“And all the more as you see the day drawing near”
What is the day that we see drawing near?
Last week we were given the charge to not forsake the assembling together for Lord’s day corporate worship as is the habit of some. This week we are given an added degree of urgency. In the first place we are not to forsake assembling – but how much more – now that we see the day approaching. The Word of Christ in His institutions and commands gives us duties that are constant and necessary. Now we are given a warning that should excite us and encourage us to be particularly diligent. There is not even a question of whether or not we see, scripture is telling us that we do see the day approaching.
So this duty that we are not to neglect in the first place, how much more faithfully should we perform this duty of worship to God that He is owed as we see the day approaching?
Christ gives warnings to His church, both in His Word and by His providence, by trials, and by persecutions. The intention of these warning is to stir us up so that we will attend to our duties, as He gives examples of when He speaks to the seven churches in Revelation. He shows us that our neglect of the duties is the cause of displeasure where He says “for this cause many are weak, and sickly, and many sleep” and again “because thou art lukewarm I will vomit you out of My mouth”
What are some providential warnings that we may currently see that tell us that the day is approaching?
If we do not take care, disciplining ourselves, to attend to our diligence we will be unable to pass through trials of any nature, not persecutions, or public calamities to His glory, nor our own safety. By neglecting our duties all graces will decay, our carnal fleshly fears will prevail, we will be lacking in wisdom, counsel, and help, and our souls will be betrayed to innumerable dangers and perplexities. Without this care that we are to take it will not be to the glory of Christ to make evident His presence among them in their trials, or give deliverance to them.
As the day approaches would it make more sense for us to seek the good of ourselves and our families rather than make our futures uncertain and possibly ruined by persecutions and destruction?
Whatever desolations and destructions may be approaching, our best and wisest position will be to trust in God in the discharge of our duty. All other devices will prove not only vain and foolish, but destructive to our souls. The day here is coming on the earth for the neglect and contempt of the gospel. The Lord will have a day of vengeance for all sin, unbelief, and obstinacy against Christ. So that if any that have made profession of the gospel are now negligent and careless in the known duties of it, they will have no evidence or satisfaction in their own minds that they should not fall in the fire of that day. They who will in any degree partake of men’s sins, must in some degree or other par take of their plagues. It is impossible that men should go or be carried through a day of public calamity, a destructive day, comfortably and cheerfully, without a diligent attendance unto those known duties of the gospel.
Is ignorance of what is required of us an acceptable excuse for not performing our duties?
The guilt of this neglect will seize upon them when their trial shall come; and they will wish, when it is too late, that they had not been neglectful. Let men pretend what they will, this decay in those duties argues and gives evidence of a decay in all graces, which they will find weak, and unfit to carry them through their trials; which will bring them to an unspeakable loss in their own minds. The Lord Christ requires this from us by way of testimony to Him, that we are found faithful in our adherence to His institutions as we see the approach of that day; for by this testimony we give evidence both the subjection of our souls to Him, and also that we value and esteem the privilege of the gospel above all other things.
How may we individually take part in the strengthening and supporting of our souls for the trials that we are going to be given?
Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. This will be the testing of every man’s grace according to it’s sincerity and power. All ways and means by which our works might be tried and our graces exercised are required of us in such a season and time. Approaching judgements should influence us to be diligent in our evangelical duties.
What is the effect of preaching and sharing the gospel?
We see the day approaching as the signs that have been foretold by Christ are accomplished. At the first preaching multitudes were converted to Christ. As the the chosen have are gathered the rest are hardened. Few additions are now made to the church, no longer daily, or in multitudes as formerly. And we know that scripture tells us when all is accomplished God will not leave the unbelievers in their obstinacy, but His wrath shall come upon them to the uttermost. For the people that have now refused the gospel are given up to all wickedness, and hatred of God. God has not left the world without knowing that the day of wrath is coming.
What are some examples from scripture that the entire world knows of concerning the wrath of God in times past?
He has given us example of warning the world through the preaching of Noah and the destruction of the world by water, and by the preaching of Lot and the destruction of Sodom by fire. As we have been warned and can see that the gospel has gone out into all the world we can see the evidence that the day is rapidly approaching. We are to be prepared, we can see that all things are filled with every manner of confusion, disorder, tumult’s, seditions, slaughters- These are the entrances to that great and terrible day. If we shut our eyes against the evidence, signs, and tokens of approaching judgements our hearts will never be stirred up to perform our duties. Great and final judgement is approaching. God has given us many warnings, “who is wise will consider these things” and “they shall understand the loving-kindness of the LORD .” “The prudent foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself.” “How is it that ye discern not the signs of the times?” To see evidently such a day approaching, and not to be meticulous and diligent in the duties of divine worship, is a token of a backsliding frame tending unto final apostasy.
How will the great and terrible day of the Lord differ from times past when God has demonstrated His wrath?