Yixing Teapots

Register

Log in

Topics

Archives

Lindemann on the Feast of All Saints

by revalkorn ~ November 1st, 2010

ALL SAINTS’ DAY
November 1

The Feast of All Saints had its beginning in Syria circa 360. It was there observed on the Friday after Easter in honor of all holy martyrs. The Greeks commemorated all saints on the Octave of Pentecost, the West on May 13. In Rome, Agrippa built the Pantheon in honor of Augustus for all gods of the seven planets in the year 27 B.C. This building was given to the Pope, and Boniface IV rededicated it as a Christian basilica in A.D. 610, and according to report twenty-eight wagonloads of the remains of early martyrs were “translated” from the catacombs to this church, dedicated to the memory of Mary and all holy martyrs on May 13. Gregory IV appointed November 1 as the date of the feast and con-firmed its title as All Saints’ instead of All Martyrs’. The feast recalls the memories of all the faithful departed and the triumph of Christ over all false gods. At the very end of the tenth century an additional feast, All Souls’, was initiated and officially accepted by the Roman Church in the fourteenth century. It commemorates the souls in Purgatory who are not technically regarded as saints. After the Reformation the Lutherans in many parts of Germany and generally in Scandinavia, and the Anglicans, continued to observe All Saints’ but rejected All Souls’ Day because of its unscriptural implications. The New Service Book, prepared by the joint Commission on the Liturgy, makes All Saints’ Day a major festival of equal rank with the Festival of the Reformation. It is a more fitting occasion for the commemoration of the faithful departed than a Totenfest, than the Last Sun-day after Trinity or St. Sylvester’s Day, on December 31.

The Introit. “A great multitude which no man could number stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and with palms in their hands, and cried with a loud voice, saying: Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous, for praise is comely for the upright.”

In the Common Service Book the Introit is Rev. 7:14,15a, Ps. 33:1.

The Collect. “O almighty God, who hast knit together Thine elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of Thy Son, Christ, our Lord, grant us grace so to follow Thy blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that we may come to those unspeakable joys which Thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love Thee.”

This prayer is by English Reformers, composed in 1549.

The Epistle, Revelation 7:2-17. This Lesson leads us into heaven. St. John permits us a glimpse of the Church in glory, and we see the great multitude of saints gathered around the throne of God, singing holy hymns. A number, a great but countable number, came from the Jews, but innumerable multitudes from the Gentiles. All have been cleansed from sin by the blood of the Lamb and now bear palms of victory in their hands.

The Gradual. “Oh, fear the Lord, ye His saints, for there is no want to them that fear Him. They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. Alleluia! Alleluia! Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Alleluia!”

Here we are led back to earth and shown the way to heaven in preparation for the hearing of the holy Gospel, which is about to be read.

The Gospel, St. Matthew 5:1-12. The Epistle shows us the saints in heaven and the holy Gospel the saints on earth. The Lessons picture the blessedness of the saints in heaven and the blessedness of the saints on earth.

The Common Preface.

OUTLINE FOR SERMON ON THE EPISTLE

We are observing the Feast of All Saints, consecrated for many centuries to the memory of those whom the Lord removed by death and transferred into the Church Triumphant in heaven. The Epistle is a portion of St. John’s vision of heaven. He saw God on the throne. Before the throne were twenty-four elders, representing the Church, who fell down in worship and adoration before Him who sat upon the throne. In the midst stood the Lamb, who took the book of seven seals containing the counsels of God in regard to men and opened six seals. But before the seventh was opened, before God’s final acts, St. John saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, which if released would destroy the earth in final judgment. Another angel cried with a loud voice not to release the final destruction until the servants of God were sealed upon their foreheads and the elect of God gathered in. The number of the elect was 144,000. The number twelve symbolizes perfection and completeness. Twelve times twelve is completeness multiplied by completeness. Thousand signifies greatness. So twelve times twelve thousand is a large and perfect number. St. John saw a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and the Lamb, clothed in white robes of purity and righteousness, with palm branches in their hands. This vast multitude cried out with a loud voice: All praise and honor for our salvation belongs to our God, who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb! And all the angels standing round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God with a sevenfold magnificat.

One of the elders now said to St. John: “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?” He knows, but he questions in order to teach. When then St. John answers him, “Sir, you know, he answered him”: “These are they who have come out of great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” There is a continuous pouring in of the elect from the world of care to the realm of peace. Because they have washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb, “therefore are they before the throne of God and serve Him day and night within His temple, and He who sits upon the throne will shelter them with His presence.” He will dwell among them, spread His tabernacle over them, as He did in the wilderness. “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

We have here a glimpse of the departed believers. They are not yet in their glorified state, as they will be after the Last Judgment, when their bodies shall live again. This glorified state will be ushered in at Christ’s Second Coming. In the text we see them between the Second Coming and their earthly life. The Church of God is still divided, part on earth and part in heaven. Having placed this vision, we now look at:

Our Friends Who Are Already in Heaven

A. Where do we see them? Before the throne and before the Lamb. These words give us no clue to the locality of heaven. We do not need it. Any part of “the Father’s house” is home to His children. There is something of far greater interest and importance here: the state of the saints rather than the place. “Before the throne.” While in the flesh they had a consciousness of God’s presence, but here they are far more conscious of the immediate, all-surrounding, and all-pervading presence. “Before the Lamb.” On earth they saw the Savior with the eyes of faith, whom having not seen they loved. Now they see Him. The veil of sense and the limitations of earth no longer obstruct their sight. They are forever with their God, in His immediate presence, where they wished and longed to be.

B. What is their appearance? They are “standing.” They stand, but God sits upon the throne. This standing is a sign or token of subjection and service. They have white robes. White stands for purity and righteousness. On earth they were sinners as all men and had their garments spotted by sin. But they washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb. The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin. So they appear before God pure and spotless, arrayed in the garment of Christ’s righteousness. Pure and holy, they are fit to mingle with the angels and to stand before God. They have palm branches in their hands. This reminds us of the Jewish Feast of the Tabernacles, the most joyous observance of Israel. It came at the close of the year’s outdoor labors, when the season of rest began. It Commemorated God’s care during the wilderness period and His continued care by the gifts of His providence in the Promised Land. One of the chief features of this festival was the carrying of palm branches. So St. John sees the saints who are coming out of great tribulation bearing palm branches. The troubles of the wilderness are ended, the harvest home of the Church has come. The days of labor are over, now comes rest.

C. Whence come they? “From every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues.” Sin brought about this separation and confusion on earth. That is done away with in Christ. Its effects disappear in heaven. All barriers caused by diversity of language will cease. The final union in the heavenly state will present the true solution of the question that concerns the unity of the human race and vexes us here on earth. There it will be apparent at last that God made of one blood all nations of men.

D. How come they here? The answer is twofold. First, they come by the pathway of a common experience. They have come out of the great tribulation. Wars, famine, pestilences, persecutions, revolutions desolate the earth and make life one great tribulation. But they have left it all behind. They are free from it now. The words have been fulfilled: “We must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)

Again, they reach heaven on the ground of a common redemption. The atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus availed for them all. The cleansing power of a Savior’s grace purified them all. “They have washed their robes,” that is, in their earthly life they experienced this sanctifying grace.

E. What do they miss? “They will hunger no more, neither thirst any more; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.” On this earth their bodily frame demanded incessant attention. The activity of the spiritual life was often interrupted by the demands of the fleshly life. The flesh lusted against the spirit. The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak. On high such clogs burden them no more.

All sorrow has passed away. “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” This is perhaps the tenderest little sentence in the whole Bible. We who are still in the great tribulation can hardly conceive of a state when there shall be nothing to cause a single tear to flow, no dying, no sorrow, no pain, no longing. Picture the vision! From all nations the saints stream into heaven out of the great tribulation, their cheeks. wet with tears, and God tenderly wiping away all tears and saying comfortingly: “So, that is all over.”

F. What do they enjoy? For one thing, the real presence of God. “He who sits upon the throne will shelter them with His presence.” It is impossible to clothe the presence of God in human words; so the elder paraphrases the thought that they enjoy intimate communion with the Sovereign of all. The presence of God shelters them as a tent, covers them, they are secure eternally. He will spread His tabernacle over them. In the wilderness the tabernacle was the visible symbol of God’s presence among His people. Over it hovered the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. “The Lamb … will be their Shepherd.” In His relation to God, Christ is the Lamb, in His relation to His people He is a tender Shepherd. He will feed them the bread of heaven and guide them to springs of the water of life. Here they had but crumbs, there they have in abundance. Here they had but drops, there they have the fullness of the fountain. Here the bread and water of life reached them through earthen channels, a printed book and human lips, there they are at the fountainhead. What do they enjoy? Entire satisfaction, perfect security and repose.

G. Finally, how are they occupied? Only one aspect of their occupation is given here. They “serve Him day and night within His temple.” For details regarding this service we must wait until we die. We have presented to us merely the service of praise, the giving of honor and praise for salvation equally to God and the Lamb, to the Father and the Son. This service of praise is unwearied, day and night. Never do they tire of singing God’s praises for His unmerited mercy and grace shown when He sent the Holy Spirit with His message of Christ Jesus and worked faith by the Gospel and kept them in faith until the end.

H. Application. This is the picture St. John paints of the saints in heaven, for us who are still in the great tribulation. Some of us may have come here today sorrowing over the loss of some sainted loved one, but as we open our eyes to the vision of the Epistle, it is as if God even now wiped away every tear from our eyes. Our grief appears selfish. We are thinking only of our loss and not of their gain. In spite of all our pain caused by separation, we would not wish them back. They have come out of the great tribulation. For us there remains only the wish to be with them.

This wish to be with the saints is gratified in a measure today at the Lord’s Table, as we commune with our Lord and all the saints. If we would feel close to our loved ones who died in the Lord, the place is not on the cemetery, where only their physical covering found a temporary sleeping place. The place to have communion with them, to be close to their real selves, is at the Lord’s Table. The Holy Communion, is the Sacrament that links us to the saints in heaven.

The text tells us that the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, feeding them with the bread of heaven. Today this same Lamb is truly present here, the Lamb of God, who gives us heavenly food, His very Body and Blood together with the Bread and Wine, heavenly manna, His very Self.

The saints stand before the throne and the Lamb, praising God for their salvation. The angels join in the praise. Today we also join in the song of heaven in the Holy Eucharist. We acknowledge: it is truly meet, right, and salutary that we should at all time and in all places give thanks unto Thee, holy Father, almighty, everlasting God. Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious name.” Then we break forth in the jubilant Sanctus, the song of the angels from Isaiah’s vision: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts, all the earth is full of Thy glory.” So sing not only we but angels and archangels, yes, all the company of heaven, the saints in glory, our blessed dead.

We read that the saints have palm branches in their hands and sing: “Salvation belongs to our God.” So we today greet our Lord as He comes to us in the Holy Sacrament and sing as did the people when He came to Jerusalem. Then they waved palm branches and sang: Hosannah! Bring now salvation! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord! Hosanna! Salvation belongs to our God!

The saints are arrayed in white garments. Because they washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, they stand before God. We come rejoicing and wash our robe in the blood of the Lamb. By eating and drinking in faith we declare: He gave His Body for me, He shed His Blood for me. My sins are all forgiven, washed away. I, too, even now am arrayed in Christ’s righteousness, and therefore I, too, shall stand before the throne of God. As the saints in the text ascribe all honor for their salvation to God and the Lamb, so we declare by our coming to the Holy Communion: I am one whom the Lord redeemed by His suffering and death. All my hope is built on this, that He gave His Body and shed His Blood for me.

So we could continue indefinitely to show that never are we closer to heaven and our sainted loved ones than in Holy Communion with Christ, with one another, and with the members of the Church who have come out of the great tribulation. Here we have a foretaste of the bliss which the saints enjoy in heaven. Here is the Lamb, here He feeds us with Himself, here we occupy ourselves as do the inhabitants of heaven. May we, as we gather before the throne and the Lamb today in praise and adoration, become conscious of the fact that we are experiencing a foretaste of heaven and are in communion also with the saints.

NOTES FOR SERMON ON THE HOLY GOSPEL

The Epistle and the holy Gospel describe the two-sided lesson of All Saints’ Day. The Epistle shows the saints who have reached the rest remaining for the people of God and assures us of their safety and unclouded bliss. Their troubles all over, their temptations all past, their sins all forgiven, triumphant and rejoicing they stand before the throne and the Lamb. The holy Gospel describes the saints on earth. It places before us a well-known portion of the Bible, the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. The King issues a proclamation to the citizens of His Kingdom. He lays down the laws that are to govern the citi-zens. At the same time He describes the people who are His saints here on earth and will be His saints in heaven.

These declarations have been much misunderstood and often misapplied. Men have taken the Beatitudes and with them painted a picture of a most unfortunate, almost ridiculous creature, who has been compelled to renounce almost every characteristic of a self-respecting human being. The saint on earth, the citizen of Christ’s Kingdom, is represented to be a penniless, sniveling, spineless, spiritless individual, an object of contempt and scorn to every red-blooded man or woman. This is, of course, a gross misconception of Christ’s words. Our Lord did not come to make us poor and miserable and contemptible, but to make us rich, rich in every quality that makes for real manhood, rich in our outlook on life and its meaning, rich in the things that truly and lastingly satisfy the cravings of the human heart. He came not to detract from life but to make it more abundant.

Every Beatitude begins with the word Blessed. The word used here is different from the word translated with “blessed” in Matt. 23:39 and 25:34. Some, when they hear this word in the Beatitudes, think of pleasure, others of good fortune, still others of happiness. But blessedness is far more than that. The word is derived from a Greek word meaning “great.” It was applied to a man who was wealthy, powerful, honored. The Greeks called their gods blessed, not because they were good and perfect and happy, but because they had power, dignity, because they were masterful. The Bible takes this word and gives it a higher and nobler meaning. When our Lord said, “Blessed is the man,” He meant to say, “Powerful, dignified, masterful, is the man,” he has attained to what God in-tended him to be. He is perfect, beyond the reach of every ill, his life is restored to its fullness, he lives in perfect harmony with God. He has acquired dignity, power, absolute mastery of life and its environment. He has gotten hold of that which restores his broken life and brings him into harmony with the Author of his being and all the higher laws of life.

A. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Poor in spirit stands in contrast to self-sufficiency. It describes the man who is so poor that he lives by begging. In his opinion he has nothing, no qualifications or qualities that enable him to meet life. He begs everything from God. In himself and by himself he has no power to fight life’s battles, but he asks and receives that power from God.

This man is blessed, masterful, powerful, dignified. When the storms of life sweep over him, the self-sufficient man finds his resources inadequate, and he becomes frantic. The man who does not depend upon himself but upon God begs and receives counsel and strength from God, and he remains calm, collected, masterful. He has the solution for every problem. He is never defeated, able to handle every situation. For the Kingdom of Heaven is his. The Kingdom of Heaven is the realm in which the almighty God rules absolutely, in which there is no opposing will and purpose. It is the Kingdom that marches on victoriously through this time and shall be established in eternity. If this Kingdom is his, a man is bound to be on the winning side, to come out on top. He is marching with God to victory. God’s eternal purposes will be accomplished in spite of all opposition. The poor in spirit yield themselves to the purposes of God, and so they belong to, and have a share in, the Kingdom of Heaven.

B. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” This mourning is not the sorrow of which every man is capable, not the pain caused by losses and troubles. It is a deeper, an inward mourning of the spirit, closely related to the poverty of the spirit. It is a mourning over one’s unworthiness, sinfulness, slowness of spiritual progress and improvement. To truly mourn over his unworthiness, a man must have stood on Golgotha and seen the great love of Christ. It is only there that he can feel true sorrow for his many sins against that great love, for his want of gratitude, for the coldness of his heart.

There under the Cross the citizens of the Kingdom also learn the blessedness of mourning. For they shall be comforted. He who calls, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest,” fulfills His promise. They lay their burden at the foot of the Cross and receive the assurance that their Savior took it all away. In the consciousness that all which stood between them and their God is cleared away, as men who are comforted with the lasting comfort of God, they are blessed.

C. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Meekness is an attitude of the spirit which we assume when another is acting in regard to us. To be and remain a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven, a man must be meek, first of all, toward God. When God acts in his life, the meek man will accept His dealings as good. He will not dispute or resist. He will not fight against God, contend with Him. The natural reaction in a man when God deals with him contrary to his own wishes and desires is rebellion and resentment. This spirit of rebellion is the real source of all unhappiness. Blessed is the man who realizes his own folly and ignorance and yields himself and his life to God’s superior wisdom, trusts God’s unfailing love, and humbly submits. He is blessed, dignified, collected, in the midst of the greatest calamities.

Not only God, however, acts in regard to us. Men do also. There is a meekness toward men. It is willingness to take wrong patiently. It is a gentleness in dealing with others. This is a virtue not natural to men. The Holy Spirit must work it. First God makes a man poor in spirit, so that he has no false pride in him. Then He leads that man to Golgotha and lets him see the meekness and gentleness of Christ in the face of unspeakable insults and unjust abuse. Then He makes that man meek, so that he follows God’s readings and trusts in God’s love to turn all things to his good. Now he is ready to be meek toward his fellowman.

A meek man does not think overmuch of himself, his position, his dignity. He will not allow his temper to be ruffled by slights and provocations. He will not expect always to be treated with respect and reverence. He will do his duty in the station where God has set him, gently, lovingly, seeking not honor from men, ambitious only to be well pleasing to God.

Blessed is he, for he shall inherit the earth. The world does not believe that. Not the meek but the violent shall inherit the earth. The world will not learn that by the time the violent have done their work there is little of the earth left to inherit. The general conception of meekness is that it is weakness and coward-ice, that manliness requires resentment of every slight and insult. But our Lord says that the meek shall inherit the earth. True meekness is found only in the follower of Christ. A follower of Christ is an heir together with the Son of God, an heir of the Kingdom that shall in the end come into its own and possess the earth. But the citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven need not wait for the consummation of the Kingdom to inherit the earth. The quiet strength of Christian meekness will win its way here and now, where violence fails. Meekness and lowliness of heart enabled our Lord to win. Had He applied force and violence, He would have failed utterly. Gentleness is a power in the world. It exerts a strange influence over rougher natures. Even when this is not true, it has a joy of its own, a deep inner contentment, a holy restfulness, which gives a sweetness to this present life on earth.

D. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Our Lord spoke first of the consciously poor in spirit; next of those who mourn over their poverty; then of those who are ready to receive whatever teaching or chastisement might be given. Now He speaks of those who have an earnest longing for that right relation to God in which they are so lacking. No seriously minded, thinking person can read and ponder our Lord’s words without having aroused in him the desire to possess the qualities pictured here. Surely this hunger and thirst is ours in this hour. Blessed are we, for we shall be filled. This hunger will be satisfied. God never refuses these gifts to any who ask sincerely.

E. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Powerful, masterful, are those who practice mercy. The mercy referred to here is not that almost negative quality usually understood, that we do not deal harshly, do not inflict punishment when due, spare an animal or a fellow man some unnecessary labor or pain. With mercy our Lord meant active kindness, the feeling of pity showing itself in action. By being kind, pitiful, merciful, in their dealings with their fellow men, men will be blessed, powerful, masterful. They will exert a mighty influence for the betterment of the world. The world has always reached out for its good in other ways and tried to improve its condition by other methods, but essentially it has failed utterly. It is essentially unmerciful, savage, brutal. Its final solution for every problem, its last argument is to blow the opposition into eternity with bombs. Natural man is morally incapable of making the proper use of scientific inventions.

In this world, helpless to advance itself toward its higher good, comes the call of the King to the citizens of His Kingdom: “Blessed are the merciful.” Powerful, masterful, are the merciful. The power to improve the world lies with the merciful. What this poor world needs is not more inventions but to overcome selfishness, greed, injustice. It needs merciful men, men with the Christ-born spirit of brotherliness. It needs the exhibition of our King’s gentle spirit, to have Christ’s people demonstrate the power of mercy. Blessed, powerful, are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Not that God’s mercy is earned and merited. No, God first showed us mercy by making us His children in Christ Jesus. As children we are to be like our Father, have His nature, show the family trait of mercy. We are to be imitators of our Father, the God of mercy. So, reflecting the undeserved mercy of God toward us in our dealings with other men, we shall continue to enjoy the mercy of God.

F. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” In the language of Scripture, the heart stands for the whole moral nature of man, his understanding, emotion, conscience, will, the whole inner life. The man who is pure in his inner life is powerful, exerts a mighty influence, because his outward life and conduct conforms to the inward purity. Nothing that man can do will fit him to step into the presence of God. When he accepts Jesus Christ as his only Hope, his sins are forgiven. Upon this forgiveness follows the purity of a godly life, a new birth, a new nature. He no longer opposes the purposes of God but works together with Him in developing a pure, beautiful, radiant life.

Pure in heart. The very idea is scorned and ridiculed by the world as hopelessly Victorian. If there is one outstanding characteristic of our modern world, it is the utter unconsciousness of sin, the absolute indifference to the fact that impurity is the transgression of a God-given moral code, a code that cannot be ignored or violated without deadly consequences. Into this impure, immoral age comes the word of the Lord Jesus to the citizens of the Kingdom: “Blessed are the pure in heart.” By not adopting the moral code of the impure world, but living righteously before men, the citizens of the Kingdom exert a mighty influence for the good of humanity.

“For they shall see God.” The pure in heart, and only the pure in heart, shall see God. How can any man see the invisible God? With the natural eye this is impossible. But men can see God in that they experience Him. There is a relationship, a fellowship with God, a knowing of God that comes to those who are pure in heart. Whether we call it the vision of God, or communion with God, or the indwelling of God makes no difference. It is the comforting, soothing, vitalizing consciousness of His presence, the realization of His character, the assurance of a blessed relationship with Him who has come near to man in the person of Jesus Christ.

G. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” To be a maker of peace, a man must have peace himself, the highest and most needed of all forms of peace, the peace of which the angels sang on Christmas night, the peace with God which the Lord Jesus brought to earth. God is a God of peace, and His children must be lovers of peace. The Lord Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and His followers must be workers for peace. This poor world needs peacemakers. It has tried to make and maintain peace in its own way. Yet it seems that the world is bound to write also its future history in blood. We have international wars, racial wars, class wars, and movements, societies, organizations, international alliances show little progress in promoting and maintaining peace.

Into the war-weary world comes the cry of the King to the citizens of His Kingdom: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” They alone possess the power to make and keep peace on earth. The trouble with this world is that it is a stranger to God’s peace. There is so much strife because men do not know the peace of reconciliation that God made with men while they were yet His enemies. This peace must be brought to the world first of all. Men must see the new value the Gospel puts on human life, the implications of the Gospel in their social life. Men of the Kingdom must demonstrate the power of the Gospel in making peace. Then they have done more to elevate life than by all other means together.

“They shall be called sons of God.” To be called is to be. When the citizens of the Kingdom live in peace, make peace, encourage others to live in peace, men will see that they are children of the God of peace and will call them sons of God. But better still. God Himself will own them and call them His sons, approve of them, tell them that they are like Him, and have His nature and qualities.

H. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.” When the citizens of the Kingdom live according to the laws of the Kingdom, they will be persecuted and reviled and mocked and defamed by the unbelieving world. But they must willingly take up their cross and follow their King. So long as they know that the utterances of all kinds of evil ire false, they may rejoice and be glad, for all persecution on the King’s account is proof of their citizenship. They suffer in good company, with the prophets who were before them and with the noblest and purest who have ever lived. The glorious company of the Apostles, the noble army of the martyrs, and the King Himself have trodden the same path. The Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. They are on the way to the sublimest honors. They will be compensated a hundredfold when the Kingdom is consummated. “Rejoice and be glad, for your re-ward is great in heaven!” Think of the myriads who now chant their alleluias by the crystal sea. Think of the destiny offered through simple faith, by which they were raised to stand before the throne and the Lamb. May it be our ambition to follow their steps, comforted and assured by their successes that we shall share their bliss.

Leave a Reply