The True Christian's Love to the Unseen Christ
- Part 1
The life of Christianity consists very much in our love to Christ. Without love to Christ, we are as much without spiritual life—as a carcass when the soul is fled from it is without natural life. Faith without love to Christ is a dead faith, and a professor without love to Christ is a dead professor, dead in sins and trespasses. Without love to Christ we may have the name of Christians—but we are wholly without the nature of Christians. We may have the form of godliness—but are wholly without the power of godliness. "Give me your heart!" is the language of God to all people, Proverbs 23:26; and "Give me your love!" is the language of Christ to all His disciples.
- Part 2
The second sort of motives to excite your love to Christ, may be drawn from the consideration of Christ's love unto true Christians. If you are Christians indeed, Christ loves you:
Christ's manifestation of Himself unto those who love Him
(1) with the freest love;
(2) with the truest love;
(3) with the strongest love;
(4) with the surest love.
"He who loves Me shall he loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him." John 14:21
We read in Luke 4:22, "All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips." Never did such gracious and sweet words drop from the lips of any man who ever lived, as those from the lips of Christ when He was here upon the earth; and of all Christ's words, those which He spoke to His disciples in His last sermon, before His last suffering, in the 14th, 15th, and 16th chapters of John, are superlatively sweet, and none more sweet in this sermon than the words of my text read unto you, "He who loves Me shall he loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him." In the former part of the verse, we have the character of one who truly loves Christ, "He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves Me." In the latter part of the verse, which is my text, we have the privilege of one who truly loves Christ; and that is in three promises which Christ makes unto him:
Fire and Brimstone in Hell, to Burn the Wicked
(1) he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father;
(2) and I will love him;
(3) and will manifest Myself to him.
The flames and fiery streams, which were rained down from heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah formerly, and which issued forth from the earth in the eruptions of Mount Aetna lately, are but shadows of the future flames, and like painted fire in comparison, with the streams of fire and brimstone, which in hell shall burn the wicked eternally. For as the glory of heaven (while we are in the dark vale of this world) does far exceed all conception, and therefore cannot be set forth in full by any description; but as one says, whoever attempts to speak of an heavenly state, while himself is upon the earth, his discourse of that must needs be like the dark dreams and imaginations of a child, concerning the affairs of this world, while itself is yet swaddled and cradled in the womb; and the Apostle Paul himself, though he had been taken up unto the third heaven, and had such discoveries made unto him there, that he lacked words to utter what they were, as II Corinthians 12:2, 3, 4, yet acknowledges that he understood like a child, and had but dark views of this glory, even as through a glass, I Corinthians 13:11, 12. So also the torment of hell through that fire and brimstone, which shall burn the wicked, is beyond all thought to imagine, or words to express. And when we have strained our conceptions unto the highest pitch, when we have made use of the most dreadful and tremendous things that ever came to our eyes or ears, or any way to our understanding to help us in forming notions to ourselves of the horrible punishment, which the damned shall endure in the unquenchable flames of hell-fire; all does fall beneath and far short of the thing, all our views hereof by any representations, being like our sight of colours in the night, which if not in whole, yet in the greatest part do fly from our sight and disappear.
The Only Deliverer from the Wrath to Come!
"Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come!" 1 Thessalonians 1:10
Past pains may easily be forgotten. Future pains are not easily believed. Present pains in extremity are so grievous and afflicting that all the wealth and honor in the world cannot countervail them—and, oh, how welcome is such a physician who can give ease and remove them! But if people believingly apprehended what horrible pains and torments the wicked must endure in the unquenchable flames of hell fire, where they can have no ease, and their misery shall have no end; if they apprehended how fearful a thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God, and to be swallowed up by His wrath, which pursues all who are out of Christ, and who will certainly come and may quickly seize upon them—surely they would use their utmost diligence now to escape—surely they would, with the greatest inquisitiveness, seek out a place of refuge from the fiery tempest of God's vengeance!
This text, which makes a revelation of the only Deliverer from the wrath to come, would sound with most transcendent sweetness in their ears; and the glad tidings thereof, concerning what Jesus has done for His people, would, above all things, be most welcome in their hearts. "Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come!"
May God edify the reader of these powerful sermons!