Whether the sin be in the ministry or in the hearers, I was recently reminded in a sermon of Richard Rogers on Judges 2:1-5 What a dangerous thing sin is. Not only the committing of it which one would think fearful enough but men are not afterward able to rise out of it and repent at their pleasure. Even a troubled conscience is not enough, they have not the power to humble their hearts and bewail their sin to God. And 'if' they come to themselves after a time, it is by God's preventing of them working godly and not worldly sorrow in their hearts. 2 Cor. 7:10-11 "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter."
Proverbs 30:11-17 "There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men. The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough. The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it."
Crosskeys wrote: "For example a Scottish congregations response is different from an American one. The Scots tend to be quiet and subdued throughout the sermon."
I have found that the praise of the Scottish Kirk's children, even in America comes from the Scottish metrical psalter and the faces of the hearers would best be observed by the reader and would be a better indicator of the Spirit's work in their midst because their outward demeanor is quiet and subdued. I know not what American church you observed, possibly the RPCNA?
Rev. 17:9-18 " And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city,..."
1 Peter 5:5-11 "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
Amos 4:11-13 "I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD, O Israel. For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name."
"When a watch is out of repair we send it to the workman: we are His workmanship in Christ Jesus Ephes.2:10 God taketh it to His prerogative Lev.21:8 'I am the Lord that sanctifieth thee' Grace is His immediate creature; man's will contributeth nothing to the work but resistance and rebellion and outward means work not unless God put in with them; else why should the same word preached by the same minister work in some and harden others? All the difference arises from God's grace which acteth according to pleasure." -Thomas Manton on Jude-
Ah, the plague of the modern gentile church, consumerism. Congregational elders who can be hired and 'fired' and an 'audience' instead of the congregation of the Lord's people. If I rightly understand the Scripture it is required that the Lord gives utterance to the man of God (1 Cor. 1:4-6; Col. 4:3; Ephes. 6:19) and unction to his hearers (1 John 2:20) This is not related to man's ability but God's willingness to teach his people. I suggest that is this is the problem.
God for Christ's sake will always teach and preserve His children, but our Father offended by sins against Himself (Deut.6:4-25; Matt. 22:36-38) has put a distance between Himself and His people until they repent.
All of Isaiah 58 is good heart searching preparation since the Lord has in mercy possibly granted us another Lord's Day James 4:13-14 contrary to this prediction.
Consider the practical application of these verses and the precious promise: Isa 58:13-14 "If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it."