Luke 6:46


In the moral and spiritual as well as in the material world there is good and bad, sound and unsound, safe and unsafe building We are all builders; we are all planning, preparing, laying our foundation, erecting our walls, putting on our topstone.

I. THE FABRIC OF ENJOYMENT OR OF SUCCESS. That of enjoyment, of the gratification of indulgence, is indeed hardly worthy of the name of building; yet are there those who spend upon it a very large amount of thought and labour. To pursue this as the object of life is unworthy of our manhood, is to dishonour ourselves, is to degrade our lives; it is to expend our strength on putting up a miserable hovel when we might use it in the erection of a noble mansion; it is, also, to be laboriously constructing a heap of sand which the first strong wave will wash away. Worthier than this, though quite unsatisfying and unsatisfactory, is the pursuit of temporal prosperity, the building up of a fortune, or of a great name, or of personal authority and command. Not that such aims and efforts are wrong in themselves. On the other hand, they are necessary, honourable, and even creditable. But they are not sufficient; they are wholly inadequate as the aspiration of a human soul and the achievement of a human life. They do not fill the heart of man; they do not give it rest; they leave a large void unfilled, a craving and a yearning unsatisfied. Moreover, they do not stand the test of time; they are buildings that will soon be washed away, The tide of time will soon advance and sweep away the strongest of such edifices as those. Do not be content with building for twenty, or forty, or sixty years; build for eternity. "The world passeth away... but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."

II. THE FORTRESS OF CHARACTER. It is of this that our Lord is speaking in the text; and he says concerning it - Dig deep, build on the rock, erect that which the most violent storm cannot shake to its fall. What is that character which answers to this counsel?

1. Not that which is founded on ceremony and rite. Reason, Scripture, and experience all prove that this is a character built upon the sand.

2. Not that which is founded upon sentiment or occasional emotion. Many are they who like and who demand to be acted upon by powerful influences, and to be thus excited to strong feelings. In these moments of aroused sensibility they cry, "Lord! Lord!" with apparent earnestness. But if piety ends in sensibility" it is nothing;" it is worthless; it will be washed away by the first storm that breaks.

3. It is that which is established in sacred conviction and fixed determination. This is the rock to which we must dig down - sacred conviction passing into real consecration; the conviction that we owe everything to our God and Saviour, and the determination, in the sight and by the grace of God, to yield our hearts and lives to him. A character thus built, sustained by Christian services and ceremonies, will be strong against all assault. The subtlest influences will not undermine it, the mightiest earthly forces will not overturn it; let the storms come, and it will stand.

III. THE EDIFICE OF CHRISTIAN USEFULNESS. Paul, in his first letter to the Church at Corinth, speaks of the wood, hay, and stubble, and also of gold, silver, and precious stones, i.e. of the combustible and the inflammable materials with which men construct their building in the field of holy service. And he says the fire will try every man's work; so that we have apostolic warning also to take heed how we build. Let the Christian workman see to it that he too builds on the rock, that he effects that which will stand the waters and the fires that will try his work. Let him depend little on ceremonialism, little on excitement; let him strive to produce deep, sacred convictions in the soul; let him endeavour to lead men on to a whole-hearted dedication of themselves to Jesus Christ; let him persuade men to the formation of wise habits of devotion and sell-government; so shall he be building that which the waters of time will not remove, and which the last fires will purify but not destroy. - C.









And why call ye Me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
I. In the first place, LET US BE WARNED AGAINST MAKING OUR RELIGION A MATTER MERELY OF OPINION. Said William Law to John Wesley, "The bead can as easily amuse itself with a living and justifying faith in the blood of Jesus, as with any other notion." It is even so. A truer word, pointed in warning against a greater peril, was never uttered. The mistake in question is a very subtle one, but very serious, and more common than, perhaps, we think. As thus of the doctrines, so also of the duties of our religion. These duties may be objects merely of belief, arranged in well-ordered systems, and acknowledged to be the proper code of life, without being actually reduced to practice.

II. In the second place, LET US BE WARNED AGAINST MAKING OUR RELIGION A MATTER MERELY OF FEELING. This piety of moods and feelings, which goes by spasms, and not by the even pulses of a robust life, is not the sort of piety we need, my hearers. It dishonours our Master, who has something larger to do for us than simply to make us happy in our religion. It wrongs our own souls, which ought to be looking higher than their own enjoyment.

III. Finally, LET US BE MOVED TO MAKE OUR RELIGION A MATTER OF THE LIFE; FINDING THE TEST AND MEASURE OF OUR DISCIPLESHIP, NEITHER IN WHAT WE BELIEVE, NOR IN WHAT WE FEEL, BUT IN WHAT WE ARE, AS ANNOUNCING ITSELF IN WHAT WE DO. Not that we counsel the disparagement of Christian doctrine. There must be religious opinions, more or less clearly defined, conditioning the religious life; and the more clearly defined, the better. And the nearer we come to the teachings of Scripture, as interpreted by the Christian consciousness of the successive generations of believers; the nearer we come to those grand settlements of doctrine effected by the great expounders of doctrine, as , , Luther, Calvin, and Edwards, the nearer we shall come to the hidings of Christian power. Neither would we disparage religious feeling. The new life has its beginning in feeling; while to be past feeling is the surest mark of reprobation. It is impossible for a man to be convinced of sin by the Spirit of God without being profoundly agitated.

(R. D. Hitchcock, D. D.)

I. WHY IS DOING THE WILL OF GOD LIKE BUILDING UPON A ROCK?

1. Doing is the way to being. God's doing flows from His being; His work is the outflow of His nature. He radiates outwards into all the departments of the universe from a settled centre; and because He is so gloriously good, all His works are gloriously good. The work derives its character from the being — the unchangeable being or nature of God. But there is a vast immeasurable distance between us and God; and the grand question is, How a nature so disordered, so miserably poor in knowledge, so shallow in thought and conviction, so low in aspiration, so uncertain in the use of its freedom, prostituting it so often to low ends, and so seldom using it for our emancipation from evil; how is such a nature as ours to find its way up to God till it shall have attained to His settled goodness and unchangeable excellence? The answer is, By exercising ourselves in those rules of goodness which Christ has given us as Divine. We must do in order to be. You must learn how to love your enemy, how to pray for them that despitefully use you. For there can be no true and perfect love in a nature that harbours hatred even towards an enemy. Self-denial and self-sacrifice, constraint and cross-bearing, are painful mow, because we are only learning; but when we have left school, and our nature has reached the standard for the attainment of which it has been under discipline, to love God and all creatures will involve no effort or constraint or painful cross-bearing; for love in us will be as spontaneous as it is in God: we shall have become a law unto ourselves, and we shall instinctively, and of our own free impulse, choose the good, the right, and the pure.

2. Doing is the way to knowing. To know physical facts is the way to gain material power; to know the hidden laws that govern nature is to become its lord and master, able, as with a magician's wand, to call forth her inexhaustible resources for the service and advantage of man. To know human nature in its prejudices and passions is necessary to the statesmen who would make laws that are to be beneficial to our empire. And Christ says, if you will do the will of God, you shall know what doctrine is Divine and what is not. Such knowledge — growing out of a hallowed experience — plants our feet immovably upon the Rock of certainty, and not all the storms of opinion and doubt will be able to dislodge us.

3. Doing is the way to bless others. Even when a man is not making his fellow-man the object of his thought or deed — when he is not directly fulfilling some social duty, but while he is more specially engaged in nourishing his own interior manhood, strengthening his own attachment to what is true, and pure, and brave — he is nevertheless blessing others. For such a man creates unconsciously a moral atmosphere around him which his neighbours breathe he loads the air with a sacred perfume; an influence goes forth from him, like heat from fire, which insensibly leavens the minds of others. But when such a man comes into contact with his fellows in the relations of life — in business, in friendship, and in religion — he strengthens and perpetuates his unconscious influence. He does the will of God; he does to others as he would they should do unto him. He upholds the laws of justice and generosity against injustice and meanness.

II. HEARING BUT NOT DOING IS LIKE BUILDING ON THE SAND.

1. It issues in a false self-deceptive life. "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?" "Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you." One of the most portentous facts in the constitution of our nature is — the power we have of self-deception. And yet when we come to consider, there is nothing capricious or malignant in it. It begins in conscious unfaithfulness. We hear the Word of God, but knowingly neglect to do it. We do not obey, but we must come to terms with the conscience.

2. Hearers and not doers will be convicted of egregious folly. "I will liken him unto the foolish man." Disobedience to known duty is not only a violation of the conscience, which is guilt; it is also a violation of the reason, which is folly. Reason says it is folly to choose the evil and reject the good. No man would prefer the delusions of madness to the realities of a healthy mind. Reason says it is folly to purchase the present at the cost of the future. But this is what men are doing who are only hearers. For if our life-house should fall, great will be the fall of it. A mighty catastrophe is the fall of a soul!

(C. Short, M. A.)

Wherein we have —

1. A concession. He grants they made a fair profession; they called Him Lord, their Lord.

2. A charge. He charges them with nothing like this in their practice. Though they called Him their Lord, they carried not themselves at all as His subjects and servants.

3. An expostulation. He puts them to consider the inconsistency of these things, and the unaccountableness of yoking together a profession and a practice that destroyed one another. Why will ye plead the relation and yet throw off the duty of the relation? "If ye call Me your Lord, why do ye not what I say or bid you? If you will not do what I say or bid you, why do ye call Me your Lord?" Two doctrines are deducible from the text thus explained.

I. There are who call Christ their Lord, owning His authority over them, and looking for benefit by Him, who yet make not conscience of doing the things which He as a Lord says to them, and requires of them. In discoursing this doctrine I shall —

I. Consider men's calling Christ their Lord.

II. Consider their not doing the things which He says, notwithstanding of their calling Him their Lord.

III. Show how it comes to pass that people call Christ Lord, and their Lord, and yet make not conscience of doing what He says.

IV. Apply the doctrine.

I. I will consider MEN'S CALLING CHRIST THEIR LORD. Under this head, I will show —

1. How men call Christ their Lord.

2. What they do call Christ, that call Him their Lord.

3. What is the import of their calling Him Lord.

1. I will show how men call Christ their Lord. Men call Him their Lord —(1) Professing Christianity. Christians is the name of Christ's disciples who owned Him for their Lord and Master — "The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch" (Acts 11:26). "One is your Master, even Christ" (Matthew 23:10). Nay, at that rate ye take the name, and throw off the thing.(2) Being baptized in His name (Matthew 28:19). They are thereby externally marked for His subjects and servants, and renounce the devil, the world, and the flesh.(3) Praying unto Him, or to God in His name (Acts 7:59; Daniel 9:17).(4) Attending the assemblies of His people to hear His word (Ezekiel 23:31).(5) Consenting personally to the covenant (Isaiah 44:5). Thereby they say, He is, and shall be for ever their Lord, and that they shall be His only, wholly, and for ever.(6) Lastly, Partaking of the sacrament of the Lord's supper. The very name of that ordinance bears the partakers to call Him so (1 Corinthians 11:23, 26).

2. I will show what they do call Christ, that call Him their Lord.(1) They call Him their Lord God; as Thomas did — "My Lord, and my God" (John 20:28).(2) Their Lord Proprietor, Master, and Owner, however little regard they show to the will of His providence and precepts (Romans 14:9).(3) Their Lord Redeemer (Exodus 20:2), however unsuitably they walk to the redemption purchased by Him.(4) Their Lord Husband, however refractory and disobedient they prove to Him (Jeremiah 3:14).(5) Their Lord King, however rebellious they be — "The Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King, He will save us" (Isaiah 33:22).

3. What is the import of their calling Him Lord? Men calling Him so, do in effect own, acknowledge, and profess —(1) His undoubted authority to command and prescribe duty to them: owning Him as their Lord Husband, King, and God, they cannot deny but He has authority to bind them with laws.(2) The justice and equity of His commands — "The law is holy; and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Romans 7:12).(3) Our absolute obligation to obey Him. As the clay is in the hand of the potter, so are we in His. The potsherds of the earth may strive with one another, but shall they strive with their Maker?(4) The strongest ties upon us to be for Him. If He is our Proprietor and Redeemer, are we not bound by all the ties of honour and gratitude to be wholly His?(5) The expectation of happiness from Him. Calling Him our Lord, we expect from Him and by Him the pardon of our sin, the favour of God, and a part in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21).

II. I will consider MEN'S NOT DOING THE THINGS WHICH HE SAYS, NOTWITHSTANDING ALL THIS. We may take it up in three things.

1. Christ as a Lord prescribes duty to His subjects. He has not an empty title of lordship and dominion, but is a Lawgiver — "He is our Lawgiver" (Isaiah 33:22). And the law of the ten commands, in their spirituality and extent, is His law, binding by His authority on all that call Him Lord (Exodus 20:2, 3, &c.).

2. He intimates His will to them as to their duty. He says what He would have them to do. We have His written laws in the Bible, which is God's Word to every one into whose hand it comes.

3. Yet men neglect it, and regard it not in their practice. They plead the relation to Him, but make no conscience of the duty of it.(1) They have no due sense of their being absolutely bound up to His will, but fancy themselves to be at some liberty to walk according to their own, as if the government were divided betwixt Christ and themselves (Psalm 12:4). They do not feel the tie of the yoke of Christ always upon them, but are like bullocks unaccustomed to the yoke, skipping at ease according to their own pleasure.(2) They frame not their life according to His will.(3) They never set themselves to do all that He says; contrary to what the Psalmist did (Psalm 119:6), who "had respect unto all God's commandments."(4) They habitually do against what He says, making their own lusts and inclinations their law; like those who said, "I have loved strangers, and after them will I go" (Jeremiah 2:25) They call him their Lord; but Satan and their lusts are really their lords, to whom they yield their obedience, being captives at their pleasure.(5) They do nothing purely because He says it, else they would endeavour to do all. In what they do, they have other ends than to please Him: they do it to please themselves, for their own profit, pleasure, or safety.

III. The third general head is, to SHOW HOW IT COMES TO PASS, TEXT PEOPLE CALL CHRIST LORD, AND THEIR LORD, AND YET MAKE NOT CONSCIENCE OF DOING WHAT HE SAYS. The springs of this ruining practice, that so prevails, are many: as —

1. The want of a thorough change in their nature: "A good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit: neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit " (Luke 6:43, 44).(1) Good education and religious company embalms some dead souls; but still they want the principle of the Spirit of life; like those of whom the apostle says (Jude 1:19).(2) The gospel being new to some, makes a reel among their affections; as it did among the stony-ground hearers (Matthew 13:20, 21).(3) They get some new light into their heads, but no new life into their hearts.(4) Many get awakening grace, that never get converting grace.

2. Entertaining wrong notions of religion. They form to themselves such notions of religion, as leave them at liberty in the course of their walk.(1) They think that is religion to call Christ Lord in performing duties of worship, praying, &c., and consider not that the substance of religion lies in holy, tender walking (Titus 2:11, 12).(2) They think that faith will save them, though it be dead, idle, and inactive; contrary to what the apostle saith: "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?" (James 2:14.) "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (ver. 26). They do not consider that that faith is not saving faith which is so.

3. Reigning unbelief. Of this our Lord complained: "Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40).

4. Want of consideration (Luke 15:17).

5. The natural enmity of the heart prevailing against conviction (Romans 8:7).

6. Unmortified lusts still keeping the rule and dominion over the soul, though Christ has the name of their Lord. Doctrine

II. It lies on men's consciences before the Lord, to take it home to themselves, to consider and answer it, how they come to call Christ their Lord, and yet not make conscience of doing the things which He as a Lord says to them, and requires of them. In discoursing this doctrine, I shall only show the import of the expostulation in the text, and then conclude with a word of application. I will show the import of this expostulation. It imports —

1. That Christ is in earnest for our obedience. He is not indifferent what regard we show to what He says as our Lord (Psalm 119:4).(1) The evidence of our belonging to Christ, in a saving relation, lies upon it. "Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you" (John 15:14).(2) The evidence of your right to heaven lies on it. "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they might have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Revelation 22:14).

2. It is possible for us in this life to get the things that Christ says, done acceptably, in all the parts thereof. If it were not so, then, by the text, nobody at all would be allowed to call Him Lord; which is certainly false (Matthew 7:21). So there are two sorts that call Him Lord; some that do, some that do not what He says; the former allowed, the other rejected. The doctrine of the imperfection of the saint's obedience is a stone of stumbling to many a blind soul. To prevent your stumbling —(1) Distinguish between doing the will of Christ in all its parts, and in all its degrees. A whole family hears so many particular pieces of work prescribed to them all by the father and master of the family. His grown children do them all exactly to his mind; the younger children, who are but learning to work, put hand to every one of them, and baulk none of the pieces; but they do none of them exactly. Refractory servants do some of them, but others of them they never notice. Just so it is with the saints in heaven, true believers on earth, and hypocrites.(2) Distinguish between doing the will of Christ perfectly, and acceptably. No man in this life can do the former (Philippians 3:12). But every true believer does the later (Acts 10:25).(3) Distinguish between ability in ourselves to do the will of Christ acceptably, and ability for it in Christ, offered to us in the gospel, and to be brought in by faith. No man, saint nor sinner, has the former. "We are not sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves" (2 Corinthians 3:5). But all true believers do get the latter (Philippians 4:13).

3. Notwithstanding the things that Christ says may be got done acceptably, yet many that call Him Lord will not do them. "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him," &c. (Titus 1:16).(1) Obedience to sin, and disobedience to Christ, is their choice.(2) They have neither heart nor use for the grace and strength that is in Christ Jesus (John 5:40; Psalm 81:11).

4. Christ is highly displeased with the disobedience of those that call Him Lord, who will not do what He says (Psalm 50:16-22). But to persuade you of it, consider —(1) His infinite purity and holiness (Isaiah 6:3). He is the Holy One of Israel.(2) The dreadful strokes He has brought on such as called Him Lord, for not doing the things that He says.(3) Does he not refuse communion with such persons in holy ordinances, and thereby testify his displeasure against them? "I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek My face" (Hosea 5:15). Lastly, Consider how He will treat them at the last day (Luke 19:27).

5. There is a great evil in calling Christ Lord, and not doing what He says; an evil that highly provokes Him, as casting dishonour on Him in a very special manner.(1) Their sins and looseness of life reflect a peculiar dishonour on Him, as pretending a relation to Him (Romans 2:24).(2) They do Satan a peculiar pleasure.(3) They wound the heart of the real children of God, and make the whole family sigh more heavily than the sins of others would do (Psalm Iv. 12). But there are three things they do not consider.(1) What inconsistency is in this course: "What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial?" (2 Corinthians 6:14, 15).(2) How heinously the Lord Christ takes it, that men should yoke Satan's service with His (2 Coritnthains 6:15, forecited).(8) What the end of such a course will be, what it will issue in at length. "O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!" (Deuteronomy 32:29).

6. People ought to consider it, see what account they can make of it, and how they will answer it. And —(1) How they will answer it to their own consciences.(2) How they will answer it to the Lord Christ in the judgment.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

I. In the first place, OUTWARD OBEDIENCE IS THE NECESSARY FRUIT, AND THE ABSOLUTE TEST OF INWARD LIFE. He alone will enter into the kingdom of heaven "that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven." Let us pause over the words. They cannot refer to the man who accidentally does the will of God because it so happens that his pleasure coincides with God's pleasure, just as a person may walk in the same path as another without intending to be his companion. In such an act there would be no inward element. But they must refer to the man who intentionally does God's will; does it, that is, because it is God's will; independently of any further consideration of whether it be pleasant or not in itself. Observe, therefore, there is no picking and choosing in such an obedience. The word "doeth" does not mean intention, profession, or promise, but action in those practical details of actual life, which make up the real sum total of human existence. A saving religion is not that which is up in the air, but that which plants its sacred feet on the solid earth of daily life. Such a religion is exceedingly difficult, and there is one power alone which can accomplish it in us. It is the power of God. To use an respired illustration, "we are God's workmanship." Not only does an artist's work show the genius of the artist, but every artist has his own touch and style. We look at an exquisite picture, and we recognize the hand of the painter: we exclaim, with undoubting confidence, "Raphael," "Guido," "Rembrandt." Thus when we look at a true Christian who bears and reflects Christ all over him, we say, "God." That is God's work; God's Spirit alone can have done that. God is "admired in His saints, and glorified in all them that believe." And how can it be otherwise if we reverse the order, and, instead of looking from the act to the principle, trace the principle down into the act? For what is salvation, but deliverance from sin; and what is sin, but opposition to the will of God? To be saved, therefore, is to be brought into conformity with God's will. A good man is full of the Holy Ghost. Bat the Holy Ghost can no more abide in a heart without making it holy, without compelling it by the most sweet inward necessity to do God's will, than there can be a sun without light, a stream without water, a summer without flowers, a life without activity.

II. But there is another point of view from which the lesson may be regarded. OUTWARD OBEDIENCE MY BE, IN THE HANDS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD, THE INSTRUMENT OF INWARD LIFE, AND THEREFORE, WHERE INWARD LIFE ALREADY EXISTS, THE MEANS AND STIMULANT OF A HIGHER GROWTH IN GRACE. A man is truly in earnest, and sets himself without reserve to do God's will as he finds it in His Word. What is the first experience that such a man will gain? what his earliest lesson, his first upward step Godward, although it be apparently a step downward into the dark? I say that it is a knowledge of failure and of sin. He cannot keep God's will in its inward spirit and power through the weakness of his flesh. Must he not ask himself why he fails? Ah, why, indeed, but from indwelling sin I Thus there flashes upon the soul a sense of sin and a consciousness of guilt before God. And when the soul once stands face to face with this truth, the impossibility of self-righteousness and of doing God's will as he fondly thought in his own strength must become clear as the flash of the sunshine. "Then I am a helpless sinner," he exclaims, "vile and worthless, and where shall I find help and hope? If I cannot save myself, who can save me?" He flings the arms of his faith around the feet of the dying Jesus, and cries out, "My Lord and my God, my Saviour, Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification."

(E. Garbett, M. A.)

Some of you, perhaps, suppose that you do enough to show that you are Christians if you come here on Sundays. One purpose for which you come here is to learn how to live elsewhere. It can be no excuse for breaking God's commandments on Monday that you made a great effort on Sunday — came a mile and a half through the wind and rain — to learn what God's commandments are. Suppose a man were caught trespassing in a gentleman's private grounds, and when asked for a defence of his conduct answered that though no doubt he was trespassing, he hoped that it would be a palliation of his offence that once a week for twenty years he had taken care to read the notice on the board — "Private road. Trespassing forbidden." Would that be a rational excuse? Or suppose you had a man in your works who was constantly breaking some of the printed regulations which are put up in the shops, what would you say if he asked you to look over his bad conduct because he always read through the regulations every Monday morning? We see the folly of a plea of that kind when alleged to cover a violation of any of our own rules and regulations; and yet so easily do we deceive ourselves, that we are all in danger of supposing that because we read the Bible and come to public worship in order to learn God's laws we have something to set off against breaking them. Christ's words are clear. We are none the better for knowing the will of God; we must obey it. We must do the will of God. Some men have such a keen admiration for moral goodness that they take it forgranted that they are really good. You admire industry — good; but if you are to enter into the kingdom of heaven you must be industrious. Emotion of other kinds — good in its place — is also mistaken for actual well-doing. When we begin to hold political meetings in the winter there will be hundreds of men, belonging to both political parties, who will think that they are animated by a generous patriotism and a noble zeal for the public good, because they give enthusiastic cheers to the eloquence of their favourite orators; but ask them to do some canvassing, or to give a subscription towards the expenses of a contested election, and you will find that their patriotism and their zeal have all vanished. Doing God's will is one thing, being sorry for not doing it is a different thing altogether. But suppose we resolve to do better — is not this satisfactory? Satisfactory? No; not unless we actually do better as the result of our good resolutions. Christ does not say that the man who resolves to do the will of God will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the man who does it; and between good resolutions and good deeds there is apt to be a very precarious connection. Some people appear to use up all their strength in making good resolutions, and they have no strength left to carry them out. We must do the will of God if we are to enter into heaven. However perfect our excuses may seem for not doing it, I cannot see that these excuses are admissible. One man pleads his natural temperament as a justification of the violence or irritability of his temper. Another pleads the sharp necessities of business as an excuse for resorting to accommodation bills and other illegitimate methods of raising money. Another pleads the bad treatment he has received from a relative or a friend in defence of rough and hard and uncharitable words about him. God who made us, knows our frame and He re. members that we are dust; Christ can be touched with a feeling of our infirmities, having been tempted in all points as we are. We may rely on the Divine tenderness and mercy. God will not deal hardly with us; He treats us more generously than we treat each other; sometimes He treats us more mercifully than we treat ourselves. But to allege temptation as an apology for sin is clearly to defy the authority of the Divine law and to dissolve all moral obligations.

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

Theological Sketch Book.
I. SHOW WHO THEY ARE WHO DESERVE THE CENSURE IN THE TEXT.

1. Mere nominal Christians.

2. Formal, self-righteous persons.

3. False professors.

II. EXPOSTULATE WITH THEM ON THE FOLLY OF THEIR CONDUCT.

1. IS not a conformity to Christ's precepts practicable?

2. Is not obedience to Him necessary?

3. Will not a feigned allegiance be discovered by Him?

4. Shall we not wish at last that we had been sincere and upright.APPLICATION.

(1)Let us all seek to become Christians indeed.

(2)Let us not be afraid to confess our Lord before men.

(3)Let our lives be consistent with our professions.

(4)Let us trust in the Lord as simply as if obedience were not required.

(5)Let us obey the Lord as zealously as if obedience only were required.

(Theological Sketch Book.)

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