“He has made us kings and priests to our God.” Revelation 5:10. The Lord Jesus infinitely excels all earthly kings, in that He makes all His subjects kings! He has a crown of glory for every subject. Oh, what a glorious King is this. Oh sirs, it is better to be a poor member of Christ, than the head of a nation. Oh, how infinitely happy are all Christ’s subjects. They are all kings, all heirs, all favorites, all sons. Alas, where is there such a king to be found, who makes all His subjects kings? There are many kings who undo their subjects, but Christ makes His subjects kings. There are many kings who make their subjects beggars, but Christ makes His subjects kings. There are many kings who put their subjects to death, but Christ died that His subjects might live. There are many kings who give their subjects titles, but Christ gives all His subjects Heaven. Now, beloved, here is the excellence of our King: He makes all His subjects kings and gives them all crowns of glory! “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne!” Revelation 3:21. Jesus Christ is an Enthroned King! But, beloved, this is not all; Christ not only sits there Himself, but He has promised that all who overcome, shall sit down with Him upon His throne. Now, I wonder where there is any king but Christ, who allows his subjects to sit upon his throne with him. Alas! this would be treason for a man to attempt it. Oh, what a glorious King is Jesus. Every one of His poor subjects shall sit upon the throne with Him. One would think this very promise would draw the whole world after Christ. Oh, what great offers, and privileges, and honors Christ bestows upon all His poor followers. He not only makes them kings, but He brings them to sit upon His very throne with Him! O believer, you say that it would be an honor indeed, if could you but look into heaven, and merely to see Christ sit upon His throne. But this honor have all His saints; yes, much more–He makes them all kings, and grants to them to sit down with Him upon His throne! (William Dyer, “Christ’s Famous Titles”)
Believer, what are you doing, going groaning through the world beneath a load of fears and cares? What should discourage you? What should disturb your peace? What can ruffle the calm spirit of a man who knows that the hands which were once nailed to the tree for him, now hold the helm of his destiny? The blessed Savior, who by love’s golden scepter reigns within his heart, holds sovereign sway over earth and Heaven; and by both bitter and sweet providences, by both coffins and cradles, by both disappointments and joys, by both losses and gains, shall cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Thomas Guthrie, 1803-1873)
“I hate pride and arrogance!” Proverbs 8:13. Nothing stops the current of His blessings so much as pride. He resists the proud–He is at war with them. A futile war! A proud sinner fighting against a holy God! Who do you think will conquer? Oh, beware of all high thoughts of yourself and your doings. Take heed of admiring your own greatness or goodness. Self-delight is a very pleasing sin, but more odious to a jealous God than the gross sins of the flesh. I am sure that the more we love Him, the less we shall admire ourselves. The Pharisee, full of self-delight, remained in his guilt. The poor publican, who loathed himself, went home justified. There is no perfect humility but in Heaven. Until we get there, we should be learning, and every day seeking for more grace to humble us–learning from our Master to be meek and lowly of heart. May God make us better scholars. “If God,” says Augustine, “did not spare the angels when they grew proud; will He spare you–who are but dust and sin?” “The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 16:5. (Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)
I beg the reader to make a solemn pause over this chapter (Jeremiah 40), and to remark, how soon a sense of divine judgments lose their effect; except divine grace keep the remembrance of them, with all their blessed consequences, alive in our hearts. Who should have conceived that after so alarming a visitation, in the putting out the eyes of the king, and carrying him and his nobles away into captivity, with all the remaining people but for the poor, that rebellion and dissatisfaction should have sprung up among them. But so it is. There can be no change but what grace makes. And much it is to be feared, that if the miserable in everlasting chains, under darkness to the judgment of the great day, were once again to be permitted to come on earth, their minds would be the same, and the sin and malignity of their nature remain unchanged. Lord Jesus, give your people that new heart, and that new mind, in which the new birth consists: that by regeneration they may be prepared for the everlasting enjoyment of you in glory; since you yourself have said, without it, we cannot see the kingdom of God! (Robert Hawker in the Family Worship Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 40)
“These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes!” Revelation 14:4. A believer follows the Lamb TRULY, without hypocrisy. Many follow the Lamb, as beggars follow a rich man–only for his money. They prize the wages of religion–above the works of religion! “I tell you the truth, you are looking for Me . . . because you ate the loaves and had your fill!” John 6:26. Oh, beloved, God abhors a hypocrite more than a Sodomite! Hell is provided on purpose for hypocrites, “He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites–where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!” Matthew 24:51. My beloved, following the Lamb fully is to have the heart fixed and resolved for God. “My whole being follows hard after You, and clings closely to You,” says David in Psalm 63:8. “As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, O God. I thirst for God–for the living God!” Psalm 42:1-2. William Dyer (1632-1696) Follow the Lamb
Perhaps, there never was a greater profession of Christ, and of the truth as it is in Him, than in this day; yet many, very many professors content themselves with the form of godliness—instead of the power; the mere notion of truth—instead of the experience of it; the name of faith—instead of the grace of faith—the mere profession of Christ—instead of the actual possession of him. How few really feel their hearts happy in Him, their hopes centered on him, and then affections going out after him! Hence they are not devoted in life and walk to the glory of Christ. This calls for much self-examination, and great searching of heart. But, O the love of his royal heart! Instead of executing fierce vengeance upon us, for our sins, lo, he came from heaven to earth, with a flame of love in his heart, and matchless grace on his lips, on purpose to die for us, to wash us from our sins in his own blood, to conquer the rebellion of our hearts against him, and to win our affections to him. Has he saved us by his precious blood? Has he made us his willing, loving disciples, by his powerful grace? Surely, it is that we should live in the sweet enjoyment of all the rich blessings of his kingdom, and be holy and happy every day, yes, every hour, in him. In life and love be wholly devoted to him. (William Mason, 1719-1791)
You say “Tomorrow, tomorrow I will repent,” when you know not what a tomorrow will bring forth. Alas! how many thousand ways may death surprise you before tomorrow comes! Though there is but one way to come into the world–yet there are a thousand thousand ways to be sent out of the world. Oh, the diseases, the hazards, the dangers, the accidents, the deaths–which daily, which hourly attend the life of man! Ah friends! it is a dangerous thing to make repentance to be the task of old age. The longer any man defers his repentance, the more difficult it will be for him to repent: his heart will every day grow more and more hard, and his will more and more perverse, and his judgment more and more corrupted, and his affections more and more disordered, and his conscience more and more benumbed or enraged, and his whole life more and more defiled and debauched.
Friends, do not deceive yourselves! Old age is but a tottering and sinking foundation for you to build your eternal hopes and happiness upon–your eternal making or marring upon! Are the dog-days of old age–are the trembling hands, the wrinkled face, the failing eyes, the gasping lungs, the fainting heart, the feeble knees, and the broken down legs–are these a sacrifice worthy of a majestic God? Is a body full of sores, aches, and diseases–and a soul full of sin–an offering worthy of a holy God? Surely not! Oh, what madness, what wickedness is this: to serve Satan, your lusts, and this world with full dishes–and to put off God with scraps! To serve Satan, your lusts, and this world in the flower, in the prime and primrose of your days–and to put off God with the dregs of old age! Oh, do not let Satan deceive you, do not let your own hearts delude you! (Thomas Brooks, continued from last week).
“Let me die the death of the righteous, and may my end be like theirs!” Numbers 23:10. Many desire to repent when old age comes, when their wits are cracked, their souls distracted, their senses stupefied, their hearts bewildered, their minds darkened and their bodies diseased and distempered. Oh, then they think that they will be able to leap into Heaven, with a “Lord have mercy upon me” in their mouths. Even though they have lived like devils–yet they hope they shall die like saints! Do you think, O vain man–that after you have spent your time, and wasted your strength, and exhausted your energies in the work of Satan, and in the service of your lusts–that God will receive you to His grace and favor? If you do thus flatter yourself–it is ten thousand to one that you will deceive yourself! Though true repentance is never too late–yet late repentance is seldom true. Ah, how many millions are now in Hell–who have thought, and resolved, and said that they would repent hereafter–but that hereafter never came! (Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness“, 1662)
“You are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21. If we do not preach about sin and God’s judgment on it, we cannot present Christ as Savior from sin and the wrath of God. And if we are silent about these things and preach a Christ who saves only from the sorrows of this world–then we are not preaching the Christ of the Bible. We are, in effect bearing false witness, preaching a false Christ, and our message is another gospel. Such preaching may soothe some, but it will help nobody; for a Christ who is not seen and sought as a Savior from sin, will not be found to save from anything else. An imaginary Christ will not bring a real salvation; and a half-truth presented as the whole truth is a complete untruth. He that has learned to feel his sins, and to trust Christ as his Savior, has learned the two hardest and greatest lessons in Christianity. “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Romans 4:25. “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree” 1 Peter 2:24. (J.I. Packer, “The Puritan View of Preaching the Gospel” who passed away last week at the age of 93)
As life is the seedtime for eternity, so is childhood and youth the seedtime for riper years. According to the seed then sown will be the future fruit. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” What duty can be more in agreement with reason and Scripture than that of the religious instruction of the young by their parents, their natural guardians? When professing Christian parents can trample underfoot the most solemn vows; exhibit an utter destitution of Christian, if not of natural, affection towards their offspring; set before them no holy example; instill into their youthful minds no sound religious principles; and disregard their spiritual interests, how can it be otherwise than that the rising generation should spring up a seed of evil doers – children that are corrupters – that they should prove forsakers of God, disobedient to parents, covenant breakers, unruly? Each successive generation, copying the evil example of that which preceded, becomes in this manner more deeply depraved, departs farther from God, and at last, when their measure of iniquity is full, God is provoked to pour out his fury on the families and nation that call not upon His name. (C. C. Stewart on Proverbs 4 in The Family Worship Commentary)