‘Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 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.’ Philippians 2:14–16
Suggested Further Reading: 2 Timothy 1:8–2:5
Christians are soldiers. If our soldiers were to take it into their heads that they never ought to be seen, a pretty pass things would come to; what were the soldiers worth when they shunned parade and dreaded battle? We want not men who dare not show themselves to friend or foe. Christians are runners too, and what sort of runners are men who run in the dark? Not so says the apostle; we are ‘compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,’ and therefore he bids us ‘lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us.’ What! a running match and no spectators? Hail Emperor! The champion salutes thee! He prays thee to dismiss the spectators. You common herd, retire, or put your fingers to your eyes, here comes a runner who is so dainty that he cannot be looked at, a swift-footed runner who must be scrutinised by no vulgar eye or he will faint and lose the crown. ‘Ha! Ha!’ the mob laughs. ‘These are not the men to make a Roman holiday; these timid fools had better play with babes in the nursery; they are not fit to consort with men.’ What think you of Christians who must have the stadium cleared before they can enter the course. Rather, O sons of God, defy all onlookers. Crowd the seats and look on, angels, and men, and devils too, and see what you will. What matters it to the Christian, for he is looking unto Jesus, he runs not for you but for the reward, and whether you look or not, his zeal and earnestness are still the same, for Christ is in him and run he must, look on who will.
For meditation: How can others see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven, if we are ashamed to let our lights shine before them (Matthew 5:16)?
Sermon no. 472
28 September (1862)