The Spirit Of Christ

By N.B. Hardeman

(Editor’s Note: Brother Guy Woods graciously gave us permission to quote the following excellent sermon by N.B. Hardeman (Hardeman’s Tabernacle Sermons, Vol. V, pp. 109-121J. Brother Hardeman’s sermon is excellent, especially in his comments regarding militancy against error. His five volumes of Hardeman’s Tabernacle Sermons contain excellent material for studying and preaching.)

In looking over this great audience assembled, I am reminded of days gone by. There is genuine appreciation in the heart of every one who loves the truth, because of the wonderful opportunities that are to us granted. I want to join Bro. Cullman in expressing appreciation of the presence of so many delegations from the various parts of our land. I want to thank, especially, our colored brethren for coming in a body this afternoon. To all of these services, you are most cordially invited. Unto God be all the praise and to us the encouragement. I think you ought to know that any man, appearing before an audience of this kind, is deeply impressed with the great responsibility resting upon him. I know that impressions are going to be made. God forbid that anything shall be said or done other than that which is in harmony with His will. I beg of you to study carefully and to consider thoughtfully all that maybe said at this service.

The text of the afternoon is found in Romans the eighth chapter, verse 9. Hear it – “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Let’s all say that to ourselves. Let it register upon our minds. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” This is a universal statement; there are no classes of men excepted. Our respective stations in life enter not into consideration of this broad, sweeping statement, which is not only universal, but is quite positive in its declaration. No matter, friends, what other things might be true of me, or of you – if neither of us has the Spirit of Christ, all things else amount to nothing. In the light of such a sweeping statement with such consequences announced as are incorporated in it, don’t you think it worth our while to study, first of all, what we mean by the Spirit of Christ, and then to check up as to whether or not we possess it? There is so much said about it that I am impressed with the need of a thorough study of the matter. By the Spirit of Christ, I am constrained to believe that Paul not only meant the Holy Spirit which dwells in every Christian, but likewise the mind of Christ, the attitude of our Lord, and the disposition of God’s Son in his relationship to the various affairs that confront humanity. In all of my contact with the world, I must have and manifest the Spirit of Christ or else it’s already proclaimed, I’m none of His. But what does it mean? Well, we mean their attitude toward matters of public nature. You hear it said, “There’s a man with a spirit of vengeance.” What do you mean by that? That he harbors retaliation in his heart, and seeks revenge upon some of his fellows. Then we talk about a sweet-spirited man, and in all of this, we have the same idea as when we speak of the Spirit, i.e., the mind, disposition, attitude, of our Lord Jesus Christ. I know that’s the truth, for Paul said in Phil. 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Now, I want to make application. Friends, what was the Spirit that Jesus Christ manifested toward his heavenly Father? I think you know, without a long recitation. I am just quoting one or two passages, bearing on that very idea. In Hebrews 5, verses 8 and 9, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Again, “Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus our Lord, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of sinful men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” Now what was the attitude of our Lord toward his Heavenly Father? That of humiliation, that of perfect submission, that of rendering absolute obedience, even though death was the result. Friends, I must have that Spirit toward my Heavenly Father, or else I am none of His. Let me close that phase of it by the quotation respecting the attitude of Christ in the last trial and tribulation through which he passed. In the lonely garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed and said, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup (the suffering, and the sighing) pass from me, nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done.” I must needs have that kind of a spirit, and that kind of an attitude toward my Heavenly Father, or else, Paul said, “Hardeman, you are none of His.”

Well, passing from that phase of it, I want to ask this audience: What was the attitude, or the spirit, or the mind of Christ toward his earthly parents? When he was 12, his father and mother let him go along with them to Jerusalem to attend the annual feast. After that was over, they left him and parted from him a day’s journey. In the evening his mother began looking for her boy, only to find he was not in her company. She thought possibly, that “since he’s not in our camp, he’s over there with our kinfolks,” but, upon investigation, she found he wasn’t there. Then she had found some very fine acquaintances – the very best people of the earth – and she, perchance, thought he might be with them, but she found he wasn’t there, and had never been in their company. Finally, she turned back to Jerusalem, and there she found him. Well, after her reproof and his reply, he left Jerusalem and went with his parents down to Nazareth and was subject unto them. There isn’t a boy or girl on earth, but may gather a wonderful lesson by observing the Spirit of Christ, that of subjection, respect, and obedience to earthly parents.

Now, may I ask: What was the mind or the spirit of Christ toward governmental affairs? “Let every soul,” said Paul, “be subject to the powers that be.” When Peter was discussing matters regarding the paying of taxes, Jesus anticipating him, said, “Of whom do kings of the earth take customs? Of their children or of strangers?” Peter answered correctly, “Of strangers.” Christ said, “Lest they be offended, Peter, you go fishing, and when you cast the hook, the first fish that cometh up, look in his mouth and there you’ll find a piece of money; take that, and pay your taxes and mine.” Friends, what is the Spirit of Christ toward our heavenly Father? That of absolute and implicit obedience. Toward earthly parents? He was subject unto his, and thus left us an example. What spirit was his regarding the world about him? That of respecting the government of which he was a part, and to which men look for protection.

Well, I want to pass to the next thought, and that’s this: “What attitude did Christ have toward his personal enemies, those who mistreated him, slandered him, told untrue things about him? Well, here is the answer: “When he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered he threatened not, but committed himself unto him who judgeth righteously.” Do you get that idea? If your enemy smite you on the cheek, turn the other; if he take your coat, give him also your cloak; if he force you to go a mile, double it, and go your way. All of this, my friends, suggests the Christ represented as the Lamb of God. I want you to think about the characteristics of a lamb. It’s the humblest, and the meekest, and the most submissive of all animals on earth. “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth; In his humiliation his judgment was taken away; and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.” That’s Christ with reference to matters personal held against him. You can’t find in all the Bible where Jesus ever retaliated with reference to personal injury, personal insult, slanderous reports, or anything of the kind. “If a man hath not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” But friends, I think the tragedy of today in the church of the Lord is this, namely: brethren have never learned that there are two sides to the Son of God. They think that only the characteristics of a lamb ought to be evidenced in order to have the spirit of the Master, and that he is some little negative kind of fellow, rather sissy, without backbone, with no courage, and that he doesn’t have any combative spirit about him. Now that’s the common idea that the world has. Brethren, you are making a fatal mistake, and that mistake is, possibly, more responsible for the sad condition and the lack of harmony in the church of our Lord, than any other thing upon which you could put your finger at this hour. Lots of men in business affairs adopt a principle which, with their imperfect organizations, may be satisfactory and may prove worth considering, and it is this, namely: “Knockers don’t win, winners don’t knock.” In material affairs, earthly business relationships, and imperfect human organizations that may be a good slogan, but I want to say to you, friends, that such a sentiment transferred into religion and applied to the church of the Lord, is more responsible for the sad plight in which we are found in Nashville, and other cities, than any other principle of which I can think. Brethren, I bid you go back to the days of the Restoration and recount the battles that had to be fought in every city and throughout the country. Imagine the Stones, Campbells, Johnsons and Smiths adopting the slogan and saying one to another: “Now brethren, be careful. Remember that `winners don’t knock.”‘ Had such been their idea, there never would have been a church of our Lord in this land. I think that brethren of the present are wholly unmindful of this one fact, namely: the denominational world has never opened wide a door for a gospel message. Never! Every inch of ground that we occupy, every position that has been made prominent, has been the result of a battle and of a combat on the part of those who believe the old Book. But for that spirit characterizing earlier days, the would have been no congregations like these to assemble. Someone thinks, “That’s not the spirit of Christ.” Now mark it – instead of Jesus Christ’s being some little negative nothing who was afraid of his shadow, I want you to understand full well that the same Bible which says that he’s the Lamb of God, also says, “He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” Now I would have you stop a minute and study the nature of a lion. John said that Christ is a lion. Well, what is a lion? He is the king of all beasts. He walks out into a company of animals, wags his tail, shakes his shaggy mane, and gives a roar that might be heard from Dan to Beersheba. How do you brethren account for the idea that Christ is a lion? Well, let me give it to you. With reference to personal defense he is a lamb. But whenever the doctrine that he proclaimed was attacked and opposed, and men acted the hypocrite and violated the principles of righteousness in their lives Jesus Christ never offered one element of compromise; he showed no disposition to yield one inch, but he stood like the lion against every foe. Jesus Christ is a Lamb, and a Lion of the tribe of Judah. Well, with reference to what? A lamb with regard to personal matters, a lion with regard to error both in doctrine and practice, and to things contrary to his teaching. Now if I don’t demonstrate that, I’ll admit publicly, and in the presence of this company, that I know nothing about the Book of God from beginning to end. I read you some things along that line. I am calling your attention first to the story of Stephen, in the sixth chapter of Acts. Stephen was one of the seven selected to look after the affairs to which the apostles’ attention had been brought. The Bible says this: that he was a man of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom. Now let’s see our man. Stephen, who are you? “I am a man of good report; I am a man that has wisdom; I am filled with the Holy Spirit.” There’s the man that I introduce to you. In the course of time, Stephen brought accusation against the error of his day, and afterward the enemy suborned men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” That was a lie. They never heard Stephen say anything of the kind, but in order to down his influence, and to obstruct his onward march, they falsified by their slanderous report: “and they stirred up the people and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him and brought him unto the council and set up false witnesses who said: This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law.” There’s God’s man, full of wisdom, full of the Holy Ghost, and of good report. Stephen turned on them and said, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers.” I have some weak-kneed brethren who would have stood there and said: “Stephen, wait a minute, knockers don’t win.” Now I just want to ask you: Did Stephen have the Spirit of Christ when he said, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears . . . you are betrayers and murderers?” Someone says, “I don’t think he ought to have said that; that’s not nice, and he might offend them. That’s not the Spirit of Christ.” The man who makes that statement wouldn’t know the Spirit of Christ if he were to meet it down on Broadway. He would be an absolute stranger to His Spirit. Should Stephen have said: “Now gentlemen, I don’t think you ought to do that, but I’ll recognize you, and one of you brethren will please come around and lead us in prayer”? Stephen had the Spirit of Christ and evidenced it to these betrayers and murderers.

Well, again, I turn to the 13th chapter of Acts, where we have a record of the first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas. They left Antioch in Syria, went down to Seleuia, on the seacoast, took a boat to the island of Cyprus, went to Salamis and on through the island until they came to Paphos, and there they found a Jew by the name of Barjesus, and he was with the deputy of the country named Sergius Paulus whom the Bible says, was “a prudent man.” Well, what does that mean, Luke? That means this: Sergius Paulus was a man of good sense but Bar-Jesus was wicked. Then this prudent man called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. He was an honest, sincere man. He saw that these men were preaching something of great importance and he wanted to hear them. “But Elymas, the sorcerer, withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.” Well, I’m sorry that all of that kind are not dead yet. There are plenty of characters like Elymas that would like to turn men away from hearing the gospel of God’s Son, and they would pull off any kind of an entertainment to lure them away. Now note: Paul has somewhat to say but may I ask: Does Paul have the Spirit of Christ or not? Well, let’s see the Spirit of Christ in action. Let’s see a lion turned loose. Paul said to him, “O thou full of all subtility and of all evil, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?” Paul, don’t you knock; that won’t get anywhere; you be soft and sweetspirited. Paul said: “Thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness,” why don’t you quit perverting God’s word? Friends, I stand in the presence of God Almighty, certain of the fact that to condemn, rebuke and refute error is either the spirit of Christ, or that Paul, the peerless apostle, was wholly out of line with the Spirit of his Master. Now what do you say about it? Did Paul have the Spirit of Christ when he said to Elymas, “You’re a child of the devil; you’re full of all subtility and of all evil, why don’t you stop your opposition to God’s word”? Brethren, what do you say about it? Someone replies that Paul was denouncing a sinner, but “I don’t think you ought to do that way toward brethren.” Well, unfortunately, the Bible is a complete Book. I am reading now from the second chapter of Galatians. “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” Here Paul comes face to face with Peter and blames him. He accuses Peter of being a hypocrite and a coward. This he does before them all. I now want to ask: Did Paul have the Spirit of Christ? What do you brethren say about it? Now then, when I tell some brethren they are wrong and are not standing four-square, what’s the retort? “Brother Hardeman doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ? He’s a scrapper.” Thank God I am, when it comes to the doctrine of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I allow no man to preach error and get away with it if I have the opportunity to stand and uphold the banner of the Lord, and proclaim the truth. Because of that, I want to say to you humbly, that I command the respect of even my opponents. It is the spirit of Christ to stand for God’s word.

I now turn to Jesus Christ himself. I want to see what spirit he had toward all kinds and degrees of error that confronted him. In Matthew 21, verse 12, hear it! – “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves.” Imagine his saying to them, “Gentlemen, I hate to say anything about it, but I wish you wouldn’t do that.” Now that sounds like some modern preacher trying to hold his job. Let’s hear the Christ; he said to them: “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” Let me ask: Is that the Spirit of Christ? Brethren, that’s Christ himself. Jesus said: “My house shall be called the house of prayer – but you thieves have taken possession of it. Get out.” Some weakling might say: “I wouldn’t treat anybody that way.” Maybe that kind wouldn’t but Jesus Christ did. Brethren, who has the Spirit of Christ? Is it some of these overpious fellows who haven’t a backbone, who will let the truth of God suffer because of personal ties? My friends, we need to study the Bible again. That weak, negative, apologetic type of preaching is responsible today for a state that exists among us. Whenever the people of God get the spirit of the apostles; whenever they imbibe the Spirit of the Master; whenever they recognize the spirit that characterized the Restoration; whenever they decide to endorse only a positive gospel sermon and stand by those who will expose error; then and not till then will the cause prosper as in the days of the Apostles and Restorers.

But again, I read in the last speech that the Son of God ever made where Jesus spake to the disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat; All therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. for they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men; they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, they love the uppermost room at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi, for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.” Now note, “And call no man your father upon earth.” Brethren, don’t let your regard for man cause you to violate this statement. The man who does shows that he loves the praise of men more than he does the praise of God.

Again, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Who is this talking, anyhow? That’s Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Who are the Pharisees? They were the leading denomination of Christ’s day. They represented the very best element in society, in business, in politics. They had their organization to the very highest point, and they loved to cater to the ways of the world, and to be prominent. Lord, what are you saying about them? Jesus Christ said: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Did he have the Spirit of Christ? “Now, Lord, don’t you knock. You should know that knockers don’t win. Just go on and preach the truth and let them alone. Say nothing about them.” It’s a pity that the Lord didn’t have some sweet-spirited “pastor” to tell him how to preach. Christ said; “You’re hypocrites.” Well, why? “Ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore you shall receive the greater damnation.” Whom is he talking about? Nobody. He’s talking to the leading denomination of his day. What did he say to them? Lord, what else about them? “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” Now Lord, what are they? Children of hell. Well, what about their converts? They are twofold more so. I leave the matter with you, friends. Is that the Spirit of Christ or not? What do you say about it? Does that look like a lion? Doesn’t that demonstrate that “every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up”? I want to ask you, in what kind of business was Christ engaged other than in rooting up error and in teaching the truth?

But hear him further, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within, full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” Friends, that’s the language of Jesus Christ in the last address that He ever made on the face of God’s earth.

What’s the next thought? “Ye ‘serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” Friends, those are but extracts and samples found in the Book of God by those who were filled with God’s spirit. Now mark itwith reference to personal attack, personal insult, personal slander, and varied ugly reports, what about him? He was a Lamb. When reviled, he reviled not again; when suffering, he threatened not.

Now what’s the last part? “He’s the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” Well, how? With reference to all error, with reference to all opposition to the truth. He stood, therefore, like a stone wall against the forces of opposition. Friends, let me tell you one thing. I have heard my own brethren, I think, sometimes preach what I doubt to be correct, and that’s this: that because Jesus Christ preached the truth, “he was led as a sheep to the slaughter.” Now, that’s not so. If Jesus Christ had but preached the truth, he would have been living till this very hour, all other things being equal. Let me tell you the fact: because Jesus Christ condemned error and exposed the wrong, those very chief priests, scribes and Pharisees whom he had denounced went to old Caiaphas and said: “That man must be killed.” Jesus Christ suffered ion the tree of the cross, not for preaching the truth but for posing and condemning error. I want that idea to register. The opposition of the religious world is not aroused by some oni~,s preaching the truth. But when you expose their doctrine, they first seek to ignore you. Next, they’ll want to debate the issues, and finally they’ll want to put you to death. Be it remembered, the peerless apostle to the Gentiles was not executed simply because he preached the truth; but because he exposed the error of his day, they beheaded him in the city of Rome. Let me read about that just a little bit. In 2 Timothy 4: we have this statement. “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil; the Lord reward him according to his works; of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.” Did you ever see somebody trying to withstand the preaching of the gospel, and be in direct opposition to it like old Elymas, who tried to keep men from hearing it? Paul could say: “Brethren, I had that kind.” Who’s one of them? “Alexander the coppersmith.” Paul, what did you do with him? In 1 Timothy 1:20, Paul said, “Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” That’s what Paul said about him. Now I ask: did Paul have the right spirit? Well, that’s up to you now to decide whether he did or not. Friends, I leave this thought with you: I believe confidently that the failure to demonstrate the Spirit of Christ is more responsible for the weak and the compromising air in the church than any other one thing. I am appealing to my brethren everywhere. I believe we have the truth; there’s not a plank in our foundation but absolutely rings clear. I stand ready to defend every single, solitary plank in the platform upon which I have launched my campaign for eternity. In view of that, it’s little enough that I should unfold the banner of our Lord and let it wave in the breezes of high heaven while I unshield the sword of the Spirit, and fight the good fight until time’s knell is sounded and the ransomed of earth are gathered home. That’s the spirit that I believe must prevail. With all of this, so far as personal relationship toward my fellows is concerned, I am not conscious of being any enemy to any man that lives on God’s earth. There is no man against whom I would do anything destructive to his fair name or to retard his influence. I pray God that I may not be filled with envy and with jealously that will make me see things other than the truth demands. With the Spirit of Christ paramount, I stand against error, from whatsoever source it may spring. With due deference to the feelings of my fellows, I cannot yield one-tenth of an inch. There is no compromise in the church of the Lord. There’s not a single doctrine taught by Christ or the apostles that I have a right to modify or to minimize in the least. I believe that Jesus Christ said “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” I look upon the man who fulfills that as a Christian. I am ready to fellowship and to recognize him; but however much I may think of any of you, brethren or friends, personally, if you have not obeyed the gospel of Christ, as I believe it is, I am not recognizing you, nor playing “buddy” with you; nor am I calling upon you to invoke God’s blessings upon what you don’t believe. I cannot invite you to pray for me when you don’t believe what I teach. Friends, that’s getting down to brass tacks, but that’s right where we live. Now the unfortunate thing is this: There are brethren who, if I file a criticism against their teaching, fly up in the air and say: “Hardeman’s got it in for me personally.” God knows I’d hate to be that little. I’d just hate to be so small that I could not distinguish between personal attacks and attacks where principle is involved. I contend for the truth, as I see it, against the claims of all persons who oppose it, but for any man, personally, I have but the kindest of feelings.

Now, from a talk of this kind, possibly no one could learn what to do to become a Christian; I realized that before I started, but if from other talks or from other information, there be those in this audience who understand what the will of the Lord is, and are disposed in heart and mind to accept it, the invitation is tendered as we stand together and sing the song.

Guardian of Truth XXIX: 3, pp. 68-69, 87-89
February 7, 1985