Written by: Spurgeon, C.H. Posted on: 04/01/2003
For more than a century, Charles Haddon Spurgeon's sermons have been
consistently recognized, and their usefulness and impact have continued to
the present day, even in the outdated English of the author's own day.
Why then should expositions already so successful and of such stature and
proven usefulness require adaptation, revision, rewrite or even editing?
The answer is obvious. To increase its usefulness to today's reader, the
language in which it was originally written needs updating.
Though his sermons have served other generations well, just as they came
from the pen of the author in the nineteenth century, they still could be
lost to present and future generations, simply because, to them, the
language is neither readily nor fully understandable.
My goal, however, has not been to reduce the original writing to the
vernacular of our day. It is designed primarily for you who desire to read
and study comfortably and at ease in the language of our time. Only
obviously archaic terminology and passages obscured by expressions not
totally familiar in our day have been revised. However, neither Spurgeon's
meaning nor intent have been tampered with.
All Scripture references are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL
VERSION (C) 1978 by the New York Bible Society, used by permission of
Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)
Matthew 26:7-13 A woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very
expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the
table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?"
they asked. "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the
money given to the poor."
Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She
has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you,
but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body,
she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this
gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be
told, in memory of her."
Study carefully the story of the enthusiastic Christian woman who poured
the alabaster jar of very precious perfume on the head of our blessed Lord
Her first and last thoughts were for the Lord Jesus Himself.
Seek to do something for Jesus, which will be above all, a secret sacrifice
of pure love to Jesus. Do special and secretive work towards your Lord.
Between you and your Lord let there be secret tokens of love. You will say
to me, "What shall I do?" I refuse to answer. I am not to be a judge for
you; especially as to a private deed of love. The good woman did not say
to Peter, "What shall I give?" nor to John, "What shall I do?" but her
heart was imaginative. I will only say, that we might offer more private
prayer for the Lord Jesus. "Pray for Him and bless Him all day long" (PSA
72:15). Intercede for your neighbors; pray for yourselves; but could you
set apart a little time each day in which prayer should be all for Jesus?
Could you at such times cry with secret pleadings, "Hallowed be your name!
Your kingdom come! Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven?"
Wouldn't it be a sweet thing to feel at such a time--I shall now go to my
bedroom, and give my Lord a few minutes of my heart's warmest prayer, that
He may see the concern of my soul for Him? That is one thing which all
saints can do.
Another holy offering is adoration--the adoring of Jesus. Don't we all too
often forget this adoration in our churches and shove it into a corner?
The best part of all of our church services is the worship--the direct
worship; and in this, the first place should be given to the worship of the
Lord Jesus. We sing at times to edify one another with psalms and
spiritual songs, but we should also sing simply and only to glorify Jesus.
We are to do this publicly in corporate worship; but shouldn't we also do
it alone? Shouldn't we all, if we can, find a period in which we will
spend the time, not in seeking the good of our fellow-men, not in seeking
our own good, but in adoring Jesus, blessing Him, magnifying Him, praising
Him, poring out our heart's love towards Him and presenting our soul's
reverence and concern. I suggest this to you. I can't teach you how to do
it. God's Holy Spirit must show your hearts the way.
I offer you one or two suggestions about doing good works for Jesus. Take
care that self never creeps in. It is to be all for Jesus: don't let the
dirty fingers of self-seeking stain your work. Never do anything for Jesus
out of the love for popularity. Be always glad if your right hand does not
know what your left hand does. Hide your works as much as possible from
the praise of your most closest friend. At the same, let me also add,
never have any fear of rejection from those who don't understand your love
This good woman did her work publicly, because it was the best way to honor
her Lord; and if you can honor Him by doing a good work publicly before all
men, then do not be afraid. To some, the temptation may be to catch the
public eye; to others, the temptation may be to dread it. Serve your Lord
as if no eye sees you; but do not blush if all the eyes in the universe
should gaze upon you. Don't let self, in either case, come in to defile
Never congratulate yourself after you have done a work for Jesus. If you
say to yourself, "Well done!" you have sacrificed to yourself. Try to
always feel that if you had done all that should have been done, it would
only have been your reasonable service. Remember that deeds of self-
sacrifice are most acceptable to Jesus. He loves His people's gifts when
they give, and feel that they have given. We should measure what we do for
Him not by what we have given, but by what we have left; and if we have a
lot left over then we haven't given as much as the widow who gave two very
small copper coins--no, for certain we have not, for she gave "all she had
to live on."
Let us, above all, keep out of our heart the thought which is so common in
this life, that nothing is worth doing unless something practical comes out
of it--meaning by "practical" some obvious consequence on the morals of
others. Almost everyone asks the question, "What good will it do? What
good will it do for me? What good will it do for my neighbor? What is the
purpose of this effort?" No, the real issue is, if it will glorify Christ,
do it; and accept that motive as the highest and most conclusive of
If a deed done for Christ causes you to be disliked, and threatens to
deprive you of usefulness, then do it anyway. I count my own character,
popularity, and usefulness to be nothing compared with the devotion to the
Lord Jesus. It is the devil's logic which says, "You see I can't share the
truth, because I am afraid of the consequences." What have we to do with
consequences? Be honest, and fear not! The consequences are God's
concerns, and not yours. If you have done a good work for Christ, though
to you it may appear that it has caused a lot of problems, yet you have
already done it, then Christ has accepted it, and He will make a note of
it, and in your conscience He will smile to you His approval.
There is a good defense for any kind of work which you may do for Jesus,
and for Jesus only. However great the cost, nothing is wasted which is
spent on the Lord, for Jesus deserves it. What if it did nothing for
others; did it please Him? He has a right to it. Is nothing to be done
for the Master of the feast? Are we to be looking after the sheep so much
that we never honor the shepherd? Are the Lord's servants to be cared for
while we do nothing for the Precious Lord Himself? I have sometimes felt
in my soul the wish that I had no one to serve but my Lord. When I have
tried to do my best to serve God, and a heartless critic has torn my work
to pieces, I have thought, "I didn't do it for you! I wouldn't have done
it for you! I did it for my Lord. Your judgment is a small matter. You
condemn my zeal for the truth. You condemn what He commands."
Thus you may go about your service, and feel "I do it for Christ, and I
believe that Christ accepts my service, and I am content with that." Jesus
deserves that much should be done for Him. Do you doubt that? A birthday
present is given to dad on his birthday. That present is of no use to mom,
or to the children; it cannot be eaten, it cannot be worn; dad could not
give it away to anybody, it is of no value to anybody but himself. Does
anybody say, "What a pity such a gift was selected, even though dad is
pleased"? No, everybody says, "That is just the thing we like to give to
dad, since it is something he needs personally. We meant it to be for him;
we felt this was the perfect gift for him, and we are glad that the gift
will bring him pleasure."
So with regard to Jesus. Find out what will please Him; and do it for Him.
Think of no one else in the matter. He deserves all you can do for Him,
and infinitely more.
Besides, you may be sure that any action which appears to you as useless,
if prompted by love, has a place in Christ's plan, and will be turned into
something of great value. This anointing of our Lord's head was said to be
useless. "No," said Jesus, "When she poured this perfume on my body, she
did it to prepare me for burial." There have been men who have done an
heroic deed for Christ, and at the time they did it they might have asked,
"How will this serve my Lord's purpose?" But somehow it was the very thing
that was wanted. When the great preachers Whitefield and Wesley went out
into the open fields to preach, it was thought to be a fanatical
innovation, and perhaps they, themselves, would not have ventured upon it
if there had not been an absolute necessity; but what seemed to that age
a daring deed, set an example to all of England, and open-air preaching
has become an accepted agency of great worth. If you, for Christ's sake,
become visionary, don't worry, your folly may be the wisdom of the ages to
The woman's loving act was not wasted; for it has helped us all down to
this very moment. There has it stood in the Bible; and all who have read
it, and are right in their heart, have been motivated by it to sacred
consecration out of love to Jesus. That woman has been a preacher to
nineteen centuries; the influence of that alabaster jar is not exhausted
today, and never will be. Whenever you meet a friend in Europe, Asia,
Africa, or America, who has done anything for our Lord Jesus, you still
smell the perfume of the sacred spikenard. Her act is doing all of us good
at this hour; it is filling this church with fragrance.
If you are serving Christ in your own secret way in which you do not seek
to benefit others, but to honor Him, it may be you will be an instructive
example to saints in ages to come. Oh, that I could stir some hearts to
personal consecration to Jesus, my Lord! Young men, we want missionaries
to go abroad; are none of you ready to go? Young women, we want those who
will look after the sick in the lowest haunts of London; will none of you
consecrate yourselves to Jesus, the Savior?
I shook hands with a good missionary of Christ from Western Africa. He had
been there sixteen years. I believe that they reckon four years to be the
average missionary's life in this malaria region. He had buried twelve of
his companions in the time. For twelve years he had scarcely seen the face
of a white man. He was going to Africa to live a little while longer,
perhaps, but he expected soon to die; and then he added, as I shook his
hand, "Well, many of us may die; perhaps hundreds of us will do so; but
Christ will win at the last! Africa will know and will fear our Lord
Jesus; and what does it matter what becomes of us--our name, our
reputation, our health, our life--if Jesus wins at the last?" What heroic
words! What a missionary spirit!
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