Do all things without murmurings and disputings:…
As a Christian Church you profess to be a society of believing and faithful men. Without piety you have no place in the Church. Your disqualifications may not appear to men, but they are marked by God.
I. Your duty to YOUR MINISTER, or rather to God in relation to Him. "Do all things without murmurings," etc., readily, cheerfully, consistently.
1. Love him, as the man who devotes himself to your welfare, as the man who loves you. Where this is wanting outward attention is a worthless form; when this is cultivated all necessary for his happiness will follow.
2. Hear him —
(1) Candidly. His office is no easy one. Make allowances for ill health and a jaded mind.
(2) Regularly, or his instructions will be impaired and he discouraged.
(3) Prayerfully, before you come; as you hear. His comfort and usefulness depend largely upon this.
3. Respect his official authority. Some exaggerate this by sacerdotal superstitions; others unduly and unscripturally depreciate it.
4. Supply his temporal wants. This is a matter of right, not charity. It is not to be doled out "murmuringly," but given generously, so that he may be honest and given to hospitality.
II. Your duty TO THE CHURCH.
1. Unity: the negative "without murmurings" implies the positive. There may be no murmurings because no life — a calmness of death. The only union of worth is that which is quickened by the Spirit. This does not exclude variety. There is beauty, strength, perfection, in harmonious diversity: John's, Peter's, Thomas's.
2. Consistency — "blameless," etc. Not giving the lie to profession by unchristian tempers, and affording the enemies of the Cross occasion for rebuke. Members of the Church may be divided into —
(1) Those who do good.
(2) Those who do harm.
(3) Those who do both.
(4) Those who do neither.Now at least belong to the last. It will be but a poor consistency, but it will be harmless, while the positive in consistency, seen in outbreaks of wicked temper, in the violation of truth and justice, in malicious speaking and cruel slander, such brings a stigma on the member and the Church. Consistency, however, requires
(1) That you take an interest in the affairs of the Church;
(2) that you attend its meetings;
(3) that you maintain its discipline;
(4) that you are jealous for its reputation;
(5) that you tell your brother of his fault before you tell it to the Church;
(6) that you contribute to its support.And all this you have to exhibit before a crooked and perverse nation, and there is a good deal of crookedness in our times, in legislation, trade and commerce, habits of society. You are by your consistency to draw out the straight lines of Christianity and make the crooked straight.
III. Your duty TO THE WORLD. "Shine as lights." Divine light is to be conveyed through your medium. This position is most honourable. It makes you God's agents. It is not entrusted to philosophers, statesmen, or official people, but to believers as such. Around us is darkness; but in the Church there should be light — the contrast should be visible — in the family, social circle, market, everywhere.
1. Let your characters shine; individually like stars; collectively like constellations.
2. Shine by your voluntary, combined, and well-organized efforts. You are to hold up the Word of life through home and foreign missions, thus resembling Eddystone: "To give light and to save life." Through your neglect to do this souls may be wrecked.
3. All must join in this dispensation of light, and blend together in one radiance. Unfortunately some never find this out, and others neglect it.
IV. THE MOTIVE CONSTRAINING TO THESE VARIOUS DUTIES. "That I may rejoice," etc.
1. At that day the relation between pastor and people will be recognized. Nothing is said about other meetings.
2. You can contribute to your pastor's joy. If you are consistent it will be reckoned to his honour then.
(J. Stoughton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Do all things without murmurings and disputings: