Sermon 3045. Believers A Blessing

(No. 3045)




"You shall be a blessing," Zechariah 8:13.

SO terribly had God punished idolatrous Israel and Judah that their names were a byword and a proverb among all the surroundingnations. If any man wished to pronounce upon his fellow man the most dreadful curse that he could utter, he would say, "Mayyou become like a Jew-may a blight fall upon your whole life as awful as that which has fallen upon Israel!" Even the heathenused the Jewish nation as a model of their cursing and blasphemed the name of Jehovah who had poured out the vials of Hiswrath upon them. But God declared that He would return to His ancient people in love and mercy-and replenish them in the multitudeof His loving kindnesses to them so that, from that time, instead of being the pattern of cursing, they should be used asthe model of a blessing-that when men wished good things for one another, they would say, "May you be as blessed as the childrenof Israel, whom the Lord of Hosts has favored above all the rest of mankind!" You remember that old Jacob, when he blessedthe sons of Joseph, uttered a sort of formula for future use by others, "He blessed them that day, saying, In you shall Israelbless, saying, God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh." And I believe that to this day, in Jewish marriages, the blessingis given to the newly-married couple, "As Isaac and Rebekah may they be!" In like manner would God make His people to becomethe model of benediction as before they had been the pattern of a curse.

Leaving that primary meaning of the passage, I am going to apply the promise of the text to the spiritual'Israel. In His inscrutablewisdom, God allowed His ancient people, the nation of Israel, to become a curse among the other nations of the earth. Theiridolatry was not only high treason against God, but it also gave the very heathen reason to blaspheme His holy name. The Lordsaid, by the mouth of the Prophet Jeremiah, "Has a nation changed their gods which are yet no gods? But My people have changedtheir glory for that which does not profit. Be astonished, O you heavens at this and be horribly afraid, be you very desolate,says the Lord. For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters and hewed themout cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." Israel turned aside from Jehovah to worship Baal, Ashtaroth and otherfalse gods without number-and so, by evil example, Israel led other people into idolatry, dishonored the name of the MostHigh and became a curse among the nations. Yet Israel was the guardian of the Oracles of God and the time will yet come whenGod shall again visit His ancient people-and the branches that have been broken off, because of unbelief, shall be graftedagain into their own olive tree-and their "fullness" shall be "the riches of the Gentiles," as Paul so plainly shows in theparable of the olive trees in Romans 11:1136. Indeed, at this very hour a Jew is the riches of Jews and Gentiles alike, for our Lord sprang out of Judah and, therefore,do we "take hold of the skirt of Him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with You." And He is to us, "more precious than finegold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir." The Son of Mary, who is also the Son of God, is our blessed Lord and Savior,and in Him is that ancient promise fulfilled which was made to Jacob at Bethel, "In you and in your seed shall all the familiesof the earth be blessed." We cannot sing too often that grand Coronation Anthem of the Christian Church-

"All hail the power of Jesus' name! Let angels prostrate fall. Bring forth the royal (diadem, And crown Him Lord of all!

Crown Him, you martyrs of our God, Who from His altar call. Extol the stem of Jesse's rod, And crown Him Lord of all! Youchosen seed of Israel's race, A remnant weak and small, Hail Him who saves you by His Grace, And crown Him Lord of all!"

Yet let us not omit to sing also -

"The hymn shall yet in Zion swell

That sounds Messiah's praise,

And Your loved name, Immanuel!

As once in ancient days.

For Israel yet shall own her King,

For her salvation waits,

And hill and dale shall sweetly sing

With praise in all her gates."

Whereas through sin, then, Israel had been a curse to the other nations of the earth, she shall, through the mercy of God,be a blessing when she repents of her sin and accepts the Messiah whom she has so long rejected. But we need not confine tothe literal Israel and Judah the promise of our text, for it belongs to all the people of God, and so to you, Beloved, whoare, by faith, the true seed of believing Abraham! This promise is applicable to you-"You shall be a blessing."

I. And first, I want to remind you that THIS PROMISE QUICKENS REGRET WITHIN OUR SPIRITS-"You shall be a blessing."

Then the first emotion in our heart is that of penitential sorrow. If God says that He will make us a blessing, surely itis implied that once we were not so. Let us look back to the days of our unregeneracy. It may be that some of us were greatcurses to our families and to the neighborhood in which we dwelt. If so, we must look back with deep sorrow upon the past,for, albeit that God has blotted out the guilt of our iniquity, yet the consequences of the sin still continue. We cannotundo the evil that we have done to others. If we first tempted them and they fell into sin, we may be forgiven the temptation,but we cannot recall it, nor can we put them back into the place from which they have fallen. A child once learned an evilword from you-oh, how gladly would you unsay that word if you could! But it entered that child's memory and it will abidethere, perhaps forever! If you led others into places of frivolous amusement, or into haunts of vice, you may abhor thoseplaces, now, and God may have forgiven you the sin of your youth-but what about those whom you led there-what will becomeof them? You can pray for them and I know that you will do so. You will plead with them if you know where they are and youwill be quickened in your service for the Savior by your remembrance of the earnestness with which you served Satan in thoseevil days of the past-but Beloved, there must still remain the bitter fruit of perpetual regret that you cannot destroy theresults of that early sowing of bad seed! The handfuls of cockle and darnel that you scattered broadcast in the furrows-youcannot call them back again! The firebrands you have thrown, the hot coals that you have cast about and which caused sucha terrible conflagration-you cannot undo the mischief and ruin that they worked! The results of good or evil deeds will abideforever and ever, so let us beware what we do since it can never be undone. So, first, when God makes us a blessing, it remindsus that we were once a curse.

It also brings to us-at least it does to me-a painful remembrance of the time wasted-time spent unprofitably before our conversionwhen, if we were not actually doing damage to the souls of others, yet we allowed opportunities for doing them good to glideby unused. Oh, these blessed hours, these precious hours, these more than golden hours in which Christians may win souls forthe Lord Jesus Christ! Angels never had them and the spirits of just men made perfect have them no more. Though they can renderother and perhaps yet higher service to their Lord, this special service of soul-winning is reserved for us who are stillliving on this earth. We have, at the longest, only a few days, or weeks, or months, or years allotted to us in which we mayglorify God by being a blessing to our fellow creatures after we have found the Lord for ourselves! Yet some of us allowedmany years to pass away before we even gave earnest heed to these things for ourselves. Those of us who were brought to knowthe Lord in our early youth, bless Him for that, yet we

regret that we were not saved in our childhood. We wish we had given to God the very first rays of the morning of our lifeas well as the bright beams of the fuller day, so that we might have been made a blessing to the Church and the world as soonas we had intellect and understanding-and were capable of influencing the minds and hearts of others.

There is another reflection which is also a sorrowful one and causes us deep regret-namely that since the ever-blessed hourwhen the Holy Spirit taught us to trust in Jesus and gave us new life in Him, we have not been such a blessing to our fellowcreatures as we ought to have been. Not altogether in vain have we lived-we have not sown to the flesh, but to the Spirit-yethow scanty has been our sowing of the Good Seed of the Kingdom! And, in consequence, how small has been the harvest that wehave reaped! Oh, that we had availed ourselves of all the golden opportunities we have had of serving the Lord Jesus Christ!How much more good we might have done had we been earnest at all times, fervent at all seasons, had we thrown spirit, souland body entirely into this holy service-and lived and breathed alone for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! If we had reachedthe ideal Christian life so that we did eat, drink and sleep eternal life, having Christ living in us and we living in Him,how much more we might have achieved than any of us have yet done! The capacity to "be a blessing" to others was given toall of us who have believed in Jesus at our conversion-but we have left that precious talent unused to a very large extent.To some Christians, and to some now present, this message must go home and this question must be asked and answered-what havewe done for Him who died to save us? Alas, how little-at the most, how little-but by the most idle, alas, alas, how little!God help you to turn your regret to practical account while the glad sound of the text rings in your ears like the music ofa silver bell, "You shall be a blessing." Let your tears fall plenteously as you recall the sad fact that before you knewthe Lord, you were a curse to others-and not a blessing-and that even since you have known Him, you have not grasped the truthof the text and realized the fullness of its blessed meaning as you should have done, for such tears of regret will be likelyto lead you to change your course of action for the future!

II. Let us now notice, in the second place, that OUR TEXT IS CALCULATED TO EXCITE INQUIRY as well as to quicken regret. Inquirieswill come something in this style from young Believers, "Will you kindly tell us what we can do by which we shall be a blessing?We hear the promise of the text, but how can we get it fulfilled in our own experience? In what way can we be made a blessingto others?" Beloved Friends, there are many ways in which God can make you the channels of blessing to your fellow creaturesif you are, yourselves, regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

First, it will probably be by your consistent conduct that you will be made a blessing to others more than in any other way.An unholy professor is a downright curse both to the church and to the world and, as for a church of inconsistent members,Satan himself could not devise an instrument more fitted to carry out his diabolical purposes! A community of ungodly menthat is known by everybody to be a synagogue of Satan is robbed of much of its power to do mischief-but if it is misnameda Church of Christ, it is potent for all manner of evil! An unholy professor outside the Church of God may batter againstthe walls with small effect but inside, he would be like the concealed soldiers in the wooden horse who opened the gates ofTroy to the besiegers. It was only an Apostle who could be such a "son of perdition" as Judas was, so beware, you who professto be followers of Christ! You have great capacities for usefulness, but your position gives you immense capacities for doingdamage to the cause of Christ. Only holy Christians are useful Christians-and the preaching of Christ's Truth must be backedup by the consistent living of Christ's followers if it is to have its due effect upon the hearts and lives of the ungodly.No doubt many a shaft has missed the mark because it has not been shot from the bow of a consistent preacher, or because ithas been turned aside by inconsistency in the church of which he is the pastor. Oh, for holy living! The honest tradesmanwho has just weights and measures. The diligent domestic servant who sweeps under the mats and in the dark corners. The laboriousworkman who may be trusted when his master is absent. The man who would not tell a lie even though he could win a fortuneor a throne by doing so. The man who in all things acts justly towards men and walks humbly before his God-these are the peoplewho "shall be a blessing" to all around them! If a man had no tongue and so never spoke a word. If it were not in his powerto bestow as much as a farthing upon the poor. If he could not visit the sick or the prisoners, yet his very presence uponthe earth would be in itself a blessing-a silent reproof, but none the less eloquent to ungodly men-and a powerful exampleto such as wish to walk in the way of righteousness. "Be you holy," for so shall you serve God and serve the Church of Christand, in the highest sense, serve your generation and serve the world! I love to sing, with John Newton-

"Let worldly minds the world pursue, It has no charms for me! Once I admired its trifles too, But Grace has set me free! Now,Lord, I would be Yours alone, And wholly live to Thee!"

But, in addition to that, all Christians may be made a blessing to others by instructing them in the Truths of the Gospel.The world is still very dark, spiritually, though many people foolishly speak of "this enlightened century." It has "light"of a certain sort-or rather, of a very uncertain sort-within it. But the light that is in it is almost entirely darkness!It is still true of the bulk of mankind, as it was in Isaiah's day-they "put darkness for light, and light for darkness...bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" Today the scarcest thing in the whole world is true spiritual light and, where itis revealed, men hate it and try to banish it from their sight! Philosophy is exalted above Revelation. Science, falsely so-called,is set up in the place of Christ who is the Wisdom of God, though true science is never in conflict with the true Gospel.And anything that pretends to be light is preferred by many to Him who is "the true Light." Spiritual Light is mainly conveyedto the dark souls of men through the proclamation of the Gospel-the good news concerning Jesus Christ, the Savior of sinners.So, proclaim that-

"Old, old story

Of Jesus and His love"-

to as many as you can! Tell it to thousands, to hundreds, to scores-tell it to one if you cannot tell it to more. Tell toall, as far as you can, these precious things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ-His Incarnation, His holy life, His wondrousWords, His perfect example and His substitutionary death! Tell these things to your children and charge them to tell themto their children-and to charge their children to tell them to the generation following. Tell that great central Truth ofthe substitutionary Sacrifice of Christ to the man who sits beside you in the tram or train, or who calls at your house onbusiness! Seize every opportunity you can get of letting men know, by the Inspired Word of God, or by the written or spokenmessage, all that you can about "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God has set forth to be a propitiation throughfaith in His blood," "and by Him all that believe are justified from all things." And not only justified, but also glorified!Every true testimony to Christ brings glory to God and blessing to men. A preacher may halt and limp, his elocution may befaulty, his theology may be open to criticism-but if it is "the Gospel of Christ" that he proclaims, it will be precious Truthto the saints who hear him-and sinners will be saved by it!

Not only by instructing men will you be a blessing to them, but also by reproof. This is a far more difficult matter and probablynine out of ten of us had better keep to the easier task of giving instruction. Yet now and then there will come occasionswhen you must not see sin in your Brother or Sister without rebuking it. If I hear blasphemy and am able to condemn it, yetdo not, my silence makes me a sharer in the sin. I am always afraid lest when I hear God's name blasphemed, my guilty silenceshould make me an accomplice of the blasphemer. A rebuke need not be and should not be discourteous or disrespectful. Andit should not be unduly severe, but I am afraid that nowadays we are not so likely to err by our harshness, as by failingto be faithful to our conscience and our God. We must boldly stand up, at all costs, for God, for truth, for purity. Shutyour ear to the lascivious song-do not allow it to be sung in your house-and let not scandal be spoken at your table! Setyour face like a flint against sin of every kind and, God speeding your testimony, you "shall be a blessing."

More frequently, however, and much more pleasingly to yourself, you can be a blessing by giving words of comfort. And oftensomething more substantial than words to the poor and afflicted ones with whom you may come into contact. If you know someonewho is fighting with a fierce temptation, go and help to succor him. If you know another who is struggling with a troublesomedoubt, try to assist him to drive it away. Your experience may be just what he needs to know, so tell him. Be not backwardor bashful in speaking of what the Lord has done for you. I am always grieved when I hear of any persons coming to this Tabernaclefor a long time and nobody speaking to them-let it not be so. Do endeavor, Brothers and Sisters-you who know Christ by experience-totell others of the sweetness that you have found in Him and of the faithfulness of God to His promises-and of the power ofprayer and the reality of faith. You will thus bring many a poor soul out of bondage who, but for you, might have lingeredlong in Doubting Castle in the dungeons of Giant Despair. God grant you the Grace "to speak a word in season to him that isweary." A word on wheels, as Solomon calls, "a word fitly spoken," is like apples of gold on plates of silver.

Besides that you can be a blessing by your actions, as well as by your words. Some of you have the means with which you canassist your poorer neighbors. Of all people who ought to be kind and neighborly. Of all who should be sympathetic and generous,the Christian should be the first! The tendency nowadays is to get everything under a cast-iron code of law and I should notwonder if a law is passed, some day, making it penal to give sixpence to a poor person who is starving. Somebody said to metoday when I was telling him how I had been deceived by a vagabond whom I had relieved, "It is such as you who make the vagabonds."If so, I shall go on making vagabonds sooner than let the stream of charity in my soul be frozen into ice! It is better tobe taken in a few times than to let the heart become hardened like steel against the real poverty that there is in Londonand many other places besides-the gaunt, grim poverty that may soon be seen if we will but take a little trouble to searchfor it. Be charitable, notwithstanding all the mischief that unworthy applicants may make of your charity, remembering thecommand of our Savior to His disciples, "Give to him that asks you."

You can also "be a blessing" in many other ways which I need not mention now. In such a vast city as this metropolis, thereis work for all to do. A Christian living in a remote hamlet might, perhaps, say to his minister, "Sir, can you find me anopportunity of serving the Lord?" But no person who lives in London ought to ask another person, "What can I do for Christ?"If he is willing to do anythingfor the Master, the work lies at his door! Floods of sin are surging all around you-and sinnersare sinking in them! Stretch out your hands to help them-

"Rescue the perishing, care for the dying-

Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave." In such a city as this, with hundreds of thousands-I might truthfully say, millions-needingthe Bread of Life and the Water of Life-and with many of them literally needing bread and water-all of you can do somethingto relieve them! And I beseech you, if you love your Lord and Master, do the first thing that comes to hand and "whateveryour hand finds to do, do it with all your might." Well did Dr. Horatius Bonar write-

"'Tis not for man to trifle!

Life is brief,

And sin is here.

Our age is but the falling of a leaf, A dropping tear.

We have no time to sport away the hours, All must be earnest in a world like ours. Not many lives but only one have we, One,only one-

How sacred should that one life always be, That narrow span!

Day after day filled up with blessed toil, Hour after hour still bringing in new spoil."

III. Now we must pass on to the third point which is that OUR TEXT IS ALSO CALCULATED TO SUGGEST ENDEAVOR. It has quickenedregret and excited inquiry-now it suggests endeavor. But what endeavor?

Well, first I think it stirs us up to look for a blessing upon what we have already tried to do for Christ and His Church.You, my Brother, have been teaching a Sunday school class for two years-is it not time that you saw some blessing? Go andlook for it! Perhaps in looking for it, you will be the means, under God, of bringing it to your scholars. I think that anearnest, godly teacher, believing that God had blessed his message, would be well repaid if he asked the boys or girls inhis class, "Has God blessed your souls through my teaching?" If he asked that question with tears, it might be more effectivethan all his ordinary teaching. And you, my dear Brother, have you been preaching in some little mission-room in London orin the country and have you seen no "fruit" from your sowing of the Good Seed of the Kingdom? Have you asked, "Who has believedour report?" If so, I ask you-"Have you believed the promise of my text, 'You shall be a blessing'?" If not, do so at onceand go and inquire if there has not been a blessing-and never rest satisfied until you have it!

Next, the text bids us look for a blessing wherever we may be and whatever we may do. What have you been doing just lately?You have moved to a more suitable neighborhood? Then let one of your first questions there be, "How can I

be a blessing here?" You have been recently married. I congratulate you and suggest that you should ask, "How can I, in mynew relationship, be made a blessing?" You, my Friend over yonder, have gone down in the world lately-well then, ask yourself,"For what purpose am I put in this lower position? Is it not that I may be a blessing to some whom I could not have reachedunder happier circumstances?" Are you a commercial traveler? Are you not sent from town to town to be a blessing to thoseyou meet? Are you a tradesman? Are you not put behind the counter to be a blessing there?

So I might go on addressing the members of various trades or professions, but I want to remind you that there are some personswho ought, above all others, to aim at being a blessing to their fellow creatures. And I put, first of all, ministers of theGospel. O my Brothers in the ministry, if we are not a blessing, we are a double curse! Every so-called "place of worship"in which the true Gospel is not preached is a curse, for it is like a sepulcher full of rottenness doing nothing but harm!Worldlings more often judge Christianity by fruitless trees than by fruit-bearing trees. O preacher, be a blessing, or neverenter the pulpit again!

This rule should also apply to parents. What a blessing Christian parents often are to their children! I can conceive of nothingmore natural and, at the same time, nothing more blessed than a father and mother who, by precept and example, have trainedup their children in God's fear and whose loving instruction and earnest prayers have been blessed by the Holy Spirit to theirchildren's salvation! What greater joy can we have than to see our children walking in the Truth of God? God grant that you,fathers and mothers, may all diligently seek to be a blessing to your offspring!

There may be some domestic servants here. If so, let me remind you that you have great opportunities for being made a blessing.Good servants can contribute much to the well-being of the family. By the faithful discharge of their duties, they may bethe means of preventing others from committing sin. Whereas on the other hand, untidy and idle servants create so much discordin the household that they are the fomenters of sin! I do not know of any person who can have so much influence for good asa godly maid who has the care of little children-one who, instead of scaring them with wicked threats or silly tales, talksto them discreetly concerning Him who said, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me." I have known domestic servants whowere earnest Christians, who have gone to live where there was no religion whatever, no family prayer and no Sabbath observance-andwithout ever intruding beyond their proper place, they have worked a blessed revolution in the house-and their masters andmistresses and fellow servants have been brought to Christ by their godly example! Let all Christian servants here endeavorto get the fulfillment of the promise of our text, "You shall be a blessing."

I might speak thus to you who have the duty and privilege of instructing the children in our schools, to you masters of largefactories, to you who, as workingmen, meet with great numbers of your fellow men-all of you ought to aim at realizing thispromise, "You shall be a blessing." Dearly beloved in Christ, let me say to all of you-Do, by God's Grace, maintain a holinessof walk with God and then seek to be a blessing to others. Look at the six words before our text- "So will I save you, andyou shall be a blessing." It is only as you yourselves are, in the fullest sense, saved-saved from falling into sin, savedfrom inward corruption, saved from error-it is only as you are conformed to the image of Christ that you can expect to bea blessing to others. Do, I pray you, as members of this Christian Church, always feel that you are to take your full sharein being made a blessing to others! There are some who hold that blessing comes to men only through priests-that is what Ihold! I believe that no blessing comes to men except through priests! First, through the great High Priest, the Lord JesusChrist, and then through all who believe in Him, who are, as Peter says, "a holy priesthood" and "a royal priesthood," andwhose song in Heaven shall be, "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kingsand priests unto God and His Father-to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."

The priesthood of the Christian Church is common to all the saints! There is no other true priesthood but that of the LordJesus Christ. I cannot discharge any of your religious duties or relieve you of any of your responsibilities. My own are quiteheavy enough for me to bear-I will seek, as God gives me Grace, to discharge them-but I cannot discharge the responsibilitiesof any other person in the world! You, having been personally redeemed by Christ, personally washed in His blood, personallysaved by His Grace, are to render personal service to Him. All proxy-religion must be abhorrent to Christ, "who His own Selfbore our sins in His own body on the tree." He did not seek to find someone else to save you, for He knew that no one elsecould do it! He tread the winepress alone and of the people there was none with Him.

So, to your personal Redeemer render your personal service. Give liberally of your substance to help others to do their partof the work, but give yourself-spirit, soul and body-for these are claimed by Christ as "your reasonable service."

IV. Now I must conclude by trying to show you that our TEXT FURNISHES US WITH MANY

CONSOLATIONS. "You shall be a blessing."

Some of you have to live in places where you are not comfortable. Perhaps you are not in a neighborhood that you like. Possiblyin the very house where you live there may be others whose thoughts and feelings are very different from yours and, sometimes,you are grieved and perhaps perplexed because you have to live there. But if God put you there, "you shall be a blessing."My dear Friend, Mr. Orsman of the Golden Lane Mission, has often told me that the results of his work will never be visiblein Golden Lane because as soon as a man is converted, he begins to save, he becomes industrious, wears a better coat, seeksa better house, for he cannot live in that dirty room in which he once lived and he cannot bear the foul language of the courtor alley-so, very properly and very naturally-he moves away! Unhappily there are always others coming in to keep the placeas bad as ever. Now, when a Christian man is compelled to live in such a place as that, let him conclude that he has beenput there that he may be a blessing. If that is your trying lot, my Brother, fight the devil where you are placed, on hisown ground! It is not fair that you should have the pick of the spot where the great duel is to be fought. Fight the devilwhere he has a firm foothold and beat him by God's Grace! I think if I were a gas lamp and had the choice of the place whereI should be hung-and it was proposed to me that I should hang up somewhere in the West End where there is already abundanceof light streaming from the fine shops-I don't know that I would particularly care to be put there. But if there was a darkcorner where thieves were in the habit of meeting and where much mischief might be done if it were not for the light of alamp-I fancy I should ask to be hung up there where I should be of the most use! At any rate, if you are placed, in the Providenceof God, in a dark neighborhood, let this be your prayer, "O Lord, make me a blessing here!"

Perhaps, however, you are a member of an ungodly family. Now, you had no hand in that matter. You were not responsible foryour birth and you cannot get out of that family into which you were born. Now, instead of saying, "I wish I had a Christianmother and that our house were ordered in God's fear," say, "God has called me, by His Grace. At present I am the only onesaved, but He must mean me to be a blessing to my brothers, sisters and parents and, therefore, I am thankful that He hasput me where I am needed. I will try to do everything that shall be kind to them-I will win their love if I can and I willalso try to win them for Christ." I am really thankful when some of you come to join the Church and tell me that there isno other in the house who cares for the things of God-for I look upon your conversion as getting in the thin end of the wedge!If we get one who fears God inside the house, I hope we shall get more, for, blessed be God, good example is contagious aswell as bad! God grant that since it is your unhappiness to have ungodly relatives, it may be your happiness to "be a blessing"to them!

It may be that you are persecuted, that you live in places where you are sneered at, where the Doctrines that are dearer thanlife to you, are regarded with contempt and Scriptural ordinances, in which you delight, are held up to constant ridicule.Do not altogether regret this, but say to yourself, "Perhaps I am put here in order that I may be a blessing to my persecutors."Do not imagine that the unlikeliest man to get a blessing out of you is the one who laughs most at you. I sometimes thinkthat the infidels who shout most loudly have more faith than others and that because they are afraid they shall hear consciencespeak, they make a great clamor to try to drown its voice! When a man bullies you, there is a great deal better opportunityfor you to get at him than when he says, as so many do, "Oh, yes, Sir, it is all true"-and there the matter ends as far asthey are concerned. But there is something in a man who will stand up to oppose you and you may yet be able to say a wordfor Christ that will be blessed to him. Why should we want to run away because men mock us? If they say, "Come and fight,"let us go and fight-only with other weapons than theirs- with the weapons of holy gentleness giving a good reason for thehope that is within us with meekness and fear, for that is always the more powerful way of speaking! Do not, therefore, fearpersecution, but rather thank God for it, and say, "I have to endure this that I may be a blessing to those who revile andabuse me."

Brothers and Sisters, I think our text furnishes sweet consolation to any who have been engaged in very arduous service. Haveyou a great deal to do for Christ-a great deal too much to do, it often seems to you? Are you incessantly occupied about theLord's business? Then thank God for it, for He has said, "You shall be a blessing"-and the more you have to do for Him, themore blessing you are likely to be the means of conveying to others!

Or on the other hand, are you passing through a very trying experience? If so, you are being qualified for greater usefulness.Your dark experience will only teach you more that you will be able to teach to others concerning God and His dealings withHis own. Believe that you will become a blessing to others by means of your trials and cheerfully bow your heads to overwhelmingfloods of sorrow in the confident assurance that you will thus be made a blessing to others-and so bring glory to God!

Yes, Beloved, and we may even be content to die if our last testimony shall be more useful than any that we have borne before!If God will enable us to glorify Him by being a blessing to others, we will be content. I hope we can say that we desire nothingon earth compared with this-to be blessed of God and to be made a blessing by God. We covet not earthly wealth or position,but we do covet the honor of being a blessing! Have an insatiable thirst for this honor, beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ-tobe a blessing to tens, to hundreds, to thousands, to the millions of this great city! Incessantly strive, by your privateprayer, by your generous alms, by your kindly deeds, by your public testimony, to be a blessing and may God bless you moreand more-you and your children-for His dear name's sake!

But, alas, there are many who cannot be a blessing to others, for they are not themselves saved. They are getting gray, butthey are not saved! Death will soon call for them. Hell opens wide for them and they are not saved! May the Lord have mercyupon all of you who are not saved and may He, by His Grace, constrain you to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and then tomake the Scriptural profession of your faith, for HE said, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." May God grantthat you may all "be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation," for Jesus' sake! Amen.