And in the middle of the seven candlesticks one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot…
I. THE POSITION OF INSTRUMENTALITY IN REFERENCE TO OUR LORD JESUS. "He had in His right hand seven stars." God has ordained that there shall be men anointed of His Spirit, who shall, beyond others, be the means of conversion and edification, and these are as stars in the sky of the Church.
1. Note well, that instrumentality is of temporary use, and is intended for the time of darkness. The Lord will use instruments till He Himself appears, but even those whom He calls "stars" are only the transient apparatus of a passing night.
2. This should make us think very humbly of ourselves; for this illustrates our weakness. Were we lights of the first magnitude, the darkness would no longer remain.
3. Still, instrumentality is honourably spoken of by Him whose judgment is supremely wise, The Lord Jesus does not despise the agency which He employs.
4. Stars are guides, and so are the Lord's true ministers. Some stars in yonder sky have done measureless service to wanderers over the trackless deep, and to those who have lost themselves in the labyrinths of the forest.
5. A certain star, the morning star, is also the herald of the day. Happy messenger of God, who has the sound of his Master's feet behind him.
6. It is an honourable comparison that the instruments of God's good pleasure have put upon them in being compared to stars; for the stars are the comfort and solace of the night. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth glad tidings!"
7. Instrumentality is honourably placed; for we see the stars in the right hand of Him who is the First and the Last. They may be despised by those who oppose the Word, but they need not be ashamed; for while the right hand of God is their position, they are more honourable than the princes and kings of the earth.
8. See, also, how true instrumentality is graciously sustained. The chosen servants of the Lord are under special protection; for they shine in Christ's right hand.
II. THE PLACE OF REAL POWER. "Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword." Not out of the stars, but out of our Lord's mouth goes the strength which wins the day.
1. The true power of the Church lies in Christ personally. The power of a Church in the presence of her Lord. He has not deposited power in men; He retains it in Himself, and from Himself we must seek it. Behold the infinite resources of the Church; all power is in Jesus, and Jesus is with His people.
2. The power lies in Christ's word: "Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword." The power is not in the stars, but in the word which made the stars.
3. It is not only His word, but it is His word as He Himself speaks it. It is not the letter of the word which Jesus spake eighteen hundred years ago which works wonders; but it is that same word as He now delivers it into our ear and heart by His own living, loving, heart-subduing voice.
4. The word is in itself adapted to the Divine end, for it is sharp and two-edged; and when it is spoken by the Lord, its adaptation is seen. The gospel is very sharp when the Spirit of God lays it home. No doctrine of men has such piercing power.
III. THE SOURCE OF TRUE GLORY.
1. To the saints the glory of Christ lies in Himself: His own countenance is the centre of glory.
2. The favour of Christ, if it be enjoyed by a Church, is effectual for all purposes.
3. The brightness of our Lord cannot be measured, neither could His glory be endured of mortal men if once it were fully revealed. "His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength." John therefore could not gaze upon that countenance, but fell at his Lord's feet as dead. And if the Lord Jesus were to manifest Himself to us as He really is, in all His unveiled majesty, we should die with excess of joy.
4. If Christ's face be so bright, then we know where to trace all the light and all the glory that we have ever seen or known. Is there any beauty in the landscape? It is the sun that makes it beautiful. Is there any brightness in any object round about us? It is the sun that makes it bright.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.