Friday, November 20, 2009
Wood, hay and stubble
When the church of God is extending her bounds rapidly, it is of the utmost importance that the growth should be real and permanent. If the walls of Zion are being builded quickly, the master builders should keep an anxious eye upon the workmanship, lest the stones should be put together with untempered mortar, and therefore the whole erection should by-and-by come to the ground. We desire not to grow up in a night as the gourd, lest we also perish in a night.
Our Lord Jesus, who is the great Shepherd of the sheep, sends to his churches at times when they are most prospering sad reminders of human frailty, by which he warns them to “take heed that they be not deceived; but see to it that they make sure work, and build substantially, with gold, silver, and precious stones, and not with wood, and hay, and stubble.” It is a very doleful season for the church of God when everything is asleep, but there are dangers connected even with activity. When a man is under the intense excitement of earnest endeavor for Christ, it is possible that much within him may be spurious, a mere fungus growth forced out by heat; and hence it is deeply necessary, as Jude says, to write unto the saints and to speak unto believers concerning this thing, that they be sound, true, real, sincere, and approved in the sight of God.
Jude tells us in the text, and indeed in his whole epistle, that many who make a high profession, are not what they profess to be, and that in the church of God in her best estate, many are clouds without rain, trees without fruit, and wandering stars reserved for eternal darkness.
From a sermon entitled "Spots in our Feast of Charity," delivered February 23, 1868. Image by Iain Buchanan under Creative Commons License.