Sunday Considerations: This Year Also

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In preparation for the new year, Charles Spurgeon wrote the following sermon excerpts from his bed while he was sick. The sermon is based on three words from Luke 13:8,  “this year also.” Spurgeon’s words put new year’s resolutions and goals into a Kingdom perspective.

However, there should be no dispute that a kingdom is in view with new year’s resolutions, but whose kingdom, yours or God’s?

The interceding vinedresser pleaded for the fruitless fig tree, “let it alone this year also,” dating, as it were, a year from the time wherein he spoke. Trees and fruit-bearing plants have a natural measurement for their lives—evidently a year came to its close when it was time to seek fruit on the fig tree and another year commenced when the vinedresser began, again, his digging and pruning work. Men are such barren things that their fruitage marks no certain periods and it becomes necessary to make artificial divisions of time for them. There seems to be no set period for man’s spiritual harvest or vintage, or if there is, the sheaves and the clusters come not in their season and hence we have to say, one to another—“This shall be the beginning of a new year.”

Be it so, then. Let us congratulate each other upon seeing the dawn of “this year also,” and let us unitedly pray that we may enter upon it, continue in it and come to its close under the unfailing blessing of the Lord to whom all years belong.

I. The beginning of a new year SUGGESTS A RETROSPECT. Let us take it deliberately and honestly. “This year also”—then there had been former years. The dresser of the vineyard was not, for the first time, aware of the fig tree’s failure and neither had the owner come, for the first time, seeking figs in vain. God, who gives us “this year also,” has given us others before it—His sparing mercy is no novelty! His patience has already been taxed by our provocations. First came our youthful years when even a little fruit unto God is peculiarly sweet to Him. How did we spend them? Did our strength run all into wild wood and wanton branch? If so, we may well bewail that wasted vigor, that life misspent, that sin exceedingly multiplied.

He who saw us misuse those golden months of youth, nevertheless affords us “this year also,” and we should enter upon it with a holy jealousy lest what of strength and ardor may be left to us should be allowed to run away into the same wasteful courses as before. Upon the heels of our youthful years came those of early manhood when we began to muster a household and to become as a tree fixed in its place. Then, also, fruit would have been precious. Did we bear any? Did we present unto the Lord a basket of summer fruit? Did we offer Him the first-fruits of our strength? If we did so, we may well adore the Divine Grace which so early saved us! But if not, the past chides us and, lifting an admonitory finger, it warns us not to let “this year also” follow the way of the rest of our lives!

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The new year also reminds us of opportunities for usefulness which have come and gone—and of unfulfilled resolutions which have blossomed only to fade. Shall “this year also” be as those which have gone before? May we not hope for Grace to advance upon Grace already gained and should we not seek for power to turn our poor sickly promises into robust action? Looking back on the past we lament the follies by which we would not willingly be held captive “this year also,” and we adore the forgiving mercy, the preserving Providence, the boundless liberality, the Divine love of which we hope to be partakers “this year also.”

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So many have gone before us and are going every hour, that no man should need any other memento and yet man is so eager to forget his own mortality and, thereby, to forfeit his hopes of bliss, that we cannot too often bring it before the mind’s eyes. O mortal Man, what do you think? Prepare to meet your God, for you must meet Him! Seek the Savior, yes, seek Him before another sun sinks to its rest!

Once more, “this year also,” and it may be for this year, only, the Cross is uplifted as the lighthouse of the world— the one Light to which no eye can look in vain! Oh that millions would look that way and live! Soon the Lord Jesus will come a second time and then the blaze of His Throne will supplant the mild radiance of His Cross! The Judge will be seen rather than the Redeemer! Now He saves, but then He will destroy! Let us hear His voice at this moment! He has given us another day, let us be eager to avail ourselves of the gracious season! Let us believe in Jesus this day, seeing it may be our last!

These are the pleas of one who now falls back on his pillow in very weakness. Hear them for your souls’ sakes and live! Amen.1

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  1. Spurgeon, Charles. This Year Also. 1879, for the new year from the sick chamber.
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