“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever,” by Louis A. Dole

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“The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” – Isaiah 40:6-8

Readings

Isaiah 40:1-17 · John 10:1-18 · Psalm 103:8-18

Sermon

Today there are those who say, “All flesh is grass. What is man that God is mindful of him? We die like the beasts of the field. The rocks crumble, all flesh perishes, the sun will in time burn out, and omnipresent death will reign.”

And so from the changes which occur in the outer stratum of creation man reasons that there is no inner enduring creation, that there is no stable realm of everlasting life. We pass on. Our places are quickly filled.

But why does anyone believe these merely seeming truths? Our text tells us the reality: “The word of our God shall stand for ever.” There is a deeper meaning to the words “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth.” The grass is a lower form of vegetation, the first to spring out of the ground, and the basis of animal life. The first truths that come to us are like the grass. They are the basis of more vital things because they are external facts upon which interior things depend and rest. The grass is created before the herbs, the blade before the ear. And the flowers? They are spiritual truths unfolded in their beauty. It is the desert of the mind that the Lord promises shall blossom as the rose. So is pictured the soul of man beautified with spiritual truths.

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“What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” – Deuteronomy 10:12

Readings

Deuteronomy 10:12-22 · Luke 22:24-30 · Psalm 101

Sermon

The purpose of our creation is that we may be of service to the Lord. The Lord works by and through man, because man is a receptacle of life from Him and the only intelligent subject of His providence. All things below man are included in man. They precede him in the order of creation because man is their end. It is theirs to make ready for him, and this they do, or rather the Lord does for them. The Lord’s method of operation can be seen through the study of nature, as nature illustrates the law of His operation.

What is this law? It is the law of service or use to something higher. Nothing is created for itself alone. Everything is for something above itself. The mineral underlies, supports, and sustains the plant, the plant the animal, the animal man. And as nothing in the realm of nature has the power to disturb or to contravene the operation of this law, we find in nature the perfect peace and harmony that result from its fulfillment. In nature we find the Divine order perfectly carried out except in so far as man has disturbed it. Things in nature that are hurtful to life are of man, not of God. Man alone, as we know, has the power to act with or against God – from God or from himself. Acting from himself he has been the cause of all that is hurtful in nature. But even so he has no power to reverse its order, and when he acts contrary to order, the Lord makes even these acts serve a use. Poisonous minerals and plants, corresponding to false and evil thoughts and feelings, are used as medicines to cure diseases in the bodies of men and animals, and the time will come when, through an advance in the knowledge of the science of correspondences, they will be still more helpful. This is what is meant by the words of the Psalmist: “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.”

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“He said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other,” by Louis A. Dole

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“He said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.” – Luke 6:10

Readings

Joshua 1:1-18 · Luke 6:1-16 · Psalm 37:1-11

Sermon

At best the living God is a dim reality to us in comparison to what He might be. In its childhood humanity was near to God. They of most ancient times felt His presence operating in them. They were conscious that His love in their hearts was from Him. Their intelligence was the light from the love that was within. The two worlds that are within us were then in harmony. The natural world reflected the spiritual world within. It awakened the higher life of the soul, and opened the spiritual paradise where they communed with God.

They saw, when the clouds yielded their moisture, how their God revived and nourished them from His Spirit by the doctrine that dropped as the rain and the speech that distilled as the dew, like the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass. The wind that bloweth where it listeth was to them the spirit of God enriching the heart. The first rays of the rising sun as they came streaming in over the horizon were to them a vivid symbol of how they received within them the light of intelligence from heaven’s sun. As the sun rose full and clear, driving back the darkness of night to usher in a new day, they thought of the glories of another and higher world than this which the sun of righteousness ushered in, and for which they were preparing, and they felt new vigor. Nature, the unwritten Word of God, was to them a living language through which heaven spoke. In that spiritual Garden of Eden God walked and talked with them, and they were near to Him.

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

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“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.

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“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” – Psalm 103:1-2

Readings

Haggai 2:1-9, 20-23 · Revelation 14:1-7 · Psalm 103

Sermon

In the Word we find numerous and beautiful references to the value of thanksgiving, of the acknowledgment and confession of the Lord’s goodness, and of the mercies which He bestows: thanksgiving for spiritual blessings. “I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee.”

There are thanksgivings for the coming of the Lord and the establishment and growth of His kingdom, and thanksgivings for His presence with us, enlightening us to see the way of life and delivering us from spiritual bondage. So the Psalmist writes, “I will offer unto thee the sacrifices of thanksgiving.”

The Lord commissioned His apostles saying, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” The word translated creature here means every created thing. The Lord could give this command because He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and could say “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” We recall that the Lord by His miracles, the turning of the water into wine, the stilling of the storm, the healing of all manner of sicknesses, showed that He had this power.

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“Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.” – Psalm 104:30

Readings

Isaiah 43:1-21 · Revelation 4 · Psalm 104

Sermon

Every year brings new and amazing discoveries. This is due in part to the growth in knowledge of the world of nature. There was a time when every natural phenomenon was thought to be the immediate effect of some arbitrary fiat of the Almighty. The eclipses of the sun and moon, thunder and lightning were thought to be manifestations of God’s displeasure. But when it became known that the heavenly bodies move in orbits and cast their shadows on one another, the terrors of an eclipse departed. When electricity was recognized as one of the latent forces of nature, lightning ceased to be thought of as a special instrument of Divine power.

The ever-increasing knowledge of the laws of the universe does not, however, make it any less marvellous. We merely come into a truer understanding of the laws by which the Lord operates in the world, and the world seems to be more perfect rather than less. God is not removed from His creation. It can be seen more clearly than before that “it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves.” Certain principles emerge which can now be rationally seen.

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