LABORING AND NOT FAINTING
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 8, 1872,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
“For My name’s sake you have labored and have not fainted.” Revelation 2:3.
THE Lord Jesus Christ never removes His eyes from His Church. He notes everything that concerns her, observing not merely the life of her members but their soul’s health, and not merely their health, but the way in which they spend their spiritual strength. He knows their works, He observes their charity, their patience, their zeal for His name’s sake. Seven times in His words to the Churches, He says, “I know your works.” This should make us live with great care, for albeit the whole world is under the eye of God, yet of His Church it is true, “upon one stone there shall be seven eyes.” The full perfection of Omniscience exerts itself upon the Lord’s chosen people. The farmer has an eye to all his estate but his chief care is his own family. And, even so, while the Great Husbandman of all creation observes all His works, He chiefly looks upon His own household. “The eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy.”
Our Lord Jesus, it appears from the text and its connection, notices what it is that His Church cannot bear and He is very glad when she cannot endure false doctrine or unholy living. He would have her never to endure these but to purge herself from them with all strictness. But He notes also, with joy, what she can bear—toilsome labor, abundant self- denial, reproach for His sake, persecution and suffering even unto blood. In this He sees her love made manifest and His delight is in her. It appears that our Lord especially fixes His eyes upon the labors of the Church. What is the Church allowed to be on earth for but that she should labor for her Lord? If there were nothing to be done in this world there would be no reason for her lingering here below. She would be transported to the better land if there were not great ends to be accomplished by her tarrying here.
She is put here because the world needs her and because God’s Glory is to be revealed through her. She is to be salt to a society which otherwise would be putrid—light to a people who otherwise would sit in darkness. Consequently a Church which does not labor misses the chief end of its being—it is a plant that bears no flower—a vine branch that yields no cluster. Christ observes the labor of His Church and He has special delight in it when it is continuous, so that He can give to her the double commendation of our text, “You have labored and have not fainted.” Oh, that we might receive this commendation from our Master’s lips at the last! May He whose blood and righteousness are our only hope of salvation see in us abounding evidences of the grateful love which He so well deserves at our hands.
We shall, this morning make persevering service our theme.
I. First I would call your attention to the text itself, noticing THE POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE GOOD here combined. “You have labored”—there is something positive. “You have not fainted”—there is a negative which helps to make the positive more positively excellent. “You have labored.” We will not consider the original, but we will take the words of our version.
“You have labored.” Now, to labor signifies working with the putting forth of much strength. It is work with an emphasis. It means hard work, intense exertion, vigorous action. Men may work, but yet not labor and I fear there are many who claim to be working men who do not often trouble themselves with anything approaching to “labor.” There are also working Christians who do not approach to laboring—a lifetime of such work as theirs would not exhaust a butterfly.
When a man works for Christ he should work with all his might. Surely we should not offer less love under the Gospel than was required under the Law, and you know the Law speaks on this wise—“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Surely Jesus Christ deserves all that—and when we labor for Him it should not be with the careless indifference of slaves—but with the ardor of lovers, the devotion of enthusiasts. If any master is to be served badly, let it not be our Master Continue reading