If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,…
1. The language of man has received a new coinage of words since his perfection in Eden. Adam could scarce have understood the word consolation, because he did not understand the word sorrow. He soon needed it, but did not find it like the first promise which spake of Christ. And consolation can be found nowhere but in Him.
2. The Holy Spirit is revealed to us as the Comforter, and it is His business to console; but Christ is the consolation.
I. CHRIST IN HIS VARIED POSITIONS IS A CONSOLATION FOR THE DIVERS ILLS OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD. "All His paths drop fatness," etc.
1. There are times when we look on the past with deepest grief, with fond regrets for the lost Paradise. To meet this, consider Christ in old eternity, as the covenant Head, stipulating to redeem thee; and think of the anticipating mercies of God.
2. If your minds dwell in sadness on the fact that you are absent from the Lord, think of the great truth that Christ of old had delights with the sons of men, and delights to have fellowship with them now. Remember that he appeared to Abraham in the plains of Mamre, to Jacob at the brook Jabbok, to Joshua as Captain of the Lord's host, to the three Hebrew children, and so today.
3. Pursue the Master's footsteps as He comes out of the invisible glory and wears the visible garment of humanity. You are tried and troubled, but what better consolation can you have than that Christ is one with you in your nature and suffered all that you are now suffering.
(1) You are poor, He had not where to lay His head.
(2) You are in pain; He agonized in Gethsemane and was nailed to the cross. "Was there ever sorrow like unto His?" What consolation in the fact that that sorrow expiated sin!
4. Follow Him to the grave. You, through fear of death are all your lifetime subject to bondage, but surely you may find an easy couch where your master slept. But this consolation is as naught compared with that derived from His resurrection. Be not faithless, but believing.
5. See Him ascending to His glory, and anticipate the joy you will have in His triumph. He went as your representative.
6. Behold Him, the great High Priest, the advocate with the Father; and sending down consolations upon His people.
7. But He shall come again as King and complete his ministry of consolation for body as well as for soul.
II. CHRIST IN HIS UNCHANGING NATURE A CONSOLATION FOR OUR CONTINUAL SORROWS.
1. He is a surpassing consolation. Talk about the consolations of philosophy; the charms of music; the comfort of friendship; the joys of hope; we have all these and others in superabundance in Him.
2. His consolations are unfailing. All other wells are dry; but this flows in an unceasing stream.
3. His consolations are everlasting; in youth, manhood, old age, in the prospect of death and eternity.
4. They are always within a believer's reach, "a very present help in time of trouble." You may always cheer your heart with Him, when all other things are far away.
III. IS CHRIST AN AVAILABLE CONSOLATION FOR ME?
1. Not if you are a self-sufficient moralist trusting in your own righteousness. You are trusting in a lie, and Christ will never be friends with a lie.
2. Not if you are a backslider, unless you return, to which Christ invites you.
3. Yes! if you are a penitent, obedient believer.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,