The LORD will record in the register of the peoples: "This one was born in Zion." Selah
I. THE FACT OF SUCH "WRITING UP" OF THE PEOPLE.
1. It shall be national. (Ver. 4.)
2. But individual also. The counting will be of this one, and that, and the other; there will be no passing in a crowd.
3. It is attested by many witnesses - Scripture, reason, history, conscience.
II. ITS PURPOSE. The gathering together of his own true people; the making up of his jewels; the manifestation of the sons of God. This is not done now, but shall be.
III. THE WRITER. The Lord himself.
1. He only can really know where to find his people; they are often found in strange places (ver. 4).
2. He only can be trusted. Bigotry, superstition, dislike, would shut many out. Partiality, fondness, love of sin, would let many in. God alone can judge.
IV. THE NAMES IN IT. Those only who have been "born" of God. Shall we be there? - S.C.
I. THE COUNTING. A census is no new thing. Refer to the history of Jacob, the time of Pharaoh, etc. Churches have their census. This describes the final census —
The Lord shall count, when He writeth up the people, that this man was born there.I. When this dispensation shall come to its close, when the Lord Jesus Christ shall come in the clouds of heaven, then we believe the Lord shall write up His people. WHAT WILL THIS WRITING BE?
1. There will be written in this census nothing but personal matters. "This man was born there." They are not taken in the plural — "these men." They are not taken as a corporate body — this nation, this Church, this family — but one by one each man's name shall be found either written there or else left out. There is no truth which we need more frequently to hold up before the eyes of our people than the truth that nothing but personal godliness will ever avail.
2. Again, you will perceive that this great census deals not merely with personal matters, but with vital matters which concern a man's birth. Here you have it that this man was born there. 'Tis true the things we have thought and those we have done shall be mentioned at the last, but not for their own sakes. They shall be mentioned only as means of proving that we were born again, or else as evidence that regeneration had never taken place in us.
3. This census will be decisive — the last polling of the people, the last counting of the jewels and casting away of the counterfeits, the last bringing in of the sheep and banishment of the goats. Oh that we were wise to look into futurities!
II. WHOSE NAMES WILL NOT BE FOUND WRITTEN WHEN THE LORD COUNTETH UP HIS PEOPLE.
1. The name of the hypocritical Church member will not be found there.
2. The man who is a mere hearer.
3. Those who are living in vice and open sin, and die as they live.
III. WHOSE NAME WILL BE FOUND THERE? We reply, there shall be the name of every soul that ever believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.
IV. WHO IS TO MAKE OUT THE CENSUS PAPER? "The Lord shall count when He writeth up the people." But why shall the Lord make out the census? Who else should do it? God is only wise. We will not question this man or that, this denomination or that. It is not for us to use our fingers to count the brands plucked from the burning, but to use our hands to pluck them from the fire, and we will pass the roll to the only wise God, and He shall at the last decide whether they be His or no.
V. WHY WILL THE CENSUS BE TAKEN AT ALL? The Lord counts up His people —
1. To show His value of them.
2. To show to Satan his entire defeat.
3. To let all men see that the great riddle which has distracted human intellect was no riddle but a fact. God is glorified, and man free.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
1. It will. be an individual counting. "This man was born there." The question not one of reformation, but of regeneration.
2. It will be unalterable. It will be final (Revelation 22:11). It is of supreme importance to have our name written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Seek to have it registered now.
II. THE COUNTER. "The Lord shall count." What a mercy. Man might accidentally omit, or through partiality insert some name, but it is well that the Lord should be the Presiding Officer because of —
1. His intimate acquaintance with every one. "The Lord knoweth them that are His." He cannot therefore be deceived. To Him all hearts are open. We may "profess and call ourselves Christians," but our profession will be worthless unless our name be inserted in the heavenly register.
2. His unfailing accuracy. No name omitted or inserted in error. The totals will agree. Man may err, but His accuracy none can call in question.
III. THE COUNTED. Whose name will be found in the register? Only his who has been "born again," i.e. "born from above." I may be "the weakest of them that love Him," but if I have been "born there," I shall not be disowned. If we share in the bond of the covenant, we shall also share in the blessedness of the covenant. Will He count me? "Except a man be born again," etc.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
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