Over one hundred years ago in London, on April 8, 1883, Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon titled A Description of Young Men in Christ on 1 John 2:13, 14.
I write unto you, young men, because you have overcome the Wicked One… I have written unto you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the Wicked One.1 John 2:13, 14 KJV
After writing out my thoughts on John’s letters and considering Christians who are presently caught up in the undertow of currents of false teaching and “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;” I find Spurgeon’s text could have been written yesterday, for his words describe today.
. . . “The Word of God abides in you.” I labor under the opinion that there never was a time in which the people of God had greater need to understand this passage than now. We have entered upon that part of the pilgrim path which is described by Bunyan as the Enchanted Ground—the Church and the world appear to be alike bewitched with folly! Half the people of God hardly know their head from their heels at this time. They are gaping after wonders, running after a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal and waiting for yet more astounding inventions. Everything seems to be in a whirligig! A tornado has set in and the storm is everywhere!
Christians used to believe in Christ as their Leader and the Bible as their rule. But some of them are pleased with lords and rules such as He never knew! Believe me, there will soon come new Messiahs. Men are already pretending to work miracles! We shall soon have false Christs and, “Lo! Here!” And “Lo! There,” will be heard on all sides! Anchors are up, winds are out and the whole fleet is getting into confusion! Men in whose sanity and stability I once believed, are being carried away with one fancy or another, and I am driven to cry, “What next? And what next?” We are only at the beginning of an era of mingled unbelief and fanaticism!
Now we shall know who are God’s elect and who are not, for there are spirits abroad at this hour that would, if it were possible, deceive even the very elect! And those who are not deceived are, nevertheless, sorely put to it. Here is the patience of the saints. Let him look to himself who is not rooted and grounded in Christ, for the hurricane is coming! The signs of the times indicate a carnival of delusions! Men have ceased to be guided by the Word of God and claim to be, themselves, prophets. Now we shall see what we shall see! Blessed is the sheep that knows his Shepherd and will not listen to the voice of strangers. But here is the way to be kept steadfast—“The Word of God abides in you.” “The Word of God”—that is to say we are to believe in the doctrines of God’s Word—and these will make us strong. . . .
. . . Now notice that John not only mentions “the Word of God,” but the Word of God “in you.” The inspired Word must be received into a willing mind. How? The Book which lies there is to be pleaded here, in the inmost heart, by the work of the Holy Spirit upon the mind. All of this letter has to be translated into spirit and life. “The Word of God abides in you”—that is, first to know it—next to remember it and treasure it up in your heart. Following upon this, we must understand it, learn the analogy of faith by comparing spiritual things with spiritual till we have learned the system of Divine Truth and more able to set it forth and plead for it. It is, next, to have the Word in your affections—to love it so that it is as honey or the droppings of the honeycomb to you. When this is the case, you must and shall overcome the Wicked One! A man instructed in the Scriptures is like an armed knight, who, when he goes among the throng, inflicts many a wound, but suffers none, for he is locked up in steel. Yes, but that is not all! It is not the Word of God in you, alone, it is, “the Word of God abides in you.” It is always there, it cannot be removed from you! If a man gets the Bible right into him, he is all right, then, because he is full, and there is no room for evil! When you have filled a measure full of wheat, you have effectually shut the chaff out. Men go after novel and false doctrines because they do not really know the Truth of God; for if the Truth had gotten into them and filled them, they would not have room for these daydreams!
. . . I have heard our opponents rave at what they call the obstinacy of our Brothers and Sisters. Once get the Truth of God really into you, it will enter into the texture of your being and nothing will get it out of you! It will also be your strength, by setting you watching against every evil thing. You will be on your guard if the Word of God abides in you, for it is written, “When you go it will keep you.” The Word of God will be to you a bulwark and a high tower, a castle of defense against the foe! Oh, see to it that the Word of God is in you, in your very soul, permeating your thoughts and so operating upon your outward life, that all may know you to be a true Bible-Christian, for they perceive it in your words and deeds! This is the sort of army that we need in the Church of God—men that are strong by feeding on God’s Word! Aspire to it, my Brothers and Sisters . . .
Painting by Ivan Aivazovsky, Public Domain.
Charles H. Spurgeon, “A Description of Young Men in Christ”, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Sermon #1715, Delivered on Lord’s-Day Morning, April 8, 1883, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
“Adapted from The C. H. Spurgeon Collection, Ages Software, 1.800.297.4307.” http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols28-30/chs1715.pdf
In Anchor of Hope I quoted Mike MacKenzie on the sheet anchor: “This was the anchor of choice when the wind was blowing hard and the seas were heavy and the ship just had to be secure. Lowering the sheet anchor required nearly all the crew at the windlass, and demanded a heavy load of chain to be payed out. Setting this anchor was a big job, but worth the trouble to safely ride out a storm.” Sea Talk.
Original content: Copyright ©2013 Iwana Carpenter