325. Constraining Love — Psalm 31:23

“It were impossible to know Christ, and yet not to have the heart affected by him; you must be overpowered by his charms.” – C.H.S.

“Oh love the Lord all ye his saints.”—Psalm 31:23.

Main Points:
1. How befitting it is that we should love Jesus – 5:46
2. The excellencies of loving Jesus – 30:36


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The following are select quotes from this sermon.
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Do not merely serve him, but love him.

There is a thing called beauty which wins upon the hearts of men. Strong Samson is weak as a child before its enchantment. Mighty men, not a few, have bowed before it, and paid it homage; but if you want beauty, look into the face of Jesus; that marred visage hath more loveliness in it than in all the smiles of Cleopatra, or of the fabled maidens of days of yore. There is no beauty anywhere but in Christ, O sun, thou art not fair, when once compared with him. Ye stars, ye are not bright, if ye be set side-by-side with his eyes, that burn like lamps of fire. O fair world, and grand creation of a glorious God, thou art but a dim and dusky blot compared with the splendours of his face. When you shall see Christ, my brethren, you will be compelled to say that you never knew what loveliness was before.

We must coin new words before we can describe the excellencies of Christ. In fact, we must have done with tongues, and go into that land where spirits utter their thoughts, without the motion of lip or the expiration of breath, ere we shall be able to express the surpassing beauty, the unuttered excellency of the glorious character of Christ. Oh, love him then, ye people of God; love him; look into his face, and see if ye can help it; look, I say, at his character, and see if ye can resist it. But I tell you, if ye love him not, it is because ye do not know him.

It were impossible to know Christ, and yet not to have the heart affected by him; you must be overpowered by his charms.

There are some themes which make one wish that some teacher more able would accept the responsibility of explaining them, because we are afraid of marring their symmetry while we grapple with their details. The picture stretches out as it were before my mind’s eye with dazzling glory, but I cannot sketch it so that others can see all its grandeur. Christ’s love to us we sometimes guess at, but, ah, it is so far beyond our thoughts, our reasonings, our praises, and our apprehension too, in the sweetest moments of our most spiritual ecstacy,—who can tell it? “Oh, how he loved us!”

There was nothing in you to make him love you, but he left heaven’s throne for you. As he came down the celestial hills, methinks the angels said “Oh, how he loved them.” When he lay in the manger an infant, they gathered round and said, “Oh how he loves.” But when they saw him sweating in the garden, when he was put into the crucible, and began to be melted in the furnace, then indeed, the spirits above began to know how much he loved us. Oh Jesus! when I see thee mocked and spit upon—when I see thy dear cheeks become a reservoir for all the filth and spittle of unholy mouths—when I see thy back rent with knotted whips—when I behold thy honour and thy life both trailing in the dust—when I see thee charged with madness, with treason, with blasphemy—when I behold thy hands and thy feet pierced, thy body stripped naked and exposed—when I see thee hanging on the cross between earth and heaven, in torments dire and excruciating—when I hear thee cry “I thirst,” and see the vinegar thrust to thy lips—when I hear thy direful cry,” My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me,” my spirit is compelled to say, “Oh how he loves!” He could die, but he could not cease to love; he could be rent in pieces, but he could not be rent away from his people; he could be buried in the grave, but his love could not be buried; it must live, it must exist, it cannot be sundered from his chosen.

I am sure you don’t know how much he loved, because if you did it would break your heart to think you love him so little.

You will count it all joy; nay, you will rejoice in that day, and leap for joy when you are allowed to suffer for the name of him who suffered so much for you.

Does Jesus want me here? Can he make better use of me dead than alive? Let me die. Will he be more honoured in my poverty than in my wealth? Let me be poor. Will he be more glorified by my toil than by my rest, or by my sickness than by my health? Then be it so. As he surrendered all to the Father, so will I surrender all to him. As the Father gave all into his hands, so will I give all into his hands to be his for ever and ever. Love to Jesus will make all service for him to be joyous.

Luther used to say, “I would rather fall with Christ than stand with Cæsar;” and might you not say you would rather be with Christ in poverty than with anybody else in all the glory and grandeur of this world? Once love Christ, and you will never be content to be far away from him. You will say with the spouse, “As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet unto my taste.” Friend, how long is it since you had fellowship with Christ? Ask the question round, brethren. Each man, and each woman, answer it. You are a believer, your faith is in Christ; how long is it since you have seen your Master? How long since you have talked with him? How long since he has spoken to you? Pass that question round again, I say, and let every man answer it. I am afraid there be some Christians who have not communion with Christ by the month together, nay, I fear by the year together. Oh, what Christians must you be. Where is that wife’s love who never wishes for a husband’s smile all through the year? Were there much affection between two friends who could live in the same house, and not speak? Oh, brothers and sisters, let us examine ourselves, and begin to doubt if we can be happy without fellowship with Christ.

The only way to kill a Christian would be to take Christ from him.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon


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