a man, subject to God his Father.           He took upon himself the nature of man, and though he was the Son, equal in power with God, who "counted it           not robbery to be equal with God," yet he "took upon himself the form of a servant and became obedient unto           death, even the death of the cross." Learn, then, O believer, to love all the persons of the Divine Trinity alike.           Remember that salvation is no more the work of one than of the other. They all three agree in one, and as in the           creation they all said, "Let us make man;" so in salvation they all say, "Let us save man;" and each of them does           so much of it that it is truly the work of each and undividedly the work of all. Remember that notable passage of           Isaiah the prophet"I will divide him a portion with the great and he shall divide the spoil with the strong." God           divides, and Christ divides. The triumph is God's; the Father "divides for him a portion with the great;" it is equally           Christ's, he "divides the spoil with the strong." Set not one person before the other; reverently adore them alike,           for they are oneone in design, one in character, and one in essence; and whilst they be truly three, we may in           adoration exclaim, "Unto the one God of heaven and earth the glory, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever           shall be, world without end. Amen."               But now I shall invite your attention, first, to the spirit of the Savior, as breathed in these words, "Wist ye not           that I must be about my Father's business?" and then, secondly, I shall exhort the children of God, with all the           earnestness which I can command, with all the intensity of power which I can summon to the point, to labour           after the same spirit, that they too may unfeignedly say, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?           "               I. First, then note THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST. 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. Note the word "must." "Wist ye not           that I must?" There is a something in me which prevents me from doing other work. 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. "Wist ye not that I must be about my           Father's business?"               First, what was the impelling power which (as it were) forced Christ to be about his Father's business? and           then, secondly, how did he do his Father's business, and what was it?               1. What was the impelling power which made Christ say, "I must be about my Father's business? " In the first           place, it was the spirit of obedience which thoroughly possessed itself of his bosum. When he took upon him the           form of a servant he received the spirit of an obedient servant too, and became as perfect in the capacity of a           servant as he had ever been in that of a ruler, though in that he had perfectly executed all his of life. Beloved           believer! Do you not remember when you were first converted to God, when the young life of your new-born           spirit was strong and active how impetuously you desired to obey God, and how intense was your eagerness to           serve him in some way or other? I can remember well how I could scarcely abide myself five minutes without           doing something for Christ. If I walked the street I must have a tract with me; if I went into a railway carriage I           must drop a tract out of the window; if I had a moment's leisure I must be upon my knees or at my Bible if I were           in company I must turn the subject of conversation to Christ, that I might serve my Master. Alas, I must confess,           much of that strength of purpose has departed from me, as I doubt not it has from many of you who, with a           greater prominence, have also received diminished zeal. It may be that in the young dawn of life we did imprudent           things in order to serve the cause of Christ; but I say, give me back the time again, with all its imprudence and           with all its hastiness, if I might but have the same love to my Master, the same overwhelming influence in my           spirit making me obey because it was a pleasure to me to obey God. Now, Christ felt just in the same way. He           must do it. He must serve God; he must be obedient; he could not help it. The spirit was in him, and would work,           just as the spirit of disobedience in the wicked impels them to sin. Lust, sometimes, drags the sinner on to sin with           a power so strong and mighty that poor man can no more resist it than the sere leaf can resist the tempest. We had           lusts so omnipotent, that they had but to suggest, and we were their willing slaves; we had habits so tyrannical that           we could not break their chains; we were impelled to evil, like the straw in the whirlwind, or the chip in the           whirlpool. We were hurried whithersoever our lusts would bear us"drawn away and enticed." Now, in the new           heart it is just the same, only in another direction. The spirit of obedience worketh in us, impelling us to serve our           God, so that when that spirit is unclogged and free we may truly say, "We must be about our Father's business."           We cannot help it.               2. But Christ had what some men only have. He had another motive for this, another impelling cause. He had           a sacred call to the work which he had undertaken, and that secret call forced him on. You think, perhaps it is           fanatical to talk of sacred calls; but call it fanatical or no, this one thing I will ownthe belief in a special call to do           a special work is like the arm of omnipotence to a man. Let a man believe that God has set him to do a particular           work, and you may sneer at him: what cares he? He would give as much for your sneer as he would for your           smile, and that is nothing at all. He believes God intends him to do the work. You say nay: but he never asked you           for your vote upon the question; he has received God's message, as he thinks, and he goes on, and you cannot           resist him. If he sits still for a little while, a spirit haunts himhe knows not what it is, but he is unhappy unless he           engages in a business which he feels is the commission of his life. If he hold his tongue when God has commanded           him to speak, the word is like fire in his bonesit burns its way out, until at last he says, with Elihu, "I am bled           with matter; I am like a vessel that wanteth vent;" I must speak, or burst; I cannot help it. Depend upon it, the           men that have done the greatest work for our holy religion have been the men who had the special call to it. I no           more doubt the call of Luther than I doubt the call of the apostles, and he did not doubt it either. One of the           reasons why Luther did a thing was because other people did not like it. When he was about to smite a blow at the           Papacy by marrying a nun all his friends said it was a fearful thing. Luther consulted them, and did the deed,           perhaps, all the sooner because they disapproved of it. A strange reason it may seem, that a man should do a thing           because he was dissuaded from it; but he felt that it was his work to strike the Papacy right and left, and for that           he would give up everything, even the friendship of friends. His business, by night and by day, was to pray down           the pope, to preach down the pope, to write down the pope, and do it he must, though often in the roughest,           coarsest manner, with iron gauntlets on his hands. It was his work; do it he must. You might have done what you           pleased with Luther, even to the rending out his tongue: he would have taken his pen, dipped it in fire, and written           in burning words the doom of Papacy. He could not help it, heaven had forced him to the work, he had a special           commission given him from on high, and no man could stay him any more than he could stay the wind in its           careering, or the tide in its motions. Christ had a special work. "The spirit of the Lord is upon me, the Lord hath           anointed me to preach glad tidings to the poor." And he felt the effects of this anointingthe power of this           impelling. And stay he must not, he could not, he dare not. "I must," said he, "be about my Father's business."               3. But once more, Christ had something which few of us can fully know. He had a vow upon himthe vow           to do the work from all eternity. He had become the surety of the covenant, he had sworn that he would execute           his Father's business. He had taken a solemn oath that he would become man; that he would pay the ransom price           of all his beloved ones; that he would come and do his Father's business, whatever that might be. "Lo, I come,"           said he. "In the volume of the book, it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O God." Therefore, being faithful           and true, the covenant, the engagement, the suretyship, the sworn promise and the oath made him say, "I must be           about my Father's business." Whenever you make a vow, my dear friendsand do that very seldomtake care           that you keep it. Few should be the vows that men make, but they should always be sincerely kept. God asketh no           vow of us, but when his Spirit moveth us to make a vowand we may do so honestly if we make a vow in his           strengthwe are bound to keep it. And he that feels that he has made a vow, must then feel himself impelled to           do the work which he hath vowed to do. Let the difficulty be never so great, if you have vowed to overcome it,           do it. Let tire mountain be never so high, if you have made a vow to God that you will attempt it scale its summit,           and never give it up. If the vow be a right one, God will help you to accomplish it. O ye upon whom are the vows           of the Lord! (and some of you have taken solemn vows upon you, by making a profession of religion) I beseech           you, by the sacrament in which you dedicated yourself to your Lord, and by that other sacrament in which you           found communion with Jesus, now to fulfill your vows, and pay them daily, nightly, hourly, constantly,           perpetually; and lot these compel you to say, "I must be about my Father's business." These, I think, were the           impelling motives which forced Christ on in his heavenly labor.               Secondly. But now, what was his Father's business? I think it lay in three thingsexample, establishment,           expiation.               1. One part of his Father's business was, to send into the world a perfect example for our imitation. God had           written divers books of example in the lives of the saints. One man was noted for one virtue, and another for           another. At last, God determined that he would gather all his works into one volume, and give a condensation of           all virtues in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now he determined to unite all the parts into one, to string all the           pearls on one necklace, and to make them all apparent around the neck of one single person. The sculptor finds           here a leg from some eminent master, and there a hand from another mighty sculptor. Here he finds an eye, and           there a head full of majesty. He saith, within himself, "I will compound those glories, I will put them all together;           then it shall be the model man. I will make the statue par excellence, which shall stand first in beauty, and shall be           noted ever afterwards as the model of manhood." So said God, "There is Jobhe hath patience; there is           Moseshe hath meekness, there are those mighty ones who all have eminent virtues. I will take these, I will put           them into one; and the man Christ Jesus shall be the perfect model of future imitation." Now, I say, that all           Christ's life he was endeavoring to do his Father's business in this matter. You never find Christ doing a thing           which you may not imitate. You would scarcely think it necessary that he should be baptized; but lo, he goes to           Jordan's stream and dives beneath the wave, that he may be buried in baptism unto death, and may rise           againthough he needed not to riseinto newness of life. You see him healing the sick, to teach us benevolence;           rebuking hypocrisy to teach us boldness; enduring temptation to teach us hardness, wherewith, as good soldiers of           Christ, we ought to war a good warfare. You see him forgiving his enemies to teach us the grace of meekness and           of forbearance; you behold him giving up his very life to teach us how we should surrender ourselves to God, and           give up ourselves for the good of others. Put Christ at the wedding; you may imitate him. Ay, sirs, and you might           imitate him, if you could, in turning water into wine, without a sin. Put Christ at a funeral; you may imitate           him"Jesus wept." Put him on the mountain-top; he shall be there in prayer alone, and you may imitate him. Put           him in the crowd; he shall speak so, that if you could speak like him you should speak well. Put him with enemies;           he shall so confound them, that he shall be a model for you to copy. Put him with friends, and he shall be a           "friend that sticketh closer than a brother," worthy of your imitation. Exalt him, cry hosanna, and you shall see           him riding upon a "colt, the foal of an ass," meek and lowly. Despise and spit upon him, you shall see him bearing           contumely and contempt with the same evenness of spirit which characterised him when he was exalted in the eye           of the world Everywhere you may imitate Christ. Ay, sirs, and you may even imitate him in that "the Son of Man           came eating and drinking" and therein fulfllled what he determined to doto pull down the vain pharisaism of           man, which saith that religion standeth in meats and drinks, whereas, "Not that which goeth into a man defileth a           man but that which goeth out of a man, that defileth the man." And that is wherein we should take heed to           ourselves, lest the inner man be defiled. Never once did he swerve from that bright, true mirror of perfection. He           was in everything as an exemplar, always doing his Father's business.               2. And so in the matter that I have called establishment, that is the establishment of a new dispensation; that           was his Father's business, and therein, Christ was always doing it. He went into the wilderness to be tempted of           the devil. Was he doing it then? Ah, sirs, he was; for it was necessary that he should be "a faithful high-priest in           things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered           being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted." When he speaks, you can see him establishing his           Word, and when he puts the finger of silence to his lips, he is doing it as much; for then was fulfilled the prophecy,           "he was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb." Does he work a miracle?           Do the obedient winds hush their tumult at his voice? It is to establish the gospel, by teaching us that he is divine.           Does he weep? It is to establish the gospel, by teaching us that he is human. Does he gather the apostles? It is that           they may go abroad in every land, preaching the Word of God. Does he sit upon a well? It is that he may teach a           woman, and that she may teach the whole city of Samaria the way of salvation. He was always engaged in this           work of example, and this work of establishment.               3. And ah, beloved, when he came to the climax of his labor, when he came to the greatest toil of all, that           which a thousand men could never have done; when he came to do the great work of expiation, how thoroughly           he did it

                                              "View him prostrate in the garden;                                                 On the ground your Maker lies.                                                 On the bloody tree behold him:                                                 Hear him cry before he dies                                                     'IT IS FINISHED!'"

          And there you have a proof that he was about his Father's business. It was his Father's business made him sweat           great drops of blood; his Father's business ploughed his back with many gory furrows; his Father's business           pricked his temple with the thorn crown; his Father's business made him mocked and spit upon; his Father's           business made him go about bearing his cross; his Father's business made him despise the shame when, naked, he           hung upon the tree; his Father's business made him yield himself to death, though he needed not to die if so he had           not pleased; his Father's business made him tread the gloomy shades of Gehenna, and descend into the abodes of           death; his Father's business made him preach to the spirits in prison; and his Father's business took him up to           heaven, where he sitteth on the right hand of God, doing his Father's business still! His Father's business makes           him plead day and night for Sion; the same business shall make him come as the Judge of quick and dead, to           divide the sheep from the goats; the same business shall make him gather together in one, all people who dwell on           the face of the earth! Oh, glory to thee, Jesus; thou hast done it! Thou hast done thy Father's business well.               II. Thus, I have given you the example. Now, let me exhort you to IMITATE IT.               Tell me, if you can why the religion of Christ is so very slow in spreading. Mohomet, an imposter stood up in           the streets to preach. He was hooted, stones were thrown at him. Within a month after, he had disciples. A few           more years, and he had a host behind him. Not a century had rolled away before a thousand scimitars flashed           from their scabbards at the bidding of the caliphs. His religion overran nations like wildfire, and devoured           kingdoms. But why? The followers of the prophet were entirely devoted to his cause. When that Moslem of old           spurred his horse into the sea, to ride across the straits of Gibraltar, and then reined him up, and said, "I would           cross if God willed it! "there was something in it that told us why his religion was so strong. Ah! those warriors of           that time were ready to die for their religion, and therefore it spread. Can you tell me why Christianity spread so           much in primitive times? It was because holy men "counted not their lives dear unto them," but were willing to           "suffer the loss of all things" for Christ's sake. Paul traverses many countries, Peter ranges through many nations,           Philip and the other evangelists go through various countries, testifying the word of God. Sirs, I will tell you why           our faith in these days spreads so little. Pardon meit is because the professors of it do not believe it! Believe it!           Yes; they believe it in the head, not in the heart. We have not enough of true devotedness to the cause, or else           God would bless Sion with a far greater increase, I am fully persuaded. How few there are that have given           themselves fully up to their religion! They take their religion, like my friend over there has taken that little farm of           his. He has a farm of a thousand acres, but he thinks he could increase his means, perhaps, by taking a little farm           of a hundred acres or so a little way off; and he gives that to a bailiff and does not take much trouble about it           himself. It is not very likely he will have very fine farming there, because he leaves it to somebody else. Just so           with religion. Your great farm is your shop, your great aim is your worldly business. You like to keep religion as a           snug investment at very small interest indeed, which you intend to draw out when you get near death; but you do           not want to live on it just now. You have enough profit from your own daily business, and you do not want           religion for every day life. Sirs, the reason why your religion does not spread is because it has not got root enough           in your hearts. How few there are of us who are ready to devote ourselves wholly, bodily, and spiritually to the           cause of the gospel of Christ! And if you should attempt to do so, how many opponents you would meet with! Go           into the church meeting, and be a little earnest; what will they say? Why, they will serve you just as David's           brother did, when David spoke about fighting Goliath. "Oh," he said, "because of the pride and the naughtiness of           thine heart, to see the battle thou art come." "Now, stand aside, do not think you can do anything; away with           you!" And if you are in earnest, especially in the ministry, it is just the same. Your brethren pray every           Sabbath"Lord, send more laborers into the vineyard!" And if God should send them, they wish them safe out of           their corner of it, at any rate. They may go anywhere else, but they must not come anywhere near them, for it           might affect their congregation, it might stir them up a little; and people might think they did not labor quite           earnestly enough. "Stand aside! "they say. But brethren, do not mind about that. If you cannot bear to be huffed           and snuffed, there is little good in you. If you cannot bear snuffing, depend upon it you cannot be well lit yet. Dare           to go on against all the prudence of men, and you will find them pat you on the shoulder by-and-by and call you           "dear brother." Every man is helped to get up, when he is as high as he can be. If you are down, "keep him           down," is the cry; but if you are getting up, you will never get help till you have done it yourself; and then men will           give you their help when you do not require it. However, your war-cry must be, "Wist ye not that I must be about           my Father's business?"               Again, even the best of your friends, if you are truly zealous of God, will come to you and sayand very           kindly too"Now, you must take a little more care of your constitution. Now, don't be doing so much; don't, I           beseech you! "Or if you are giving money away"Now you must be a little more prudent; take more care of your           family. Really, you must not do so." Or if you are earnest in prayer, they will say"There is no need of such           enthusiasm as this: you know you can be religious, and not too religious; you can be moderately so." And so you           find both friends and enemies striving to hinder your consecration to Christ. Now, I like what old Rowland Hill           said, when some one told him that he was "moderately religious." "Well then, you are irreligious, for a man that is           moderately honest is a rogue for certain; and so the man that is moderately religious is irreligious." If religion be           worth anything it is worth everything; if it be anything it is everything. Religion cannot go halves with anything           else, it m

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