John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be to you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come…
It is the echo of the heavenly harping that John hears. This is what they are singing on high, and what we are training for here.
I. THE SOURCE OF SALVATION IN ETERNITY. "Unto Him that loved us." When God set out for His journey of redemption He must have looked round the shelves of glory for what to take, as some of you starting on a journey, pack your bag or portmanteau. Certain things you take with you for the journey. So with God. There are the thunders of almighty power. Is He to take these? No. He became man — poor, feeble man, and the thunders slept till He came back. Is He to take the glory above the sun's strength? Is He to take the robe of uncreated light? No. He strips Him of the visible Godhead. He lays aside the uncreated Shekinah manifestation, but He takes something — something that heaven can give and that earth needs. He dips His almighty heart in love. He cannot do without that. He will not get love enough here, and if He is to bring love He must get it before He starts. He comes with the only qualification for His great work that He sees needful — love in His heart. And it is that love that you and I need, the love that death hath no power over, a love that is to exist and be strong when yonder sun flickers out into eternal midnight. It is that love that my longing soul craves for, and it is that love that is in Christ's heart. Human love — why, we dare only creep from headland to headland; we cannot launch out into the deep, for death is nigh. But in Christ's love you can let your soul go. You can sail into the mighty ocean assured that there is no limit, that there is no further shore to it, that there are no shoals to tear the ribs of the vessel of your heart asunder. The love of Christ will outlive the sun; the love of Christ will be strong in mighty current when the stars, the last of them, pull a veil over their faces and die. The love of Christ is the one eternal, abiding, almighty force in the universe. Can you sing it? "Unto Him that loved us" with a deathless, undying, unchanging, abiding, eternal love, to Him "be glory and dominion for ever and ever."
II. THE EFFECT OF SALVATION IN TIME. The stream runs from the hillside to the valley, and it gets deep and wide and broad, and the masts of the navy of a commercial city are reflected in its fair bosom. So with the love of God. It came rushing out of the pearly gates a mighty torrent, and it came down to the valley and expanded there into a broad lake, and the love has become a fact in time. And the way it has become a fact is this: The love has washed us in the precious blood of Christ. Oh, how foul we were, how the streets of time had left their defilement on our spirit. A thousand rivers — have they water enough to cleanse a sinful heart? What did God find and feel to be necessary? What is that awful tinge that reddens the waves of the laver of regeneration? What is this mysterious chemical, Thou, God, art putting there? Why this agony of Thy beloved Son? Why the open side, why the pierced hands and feet, why the blood? "Without shedding of blood there is no remission," says God. If you turn to the Revised Version you will see the word "loosed" for "washing." It is the same idea, but more vigorously expressed. Sometimes when the dirt sticks you take pumice stone, or something that will rub or scrape. And so the Greek word shows that God's washing is so effectual, the blood of Jesus is so powerful in its cleansing, that it is more like cutting off, it is more like excising and putting aside. The word is a strong word — loosing, cutting us out from our sins by His precious blood.
III. THE EFFECT OF SALVATION ON MAN. "And hath made us kings." We crouch, a slave, to the Cross, but we give three leaps from it, and tread to heaven with the tramp of a king. The Cross gives dignity, the Cross gives royalty, to the saved heart. Christ crowns us when the heart accepts Him. We are kings, and we have a country. We are not like John Lack-land, for a king must have a kingdom. We are kings from the Cross, and what is our kingdom? It is our heart, our own soul, that is our kingdom. Your great country of promise has to be conquered by your own little fist of fulfilling. So with your heart. It is the promised land, but you have to fight for it. You have, as a conqueror, to make the plains of your own soul reverberate with your own tread. Old habits come out! old sins, passions, lusts, come out! "Put your feet on the necks of them," says Christ, and I, by the grace of God, put my feet on old habits, old sins, old passions, and am king over my own heart. "And hath made us kings." And it is the priest's service that God accepts and needs to-day. It is the profession of adoration, it is the song of praise from my heart that He cannot get from the harps of heaven. It is this, that you and I should just tell Him more that we love Him. You know they say a Scotchman never tells his wife he loves her till he is just dying. Well, it is a great pity. In this world he would be happier and she would be happier, if he would tell his love into the ear while it can hear. So the Lord Jesus is longing for you and me, in time, while we have the opportunity, just to tell Him. Go home, then, to your own room, and kneel down and say in this holy priesthood of thine, "Lord Jesus, I adore Thee, I love Thee; to Thee be the glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
Parallel VersesKJV: John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;