Sunday, November 26, 2017
In Jesus, We Find The Joy Of God! #JesusFollowers
Every holy principle rejoices in a connection with spotless purity. Every grateful sentiment is stirred by recollecting the labors of redeeming love; every generous affection is roused by the mildness of his yoke; and every hope is animated by the prospect of that life and immortality which Jesus has brought to light.
This joy, it is evident, can only be tasted by the consistent, faithful, practical believer. The friends of Jesus will possess the joys of Jesus; but the friends of Jesus are those who do his commandments.
This is his own account of the matter, and therefore, when we lay this down as a rule, we are sure that we are right, for we are only repeating what he, himself has said.
We are called to study the attributes of God; the relations in which He stands towards us, and those duties which, in consequence, we owe to Him. We are to make ourselves acquainted with the divine authority, the pure doctrines, the holy precepts, and the perfect character of the blessed Jesus. This is the knowledge which will make us wise unto salvation.
Knowledge without virtue will do us no good. In the divine administration, which is wisdom and benevolence in action, we behold means and ends invariably suited to each other. Holiness is the great mean of real and lasting happiness.
If to grow in the likeness of our divine Master is the only preparation for the happiness he has promised, an unwearied attention to his precepts and example is strongly impressed upon us.
We must be active, vigilant, and persevering. Prejudices must be eradicated, passions must be governed, appetites and inclinations to evil resolutely restrained.
The heart and the life must be kept with all diligence, if the prize of our high calling is to be made sure.
Jesus shows us that God is love, the original spring of happiness, and that the grand end he proposes, in the production of man, is the communication and extension of happiness. He shows us that no situation of human life can warrant a fretful and despondent attitude; but that, in. all cases, we may, and, in justice to our great benefactor, ought to encourage a cheerful, and even a joyful attitude.
Let us look for strength where alone it is to be found. Seek for salvation only in that way which the Gospel prescribes. Go directly to the narrow gate. Depend upon it that in no other way redemption can be found. Consult your reason. Make a worthy and noble choice. Aim high. Ambition here is a virtue.
(Adapted from a sermon by Rev. Edmund Butcher, 1805)