“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” – Matthew 5:17

Readings

Jeremiah 31:27-40 · Matthew 5:13-26 · Psalm 33:1-11

Sermon

The “Law” is summed up in the Commandments, which were given from Sinai and were called the “covenant” with the children of Israel.

In Leviticus we read: “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them… I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.”

There are passages in both the Old and New Testaments which have been interpreted to imply that the commandments will sometime be suspended or outgrown and other laws will take their place. Those who take this view call attention to the fact that Jeremiah tells of a time when the Lord will make a new covenant with His people: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord,” and that the Lord says, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time… But I say unto you…”

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

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“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.

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“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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“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21

Readings

Deuteronomy 24:10-22 · Matthew 6:19-34 · Psalms 62, 63

Sermon

The twenty-fourth chapter of Deuteronomy, our first Scripture lesson, in its spiritual meaning treats of the three forms of love in the natural degree – the love of what is good, the love of truth, and the love of knowledge. These are steps through which we pass in regeneration, beginning with the love of knowledge, passing on to the love of truth, and finally coming into the love of good. The love of truth is more unselfish than the love of knowledge, and the love of good is not selfish at all. Gradually we are redeemed from bondage to Egypt, and it is from the Lord alone that all redemption comes. Yet we must freely choose to turn to Him and to receive His power.

The Psalms of our responsive reading are a confession that the Divine alone has power, that from it there is help, and that evil and falsity are of no avail against the Divine. And here again we are told that the Lord’s power is given to those who seek Him.

Everyone knows the general meaning of the text “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth… but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Most people would like to make this world a better place to live in, and perhaps the majority of men and women would say that they are more interested in making a heaven on earth than they are in laying up treasure for themselves in the heaven hereafter. But the Newchurchman is interested in both the heaven here and the heaven hereafter, for he knows that they belong together.

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“For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth,” by Louis A. Dole

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“For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.” – Matthew 8:9

Readings

1 Kings 19:1-12 · Matthew 8:1-13 · Psalm 104:24-35

Sermon

The story of the centurion, of his humility, his sense of unworthiness, and his trust in the Lord, is a striking picture of our true relation to the Lord. We are our own masters. Our faculties are our servants which do our bidding. The centurion’s servant was sick with the palsy, a type of paralysis which prevents the full use of the body. Such a state spiritually is described by Paul when he says, “To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” There are many passages in the Scriptures which teach this same lesson. The Apostles were acutely conscious of their dependence upon the Lord as the source of their power. We remember that when at one time they were unable to cast out evil spirits, He told them that this could not be done but by prayer and fasting.

The Lord’s life is our example. In the flesh He passed through life as we do, meeting its temptations, difficulties, and discouragements. Often He resorted to prayer to gain the strength to meet life as it was presented to Him. He knew His mission and His goal. The people had tried to make Him king, but in the wilderness He had overcome in Himself all desire for the kingdoms of the world, and so became able to help others. The lesson here is that we must have self-control before we can control our circumstances, before we can have an adequate and wholesome influence over others. And we must get that self-control from the Lord, for self-control is the rule of the higher over the lower.

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“I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth,” by Louis A. Dole

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“I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth.” – Matthew 25:25

Readings

1 Samuel 17:1-11; 26-37 · Matthew 25:14-30 · Psalm 139

Sermon

Faith is an important factor in religion, and in everything of life. We do not look for victory where there is no courage. We would not trust an army to the command of one who did not believe that he could succeed. What we accomplish with what is committed to us, natural or spiritual, external or internal, depends primarily upon our faith.

Faith gives us the impulse to try. In trying we discover power and realize possibilities that before were concealed. Fear keeps us from knowing what we can do and what the Lord can give. The Word has much to say about fear and faith. They are so elementary, they lie so fundamentally at the beginning of success or failure that we need to know them from the first.

Fear and faith are opposites like darkness and light, for in ratio to the presence of one, the other vanishes.

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“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

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“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.

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“Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 3:2

Readings

Zechariah 13:1-9 · Matthew 3:1-17 · Psalm 48

Sermon

We know that heaven is not in some remote part of the natural sky; that we cannot say of it, “Lo, here, or Lo, there.” But still we are apt to think of it as far away. We are also inclined to think of heaven as remote in time. We speak commonly of the future world. In the thought of some it lies at the indefinitely remote time when they expect a general resurrection. With others death is the gateway to heaven, and still it seems too distant to be of much present and practical interest.

But the truth is that heaven is far away neither in space nor in time. It is here and now. We live in it now, or may do so. It is a present reality, the most real and most important element of the life which we are now living. When we speak of heaven and living for heaven, we are not necessarily setting our hearts on something far away and despising the life in which we now are. One might live for a far-off heaven, and no doubt some have lived so, careless of this world’s joys or sorrows or opportunities for usefulness, their eyes fixed on some vision of the future. But we may live for heaven and still live thoroughly in the present. We may value heaven – and they who have some true knowledge of heaven ought so to value it – as the most real of present realities.

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“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” by Louis A. Dole

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Wayne [Maine] July ’62

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Readings

Jeremiah 21 · Matthew 11:16-30 · Psalm 95

Sermon

This invitation is extended to all people. There are times when we need help. Sometimes it is help to lift our worldly burdens; sometimes it is the help of others when we are sick, or our bodily strength fails. Sometimes we need help to carry our burden of sorrow. And perhaps most often of all we need relief from anxieties.

All are dependent upon others during infancy and during childhood. And we might note that it is this dependence upon others and not upon their own powers that gives children freedom from anxiety and their bright outlook upon life. They look forward to the future with joyful anticipation. It is only when the cares of the world enter their lives that fears and doubts arise.

There must certainly be few adults who at some time have not felt the need of help. And if there is anyone who has not felt a need of others, anyone who feels sufficient unto himself to meet all his needs and solve all his problems, he is not to be envied. We were created to be of service to others.

The invitation is for all, and it should be evident that it is needed by all. We are not sufficient unto ourselves.

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“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” – Matthew 22:21

Readings

Micah 6 · Matthew 22:1-22 · Psalm 104:24-35

Sermon

This week the nation celebrates Memorial Day. The close of the Civil War marked the end of wars between the states. But since that time there have been two world wars. And wars have brought an increasingly heavy burden. It has been roughly estimated that the Civil War cost the nation $30,000,000.00, the First World War $300,000,000.00, and the Second World War $300,000,000,000.00. But this is not the whole cost. The sufferings of war, its deaths, sickness, and poverty, the disordering of useful industries, and the burden of taxation continually increase. We are beginning to realize as never before that for these burdens to continue and increase means the breakdown of civilization. The economic reasons for lessening armaments and ending war were never so strong as they are today.

And as nations are being brought closer together by means of vastly increased transportation facilities, we have been learning to look beyond our national borders and to take world views. We are beginning to be able in national affairs to see from another’s standpoint, to feel another nation’s suffering, and to recognize our duty to relieve it. Our nation is the most productive and the wealthiest nation the world has ever seen. The only proper use of wealth is service, and great amounts of our wealth have been spent in aid to other nations. All this helps toward making people a conference of nations looking to the limiting of armaments and the doing away with war.

Yet strong as the economic reasons are for reducing armaments and establishing peaceful means of adjusting relations among nations, the conference and the effort which it represents cannot succeed, nor can enduring peace among the nations be established on purely economic grounds.

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