If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how shall you believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
We may distinguish between these. Christ's teaching in its practical applications is its earthly side; His revelation of God, His nature and will its heavenly side.
I. THE MORAL TEACHING OF CHRIST MUST BE ACCEPTED BY EVERY UPRIGHT CONSCIENCE.
1. Where else do you find the idea of the sovereign and eternal value of right more clearly and firmly expressed?
2. The same applies to holiness. He opposes the systems which make it consist in outward performances, and places stress on the intention.
3. None more than Christ have preached the necessity of sacrificing one's self for the sake of truth.
4. Whoever taught as Christ the relations of men with one another and the bonds of justice and mercy which should units them? Christ alone has made love the supreme law of mankind.
5. Not only has He taught all this; He has acted all He has taught.
6. This is why He has a right to the authority He claims over our consciences, and why when He tells us of earthly things He has a right to be believed.
II. CHRIST CLAIMS THE SAME FAITH AS THE REVEALER OF RELIGIOUS TRUTH. He is not merely a teacher of morals; He speaks of the things which are far beyond our human vision: of God, His government, providence, saving purposes, judgment. In the presence of these affirmations our situation changes. So long as His moral teaching was in question we could judge of it by our consciences, but here are declarations we cannot control.
1. Are we justified in putting faith in Christ.? If we set aside this faith, no other means of access to religious truth remains. Science can teach us nothing. Are we then to remain in the dark? Men have tried to do so, but always unsuccessfully.
2. Is Christ to be believed?
(1) The very accent of His affirmations leads us to reflection. No man ever spoke with such authority. We believe the assertions of Christ when He tells us of heavenly things, because lie has always spoken truth when He has told us of earthly things.
(2) If we believe the religious truths revealed by Christ it is because they are the necessary complement of the moral truths our conscience compels us to believe; so that accepting the latter, we are led by an invincible logic to believe the former. There is no moral truth in the gospel that does not expand into a religious truth.
(E. Bersier, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?