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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“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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“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,” by Louis A. Dole

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“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
“And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
“And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” – Isaiah 11:6-9

Readings

Isaiah 11:1-10 · Matthew 18:1-11 · Psalm 51

Sermon

In the beginning, the time of the Most Ancient Church, people of our earth lived together in innocence and peace. This was the childhood of the human race. As individuals we have our childhood, in which we are free from cares and anxieties and the future is full of promise.

As we grow up and come to maturity and look back on those days, we see their contrast with the present and we look forward to a future in which innocence will again be restored and people will live together in peace without anxiety for the future. In world affairs this is the idea of the millennium, with which our text is commonly associated.

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