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

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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.

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The Way of Life, by Louis A. Dole

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“Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3

Readings

Isaiah 57:13-21 · Matthew 18:1-14 · Psalm 79

Sermon

The eighteenth chapter of Matthew begins with the incident in which the disciples contended among themselves as to who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. They came to the Lord and asked Him to settle the dispute, saying, “Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Each of the disciples desired to be greatest, and to rule. This is the condition of the natural man, and continues to be that of every man until he comes under the dominion of the Lord.

In appealing to the Lord to settle their dispute, the disciples acknowledged His authority as supreme, and they were disposed to abide by His decision. They expected, however, that He would merely decide for them what they themselves could not agree upon – which of them should be greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

But when “Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven,” they were astonished. This idea had never entered into their thoughts, much less into their discussion.

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“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord,” by Louis A. Dole

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“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

Readings

Isaiah 55 · Mark 12:13-17, 28-34 · Psalm 25

Sermon

God created the heavens and the earth. In doing this He had eternal ends in view. This and other earths were formed and men created upon them. Generation after generation of men are there formed and gathered into the spiritual world. There, if they have lived rightly, the Lord forms them into heavens, where they are being continually perfected and formed more and more into His image and likeness.

We are born knowing nothing either of this world or of the spiritual world. But we are endowed with the capacity to develop and to learn. We are born without knowledge. We see very little, hear very little, and our sense of touch is dull. The only sense that is developed is that of taste. The babe feeds without instruction from the first hours of its life. At first we have no desires other than to receive pleasant sensations of warmth, to have small discomforts removed, and to satisfy the hunger. When external comfort is attained, we are content.

As we learn a little more, our desires enlarge. We are interested in various amusements. Toys become attractive, and a desire for knowing about things develops. We like to learn of all that is going on about us, and to try our hand at imitating what other people are doing.

In maturity the things at which we played in childhood we like to make real. We want a home of our own, we want to share in the work of the world. Such naturally are our goals, and such are our thoughts. We plan for them and work for them, always expecting to be satisfied, but never really content even when we obtain what we wanted: always seeing something beyond, which seems important to our full content. And even if we have all that we have learned to desire and enjoy, there is never complete satisfaction.

This is because the natural world is not all that there is. We are inmostly spiritual beings, and as the heavens are higher than the earth, so the Lord’s ways are higher than our ways. And the Lord’s providence is constantly operating to substitute His purposes for our purposes and His thoughts for our thoughts.

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“I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die.
“Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.” – Genesis 33:13-14

Readings

Genesis 33:1-15 · Luke 18:15-30 · Psalm 119:1-16

Sermon

In the church calendar today is Christian Education Sunday. The purpose which the Lord has in view in the creation and care of men is a heaven of angels. In its spiritual meaning the opening chapter of the Word tells of the stages we pass through in attaining this development. It begins with the creation of light, and the continuous and progressive acquisition of truth. As heaven is formed from regenerated men and women, the highest natural use is the procreation of offspring. So it is written, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord,” and, “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

This truth should be self-evident. From this use comes the happiness of marriage and parenthood.

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“Why repair ye not the breaches of the house?” by Louis A. Dole

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“Why repair ye not the breaches of the house?” – 2 Kings 12:7

Readings

2 Kings 12:1-12 · Matthew 21:12-27 · Psalm 103

Sermon

Beginning with the twelfth chapter of Genesis the Old Testament in its letter is the history of the chosen people. Spiritually it describes the struggles, the discouragements, and the final triumph of the Lord’s church and of the heavenly life in the regenerating soul. The time of the divided kingdom which followed upon the death of Solomon was a period of decline. In the northern kingdom, Israel, this decline was continuous and rapid, but in the southern kingdom, Judah, occasionally a good king came to the throne. It is especially beautiful to notice that two of the good kings, Jehoash and Josiah, came to the throne as children, at eight years of age. They foreshadow the prophecy, “A little child shall lead them.” Such a child king, coming forward in evil days and recalling the people from idolatry, suggests the awakening of something childlike in ourselves, when we have gone astray, recalling us to worship of the Lord.

The Lord stores up holy states and memories in every child, and most carefully guards them. These states are the basis for our association with the heavens from which come those influences which in our later years operate to turn us from evil to good. Often we are conscious that the awakening of some innocent, tender state or some memory of earlier days is the means of recalling us to our duty. The Lord’s care in storing up and guarding the innocent states of childhood, which are to be the source of strength in later years, is especially suggested in the story of Jehoash, whom the good priest hid for six years in the house of the Lord, until the time came for him to be recognized as king.

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“It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” – Matthew 18:14

Readings

Isaiah 2 · Matthew 18:1-14 · Psalm 91

Sermon

In these words the Lord declares the Divine purpose with respect to little children. It is one among several passages in the Gospels which give expression to the same truth. To His disciples and to others with whom He conversed it seems to have been a new and strange doctrine that little helpless children were worthy of interest and attention from grown-up men, and especially from one who was a wise teacher of men. They sternly rebuked the women who brought little children to the Lord for His blessing. That a feeling of contempt was in their hearts is evident from the Lord’s rebuke: “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones.” His own feeling and conduct were the reverse of theirs. He took the children in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them, and said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And when the disciples asked Him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He “called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Also He taught that little ones were the peculiar care of the highest angels, saying: “in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” Finally, He tells how dearly they are loved by the Infinite God Himself, whose will it is that not one of them should perish.

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