For the LORD will rebuild Zion; He has appeared in His glory.
I. WHAT IS THIS WORK HERE SPOKEN OF? The building up of Zion.
1. By the conversion of individual souls. The true Church can be built up in no other way.
2. By the public confession of their faith on the part of these converted ones. If they refuse this, how can the Church be built up?
3. By their union in the fellowship of the Church. They must openly range themselves on the Lord's side in this his appointed way.
4. By the full sanctification of these converts. This is a further gift of grace, and it is the privilege of all who will fully consecrate themselves to the Lord, and then trust him to accomplish his own will in them - even their sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Thus are they qualified to become coworkers with God in the further upbuilding of his Church.
5. By their becoming builders for God - going forth to make converts and win others. Such is this blessed work.
II. WHAT IS HERE SAID OF IT?
1. It is the Lord's work. Many may cooperate, but apart from God he can do nothing.
2. It will be a gradual work. The very idea, of building implies this.
3. That from various causes it may be at a standstill, or almost so. Who does not know this? Oh, these miserable lulls in the work, these ebb tides in the flow of holy zeal, faith, and love! It is so in the Church and in the individual soul.
4. There are special times for this upbuilding. (Cf. vers. 13, 14.) A hallowed excitement on the matter is felt, a sacred and deep sorrow because of Zion's desolation (cf. Nehemiah). A faithful ministry is raised up. Such are some of the indications of the set time to favour Zion having come.
5. Great glory accrues to God. The building of his Church is God's greatest glory, that for which he put forth his greatest power, that on which he lavished his greatest love, even the gift of Christ. That glory appears in the poorness of the instruments he employs (1 Corinthians 1:26-30); in the setting aside of man's chief agencies, their great churches, hierarchies, and priesthoods; in the discomfiture of the innumerable and mighty adversaries which stand in the way of this work. All this is taught here.
III. THE MOMENTOUS CONCLUSIONS THAT FOLLOW.
1. The work shall surely be done. "I will build my Church," said Christ. It is not a mere possibility, but a fixed will.
2. As to our duty. To be patient. To inquire what is our relation to this work. Are we helping or hindering? Are we ourselves forming part of this glorious building, or are we wilfully refusing, as we can do, to have part or lot therein? If we are of the Lord's Zion ourselves, are we striving to win others? Many fail here. Let us be found workers together with God. - S.C.
When the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in His glory.I. WHEN MAY ZION, OR THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, BE SAID TO BE BUILT UP?
1. When sinners are converted to God.
2. When Christian converts grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour.
3. When pure and undefiled religion spreads to the ends of the earth.
II. THE BUILDING OF ZION IS GOD'S OWN WORK.
1. He is the Author, Cause, and Fountain of all blessedness.
2. He has promised prosperity, success, and extension to the Christian Church.
III. IN THE BUILDING UP OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, THERE IS AN EXTRAORDINARY DISPLAY OF THE GLORY OF GOD. Conclusion: —
1. Christians may see how much reason they have to be confident and joyful under the most discouraging circumstance which occur, both with respect to themselves and the Church.
2. The duty of Christians to observe, with habitual attention, the course of Providence, and diligently to compare it with the designs announced in prophecy.
3. Reproof to those who are saying that the time is not yet come for the friends of Zion to exert themselves with diligence and zeal for her building up, extension, and glory.
4. The extreme folly, impiety, and danger of those who ridicule our hopes, and attempt to oppose the progress of the gospel
5. This subject is eminently fitted to illuminate our path, and direct our steps, in the present situation of the world.
6. Our subject affords great encouragement to missionary plans and exerstions.
(W. B. Browne.)
II. WHEN IT PLEASETH GOD TO BUILD UP ZION, HE APPEARS IN HIS GLORY.
1. Consider the materials of which the Church is built. When a building of strength, of beauty, and of magnificence, is to be erected, men collect the most excellent materials that can be procured. But here, materials are chosen and employed which are in themselves the most worthless, and the most unlikely to answer the purpose.
3. Consider the circumstances of the times in which Zion is most remarkably built up; times the most unlikely for her revival. Such was her condition at the close of the seventy years' captivity, when she was like "a valley of dry bones." Such was her condition when "the Word was made flesh, and tabernacled" on earth; and when the apostles of Jesus were sent forth to propagate the Gospel among the nations, "blinded by the god of this world, sitting in darkness, and in the region and shadow of death."
III. WHAT THE PARTICULAR GLORIES ARE WHICH HE THEN DISPLAYS.
1. His unsearchable wisdom. The plots and combinations of avowed enemies, their strength, their artful policy, their cruelty, their persecutions, nay, the very imperfections, faults, and corruptions of sincere friends (like the contention between Paul and Barnabas), all contribute to the building of the Church, though all of them seem to have a quite contrary tendency.
2. His almighty power. So eminently is this Divine excellence manifested in this work, that it is not unusually represented in prophecy, as a new creation (Isaiah 65:17, 18).
3. His holiness.
4. His benignity.
5. His faithfulness.
6. His justice.
(T. Davidson, D.D.)
I. ZION BUILT UP.
1. One essential to the building up of Zion is practical conversion. As we see our sons converted, and the great miracle of regeneration still being performed, we take heart and are of good courage to go on in the work of the Lord.
2. A public confession of faith must follow conversion. It is the duty of every Christian — nay, it is the instinct of his spiritual life — to avow the faith which he has received, and avowing it, he finds himself associated with others who have made the same profession, and he assists them in holy labour. When he is strong he ministers of his strength to the weak, and when he is himself weak, he borrows strength from those who just then may happen to be strong in the faith.
3. We cannot build without union. A house must have its doors, and its windows, its foundation, its rafters, and its ceiling. So, a church must be organized; it must have its distinct offices and officers; it must have its departments of labour, and proper men must be found, according to Christ's own appointment, to preside over those departments.
4. There must also be edification and instruction in the faith. No neglect of an appeal to the passions, certainly; no forgetfulness as to what is popular and exciting; but with this we must have the solid bread-corn of the kingdom, without which God's children will faint in the weary way of this wilderness.
5. It does not strike me, however, that I have yet given a full picture of the building up of a church, for a church such as I have described would not yet answer the end for which Christ ordained it. Christ ordained His Church to be His great aggressive agency in combating with six, and with the world that lieth in the wicked one.
6. After a church has become all that I have been describing, the next thing it ought to do should be to think of the formation of other churches. The building up of an empire must often be by colonization; and it is the same with the Church.
II. THE BUILDING UP OF ZION IS, ACCORDING TO THE TEXT, CONNECTED WITH JEHOVAH'S BEING GLORIFIED.
1. God often appears in glory to me as one of His builders, and I will tell you in what respect. When I have been sitting to see inquirers, I have sometimes found that God has blessed to the conversion of souls some of my worst sermons — those which I thought I could weep over, which seemed more than ordinarily weak, and lacking in all the elements likely to make them blessed, except that they were sincerely spoken.
2. Persons have been brought up and educated under sermons that are as hostile to spiritual life as the plague is to natural life. The case of Luther is one instance of this, and in all such cases God appears in His glory.
3. Think, too, of the agencies which are abroad hostile to the Church of God. What a splendid thing was that — may we see it repeated in our own day! — when the twelve fishermen first attacked Roman idolatry. The prestige of ages made the idolatry of Rome venerable; it had an imperial Caesar and all his legions at its back, and every favourable auspice to defend it. Those twelve men, with no patronage but the patronage of the King of kings, with no learning except that which they had learned at the feet of Jesus, with weapons as simple as David's sling and stone, went forth to the fight; and you know how the grisly head of the monstrous idolatry was by and by in the hands of the Christian champion as he returned rejoicing from the fray. So shall it be yet again, and then, amidst the acclamation of myriad witnesses, shall God appear in His glory.
III. THE HOPE EXCITED. If God be glorified by the building up of Zion, then most certainly Zion will be built. If He is glorified by the conversion, and by the banding together of converted men and women, then it seems but natural to hope, yea, with certainty we may conclude that the zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform it. I like the spirit in which Luther used to say, that when he could get God into his quarrels he felt safe. When it was Luther alone, he did not know which way it would go; but when he felt that his God would be compromised and dishonoured if such a thing were not done, and would be glorified if it were done, then he felt safe enough. So in the great crusade of truth is not God with us beyond a doubt? The honour of the Church is intertwisted with the honour and glory of Christ; if she shall pass away, if she be deserted, then where is her Captain, her Head, her Husband?
IV. Our whole subject SUGGESTS AN INQUIRY. Have I any part or lot in this work which is to bring glory to God? I may have to do with it in two ways, as a builded one, or as a builder. I can have nothing to do with it in the latter capacity, unless I have had to do with it in the former. God will be glorified in the building up of Zion: shall I minister to His glory by being part of the Zion that is to be built up? If thou wouldst glorify God, humble thyself, and receive salvation from the Lord Jesus Christ: and then, being built upon this foundation, thou shall glorify God. The inquiry shapes itself afresh. Hast thou anything to do with glorifying God in respect of being thyself a builder up of Zion? Did you ever win a soul to Christ?
( C. H. Spurgeon.)I. ZION MAY LIE FOR A TIME IN A SOMEWHAT RUINOUS CONDITION.
1. When but few are converted — when a preached Gospel does not reach the heart — and when pardon, grace, and salvation are not seen, and acknowledged, to be the most important objects that can be attended to or pursued.
2. When many of the professors of religion draw back, and the enemy of souls hath so far prevailed as to lessen their number. When a worldly and carnal, proud or contentious spirit, or any other proceeding from the same corrupt source, makes inroads among Christians, carries them off from those societies to which they belonged, and from that allegiance they owed and professed to Christ; her walls are broken.
3. When the religious character of those who compose the Church of God is low. When those who belong to Christ are weak in faith, and inconstant in their affections; when they are so immersed in the cares and concerns of this world as that they move but slowly on the road to that for which they were born, and to which they ought ever to aspire; when they do not attend the house of God with that constancy, pleasure, and profit they once did; when they read not the Word of God with that relish and self-appreciation which they formerly experienced — and when the warmth of their holy zeal and devotion is abated, the Church is in an unhappy state.
II. TO BUILD UP ZION IS THE WORK AND PROVINCE OF GOD.
2. When I consider what the Christian is, the principles by which he is actuated, the spirit he possesses, the attainments he makes, the calm fortitude and dignity with which he meets affliction and death, and that unparalleled heroism which multitudes have displayed in persecuting times; I can be at no loss to know, independent of the Word of God, whose work and province it must be to build up Zion at large, the Church in Britain, or those Christian societies to which we belong.
3. When we consider the blindness of men, the hardness of the human heart, the very affecting contrariety there is in us to the holy nature and righteous law of God, the state of things in the world, in a religious view, when the Saviour appeared, and what is the real state of the unconverted in these times; does it not appear that the grace and power of God are requisite to raise a Church out of such materials?
III. IT IS A WOK IN WHICH HE WILL CERTAINLY ENGAGE. From the perfections of Jehovah — from the personal dignity and glory of the Redeemer, the scenes he passed through, and the characters he now sustains — from the preparation that was made for His appearing among men — from Christianity's having nothing of a local nature, but being equally suited to the state and condition of all men — and also from the circumstance of the Gospel's having stood the test of the strictest inquiry for so many years; and the strongest objections that have been made to it only serving to clear and illustrate its evidence; it appears exceedingly probable, that the kingdom of Christ will more fully come, and His religion have a more splendid and glorious triumph. But the main pillar of our hope, with respect to this delightful subject, are the promises and declarations of Him, to whom nothing is impossible (Psalm 2:8; Isaiah 11:9; Psalm 36:9; Daniel 7:18; Malachi 1:2).
IV. THEN THE LORD WILL APPEAR IN HIS GLORY.
1. When faith and holiness prevail among men, the Lord will appear in the glory of His wisdom. This perfection shines whenever a single soul is converted: how much more when the glorious fruits and effects of the Redeemer's undertaking, death, and intercession shall be abundantly visible!
2. When Zion is built in the world at large, or in any particular place, the Lord will appear in the glory of His power. What display can there be of this Divine attribute, at once so honourable to God, and happy to man, as "quickening the dead in trespasses and sins"; causing the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the insensible to feel, and changing the corrupt and sinful bias of the human heart?
3. When Zion is built, God will appear in the glory of His grace and love.
4. When the Lord shall build up Zion, He will appear in the glory of His truth and faithfulness. God will appear to be faithful to every engagement into which he entered with His Son, and to every promise which His Word contains.On a review of what hath been advanced —
1. Let us rejoice in, and be grateful to God for what He hath done, and is still doing, towards building up Zion.
2. Let us rejoice in that great prosperity which awaits the Christian cause; and let the Church encourage herself under all her troubles.
3. Let us all cherish an ardent desire of seeing the Church of God in a more prosperous state, and manifest that desire by our utmost exertions in its favour.
TopicsAppear, Appeared, Build, Builded, Built, Glory, Honour, Walls, Zion
Outline1. The prophet in his prayer makes a grievous complaint.
12. He takes comfort in the eternity, and mercy of God
18. The mercies of God are to be recorded
23. He sustains his weakness by the unchangeableness of God.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesPsalm 102:16
LibraryOut of the Deep of Loneliness, Failure, and Disappointment.
My heart is smitten down, and withered like grass. I am even as a sparrow that sitteth alone on the housetop--Ps. cii. 4, 6. My lovers and friends hast Thou put away from me, and hid mine acquaintance out of my sight--Ps. lxxviii. 18. I looked on my right hand, and saw there was no man that would know me. I had no place to flee unto, and no man cared for my soul. I cried unto Thee, O Lord, and said, Thou art my Hope. When my spirit was in heaviness, then Thou knewest my path.--Ps. cxlii. 4, 5. …
Charles Kingsley—Out of the Deep
That True Solace is to be Sought in God Alone
That He who is About to Communicate with Christ Ought to Prepare Himself with Great Diligence
The Never Changing One.
The Unchangeableness of God
Our Last ChapterConcluded with the Words, "For Childhood and Youth are Vanity"...
Notes on the Fourth Century
The Nature of Justification
Notes on the Third Century
After the Scripture.
Third Sunday after Trinity Humility, Trust, Watchfulness, Suffering
Characters and Names of Messiah
Covenanting Predicted in Prophecy.
Letter xvi to Rainald, Abbot of Foigny
History of the Interpretation.
Spiritual Hunger Shall be Satisfied
An Analysis of Augustin's Writings against the Donatists.
The Being of God
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