A Fatal Deficiency
“If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.”
THIS is one of the most solemn texts in the whole Bible. It is so sweeping–it deals with all of us. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” And it deals with the most important point about us, for to belong to Christ is the most essential thing for time and eternity. But we are not Christ’s unless we have His Spirit. The text does not treat of external rites and ceremonies. It does not discuss a vexed question in doctrine. It does not speak of rare attainments and unusual virtues–but it lays its axe at the root of the tree–it points its sword at a vital part. The text probes to the quick–it pierces to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow–dealing with the thoughts and intents of the heart. It speaks to the soul and though it is the voice of the Gospel, yet is its sound as terrible as the thunderclaps of Sinai. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.”
Since the subject leads us to think upon the Spirit of Christ, let us entreat Him to help us at this hour, so that our thoughts shall be honest, heart-searching, and therefore profitable to us. The preacher has prayed that he may be helped to discourse upon the text. Let each hearer pray that what shall be rightly said may also rightly affect his heart and conscience. Do we not all earnestly desire to belong to Christ? Do we not tremble at the bare idea of its being said of us that we are “none of His”? With such desires and fears, I trust we shall come with the greater readiness under the influence of the heart-searching text before us.
I shall, at the outset, try to lead you to consider the remarkable title which is here given to the Holy Spirit. When we have considered that point, we will next observe the absolute necessity of possessing the Spirit. And, thirdly, meditate upon the evidences which may help us to discover whether we have the Spirit. Then we will close by weighing well the consequences of being found without the Spirit of Christ–“We are none of His.”
- First, then, let us consider, well, THE REMARKABLE TITLE WHICH IS HERE GIVEN TO THE HOLY SPIRIT–for certainly it is the Holy Spirit who is here intended by, “the Spirit of Christ.” He is called, in the first part of the verse, “the Spirit of God.” And then He is styled, “the Spirit of Christ.” Christ and God are essentially One. The Holy Spirit stands in intimate relationship to both the Father and to the Son and is rightly called by either name. Inasmuch as He is here called the Spirit of Christ, we may rest assured that a deep mystery is here dimly revealed. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son as well as from the Father. Upon this we will say but little, for we know but little.
There was a great dispute, many centuries ago, between what are now called the Eastern and Western Churches, upon this question–whether the Spirit of God proceeded from the Father only, as said the Greek Church–or proceeded from the Father and the Son–as said the Latin Church. I think, if we must have an opinion upon such a subject, that our text decides the point by declaring that the Holy Spirit is not only the Spirit of God but the Spirit of Christ and proceeds, doubtless, both from the Father and from the Son. But when we have said that, what do we mean? Does any theologian know what he means by these words? Will anybody ever know what is meant thereby? Can any of us, by searching, find out God or know the Almighty to perfection? Is not this a mystery into which our eyes will never be able to see? And, therefore, is it not better to leave it among the inscrutable things which belong to the blessed Trinity in unity, where understanding is swamped, but where faith finds waters to swim in?
Leaving that deep matter, we pass to notice that the title, “the Spirit of Christ,” signifies, first, that the Spirit peculiarly and especially rested upon Christ. The Holy Spirit had much to do with the Person of our blessed Redeemer. The Manhood of Christ was begotten of the Spirit of God when the power of the Highest overshadowed the Virgin Mary. When our Lord first appeared in public to be recognized as the Son of God–when He went down into the waters of Jordan and came up from them–the Spirit descended upon Him like a dove, and rested upon Him while the Divine Voice proclaimed out of Heaven, “This is My Beloved Son.” No sooner had the Son of God passed from Jordan’s brink than He was, “led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil”–guided by the Spirit of God to undergo those processes of trial which were necessary to make Him perfect as the great High Priest, enabling Him to sympathize with our infirmities, because He was “tempted in all points like as we are.”
We read that He returned into Galilee in the power of the Spirit. When He began to preach, the first chapter that He read in public was, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor.” His ministry was not a dead ministry of the letter, but it stood in the power of the Spirit of God! He spoke not according to the flesh, with the garnishing of human eloquence and winning flatteries, but with those forcible words of wisdom which the Holy Spirit teaches. He taught the people as One having authority and not as the scribes. All through the life of Christ you see that the Spirit of God rested upon Him in fullness of power, for God “gives not the Spirit by measure unto Him.” In Him “dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” and all the sacred gifts of the Holy Spirit were treasured up in His blessed Person that out of His fullness we, also, might receive Grace for Grace.
Was it not so written of Him in the Psalm, “You love righteousness and hate wickedness: therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows”? Because upon Christ, the Anointed One, the Holy Spirit rests in fullness, the term, “the Spirit of Christ,” is most instructive. A second explanation is equally to the point. The Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of Christ,” because our Lord Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist said concerning Him, “I, indeed, baptize you with water unto repentance, but He that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to wear. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a choice result of our Lord’s work among men. Jesus spoke of giving to men Living Water which should be in them as a springing well, and this spoke He of the Spirit which was given when Jesus was glorified. After His Resurrection He breathed on His disciples and said, “receive you the Holy Spirit.” But indeed, the whole ministry of Jesus was a Revelation of the things of the Spirit. He did not preach upon points of ritual and ceremonial observation, but He went into inward matters and with the fan in His hand, thoroughly purged His floor. His precepts concern not the washing of hands, the straining out of gnats, the wearing of phylacteries and the observance of holy days– they deal with the heart, the affections, the spiritual nature of man–and thus are far removed from the traditions of superstition and the frivolities of false philosophy.
Beyond all this, Beloved, our Lord Jesus Christ, at His Ascension, procured for us the descent of the Holy Spirit. “It is expedient for you that I go away,” He said, “for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you.” He rose to His Father, but when the fullness of time was come, the rushing, mighty Wind was heard and the cloven tongues, as if were fire, were seen sitting upon the disciples! And from that moment the Church of God was baptized into the Holy Spirit. God grant that she may never forget that day of days, but walk in the power bestowed upon her at Pentecost! On that glorious day, the Word of the Lord by the Prophet Joel was fulfilled–“I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit.”
This being so gloriously fulfilled, we are waiting for that other promise, “I will pour upon the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of Grace and of supplications, and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and shall mourn for their sins.” Therefore the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ because He is the choice gift of our ascended Lord. Mark a third explanation of the passage–the Holy Spirit may be called, “the Spirit of Christ,” because Christ lived peculiarly in the power of the Spirit. Understand the “Spirit,” as used in the text, in opposition to the “flesh,” and you will see my meaning. Never did the flesh rule Christ. Never in one solitary moment did bodily cravings and appetites master Him. No, He even forgot to eat bread, finding meat to eat which even His disciples knew not of. Love sought not its own, but made Him lay down His life for His friends.
The Spirit of God shone forth upon Him in full luster of unsullied light, revealing Him as pure and spotless, a glorious Person in whom the Prince of Darkness could find nothing. Our Lord Jesus Christ was never moved by any passion of a sensual kind or swayed by a motive of a fleshly tendency. It would be blasphemous to think of such a thing in connection with so Divine a Character. Some cry aloud and strive for mastery, but not He. Some have high ambitions and would thrust down others, but not He. Some unite on the right hand and on the left, for their spirit is full of vengeance, but not He. The flesh that lusts for vengeance and that cries after power had no rule in Him. He was meek and lowly of heart. The Spirit of holiness and love was in Him–that Spirit which brings power and peace.
Always was the Holy Spirit to be seen in connection with the Character and work of our blessed Lord. His life was a life in the Spirit. His teaching was a teaching of spiritual things. The objects that He aimed at in His teaching were all spiritual. There was nothing carnal, nothing gross, nothing earthy about Him–every thought, desire and aim were of the highest, noblest, and most spiritual order. And therefore it is, I think, that the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Christ.
Mark, also, that the Holy Spirit is He who quickens the entire mystical body of Jesus Christ. All the saints are members of Christ’s body and all the members of that body are distinguished from other men by this–that they are spiritual men and seek after spiritual things. “There is one body and one Spirit, even as we are called in one hope of our calling.” It is the Spirit that quickens the entire mystical body, and by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, whether we are bond or free. The true Church of Christ, being in herself a spiritual body, acts in a spiritual manner and strives after spiritual objects. Yonder Church which is wrapped up in formalism, which cannot speak a word of prayer without her book–is she moved of the Spirit, or may it not be said of her sons–“Are you so foolish; having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?”
Yonder Church, which bows before images and pictures and flaunts her banners and uplifts her crucifixes, burning her candles in the sunlight–is she the spiritual Church of Christ? I think not. You shall find the Church of Christ where faithful men worship God in the Spirit and have no confidence in the flesh–men who, if they speak, seek to be moved by the Holy Spirit, or else had rather keep silent–who desire not the wisdom that comes of man, nor the teaching which is the fabrication of human reason–but desire to wait upon the Scriptures for instruction and upon the Spirit of God to show light upon the Scriptures. This is the Church of God.
O Beloved, the times are just now very dangerous and require of all Christians to bear their testimony as to the spirituality of true religion. True religion consists not in outward forms, peculiar garbs, or modes of speech, or anything that is ritualistic and external. “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Men are again becoming subject to human ordinances after the commandments and doctrines of men, saying, “Touch not, taste not, handle not.” But the true faith stands not in will-worship, nor in the inventions of the flesh. Neither is that acceptable worship which men’s fancies have devised that they may display the beauty of carved stone and wood, and the glory of gold and silver and copper together with blue and scarlet and fine linen, and glass of many colors, and sweet odors of the merchants. The true worshippers of God worship in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him.
Therefore is the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Christ, because, wherever the faith of Christ and the mystical body of Christ are found, there you will find spiritual worship–worship rendered by mind and heart–the worship of love, the worship of humility, adoration and obedience. The Church of God brings not to Him rivers of oil, or the blood of ten thousands of fat beasts. She seeks to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with her God. Sacrifices and burnt offerings are abolished–broken and contrite hearts are still, in the sight of the Lord, of great price. Therefore the Spirit of God is rightly called the Spirit of Christ.
II. Now, secondly–and may the Lord help and guide us in our thoughts and utterances–let us OBSERVE THE NECESSITY OF POSSESSING THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST. Notice that, according to the text, it is necessary in every case–“If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” It does not say, “If any minister be destitute of the Holy Spirit he is unfit for his calling.” That is quite true, but the text is not dealing with any supposed divisions of laity and clergy–it speaks not to a class, but utters its warning voice to men as men. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.”
It may be urged that some have an especially amiable nature and disposition. They were never known to speak an untruth, or to do an unkind action, from their youth up. They grow up in the garden of the family like lovely flowers, the admiration of all. Yes, I admit that it is even so, but I cannot help it, I must speak the truth as I have it in my text. “If any man,” however amiable he may be, “have not the Spirit of Christ,” I must say the same of him as of the drunk and of the thief, “he is none of Christ’s.” The fairest flowers, as surely as the foulest weeds, are none of Christ’s if they are not of the Spirit’s own planting.
But we meet with instances in which, in addition to a natural amiability, the refinements of good society have exercised their best influence. The man has lived among Christian people. He has a title to birthright membership, if such a right can be. He has never mingled with the coarser sort of sinners, or learned the vulgarities of vice. The man is lovely to look upon. Yes, and as I repeat the words of my text, I say the Truth of God and lie not, I feel a love to such an one, even as Jesus did to that young man who said, “All these things have I kept from my youth up. What lack I yet?” But we must not shirk the Truth even in this case. This one lack, the lack of the Spirit of Christ, is fatal to the noblest character and Christ disowns utterly every man who has not His Spirit in him.
But can we not, by adding outward religiousness to moral somehow or other, rise, by our own efforts, to be true Christians without the Holy Spirit? Can we not be baptized and kneel as God’s people kneel, and sing as they sing, and take the sacrament as they do? Yes, you can readily do all these, but you will still be condemned, for the text will still remain true, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” And if it were possible (which it is not) for you to produce the same virtues in yourself which are produced by the Holy Spirit, yet even those would not suffice, for the text is absolute and it does not say, “If any man have not the worlds of the Spirit,” or, “the influences of the Spirit,” or, “the general results of character which come of the indwelling of the Spirit.” No, it goes deeper and declares, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.”
The difference between the regenerate and the unregenerate is not one of degree, but of kind. A dead soul cannot develop into a living one, nor can the carnal mind improve into a spiritual mind. Almighty power is needed to bridge the separating gulf! This ought to lead every rational man to utterly despair of saving himself by any strength of his own! You must resort to Divine agency. You are driven to the Holy Spirit because without Him, whatever you may do or be, my text, like the cherubic sword which kept the entrance to Eden, prevents your hoping to obtain eternal life by your own power. “Except a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Note well that the text does not make any sort of exception, or so much as hint at any–for some might have said, “But, surely, those who have long been members of the Christian Church, and those who are officers in her midst, and those in high esteem, surely they are Christ’s, and will be saved in any case, right?”
No, by no means! If they have not the Spirit of Christ, even these are none of His! We are all on a par here. The doorkeeper in our assemblies is, in this respect, exactly on the same footing as the presiding elder of the Church. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” I might even have said that the officers of the Church are in a worse position than other men, for their responsibility is so terribly great and their temptation to mere official religion so immense. Chrysostom said in his day, “I wonder if any of the rulers of the Church will be saved?” And had he lived in these times he might, with equal force, have said the same. Can’t you see how the great ones of the Church, who call themselves the bishops and shepherds of the flock, are suffering this nation to drift away to Rome?
They are leading this nation into all the devilries of Rome’s idolatry and superstition, and yet they neither lift a finger nor speak a word to stop the evil. Hirelings as they are, what do they care for the sheep? They sit in worldly state among the peers of the realm and it frets them not though the whole land reeks and rots with superstition! God have mercy on them! Well did you say, O John of the golden mouth, “I wonder if any of the rulers of the Church will be saved?” If in any other position men so shamefully neglected their master’s business they would be discharged in disgrace! I speak thus in solemn soberness grieving that the charge is all too true.
Nor is this all. What must be the lot of those of us who are ordinary ministers if we have not the Spirit of Christ? And is it clear that all of us have? How many there are who occupy the pulpit, the object of whose preaching is the display of their own eloquence or learning, by the giving out of well-turned periods and pretty essays upon philosophical subjects instead of striking at men’s consciences and dealing with their souls in the name of God! The world is perishing and the Church is going to sleep over it! God have mercy upon all of us who are Church officers and make us faithful! Instead of needing less of the Spirit, we need a double portion–and if there are any men about whom it may be said, “If they have not the Spirit of Christ, they are none of His”–it must be said with the greatest solemnity concerning the ministers, deacons, and elders of our Churches! If they have not the Spirit of Christ they are worse than other men! Their position puts them under extraordinary responsibility and if they are false to it, it will bring them under terrible condemnation. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.”
Now observe that this is put in opposition to everything. For instance, there are some who glory in the name of Christians as if the name were some great thing. We have a certain unbrotherly company who call themselves “Brethren,” and certain others who disapprove of denominations, and therefore in the name of Christian amity set up a denomination of their own, infinitely more exclusive than any before known. These frequently claim to be especially denominated Christians–I suppose because they would insinuate that they, alone, are Christians. Brothers and Sisters in Paul’s day said, “I am of Paul.” Others said, “I am of Apollos.” A third group said, “I am of Christ.” Now there was not a pin to choose between them–they were all equally sectarian. It is not wearing the name of Christ, but having the Spirit of Christ which will prove us to be accepted. Probably none were ever further off from Christ than those who called themselves by His name, namely, the Jesuits. Little enough has Jesus to do with the Society of Jesus!
The Christian Church has never been more pure or more earnest than when it has been known by an opprobrious name. There was far more power and life among the despised, “Quakers,” than among the respected, “Society of Friends.” I liked the “Ranters” better than the more quiet, “Primitive Methodists.” And the detested “Anabaptists” were men of far more courage and principle than the modern “Baptists.” Give me the man who can render a reproachful name illustrious–there is no shame in being disgraced! The reproach soon wears away and if it did not, blessed are they that are reproached for Christ’s sake.
But, Beloved, you may wear the literal name of Christ and you may keep on pushing yourself adrift from everybody into a state of external peculiarity if you like–but if you have not the Spirit of Christ, you are none of His for all that. You may take to yourself very precise notions of how you should act, how you should speak, what you should eat, what you should drink, what you should wear–and you may become a very strait-laced Puritan, indeed. But remember, after you have done all that, “the kingdom of God is not meat or drink.” And, “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Nothing short of this will suffice, however commendable, however much admired among men. We shall fare ill at the Last Great Day if the Spirit of God is not in us.
But the text is expressly in opposition to “the flesh.” There is the point of its meaning. What does it mean, then, to have the Spirit of Christ in opposition to being in the flesh? Observe carefully there are two states–in one or the other every man is found. There is no middle place. We are either in the flesh or in the Spirit. Every man is born in the flesh and if left alone he will follow the desires and devices of his fleshly nature as every unregenerate man does. Some follow their fleshly nature coarsely and run into vice. Others follow it in a more refined manner and live to gain wealth, to gratify taste, or to gain the approbation of their fellow men–all which is of the flesh. There is another state and that is called being in the Spirit. Into this condition we are admitted by the new birth. When a man walks in the Spirit he recognizes something higher than that which can be touched by the hand, seen with the eyes, or heard with the ear.
He has entered into a new world and is a citizen of a spiritual realm. He has come where God is real to him, where Christ is real to him, where truth is real, where sin is hateful, where holiness is lovely. Judge, my Brothers and Sisters, whether you know anything concerning this. Many are in the flesh. They are, as yet, the mass of mankind. But there is a remnant who walk after the Spirit because the Holy Spirit has renewed them. He who is in the flesh is ruled by the flesh–the animal in him is the master of the man–the mere conscious mind in him is dominant over the higher nature, the Spirit.
The man who is in the Spirit tramples down the flesh and labors to keep it under. When the flesh, for awhile, prevails, he laments his fault and weeps concerning it, for he is not the willing servant of the flesh, but the Spirit in him strives for the mastery and he greatly delights in its sway. The man who is in the flesh trusts to the flesh. He looks to his own works for salvation. His prayers, his tears, his almsgivings–these are to save him. But the man who has the Spirit of Christ counts all his good works to be dross and dung. He trusts in the Lord through the Spirit. He trusts in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ and builds his hope upon the mercy of God in his Redeemer. The man who is in the flesh worships in the flesh. His eyes must be pleased with the peculiar dress of the minister and the architectural beauty of the place of assembly, while his ears must be regaled, if not with sound of flute, harp, sackbut and psaltery, yet with the swell of organs!
His nose, also, must be gratified with sweet incense. He worships in the flesh, looking to crosses, altars and priests. While the man who has the Spirit utterly abhors these idols and desires not to see, but to believe, not to smell, but to think. The sound of the Truth of God is better to the spiritual man than tinkling bells and the noise of pipes and bellows. He wants something for his soul to think upon, something to love, something to stir his affections, something to strengthen him for goodness and to cast down the power of evil in his nature. Being a spiritual man, he worships God in the Spirit. To him the hillside is as holy as the meeting house. He counts one place as sacred as another. Neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, does he worship the Father, but he worships God in spirit and in truth.
He will not yield to be judged by others in meats, drinks, new moons and holy days. He scorns to stoop to priests, but believes himself and each Believer to be a priest unto God. He makes each garment a vestment and every meal is, to him, a sacrament. To him all things are sanctified by the Presence of the eternal God. He lives in the Spirit and, wherever he moves, he abides in fellowship with the unseen Lord. He recognizes spiritual things where others see them not. He is swayed by spiritual motives. He seeks after spiritual objects. And while the poor creatures of the earth, like so many moles, toil to bury themselves under its surface and heap up gold and silver, and say, “These are your gods, O Israel,” this man is thankful for his food and raiment, and the comforts of life. But he feels that these are not his God, nor is anything which can be seen worthy to be the object of his pursuit.
He derives his pleasure from springs above and drinks in draughts of life, not from this poor dying world, but from the ever-living and Eternal God. Blessed is the man who has come to this! We must all come to it, or we are none of Christ’s. Do not think I am setting up some sublime standard. I am not. I am keeping to the level of the text. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.”
III. And now I want you, for a few minutes only, to meditate upon THE EVIDENCES OF HAVING THE SPIRIT, for some will say, “Have I the Spirit?” Yes, I trust all will make the enquiry. My Hearers, you either have the Spirit or you have not. See to it! If you have the Spirit, in the first place, as it is the Spirit of Christ, it has led you to Christ. Have you, then, been clean delivered from all confidence in yourselves? Have you been brought to the foot of the Cross and made to see that there hangs your only salvation? And are you trusting solely and entirely in the blood and righteousness of God’s crucified Son? If you are, you have the Spirit of Christ, for the Spirit that leads a man to faith in Christ is the Spirit of Christ. You could not have come to Christ if you had not been drawn, and none will draw you but the heavenly Father by His Spirit. If you are resting wholly upon Jesus you have His Spirit.
I will ask you another question. Do you feel in your soul a desire to honor the Lord Jesus? Do you love to hear Him extolled? Can you say that you hate everything which robs Him of His Glory? Do you love that sermon best which most exalts Jesus? Have you ever felt that you could die to crown our Lord’s most blessed head? Do you now fall at His feet and adore Him with your heart’s truest love? Then you have the Spirit of Christ, for He delights to glorify Christ by taking of the things of Christ and showing them to us!
Again. If you have the Spirit of Christ it will make you like Christ. Like Christ, first, in relation to God. Christ lived for God. When He was but 12 years old, He said, “Know you not that I must be about My Father’s business?” And all His life long He could say that the zeal of God’s House had eaten Him up. His meat and His drink were to do the will of His Father who had sent Him. Beloved, is that how you feel towards God? Then you have the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit of Christ is a Spirit of prayer. It kept the Son in constant communion with the Father. You constantly find the Lord Jesus in converse with God. If you have the spirit of sonship as Christ had, you will be much in prayer, too, and you will thus prove that you have the Spirit of Christ.
Christ’s worship of God was always spiritual. You never find Him worshipping otherwise than with His whole heart and soul. The traditions of men, their different watches and observances were nothing to Him–He walked with God and dwelt in Him–and needed not these childish ordinances. His was a spiritual life. Is yours so? Our Lord Jesus Christ towards God was always true. He was a faithful witness. You never find Him flinching a word. He was full of love, but how He could thunder against false-hearted men! “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Elijah was never more terrible against Baal than was the loving Savior against ritualistic Phariseeism–for towards His Father glowed a holy zeal and a sacred detestation of everything that would dishonor His beloved name.
Have you the Spirit of Christ in you? The Spirit of Christ was towards men a fullness of love. He was ready to do good to all. He fed the hungry. He healed the sick. He never considered Himself but spent His life for others, laying Himself out for them. They would have made Him a king in their momentary enthusiasm, but He needed no kingdom. It was kingdom enough for Him to help the miserable and succor the wretched. Do you feel in your soul a love to men for God’s sake? Can you forgive them when they do you wrong? Can you pray for your enemies? Can you follow His command who said, “I say unto you, That you resist not evil, but when they smite you on the one cheek, turn to them the other also”? Then I trust you have Christ’s Spirit.
But on the other hand, are you indignant when you are insulted? Are you pettish and ready to resent every little thing? You have not the Spirit of Christ if it is so! The Spirit of Christ is a gentle, forbearing, tender Spirit–stern, as I have told you, for God and for His Truth–but tender as a child towards the infirmities, sorrows and weaknesses of mankind. The Spirit of Christ is upright for that which is true and holy, but bending down towards that which is ready to die. Do you know the Spirit of Christ? Read His life and you will see it there. Have you such a Spirit? Do you long to be perfect, like Jesus? For if you have not the Spirit of Christ, you are none of His.
My time will fail me if I continue much longer and therefore I will close this head by saying that if we have the Spirit of Christ it will show itself by its operations in our hearts. We shall feel it moving within us. It will make us hate everything that is evil, false, unholy. It will move us to repentance of all that we have done amiss towards God or man. It will make us brave and courageous for God and for His Truth. If the Spirit of God is in us, it will move us to joy in God, to hope in God, to delight in God. Fellowship with God will become necessary to us. Prayer to God will be one of our most delightful exercises and the praise of God will be our dearest enjoyment. The indwelling Spirit within us will make us spiritual, move us in spiritual directions after spiritual things and we shall thus be spiritual men to the praise of God! But if we are not this, we are none of Christ’s.
IV. The last point is THE SAD CONSEQUENCES OF NOT HAVING THE SPIRIT. These are consequences for which nothing in this world can compensate. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Everything is gone if we are “none of His.” Supposing it had said, “He is not a favored disciple.” Well, one would have been sorry to miss the opportunity of the place nearest to the Master. But this is far worse–it says, “he is none of His.” The Lord does not own him at all! “No disciple of Mine,” says Christ. “No, if he has not My Spirit he is none of Mine.” He is a lost sheep, but Jesus says he is “none of His.” Whoever he may belong to, he does not belong to Christ. If he has not Christ’s Spirit in him, he is “none of His.”
Whatever body he may be a member of, he is no member of Christ’s body, for the Spirit dwells in all the members of that body–and he who has not that Spirit is none of His. “None of His.” The words wound my heart! They are like a dagger to my soul! “None of His!” “None of His!” Ah, if I am none of His because I have not the Spirit, whose am I? I beseech the man who has not the Spirit of Christ to look that question in the face! He who died upon the Cross disowns you. He who is risen into His Glory disowns you! What misery is this! When He comes in the Glory of the Father and calls His sheep to His right hand, that they may enjoy eternal blessedness in His company, He will say, “I never knew you.” If you, dear Hearer, are none of His, then whose are you?
YOU are the devil’s! Awful thought! Terrible words to use. But it must be so. There are two proprietors of men, two rulers whom they serve. “You are of God, little children,” says the Apostle. But of others he says they lie in the Wicked One and are heirs of wrath. There are two classes of men–the heirs of wrath and the heirs of God–if you are none of Christ’s you are the prisoner of condemnation! My dear Hearer, what are you if you are not Christ’s? You are a waif, a stray, a wreck drifted out to sea, soon to sink forever! And where are you if you are not Christ’s? On the way to judgment, on the road to eternal condemnation! If you are not His, you are going as fast as time can carry you away, away, away to the gloomy land where ray of hope will never pierce the midnight darkness! Away, away, away, where despair lasts for eternity!
O God, it is a dreadful thing to live a moment in an unforgiven state. “He that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed upon the Son of God.” If you were set up for an instant upon the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral, poised in the air upon the cross with none to hold you up, how dreadful would be your feelings as you looked beneath you and knew that the next gust of wind would sweep you down to sure destruction! Sinner, you are now in a similar position! If you are none of His you are now in awful peril! You stand over the mouth of Hell upon a single plank and that plank is rotten! You hang over the jaws of Perdition by a slender thread and the angel of Justice is ready to cut that thread in two. “None of His! None of His!”
Oh, how dreadful to live none of His and to die none of His, and to have this for your epitaph–“NONE OF HIS!” And then to wake up on the Resurrection morning and see the King in His beauty on the Throne and to know that you are none of His! To cry to the rocks to hide you, and to the hills to cover you, for you are none of His! Then to be brought out before the Great White Throne resplendent in its holiness and hear the fact announced so that all may hear, that there is a Savior but you are none of His! Ah, what will it be to see the pit open her mouth to devour you and, descending forever, to understand that you are none of His!–
“You sinners, seek His face,
Whose wrath you cannot bear.
Bow to the scepter of His Grace,
And find salvation there.”
If you look to Jesus by faith, the Spirit is with you as you look. There is life in a look at the crucified Redeemer. Trust Him! Trust Him! Trust Him!
And may the Lord constrain you, now, to live as you have never lived before. May you now begin the spiritual life, for if you have not the Spirit of God, you are none of His! PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON–Romans 8:1-23.