The sermon below was delivered by Charles H. Spurgeon on August 21, 1890, among his finest.
THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH
BY CHARLES H. SPURGEON
(This sermon was delivered on August 21, 1890)
By faith Abraham when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. Hebrews 11:8.
The part of the text to which I shall call your attention lies in these words, By faith Abraham obeyed. 'Obedience' what a blessing it would be if we were all trained to it by the Holy Spirit! How fully should we be restored if we were perfect in it! If all the world would obey the Lord, what a heaven on earth there would be! Perfect obedience to God would mean love among men, justice to all classes, and peace in every land. Our will brings envy, malice, war; but the Lord's will would bring us love, joy, rest, bliss. Obedience--let us pray for it for ourselves and others!
Is there a heart that will not bend To thy divine control? Descend, O sovereign love, descend, and melt that stubborn soul! Surely, though we have had to mourn our disobedience with many tears and sighs, we now find joy in yielding ourselves as servants of the Lord: our deepest desire is to do the Lord's will in all things.
Oh, for obedience! It has been supposed by many ill-instructed people that the doctrine of justification by faith is opposed to the teaching of good works, or obedience. There is no truth in the supposition. We preach the obedience of faith. Faith is the fountain, the foundation, and the fosterer of obedience. Men obey not God till they believe him. We preach faith in order that men may be brought to obedience.
To disbelieve is to disobey. One of the first signs of practical obedience is foundin the obedience of the mind, the understanding, and the heart; and this is expressed in believing the teaching of Christ, trusting to his work, and resting in his salvation. Faith is the morning star of obedience. If we would work the work of God, we must believe on Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. Brethren, we do not give a secondary place to obedience, as some suppose. We look upon the obedience of the heart to the will of God as salvation.
The attainment of perfect obedience would mean perfect salvation. We regard sanctification, or obedience, as the great design for which the Saviour died. He shed his blood that he might cleanse us from dead works, and purify unto himself a people zealous for good works.
It is for this that we were chosen: we are elect unto holiness. We know nothing of election to continue in sin. It is for this that we have been called: we are called to be saints. Obedience is the grand object of the work of grace in the hearts of those who are chosen and called: they are to become obedient children, conformed to theimage of the Elder Brother, with whom the Father is well pleased.
The obedience that comes of faith is of a noble sort. The obedience of a slave ranks very little higher than the obedience of a well-trained horse or dog, for it is tuned to the crack of the whip. Obedience which is not cheerfully rendered is not the obedience of the heart, and consequently is of little worth before God. If the man obeys because he has no opportunity of doing otherwise, and if, were he free, he would at once become a rebel -- there is nothing in his obedience.
The obedience of faith springs from a principle within, and not from compulsion without. It is sustained by the mind's soberest reasoning and the heart's warmest passion. The man reasons with himself that he ought to obey his Redeemer, his Father, his God; and, at the same time, the love of Christ constrains him so to do, and thus what argument suggests affection performs.
A sense of great obligation, an apprehension of the fitness of obedience, and spiritual renewal of heart, work an obedience which becomes essential to the sanctified
Hence, it is not relaxed in the time of temptation, nor destroyed in the hour of losses and sufferings. Life has no trial which can turn the gracious soul from its passion for obedience; and death itself doth but enable it to render an obedience which shall be as blissful as it will be complete.
Yes, this is a chief ingredient of heaven, that we shall see the face of our Lord, and serve him day and night in his temple. Meanwhile, the more fully we obey at this present, the nearer we shall be to his temple-gate. May the Holy Spirit work in us, so that, by faith, like Abraham -- we may obey!
Yours in Christ,
Paul N. F.
If only we could hear such beautiful sermons in our churches today . . .
Billy Graham's (Classics) are mostly very good to excellent. They were heard on TBN twice weekly. Lately, once a week.