Tuesday, January 12, 2010

He will sift and purify His Church

The church of God since its institution has never been perfectly pure. It has been the object of all true ministers, as the Lord’s watchmen, to keep his church pure; and the servants of God in every age have longed and desired that the tares might be rooted up from amongst the wheat, but it has never been so. The church has shared in the imperfection of everything else that is human, and hence upon God’s floor there has never been a heap of perfectly pure well-winnowed wheat, some chaff has always been introduced by some means or other. No matter how stringent your regulations, how scriptural your rules, how judicious your officers, how precise your examinations, for all that, as certainly as Judas thrust himself in among the twelve, so will there creep in unawares among us ungodly men who were of old ordained unto this condemnation, who shall be as chaff in the midst of the wheat.

Because of this we must expect, wherever and whensoever God has a church, to find that it is in the sieve. As long as the farmer’s corn is not clean, he will keep on sifting it; and as long as God’s church is not pure, he will continue to purify it; he will, in fact, fulfill the words of the text, “Sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve." (Amos 9:9)

From a sermon entitled "The Sieve," delivered August 16, 1868. Image by Kevin Lallier under Creative Commons License.

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