Sunday, February 26, 2017

Be Ye Also Ready
By Matthew Henry
Edited by Dr. Rikor Von Zhades

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

40 Be ye also prepared therefore: for the Son of man will come at an hour when ye think not.
The Gospel According to Luke 12:40


This may be understood either of a readiness to meet the Lord in the way of his judgments, and of a preparation for death, and the last judgment, which lies in the righteousness of Christ imputed, and his grace imparted: and to have a comfortable view of the one, and a gracious experience of the other, as they will engage to the performance of good works, to which such are ready; so they make meet for the coming of Christ, be it in what way, and whensoever it will: and the rather, a concern should be had for such a preparation. Which as it is said to be like a thief in the night, expresses the suddenness of it, may excite to watchfulness and readiness; which readiness is to be understood, not of a readiness to do the will and work of God, though this is absolutely necessary; as to watch and pray, to hear the word preached, to confess Christ, and give a reason of the hope that is in us, to communicate to the support of the cause and interest of Christ, and to suffer for his sake; but of a preparedness to meet the Lord in the way of his judgments, when desolating judgments are coming on the earth, such as these in Jerusalem; by faith and trust in the power, providence, and care of God; by humiliation before him, and resignation to his will: and if this can be applied to a readiness for a future state after death; for the second coming of Christ, and last judgment, This lies not in a dependence on the absolute mercy of God; nor in an external humiliation for sin; nor in an abstinence from grosser sins, or in mere negative holiness; nor in any outward, legal, civil, and moral righteousness; nor in a submission to Gospel ordinances; nor in a mere profession of religion; but in being in Christ, having on his righteousness, and being washed in his blood; and also in regeneration and sanctification, in having true knowledge of Christ, and faith in him; for all which it becomes men to be concerned, as also all believers to be actually, as well as habitually ready; being in the lively exercise of grace, and cheerful discharge of duty, though without trusting to either. And such a readiness in either branch of it, is not of themselves, but lies in the grace of God, which gives a meetness for glory; and in the righteousness of Christ, the fine linen, clean and white, which being granted by him, his people are made ready for him: and as for their faith, and the exercise of it, and their constant performance of duty, these are not from the strength of nature and the power of freewill, but from the Spirit of God and his grace; who makes ready a people prepared for the Lord, and all according to the ancient settlements of grace, in which provision is made for the vessels of mercy, afore prepared for glory: though there should be a studious concern in men for such readiness, for nothing is more certain than death, and nothing more uncertain than when it will be; and after death, no readiness can be had, but he that is then righteous, shall be righteous still, and he that is filthy, shall be filthy still(a), and a deathbed is by no means to be trusted to; and though a person may not be snatched away suddenly, but may have space given him to repent, yet if grace is not given him, to repent and believe in Christ, he never will; the grave is ready for men, and in a little time all will be brought to this house, appointed for all living, where there is no wisdom, knowledge, and device; and
therefore whatever we are directed to do, should be now done, with all that might, and strength, and grace, that is given us; to which may be added, that after death comes judgment; the day is fixed, the judge is appointed, and all must stand before his judgment seat; and nothing is more sure than that Christ will come a second time, to judge both quick and dead; and happy will those be that are ready; they will be received by Christ into everlasting habitations, and be for ever with him: and miserable will those be, who will not be ready, who will not have the oil of grace in their hearts with their lamps, nor the wedding garment on them; they will be shut out, and bid to depart into everlasting burnings: how fit and proper is such an advice and exhortation as this, "be ye also ready"

(a) 1 See Hosea 14:10; 1 John 9-10

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Sunday Sermon
Having the Form,  But Denying the Power 
(Part 1)
by B.H. Carroll  
Edited by Dr. Riktor Von Zhades

-Having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. - 
2 Timothy 3:5

Everything in this world takes on a form, and the form serves an excellent purpose; it  is by no means to be despised, but the form by itself is nothing. You may understand  the two thoughts by selecting from a tree a ripe hickory nut, fully ripe. Now, there is  a form around it; that form is for its protection; first, the form of the hull, and then of  the shell, but sometimes you find one that has an external seeming, yet it feels very  light and there is nothing in it; now, there is a mere form -- an empty shell.

The apostle here declares that in the last days there shall be a class of Christians who  have the form of Godliness, but who deny its power, or, as he expresses it they profess that they know God, but in works they deny it, and that here may be no misunderstanding about this class, he describes their characteristics. (Titus 1:16;)

They are selfish people; they love themselves; they love silver; covetous -- that is what the word in the original means, lovers of silver-they are proud, heady,  unthankful people; they receive favors and are not grateful for them. They have no  respect for the relations of life; as children, they are disobedient to their parents; as  wives, they are disobedient to their husbands; as those who have entered into a  covenant, they break the agreements that they have made with other people’; nothing  binding; no sort of an agreement that is made with them will hold. (James 5:12;) They consider not that they are bound by obligations into which they enter with other men; they are  treacherous; they are blasphemers; they love pleasure more than they love God. ( 2 Timothy 3:4;)  Now, those are some of the characteristics of these people.

He says that when that class prevail it makes perilous times, hazardous, dangerous  times; when those who claim to be Christians are only shells, empty shells; when they  have the form of Godliness and deny its power; when they profess to be Christians  and in their lives go directly contrary to the teachings of Christianity. (Matthew 23:27;) If he is an old  man and a Christian, he will be sober, grave, temperate, sound in the faith; if she is  an old woman, she, too, will be sober and grave, and a thoughtful teacher of younger  women, and if she be a young woman and a Christian, she will be chaste and  discreet, and love her husband, and love her children, and will regard it as a religious  obligation to take due care of her home; if it is a servant and a Christian, that servant  will be impelled by his Christianity to do faithful, honest service for the wages that are  paid; not answering back to his employer, not stealing little things, purloining; not one  who serves as under the eye of another, an eye servant, but one who, whether the  master is present and looking on or not, for conscience’s sake renders a faithful  amount of work for the compensation which is paid. (Titus 2:9; 1 Peter 4:11; Galatians 6:6;)

Now, it does seem to me that there is an opportunity at this time in the world for the  highest and holiest demonstration of Christianity ever known in the case of  employees. There is a vast deal of unhealthy sentimentalism prevalent, that kind of  sentimentalism which encourages a man to think that an employer is necessarily a  tyrant; that an employer is necessarily an oppressor of the poor. Oh! What a  revolution it would work, if throughout the length and breadth of this land today all  employees who claim to be Christians would for Christ’s sake do genuine honest  work when they are paid to do the work; that they would give fair service, and that  they would not rely upon this unhealthy sentimentalism that leads men to think that a  contract does not mean anything; that a man’s obligation amounts to nothing; that a  question of honor is nothing ( Leviticus 19:15;)

I do not hesitate to say today that if I were not a preacher, and I knew how to  perform such service, I would like to be for a short time a cook, just to show what  honest, faithful service ought to be in that department, in order to adorn the principles  of the Christian religion. There is a state of demagogism prevalent which arises from the dominion of politics that is absolutely sapping the vitals of a sturdy, rigorous manhood.

Christianity does teach a man to be honest; it does teach that he shall give fair service  for a fair compensation; it does teach that men as they get older should become riper  for salvation; it does teach that in the home its graces should be illustrated; it does  teach that in matters of obligation and word we should be faithful; and this is true,  sound doctrine, the doctrine preached by the apostle, and who, while himself poor  and a laborer, took that high moral ground that if a man would not labor he should  not eat; that he was not entitled to it, and I do believe that if we would, for Christ’s  sake, frown down upon beggary as coming from strong men, that kind of sponging  on others when there is strength in the right arm, when there is ability to render good  service; I believe if we would, for Christ’s sake, frown down upon it, that we would  have a more vigorous, sturdy manhood among our people.

Now, do not misunderstand me. While I have not, as a Christian, one atom of  respect for the demagogy that is debauching the morals of the masses of the people  --not an atom--  neither have I for that power of wealth, for that power of  monopoly that would, under the guise of contract, grind a man to powder and crush  his very soul out of him. ( 2 Peter 2:19;) What I mean to say is, that it is a practical teaching of  Christianity and one that is too much ignored, that for Christ’s sake we ought to be  faithful men and women in every department of life. It is contrary to the life of Jesus  Christ and His precepts to make religion a cloak for idleness in any direction, or for a trifling character. ( Galatians 5:13; James 1:25; James 2:12; 1 Peter 2:16;)

I thought it right --I thought the times called for the pressing of this primal thought of  the text, that a man who professes to be a Christian and has a form of Godliness is  under obligation to recognize the power of that Christianity in the little things of life,  and in the business of life, and in our homes, and in all of our social interchanges. ( 1 Corinthians 10:31;)

Unquestionably that is the teaching of Jesus Christ and all His apostles and we can  be faithful to Jesus by attending to the smallest details of household affairs. We can  recognize the light of the authority of Jesus Christ by being careful concerning the  most insignificant duty of this life, and it is by the massing together of these little things  that a great character is ever formed. A great character is never formed by an  exceptional act; it is never brought about by some sensational surrounding; it is the  development, it is the outgrowth of habit, and by attention to everything that is right in  the sight of God, making His teachings the rule of our life in the most infinitesimal affairs. (a)

(a) Editor’s notation - In order to fully appreciate this last sentence, it is suggested the reading of Psalm 119 in its entirety. Focus on such words/expressions  as, precepts, instruction, your ways, your words. In it the Psalmist David gives glory to God by living his life according to His Word. 
Dr. RVZ – Servant of the King Jesus Christ