Who has believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?…
I. WHAT IS THAT SUCCESS WHICH THE GOSPEL SOMETIMES HATH? It is successful —
1. When sinners are thereby brought to faith in Christ (Romans 1:17).
2. When they are thereby brought to holiness of life (2 Corinthians 3:18).
II. WHAT IS THAT DIVINE POWER WHICH SOMETIMES COMES ALONG WITH GOSPEL-ORDINANCES?
1. A heart and life discovering power (1 Corinthians 14:24, 25). The word comes, and the Lord's arm comes with it, and opens the volume of a man's heart and the life, and it is as if the preacher were reading the secret history of a man's thoughts and actions (Hebrews 4:12).
2. A sharp, convincing power, whereby the sinner does not only see his sin, but sees the ill and danger of it, and is touched to the heart with it (Acts 24:25).
3. A drawing and converting power (John 12:32; Psalm 19:7).
4. A quickening power (Psalm 119:50).
5. A clearing power, resolving doubts, removing mistakes and darkness in certain particulars, whereby one is retarded in their spiritual course (Psalm 19:7, 8).
6. A comforting power (Psalm 119:49, 50).
7. A strengthening power. The Spirit, with the Word blowing on the dry bones, makes them stand on their feet like s great army.
8. A soul-elevating and heart-ravishing power (Luke 24:32).
III. THE REASONS OF THE DOCTRINE.
I. It must be a matter of lamentation to the godly in general. For —
(1) The honour of Christ is thereby overclouded.
(2) The glory of the glorious Gospel is thereby veiled.
(3) Souls are thereby lost, while salvation is come to their door.
(4) The godly themselves suffer loss, the thronger Christ's family is, the better thriven are the children; and contrariwise. If there were more converting, there would be more confirming work too.
2. Particularly to godly ministers.
(1) Thereby their care and pains are much lost, and in vain.
(2) Their work is rendered more difficult and wearisome.
(3) The seals of their ministry are but small.
(T. Boston, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?