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. IT IS YOUR BUSINESS TO HOLD FORTH THE WORD OF LIFE. Your work on earth is not done when you have saved yourself from an untoward generation. You have to hold your lamps as far in as you can into the dark mass around. God does not call you to a timid, fugitive, skulking piety; a religion which has to lock its doors and bar its windows. There is a part of it which has to do with this. Our lamp must be kindled, trimmed, and fed, in secret. But the office of the lamp is to shine.
II. BY WHAT MEANS?
1. By example. Let men see how you live. No one can set limits to the operation of a consistent example. Men are never too old or too young to be struck by it.
2. By sympathy. There is a dry, cold, harsh, stern, mode of expressing the truth; and there is a repulsive, ungenial, precise, stiff, sort of example which never leads men, seeing its good works, to glorify God. Let a man, a child, see that you feel for him and with him in his poverty or sorrow, and not as a superior might do, but as one compared with infirmity.
III. PRACTICAL COUNSELS. Much is lest in spiritual as well as in worldly things, by too vague and discursive an aim. As long as we think generally of shining as lights in the world there will be something of unreality in the conception. Let us make the matter more practical by narrowing the bounds.
1. Begin with the home. Is all right there? Remember that those within your own doors see you as none else can.
2. Let each one have a few poor persons to whom he will steadily set himself to carry the word of life.
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.