9:30 am ------------------------------------------ The Cross & The Cost – Luke 14:25-35
10:00 am --------------------------------The Lord Sees, Hears & Knows – Exodus 3:7-8
Cleaning Schedule: This Week: Hudsons, Next Week: Huffs
Message to Hear: ‘Little Children’ (HM-1974) -- https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=11210514216
“But Peter followed him afar off.”Matthew. 26:58
This was better than forsaking Christ, and fleeing, as the rest did. Here was the working of some degree of principle; here was some love to the Saviour, or he would not have followed Him at all. It was the lingering of that affection which may be seemingly smothered in the Christian, but can never be extinguished; and will soon be blown again into a flame.
But Simon Peter was overcome by fear. His Lord was apprehended, and going to be tried and crucified. ‘What if I’, said Peter, ‘should be found in the same doom!’ The fear of man bringeth a snare….Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath, will he give for his life.
Yet this was very unbelieving in him. He had seen his Lord’s miracles, and knew what He could do. He knew that He had actually stipulated for their release in the garden, as the condition of His own surrender. He knew that He had assured them that, after He was risen from the dead, He would appear to them, and employ them as His witnesses; which involved their preservation. What a difference between Peter and Paul—Paul, who said, “None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy;” And between Peter and Luther— Luther, who, when informed of his dangers, said, ‘If there were as many devils in Worms as there are tiles upon the roofs of the houses, I would go’.But Peter followed him afar off.
This was also very ungrateful. The Saviour had done much for him. He had healed by a miracle his wife’s mother; He had called him to the Apostleship, the highest honour on earth; He had singularly distinguished him with James and John on several occasions; He had saved him by His grace, and enlightened him from above, and was now going to suffer and die for him. And a friend is born for adversity. Then, instead of keeping at a distance from us, we look for His attendance and sympathy. Peter could have unequivocally testified in favour of suffering innocence; but he hangs off; and patience itself complains, “I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none!”
All this, too, was in violation of his own profession and vows, that he was willing to follow Him to prison and to death, that he would die with Him rather than deny Him; and all this had scarcely left his lips, and was uttered just after our Saviour had so solemnly forewarned him, yet Peter followed him afar off.
This led to something worse; and I wonder not at the sequel. His after-conduct, in denying Him thrice, and swearing with oaths and curses, was only the continuance and the increase of his present reluctance. So it is: the way of error and sin is always down-hill; and, once in motion, who can tell where a man will stop? You follow Him afar off this hour; the next you are ashamed of Him. You trifle with the Lord’s day; tomorrow you profane it. You now endure evil company; you will soon choose it. So true is it, “They proceed from evil to evil.”
And yet, who of us can cast a stone at him? Are not we verily guilty, as well as Peter? Let us see whether, though as yet we have not begun to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man, we have not been following Him afar off. Here let us not depend upon the opinion of our fellow-creatures; we may stand fair with them: but what do they know of us, of our inward state, of our principles and motives? What says the heart? “If our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God.” Yet even on this testimony we must not absolutely rely. “God is greater than the heart, and knoweth all things.” The Laodiceans were satisfied with themselves at the very time when He charged them with every one of the evils from which they supposed themselves free. Has He not somewhat against us? May we not continue to read and hear His word, and keep our places in the sanctuary, and even at His table, and yet feel very little of that sacred fervour and delight that once accompanied our devotions? Attendance upon the Saviour in the means of grace is very distinguishable from spiritual worship. We may draw nigh to Him with our mouth, and honour Him with our lips, while the heart is far from Him. Does the heart lag behind? Then are we following Him afar off.
His people are Himself. He that receiveth them receiveth Him: and what we do not to the least of all his brethren, we do not to him. In the distance of our regard to them; and especially in our backwardness to notice and relieve and visit the poor and afflicted, are we not following Him afar off?
Above all, does not the evil appear in the remoteness of our resemblance? We are commanded to follow Him; and our conformity to Him is essential to all religion; and we may always judge of the degree, as well as the reality of our religion, by it. How far short of the model do we come! How distantly do we resemble that condescension, which washed the disciples’ feet; that self-denial, which led Him to please not himself; that fervour, which induced Him to say, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; that delight in obedience which enabled Him to acknowledge, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish his work.
And thus, by our negligence and indifference, we grieve his Holy Spirit. And thus we rob our own souls. For He is all in all. He is the fountain of life; and it is good for us to draw near to Him. But when we follow Him afar off, we cannot see Him; and hear Him, and converse with Him. And woe unto us if trouble befalls us, or the enemy meets with us—and he is most likely to do so then—or death assails us, when we are absent from Him.
“Thou Shalt Call and I Will Answer” (Job 14:15). Sooner or later the Lord will call His people home to Glory. Sooner for some, later for others; certain for all. Be glad you don’t make that call. We might never decide, certainly not for those we love. But know this, the Lord loves His own more than we do. And whenever and however He calls, it is great mercy for the one He calls home. And will be so for you too. Sooner or later, believer, He will call you and you will answer. And be so glad!