Our Plight: Who Will May Know It! II
I Corinthians 5:1-11
September 10, 2023
23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man
glory in his riches:
24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and
knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness,
judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I
delight, saith the LORD.
The peculiar possibility of glory to man is that he is able to know his
Maker. Understand and know. Surely these words mean a great deal; one can
hardly put too much of meaning and encouragement into them. Through
Isaiah, Jehovah said, “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s
however docile, attentive, and faithful it be, can ever come to know its
master. The brute gives to its master a brute’s recognition; it does the
utmost its faculties enable it to do; but in coming to man we come to one
who can be so altered as to know God even as a child knows its father.
The true glory of the worst of men is that he can be regenerated. The
glory of the best of men is that he has been regenerated. The great end to be
aimed at is that every man should exult in his having been made a partaker
of the Divine nature. The more he thinks of his Savior, the more he will
glory in this — that he, in spite of all his spiritual ignorance and blindness,
has had in him a power to be so renewed and uplifted; that he has become
one of the exceeding great multitude, who owe eternal blessedness to the
work of Christ. To speak of the possibility of such glorying as comes from
the knowledge of God was a great matter in relation to these children of
and disposition of deity. They had come to have gods many — gods who
were the patrons of cruelty, rapacity, tyranny, injustice, lust, and
covetousness. They had to practice, as a matter of religion, things opposed
to those very things in which Jehovah here represents Himself as delighting.
What was required from them, therefore, was to listen humbly and
attentively to those prophetic expostulations which pointed towards light,
truth, redemption, and a new song to be put in their mouths by Jehovah
Himself. And a similar way is to be ours if we would be sure of glorying in
the Lord. The way of God in this matter is by the truth as it is in Jesus, and
into that way God’s Spirit must lead us, and keep us in it even to the end,
amid all the difficulties arising from the natural pride of human hearts.
II Corinthians 5:1-11
1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were
dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with
hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our
house which is from heaven:
3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for
that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might
be swallowed up of life.
5 Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who
also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at
home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the
body, and to be present with the Lord.
9 Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be
accepted of Him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that
every one may receive the things done in his body, according to
that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we
are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in
your consciences. (II Corinthians 5:1-11)
“Do not the abominable thing which I hate” (Jeremiah 44:4)
had in every variety of manner been said to them by God, but in
vain. He hated it because it was the root of so many other sins, and
the destroyer of all the good He had purposed both for and
through them. (
In seeking the usual reference of the above, I expected to be led to a
Bible verse but instead this showed up!
May 13, 2009
For over 200 years, from 1690-1900, a primary reading textbook entitled
The New England Primer was
used in every
used to teach
But, this book would be comparable to first grade level curriculum. The first lessons
contain the alphabet, then come the learning syllables and words. About a quarter
of the way through the book the children were taught to memorize a different phrase
attached to each letter of the alphabet. Here are some of the examples:
· A is for “A wise son maketh a glad father, but a foolish son is the
heaviness of his mother.
· B is for “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure
and trouble therewith.”
· C is for “Come unto Christ all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and
He will give you rest.
· D is for “Do not the abominable thing, which I hate saith the Lord.”
E is for “Except a man be
born again, he cannot see the
Above I mentioned that we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ
and receive for the things we have done. There will be some pleasant things
in the Judgment - “Well done good and faithful servant. Thou hast been
faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou
into the joy of thy Lord. (Matthew 25:23)
It goes on and on like
this. This was the primary reading textbook in
for over 200 years. Notice one of the lessons contained in the textbook: “Who is the first man?
Who is the first woman? Who is the first murderer? (quite a contrast to the curriculum of
today - but this is what produced
Who is the first martyr? Who is the first translated? Who is the oldest man? Who built the ark?
Who is the most faithful man? Who is the meekest man? Who is the most patient?” Etc… T
his sounds like a Sunday school lesson!
No, it was the primary
reading textbook in
would get into the back of the book it contained questions such as (remember this is
1st grade level): “What is the fifth commandment? What is the forbidden in the fifth
commandment? What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment? What is the
sixth commandment? What is required in the sixth commandment? What is forbidden
in the sixth commandment?” Now that was the foundation
over 200 years!
This is the type of education that John Quincy Adams received. He served
as President, 18 years in the House of Representatives, Secretary of State, and many more
positions. At the age of 14, he received a congressional diplomatic appointment overseas
to the court of Catherine the Great in Russia Can you imagine sending a 14-year-old overseas
as a diplomat to
foundation they received. John Quincy Adams said, “The highest glory of the American
Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil
government with the principles of Christianity. ” Today we hear that it is supposed
to be separated and that our founding fathers wanted it that way! John Jay, first
Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, one of the men most responsible
for our Constitution said, “
rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation
to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” How long has it been since we heard
anyone on the Supreme Court say, “now make sure you elect Christians as your leaders”?
In the earlier history textbooks students were taught that George Washington’s farewell
address was the most significant political speech ever given to the nation. Why not?
He is the “Father of the nation. ” He spent 45 years of his life in public service: everything
from Commander in Chief, through two terms as president. He was president of the
convention that gave us the Constitution. He was the one who called for the
1st Amendment Bill of Rights. In his farewell speech he was saying, “This is what
Yet, that farewell speech has not been seen in textbooks for nearly 40 years. Why not,
does George Washington have nothing to say anymore? No, the problem is what he says
in the last half of his speech; he goes into great detail about something: “Of all the habits
and dispositions which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable
supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert
these great pillars! ” We don’t hear these kind of statements anymore. But, these are the men
that gave us the greatest form of government on
different governments, and
ideas for a government that could last so long when other nations can’t last?
felt that if they could look back at some of the writings of the founding fathers and
see whom they quoted, they would know the answer. They collected 15,000 writings
of the founding fathers. From that they boiled it down to 3,154 writings that they felt had
significant impact on the founding of
three most quoted men were Blackstone, Montesquie, and John Locke. Now that is a
tribute to these three men, but what they found and did not expect to find was that four
times more than Montesquie twelve times more than Blackstone, and sixteen times more
than John Locke the founding fathers quoted from the Bible! 34% of all quotes of the
founding fathers came out of the Bible. Another 60% came from men that used the Bible
to draw up their conclusions. 94% of quotes used by our founding fathers were based on
Bible Scripture. 34% came directly from the Bible, and 60% were from men that used the
Bible to draw up their conclusions! Blackstone ‘s Commentaries on the Law was the book
that a person couldn’t go to law school without knowing. Charles Finney, who during his
time was like Billy Graham of our day, had gone to law school to become a lawyer before
ever aspiring to be a preacher. In the process of studying Blackstone’s writings on the law
in which Blackstone gave Bible verses that supported the reason for each law, Finney
became a Christian. He became a Christian by studying the law! The idea of three
branches of government with separation of powers didn’t copy any other government.
This idea came from Isaiah 33:22 “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver,
he Lord is our king; he will save us. ” The idea for “separation of powers” came from
Jeremiah 17. The idea of “tax exemption for churches” came from Ezra 7:24 “Also we
certify you, that, touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinums,
or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom,
upon them.” It is amazing how many times Congressmen would come to the floor of the
House or Senate with Bible in hand saying, “look what I found in the Bible! ” Others would
then say, “If it is in the Bible, that is what we want. ” They would vote on it and make it law.
The Bible book quoted more often than any other was Deuteronomy. This lets us know that
they were students of the Bible, because not many people today are that familiar with
us pray that God will bring
heritage! God please bless
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“For the Lord of hosts, that planteth thee, hath pronounced evil against
thee, for the evil of the house of
they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offereing
incense unto Baal.”
2. Their evil returning upon themselves. v. 17, “The evil.., which they
have done against themselves.” This is ever the way of sin “But he that
sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love
death.” (Proverbs 8:36). It wrongs our entire nature. What a man sows he
(a) The reason is debased,
(b) the conscience trampled on,
(c) the power of will prostrated,
(d) the soul imprisoned,
(e) the affections perverted,
(f) the imagination defiled,
(g) the body often diseased,
(h) character ruined,
(i) substance wasted, and
(j) all the true springs of happiness poisoned or stopped.
He has sown to the flesh, and of the flesh he has reaped corruption.
Yes, sin is ever done against ourselves.
3. The woe which comes from the provoked anger of God. Besides these
natural results of sin — the reaping which is according to the sowing, and
which are terrible enough in themselves — there come the punitive
inflictions of the wrath of God. History as well as the Bible is full of proofs
of this on a large scale, and so are the experiences of individual
transgressors, though in more limited form. And wherever sin, the primary
cause, is found, there sooner or later will come these other causes which
together work so dread a doom.
· CONCLUSION. What effect should the contemplation of facts like these
and they are written and wrought for our learning (I Corinthians 10:11)
have upon us? Should they not cause us to reject at once and forever all
those suggestions which Satan is ever plying us with —
Ø that sin will not be punished, and
Ø the transgressor may, after all, go free?
In view of facts like these, how can that be believed? And should they not
lead us to offer as our daily prayer the petition, “Give us a heart to love
and dread thee, and diligently to live after thy commandments”?
And not only to dread and deprecate the wrath which sin provokes,
but to desire and seek after that preoccupation of the
heart with the love of God which will bar out sin.
“Guard my first springs of thought and will,
And with thyself my spirit fill
The Way Home (8:6)
The text suggests much concerning this way from the far country of sin to
the home of our Father and God. The Lord is here lamenting that none of
the people of
God is represented as bending down His ear, hearkening to what is said,
listening for any words of confession, and ready to hear them if spoken.
The text is the language of gracious expectation and desire on the part of God.
It calls to mind the father’s waiting for the prodigal’s return. How often had he
looked with longing, loving gaze down the road along which his returning
son must come, if ever indeed he would come! He had looked so often that a
speck in the far distance would at once be discerned by him. Hence, “when a
great way off,” the father saw him. And so here God is represented as thus
waiting for His guilty people’s return. And how much there is to confirm our
faith in this Divine solicitude for the sinner’s salvation! Look at the very constitution of
our nature. That, as Bishop Butler has shown, is evidently on the side of
virtue, that is, of obedience to God, and against the disobedient. “Who will
harm you, if ye be doers of that which is good? “ — thus the apostle
appeals to the universally recognized fact, that the constitution of man’s
nature is such as to favor the good. And, on the other hand, the declaration
that “the way of transgressors is hard” (Proverbs 13:15), is based on another like
fact of universal experience. Such is one evidence of “the care” with which, as
George Herbert sings, “Lord, with what care thou hast begirt us round?
Then the revelation of His truth is yet further in evidence. That truth, as
ministered to us by the written Word or by the lips of prophets, apostles,
pastors, teachers — it matters not — is a perpetual proof of the Divine
solicitude for our eternal good. And His providence, making it to be well
with the righteous and ill with the unrighteous. Well and ill with each
respectively in mind, body, and estate. And His Spirit. That Spirit speaking
to us in conscience and in the powerful pleadings of His grace in our hearts,
of which we are all so often conscious. And, last of all, God has shown us
this loving care of His for us in his Son. He has shown Himself in a manner
adapted to touch and move all hearts, and to draw all men unto Him. Now,
all this mass of evidence is in keeping with that solicitude which this verse
and so many other portions of God’s Word reveal as felt by Him towards
sinful men. (SOLICIT - ask for, crave, beg, request) And if it be asked
“What moves this solicitude?” the character of God furnishes the answer.
The holiness of God. “Good and upright is the Lord, therefore will He
teach sinners in the way.” (Psalm 25:8) And we are bidden“Give thanks at
the remembrance of his holiness.” (ibid. ch. 30:4) It is the nature of
holiness to be distressed at all that contradicts it and is unlike itself. It rests
not until it has assimilated all around it to itself. Here, then, is one reason
of God’s perpetual appeals to sinful men.
· His wisdom also. It is the characteristic of God’s wisdom to adjust
means to ends. How wonderfully and beautifully this is seen in all
departments of nature! But for the fulfilling of the high purposes
of His grace, what instrument can He find more fit than the regenerated,
redeemed soul? Even now and here we see this. A soul aglow with love
and faith towards God, what will not that soul do for God? Hence to the
principalities and powers in heaven shall be made known by the one
Church — the company of the redeemed shall evidence it —
THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD!
· His love also. If the beholding of scenes of distress touch our hearts
and make us eager to render help, can we imagine that He who made
us is less willing than ourselves to show pity and render help?
Our Lord’s argument is, “If ye, evil though ye be, know how”
— and we do know how — “to give good gifts to your children, how
much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those that
ask Him? (Matthew 7:11) Humanity, as it has been well said, is the
heavenly Father’s sick child. Will not the Father’s love, therefore,
be all the more called forth to that child?
· And His compassion also. For this life is the critical period of that
child’s malady. It is the time when the great question of its life or death
is being determined. Terrible forces are against it, and the struggle is
now at its most momentous hour. This fact would cause the Father’s love
to go forth, as it has gone and is going forth, in active compassion, in open
manifestation of its solicitude.
Such are some of the considerations which lead to our Father’s attentive
observance of all those who travel by this homeward way.
III. THE END OF THE WAY. They who come there will find:
· restoration to the Father’s love,
· the implantation of a new nature,
· the complete pardon of the past,
· power to live as God’s dear child for the future, and ultimately
· the everlasting dwelling in the very presence and home of God.
IV. BROOKS BY THE WAY. It is said, “He shall drink of the brook by
the way, therefore shall he lift up the head.” We may apply these words to
the travelers in the way we are speaking of; for they need, in the weary and
often most difficult journey, the refreshments WHICH GOD ALONE CAN
SUPPLY! Such aids are given in the promises of God, the fellowship of God, the
communion of fellow-travelers on the way, and in the service and worship
V. THE SOLITARINESS OF THE WAY. It is but “here and there a
traveler” that is found. The way is not thronged. This verse is God’s lament
that scarce any are found willing to go along this road; for it is not the way
of worldly advantage. They who “are given to covetousness” (v. 10) will
never choose this way. They have persuaded themselves that they are as
well off and better where they are. They are deceived, and, what is worse,
are willing to be deceived: “They hold fast deceit, and so refuse to return.”
(v. 5) We should have thought that surely it would be otherwise.
1. Reason bids them return (v. 4). If a man have fallen, he will not lie
content on the earth, but will arise. If in an ordinary journey he have missed
his way, he will at once retrace his steps. Reason rules in such cases, but
2. Conscience bids them return. They could not but know that their sin had
done them sore harm; but none of them asked, “What have I done?”
however loudly conscience might summon them to such repentance.
3. God’s Word bade then return (v. 8), but lo! certainly in vain He made
4. Providences bade them. The events that had taken place were all
admonitions of God; but though the birds of the air marked and obeyed the
providence of God, sinful man “knew not the judgment of the Lord” (v. 7).
(And like the people of Noah’s day, at the time of the Flood “....were eating
and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah
entered into the ark, And knew not until the Flood came, and took them all
away...” (Matthew 24:38-39 - I hope this doesn’t sound like a fairy tale to
you - Christ doesn’t do fairy tales. CY - 2023) Hence the way is solitary.
· CONCLUSION. But the question for us is, “Are we in this way?” Let us
bless God if we are, and press on therein. Let us note how short the day is
in which we can travel, how its few fleeting hours are lessening, lest when
we would start on the way we have to exclaim (Jeremiah 6:4), “Woe
unto us I for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are