And I am sure that, when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
A doctor may come with healing or with failure, because his remedies are fallible. A statesman may come with progress or retrogression, because his measures are only fallible; but a servant of Christ comes with nothing but blessing. Indeed, the house of God is the one place on earth where blessing abounds always. The home may be miserable; business disappointing; the Senate House the scene of turmoil; but in the house of God there broods unruffled peace. Blessedness is the watermark of Christianity, and just as you know a five-pound note by the watermarks upon it, so you will know the message, as to whether it is Divine, by this: it makes men blessed. Its morality is the high road to blessedness. The life of its Founder is the blessed life. His death leads to man's reconciliation with God. His resurrection tells us that man's last enemy is destroyed. Its message is well called a gospel.
I. IT IS A CERTAIN BLESSING.
1. Because the messenger is sent of God. God can make all things sure; not man, but God. Paul had often said to God, "O Lord, let me preach the gospel at Rome," and God at length heard his prayers; but what a strange answer it was! But all through life he had been led to see that the God who had called him to that work of the ministry would also show him when and where he was to carry on the ministry. Now that —
(1) Helps the hearer. There is a communication from heaven; it comes through the man — very imperfect, but the trappings of the messenger must never make us forget his Divine message.
(2) It helps the speaker. He is taken away from man; he breaks through the ensnaring influences of the sense, and he sees nothing, feels nothing but God and the souls of men.
2. When the people are prepared to receive the message. There is a vital difference between a prepared and an unprepared people. You may have the best seed in the world, but unless you choose carefully the best soil you will not get the best fruit. There is a mysterious power of self-choosing in every one, which enables men to resist all appeals. Vain, then, are all our reasonings and pleadings. They are showers on a rock, sunlight on a barren desert.
II. A FULL BLESSING. There is —
1. The fulness of giving that comes from the Divine love to us. To all things else there is a limit, and it is very difficult for us to rise to the conception of a Being whose power is illimitable. We see suggestions of it in the sky, the rolling prairie, and the immense sea. Now, the same God rules in grace as in Nature; and in His dealings with the spirits of men we may expect He will exercise the same largeness. And we are not disappointed. Indeed, the greatness of the gospel baffles many. They measure the Infinite Reason, love, and plans by the littleness of their own; and when they find themselves confronted by the incarnation, deity, atonement, and resurrection of Christ, they find the greatness and the glory too much for their faith. But so it should not be with us. It is said that the Highlanders who dwell among the rocky fastnesses get a strength and heroism which do not come out of the plain. It is so in spiritual things. Here the air is keen. The mountain solitudes of truth are trodden by few; but when once we have stood on those glorious heights we know God as we have never known Him before. But just as in the mountain regions there will be here and there a little chalet where the sun rests in quiet and cheering warmth, so the truth of God subdivides itself, and rests on every converted heart.
2. The fulness of the human reception. On the Divine side there is love given to us; on the human side there is faith receiving God's gifts. "Not the hearer only of the Word." Oh, how often we stop here! We think that a ministry is successful when numbers of attentive hearers are drawn to hear the word; and this is so far a great gain. But pews may be full, and yet hearts may be empty. What we must pray for is not that these seats may be full only, but our souls also. The whole question of our having a full blessing or of having half or none hangs upon our faith. It is not faith in our minister, in one another, in this building, and in these outward services. These, no doubt, are all helpful gifts, but our great need is a full faith in Christ.
(S. Pearson, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.