Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.
I. THE CHARACTER OF THE GOSPEL. It is the word of life, because —
1. It unfolds the certainty of a blessed immortality. Reason has nothing to report except speculations and probabilities; as witness the conclusions of Socrates and Cicero. The gospel brings life and immortality to light.
2. It exhibits Christ who is essential life Himself, the Author of life natural, spiritual, and eternal. Hence He is called "The Life;" and "He that hath the Son hath life," implying previous "death in trespasses and sins." By faith the believer "passes from death unto life."
3. It is the instrument of the Spirit in communicating life. "Of His own will begat He us," etc., "born not of corruptible seed," etc. It is also the means of sustaining life and maturing it.
II. THE MANNER OF ITS EXHIBITION. Holding it forth. What the lighthouse is to the mariner the gospel is to a dark world.
1. Ministers are bound to hold it forth to their congregations as the only sure ground of hope, and adequate means of salvation. Can they with this in their hands amuse them with other topics, or inculcate a lifeless morality?
2. Christians are individually and collectively to hold it forth in their lives for the instruction of mankind. Men are unable to judge of any system save by its practical effects, and few will fail to appreciate a holy life.
3. Our country is bound to hold it forth to heathen nations.
Parallel VersesKJV: Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.