And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said to them,…
I. THE NATURE OF THIS NECESSARY QUALIFICATION OF A TRUE DISCIPLE OF CHRIST.
1. An esteem of Christ above all.
2. The heart renounces its property in all things of the world, in the day of its closing with Jesus Christ.
3. The soul resigns all to the Lord; lays down all at His feet, to be disposed of as He will.
4. The soul accepts of Christ for, and instead of the things resigned.
5. The soul is disposed to part with them, when the Lord calls for them; has an habitual readiness to part with them for Christ.
6. There is in the soul a new power of living, without them, on Jesus Christ; a life which is an absolute mystery to every Christless soul (John 6:57). We now proceed —
II. To confirm the doctrine of the text, or show, that no man can be a true disciple of Christ, to whom Christ is not dearer than what is dearest to Him in the world. For this purpose, consider —
1. That the soul cannot truly lay hold on Christ, hut it must of necessity part with the world — "No man can serve two masters" (Matthew 6:24).
2. It is impossible that the love of God, and the love of the world (the persons and things of the world), can at the same time be predominant in the heart. One of them must of necessity be uppermost.
3. That if Christ be not dearer to us than the world, fhere is no universal resignation, which is necessary to prove the sincerity of the heart.
4. That if Christ is not loved supremely, there is a root wanting, the fruit of which is necessary to evidence sincerity. Because of the deceitfulness of your heart, it will be good to be very distinct and particular in this point, on which eternity depends. In consequence I would advise you —
(1) To give up with all your lusts. You have held the grip long, let it now go — "Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols?" (Hosea 14:8).
(2) To lay down at the Lord's feet your nearest and dearest relations, so as that you may never break with Christ for them: His favour, truths, and ways, must be dearer to you than they. And sure I am, ii thou meetest with Christ at His table, thou wilt say, "Henceforth know we no man after the flesh."(3) Lay down at the Lord's feet your substance in the world, be it great or small, houses and lands, goods, etc., that He may dispose of them as He may see meet.
(4) Lay down at the Lord's feet your credit and esteem in the world. This is often a great idol, and goes betwixt many a man and Christ.
(5) Lay down at the Lord's feet your ease and liberty (Acts 21:13).
(6) Lay down at Christ's feet your desires. Your desires shall be to your spiritual Husband, who shall choose for you your inheritance (Psalm 47:4).
(7) Lay down at the Lord's feet your life. Let your bodies be given now to the Lord, not only for service, but also for a sacrifice, if He requires it. I now proceed —
III. To offer some reasons why Christ is dearer to His true disciples than what is dearest to them in the world. Among other reasons the following are mentioned.
1. Because to every true disciple, sin, of all bitter things, is the bitterest.
2. That God is man's chief end; and when He made him, He made him pointing towards Himself as His chief end (Ecclesiastes 7:29).
3. That as there unquestionably is, so they have seen, a vanity and emptiness in all things of the world, even the things that are dearest to them (Psalm 119:96).
4. Because they find Christ of all objects the most suitable to them, and therefore He cannot but be dearer to them than the dearest thing in the world.
5. Because He is their greatest benefactor; His unparalleled benefits command their hearts to be all His: He has done for them what none other could do.
6. Because they are sensible that whatever they have in the world, they have it through and by Him. And so they behold Him as the fountain of all their mercies. Thus —
(1) They have the enjoyment of their blessings through Him.
(2) They have the comfort of them through Him.
7. Because, if it were not so, Christ would have no Church in the world. If imprisoning, banishing, spoiling of goods, fields and scaffolds reeking with the blood of the saints, would have deterred all persons from following Christ, there had been no Church in the world this day. But God will have a Church in spite of devils and wicked men.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,