by Charles H. Spurgeon

The Parent's and Pastor's Joy
Charles H. Spurgeon
3 John 4

John speaks of himself as though he were a father, and, therefore, we concede to parents the right to use the language of the text. Sure am I that many of you here present, both mothers and fathers, can truly say, "We have no greater joy than to hear that our children walk in truth." But John was not after the flesh the father of those of whom he was writing; he was their spiritual father, it was through his ministry that they had been brought into the new life; his relationship to them was that he had been the instrument of their conversion, and had afterward displayed a father's care in supplying them with heavenly food and gracious teaching. Therefore, this morning, after we have used the words as the expression of parents, we must take them back again, and use them as the truthful utterance of all real pastors, "We have no greater joy than to hear that our children walk in truth."

The Parent's Joy

One of the parent's highest joys is his children's walking in truth; he has no greater joy. And here we must begin with the remark that it is a joy peculiar to Christian fathers and mothers. No parents can say from their hearts, "We have no greater joy than to hear that our children walk in truth," unless they are themselves walking in truth. No wolf prays for its offspring to become a sheep. The ungodly man sets small store by the godliness of his children, since he thinks nothing of it for himself. He who does not value his own soul is not likely to value the souls of his descendants. He who rejects Christ on his own account is not likely to be enamored of Him on his children's behalf. Abraham prayed for Ishmael, but I never read that Ishmael prayed for his son Nebajoth.

I fear that many, even among professors of religion, could not truthfully repeat my text; they look for other joy in their children, and care little whether they are walking in truth or not. They joy in them if they are health ...

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