Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all…
I. THAT THE CONVERSION OF SINNERS TO THE LORD IS JUSTLY ASCRIBABLE TO HIS GRACE.
II. THAT WHERE THE GRACE OF GOD IS ENJOYED IT WILL BE SEEN IN ITS EFFECTS.
1. All who profess to enjoy the grace of God should be careful thus to show it — On principles of prudence; that their own eternal salvation may be secured (2 Peter 1:5-10). On principles of piety; that God may hereby be glorified (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 4:11, 12). On principles of benevolence; that their weak brethren may be strengthened (Hebrews 13:13), and that their pastors may hereby be comforted (1 Thessalonians 3:8 3John 4). As an incitement to holy diligence, on this generous principle, our text teaches us —
III. THAT WHEN THE GRACE OF GOD IS SEEN IT AFFORDS PLEASURE TO WELL-DISPOSED MINDS. "When he saw the grace of God, he was glad"; and his joy was both pious and pure.
1. His joy on this occasion was pious. It was the joy of a saint excited by seeing the grace of God manifested, and sinners saved. He was glad, as "a good man," or a lover of mankind; because hereby many were benefited, being raised to a state of safety, happiness, and honour (Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:1-6); and the welfare of the civil state was also promoted (Proverbs 14:32). He was glad, as a holy man; for he was "full of the Holy Ghost." Hence he was glad, because the felicity of angels was hereby augmented (Luke 15:10). Christ was hereby most pleasingly satisfied (Isaiah 53:10, 11); and God was hereby glorified (Isaiah 61:1-3). He was glad, as a faithful man; for he "was full of faith." Hence, he confidently expected the fulfilment of God's Word (Psalm 2:8). He beheld in these converted Gentiles the earnest of Christ's universal dominion, and could exclaim with David (Psalm 72:19, 20).
2. His joy on this occasion was pure. He was glad, though the subjects of this grace were Gentile strangers; it was not the joy of bigotry: and though he was not the instrument of their conversion, it was not the joy of self-complacency.
3. His joy on this occasion was exemplary; worthy of our imitation. Wherever the grace of God is seen we should rejoice: without bigotry, this is unchristian (Ephesians 5:24), and without envy, for this is devilish (James 3:14-16). Our text teaches us —
IV. THAT CLEAVING UNTO THE LORD IS THE INDISPENSABLE DUTY OF ALL CHRISTIAN CONVERTS.
1. By the Lord is meant our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Guide (Psalm 48:14), our Sovereign (Matthew 23:8), our Strength (Psalm 46:1), and our Foundation (Isaiah 28:16).
2. It is the duty of Christian converts to cleave, unto the Lord. Cleave unto Him — By habitual attention (Acts 3:22, 23), by persevering obedience (Hebrews 5:9; Psalm 106:3), by importunate prayer (Hebrews 4:16), and by entire dependence (1 Peter 2:5, 6; Jude 1:21, 22).
3. All Christian converts should thus cleave unto Him. All, of every age, of every religious attainment, and of every station in the Church (John 15:5; Hebrews 3:12).
4. We should thus cleave unto the Lord "with purpose of heart." This should and must be the object of our deliberate choice (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20), of our steadfast resolution (Joshua 24:15), and of our incessant care (1 John 2:28; Philippians 3:16). Our test teaches us —
V. THAT AFFECTIONATE EXHORTATION IS CONDUCTIVE TO THE STEADFAST PERSEVERANCE OF BELIEVERS IN CHRIST. "He exhorted them," etc. Here we may observe —
1. To whom this exhortation should be addressed. As cleaving unto the Lord is a duty required of all Christians, so we find all of every description exhorted in the oracles of God. Private Christians are urged to this (John 15:4; Colossians 2:6); and public characters are also thus stimulated to exertion (1 Timothy 4:16).
2. By whom this exhortation should be employed. It should be given — By all those to whom the care of souls is committed (1 Corinthians 14:3; Colossians 1:28), and by all private Christians in their mutual communications (Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 10:24, 25).
3. How this exhortation should be enforced. It should be urged by the consideration of our own total insufficiency (Jeremiah 10:23; 2 Corinthians 3:5), of Christ's all-sufficiency (Hebrews 7:25), of Satan's malice, who purposes and seeks to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8, 9), of the dreadful evils to which apostacy would expose us (Hebrews 10:38; Revelation 3:11; 1 Chronicles 28:9), and of the blessings with which God is engaged to crown unfainting perseverance (Galatians 6:9; 2 Peter 1:10, 11).
Parallel VersesKJV: Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.