After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.…
I. Many are hindered by a VAGUE SENSE WORKING THROUGH VENERATION AND THE IMAGINATION OF THE MAGNITUDE AND IMPORTANCE OF RELIGION. They have the impression that they are to carry the world on their shoulders. They are cautious, timid, conscientious, and feel that their strength and resolution are not adequate to so great a thing as the amplitude of religious life. This would be valid ii religion called men at first to take the service of Jesus Christ in its perfected form. But it is not so. The Master bids us become as little children, and go on step by step. The question is whether you are willing to take the child's step towards the consummation.
II. There are others who are caught IN MORBID INTELLECTUALISM, AND ARE STUCK UPON THE SPIRES AND THORNS OF SOME DOCTRINAL SYSTEM. They fail to separate between religion and its doctrines. With one it is election, with another reprobation. They have not learned to let such things alone. They are insoluble, most of them. Christ says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His" — not catechism, confession of faith, doctrine, but "righteousness." Let life, practice, experience, precede, and they will shape theory and philosophy.
III. Others are hindered by THE FRAGMENTS AND RUINS OF PAST ATTEMPTS.
1. There are many who have entered on a religious life under such misconceptions we have been buffeted by such influences that sentiment, honour, conscience, taste, or pride, has been almost fatally wounded.
2. Others become torpid or dead. In youth, while enthusiasm was strong, they felt that there was a reality in religion; but it having proved a mockery to them they come to have the impression that there is nothing in it.
3. But there are a great many who do not fall so far. They hoped to be saved, but are without any definite purposes. But the mistakes that have been made are no reason why you should not with better light and ampler experience regain the lost ground. No man can afford to throw himself away because he has made a mistake in attempting to be healed. The woman with the issue of blood did not do so. Forget, then, the things that are behind. If you would be made whole, remember that failure is no reason for not striving again.
IV. Many are hindered by THE INSPECTION OF THE LIVES OF CHRISTIAN MEN. This is ignoble, and has nothing to do with your own case. However others may be cowardly and false, that is no reason why you should not be courageous and true. This is no excuse, it is the plea of a man who is in search of one.
V. THE DEBILITATING EFFECT OF SCEPTICAL DOUBTS UPON THE MORAL SENSE. Such is the nature of things that we live by faith and not by sight in respect to the whole realm of the invisible from which the power is to be derived, by which the soul is to be rectified. Once let a man doubt, and it will break the power of his believing. And many people are so moved that their moral root is impaired. Is not this so? To you, then, Christ comes and asks this question. There is healing in Him for those who are impotent from doubt.
VI. THERE ARE THOSE THE HABIT OF WHOSE MIND CONVERTS MORAL IMPRESSIONS INTO IDEAS RATHER THAN INTO ACTIONS.
1. Some are so familiar with their Bible that it is worn smooth. Their wheels slip on the track.
2. Others never break into flame. They are compacted of thoughts and feelings which are so covered up and smothered that they never have disclosure. They are given to revive. The work of the world is not accomplished in this way, nor is that of Christianity. Don't, then, think about the poetry of religion, but brace yourself for its activities.Conclusion:
1. Every man, whatever his hindrances, should be faithful to the inward yearning to be made whole. If that lives there is hope.
2. To such Christ will come. There is a way when there is a will.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.