Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The house of the Lord dwells in my heart

The house of the Lord dwells in my heart
S -  2 Chron 7 (NASB)
12 ¶ Then the LORD appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, "I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice.
13 "If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people,
14 and My people fnwho are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
15 "Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the fnprayer offered in this place.
16 "For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.

O -  The temple that Solomon built was intended to be the closest representation of the heaven on earth, and would be the dwelling place of the Lord.  God gave Moses a plan for a mobile temple, and promised him a permanent home in the promised land.  Moses faithfully followed the instructions, but made a few errors a long the way and never got to make it completely to the promised land.   The leaders that followed up to David, stumbled in many and varied ways to provide a home for the Lord.   Eventually David, a man after God’s own heart became a King to lead Israel who had rejected God alone as King.  David through war was able to claim his throne and lead his people.  The Lord told David because of the killing he did and even his sin, David wouldn’t build the temple, but his son Solomon would... and he did.  Solomon sought wisdom from the Lord to lead God’s people and it was granted to him, and when he finished building the temple the Lord was pleased and once again dwelled in it amongst his people.    The Lord though knows mans heart,  that even those called by name to be God’s people would once again sin, but “if they would humble themselves and pray, and seek God’s face, and turn from their wicked ways , he would forgive their  sins and heal their land.   He would entire the temple they prepared and be with them forever.  Now this is a foreshadowing of Jesus to come both the first time to lead God’s people back to him (David),  to prepare a temple (in our hearts),  to help reconcile our sin (the sacrifice on the cross).   

A -  The application for me is this, God has His final plan for me and His people whom he has called by name.     I am free and forgiven, because of the sacrifice of Jesus,  and now I get to invite God into my heart,  a temple which He has prepared that he might lead and guide me, and be the Lord of my life.    Even this is still a mere symbol of what more is to come.   When Jesus returns, after a period, there will be a conquering of sin and death, and Heaven will come down to earth and we will literally dwell in the temple with God.  The application for me is to understand I am both David and Solomon,  but sinful by nature, but seeking after God, and needing to humbly repent and allow God’s Holy Spirit to dwell in me, and to guide me.   

P-  Dear Heavenly Father, I do humbly come before you, repenting for my sins of pride and arrogance, and even disobedience.  I pray Lord that you would forgive me and guide my heart, head , and hands as I get to live this life for you now.    I pray today that you provide for my physical, emotional and spiritual needs today as I go before you with a hopeful and humble heart, full of joy at the opportunity to share your love with those I interact with.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

His ways are better than my ways

Gods ways are better than my ways
S-Psalm 71 NASB

1 ¶ In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
Let me never be ashamed.
2 In Your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
Incline Your ear to me and save me.
3 Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come;
You have given commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.
4 Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked,
Out of the grasp of the wrongdoer and ruthless man,
5 For You are my hope;
O Lord GOD, You are my confidence from my youth.
6 By You I have been sustained from my birth;
You are He who took me from my mother's womb;
My praise is continually of You.
7 ¶ I have become a marvel to many,
For You are my strong refuge.
8 My mouth is filled with Your praise
And with Your glory all day long.
9 Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
Do not forsake me when my strength fails.
10 For my enemies have spoken against me;
And those who watch for my life have consulted together,
11 Saying, "God has forsaken him;
Pursue and seize him, for there is no one to deliver."
12 ¶ O God, do not be far from me;
O my God, hasten to my help!
13 Let those who are adversaries of my soul be ashamed and consumed;
Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor, who seek fnto injure me.
14 But as for me, I will hope continually,
And will praise You yet more and more.
15 My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness
And of Your salvation all day long;
For I do not know the fnsum of them.
16 I will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD;
I will make mention of Your righteousness, Yours alone.
17 O God, You have taught me from my youth,
And I still declare Your wondrous deeds.
18 And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me,
Until I declare Your strength to this generation,
Your power to all who are to come.
19 For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the fnheavens,
You who have done great things;
O God, who is like You?
20 You who have shown me many troubles and distresses
Will revive me again,
And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
21 May You increase my greatness
And turn to comfort me.
22 ¶ I will also praise You with a harp,
Even Your truth, O my God;
To You I will sing praises with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You;
And my soul, which You have redeemed.
24 My tongue also will utter Your righteousness all day long;
For they are ashamed, for they are humiliated who seek my hurt.

O-  This is a psalm of David, likely written during a period in which Absalom his son, was chasing after him trying to kill him and take his throne from him.  What we know about David, is he is extremely loyal to his family and extremely loyal to God.  So observing him in this tension between what he knows (God has anointed him King over Israel), and what he feels (great love and responsibility to shepherd his own son).   So once again David cries out to the Lord the only place he knows he can go.

A -  The application for me is that it is not important who is coming against you, their motive, and their truth.  What is important is what God wants you to do in the circumstances.   He has the big picture and He knows when I should go or when I should wait.  He knows when I should speak or when I need to bite my tongue.   His ways are better than my ways.  

P - Dear Lord thank you for cementing into my heart and mind that your ways are better than mine. Help me to remember that I to seek your guidance in all things great and small, but especially in those moments when I am feeling attacked by those around me.  Help me to have a heart like David.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Most are redeemable, save one

Most all are redeemable,  save one 
S-Matthew 12 NASB
      31“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32“Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

O-Mathew Henry commentary
Here is a gracious assurance of the pardon of all sin upon gospel terms. Christ herein has set an example to the sons of men to be ready to forgive words spoken against them. But humble and conscientious believers, at times are tempted to think they have committed the unpardonable sin, while those who have come the nearest to it, seldom have any fear about it. We may be sure that those who indeed repent and believe the gospel, have not committed this sin, or any other of the same kind; for repentance and faith are the special gifts of God, which he would not bestow on any man, if he were determined never to pardon him; and those who fear they have committed this sin, give a good sign that they have not. The trembling, contrite sinner, has the witness in himself that this is not his case.

Full commentary:
(1.) Here is a gracious assurance of the pardon of all sin upon gospel terms: this Christ says to us, and it is a comfortable saying, that the greatness of sin shall be no bar to our acceptance with God, if we truly repent and believe the gospel: All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men. Though the sin has been as scarlet and crimson (Isa. 1:18), though ever so heinous in its nature, ever so much aggravated by its circumstances, and ever so often repeated, though it reach up to the heavens, yet with the Lord there is mercy, that reacheth beyond the heavens; mercy will be extended even to blasphemy, a sin immediately touching God’s name and honour. Paul obtained mercy, who had been a blasphemer, 1 Tim. 1:13. Well may we say, Who is a God like unto thee, pardoning iniquity? Micah 7:18. Even words spoken against the Son of man shall be forgiven; as theirs were who reviled him at his death, many of whom repented and found mercy. Christ herein has set an example to all the sons of men, to be ready to forgive words spoken against them: I, as a deaf man, heard not. Observe, They shall be forgiven unto men, not to devils; this is love to the whole world of mankind, above the world of fallen angels, that all sin is pardonable to them.
(2.) Here is an exception of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which is here declared to be the only unpardonable sin. See here,
[1.] What this sin; it is speaking against the Holy Ghost. See what malignity there is in tongue-sins, when the only unpardonable sin is so. But Jesus knew their thoughts, v. 25. It is not all speaking against the person or essence of the Holy Ghost, or some of his more private operations, or merely the resisting of his internal working in the sinner himself, that is here meant; for who then should be saved? It is adjudged in our law, that an act of indemnity shall always be construed in favour of that grace and clemency which is the intention of the act; and therefore the exceptions in the act are not to be extended further than needs must. The gospel is an act of indemnity; none are excepted by name, nor any by description, but those only that blaspheme the Holy Ghost; which therefore must be construed in the narrowest sense: all presuming sinners are effectually cut off by the conditions of the indemnity, faith and repentance; and therefore the other exceptions must not be stretched far: and this blasphemy is excepted, not for any defect of mercy in God or merit in Christ, but because it inevitably leaves the sinner in infidelity and impenitency. We have reason to think that none are guilty of this sin, who believe that Christ is the Son of God, and sincerely desire to have part in his merit and mercy: and those who fear they have committed this sin, give a good sign that they have not. The learned Dr. Whitby very well observes, that Christ speaks not of what should be (Mk. 3:28; Lu. 12:10); Whosoever shall blaspheme. As for those who blasphemed Christ when he was here upon earth, and called him a Winebibber, a Deceiver, a Blasphemer, and the like, they had some colour of excuse, because of the meanness of his appearance, and the prejudices of the nation against him; and the proof of his divine mission was not perfected till after his ascension; and therefore, upon their repentance, they shall be pardoned: and it is hoped that they may be convinced by the pouring out of the Spirit, as many of them were, who had been his betrayers and murderers. But if, when the Holy Ghost is given, in his inward gifts of revelation, speaking with tongues, and the like, such as were the distributions of the Spirit among the apostles, if they continue to blaspheme the Spirit likewise, as an evil spirit, there is no hope of them that they will ever be brought to believe in Christ; for First, Those gifts of the Holy Ghost in the apostles were the last proof that God designed to make use of for the confirming of the gospel, and were still kept in reserve, when other methods preceded. Secondly, This was the most powerful evidence, and more apt to convince than miracles themselves. Thirdly, Those therefore who blaspheme this dispensation of the Spirit, cannot possibly be brought to believe in Christ; those who shall impute them to a collusion with Satan, as the Pharisees did the miracles, what can convince them? This is such a strong hold of infidelity as a man can n

A-  The application for me is to recognize just how great God’s grace is.  That even those who curse Jesus or sin after being saved, can be forgiven.   The second application is to recognize there is a limit to God’s grace, and that is blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.  Matthew Henry does a good job capturing that as someone who has been gifted the Holy Spirit and still defy’s and goes against the Holy Spirit in them. An extreme example is Satan, who was with God and defied God and was kicked out of Heaven.  No amount of repentance will restore Satan, and the reason is because God knows Satan is not redeemable, because the words of repentance Satan knows and because he is a liar is willing to say anything to deceive.   So for me I have to look around me at those I might be judging as irredeemable and ask myself are they “Satan” or are they battle a spirit in our around them, their own sin, and circumstances.  I am beginning to believe 99.9% of the time people are facing their own giants and are redeemable.   My struggle is to be sure I don’t label them Satan’s children, but rather God’s children and make sure I see them as God see’s them - with a broken heart for their brokenness.  

P - Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for today’s devotion may it be sealed to my heart.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Vengeance Invoked upon Adversaries.

S- Psalm 109 NASB
For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

1O God of my praise,
            Do not be silent!
      2For they have opened the wicked and deceitful mouth against me;
            They have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
      3They have also surrounded me with words of hatred,
            And fought against me without cause.
      4In return for my love they act as my accusers;
            But I am in prayer.
      5Thus they have repaid me evil for good
            And hatred for my love.
      6Appoint a wicked man over him,
            And let an accuser stand at his right hand.
      7When he is judged, let him come forth guilty,
            And let his prayer become sin.
      8Let his days be few;
            Let another take his office.
      9Let his children be fatherless
            And his wife a widow.
      10Let his children wander about and beg;
            And let them seek sustenance far from their ruined homes.
      11Let the creditor seize all that he has,
            And let strangers plunder the product of his labor.
      12Let there be none to extend lovingkindness to him,
            Nor any to be gracious to his fatherless children.
      13Let his posterity be cut off;
            In a following generation let their name be blotted out.
      14Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD,
            And do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out.
      15Let them be before the LORD continually,
            That He may cut off their memory from the earth;
      16Because he did not remember to show lovingkindness,
            But persecuted the afflicted and needy man,
            And the despondent in heart, to put them to death.
      17He also loved cursing, so it came to him;
            And he did not delight in blessing, so it was far from him.
      18But he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment,
            And it entered into his body like water
            And like oil into his bones.
      19Let it be to him as a garment with which he covers himself,
            And for a belt with which he constantly girds himself.
      20Let this be the reward of my accusers from the LORD,
            And of those who speak evil against my soul.
      21But You, O GOD, the Lord, deal kindly with me for Your name’s sake;
            Because Your lovingkindness is good, deliver me;
      22For I am afflicted and needy,
            And my heart is wounded within me.
      23I am passing like a shadow when it lengthens;
            I am shaken off like the locust.
      24My knees are weak from fasting,
            And my flesh has grown lean, without fatness.
      25I also have become a reproach to them;
            When they see me, they wag their head.
      26Help me, O LORD my God;
            Save me according to Your lovingkindness.
      27And let them know that this is Your hand;
            You, LORD, have done it.
      28Let them curse, but You bless;
            When they arise, they shall be ashamed,
            But Your servant shall be glad.
      29Let my accusers be clothed with dishonor,
            And let them cover themselves with their own shame as with a robe.
      30With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the LORD;
            And in the midst of many I will praise Him.
      31For He stands at the right hand of the needy,
            To save him from those who judge his soul.

O -This Psalm of David once again shows why David is a man after God’s heart.   When David faced adversity while he was in Ziglag serving a Philistine King,  he responded the same way he did when He was serving Saul.   He served the king well, but a group of Philistine leaders came against him, and said they did not want to go to war with David because they did not trust him.  So David and his men were sent back and told they wouldn’t fight against Israel and Saul.    David’s response was  to go back to Ziglag and cry out to the Lord to once again come against his enemies,  and keep his heart postured toward God,  praising Him, and following Him wherever the circumstances took him.  

A -  How I desire to respond like David more and more as I get older.   As I get older I recognize that I may have used to be a young David who was boldly willing to go up against the Goliath’s,   But I am more of the middle aged David now.  I have a wife, a family, have fought many battles,  but still yet find myself not quite where God wants me to be.   I will follow David’s example and cry out to the Lord, for Him to fight my battles with my enemies, while God deals kindly with me,  saving me from my enemies and restoring me in my weakness.

P- Lord,  my heart’s desire is to be a man after your heart,  if I could be even a small likeness of Christ, and follow after David’s example I would be content.  I pray Lord that you would come against my enemies at work that would not want me to be successful in my service of you, and to have your presence at the shipyard.  Lord I pray against spirits of darkness, deceit, and jealousy that are binding some people.  I pray that you restore my heart, mind and soul in this season of waiting.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Rely on the Spirit when sent amongst the wolves

Rely of the Spirit when you sent amongst the wolves 
S-Matt 10 NIV
16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.(A) Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.(B)   17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils(A) and be flogged in the synagogues.(B)   18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings(A) as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.   19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it.(A) At that time you will be given what to say,   20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father(A) speaking through you. 

O - This is the first time Jesus sent his disciples out to do the ministry by themselves that he had been equipping them for.   He told them how to go (in pairs),  to bring nothing with them just the clothes on their back and sandals on their feet.   Seek out welcoming places stay, and heal the sick, and call back the lost sheep of Israel to God.  In these verses He warns them of the harsh things that will happen to them, but reassures them that the Spirit of God will help them by giving them the words when they face accusers.   

A -  The application for me is to trust in God’s spirit in me to help me through the trials I face.   An agreement to “go” when sent by Christ, is. an agreement to pick up my cross and carry it like Christ did before me,  to be obedient to my call, like Christ before me was, and to speak of God’s love, grace, mercy and Truth.   

P - Dear Heavenly Father, you message is loud and clear to me.   I pray for a refreshed spirit, and healed and rested body, and uplifted soul so that I might “go”.    I am ready, send me.   I pray this is in Jesus name, Amen. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Love thy neighbor and thy enemy

s- Matthew 5 NASB
43  "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.'
44 "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 so that you may fnbe sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 "If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
48 "Therefore fnyou are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect`.

O -  Mathew Henry Commentary:
  • I. See here how this law was corrupted by the comments of the Jewish teachers, v. 43. God said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour; and by neighbour they understood those only of their own country, nation, and religion; and those only that they were pleased to look upon as their friends: yet this was not the worst; from this command, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, they were willing to infer what God never designed; Thou shalt hate thine enemy; and they looked upon whom they pleased as their enemies, thus making void the great command of God by their traditions, though there were express laws to the contrary, Ex. 23:4, 5; Deu. 23:7. Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, nor an Egyptian, though these nations had been as much enemies to Israel as any whatsoever. It was true, God appointed them to destroy the seven devoted nations of Canaan, and not to make leagues with them; but there was a particular reason for it-to make room for Israel, and that they might not be snares to them; but it was very ill-natured from hence to infer, that they must hate all their enemies; yet the moral philosophy of the heathen then allowed this. It is Cicero's rule, Nemini nocere nisi prius lacessitum injuriâ-To injure no one, unless previously injured. De Offic. See how willing corrupt passions are to fetch countenance from the word of God, and to take occasion by the commandment to justify themselves.
  • II. See how it is cleared by the command of the Lord Jesus, who teaches us another lesson: "But I say unto you, I, who come to be the great Peace-Maker, the general Reconciler, who loved you when you were strangers and enemies, I say, Love your enemies,' v. 44. Though men are ever so bad themselves, and carry it ever so basely towards us, yet that does not discharge us from the great debt we owe them, of love to our kind, love to our kin. We cannot but find ourselves very prone to wish the hurt, or at least very coldly to desire the good, of those that hate us, and have been abusive to us; but that which is at the bottom hereof is a root of bitterness, which must be plucked up, and a remnant of corrupt nature which grace must conquer. Note, it is the great duty of Christians to love their enemies; we cannot have complacency in one that is openly wicked and profane, nor put a confidence in one that we know to be deceitful; nor are we to love all alike; but we must pay respect to the human nature, and so far honour all men: we must take notice, with pleasure, of that even in our enemies which is amiable and commendable; ingenuousness, good temper, learning, and moral virtue, kindness to others, profession of religion, etc., and love that, though they are our enemies. We must have a compassion for them, and a good will toward them. We are here told,
    • 1. That we must speak well of them: Bless them that curse you. When we speak to them, we must answer their revilings with courteous and friendly words, and not render railing for railing; behind their backs we must commend that in them which is commendable, and when we have said all the good we can of them, not be forward to say any thing more. See 1 Pt. 3:9. They, in whose tongues is the law of kindness, can give good words to those who give bad words to them.
    • 2. That we must do well to them: "Do good to them that hate you, and that will be a better proof of love than good words. Be ready to do them all the real kindness that you can, and glad of an opportunity to do it, in their bodies, estates, names, families; and especially to do good to their souls.' It was said of Archbishop Cranmer, that the way to make him a friend was to do him an ill turn; so many did he serve who had disobliged him.
    • 3. We must pray for them: Pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you. Note,
      • (1.) It is no new thing for the most excellent saints to be hated, and cursed, and persecuted, and despitefully used, by wicked people; Christ himself was so treated.
      • (2.) That when at any time we meet with such usage, we have an opportunity of showing our conformity both to the precept and to the example of Christ, by praying for them who thus abuse us. If we cannot otherwise testify our love to them, yet this way we may without ostentation, and it is such a way as surely we durst not dissemble in. We must pray that God will forgive them, that they may never fare the worse for any thing they have done against us, and that he would make them to be at peace with us; and this is one way of making them so. Plutarch, in his Laconic Apophthegms, has this of Aristo; when one commended Cleomenes's saying, who, being asked what a good king should do, replied, Tous men philous euergetein, tous de echthrous kakoµs poiein-Good turns to his friends, and evil to his enemies; he said, How much better is it tous men philous euergetein, tous de echthrous philous poiein-to do good to our friends, and make friends of our enemies. This is heaping coals of fire on their heads.
      • Two reasons are here given to enforce this command (which sounds so harsh) of loving our enemies. We must do it,
        • [1.] That we may be like God our Father; "that ye may be, may approve yourselves to be, the children of your Father which is in heaven.' Can we write a better copy? It is a copy in which love to the worst of enemies is reconciled to, and consistent with, infinite purity and holiness. God maketh his sun to rise, and sendeth rain, on the just and the unjust, v. 45. Note,
          • First, Sunshine and rain are great blessings to the world, and they come from God. It is his sun that shines, and the rain is sent by him. They do not come of course, or by chance, but from God.
          • Secondly, Common mercies must be valued as instances and proofs of the goodness of God, who in them shows himself a bountiful Benefactor to the world of mankind, who would be very miserable without these favours, and are utterly unworthy of the least of them.
          • Thirdly, These gifts of common providence are dispensed indifferently to good and evil, just and unjust; so that we cannot know love and hatred by what is before us, but by what is within us; not by the shining of the sun on our heads, but by the rising of the Sun of Righteousness in our hearts.
          • Fourthly, The worst of men partake of the comforts of this life in common with others, though they abuse them, and fight against God with his own weapons; which is an amazing instance of God's patience and bounty. It was but once that God forbade his sun to shine on the Egyptians, when the Israelites had light in their dwellings; God could make such a distinction every day.
          • Fifthly, The gifts of God's bounty to wicked men that are in rebellion against him, teach us to do good to those that hate us; especially considering, that though there is in us a carnal mind which is enmity to God, yet we share in his bounty.
          • Sixthly, Those only will be accepted as the children of God, who study to resemble him, particularly in his goodness.
        • [2.] That we may herein do more than others, v. 46, 47.
          • First, Publicans love their friends. Nature inclines them to it; interest directs them to it. To do good to them who do good to us, is a common piece of humanity, which even those whom the Jews hated and despised could give as good proofs as of the best of them. The publicans were men of no good fame, yet they were grateful to such as had helped them to their places, and courteous to those they had a dependence upon; and shall we be no better than they? In doing this we serve ourselves and consult our own advantage; and what reward can we expect for that, unless a regard to God, and a sense of duty, carrying us further than our natural inclination and worldly interest?
          • Secondly, We must therefore love our enemies, that we may exceed them. If we must go beyond scribes and Pharisees, much more beyond publicans. Note, Christianity is something more than humanity. It is a serious question, and which we should frequently put to ourselves, "What do we more than others? What excelling thing do we do? We know more than others; we talk more of the things of God than others; we profess, and have promised, more than others; God has done more for us, and therefore justly expects more from us than from others; the glory of God is more concerned in us than in others; but what do we more than others? Wherein do we live above the rate of the children of this world? Are we not carnal, and do we not walk as men, below the character of Christians? In this especially we must do more than others, that while every one will render good for good, we must render good for evil; and this will speak a nobler principle, and is consonant to a higher rule, than the most of men act by. Others salute their brethren, they embrace those of their own party, and way, and opinion; but we must not so confine our respect, but love our enemies, otherwise what reward have we? We cannot expect the reward of Christians, if we rise no higher than the virtue of publicans.' Note, Those who promise themselves a reward above others must study to do more than others.
          • Lastly, Our Saviour concludes this subject with this exhortation (v. 48), Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Which may be understood,
            • 1. In general, including all those things wherein we must be followers of God as dear children. Note, It is the duty of Christians to desire, and aim at, and press toward a perfection in grace and holiness, Phil. 3:12-14. And therein we must study to conform ourselves to the example of our heavenly Father, 1 Pt. 1:15, 16. Or,
            • 2. In this particular before mentioned, of doing good to our enemies; see Lu. 6:36. It is God's perfection to forgive injuries and to entertain strangers, and to do good to the evil and unthankful, and it will be ours to be like him. We that owe so much, that owe our all, to the divine bounty, ought to copy it out as well as we can.

A -