To the one who is victorious, I will grant the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
I. OF OUR SAVIOR "Behold, I stand," etc.; and they reveal him to us in all his grace, he is represented:
1. As in constant nearness to the soul. He stands at the door. He does not come for once and then depart, but there he continues.
2. And he knocks at the door: not merely stands there. The soul is like a great palace that has many doors. And Christ knocks sometimes at the one door and sometimes at another. There is:
(1) The door of the intellect. To this he comes with the evidence of the reasonableness of his faith and claims.
(2) Of the conscience. To this he shows the goodness and righteousness of that which he asks; how he ought to be obeyed.
(3) Of love. He wakes up, or seeks to wake up, the spirit of gratitude in response to all he is and has done for the soul.
(4) Of fear. The alarm of the awakened conscience, the fearful looking for of judgment, are the means he uses.
(5) Of hope. The blessed prospect of eternal peace and purity and joy.
3. And he knocks in many ways.
(1) Sometimes by his Word. As it is quietly read in the sacred Scriptures, some text will arrest and arouse the soul. Or, as it is faithfully, lovingly, and earnestly preached: how often he knocks in this way! And
(2) sometimes by his providence. Sickness; bereavement; loss of wealth, or friends, or other earthly good; disaster; the approach of pestilence; nearness of death; trouble of mind, body, or estate; - all are the Lord's knockings. And
(3) sometimes by his Spirit. These more often than any. "The Spirit... says, Come."
4. And we know that he does this. Have we not been conscious of his appeals again and again?
5. See what all this reveals of him.
(1) His infinite patience. How long he has waited for some of us, year after year, and is not wearied yet!
(2) His gracious condescension. That he, our Lord and Saviour, should thus deal with us.
(3) And, above all, what infinite love! Behold, then, this portrait of our all-gracious Saviour and Lord, and let it draw your hearts to him as it should.
II. OF THE SOUL - the soul of each one of us. Our text shows the soul:
1. As the object of Christ's anxious concern, He would not else be thus standing and knocking at the door of our hearts. And the reason is that he knows:
(1) The soul's infinite value and preciousness. He knows its high capacities - that it can love and worship, resemble, and rejoice in God.
(2) Its terrible peril. Were it not so, there would not be need for such anxious concern. It is in peril of losing eternal life and of incurring eternal death. It is nigh unto perishing - a lost sheep, a lost piece of silver, a lost child.
2. As exercising its fearful Tower. Refusing Christ, keeping him outside the soul. Many other guests are admitted freely, but not Christ.
(1) The soul has this power of refusal. None other has. Not the stars of heaven, not the mighty sea, not the raging winds, not the devouring fire. All these obey. But the soul can refuse.
(2) And here it is exercising this power. That Christ is kept outside the soul is the testimony of:
(a) Scripture. Texts innumerable tell of the estrangement of the human heart from God.
(b) Conscience. Does not the ungodly man know that Christ does not dwell within him, that he has no room for him - however it may be with other guests - in his soul? And the strange, sad reluctancy to speak for Christ to others shows how partial is his possession of even Christian souls.
(c) Facts. See what men are and say and do; mark their conduct, their conversation, their character; examine the maxims, principles, and motives which regulate them, and see if Christ be in all or any of them. And this, not only in men brought up in ungodliness, but often in those trained in pious homes, and from whom you would have expected better things.
(3) And this is the soul's own doing. It voluntarily excludes Christ. When his appeal is heard, and very often it is, men divert their thoughts, distract them with other themes; or deaden their convictions, by plunging into pleasure, business, sin; or delay obedience, procrastinating and putting off that which they ought promptly to perform. Ah, what guilt! Ah, what folly!
(4) And this is the sin "against the Holy Ghost, which hath never forgiveness." Not any one definite act, but this persistent exclusion of Christ. The. knocking of the Lord is heard more and more faintly, until at length, although it goes on, it is not heard at all. The sin has been committed, and the punishment has begun. But the text contemplates also the happier alternative.
3. The soul claiming its greatest privilege - opening the door to Christ. He says, "If any man will open," thereby plainly teaching us that men may and should, and - blessed be his Name - some will, open that door.
(1) The soul can do this. It is part of its great prerogative. It could not say, "Yes," if it could not say, "No;" but because it can say, "No," it can also say, "Yes."
(2) And the opening the door depends upon its saying, "Yes." This is no contradiction to the truth that the Holy Spirit must open the heart. Both are essential; neither can be done without. It is a cooperative work, as consciousness and Scripture alike teach. But the Spirit ever does his part of the work; it is we only who fail in ours. May we be kept here from!
III. SALVATION. The result of such opening the door is this, and the picture that is given of it is full of interest.
1. Christ becomes our Guest. "I will sup with him." Now, if we invite any one to our table, we have to provide the feast. But what have we to set before Christ that he will care for? Ah, what? "All our righteousnesses" - will they do? Not at all. In this spiritual banquet that which he will most joyfully accept is ourselves, coming in contrition and trust to rest upon his love. "The sacrifices of God," etc. (Psalm 51.). Let us bring them; they, but naught else, will be well pleasing to him. But the scene changes.
2. Christ becomes our ]lost. "He with me." Ah! now what a difference!
"Blest Jesus, what delicious fare! (1) There is full, free pardon for every sin. (2) Next, the assurance of his love, that he has accepted us. (3) Power to become like him - renewing, regenerating grace. (4) His peace, so that in all trial and sorrow we may "rest in the Lord." (5) Power to bless others, so that they shall be the better for having to do with us. (6) Bright hope, blessed outlook to the eternal inheritance. (7) And at last, in due time, that inheritance itself. Such are some of the chief elements of that banquet at which Christ is the Host; and all the while there is sweet, blessed intercourse, hallowed communion, with himself. He is "known to us in the breaking of bread." CONCLUSION. How, then, shall it be? Shall we still keep the door of our hearts barred against him? May he forbid! We can do this; alas! some will. But we can open the door. Do that. "In the silent midnight watches, Say not 'tis thy pulse is beating: "Death comes on with reckless footsteps, Jesus waiteth - waiteth - waiteth "Then 'tis time to stand entreating Nay - alas! thou guilty creature;
(1) There is full, free pardon for every sin.
(2) Next, the assurance of his love, that he has accepted us.
(3) Power to become like him - renewing, regenerating grace.
(4) His peace, so that in all trial and sorrow we may "rest in the Lord."
(5) Power to bless others, so that they shall be the better for having to do with us.
(6) Bright hope, blessed outlook to the eternal inheritance.
(7) And at last, in due time, that inheritance itself.
Such are some of the chief elements of that banquet at which Christ is the Host; and all the while there is sweet, blessed intercourse, hallowed communion, with himself. He is "known to us in the breaking of bread."
CONCLUSION. How, then, shall it be? Shall we still keep the door of our hearts barred against him? May he forbid! We can do this; alas! some will. But we can open the door. Do that.
"In the silent midnight watches, Say not 'tis thy pulse is beating: "Death comes on with reckless footsteps, Jesus waiteth - waiteth - waiteth "Then 'tis time to stand entreating Nay - alas! thou guilty creature;
Say not 'tis thy pulse is beating: "Death comes on with reckless footsteps, Jesus waiteth - waiteth - waiteth "Then 'tis time to stand entreating Nay - alas! thou guilty creature;
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me.I. "TO HIM THAT OVERCOMETH"; THIS SUPPOSES A CONFLICT.
1. You must contend against yourself. The main battle is fought on the field of your own heart. Your closest foes are the affections which struggle there.
2. Allied with your heart and habits stands the world. God has so mercifully made us that we hail as a light upon our path the beam of kindliness in the eye of a fellow man. Even this will be turned against you.
3. But self and the world are but visible weapons of an invisible hand. Behind them, setting their edge and thrusting them home, is your great adversary the devil. Watchful when you are drowsy, plotting when you are unsuspicious, laying snares when you are tripping heedlessly, bending the bow when you are exposing your breast, he is ever going about seeking to devour.
II. HERE WE HAVE A PROMISE TO STIMULATE US TO OVERCOME.
1. Whatever this promise means, it must mean at least that the faithful Christian will be received into the immediate presence of his Lord. And this is a thought you must set well before you.
2. But as you linger on these words of promise your heart feels that they tell of more than merely of the abundant entrance. "I will grant to sit with Me in My throne." Ah I this seems, you think, to say that you shall be wondrously close to Him.
3. This seems to declare also that, if faithful, you shall share at last in the very honours which Invest your adorable Head.
4. But, lingering still on this rich promise, your heart gathers from it another assurance, and one that to us in our struggles is wondrous sweet. "In His throne," you repeat, "in His throne," what foe can approach me there? In this wide world I can find no inviolable rest. But "on His throne," surely eternal repose dwells there.
III. HERE YOU HAVE THE EXAMPLE SET BEFORE YOU FOR YOUR ENCOURAGEMENT.
1. Your Captain does not lead you to a warfare in which He is a stranger. You will meet no foe whom He has not met.
2. Consider, then, the example of Him who passed through every kind of temptation which can assail you, and in a degree of aggravation to which it is not possible that you should be liable. His victory is the pledge of yours, for His strength is your strength, and your only foes are His vanquished assailants.
(W. Arthur, M. A.)
(T. McCullagh, D. D.)
American National Preacher.I. THE CHARACTER OF THE CHRISTIAN. It is that of a soldier — a successful soldier. His life is a warfare. It was such unquestionably in the days of the apostles. And what is the case now? The antipathy of the carnal mind may be restrained or softened by the influence of knowledge and the force of conviction, but the fact is still patent that we must take up our cross if we will win the crown. Our enemies within, whatever they may be without, am neither few nor weak. And to subvert our eternal salvation is the one thing in which they are all united. We have, therefore, the greatest need of caution and courage. One thing must be ever borne in mind, namely, our constant dependence upon God. As long as we abide beneath the wing of Omnipotence we are secure.
II. THE REWARD WHICH SHALL BE ADJUDGED TO THE SUCCESSFUL WARRIOR. He shall sit down with the Saviour on His throne.
1. The promise may be understood to shadow forth the future dignity of the conquering Christian. He shalt sit down with his Lord, and on the same throne. The faithful unto death shall thus be exalted above the angels of God.
2. The imagery in the promise is intended to indicate the future holiness of the saints. Wherever God is there is purity itself.
3. The promise before us is expressive of the future happiness of believers. There we shall behold a sky without a cloud, light without shadow, and flowers without a thorn.
(American National Preacher.)I. THE BATTLE. Common life in this world is a warfare.
1. It is inner warfare, private, solitary, with no eye upon the warrior.
2. It is outer warfare. The enemies are legion.
3. It is daily warfare; not one great battle, but a multitude of battles. The enemy wearies not, ceases not, nor must we.
4. It is warfare not fought with human arms.
5. It is warfare in which we are sharers with Christ.
II. THE VICTORY. Here it is spoken of as one great final victory, but in reality it is a multitude. As are the battles so are the victories.
III. THE REWARD.
1. A throne. Not salvation merely, or life, but higher than these — glory, honour, dominion, and power. From being the lowest here they are made the highest hereafter.
2. Christ's throne. He has a seat on the Father's throne as the reward of His victory, we have a seat on His as the reward of ours. We are sharers or "partakers with Christ" in all things. We share His battles, His victories, His rewards, His cross, and His crown.
(H. Bonar, D. D.)I. A LIFE OF CHRISTIAN HOLINESS IS POSSIBLE.
II. IT IS NOT TO BE SUSTAINED WITHOUT VIGOROUS AND PERSEVERING EFFORTS.
1. The natural inaptitude and aversion of the unrenewed heart to the things of God and eternal life.
2. The world is against us.
3. The life of man is often the scene of distress.
III. THE ENCOURAGEMENTS TO A HOLY AND CHRISTIAN LIFE held out to us in the religion of Jesus are manifold and great.
1. In this arduous undertaking we are not left without assistance.
2. Multitudes of our fellow-men have already accomplished salvation, and are for ever with the Lord.
3. Whatever of warfare and pain may attend the Christian life they who maintain it are already the happiest of men.
4. Viewed aright it is matter of encouragement that the strife will soon be over.
5. What a vast reward awaits the faithful. (James Bromley.)
Sunday School Chronicle."So you intend to be a reformer of men's morals, young man," said an aged peer to Wilberforce. "That," and he pointed to a picture of the crucifixion, "that is the end of reformers." "Is it? I have read in an old Book this, 'I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.' That is the end, not death, but dominion. And if we be faithful, doing our duty, the end shall not be exhaustion, but 'sit with Me on My throne.'"
(Sunday School Chronicle.)
(George Matheson, D. D.)
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