Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found your works perfect before God.…
I. WHEN ONE'S RELIGION IS DECAYED TO DYING REMAINS.
1. Some things from whence one's religion may seem to be brought to dying remains, while really it is not so.
(1) The wearing away of violent affections and commotions of heart in religion, or the settling of flashes of affection.
(2) One's not being able to go through with duties with that ease that sometimes they have done before.
(3) The marks of the decay of natural vigour left on religious duties.
(4) More felt stirring of corruption than before.
2. Some things that will evince one's religion to be brought to dying remains, whether they think it or not.
(1) When the conscience boggles not but at gross outbreakings.
(2) When one's conscience is strait in the circumstantials of religion, but lax in the substantials of it.
(3) When there is any one thing lacking to the perfection of one's religion in parts.
(4) When folks' strength against sin and temptation is abated: that is a plain indication of a decay, for "the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18).
(5) When the work of mortification is at a stand; the man's not watching his heart, and noticing the lusts rising there, and setting himself to mortifying them (Romans 8:13).
(6) When, though the duties of religion be kept up, yet spirituality in duties is gone.
(7) When one is become a stranger to the life of faith in Christ Jesus, what is left but dying remains.
II. WHAT ARE THE CAUSES THAT BRING ONE'S RELIGION TO DYING REMAINS.
1. Unwatchfulness (Revelation 3:2). Carelessness about one's body is ofttimes fatal to it; about one's substance, breeds a consumption in their estate; and unwatchfulness over the heart breeds a spiritual decay.
2. Spiritual sloth (Ecclesiastes 10:18). This is a bewitching sin, and if once Satan get men asleep on this enchanted ground, be sure they shall be robbed there.
3. Quenching of the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
4. Slacking in diligence about the duties of religion (Proverbs 19:15).
5. Doing anything with a doubting conscience, doubting whether the practice be lawful or not.
6. Worldliness and carnality. When one goes aside from God to the world, he lies down among the lions' dens, and how can he come away without loss?
7. The entertaining of any one lust, or idol of jealousy (Psalm 66:18).
III. WHEREIN LIES THE STRENGTHENING OF THINGS WHICH REMAIN, THAT ARE READY TO DIE?
1. In blowing up the remaining spark that is ready to die out (2 Timothy 1:6).
2. In adding to the remains (2 Peter 1:5-7).
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.