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The Biblical Illustrator Rev 2

The Biblical Illustrator Rev 2

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 12, 2011
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THE BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR REV 2CHAPTER 2A little of this was cut off and is on the end of chapter 1should maintain a Scriptural theology, that we should ** hold fast the form of soundwords " ; at the same time we must remember that a technical theology wiU neversave a soul ; and that a mere verbal creed will never protect and increase our lovefor the Lord Jesus Christ. 3. This declension evoked the most solemn warningsand exhortations. (1) The Church in its collective capacity may incur the Divinedispleasure. There may be good individuals in the fellowship, yet the community asa whole may be under the frown of Him who "walketh in the midst of the sevengolden candlesticks." (2) The Church in its collective capacity must betake itself torepentance. This is evident when we remember that there is certain work properlydenominated Church work. Take, for example, either home or foreign evangelisa-tion. It is not my work solely as an individual to " go up and possess the land " of heathenism: but it is our work as a Church to carry the light of heaven into "thedark places of the earth." It can only be done by individuals, in so far as they areatoms in a fabric — parts of a whole. If, therefore, we have neglected to enter thedoor of opportunity as a Church, the cry of the angry Saviour is, " Kepent, and dothe first works ; or else I will come unto thee quickly." (3) Jesus will unchurchevery organisation that is unfaithful to His name ; He threatens to " remove thycandlestick out of his place." Such language may well make us pause. Organisa-tion is not spiritual brotherhood. Tell me not of gorgeous temples, of skilfularrangements, of complete machinery ; I tell you that you may have all these in anunparalleled degree, and yet " Ichabod " may be written on your temple doors IWhat is your spiritual life ? Is your ecclesiastical mechanism the expression of your love ? III. The Head of the Church has the richest blessings m reservbFOR ALL who OVERCOME THEIR SPIRITUAL EEMIES. " Ovcrcometh " — the word tellflof battle and victory. There is intimation here of an enemy. There is a hell inthis word, and in it there is a devil. That your spiritual life is a fight you neednot be reminded : every day you are in the battle-field ; you live by strife. " Eat " — the word tells of appetite. Desire is in this word, and desire satisfied. Ourdesire for more of God shall increase as the ages of our immortality expire,and yet increasing desire is but another way of saying increasing satisfaction,?' The tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." It is butlittle we can say concerning such a tree : no worm is gnawing at its root,no serpent coils around its stem, no sere leaf trembles upon it as the prophet
 
of a coming winter ; its every leaf is jewelled with purer dew than ever sparkledon the eyelids of the morning. A tree ! 'Tis but another word for beauty, forbeauty walks forth in ever-varying manifestations. A tree ! 'Tis but anothername for progress, for the circling sap bears through every fibre life and fruit-fulness. A tree! Shall we assemble around that central tree? We cannotdo so until we have assembled around the Cross. (J. Parker, D.D.) The wordsof Christ to the congregation at Ephesus : — I. Tnose which concern Himself.1. His relation to the Church. 2. His knowledge of the Church. He knows notmerely overt acts, but inner motives. II. Those which concern the congrega-tion. 1. He credits them with the good they possess. (1) Their repugnance towrong. (2) Their patience in toil. (3) Their insight into character. (4) Theirhostility to error. 2. He reproves them for the declension they manifest. 3. Heurges them to reform. III. Those which concern the Divine Spirit. 1. TheDivine Spirit makes communication to all the Churches. 2. Proper attention tothese communications requires a certain ear. IV. Those which concern moraIiCOQUERORS. 1. Life is a battle. 2. Life is a battle that may be won. 3. The win-ning of the battle is glorious. {D. Thomas, D.D.) Peculiarities of this Ephesianletter : — I. Opposition to error. 1. The origin of religious error is often involvedin great obscurity. 2. The manifestation of religious error is in deeds as well asdoctrines. There are those, alas ! who are orthodox in doctrine, but corrupt incharacter. Why is this? (1] Because the sound doctrine remains in the head, andnever enters the heart, and tne heart is the spring of action. (2) Because some-times the tempting spirit suddenly excites impulses which for a time bury thebeliefs.3. The defence of religious error is generally by an appeal to Divine authority. Themen who set themselves up as " apostles " are more likely to be apostates. 4. Thedissemination of religious error is often very rapid. (1) Because human nature inits depraved state has a greater afl&nity for it than for truth. (2) Because religiouserrorists are generally zealous propagandists. 5. The very existence of religiouserror should be hated by Christians. othing is more damning to the intellect,heart, soul. II. Patient endurance. It needed patience — 1. Because it had todisseminate truth. The stupidity, prejudices, and indifferentism of men call for102 THE BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR. [chap. n.this. 2. Because it has to encounter opposition. 3. Because patience is necessaryto wait. The results of Christian labour are not reached at once, and are seldomso manifest as to compensate the labour expended. III. The decay of love. 1." Remember." Beview the past, and call to mind the sweet, delicate, bloomingaffection of thy first love, with all the fresh joys and hopes it awakened. 2.
 
?' Repent." This does not mean crying, weeping, confessing, and throwing yourself into ecstasies, but a change in the spirit and purpose of life. 3. " Reproduce " — " do thy first work." Go over thy past life, reproduce the old feeling, and re-attemptold effort. 4. " Tremble." Let declension go on, and ruin is inevitable. (CalebMorris.) Phases of Church life ; the Church declining in moral enthusiasm : — I. That the Church which is declinino in moral enthusiasm may beCHARACTERISED BY MAY COMMEDABLE EXCELLECES. 1. ThisChurch WaSactive in work. Ministerial and Church work ought to be labour — BO earnest in its spirit and determined in its effort that it shall not be mereoccupation, but a moral anxiety. 2. This Church was patient in suffering.The Church, in our own time, has great need of this virtue, to prayerfullyawait the culmination of all its purposes, when its victory shall be completeand its enthronement final. We have far too many impatient men in the Christiancommunity who cannot bear reproach or impediment. 3. This Church was keenand true in moral sensibility. The world delights in calling the Church intolerant,how can it be otherwise of evil ? It cannot smile upon moral wrong. 4. It was judicious in the selection of its officials. Who these false apostles were we cannotdetermine ; suffice it to say that their credentials were examined and founddefective.Such deceivers have existed in aU ages of the Church, and have become the authorsof innumerable heresies. Christians should always test the conduct and doctrine of those whose pretences are great, and who seek to obtain authority amongst them ;asmen will even lie in reference to the most sacred things of life, and as zeal is notthe only qualification for moral service. 5. It was inspired by the name of Christ.His name is influential with the pious soul, because it is the source of all its goodand hope. 11. That the Church which is declining in moral enthusiasm is in aMOST serious condition, AD IVITES THE DiviE REBUKE. 1. In what maythe firstlove, or moral enthusiasm ol the Church, be said to consist ? It is, indeed, sadwhen the Church is beautiful in the face but cold at the heart. 2. What is it for aChurch to decline in first love or moral enthusiasm ? 3. What is it that occasionsa decline in first love or moral enthusiasm ? 4. What is it that Christ has againstthe Church which declines in first love or moral enthusiasm ? He regards such aChurch as neglectful of great privileges ; as guilty of sad ingratitude ; asinexcusablein its conduct ; and earnestly calls upon it to repent and do its first works. HI.That the Chxjrch declining in moral enthusiasm must earnestly seek the

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