Mark 13:3-5 (and the rest of the chapter generally)
I. THERE IS A CURIOSITY CONCERNING THE FUTURE WHICH Is NATURAL AND LEGITIMATE. The disciples were not rebuked when they came with their inquiry. It was not so when Peter asked, "Lord, and what shall this man do?" (John 21:21). Some inquiries concerning the future are therefore lawful, others not. How are we to distinguish between them? We may ask concerning things the knowledge of which is necessary to the rational direction of spiritual aims and efforts. God has chosen to make known the general scheme of redemption in its evolution in the world's history. The prophecies of Scripture ought, therefore, to be studied in the light of contemporary events. The teaching of Christ on this occasion was manifestly the germ of the Apocalypse.
II. THIS CURIOSITY IS GRATIFIED BY OUR SAVIOUR FOR MORAL AND SPIRITUAL ENDS. (Vers. 5, 7, 9, 13, 23, 34-37.) The great discipline of the disciples was to take place after their Master's death, and before the general inauguration of his kingdom. The three general directions of Christ are:
(1) Take heed unto yourselves;
(3) watch. It does not behove us to know time and hour, but to observe the signs antecedent to the judgment of God' (Starke). The Holy Spirit is promised, amid all trials and difficulties, to them who truly believe. The gospel itself was to receive universal proclamation, notwithstanding the perils and evils that were to take place. So that the disciples were assured, whatever might occur in the external life of the world, of ultimate glorious realization of all the spiritual ends of God's kingdom.
III. MANY TEMPORARY EVILS WERE TO FORESHADOW, AND TO PREPARE FOR, A PERMANENT DIVINE GOOD.
1. The catalogue of woe is long, detailed, and specific: spiritual delusions; wars, earthquakes, and famines; persecutions; pollution and destruction of the temple; political and cosmical revolutions.
2. These are all to pass, in their process tempered and modified by Divine mercy and guidance.
3. And they were to result in the advent of the Divine kingdom. The gospel was to be proclaimed and the universal communion of saints to be realized. The political and natural troubles were to be justified by their being made instrumental of moral and spiritual benefits. So in the general experience of Christians all things work together for good.' - M.
Tell us, when shall these things be?
Sunday School Times.That's it! Fix the date of the coming failure, or the coming triumph. All of us are ready to join in that request. How we long to have the veil of the future lifted; and how well it is that the Lord does not gratify our longing in this. There is no greater blessing to us than God's concealment of our future. There could be no surer curse from God than his opening before our eyes the pathway of our lives, so that we could see it to its very end. What heart breaking that would bring into a myriad homes! What a checking too, on every side, of hope and aspiration and noble endeavour! How it would paralyze loving effort, and check or destroy needed tenderness of love and deed in kindly ministry! We know not what we ask, when we crave an insight into the future. God knows what He does, and why, when He refuses every request of this kind from His loved and loving ones.
(Sunday School Times.)
Sunday School Times.It is quite as important not to be led astray by false religious teachers as by any other class of deceivers or deceived; and there is quite as much danger in this line as in any other. Sincerity on our part is no guard against deception or wandering; nor is sincerity a safeguard to a religious teacher. Those who are themselves both honest and sincere would lead us astray if we followed them in their wrong path. There is danger of our being led astray by the sermons we hear, the papers or the books we read, the counsel or example of those whom we have supposed to be godly, or by the impulses or convictions of our own minds and hearts. There is such a thing as conscientious error teaching and devil serving. The warning of Jesus is, that ye take heed that no man lead you astray in doctrine or morals, through holding up a false standard of conduct, or a false interpretation of God's Word.
(Sunday School Times.)
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