Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers:…
In certain circumstances it is necessary to commit particular privileges to the custody of the few, in order that when the fulness of time shall have come such advantages may be the heritage of the many. It is not in human nature, however, to desire to share great blessings with the multitude. The spirit of monopoly is more or less natural to us all. It is one of the many ugly forms of selfishness showing itself wherever there is an advantage, say — power, territory, wealth, position, fame, knowledge —which the hand of man can grasp. Now, the extraordinary privileges which the children of Abraham possessed during many centuries made them selfish and exclusive. They did not desire that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs. It was reserved to the Son of God to make that common which had been exclusive and that universal which had been local. Referring to this the apostle saith in our text, quoting from one of the prophets, "Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with His people." The day upon which the angels sang, "Peace on earth and goodwill amongst men," the day upon which God's Son said, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son," the day on which He charged the apostles to go into all the world, the day when Philip met the eunuch, and Peter visited Cornelius, and Paul turned his steps towards the Gentiles, were as early spring days in the history of the nations, giving promise that the dark and barren times of ignorance were well nigh gone, and that the desert should rejoice and blossom as the rose.
I. THE DUTY OF CHRISTIAN EXALTATION'. What are our characteristic advantages as Christians?
1. To live under no ban or system of exclusion, as far as God's providence is concerned, is cause for rejoicing. Jerusalem is no longer the place where men ought to worship. Palestine is no longer the chosen land. All the earth is hallowed ground.
2. To be turned from idols to the one true and living God is cause for rejoicing. He who worships the God who is Light becomes light. He who worships the Holy becomes holy. He who worships the God who is Love becomes love.
3. To have God speaking to us is cause for rejoicing. And God doth speak to us, Christians, by His Holy Spirit and by His Word.
4. To have a sin-offering which we may appropriate as for our sins is also cause for rejoicing.
5. To have God not only permit our worship, but seek it, is also cause for joy.
6. Moreover, not less should we rejoice in this, that Gentiles as well as Jews have become the people of God.
II. THIS POSITION INVOLVES CERTAIN OBLIGATIONS. What are they? All men need the power and the riches of the Christian dispensation. No man is above the need of Christianity. No man is below its reach. Civilisation cannot take the place of the Christian dispensation. No being can make the Gentile rejoice but Jesus Christ. It strikes me that before we can pray more, give more, do more, we must rejoice more in our own privileges. Our advantages, as Christians, must be more real to us. There is great danger, not only of our underrating our own Christian advantages, but of our selfishly resting in the enjoyment of our privileges. Oh! exorcise the Jewish exclusive spirit. Exclusiveness and Christianity are as inconsistent as any two things can be. Say to others, "Rejoice with me."
Parallel VersesKJV: Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: