Cornerstone

                                                Luke 20:9-19

                                                April 18, 2021

 

in re:  last week’s lesson

 

In treating sin. No human being can cure sin. Men may blame sin, but

they cannot cast it out. Here is a disease that no medicine of man’s can

touch. But there is room for some action of ours. We are able and ought

to be to apply the Divine remedy. Yet people fail to do so! How conscious

we must be that our efforts are not reaching the sinner and really helping

him!

 

Have you ever ignored a warning or a direction given and then have to face the

consequences?  Ignoring God’s warnings and His Son have far greater

consequences than anything you will have to face in this world!

 

In reference to the Divine remedy mentioned above, the central message of the

Bible  is that God offers salvation from sin through faith in JESUS ALONE

Ignoring this gospel fact puts one in danger of facing the Judgment without

God, without Christ, but forgiveness is available for all who turn to Jesus,

thus the DIVINE REMEDY!

 

                        The Last Working Day (ch. 20:19 to ch. 21:38)

 

It is Tuesday, the last of the Lord’s working days; for Wednesday and the

early part of Thursday were spent apparently in the quiet of His Bethany

home. A busy, trying day, crowded with events in which we see the Son of

God enduring against Himself the contradiction of sinners. Let us gather up

a part of its teaching. When, in the early morning, Christ entered the outer

courts of the temple, He encountered a deputation of persons secretly

commissioned by the Pharisees to entrap Him into admissions which might

be used against Him (vs. 19-20). The deputation consisted (Matthew 22:16)

of some of the more prominent scholars of the rabbis, and some politicians

who were attached to the Herodian dynasty. For so it often is —

a common hatred will unite those whose positions, mental or moral, are

antagonistic. This has been frequently exemplified in religious and religio-

political movements. The emissaries of priest and politician, thus leagued

together, submit their question with ceremonious politeness (vs. 21-22).

He to whom they speak knows what is in man (v. 23). And, demanding

the penny, with the coin held before them He returns the famous sentence

on which so much has been spoken and written, which has been rendered

the catchword of heated ecclesiastical controversy (v. 24), “Whose image

and superscription hath this penny?” It is the image and superscription of

the proud Tiberius. “Then,” is the reply, “if you use his coin, give back to

him what is his due, and to God, whose is the image and superscription on

the human soul, give back what is God’s” (ver. 25).

 

Emphasize the image of God stamped on mankind, you and me!

 

 

Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:12-17

 

 

Read ch. 20:1, 9-19

 

 

From last week which I did not get around to.

 

 

                                                # 314a on the website.

 

TO THOSE WHO ARE ANGRY

WITH THEIR GODLY FRIENDS.

 

 

                                    DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,

 

AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.

 

“And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy

countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted;

and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall

be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” — Genesis 4:6, 7.

 

SINNERS are not all of the laughing sort: Cain’s mind was angry, and his

heart was heavy. The short life of the vicious is not always a merry one.

See, here you have a man who is utterly without God, but he is not without

sorrow. His countenance has fallen: his looks are sullen: he is a miserable

man. There are many ungodly people still in the world who are not happy

in the condition in which they find themselves. The present does not

content them, and they have no future from which to borrow the light of

hope. The service of sin is hard to them, and yet they do not quit it for the

service of the Lord. They are in danger of having two hells — one in this

life, and another in the world to come.

 

They have a religion of their own, even as Cain brought an offering of the

fruit of the ground; but it yields them no comfort, for God has no respect

to their offering, and therefore they are displeased about it. The things of

God bring an increase to their inward wretchedness: it was after a sacrifice

that Cain’s countenance fell. Many unrenewed hearts quarrel with God at

his own altar: quarrel by presenting what he never commanded, and then

by growing wroth because he rejects their will-worship. They attend the

means of grace, but they are not saved nor comforted, and they do not like

it. They pray, after a fashion, and they are not heard, and they feel

indignant at the slight. They read the Scriptures, but no cheering promise is

ever applied to their hearts, and they grow fierce at their failure. They see

another accepted, as Abel was, and this excites their jealousy, and envy

gnaws at their heart. They are wroth with God, with their fellow man, and

with everything about them; their countenance falls, and they are in a

morose mood, which fits them for any cruel word or deed. Can you not see

their sullen looks?

 

They would like to have the enjoyments of religion very much, they would

like to have peace of conscience, they would like to be uplifted beyond all

fear of death, they would like to be as happy as Christian people are; but

they do not want to pay the price, namely, obedience to God by faith in

Jesus Christ. They would willingly bring an offering to God according to

their own choice and taste, but they do not care to come with “the lamb”

as their sacrifice: they cannot accept the atonement made by our Lord’s

laying down his life for us. They wish to have the reward of obedient faith

while yet they have their own way. They would reap the harvest without

sowing the seed. They would gather clusters without planting vines. They

would win the wages without serving, the Master of the vineyard. But as

this cannot be, and never will be, they are full of bitter feeling. Since sin

and sorrow are sure to be, sooner or later, married together, and since only

by walking in the ways of God can we hope to find peace and rest, they

quarrel with the divine arrangement, grow inwardly miserable, and show it

by their sullen looks and growling words.

 

They are in a bitter state of heart, and it is fair to ask each one of them,

“Why art thou wroth?” Alas! they are not angry with themselves, as they

ought to be, but angry with God; and often they are angry with God’s

chosen, and envious of them, even as Cain was malicious and vindictive

towards Abel. “Why should my neighbor be saved, and not I? Why should

my brother rejoice because he has peace with God, while I cannot get it?

Why should my own sister be converted and sing of heaven, and I, who

have gone to the same place of worship, and have joined in the same

prayers and hymns, seem to be left out in the cold?” Such questions might

be useful to them; but instead of looking into their own hearts to see what

is wrong there, instead of judging themselves and trying to get right with

God, they inwardly blame the Lord, or the persons whom they think to be

more favored than themselves. The blessings of grace are to be had by

them; but they refuse to take them, and yet quarrel with those who accept

them. They play the part of the dog in the manger, who could not eat the

hay himself; and would not let the horses do so. They will not accept

Christ, and yet grumble because others have Him.

 

It is one of the sure signs of the seed of the serpent — that they will always

be at enmity with the seed of the woman. This is one of the marks of

distinction between those who walk after the flesh and those who walk

after the spirit; for as Ishmael mocked Isaac, so the child of the flesh mocks

the child of promise even to this day. So soon as the two sons born to

Adam were grown up, the great division was seen: he who was of the

wicked one slew the man who by faith offered a more acceptable sacrifice.

This division has never ceased, and never will cease, while the race of man

remains on earth under the reign of God’s long-suffering. By this shall ye

know to which seed ye belong; whether ye are of those who hate the

righteous, or of those who are hated for Christ’s sake.

 

Now, I want to call attention to a very gracious fact connected with this

text; and that is, that, although Cain was in such a bad temper that he was

very wroth, and his countenance fell, yet God, the infinitely gracious One,

came and spoke with him, and reasoned with him patiently. It is wonderful

that God should speak with man at all, considering man’s insignificance.

Did not the Psalmist say, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy

fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man,

that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”

But for the Lord to speak with sinful man is a far greater marvel; and for

him to reason with such a man as Cain, a murderer in heart, and soon to be

a murderer in deed, impenitent, implacable, presumptuous, blasphemous;

this is a miracle of mercy! Shall the pure and holy God speak with such a

wretch as Cain, who was angry with his brother without just cause? Why

does He not at once cut him off while yet his hate has not issued in murder,

and thus at the very beginning show His detestation of envy and malice?

Truly His mercy endureth for ever. Behold, the Lord comes to Cain with a

question, gives him an opportunity of speaking for himself, and defending,

if he can, his state of mind. “Why art thou wroth? and why is thy

countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if

thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.”

 

Yet this is no solitary instance of the condescension of God: it is the way of

our God to expostulate with sinners, and to let them produce their strong

reasons, and justify themselves it they can. It is His fashion to say, “Turn

ye: turn ye, why will ye die, O house of Israel?” for He willeth not the death

of any, but that they should turn unto Him and live. He is greatly patient

and waiteth to be gracious. God gives none up until they fatally resolve to

give themselves up, and even then His good Spirit strives with them as long

as it is possible to do so, consistently with His holiness.

 

Often to the very gates of death, and up to the very edge of the bottomless

pit, His pity follows obstinate sinners, crying still, “Turn ye! Turn ye! Turn

ye! Why will ye die?” Ay, the angry sinner — the Cain-ite sinner — the

sinner whose face betrays the anger of his soul, whose heart is hot with

enmity against God and against His Christ, even he is not left to die without

divine pleadings which may show him his fault and folly. Still does the

Lord handle conscience with skill, and arouse thought with fit enquiries:

“Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?”

 

I pray God that he may speak to any among my congregation who may be

in this sad and evil condition. I have felt lately that I may have but few

more opportunities of preaching the gospel, and therefore I would try and

speak more solemnly every time I preach, and endeavor to strike right

home at the heart and conscience, if by any means I may save some. Oh

how I long to bring men to Jesus! I could gladly lay down my life to save

my hearers. May the Holy Spirit make my words to be full of force and

holy fire; and may they meet the case of some here present whom I have

never seen before, but whose thoughts are as well known to God as if they

were printed in a book and laid open before His eyes! Oh that I may be

moved to speak a word which shall fit the case as a glove fits the hand

which wears it! May it not merely be the voice of man that speaks to you;

but may it be clear that God has commissioned his servant to speak to your

hearts, and that by my sermon God himself expostulates with you even as

He expostulated with Cain in those ancient times!

 

Recollect that the case is that of a man who is angry, angry mainly because

he cannot get the comforts of religion. He sees his brother enjoying them,

and he grows wroth with him for that reason. With him, and all like him, I

would reason with kind words.

 

I. I shall take the last sentence of the text first: “Unto thee shall be his

desire, and thou shall rule over him.” In these words God argues with Cain,

and answers the charge of favouritism which was lurking in his mind. He

tells him, in effect, that NO DIFFERENCE IS MADE IN THE ARRANGEMENT

OF SOCIAL LIFE, BECAUSE OF THE ARRANGEMENTS OF GRACE. Notice

that he says to him, “Unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over

him” — which I understand to mean just this: “Why are you so angry

against Abel? It is true that I have accepted his offering: it is true that he is

a righteous man, and you are not; but, for all that, you are his elder

brother, and he looks up to you, his desire is toward you, and you shall rule

over him. He has not acted otherwise than as a younger brother should act

towards an elder brother, but he has admitted your seniority and priority.

He has not revolted from you: you rule over him: you are his master. Why,

then, are you so angry?” Observe this, then — that if a man shall be angry

with his wife because she is a Christian, we may well argue with him —

Why are you thus provoked? Is she not a loving and obedient wife to you

in all things, except in this matter touching her God? Is she not all the

better for her religion? I have known a husband meet his wife at the

Tabernacle door and call her foul names all the way home for no other

reason than because she joined in the worship of God. Yet she was all the

more loving, diligent, and patient because of that worship. Here is your

child converted, and you are angry. Are you not unreasonable in this? You

are his father, and he yields obedience to you. God has not caused religion

to alter the natural position of things: your child, your servant, your wife,

all recognize this, and remain in due subservience to you. For what cause

are you thus sullen and wroth? Good sir, this is not like a reasonable man.

Be persuaded to let better feelings sway you.

Now, this is an important thing to note, because first of all it takes away

from governments their excuse for persecution. In the early days of

Christianity, multitudes of Christians were tormented to death because of

their faith in Jesus. There was no excuse for it, for they had done no harm

to the State. Christianity does not come into a nation to break up its

arrangements, or to break down its fabric. All that is good in human

society it preserves and establishes. It snaps no ties of the family; it

dislocates no bonds of the body politic. There are theories of socialism and

the like which lead to anarchy and riot; but it is not so with the mild and

gentle teaching of Jesus Christ, whose every word is love and patience. He

says, “Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek,

turn to him the other also.” His apostle says — “Wives, submit yourselves

unto your own husbands: husbands, love your wives; children, obey your

parents in all things: servants, obey in all things your masters, not with

eyeservice as menpleasers: masters, give unto your servants that which is

just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.” Such

precepts as these are no injury to government. Paul was no leader of

sedition, no destroyer of the rights of property. Caesar needed not to fear

Christ. Jesus did not covet Caesar’s purple or Caesar’s throne. Even Herod

needed not to tremble for his princedom, for the child that was born at

Bethlehem would not have hunted that fox or disturbed his den. “My

kingdom is not of this world,” said our Lord Jesus, “else would my

servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews.” Now, inasmuch

as the religion of Jesus Christ does no hurt to social order, teaches no one

to be rebellious, takes away from no man his rights, but guards the rights

of all from the meanest to the greatest, all excuse is taken away from any

government that dares to put out its hand to touch the church of God. As

to each disciple of Jesus, the government may be satisfied that he is loyal.

“Thou shalt rule over him” is certainly true. Christians will cheerfully

submit to all lawful rule and righteous authority. To them it is a matter of

joy if they are enabled to lead peaceable lives because the magistrate is a

terror to evildoers. They are a non-resistant, peaceable, quiet people, who

have from the beginning of the world until now borne burdens and suffered

and been content to suffer, so that they might but be true to their Master.

They hate tyranny, but they love order: they protest against oppression, but

they uphold law and justice. Why, then, should they be persecuted? They

ask nothing from the State by way of pay or patronage; they only ask to be

let alone, and to be subject to no disability on account of their religion. Let

all who are in authority, whether as kings or petty magistrates, beware of

wantonly molesting a people who cause them no trouble, lest they be found

in this matter to be fighting against God.

 

 

 

JESUS IS THE CORNERSTONE

 

The Jewish builders, scribe, priest, Pharisee, and Herodian, rejected Him with

disdain. They could see no excellence in Him that they should build upon

Him; He could not be made to fit in with their ideal of a national church, he

was a stone of another quarry from themselves, and not after their mind

nor according to their taste; therefore they cast Him away and poured

contempt upon Him, even as Peter said, "This is the stone which was set at

naught of you builders" (I Peter 2:7); they reckoned Him to be as nothing, though

HE IS LORD OF ALL!  

 

 

People still reject Him today!

 

The husbandmen who had just been described as vine-dressers are now described

as builders, and the murdered son is reproduced under the image of a corner, stone

tossed aside as useless. In the first part of the picture, the earthly humiliation of

Messiah is portrayed when the stone is laid in the earth. In the second, the stone

falling from the top of the building represents the crushing of all earthly opposition

by Messiah in His glory.  Woe to the builders, then, who had scornfully rejected Him!

 

 

Jesus is the cornerstone
Came for sinners to atone
Though rejected by His own
He became the cornerstone

Jesus is the cornerstone
When I am by sin oppressed
In the stone I am at rest
When the seeds of truth are sown
He remains the cornerstone

Jesus is the cornerstone
Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee
Rock of Ages so secure
For all time it shall endure

Til His children reach their home
He remains the cornerstone
Til the breaking of the dawn
Til all footsteps cease to roam
Ever let this truth be known
Jesus is the cornerston

 (I could not find who wrote the lyrics - CY - 2021)

 

 

Matthew 21:42

Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The

stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of

the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?”

Did ye never read? It is as though Christ said, “Ye have

answered rightly. You profess to know the Scriptures well; do you not,

then, apprehend that Holy Writ foretells that concerning Messiah and His

enemies which you have just announced?” The imagery is changed, but the

subject is the same as in the preceding parable. The vineyard is now a

building; the husbandmen are the builders; the Son is the stone. In the

Scriptures. The quotation is from Psalm 118:22-23 — the same psalm

which was used on the day of triumph when Christ was saluted with cries

of “Hosanna!” and which, as some say, was first sung by Israel at the Feast

of Tabernacles on the return from Captivity. The stone. This figure was

generally understood to represent Messiah, on whom depended the

existence and support of the kingdom of God. Many prophecies containing

this metaphor were applied to him; e.g. Isaiah 28:16; Daniel 2:34;

Zechariah 3:9; so that the Pharisees could be at no loss to understand

the allusion, seeing that JESUS claimed to be THAT STONE. Rejected;

as being not suitable to the building, or useless in its construction. So the

husbandmen rejected the Son. The ignorance and contempt of men are

overruled by THE GREAT ARCHITECT!   The head of the corner. The

cornerstone, which stands at the base and binds together two principal

walls (see Paul’s grand words, Ephesians 2:19-22). We learn that

Christ unites Jew and Gentile in one holy house (compare I Peter 2:6-7).

This (αὕτη hautaethis), being feminine, is thought by some to refer to

 (κεφαλὴν γωνίας – kephalaen goniashead of the corner); but it is better

to take it as used by a Hebrew idiom for the neuter, and to refer generally to

what has preceded, viz. the settlement of the cornerstone in its destined position,

which is effected by the Lord Himself. THE ULTIMATE VICTORY OF THE

REJECTED SON IS DISTINCTLY PREDICTED!  (compare Acts 4:11;

Romans 9:33).

 

 

 

The History of the Cornerstone (Matthew 21:42)

 

Foundations are not now laid as in olden times. Foundation stones are now

mere ornaments. There is no sense in which buildings now rest on them.

Memorial stones are taking the place of foundation stones. Probably the

figure of the “cornerstone” is taken from the corner of Mount Moriah,

which had to be built up from the valley, in order to make a square area for

the temple courts. Dean Plumptre says, “In the primary meaning of the

psalm, the illustration seems to have been drawn from one of the stones,

quarried, hewn, and marked, away from the site of the temple, which the

builders, ignorant of the head architect’s plans, had put on one side, as

having no place in the building, but which was found afterwards to be that

on which the completeness of the structure depended, that on which, as the

chief cornerstone, the two walls met, and were bonded together.” Take this

suggestion, and consider:

 

  • CHRIST AS THE PREPARED CORNERSTONE. Describe the work

done on the limestone block in order to fit it for its place as a

foundationstone. The apostle permits us to think of the experiences of our

Lord’s human life as fitting Him to be the Saviour He became. The Captain

of our salvation was made perfect through suffering, for His work as the

bringer on of souls.” “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience

by the things that He suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8)  The Cornerstone was being

chiseled and, beveled for its place. Work out this figure.

 

  • CHRIST AS THE REJECTED CORNERSTONE. When our Lord

spoke, the Cornerstone was almost ready; and there were the men who

prided themselves on being the builders of God’s temple of religion. And

they were, then and there, rejecting that “tried Stone, that precious

Cornerstone.”  (Isaiah 28:16)  They would put nothing on it. It was not to

their mind. It may lie forever in the quarry for all they care. But happily they

were only like overseers, or clerks of works. The Architect Himself may

order this Stone to be brought, and made the “Head of the corner.”

 

  • CHRIST AS THE HONORED CORNERSTONE. The Architect

Himself did interfere, brushed those petty officials aside, had the tried Stone

brought out, and on it He has had built the new temple of the ages. That

temple is rising into ever richer and nobler proportions, and it was never

more manifest than it is today, that THE CORNERSTON IS CHRIST!

 

43 “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from

you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”

 

Acts 28:28

 

 

Luke 20

 

17  And He beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone

which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?

18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever

it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”  In spite of the deprecating expression,

the severity of the tone of Jesus increases in His next words, when, looking at them

with grave anger (ἐμβλέψας – emblepsas – in looking), He proceeds to speak of

Himself under the figure of the rejected stone. Quoting a well-known psalm

(Psalm 118:22), and using the imagery of Isaiah 8:14-15 and Daniel 2:44, He

describes His fortunes under the image of a corner-stone — that stone which forms

the junction between the two most prominent walls of a building, and which is

always laid with peculiar care and attention. In ch. 2:34 of this Gospel Simeon

refers to the same well-known prophetic saying. The husbandmen who had just

been described as vine-dressers are now described as builders, and the murdered

son is reproduced under the image of a corner, stone tossed aside as useless. In

the first part of the picture, the earthly humiliation of Messiah is portrayed when

the stone is laid in the earth. In the second, the stone falling from the top of the

building represents the crushing of all earthly opposition by Messiah in His glory.

Woe to the builders, then, who had scornfully rejected Him!

 

 

 

                        The Rejection and Exaltation of Christ (v. 17)

 

We look at:

 

·         THE REJECTION OF JESUS CHRIST. Its strangeness.

 

Ø      From an evidential point of view. How came the builders to reject

      that valuable Stone? How was it that all the miracles of Jesus, so

wonderful, so beneficent, so simple, and so credible as they were;

that the life of Jesus, so holy and so beautiful, so gracious and so

winning as it was; that the truth spoken by Jesus, so profound, so

original, so lofty, so satisfying to the deepest wants of man as it was;

how came it to pass that all this left Him the “despised and

rejected of men”?

 

Ø      Fromprovidential point of view. How do we account for it that there

should have been such a long and complicated preparation for the coming

of the Messiah of the Jews, and of the Redeemer of mankind, and that he

should fail to be recognized when he came? Does not all that Divine

arrangement of Law and ritual and prophecy, of privilege and discipline,

seem to have been attended with failure? Of what use was all that elaborate

preparation, when the people of God rejected the Son of God? when he to

whom everything pointed, and of whom everything foretold, was not

welcomed and honored, but denounced as a deceiver and slain as a

criminal?

 

·         CONSIDERATIONS WHICH ACCOUNT FOR IT; or which, if they

do not account for it, lessen our surprise concerning it.

 

Ø      As to the evidential difficulty. We need not wonder that the very

strongest evidence failed to convince those who were unconvinced. What

evidence can prevail against bigotry (or prejudice) and selfishness

combinedOur knowledge and experience of mankind must have

abundantly proved that either of these can repel the clearest and

weightiest proofs; much more can both of them. And surely prejudice

and self-interest never found a firmer seat than they found in the

minds of the “chief priests and the scribes” who led the opposition

to our Lord.

 

Ø      As to the providential difficulty. We must take into our consideration

 

o       the fact that God’s dealings with our race include such apparent

      failures as this, and oblige us to wait the issue before we judge;

 

o       the fact that the long preparation of Israel was by no means

      wholly an apparent failure. There is evidence of much fulfillment

of prophecy; there is the valuable contribution of all that is

contained in Old Testament Scripture, which is a rich and precious

heritage to the human race; and there is, above all, the formation

of a pure and reverent people, distinguished from and raised

above all surrounding nations in the supreme element of moral

character, which supplied the human material for the first

great missionary epoch. Moreover, the very rejection of

Jesus Christ has played to be the beginning and foundation of

ultimate success, and of a success far deeper and larger than

any contemporary and national triumph would have been.

It has led up to:

 

·         HIS EXALTATION.

 

Ø      Notwithstanding His humiliation. That Stone was rejected indeed; that

      Teacher was silenced, that Prophet slain, that cause covered with infamy;

those hopes, cherished by a few disciples, were laid in the tomb and

covered from sight; yet, notwithstanding all that apparent defeat and

discomfiturethat “Stone has become the Head of the corner,” that

Teacher the great Teacher of Divine wisdom, that Prophet the

acknowledged Savior of mankind, that cause the kingdom of God

upon earth.  As the reward of His humiliation “God hath highly

exalted Him” (Philippians 2:6-11; Hebrews 2:9-10)  As a result of

His humiliation, “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.”

(John 12:32).  The cross has been the great magnet which has been

attracting the world. It is to a crucified Savior, once slain for our sins,

dying in mercy toward our race, that we are drawn in faith and love.

It is He “who loved us, and gave Himself for us” (Ephesians 5:2)

unto such shame and sorrow and death — it is He whom we rejoice

to make the Friend of our heart and the Sovereign of our life.

 

It is well for us that we stand at a point in time where we can recognize the

Corner-stone.  We know Jesus Christ better than we should have done had we

lived when He was the Stone rejected of the builders. We could not be better

placed than we are by the providence of God for understanding Him and

rejoicing in His worth.  Knowing Jesus Christ as we know Him now, it is for

us to accept Him without delay as OUR PERSONAL REDEEMER and to

commend Him, with all devotedness, to the estimation and  trust of all  beholders.

 

 

 

                                    Contact and Conflict with Christ (v. 18)

 

There is one thing which, as a stone or rock, Christ is willing and waiting

to be to us; there is that also which, in spite of His own desire concerning

us, we may compel Him to be to us.

 

·         THE ROCK ON WHICH WE MAY BUILD.

 

Ø      Christ desires to be as the Corner-stone or Foundation-stone

      on which the whole structure of our character and of our

destiny is resting. 

 

o       Building on Him, our peace of mind will be secure;

o       Building on Him, our character will be strong and saintly,

      our life will be useful and noble;

o       Resting on him, our souls will be sustained in hours of trial;

o       Abiding in Him, we shall have peace at the last.

 

·         THE ROCK AGAINST WHICH WE ARE BRUISED OR EVEN

BROKEN, We cannot come, in any sense or degree, into conflict with

Christ without being injured by the act.

 

Ø      To turn from Him is to deprive ourselves of the best; it is to rob

ourselves of the highest motives to rectitude and spiritual worth, of the

deepest springs of goodness and of beauty, of the heavenliest influences

that can breathe upon the soul, of the purest and most elevating joys that

can fill the heart, of the noblest activities that can occupy and crown our

life.

 

Ø      To reject Him, whether by deliberate and determined refusal or by a

foolish and guilty procrastination, is to do conscious wrong to ourselves;

it is to injure our conscience, to weaken our will, to suffer constant

spiritual deterioration, to be moving along that downward slope which

ends in darkness of mind and in self-despair.

 

Ø      To disobey the commandments of Christ is to come into collision with

those laws of God which are also laws of our spiritual nature, any and

every infraction of which is attended with inward and serious injury; e.g:.

 

o       to hate our brother without a cause,

o       to look with lustful eye,

o       to love our own life rather than the cause of God and

o       righteousness,

 

this is to suffer harm and damage to the spirit.

 

Ø      To work against Christ and His gospel is to be constructing that which

will be destroyed, is to be delving and building on the sand with the tide

coming in which will wash everything away. In no way can we take up

an attitude of resistance to Jesus Christ without “wronging our

            own soul.”   It may be by a cruel renunciation of all that is best,

            or it may be by incurring the judgment which must fall and does

            fall upon folly and sin.

 

 

·         THE ROCK WHICH MAY CRUSH US IN ITS FALL. “On

whomsoever it shall fall,” etc. The snow-drift and the glacier are

magnificent objects on which to gaze; but how terrible is the descending,

destructive avalanche! It is simply inevitable that the brightest light should

cast the deepest shade; that fullest privilege and most abounding

opportunity should, in the case of the guilty, end in deepest condemnation

and severest penalty (John 3:19; Hebrews 6:4-8; Philippians 3:18-19). “

When God arises to judgment, when the rock of Divine dissatisfaction falls,

when the “wrath of the Lamb” is revealed (Revelation 6:12-17), then must

there be made known what God intends by “everlasting destruction from

His presence” (II Thessalonians 1:9).   All that is meant by that we do not know:

we may well resolve that, by timely penitence and loving faith, we will never

learn by the teaching of our own experience what it means FOR THAT ROCK

TO FALL ON US!

 

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