Sermon 2617. Shining Christians
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, APRIL 9, 1899.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JANUARY 1, 1882.
"Arise shine; for your light is come, and the Glory ofthe LORD is risen upon you." Isaiah 60:1.
I BELIEVE that this text refers to the Church of God. I am aware that it is considered by some to have a special referenceto Israel, but I also know that "no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation," and that this particularScripture may be most justly and fitly applied to every child of God. I pray the Holy Spirit to bear witness to that fact,even while I am speaking, by applying the text to all Believers who are assembled here. The first word of it is, "Arise."There is much need, dear Friends, that we should be, sometimes at least, awakened. Here are persons in the light-the day hasdawned upon them, but they are fast asleep-so the trumpet is sounded in their ears and the watchman shouts aloud, "Arise,shine; for your light is come." I believe that there are some Christians who have wasted a large part of their lives for needof somebody or something to wake them up. There is more evil worked in the world by lack of thought than by downright maliceand there is more good left undone through lack of thought than through any aversion to the doing of good! Some Christiansappear to have been born in the land of slumber and they continually live in their native country of dreams. They occasionallyrub their eyes and suppose themselves to be wide awake, but they are in the Enchanted Ground and though they know it not,they are little better than sleepwalkers most of their days.
All of us may be conscious that, at times, we are startled into something better than our ordinary mode of life. We have beengoing on quietly, doing some good, but, all at once, we have been impressed with the value of an immortal soul-we have beenstruck with the nearness of eternity by the sudden death of a friend, or we have been awakened by the special applicationto our conscience of some eminently-powerful Scripture-or even the sight of some grievous sin has shocked us into holy action.
For a time we have been quite different from our ordinary selves and those who have observed us have thought that there wasmore in us than they ever expected to see. Certainly more came out of us than we had ever seen before, but, alas, we havesoon slipped back into our former quiescent state until, perhaps, something else of an unusual character has happened andstartled us again. I have known some in whom, happily, the process of awakening has been a really effectual one. There came,once, to a meeting I was addressing, a Brother who had been, for years, earnest after the ordinary fashion of Christian youngmen-and the Lord so guided me that I spoke about the usefulness that some men might acquire if they would but bestir themselves.I urged the desirability of some attempting to preach in the street, who might find their gifts abundant for that work,
Well, this young man went back and tried what he could do for Christ and God greatly blessed him. That young man was Mr. W.P. Lockhart, of Liverpool, who is, at this moment, pastor of the church meeting in the Toxteth Tabernacle, a large edificeerected by the people whom he gathered by his preaching! Our friend has, with much acceptance, occupied this pulpit and beenof great service to our denomination. But, if it had not been for God's awakening him under that particular address, he mighthave remained just the ordinary trader that he was, serving the Lord in a very proper way, but nothing noteworthy might havecome of it. I wonder whether there is anybody here who needs, as it were, to be dragged out and impressed into the serviceof Christ-some Brother, perhaps, from Liverpool, or Manchester, or Birmingham, or Glasgow, or from this great London, itself-someonewho is "not slothful in business," yet not "fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." Such a man may be, really, a fine fellowwith great capacity, but most of his talent is latent and dormant so far as the Word of Cod is concerned.
My dear Friend, you have been sluggish quite long enough. Is it not time for me to cry to you, "Arise," and is it not timefor you to lift yourself up from that couch of indolence, and say, "Yes, I have been hearing sermons for a good long while.I have been a member of a Christian Church and have been attending communions for many years. It is high time that I ceasedfrom sloth and began to do something to show that God is with me and in me and, by His Grace, so it shall be"? Happy willthe preacher be if that shall be the result of calling your attention to this first word of the text, "Arise." We all needto hear the clarion call of Charles Wesley's hymn-
"Soldiers of Christ, arise
And put your armor on!
Strong in the strength which God supplies
Through His eternal Son!"
It is high time that all of us did arise. "Let us not sleep, as do others." Loved by our God from all eternity, predestinatedunto everlasting life, bought with the precious blood of Jesus, helped by the Spirit of God, and indwelt by Him, it is, indeed,time that we did something worthy of our pedigree, something worthy of the price with which we have been bought, somethingworthy of the love which set us apart unto itself before the world was! I have no doubt that I am addressing some who do notlack grace-God has given them that. They are not without a saving knowledge of the truth-they do know Christ, but what theyneed is somebody to start them on a higher and nobler career. There are some who are just like Elijah's sacrifice, with thewood all laid in order on the altar, and the bullock on the wood. O Lord, send the fire from Heaven, that the sacrifice maybe completely consumed! Let the man be given to you as a whole burnt offering unto the Most High! It may be that this poorweak hand may strike the match that shall set that sacrifice on a blaze. So may it be, and God shall have all the Glory!
The text says, "Arise," but then it goes on to say, "Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the Glory of the Lord is risenupon you." In these words I see three things for me to do. First, to remind you of your privilege-"your light is come." Secondly,to awaken you to your service-"Arise, shine." And then, thirdly, to rally you to your work, by a few remarks which the contextwill suggest.
I. I am now speaking only to the people of God. There are some of you whose light has never come, but you are in darknesseven now. The Lord have mercy upon you, but, to God's own people who have believed in the Lord Jesus, this is my first message,REMEMBER YOUR PRIVILEGE. Your light has come!
Remember, first, out of what darkness that Light of God has delivered you. You are no longer in the darkness of sin, the darknessof spiritual ignorance, the darkness of spiritual death. Neither are you any longer in that darkness of distress and despairwhich might be felt. You are now in the Light of God, but think a little while of what your state of darkness used to be.It is not so many years ago that there was a young man who did not know his right hand from his left in spiritual things.He put darkness for light, and light for darkness, bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter-but that man, not as young now,knows the Savior-he has learned the evil of sin and he has rejoiced in all the delights of pardon! Was that young man yourself?If so, you may well prize your present privileges. It is not so long ago that there was a man who was in the darkness of soul-agony.His sin was heavy upon him. God's hand pressed him till all the moisture of his being seemed to exude and he was like a plantwithered in the long droughts of autumn. He cried to the Lord, but for a while he received no response to his petitions. Hebegged for mercy, but it did not come.
Now, that same person is sitting here, thankful that he is pardoned and that he knows how he has been delivered from the wrathof God! And he blesses that Divine Substitute who took upon Himself his sin and with it that sin's penalty, and so deliveredthe guilty one from the wrath to come. Oh, what a change there is in that young man! That young man is yourself, is he not?Sister, it has been the same with you, too! Oh, what a difference there is between the knowledge which God the Holy Spirithas imparted to you-and the blindness in which Satan held you captive! Oh, the difference between the misery into which convictionand despair had brought you-and the peace and restfulness which you feel at this moment through faith in Jesus Christ, yourLord and Savior! Is it not true that your light has come, and do you not bless God for it? Oh, I think you must and that youwill use that blessed fact to help me in my argument when I come to enforce the lesson of the text-"Arise, shine; for yourlight is come." If God has given you light out of such horrible darkness, it well becomes you to shine to His praise as brightlyas you can!
Please notice, next, that this light, which God has given you, is His own Glory. "And the Glory of the Lord is risen uponyou." Oh, but that is wonderful-that God would not only give us light, but that that light should be His own Glory! Creationis a part of God's Glory, but it is only a moonlight Glory compared with that of Redemption! God, in the gift of Jesus Christ,displayed the whole of His Nature. Creation is not a canvas large enough for the whole image of God to be stamped upon it.Byron speaks of God's face being mirrored in the sea, but there is not space enough for the face of Deity to be fully reflectedin the broad Atlantic, or in all the oceans put together! The image of God is to be fully seen in Jesus Christ, and nowhereelse, for there you behold attributes which Creation cannot display. Creation can manifest love, power, wisdom and much else,but how can Creation manifest justice, and justice lying side by side with mercy, like the lion and the lamb? It is only inChrist that you can see this wondrous sight-God hating sin with perfect hatred, but yet loving sinners with much more thanthe tenderness of a mother towards her child!
It is upon you, dear Friend, that this light of the Glory of God has fallen. In your history, in your case, the Glory of God'sattributes has been illustrated. You have seen it, yourself, in a measure, and others are also to see it in you. Your lighthas come, the Glory of the Lord has risen upon you. Therefore, God's Glory is to shine through you and in you, and by you,and through you God shall manifest Himself to angels and principalities and powers in the ages yet to come! I confess thatI am talking about what I do not fully understand. I am quite out of my depth here. I see the light of the Glory of God inthe face of Jesus Christ, but to describe it is quite impossible. When I first saw the electric light, if you had asked mewhat it was like, I could have only told you something about its candle-power or its brilliance in comparison with gas, butI could not have made you understand it. But what is the electric light compared with the glory of the sun to one who seesit for the first time? And what are all the suns that could ever be created compared with the wondrous blaze of the Gloryof God? Yet such a marvelous light as that has fallen upon you, my Brother, my Sister-"the light of the knowledge of the Gloryof God in the face of Jesus Christ."
There is also this blessed thing to be said about this Light of God-you will never lose it. I dwell upon that thought fora minute, that you may rejoice in it. Read the 30th verse. "Your sun shall no more go down, neither shall your moon withdrawitself: for the Lord shall be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended." The light that God hasgiven you will never be taken away from you! Ah, you have feared a good many times that it would be, but it never has andit never will! You have put your hand before your eyes and then you have thought that the sun was blotted out, but it wasnot. Clouds have sometimes arisen between you and your God, but the light of His everlasting love has gone on shining allthe while and so it always will. We bless God that we have not to preach to you of temporary salvation, a salvation that savespeople for a quarter of a year, or that saves them for a few years and then away they go back, again, to the world! No, no,our comforts may be slower in the making than are those of others, but they last when they are made, for they are made bythe Grace of God! We are not saved by a sudden jump into something-we know not what-but by a new creation, by a new birth,by a total and radical change. Now, if the Light of God has risen upon you in that way, so as to change your very heart andthe whole nature of your being, that Light will go on shining forever! Drink in that thought. You have, by Grace, laid holdof that which you will never lose and One has laid hold of you who will never let you slip out of His grasp, for it is written,"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish,neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand."
I must not get on that glorious theme of the Final Preservation of the Saints because it is one that always sets my heartleaping with delight whenever I turn to it! But I say to you that if you take away from me the Doctrine of the Final Perseveranceof the Saints and all that is involved in it, I have not anything left that is worth keeping! I should not care about theGospel if that essential feature of it were gone. That Truth of God seems to me to be the very soul of it- everlasting lovemaking an everlasting covenant and taking the objects of that everlasting love into everlasting union with Christ and givingthem everlasting life by virtue of that union with Him! So, Believer, that light of yours will never burn out-it shall shineon forever and ever. "Your light has come" and it shall never go away. Oh, joy, joy, joy! Let God be praised continually forsuch a blessed gift as this!
Now I must leave that part of my subject, only asking you to turn it over in your minds and to rejoice if the text is trueof you, "Your light is come." I wish that some here who have been in the dark till now, might know it to be true in theircase, and each one be able to say, "I do believe! I will believe in Christ Jesus as my Savior." If you do, your light hascome!
II. But I am going to speak further to those who know that their light hascome. Dear Friends, as soon as you have receivedthis light of the Glory of God-this very same light that makes Heaven what it is-this light which never will be dim and whichyou will never lose-I want to push you on to my second point, which is this, TO AWAKEN YOU TO SERVICE. "Arise, shine; foryour light is come." A man cannot shine if he has not any light, but as soon as ever he has the Light of God, what is he todo? Why, shine, of course! He must not put away his light as in a dark lantern, but the moment he receives it, he is boundto show it!
First, my dear Friend, since your light has come, shine by holy cheerfulness. I am very sorry whenever I meet with Christianswho have no joy. I am most of all vexed with myself whenever my own joy burns dimly, for we who have the light of the Gloryof God ought to have shining faces. We have been forgiven! We are God's children! We are on the way to Heaven! Then, surely,if anybody's mouth ought to be full of laughter and if any tongue should be tuned to sweetest music, it should certainly beours! There are none who have such a right to lead perfectly happy lives as Christians. I know that there are some who I cannotdoubt are good people, but who are a very surly sort of folk. Dear Hearts, they will be all right when they get to Heaven,but I would not like to meet a Heaven full of them if they are in Heaven as they are here! There are some persons who nevercan be content. Providence never pleases them. The weather is always wrong. Their dinners are always ill cooked-nothing goesright, nothing has gone right with them for years-and they are very snappish and snarling.
This style of living will not do, my Brother! "Arise, shine." I would like to lay those words on your breakfast plate tomorrowmorning. Before you go out to business, put this passage between two pieces of bread and butter, "Arise, shine; for your lightis come." It may be that you will wake up in the morning rather gloomy and you will say to yourself, "I have to go out andbattle with the world again." Take this text, "Arise, shine; for your light is come," and say to yourself, "I must shine.Come, come, come, come, come! I must not let myself get down in the dumps, I must not begin the day mourning. God has givenme light, so I must and I will shine to His praise and Glory." May God help you to do it, for that is one way in which wecan adorn the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our Savior, by the cheerfulness of our deportment!
The next way of shining is by a gracious godliness. True Christians ought to shine by their lives. The stars do not say anything,but they keep on shining. Did you look up at the sky, the other night, and see Jupiter hard by the moon and Saturn apparentlyjust a little way off? There has been a wonderful beauty about various planets during the past month-perhaps never was thesky more interesting than it has been of late, but never a word was said among the shining bodies in the heavens! I kept companywith the pole star, I think, for 12 long hours as I was traveling home from the South of France I kept seeing him out of thecarriage window. He never said a word to me all the time, but one thing he did do, he continued shining! And I also gazedat all the stars of Ursa Major, as I remained wakeful the whole night long, but not a syllable did they say to me. They donot need to speak, for they shine! In like manner, you Christian people who cannot talk-the women especially. I mean thatyou cannot preach, you are not allowed to preach-I want you to shine. Some people seem to think that there is no shining withouttalking, whereas the very best shining is that of Christian women, who, if they have little to say, have a great deal to do.They make the house so bright with heavenly grace and decorate it so sweetly with the flowers of their cheerful piety, thatthose round about them are won to Christ by them! Therefore, shine, dear Brothers and Sisters, by your gracious godliness,for so you will bring Glory to God!
Then, thirdly, shine by zealous earnestness. We do not often meet with people who are too much in earnest. I can only thankGod that I hear, in certain places, an outcry against fanaticism. We have been such a long time without it, so we may be almostglad to have a little of it, especially as the so-called fanaticism is probably only zeal thoroughly awakened. If there aresome people who seem to be wildly enthusiastic, let us imitate them! We have had so much slumbering, so much coldness, somuch death, that we can put up with a little extravagance and excess. Still it would be better if, judiciously, one went steamingstraight ahead in the service of God with a resolution never to be beaten, never to cease every earnest endeavor to make knownthe Gospel of Christ-and to reflect the Light of God which has shone upon us from above! Oh, for a zealous earnestness! MayGod pour it out upon this Church yet more abundantly! May you go into your Master's service with all your might and main,and may the Spirit of God, as a spirit of burning, rest upon everyone of you far more abundantly than in the past!
This would lead, dear Friends, to your shining by a secret bravery. There are some dear people whom I must encourage to bea little more bold. We have some friends, here and there, to whom I could hint, only very gently, that they are quite forwardenough, but there are many good people who always keep in the background. They might do so much for Christ if only they hada little courage! Do, dear Friends, break through the ice this year! If you have felt that you ought to do something for yourLord, and yet have never begun to do it, begin at once! Do you ask, "What is the best way to try to serve Christ?" Well, Ithink the best way is to doit. "But how should I begin?" Well, I would begin by beginning! "When shall I begin?" Begin now!This very hour. "But in what way?" In the first way that comes to hand-"whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all yourmight," for our text says, "Arise, shine." If you have the Light of God, emit it, distribute it, scatter it somehow or other!Have pluck-that is a plain English word, but I do not know how to put my meaning better. Have pluck enough to come out andbe a Christian-do not always be like a rat behind the wall, but come out and acknowledge yourself on Jesus Christ's side andpromote the everlasting Gospel wherever you have the opportunity!
So runs the text, "Arise, shine; for your light is come."
III. Now, in closing, I want TO RALLY YOU TO THIS SHINING BY ONE OR TWO ARGUMENTS.
And, first, by the world's great need. Read the second verse of this chapter-"Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon you, and His Glory shall be seen upon you." Oh, the darknessand the death shade still over the people! Over this London of ours there hangs a pall of deadly nightshade, a darkness thatmay be felt! Then, little glowworm, even you must not hide your light! Sparks, tiny sparks, you that have but one little flash,you must not conceal it, for the night is dark, and the darkness deepens! The devil, drunkenness and lewdness, Romanism inall its forms, false doctrine, infidel teaching, skepticism in a thousand shapes-all these make night hideous and furtherdeepen the dense shades of darkness! You who have the light-show it! If it is not the Light of God, say so, and renounce it.But if it is the Light of God, in the name of the eternal God, good man, I pray you, let your light be seen! Arise, shine;for darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people!
Shine, next, because of the great results that will surely come of it. If all Christians were once to shine-and that meansif you were to shine, and your neighbor, and I and my neighbor-if all of us were to shine, then it would come to pass thatGentiles would speed to the Light of God, and kings to the brightness of the rising! Then, from all lands and from the sea,would converts come, till nations should crowd to Christ like flocks of doves flying to their dovecotes. And the Church ofGod would be multiplied beyond all count. We often keep from work for Christ because we despair of its success. We neglecteffort because we are afraid that effort will be useless. Doubt no longer! He that bids you sow intends to give a harvestand He will bless your sowing if you will but sow in faith. We may well be encouraged to do so when we think such thoughtsas these, "Shine, for your light shall be seen; shine, for your light shall be useful to save lives like a lighthouse on therock-useful to direct others home, like the cottager's candle in the window to guide her husband to his resting place." Shine,then, because of the good that will come of it to the world.
Shine, next, because of the great blessing that it will bring to the Church, for, if all Christians rally to serve God asthey should, then shall the Church have the days of her great glory-"The glory of Lebanon shall come unto you, the fir tree,the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I will make the place of My feet glorious.The sons, also, of them that afflicted you, shall come bending unto you; and all they that despised you shall bow themselvesdown at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you The City of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Whereasyou have been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through you, I will make you an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations."A shining Church will be a happy Church, but if we do not shine, we will be miserable. But if we will shine for Christ, weshall see great prosperity for the Church of the living God!
And, best of all, we must do this because of the argument used in the 21st verse. I will not speak upon it, I shall leaveit with you-"that I may be glorified." It is God your Father who says that! It is Christ who has bought you with His bloodwho says it! It is the Holy Spirit who is your indwelling Comforter who says it! There is no argument that eloquence couldstate, or that reason could suggest that can have such force with a loyal heart as this-"that I might be glorified." Do younot pray, "Father, glorify Your Son"? Now, in the power of the Holy Spirit, prove the sincerity of your prayer by giving outwhatever light God has given to you and, since your light has come, arise and shine, as you have ability, from this very hour!The Lord grant it, dear Brothers and Sisters, to me and to you, for His name's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM 103; ISAIAH 59:16-21; ISAIAH 60:1-16.
What more appropriate passage than the 103rd Psalm can we read, on this first Sabbath night of another year, to express thegratitude of our thankful hearts? I will only interject a sentence here and there, but let me beg all to try to worship Godin the spirit while we once more read together the familiar words of this much-loved Psalm.
Psalm 103:1. Bless the LORD, Omysoul. O my Soul, be not thoughtless and wandering, but give this holy hour to the sacred employment ofpraising and blessing your God!
1. And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Let every string of my heart be now touched by the fingers of the HolySpirit, let every faculty of my being wake up to praise the Lord-"and all that is within me, bless His holy name."
2. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. They are very memorable. They deserve to be "engraved as ineternal brass." To be forgetful of them will be a base form of ingratitude. Come, my memory, wake up! "Forget not all Hisbenefits." Here are a few of the choicest of the gems in this cabinet-the jewels are too many for me to exhibit them all.
3. Who forgives all your iniquities. The Lord has done it and continues to do it-"who forgives"-not some of your iniquities,but all of them, so that you can sing, "The depths have covered them: there is not one of them left." Why, there is enoughto sing of in that, alone! We need never leave off praising God for that one mercy of forgiven sin -it is the first of God'sfavors and prepares us to enjoy the rest.
3. Who heals all your diseases. Many times has my heart had to sing about the gift from my God of this precious pearl, "whoheals all your diseases," and some of you have also had occasion, in your restored health, to praise the Lord for this privilege.But, oh, to think that, every day, He is healing us of the great disease of sin-our very afflictions being, often but thelancet and the knife with which He is removing from us the foul taint of evil. "Who heals all your diseases."
4. Who redeems your life from destruction. You have a life that can never die, for He has redeemed it. Then, bless your Lordfor Redemption! If you do not sing for this cause, the very stones in the street will cry out against you!
4. Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies. What a crown! What gems are on it! No gold or silver can ever equalthis-"loving kindness and tender mercies." Every child of God is a crowned king-shall we not, for this, also, sing aloud,"Bless the Lord, O my soul"?
5. Who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. If you enjoy sweet inward contentmentand satisfaction with your God, you must praise Him, "who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewedlike the eagle's" With renewed strength, can you, will you, be silent? I am sure you cannot, but you must use all the strengththat God has given back to you to His praise and Glory.
6. The LORD executes righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. Blessed be His name for this! He is the supremeGovernor of the world and He will rectify all its wrongs in His own time and way. There is a great power that makes for righteousnessand that power is on the Throne of God. "The Lord reigns."
7-9. He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger,and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger forever Let your heart keep praising theLord as we read every one of these sentences, for there is a theme for everlasting music in each line of this Psalm. "He willnot always chide," Hallelujah! "Neither will he keep His anger forever." And again we say, "Hallelujah !"
10. He has not dealt with us after our sins. Blessed be His holy name!
10. Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. Forever adored be His long-suffering and His tender mercy.
11. For as the Heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. Therefore praise
"Loud as His thunders, shout His praise,
And sound it lofty as His throne!"
If He is such a God as this, you can never overdo His praises. It is impossible to exaggerate your exaltation of Him!
12. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. They are gone! They are removedto an infinite distance-they will never come back. It is not possible that they should ever again be laid to our charge.
13. Like as a father pities his children, so the LORDpities them that fear Him. Do not stop the music of thanksgiving. Letyour hearts, if not your voices, keep on saying, "Bless the Lord! Bless the Lord!" Oh, what pity you and I have needed! Whattenderness and compassion! And-
"Such pity as a father has Unto his children dear"-
such pity has God had upon us!
14-16. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust As for man, his days are asgrass: as a flower ofthe field, sohe flourishes. For the windpasses over it, andit is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. As a congregation,we have had most grievous proof of this Truth of God during the last two or three months. It has seemed to me as if everybodywas dying. Our ranks have been thinned wondrously-
"And we are to the margin come, And we expect to die."
17-19. But the mercy ofthe LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children'schildren; to such as keep His Covenant, and to those that remember His Commandments to do them. The LORD has prepared HisThrone in the heavens; and His kingdom rules over all Do not believe the people who attribute sickness and death to the devil,and so try to make it appear that God has left His Throne. He still reigns! He reigns forever, "King of kings, and Lord oflords, Hallelujah!" "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" "The Lord has prepared His Throne in the heavens; and His kingdom rules overall."
20-22. Bless the LORD, you His angels, that excel in strength, that do His Commandments, hearkening unto the voice ofHis Word.Blessyou the LORD, allyou His hosts;you ministers ofHis that do Hispleasure. Bless the LORD, all His works in all places ofHisdominion: bless the LORD, O my soul. For well you may, O my Soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you! Lead the songand may the whole world join you in joyful adoration of the Triune Jehovah, Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Now we will readthe passage that especially relates to the message I have to deliver to you presently in my Master's name. Turn to Isaiah 59, verse 16-
Isaiah 59:16. And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him;and His righteousness, it sustained Him. Man's extremity was Christ's opportunity. There was no one left to save poor fallenmanhood, no one who could lift a hand or a finger for our rescue. Therefore, Jesus came, and fought, and bled, and died, andconquered on our behalf.
17-19. For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon His head; and He put on the garmentsof vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay fury toHis adversaries, recompense to His enemies; to the islands He will repay recompense. So shall they fear the name ofthe LORDfrom the west, and His Glory from the rising ofthe sun. Christ came once and He is to come a second time because He will beagain needed here. And when He returns, He will ease Himself of His adversaries, and speedily win the victory for truth andrighteousness. Then shall the whole earth know what Christ can do.
19-21. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit ofthe LORD shall lift up a standard against him. And the redeemershall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, says the LORD. As for Me, this is My Covenant withthem, says the LORD; My Spirit that is upon you, and My Words which Ihave put in your month, shall not depart out of yourmouth, nor out ofthe mouth of your seed, nor out ofthe mouth of your seed's seed, says the LORD, from henceforth and forever.The Church of God shall have the Spirit of Truth and the Word of Truth ever abiding in her midst. God will not break His Covenantby withdrawing His Spirit from His Church. The Redeemer has come and His work of Redemption is accomplished. The Spirit alsohas come, but His work is not as yet done-it is being performed from day to day and the Spirit will never be withdrawn whileany part of His ministry remains unfulfilled. The consequence of all this is the Glory of the true Church of the living God.There are better days coming for the cause of Christ and of His Truth. Listen, and be encouraged, all you that are heavy ofheart!
Isaiah 60:1-3. Arise, shine; for your lightt is come, and the Glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For, behold, the darkness shall coverthe earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon you, and His Glory shall be seen upon you. And theGentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. The Church of God is one, whether it is amongJews or Gentiles. That poor Church seemed abandoned and forsaken. Dark days came and it looked as if the Church must evencease to exist, but it did not. Now God has brought in many sinners of the Gentiles and He will bring them in much more numerouslyin the future times of refreshing. They shall come in armies, in hosts, in nations-and the Church of God shall be exceedinglyglorious!
4,5. Lift up your eyes round about and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to you: your sons shall come fromfar, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see, and flow together, and your heart shall fear, andbe enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto you, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto you.All the strength of the land and of the sea-the armies and the navies shall come and prostrate themselves before the Churchof God. The supreme power on earth shall yet be the Christ in the midst of His Church.
6. The multitude of camels shall cover you, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come. The Easternsshall bow before the King; they that of old had some light shall come to the yet greater light. In those holy lands whichafterwards became so unholy, there shall yet be a return to the Truth of God and all the false prophets shall be expelled.Where Mohammed's crescent has cursed the nations, there shall shine again the Sun of Righteousness, with healing in His wings.
6, 7. They shall bring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the LORD. All the flocks of Kedar shallbe gathered together unto you, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto you: they shall come up with acceptance on My altar,and I will glorify the house of My Glory. Wandering tribes of wild Arabs shall come and bow before Christ, and lay their wealthat His feet.
8. Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?The growing Church sees a greater multitude comingto her than even the populous East could muster. From where do they come? Listen, Brothers and Sisters, and look around andsee for yourselves.
9. Surely the isles shall wait forMe, and the ships ofTarshish first, to bring your sons from far, their silver and theirgold with them, unto the name of the LORD your God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because He has glorified you. In shipsfrom these remote islands, and from countries that were dimly spoken of, in the East, as, "lands of Tarshish," far away, greatmultitudes were to come to Christ. Are they not coming today from this Ultima Thule, this distant land beyond the pillarsof Hercules, are they not coming to Christ "as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows"?
10-16. And the sons of strangers shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister unto you: for in My wrath I smoteyou, but in My favor have I had mercy on you. Therefore your gates shall be continually open; they shall not be shut day nornight; that men may bring unto you the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdomthat will not serve you shall perish; yes, those nations shall be utterly wasted. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto you,the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I will make the place of Myfeet glorious. The sons, also, of them that afflicted you shall come bending unto you; and all they that despised you shallbow themselves down at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you, The City of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One ofIsrael. Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through you, I will make you an eternal excellency,a joy of many generations. You shall also drink the milk of the Gentiles, and milk the breast of kings: and you shall knowthat I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. In God's good time, all this shall come to pass.