“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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“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.” – Ezekiel 3:17

Readings

2 Samuel 18:19-33 · John 8:12-32 · Psalm 130

Sermon

The watchman is a picturesque figure in Old Testament history. We recall the picture of the watchman posted upon the roof in a city beyond Jordan, where David awaited news of the battle with his rebellious son Absalom, announcing to King David one runner, and then another who came with tidings. And there is the watchman on the tower of Jezreel who gave warning of the approach of Jehu, driving furiously in his chariot up the valley from the Jordan.

It was the duty of the watchman to see in the distance an approaching enemy and to give warning of the danger. And if he saw the danger and failed to give the alarm, we are told by the prophet Ezekiel that he would be held accountable for the harm that fell upon the people.

Another duty of the watchman was to watch for the breaking of the dawn. A vivid picture is given us of the watchman in Jerusalem, standing on the high pinnacle of the temple watching for the first beams of the morning sun to appear above the Mount of Olives. Then with the threefold blast of the silver trumpets the signal was given to proceed with the morning sacrifice, and the city awakened to its busy life. This watching for the day is suggested in the passage from Isaiah: “Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night,” and in the familiar Psalm: “My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.”

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“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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“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – John 14:6

Readings

Isaiah 30:1-17 · John 14:1-17 · Psalm 43

Sermon

The fourteenth chapter of John contains some of the most striking statements concerning the Lord to be found in the Scriptures, and in it the Lord revealed Himself more freely to His disciples than He had done in any of His previous conversations with them.

One of these statements is, “Ye believe in God, believe also in me.” Jesus here places Himself on an equality with God, and demands the same belief in Him as that which men should direct to God. But although He is God and God alone, He here makes a distinction between God and Jesus, or between the Father and the Son. This distinction is a most important one, as our Lord plainly teaches. He said to His disciples, “Ye believe in God.” Why ask them to do more? It was because though they believed in God, yet they were in darkness and not in light. They were in doubt, obscurity, and fear. He told them that if they would believe in Him, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, would come, who would lead them in the paths of peace. If they would believe in Jesus as they believed in God, they would be brought out of bondage and dwell in the Promised Land.

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“Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.” – Isaiah 66:1

Readings

Isaiah 65:17-66:2 · John 15 · Psalm 48

Sermon

The great gap in the world’s knowledge is that of knowledge of the Lord. This is in part due to a lack of understanding of the Word. By the majority of Christians the Word is thought to be the work of fallible men. But when it is understood in the light of the revelation given to the New Church, it is seen to be the source and repository of knowledge of spiritual things.

Our text sets forth in very few words the three fundamental facts that lie back of the explanation of all things, namely, the Lord, the heavens, and the earth. Translated into more abstract terms it refers to the Divine life, the substantial spiritual world, and this ultimate realm of physical matter. This is the great trine into which the universe is resolvable, it being the expression in its broadest reach of the primal law of end, cause, and effect which, because it reflects the inseparable union of love, wisdom, and use in the one God, lies at the base of all unity and being.

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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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“Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” – Luke 24:49

Readings

1 Kings 2:36-46 · Luke 24:33-53 · Psalm 65

Sermon

These words were spoken to the disciples after the Lord’s resurrection, and just before His ascension. They had a definite meaning for them, for obediently they remained in Jerusalem until the day of Pentecost, when, like a mighty rushing wind came the power of the Holy Spirit for which they waited.

We recall that in David’s time a man named Shimei cursed David, and David left a command to Solomon to take vengeance on Shimei. Shimei was not to be put to death but was to build a house in Jerusalem and not go outside of the city. For three years he kept this engagement. At the end of that time, for the purpose of recovering two of his slaves who had escaped, he went out and brought them back. On his return Solomon had him put to death.

Jerusalem is called a “city of truth.” To dwell in Jerusalem is to live according to the truths of the Word that we know. So will we be safe.

These narratives are not of mere historical interest. Every act described in the Word is dramatic, a representative picture of eternal truth. This fact makes Scripture the Word of God, thus distinguishing it from all other writings.

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The Light of the World, by Louis A. Dole

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“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” – John 8:12

Readings

Isaiah 61 · John 8:12-32 · Psalm 27

Sermon

From the very beginning the Lord’s Advent was associated with light. It was prophesied of His coming, “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.” When the Lord was born, the shepherds saw a great light, and it was a star that led the wise men from the east to the place where the young child lay.

It is clear that the Lord is meant in the words, “Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee… The sun shall no more be thy light by day… but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.” And of the Holy City it is written, “There shall be no night there; for the Lord God giveth them light.” Throughout the Scriptures the Lord is spoken of as the source of light. In the opening verses of the first chapter of John the Lord as the Word is six times spoken of as the light of the world, and in the eighth chapter He declares positively, “I am the light of the world.”

Why is so much said in the Word regarding light, and why is the Lord so often associated with it?

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“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.
“And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.
“And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.” – Amos 9:13-15

Readings

John 3:18-36 · Psalm 97

Sermon

This text is a parable of the Lord’s kingdom. It relates to the Lord’s new Church, the Holy City New Jerusalem now descending from God out of heaven.

In the Scriptures “days” mean states. Therefore the words “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord” foretell such a state of the Lord’s Church on earth as is here described. The church is ever progressing to purer and nobler ideals. In the heavens this is apparent, and all that can be desired for human society on earth is that it be brought more and more into harmony with heavenly ideals and customs. For this the Lord taught us to pray: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, as in heaven, so also upon the earth.”

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“And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
“But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” – Luke 12:47, 48

Readings

Leviticus 5:14-6:7 · Luke 12:31-48 · Psalm 143

Sermon

In these words the Lord teaches us the nature and measure of our responsibility to Him and to our fellow men. All the precepts of the Word are of universal application. The Lord does not ask us to do more than we can – to act with a wisdom which we do not possess, or to do things beyond our ability and strength. But while the Lord demands no more than we can give, He also asks no less. Those who know the Lord’s will and do it not will be beaten with many stripes. Those who sin ignorantly will be beaten with few stripes. If we violate the laws of nature, whether wilfully or in ignorance, we must pay the penalty which is the necessary effect of a law.

In the Scriptures the Lord is said to punish, but this is according to appearances. The Lord is love; His only desire is to bless. His constant effort is to heal men of their afflictions and diseases. But this can be done only as evils and falsities are removed, and this requires man’s cooperation. Knowledge of this should give us comfort if we are living in the light of it, and should inspire us to greater fidelity if we are not.

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