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

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“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.

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“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” by Louis A. Dole

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“If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:31-32

Readings

Deuteronomy 32:1-14 · John 8:12-32 · Psalm 85

Sermon

In many places in the writings the importance of knowing the truth is emphasized, for it is by a life in conformity with truth that man is born again; and unless he is born again, he does not attain the end for which he was created, namely, heaven. The knowledge of the truth of which Jesus speaks in the words of our text is practical knowledge: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Also the Divine truth is eternal and unchangeable. “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.” “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” No human understanding of the Lord’s Word nor any human attainment is final, but the Lord’s truth is eternally the same.

Of himself man is unable to acquire knowledge of spiritual truths; his faculties are not suited to such attainment. In the final analysis knowledge of spiritual truth is imparted to him by revelation. Likewise he cannot become regenerate by any intellectual activity of his own. Regeneration is effected by the Lord alone in such as learn and accept the truths He has revealed, and live according to them. All men are born unregenerate. The Lord saves all who will allow themselves to be saved, and those allow themselves to be saved who accept the truths of the Word and live a life of love to the Lord and the neighbor. There is no other way.

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“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy,” by Louis A. Dole

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“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Psalm 126:5

Readings

Leviticus 26:1-13 · Revelation 11:1-19 · Psalm 30

Sermon

The one hundred twenty-sixth Psalm, from which this text is taken, is a Psalm of thanksgiving, though it speaks of tears and weeping. It looks through the tears; it sees through the weeping. It is true to the Gospel, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” It is true to life. The deepest emotions and joys are not expressed by laughter. The philosophy which portrays a happy life as one of mirth, ease, and pleasure is a hollow philosophy, and its followers lead shallow lives. Nothing of value is obtained without effort and sacrifice. The body does not grow strong without labor; the mind does not gain knowledge and power without effort. We have to give up ease and self-indulgence and apply ourselves to our tasks if we are to gain in strength and wisdom. The commonplace is bought at the commonplace price. Worth-while things cost. Their cost is self-denial. “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”

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“I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron,” by Louis A. Dole

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“I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.” – Isaiah 45:2

Readings

Isaiah 45:1-2, 13-19 · John 17:1-15 · Psalm 48

Sermon

The children of Israel have been carried away captive to Babylon, and are represented as being hidden away behind gates of brass and bars of iron in the land of their exile. Now the days of captivity are drawing to a close, and through the instrumentality of Cyrus, a just and gentle prince, they are to be set free to return to their native land. Cyrus was raised up for a special mission, namely, to subdue the Chaldean oppressor and to let the oppressed go free. So Cyrus is told that the Lord will be with him and give him might. Let him not fear.

The Lord came into the world to redeem men from the power of evil. The prisons cannot be locked up so fast, the doors and bars cannot be so strong but that the work of this redemption will succeed. “I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.”

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“These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt,” by Louis A. Dole

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“These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” – Exodus 32:4

Readings

Exodus 32:1-14 · Luke 12:13-36 · Psalm 52

Sermon

While Moses was in the mount receiving the commandments from the Lord, the people took their golden earrings and made of them a molten calf, and they said, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”

This is a story of folly that sounds little less than insanity. The Lord, through Moses, by mighty miracles had delivered them from bondage in Egypt and brought them to Sinai. Yet because Moses was some time in the mountain the people turned against him. They could not have been more foolish.

Yet many today repeat this insanity in another form. Moses stands for the Divine Law which came through him. There is the Divine Law. It is given in the Word. Yet there are many who are too ready to put it out of mind. “As for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.” It is because minds and hearts are absorbed in things of self and the world and closed against heaven. When men are absorbed in things of the body and self, and in getting on in the world, closing the interior planes of the soul which otherwise would be opened to heaven, they turn from heaven and the Lord to the world and to themselves, loving self with all the heart and life. This is what is represented by the absence of Moses and by their contemptuous cry, “As for this Moses… we wot not what is become of him.”

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The Mightiness of Love, by Louis A. Dole

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“Lovest thou me?” – John 21:16

Readings

Deuteronomy 32:1-14 · John 21:15-25 · Psalm 91

Sermon

These words, addressed in the first place to Simon Peter, are equally addressed to us all. Thrice uttered by the Lord in the presence of His disciples on the occasion of His last recorded conversation with them prior to His ascension, they would have a special claim to our consideration. The query, under the circumstances in which it was given, becomes the question of questions.

For love, we know, is the very life of man. Whatever the ruling love is such is the man himself. There is no human act or utterance which has not its origin in love. The desire for a thing is what leads to doing and planning it. Purpose is implied in every intentional or voluntary operation. And what are desire and purpose but phases or manifestations of love?

Moreover love is the life of our thoughts and the cause of them. Thus the inmost principle of our being is love, which, seeking to express itself or to come forth into visible and tangible existence, appears in various forms. It is embodied in the kind actions which make it felt by others, and also in the skill and wisdom whereby those actions are designed and executed. End, cause, and effect constitute a triad which repeats itself everywhere throughout the universe. From the end or purpose, by the cause or means, to the effect or result the creative work always advances, both in least things and in greatest. The same general order is observed, and the same general laws are operative in making, for example, a simple sound or gesture as in constructing the most complicated mechanism. Back of the thing produced is the thought that produced it, and back of the thought is the desire or affection which gave the original impulse.

So, reason and analyze as we may, when we retrace the stream of causation from outward phenomena to the center and source of their being, we at last invariably come to love. The case is the same whether we speak of substantial forms or of momentary actions: love is the prime cause of their existence.

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

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“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.

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“Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.” – Psalm 55:6

Readings

Isaiah 60:8-22 · Matthew 5:33-48 · Psalm 84

Sermon

The Psalm from which this text is taken is a prayer of David for deliverance from his enemies. He is weary from the struggle and longs for a relief, which to him seems like wishing for the impossible. But looking a little deeper, the import of the Psalm is that a relief is possible.

Our natural bodies, heavy and inert, tie us to natural place and conditions. We are often compelled to remain amid surroundings which are uncongenial, and to see and hear things that are unpleasant. And in our occupations we are often limited to a narrow, monotonous round which we see day after day with little variation.

But it is only the natural body that is tied. The soul is not fettered by time and space. It rises on the wings of thought and flies where it pleases. The walls and pavements of the city may limit the natural sight, but the soul is free and in thought revisits the places it loves best – the shaded woods where the air is clear and pure and the paths through which we love to walk. The soul rises without fatigue to the tops of mountains and looks out upon the forests spread out beneath, the checkered farms, the villages and lakes in the distance. The flight of thought carries the soul across the sea without effort or delay, revisiting places and scenes of interest in other countries.

This freedom of the soul from the limitations of time and space, this power to come and go at will is imaged in the fight of birds. So in the Scriptures we read that angels were seen flying.

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“Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation.” – Psalm 25:5

Readings

Isaiah 31 · Mark 12:1-18 · Psalm 25

Sermon

Of all God’s creatures on earth man alone is interested in truth. Other creatures live their day, impelled by their animal instincts, reacting mechanically upon their environment. But from the dawn of history man has pondered upon and tried to understand this marvelous universe in which he finds himself placed, and his own relation to it.

Man’s knowledge of the universe grew slowly from age to age, but in recent generations it has grown by leaps and bounds. The results of scientific research on the material plane have been so extensive and so positive that the claim is made that through it can be found the answers to all our problems. Sometimes it oversteps its boundaries and speculates about things which are above the material plane – with disastrous results. Theology is one of these realms. Natural science knows nothing of God, of the sanctity of the Word, of redemption, of faith, of free will, of repentance, of the remission of sins, of heaven and hell, of the state of man after death, of salvation and eternal life, or of baptism and the Holy Supper.

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