Christ the Messiah, using the prophet Jeremiah, calls upon men to look at Him as He suffers on the cross. "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger." (Lamentations 1:12) He cries "see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow." As we try to think about or especially to speak about the sorrow and sufferings of Christ on the cross, we are very handicapped. We are those who have never known anything but sin talking about One who "knew no sin." We can only enter into the sufferings of Christ by faith in that which God reveals to us in His word. Thank God we do not have to fully explain them to be the beneficiaries of them! He suffered at the hand of God's justice, suffered the Just for the unjust, and brought His people to God. When we seek to describe the suffering Savior, many try to use graphic language to describe His bodily sufferings and agony. They were real and not to be diminished but His greatest suffering was that suffering of soul which He endured to save us from our sins. "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand." (Isaiah 53:10) Christ suffered as God in flesh. He suffered as the One "holy, harmless and undefiled." In my mind I cannot even begin to enter into that. He suffered in His entire humanity! He suffered agony of heart, being forsaken of God and facing the afflicting hand of God's fierce anger which was due those He suffered for! His sufferings were His alone, unimaginable, unbearable by such sinners as we are, but oh so successful, so victorious, that by them He brought all His elect to God! To God's justice satisfied. To God's holiness as sinless. To God the Just and Justifier as righteous. To God's home personally. To glory in Him and with Him! "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" (Luke 24:26) Yes, and ought not all those He suffered for also? Yes! Though there is much about His sufferings I cannot imagine or explain, I'm sure of one thing: they were absolutely successful in glorifying God and saving His people from their sins and they "shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away!"
THE BEST OF MEN ARE ONLY MEN AT THEIR VERY BEST
While He was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!" Matthew 17:5
Let us see in these words a striking lesson to the whole Church of Christ. There is a constant tendency in human nature to "hear man"...bishops, priests, deacons, popes, cardinals, councils, preachers, and ministers, are continually exalted to a place which God never intended them to fill, and made practically to usurp the honor of Christ.
Against this tendency let us all watch, and be on our guard. Let these solemn words of the vision ever ring in our ears, "Listen to Christ!"
The best of men are only men at their very best ...patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, church fathers, reformers, puritans; all, all are sinners, who need a Savior.
They may be holy, useful, honorable in their place; but they are sinners after all. They must never be allowed to stand between us and Christ. He alone is the Son, in whom the Father is well pleased. He alone is sealed and appointed to give the bread of life. He alone "hold the keys of death and the grave" in His hands. Let us take heed that we hear His voice, and follow Him. Let us value all religious teaching just in proportion as it leads us to Jesus. The sum and substance of saving religion is to "listen to Christ!"
FOR THE 'REVERENDS'
In ourselves we are poor, sinful erring creatures, and daily do we have occasion to blush and hang our heads in shame. Therefore we respectfully request that none will address us as 'Reverend' No worm of the dust is due such a title."
When Adam sinned against God, he and his wife went and hid themselves in the trees in the garden. Trees that God had given to him to be a blessing. It may well be that God is about to cut down some trees in this country in which many have hid themselves from Him. Jobs, prosperity, family and more, if they become idols, will meet with His clearing axe.
JESUS, KING OF SAINTS
Long I had laid beneath the load
Of all the law’s complaints.
Condemned and guilty over sin,
Without the King of saints.
No righteousness had I to claim
Held fast by sin’s restraints.
But Mercy’s Man had stood my cause,
The mighty King of saints.
Before the world began to be,
Or sin did bring its taints,
In covenant my place He stood,
Christ Jesus, King of saints.
Then from the lowly virgin’s womb
He comes Who never faints;
And on the cross there crucified,
He dies, the King of saints.
One sacrifice forever made
The sinless blood now paints
Upon the lintels of my heart
Saint of the King of saints.
In Him forever sanctified
Held fast by love’s constraints;
A saint, a sinner saved by grace
By Jesus, King of saints.
When we gather for the public worship of God there are some things about us that say much about how we really regard Him. Are we dressed to play or to come into the Lord's house? Do we seek to be on time to His promised presence? Have we prayed about the service and the one who is to preach? Are we seated and quiet preparing our minds for worship? Do we participate in the singing of His praises? Do we follow the reading of His word? Are our minds and mouths immediately turned to frivolous things and jesting after just hearing the gospel of Christ crucified? To use a modern expression, "Just sayin....."
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