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from sermon #149
counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and
white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness
do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and
3:12-13 says, “I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor
people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD.
The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither
shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie
down, and none shall make them afraid.” This speaks of a characteristic of
those left in the midst of the professing church: they were poor.
“I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor
is the result of these afflictions. The
Prodigal Son came to himself when he was in need.
As long as he had his father’s riches, he was in the professing
church, but through the affliction of famine, he came into want.
His soul was starving while he was feeding upon the husks of the swine
that the counterfeit church was feeding upon; he was not getting the kernels.
He realized that he was no longer rich, but poor.
we learn to see our poverty, we can never become truly rich.
Afflictions reveal our poverty. Jesus
said to the professing church in REV 3:17, “Because thou sayest, I am rich,
and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou
art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”
The Lord uses spiritual afflictions to expose our poverty.
The Prodigal became needy, turned from his ways of sin, and returned to
his father’s house. He will no
longer do violence to the law. He
will no longer trample upon the Word of God.
He will no longer walk with the professing church.
poverty is two-fold. First, we
become poor in attainments. We try
to merit salvation by good works, by the letter of the law, but we see finally
that our best righteousness is as filthy rags.
The righteousness of Christ is the only hope for our souls.
Everything we have obtained by works becomes worthless.
Second, we become poor in spirit: poor in spiritual mindedness, poor in
love and affection toward God and His people, poor in prayer, and poor in
strength to withstand temptation. We
find that we are still attracted to the things of this world, and they pull and
toil against the Spirit. We find
that we can go a whole day without prayer.
said in ISA 24:16, “From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs,
even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me!
the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers
have dealt very treacherously.” Isaiah
saw his poverty and the emptiness of his heart before the Lord came with His
nearness and showers of His love. I
cannot rise above the prophet Isaiah; if you think you can, you must examine
Apostle Paul’s spiritual poverty brought him to see his leanness when he said
in ROM 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good
thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I
find not.” We need the precious
righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ because our best righteousness is
nothing but filthy rags in the sight of God.
The blessed righteousness of Christ must be imparted and imputed unto us
in order to stand before the bar of God’s judgment.
Poverty teaches us to appreciate the richness of consolation in Christ.
says in REV 3:18-19, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire,
that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and
that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with
eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As
many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
Those who know they are poor will understand His counsel.
As long as we think we are rich and increased in goods and have need of
nothing, we will not hear His counsel.
that has been “tried in the fire” has gone through the process of
purification. True riches and white
raiment are gained when we have been melted in the refining pot and the Refiner
can see the reflection of His image in our broken hearts.
When the work of sanctification has purged us from our sin, when we are
arrayed in the white raiment of repentance, claiming nothing of ourselves but
clothed in the perfect righteousness of Christ, then “the shame of thy
nakedness do not appear.”
thine eyes with eyesalve,” which is the gospel.
He leaves the afflicted and poor in the midst of a church that can live
without repentance because those afflicted and poor are light and salt.
They will be God’s witnesses in the Day of Judgment to those who
continued on in unrighteousness. Amen.
for a closer walk with God,
O holy Dove, return,
dearest idol I have know,
shall my walk be close with God,
William Cowper, 1731-1800
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