“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.

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne.” – Revelation 3:21

Readings

Genesis 1:26-2:3 · Revelation 3:14-22 · Psalm 145

Sermon

In His first mandate upon the morn of man’s creation the Lord said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth.”

The Lord came into the world to gain dominion over the forces that stood in the way of man’s regeneration; so He came to conquer, and it is written of Him, “Who is this that cometh from Edom… travelling in the greatness of his strength?”

We are born for dominion. We live to gain it. We die to enter upon it. Ever since man was created he has been striving to gain dominion.

There is a striking contrast between man – in his own person so weak and defenceless – upon the one hand, and upon the other the earth with its giant forests, its swamps, its rivers with their floods, its lakes and seas with their mighty waves, its mountains and deep canyons, and its savage life of both sea and land. Unaided, man could neither follow the birds in their flight nor the fish in the sea, nor cope with the beasts of the earth; yet in the beginning he was bidden, in regard to the earth and the life upon it, to subdue it and to have dominion. Great forces were to be subdued. But equal ones would be called into action – not the forces of the beasts, of the earth, or of the sea, or of nature in general, but the power of mind over matter.

The immensity of the dominion to be gained is a token of the possibilities of the mind, the vastness of the undeveloped faculties of the human being.

Please click here to read on.

“Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” – Matthew 18:18

Readings

Jeremiah 52:1-12 · Matthew 18:15-35 · Psalm 105:17-36

Sermon

The text states clearly and concisely the relation between our life here and our life in the spiritual world.

The teaching that Christ suffered the penalty of sin in substitution for the sinner – called the doctrine of the vicarious atonement – denies the teaching of this text, as that doctrine means that there is no real relation between the character of our life in this world and our life in the next.

The sphere of the vicarious atonement, although this doctrine is seldom specifically preached today, still environs us. It is still strong. Unconsciously it enters into our minds and twists our thoughts, making us feel that our culture, learning, wealth, social position, or system of faith, apart from the real quality of our life, will save us. Against such dreams of imagined salvation is asserted this law of honest, stalwart labor in the heart and mind: “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

What is it that is to be bound or loosed? It is traits of character, faculties of the mind, affections of the heart, the capacity for love and joy in the soul, in short, all our human possibilities so marvelously provided within each person by the Creator.

Please click here to read on.

“This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
“For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
“But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” – John 3:19-21

Readings

Isaiah 1:1-20 · John 3:16-36 · Psalm 75

Sermon

These words are from the Lord’s admonition to Nicodemus. They were spoken under circumstances which should have brought the point home to Nicodemus. Frequently the Lord used His environment to enforce a lesson. The conditions on this occasion were such as to point up His remarks.

This lesson of knowing and not doing, a lesson on light and darkness, was given to one who had sought the Lord at night. Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews. Occupying a high position, he was solicitous about what the people thought of him. He had heard of the miracles that the Lord had wrought, or possibly he had seen some of them, especially at the Passover. However it had been, he had become convinced that Jesus was sent from God; for he reasoned that if Jesus were not of God, He could not have performed such miracles.

Two forces are struggling in Nicodemus. One convinces him that the Lord’s claims are genuine and makes him desire to know more about Him. The other causes him to think of his official position, and of the hatred of the Jews for the Lord, which will be turned against him if he is known to be a disciple of Jesus. Which shall he do – serve the Lord and incur the ill will of his associates, or keep his office and deny the Lord?

Please click here to read on.

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” – Isaiah 9:2

Reading

Isaiah 9 · Luke 4:16-44 · Psalm 21

Sermon

This text tells of the condition of the world which made necessary the coming of the Lord. At Nazareth, where the Lord was brought up, He went into the synagogue, took up the book of Isaiah, and read the words “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

The Old Testament throughout tells of the fall of man from his pristine state of innocence and dependence upon the Lord until evil had gained the upper hand and held men in bonds which they of themselves could not break. And when the Lord came into the world, He did not look upon humanity as if it were moving on in the way of spiritual progress. In His eyes evil was not seen to be loosening its hold upon men. He spoke of men as blind. He spoke of them as bound and in prison. He spoke of them as lost. He spoke of the Scriptures as being made of none effect. He spoke of the necessity of a judgment.

Thus the Gospels represent the Lord as considering man to be in spiritual danger. And He came into the world to save men from this danger. He did actually come into the world. He took our nature upon Him and by means of a direct combat with the powers of evil did accomplish a redemption. He lived humanity’s life in the midst of humanity’s need and helplessness and provided the means of salvation for all men and for all time. So He was able to say, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” And then of His uplifting power in the days to come He immediately adds, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

Please click here to read on.

“It shall be even as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“It shall be even as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.” – Isaiah 29:8

Readings

Isaiah 29:1-12 · John 8:31-47 · Psalm 73

Sermon

Dreams are mentioned over a hundred times in the Word. Some have a good and some an evil meaning. In the dreams of Jacob as he rested by night at Bethel, of Joseph as he saw the sheaves of his brothers bowing down to his sheaf, and of Joseph the husband of Mary when he was warned to take the young child into Egypt there is a representation and instruction in Divine things. In the Golden Age the Lord taught men by means of dreams, and we may with some reason conjecture that man would be so taught today were it not for his hereditary tendencies to evil. However, occasionally we hear of people who have had instructive dreams. In sleep much of man’s own is quiescent, for in sleep we pass from our natural and worldly consciousness and surrender ourselves to the Lord, that His inflowing life may repair and heal. Were man living in his true order of creation, interposing little or nothing to distort and obscure the inflowing life, dreams would doubtless be a powerful source of enlightenment, instruction, and inspiration. Unfortunately this avenue man has for the most part closed.

Please click here to read on.

“Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell forevermore,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell forevermore.” – Psalm 37:27

Readings

Isaiah 1:10-20 · Luke 11:29-44 · Psalm 37:23-40

Sermon

These words set forth in briefest form the true order of spiritual growth and progress. The first thing for everyone to do in the work of his regeneration is to depart from evil. Then, and not till then, can he in any genuine sense do good. But the result of his departure from evil is that he is blessed with eternal happiness; in heaven he “dwells forevermore.”

Why is it that the shunning of evil must be the first step in a man’s progress toward heaven? It is because by nature he is inclined to evil. This is his inheritance from his ancestors of many generations. We all find ourselves disposed to be selfish rather than unselfish, and inclined to follow our own unbridled will rather than to listen to the wise counsel of others. Also we are inclined to be proud and self-confident and to ascribe to ourselves the merit of well-doing, rather than to be humble and to give to the Lord His proper place as the center and source of all goodness. We are not born into a state of actual evil or sin, but with tendencies to evil.

Please click here to read on.

“With the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“With the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” – Luke 6:38

Readings

Deuteronomy 11:13-28 · Luke 6:27-45 · Psalm 57

Sermon

Is this true? All the precepts of the Word are Divine laws, given that the way of life may be known. If these laws are broken, disorder and confusion result. Breaking them arrays one against the Lord and against those Divine forces which are in their nature friendly and helpful to him. By disobedience to them he puts himself out of the currents of these forces or sets himself in opposition to them.

To learn the laws of nature and of spirit and to live according to them is man’s task, a task given by the Lord for the purpose of developing the powers of the human mind and soul. Men did not and cannot make these laws, nor can they change them. The difference between man and animals is chiefly this, that man has the faculties of reason and freedom of choice while animals are dumb-driven by their instincts. The Lord cannot take away a man’s freedom without making him an automaton and so destroying all the human qualities in him. But if we use our freedom of choice simply to follow our own desires and inclinations and our reason simply to defend our selfish choice, we make ourselves like the animals, and may even descend below them. The Lord leaves us free to choose, but He wishes us to choose the right way and He makes clear what that right way is.

Please click here to read on.

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things,” by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me:
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” – Isaiah 45:5, 7

Readings

Isaiah 45:1-13 · John 1:1-14 · Psalm 91

Sermon

These words have been often quoted, and they have been both misunderstood and misused. The Lord is the origin and source of all life. There is no other life than that which comes from Him. He declares, “I am … the life.” There are no existences that are not dependent upon Him: without Him nothing would be. He is the universal Creator, the Maker of heaven and earth and all which pertains to them. Hence when He says, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil,” we feel that these statements logically follow from the primal fact that the Lord is the Life, the only source of existence. So men reason in this way: Everything that exists owes its existence to the Lord; evil exists in the world; therefore evil owes its existence to the Lord. The reasoning seems conclusive.

And yet to appearance it makes the Lord the author of evil. Seemingly it throws upon Him the responsibility for evil and for the suffering that flows from it. The natural man likes this. He likes to escape responsibility. He likes to feel and say when a wrong has been done, “Another did it.” And if by arguing that the primary origin of evil is with the Lord men can find a way to escape the responsibility for their own willing and doing, there seem to be many who are ready to avail themselves of the opportunity. They say, “There is no justice in my suffering for what I cannot help. I am not responsible for my inclinations to do wrong. Why should I struggle and fight against them? I am not responsible for the conditions in which I find myself; so I am not responsible for escaping from these conditions.”

Please click here to read on.

The Law of Judgment, by Louis A. Dole

Read the original sermon in PDF format

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” – Matthew 7:1

Readings

Exodus 18:13-27 · Matthew 7:1-12 · Psalm 86

Sermon

The Lord’s commandment “Judge not, that ye be not judged” is one of those passages in the Word which illustrate the necessity of knowing true doctrine in order to understand the Lord’s meaning. It would clearly be wrong to infer from this command that every kind of judgment is forbidden, for we are distinctly taught in the very chapter in which the text is found that we are to judge a tree by its fruits, and in the seventh chapter of John we are commanded to judge not according to the appearance but to judge righteous judgment. In fact our whole life from the cradle to the grave is little else than a continual series of judgments – judgments between the true and the false, between the good and the bad.

Consider what we should be without judgments. There would be no law courts, no judges, no jury. We should have no protection against fraud and violence, no power to guard ourselves against evils either from within or from without. Indeed without judgments human life could not go on at all. We have to judge for our children whether the influence of certain associates is good or evil. We have to judge whether or not one can be trusted, whether what he says is true or false. Judgment is a faculty given us for use.

Please click here to read on.