“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13

Readings

Exodus 15:1-22 · Revelation 19:11-21 · Psalm 144

Sermon

This week-end we celebrate Memorial Day. War is accompanied with so much destruction, waste, loss of life, both physical and mental suffering that we are not surprised when we hear some people declaring war to be wrong, all wrong, always wrong, wrong for everybody, wrong even in self defense.

The doctrines of our church teach that in most ancient times people lived in peace, that no one desired more than necessaries and so riches were not collected and hoarded. But eventually lust for wealth sprang up. Then men commenced to desire the possessions of others, and the love of accumulated riches and dominion ever grew. Wars then arose, their purpose being to extend dominion and get the property of others.

Who cannot now see that those who started the first world war did so to wrest wealth and territory from other nations? So from one point of view we see clearly that war arises from the love of dominion and lust for riches growing until it bursts all restraints. The beginning of a war is always in evil. But our problem is not so simple. Have we a moral right, by force of arms, to resist and conquer this lust of plunder which, like Lucifer who exemplifies it, would enslave all the world and ascend, if it could, even above the Most High?

Please click here to read on.

“And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

Fryeburg, Maine, January 30, 1927

“And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.” – Mark 13:27

Readings

Joel 2 · Mark 13:1-27 · Psalm 147

Sermon

The chapter of the Gospel of Mark from which this text is taken is sometimes called the “little Apocalypse,” for it treats of the same subjects as the Book of Revelation. Our text, then, forms a part of the Lord’s description of His Second Advent. That Advent was to be the bright and happy culmination of a series of tremendous events and dire catastrophies. The whole earth is described as being in the throes of a great convulsive struggle, nations warring against each other, kingdoms fighting one another, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, people fleeing to the mountains for refuge, others praying upon their housetops. And then the sun goes out into blackness, the moon no longer shines, the stars fall from their high places, and the very heavens tremble and seem on the point of collapse. But all at once the scene brightens. The judgment struggle is over. The bruised earth lies helpless and still. And then in Divine radiance appears the figure of the Son of man “coming in the clouds with power and great glory.”

And our text states that with His Advent there is instantly a world-wide effort to gather together into a blessed company “the elect” who in this time of judgment have been scattered far and wide. To the uttermost parts of the earth, to the farthest boundaries of heaven angels are sent on their errands. East, west, north, and south they speed on their way, and presently they are seen returning, here with one, there with another, a chosen few brought together that they may form the nucleus of a new humanity – a new church.

Please click here to read on.

“And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

Fryeburg, Maine, February 4, 1934

“And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” – Luke 2:51-52

Readings

Genesis 2:8-25 · Luke 2:40-52 · Psalm 34

Sermon

From the time of the Lord’s return from Egypt, where He had been taken to escape the wrath of Herod, to the time of the beginning of His public ministry, this incident of His visit to the Temple at the age of twelve and His return to Nazareth to be subject to Mary and Joseph is the only incident mentioned.

We think of Him as spending these twenty-five or more years at His home in Nazareth. There He lived in safety and prepared Himself for His work. Nothing is said in the Scriptures about His external life and activities during this period, but He was undergoing temptations and overcoming in Himself all tendencies to self-seeking. At the age of twelve He had marvelous powers, astounding the learned men with His wisdom. With the enthusiasm, confidence, and idealism of youth it must have been a temptation to Him not to go forth and show His powers. But the time was not yet. “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” We cannot realize our ideals in our own strength. We must learn to wait upon the Lord, to depend upon Him. We can think of this long stay of the Lord in Nazareth as the period of preparation when He was gaining those inward victories which made possible His active ministry.

Please click here to read on.

Doing Our Duty, by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
“And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
“Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
“So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” – Luke 17:7-10

Readings

Genesis 16 · Luke 17:1-19 · Psalm 116

Sermon

The lesson in this seemingly harsh parable is very clear even in the letter. Under the figure of master and servant our relation to the Lord is mirrored. As a servant, in doing his duty, does not place his master under special obligation, so men, the servants of the Lord, cannot claim any merit for their service. If we do all that we can, we cannot do more than our duty to the Lord. When we consider the gifts we continually receive from the Lord and the continual manifestation of His mercy and lovingkindness to all mankind, it is clearly evident that it is our duty to keep His commandments, and to do all the good that lies in our power. The balance will always be heavy on the Lord’s side, and we have no claim to merit.

But the parable also has a meaning applying to the mind of the individual himself. Between the mind and the body this relationship of master and servant exists. The body is the servant of the mind. Its office is to do always the commands of the soul. It is forever a servant. For the body to command the mind would be to invert order, and would bring disaster.

Please click here to read on.

The Lord’s Ministry in Galilee, by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” – Matthew 4:23

Readings

Isaiah 55 · Matthew 3 · Psalm 34

Sermon

The Gospels are the record of the Lord’s life among men. That life was the Divine Life itself seeking men. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” And it is written, “As many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

The beloved disciple John begins his first Epistle with the words, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life… declare we unto you.” John had been one of the Lord’s most faithful disciples. He had been with the Lord on the sea, had heard Him teaching on the mountain, had been with Him when He blessed the little children, healed the sick, fed the multitude, stilled the storm, and liberated the poor demoniac, had seen the Lord transfigured. He remembered also those last days in Jerusalem, the awful tragedy of the crucifixion, and the jeers of the people. And after the Lord had risen from the dead and was present with new and greater power, and His Gospel was being carried by the disciples to all parts of the world, the same John was granted in vision to see Him as one “like unto the Son of man” with every attribute of Divine power and glory, and multitudes filling the heavens and saying, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”

Let us make sure that our souls honor and grasp this essential fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is God seeking us. It is Divine Love and Wisdom clothed with our nature, veiling their infinite splendors, accommodating themselves to our human conditions, meeting us, appealing to us face to face. There is no story so wonderful as this coming of God to men – the Perfect Life giving itself for the life of the world, the Word made flesh and dwelling among us.

Please click here to read on.

“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Matthew 6:21

Readings

Deuteronomy 8 · Matthew 25:1-30 · Psalm 5

Sermon

If we are not instructed as to the effect of our life here upon the spirit, it may seem harsh to hear it said that repentance after death is impossible, that once in hell forever there.

That Jesus should have said of those who had not received the stranger nor fed the hungry nor visited the sick, “These shall go away into everlasting punishment” seems incredible to some. The sentence is too severe, ill-proportioned to the sin of omission, they say. And we are familiar with the argument that God, who is just and merciful, would not afflict one with everlasting punishment for the sins that could be committed in this short life. Eternal punishment for a few years of evil living? There is no ratio between any fixed time and eternity. How unjust, severe, unmerciful the punishment would be!

And so it would be if consignment to hell for sin were a decree of the Lord in punishment. It is true that the Word speaks of the Lord as punishing and casting into hell, as never changing His judgment and never repenting. But such expressions in the letter were reflections of human states, ideas, and customs and were permitted that those in evil might be checked and turn to better ways. They are not in the letter genuine truths, but express truth as it appears to the natural and uninstructed mind. The Lord is pure mercy, pure forgiveness, increasing love. Any other representation of God is an adaptation to those who have not yet risen to any interior idea of Him or who think of Him as seen when we are in opposition to Him. The Lord sends no one to the realm of the lost. He is pure mercy and love. He exerts all His power to lift everyone into heaven.

Please click here to read on.

“Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
“And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.” – Mark 16:3-4

Readings

Isaiah 60 · Mark 16 · Psalm 96

Sermon

Today we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. The story of the Resurrection is indeed a marvelous one. The Resurrection took place unseen by mortal eye. It was the completion of the stupendous work into which the Lord had entered, and it brought to a close the era of the world’s darkness.

Prophetic of the dawn of this new day Isaiah writes: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.”

The hope of immortality has ever been a part of the furniture of the human mind. When this hope is lost, life here becomes irrational, our labors vain, there is no harvest of humanity, no ultimate goal of effort. Not only is immortality necessary to the perfection of God’s plan of creation and necessary to enable Him to bestow the full measure of His blessings upon us, but the certainty of it is necessary to our life in this world, that we may see life here in its true proportions and go forward surely to a sane end. Life in this world and in the next make one life. Without a knowledge of immortality “We wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness… We stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.” How dark is the prospect of a world which ends in omnipresent death!

Please click here to read on.

“Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” – Luke 10:25

Readings

Deuteronomy 28:1-14 · Matthew 19:16-30 · Psalm 16

Sermon

The terms “everlasting life” and “eternal life” sometimes are used to mean the same – that is, life without end – but there is a difference in some cases.

Everyone has everlasting life, for the evil as well as the good live forever in the spiritual world after the death of the body. No one need ask “What shall I do to inherit everlasting life” for everyone is sure to have it. But to inherit eternal life is altogether different.

No short definition of eternal life can be made that carries to another its real meaning because it involves so much. Eternal life is life directly from God, the kind of life that is in God. But for such a definition to have meaning one must know at least something of the quality of life that is in God. It is like asking “What is sunlight?” Sunlight is indeed light directly from the sun, but such a definition does not tell us exactly what sunlight is.

With the Lord there is no such thing as time. A thousand years are as a day in His sight. The angels have no idea of time. Think of an angel four thousand years old. He does not think of years, for he is merely four thousand years advanced in the love and wisdom of the Lord. So eternal life means a life of continual increase in God’s life, a life that contains unlimited unfolding of the glory of God.

Please click here to read on.

“But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” – Revelation 11:2

Readings

Jeremiah 31:31-40 · Revelation 11 · Psalm 52

Sermon

The Tabernacle was built according to the pattern showed to Moses on the mount. It was the center of Jewish worship. All the tribes had their position in relation to it. Covered by the pillar of cloud by day and by the pillar of fire by night, it was the visible sign of the presence and protection of the Almighty.

The Tabernacle, made from the costliest offerings of all the people and built by hands inspired by God to do the delicate work, had a beauty and glory beyond anything man himself could conceive. Whether it is realized or not, man is ever a worshiper and from earliest times has found delight in adorning his temples and making them works of beauty. But the Tabernacle, as well as the Temple and modern churches whose basic structure is that of the Tabernacle, has a beauty beyond that of mere outward form.

Please click here to read on.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – John 14:6

Readings

Isaiah 30:1-17 · John 14:1-17 · Psalm 43

Sermon

The fourteenth chapter of John contains some of the most striking statements concerning the Lord to be found in the Scriptures, and in it the Lord revealed Himself more freely to His disciples than He had done in any of His previous conversations with them.

One of these statements is, “Ye believe in God, believe also in me.” Jesus here places Himself on an equality with God, and demands the same belief in Him as that which men should direct to God. But although He is God and God alone, He here makes a distinction between God and Jesus, or between the Father and the Son. This distinction is a most important one, as our Lord plainly teaches. He said to His disciples, “Ye believe in God.” Why ask them to do more? It was because though they believed in God, yet they were in darkness and not in light. They were in doubt, obscurity, and fear. He told them that if they would believe in Him, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, would come, who would lead them in the paths of peace. If they would believe in Jesus as they believed in God, they would be brought out of bondage and dwell in the Promised Land.

Please click here to read on.