Dear Readers,

I have recently been reading two books containing a series of Charles Spurgeon’s “forgotten” public and college addresses. I have found these addresses, which have since gone out of common circulation, to be filled with spiritual gems and insight. It was truly a blessing to read the teachings of the “Prince of Preachers”.

As today is Communion Sunday, it is most appropriate that we should read a communion message preached by Spurgeon in 1889. I have sought to abridge this message to make it more readable and accessible, just like drinking ginseng tea made from ginseng. May the message prove to be beneficial for your soul.

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew

A Communion Address by C H Spurgeon
Abridged and Edited by Pastor Clement

Text: John 1:16

“And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” (Jn. 1:16)

John here speaks of all the saints; and of all believers he says, “Of his fulness” – that is of Christ’s fulness, “have all we received.” He does not say, “We hope we have;” but, “We have”. He does not say, “We shall receive;” but, “We have received.” Looking round this little assembly, we may each say with holy confidence, “He loved me, and gave Himself for me; and I have received of his fulness, and grace for grace.”

What does that expression “grace for grace” mean? There is a whole sea of meaning in them, though the words are only like a precious few drops.

Chrysostom thinks, and I agree at least in part with him, that this expression means that, in Christ, we receive all grace that Moses set forth in the figures of the law (i.e., all the grace that Moses signified and symbolised in the whole of the ceremonial law, c.f. v.17). Whatever of grace there was in the law, we get the grace of that grace in Christ. If it concerned the shedding of the sacrificial blood, we get that, and more than that, in Christ. What a wonderful substance is this, which is the substance of all those thousands of shadows! A child can see, if he be but taught of the Spirit of God, that in Christ there is everything that is set forth from the first type in the Old Testament to the last. We have grace for every grace that God ever revealed under the law.

But I believe that the text also teaches us that Christ has given us grace to receive grace. We have received His grace, for we were dead; and how can living grace dwell in dead hearts? It is true that we could be saved by believing, but we could not believe while we were dead. We were without life, but Christ came to us, and he poured into us, of his fulness, a prevenient grace, which came before saving grace, a grace that made us feel our need, a grace that made us willing to receive grace, a grace that opened our heart that grace might come in, and fill it. At the very beginning of our spiritual life, we have received from Christ the grace to make us able to receive grace.

Moving on, we see that we have received grace in proportion to the grace given. Whenever our Lord gives us the grace of faith, he gives us other graces to go with it – love, hope, patience and so on. It is not only faith that comes through faith, but all the breathings and longing of faith, all the realities that grow out of faith, all the acts of faith, and all the joys of faith. Christ gives us every grace in its due proportion, and all the graces in proportion to one another.

And I believe, dear friends, that Christ gives us grace that we may get more grace. I believe that every grace a Christian gets is a grace looking forward to another grace; that, all the way to Heaven, every step we take is a help to the next step. It is with Heavenly grace as it is with trade. After our first spiritual gains, we invest all we have in our Lord’s name. We do not reach the loftiest heights of grace at first. Many young believers fall into great trouble measuring themselves with full-grown saints; but like apprentice boys, we learn the elements of our holy trade, and afterwards advance to its higher branches. We make mistakes, but we resolve to do better next time. By and by, we shall become journeymen, and after that we shall become masters of our sacred art. If grace comes out of the old grace, it will still have to come out of Christ. Every growth or advance is really the result of drawing out of that deep well of the fulness of Christ.

Yet, dear friends, I think there is still more in our text, for it also teaches that Christ has given us grace to the highest form of grace. We shall go on receiving grace from Him till we have received the whole of grace; not that we shall ever exhaust the divine treasury of grace, but we shall become full of grace to our utmost capacity. Let us not think that the small store of grace that we have already is all that we have. Let us not imagine that we cannot, by God’s grace, overcome our evil temper, or our sinful propensities, or that we cannot grow to be like Christ. We can and we must, for He gives us grace for the perfecting of the work of grace in us until we be “filled with all the fulness of God”.

But even now, I am inclined to think that I have not expounded the full meaning of the text: “Of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace;” that is, grace according as there is grace in Christ. As the child receives some traces of his father’s features and character, so the grace of God has been given to us in such a way to stamp us with His own likeness. Christ is the type, we are letter-press printed from Him. We do not look much like Christ yet, but the first sketch of any picture never looks like what it is to be when it is finished. I think I see in most of my Christian friends a likeness to their Lord. I can certainly see more of Christ in some of them than I can see in myself. I only hope that some of the saints can see the beginning of the likeness of Christ in me; but whether you and I see it or not, it is being put there.

Dear friends, do you realise what, by God’s grace, you are yet to be? You are to be like Christ. God has predestinated us “to be conformed to the image of His Son”. Did you ever stand in a hall of mirrors, and see yourself reflected hundreds of times? Christ stands in the center of the Church; she is His mirror, in which He is to see Himself reflected, His grace shining in His people’s graces, His image reproduced in them. When God shall have made all His saints completely into the image of Christ, then He will see that His new creation, like the old one, is “very good”. Then will the eternal Sabbath begin, and He shall be satisfied, His Son shall be adored, His Spirit shall be magnified, and we shall be glorified in Christ and with Christ forever and forevermore. Amen.