Sunday, August 06, 2006

Preferring Christ above all things

Excerpt from the Sermon The Duty of Seeking the Things Which Are Jesus Christ's by David Black (1762-1806, pastor in Edinburgh, Scotland)

Maturing Christians begin to seek the things which are Jesus Christ's in preference to their own interests. The things which are Jesus Christ's are the unseen things promoting the Kingdom of God and pertaining to His glorious work of subjecting all things to Himself. The spiritual man seeks to understand how to promote Christ's interests. These are opposed to his own things-- his comfort & ease, his reputation, his financial security and family interests, his career and natural desires. He becomes opposed to those selfish views which motivate the rest of mankind. The soul of the spiritual man is enlarged and motivated toward an unselfish benevolence toward the interests of all of the members of Christ's holy Body of believers (the church).

The true Christian is taught by the Spirit of Christ to form a proper estimate of the unspeakable value of spiritual blessings, and the comparative insignificance of all earthly pursuits, while he looks not at the things which are seen and temporary, but at those things which are unseen and eternal [[permanent]] (II Cor. 4:8). Risen with Christ, he seeks and sets his affections on things above, not on things on the earth (Col. 3:1-2). According to the measure of his faith is his capacity to despise earthly schemes and selfish considerations and prefer heavenly things and the promotion of the Kingdom of God and His church in the Earth.

This longing for eternal, unseen things is a striking mark of true spiritual religion as opposed to a 'mere form of godliness.' That which is born of the flesh is flesh; but that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:6). A worldly man is a stranger to the faith which overcomes the world, not realizing the things of an unseen and everlasting state, he is always afraid of venturing too far, of being too righteous, of perhaps harming his worldly interests, and inviting the censure of those whose good opinion he so wishes to preserve. But the [[fierce-hearted]], genuine disciple of Christ has learned to deny himself, to take up his cross, and follow his exalted Lord at any cost. His faith has taught him to prize Jesus Christ and eternal things above everything which this world can grant. [[As Jesus refused to bow down to satan when He was offered the kingdoms of this world prematurely, the godward Christian refuses the offers of this world, preferring all of the unseen treasures and promises of Christ to anything this world dangles in front of him-his whole portion is Christ alone and His eternal interests]].

No comments: