@ReadingSpurgeon: 2 Corinthians 1:5 – Consolation Proportionate to Spiritual Sufferings (NPSP1S13)
The next sermon of C. H. Spurgeon in the New Park Street Pulpit is on 2 Corinthians 1:5 – “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ.”
He has 4 headings:
I. The sufferings to be expected
Christian, expect trouble. “There is no bed of down for you, there is no riding to heaven in a chariot. The rough way must be trodden, mountains must be climbed, rivers must be forded, dragons must be fought, giants must be slain, difficulties must be overcome, and great trials must be borne. It is not a smooth road to heaven, believe me.”
Reasons why you must endure trials are seen by look upwards, downwards, around you and within you.
When you look up and see “your heavenly Father, a pure and holy being, spotlessly just, perfect” and consider how one day you will be like him. Do you think “it will be an easy thing for your heart to become as pure as God is?”
When you look downwards, you see “hell and its lions against you.” Once you were “a servant of Satan and no king will willingly lose his subjects. Do you think that Satan is pleased with you?”
When you look around you, you see that you are in a wicked world full of enemies.
Then when you look within you, there lies your original sin and corruption. “If you had no devil to tempt you, you would tempt yourself.”
II. A distinction to be noticed
But we need to be clear about whether our sufferings are sufferings of Christ or not. Many people have trials and troubles who are not God’s children. “It is only when they are the suffering of Jesus that we may take comfort.”
It is when “you are called to endure harshness for the sake of the truth, then those are the sufferings of Christ.” Take care that you sufferings are not your own sufferings.
III. A proportion to be experienced
“As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so the consolations of Christ abound.” When we are most cast down, it is then that we are most lifted up by the consolation of Christ.
Because trials make more room for consolation: “The more our troubles humble, us, the more fit we are to receive comfort. And God always give us comfort when we are most fit for it.”
Because trouble exercises our graces: “The very exercises of our graces tend to make us more comfortable and happy.”
Because in our troubles we have the closest dealings with God: “When the barn is full, man can live without God. When the purse is bursting with gold, we somehow can do without so much prayer. But once take your gourds away, you want your God.”
IV. There is a person to be honoured
Who is to be honour? Jesus, for, as the text says, this is all by Jesus. “For Jesus cheers me. He is my consolation and my hope.”
If you are afraid of trouble, know that it “may never overtake you… and if it does come, strength will come with it.”
If you are in trouble, know that “as your troubles abound, so shall your consolation” so instead of being distressed about it, “rejoice in it” because “you will then honour God.”
And if you are almost driven to despair, know that “Christ is coming to your help… soon He will deliver you and fetch you out of all your perplexities.”