Review: 12 Sermons on the Holy Spirit

12 Sermons on the Holy Spirit by Charles H. Spurgeon

“God send us a season of glorious disorder.”

I love Charles Spurgeon. Possibly more than any other man, he has shaped my thinking and preaching and understanding of the Bible and the God who wrote it. He was called “The Prince of Preachers” and the title is apt. His sermons bring Bible truth home to the heart, and enlarge for the mind the glories of God. He relates to the inner experience of the soul in its many varieties and subtleties. How often have I discovered some shining nugget of truth from a text, only to read Spurgeon and see that he has already found that nugget and put it on full display. His sermons are a delight to read, and I try to read him as much as I can,  whatever subject is on my mind. The “12 sermons on…” series is a good topical collection of his sermons, and this particular collection on the Holy Spirit is no exception.

Spurgeon believed that the Holy Spirit was absolutely crucial to the life of the believer. His sermon “The Indwelling and Outflowing of the Holy Spirit” expresses this most forcefully and masterfully.

The Spirit is the Comforter – “Think not, O poor downcast child of God, because the scars of thine old sins have marred thy beauty, that He loves thee less because of that blemish. Oh, no! He loved thee when He foreknew thy sin; He loved thee with the knowledge of what the aggregate of thy wickedness would be; and He does not love thee less now.” (p. 11, from “The Comforter”)

He speaks to the ups and downs of a believer’s life as it ebbs and flows in our direct experience of the Spirit of God. You read him, and you sigh as you realize, “He knows what it’s like!” He is surprisingly relatable, especially when you think that he preached 150 years ago.

He provokes us to seek the Spirit without reserve – “We have grown to be so frozenly proper that we never interrupt a service in any way, because, to tell the truth, we are not so particularly glad, we are not so specially full of praise that we want to do anything of the sort. Alas, we have lost very much of the Spirit of God, and much of the joy and gladness which attend His presence, and so we have settled into a decorous apathy! God send us a season of glorious disorder.” (102, from “The Pentecostal Wind and Fire”).

He exhorts us to be led by the Spirit: “I wish Christian people oftener inquired of the Holy Ghost as to guidance in their daily life. Know ye not that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? You need not always be running to this friend and to that to get direction: wait upon the Lord in silence, sit still in quiet before the oracle of God. Use the judgment God has given you; but when that suffices not, resort to Him whom Mr. Bunyan calls ‘the Lord High Secretary,’ who lives within, who is infinitely wise, and who can guide you by making you to ‘ hear a voice behind you saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.'” (140, from “The Covenant Promise of the Sprit”).

A few months ago I was preparing to preach, and had a particularly clever turn of phrase in mind. Then I read this: “May we never have this thought, – ‘I will put that bit in; it will tell well. The friends will feel that oratory is not quite extinct, that Demosthenes lives again in this village.’ No, no. I should say, brother, though it is a very delightful piece, strike that out ruthlessly; because if you have had a thought of that kind about it, you had better not put yourself in the way of temptation by using it… It may be very admirable, and further, it may be a very right thing, to give them that precious piece; but if you have that thought about it, strike it out. Strike it out ruthlessly. Say, ‘No, no, no! If it is not distinctly my aim to glorify Christ, I am not in accord with the aim of the Holy Ghost, and I cannot expect His help. We shall not be pulling the same way, and therefore I will have nothing of which I cannot say that I am saying it simply, sincerely, and only that I may glorify Christ.” (150, from “Honey in the Mouth”).

I cannot recommend Spurgeon in general, and these sermons in particular, highly enough. They will thrill your soul with the truth regarding the Spirit of God.

Some of these sermons have been published individually in booklet form by Chapel Library, for easier distribution, though I recommend this book as well.

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