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202. Patience, Comfort and Hope from the Scriptures
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4
THIS is the text from which old Hugh Latimer preached continually in his latter days. Certainly, it gave him plenty of sea room. The apostle declares that the Old Testament Scriptures are meant to teach New Testament believers. Things written aforetime were written for our time.
The Old Testament is not outworn; the apostles learned from it.
Nor has its authority ceased; it still teaches with certainty.
Nor has its divine power departed, for it works the graces of the Spirit in those who receive it: patience, comfort, hope.
In this verse, the Holy Ghost sets his seal upon the Old Testament and forever enters his protest against all undervaluing of that sacred volume.
The Holy Scriptures produce and ripen the noblest graces.
Let us carefully consider
I. THE PATIENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES.
1. Such as they inculcate.
2. Such as they exhibit in examples:
- Patience under every appointment of the divine will.
- Patience under human persecution and satanic opposition.
- Patience under brotherly burdens (Gal. 6:2).
- Patience in waiting for divine promises to be fulfilled.
3. Such as they produce by their influence.
- Job under many afflictions triumphantly patient.
- Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob patiently waiting as sojourners with God, embracing the covenant promise in a strange land.
- Joseph patiently forgiving the unkindness of his brethren and bearing the false accusation of his master.
- David in many trials and under many reproaches, patiently waiting for the crown and refusing to injure his persecutor.
- Our Savior patient under all the many forms of trial.
II. THE COMFORT Of THE SCRIPTURES.
1. Such as they inculcate:
- By calling us to the holiness which involves trial.
- By revealing the design of God in our tribulations, and so sustaining the soul in steadfast resolve.
- By declaring to us promises as to the future which make us cheerfully endure present griefs.
2. Such as they exhibit:
- They bid us rise above fear (Ps. 46:1-3).
- They urge us to think little of all transient things.
- They command us to find our joy in God.
- They stimulate us to rejoice under tribulations because they make us like the prophets of old.
3. Such as they produce:
- Enoch walking with God.
- Abraham finding God his shield and exceeding great reward.
- David strengthening himself in God.
- Hezekiah spreading his letter before the Lord.
- Many other cases are recorded, and these stimulate our courage.
III. THE HOPE OF THE SCRIPTURES.
- The Holy Spirit as the Comforter uses them to that end.
- Their own character adapts them to that end.
- They comfort us by their gentleness, certainty, fullness, graciousness, adaptation, personality.
- Our joyous experience is the best testimony to the consoling power of the Holy Scriptures.
By the hope of the Scriptures we understand
1. Such a hope as they hold forth:
- Scripture is intended to work in us a good hope.
- A people with a hope will purify themselves and will in many other ways rise to a high and noble character.
This is a good hope, a lively hope, the hope set before us in the gospel.
2. Such a hope as they exhibit in the lives of saints. A whole martyrology will be found in Hebrews eleven.
3. Such a hope as they produce:
- The hope of salvation (1 Thess. 5:8).
- "The blessed hope, and the appearing of our Lord" (Titus 2:13).
- The hope of the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6).
- The hope of glory (Col. 1:27).
- We see what God has done for his people and therefore hope.
- We believe the promises through the word and therefore hope.
- We enjoy present blessing and therefore hope.
Let us hold constant fellowship with the God of patience and consolation, who is also the God of hope. And let us rise from stage to stage of joy as the order of the words suggests.
How much important matter do we find condensed in this single verse! What a light and glory does it throw on the Word of God! It has been well noted that we have here its authority, as it is a written word; its antiquity, as it was written aforetime; its utility, as it is written for our learning. We may also infer from what immediately follows, its Divine origin; for, if by means of the Holy Scriptures, and the accompanying lively power of the Holy Spirit (Isa. 59:21), God imparts to our soul patience, and comfort, and hope, it is because he is himself, as the apostle here expressly teaches, the God of patience and comfort, and the God of hope (verse 13). He is the fountain of these gifts and graces, which by the channel of his inspired Word, flow down into our hearts and lives, to strengthen them for his service. Nor must we fail to notice the gracious method of their communication, their regular development within us, as we find this to be the order of their course: (1) patience; (2) comfort; (3) hope. From a calm sense of inward peace and comfort, we are led by the same Spirit to feel a blessed and, it may be, a joyous hope. But, in order to this, there must always be in us the groundwork of patience in our suffering or doing the will of God. James Ford
Oliver Cromwell once read aloud Phil. 4:11 - 13, and then remarked, "There, in the day when my poor child died, this Scripture did go nigh to save my life;'
When George Peabody was staying at Sir Charles Reed's house, he saw the youngest child bringing to his father a large Bible for family prayers. Mr. Peabody said, "Ah! my boy, you carry the Bible now; but the time is coming when you will find that the Bible must carry you."
"Speak to me now in Scripture language alone? said a dying Christian. "I can trust the words of God; but when they are the words of man, it costs me an effort to think whether I may trust them." G. S. Bowes
As an instance of the patience, comfort, and hope which come from the gospel, note the following from Dr. Payson: "Christians might avoid much trouble if they would believe that God is able to make them happy without anything else. God has been depriving me of one blessing after another; but as every one was removed, he has come in and filled up its place. Now when I am a cripple and not able to move, I am happier, than ever I was in my life before or ever expected to be. If I had believed this twenty years ago, I might have been spared much anxiety."
Charles Hadden Spurgeon
203. Bought with a Price
Know ye not that...ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify, God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
WITH what ardor does the apostle pursue sin to destroy it!
He is not so prudish as to let sin alone, but cries out in plainest language, "Flee fornication." The shame is not in the rebuke, but in the sin, which calls for it.
He chases this foul wickedness with arguments (see verse 18).
He drags it into the light of the Spirit of God, "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?" (verse 19).
He slays it at the cross: "Ye are bought with a price."
Let us consider this last argument that we may find therein death for our sins.
I. A BLESSED FACT. "Ye are bought with a price."
"Ye are bought." This is that idea of redemption which modern heretics dare to style "mercantile;" The mercantile redemption is the scriptural one, for the expression, "bought with a price" is a double declaration of that idea.
Redemption is a greater source of obligation than creation or preservation. Hence, it is a wellspring of holiness.
"With a price." This indicates the greatness of the cost. The Father gave the Son. The Son gave himself: his happiness, his glory, his repose, his body, his soul, his life.
Measure the price by the bloody sweat, the desertion, the betrayal, the scourging, the cross, the heartbreak.
Our body and spirit are both bought with the body and spirit of Jesus
1. This is either a fact or not. "Ye are bought," or ye are unredeemed. Terrible alternative.
II. A PLAIN CONSEQUENCE. "Ye are not your own."
NEGATIVE. It is clear that if bought, ye are not your own.
1. This involves privilege.
2. If a fact, it is the fact of your life, a wonder of wonders.
3. It will remain to you eternally the grandest of all facts. If true at all, it will never cease to be true, and it will never be outdone in importance by any other event.
4. It should therefore operate powerfully upon us both now and ever.
2. This also involves responsibility.
- You are not your own provider; sheep are fed by their shepherd.
- You are not your own guide; ships are steered by their pilot.
- You are not your own father; children loved by parents.
POSITIVE. "Your body and your spirit, which are God's."
- We are not our own to injure, neither body nor soul.
- Not our own to waste in idleness, amusement, or speculation.
- Not our own to exercise caprice and follow our own prejudices, depraved
affections, wayward wills, or irregular appetites.
- Not our own to lend our service to another master.
- Not our own to serve self. Self is a dethroned tyrant. Jesus is a blessed husband, and we are his.
We rejoice that we know we are God's, for thus:
- We are altogether God's. Body and spirit include the whole man.
- We are always God's. The price once paid, we are forever his.
III. A PRACTICAL CONCLUSION. "Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
Glorify God in your body:
By cleanliness, chastity, temperance, industry, cheerfulness, self-denial, patience, etc. Glorify God:
- We have a beloved owner.
- We pursue an honored service.
- We fill a blessed position. We are in Christ's keeping.
Glorify God in your spirit:
By holiness, faith, zeal, love, heavenliness, cheerfulness, fervor, humility, expectancy. Remember, O redeemed one, that:
1. You will be closely watched by Christ's enemies.
- In a suffering body by patience unto death.
- In a working body by holy diligence.
- In a worshipping body by bowing in prayer.
- In a well-governed body by self-denial.
- In an obedient body by doing the Lord's will with delight.
2. You will be expected to be more gracious than others and rightly so, since you claim to be Christ's own.
3. If you are not holy, the sacred name of your Redeemer, your Proprietor, and your Indweller will be compromised.
4. But if you live a redeemed life, your God will be honored.
Let the world see what Redemption can do.
Let the world see what sort of men "God's own" are.
Pieces of Money
Why should so vast a price be required? Is man worth the cost? A man may be bought in parts of the world for the value of an ox. It was not man simply, but man in a certain relation that had to be redeemed. See one who has been all his days a drunken, idle, worthless fellow? We appropriate to him the epithet "worthless," worth nothing. But if he commits a crime for which he is sentenced to be hanged or to be imprisoned for life, try to buy him now. Redeem him and make him your servant. Let the richest man in Cambridge offer every shilling he possesses for that worthless man, and his offer would be wholly vain. Why? Because now there is not only the man to be considered, but the law. It takes a great price to redeem one man from the curse of the law of England; but Christ came to redeem all men from the curse of the Divine law. William Robinson
Does not justice demand the dedication of yourself to your Lord? God has not only procured a title for you, but a title to you, and unless you devote yourself to his service, you rob him of his right. What a man has bought, he deems his own, especially when the purchase has been costly. And has not God bought you with a price of infinite value? And would you rob him of a servant from his family; of a vessel from his sanctuary? To take what belongs to a man is robbery, but to take what belongs to God is sacrilege. William Jay
The Lord Jesus is everything in redemption, for he is both the Buyer and the price.
A silly child when he plays at selling would like to take the price and keep the article too; but everybody knows that this cannot be. If you keep the goods, you cannot have the price, and if you accept the price, the goods are no longer yours. You may have either the one or the other, but not both. So you may be your own, if you wish; but then the redemption price is not yours. If you accept the ransom, then the thing redeemed is no longer yours, but belongs to him who bought it. If I am redeemed, I am Christ's. If I am resolved to be my own, I must renounce my Redeemer and die unransomed.
Charles Hadden Spurgeon
204. In Remembrance
And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 1 Corinthians 11:24
MEN have made evil use of this most blessed ordinance. Yet they have no excuse from any obscurity of Scripture. Nothing is said of a sacrifice or an altar, but everything is plain. The Supper, as we find it in Holy Scripture, is a service of remembrance, testimony, and communion, and nothing more.
No pompous ceremony is arranged for. Not even a posture is prescribed, but merely the providing of bread and the juice of the vine: taking, breaking, eating, drinking, and no more.
The spiritual action is specially prescribed. The remembrance of our Lord must be there, or we fail to keep the feast.
I. OTHER MEMORIES WILL COME, BUT MUST NOT CROWD OUT THE ONE MEMORY.
The following remembrances may be natural, allowable, and profitable, but they must be kept in a secondary place
1. Of ourselves when we were strangers and foreigners.
2. Of our former onlooking and wishing to be at the table.
3. Of our first time of coming and the grace received since then.
4. Of the dear departed who once were with us at the table.
5. Of beloved ones who cannot be with us at this time because they are kept at home by sickness.
6. Of many present with us and what grace has done in their cases. We may think of their needs and of their holy lives.
7. Of the apostates who have proved their falseness, like Judas.
However these memories may press upon us, we must mainly remember him for whose honor the feast is ordained.
II. THE ORDINANCE IS HELPFUL TO THAT ONE SACRED MEMORY.
1. Set forth, the signs display the person of our Lord as really man, substantial flesh and blood.
Every particle of the ordinance points at Jesus, and we must therein behold the Lamb of God.
III. THAT SACRED MEMORY IS IN ITSELF MOST NEEDFUL FOR US. It is needful to remember our crucified Lord, for
2. Placed on the table, their presence betokens our Lord's dear familiarity with us and our nearness to him.
3. Broken and poured forth, they show his sufferings.
4. Separated, bread apart from wine, the flesh divided from the blood, they declare his death for us.
5. Eating, we symbolize the life-sustaining power of Jesus and our reception of him into our innermost selves.
6. Remaining when the Supper is ended, the fragments suggest that there is yet more bread and wine for other feasts; and, even so, our Lord is all-sufficient for all time.
1. It is the continual sustenance of faith.
2. It is the stimulus of love.
3. It is the fountain of hope.
4. It is a recall from the world, from self, from controversy, from labor, from our fellows to our Lord.
5. It is the reveille, the up-and-away. It is the prelude of the marriage supper and makes us long for "the bridal feast above."
Above all things, it behoves us to keep the name of our Lord engraved on our hearts.
IV. THIS SYMBOLIC FESTIVAL IS HIGHLY BENEFICIAL IN REFRESHING OUR MEMORIES AND IN OTHER WAYS.
1. We are yet in the body, and materialism is a most real and potent force. We need a set sign and form to incarnate the spiritual and make it vivid to the mind.
- Moreover, as the Lord actually took upon him our flesh and blood and as he means to save even the material part of us, he gives us this link with materialism, lest we spirit things away as well as spiritualize them.
2. Jesus, who knew our forgetfulness, appointed this festival of love; and we may be sure he will bless it to the end designed.
3. Experience has often proved its eminent value.
4. While reviving the memories of the saints, it has also been sealed by the Holy Spirit, for he has very frequently used it to arouse and convince the spectators of our solemn feast.
- To observe the Supper is binding on all believers.
- It is binding to the extent of "oft."
- Only as it assists remembrance can it be useful. Seek grace lovingly to remember your Lord.
It is common enough in human history to meet with periodical celebrations, anniversaries of the day of their birth or of their death, held in honor of those who have greatly distinguished themselves by their virtues, their genius, or their high services to their country or to mankind. But where except here do we read of any one in his own lifetime originating and appointing the method by which he was to be remembered, himself presiding at the first celebration of the rite and laying an injunction upon all his followers regularly to meet for its observance? Who among all those who have been the greatest ornaments of our race, the greatest benefactors of humanity, would ever have risked his reputation, his prospect of being remembered by the ages that were to come, by exhibiting such an eager and premature desire to preserve and perpetuate the remembrance of his name, his character, his deeds? They have left it to others after them to devise the means for doing so, neither vain enough, nor bold enough, nor foolish enough to be themselves the framers of those means. Who, then, is he who ventures to do what none else ever did? Who is this, who, ere he dies, by his own act and deed sets up the memorial institution by which his death is to be shown forth? Surely he must be one who knows and feels that he has claims to be remembered such as none other ever had claims of such a kind that, in pressing them in such a way upon the notice of his followers, he has no fear whatever of what he does being attributed to any other, any lesser motive than the purest, deepest, most unselfish love! Does not Jesus Christ, in the very act of instituting in his own lifetime this memorial rite, step at once above the level of ordinary humanity, and assert for himself a position toward mankind utterly and absolutely unique? Dr. Hanna
Miss Edgeworth, in one of her tales, relates an anecdote of a Spanish artist, who was employed to depict the "Last Supper." It was his object to throw all the sublimity of his art into the figure and countenance of the Master; but he put on the table in the foreground some chased cups, the workmanship of which was exceedingly beautiful, and when his friends came to see the picture on the easel, every one said, "What beautiful cups they are!" "Ah!" said he, "I have made a mistake. These cups divert the eyes of the spectator from the Master, to whom I wished to direct the attention of the observer." He took his brush and rubbed them from the canvas, that the strength and vigor of the chief object might be seen as it should. G. S. Bowes
He that remembers not Christ's death, so as to endeavor to be like him, forgets the end of his redemption and dishonors the cross on which his satisfaction was wrought. Anthony Horneck
Charles Hadden Spurgeon