‘And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.’ Micah 5:4
Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 16:13–18
Why is it that we have seen the Church endure to this day? How is it that we are confident that should even worse times arrive, the church would weather the storm and abide till moons shall cease to wax and wane? Why this security? Only because Christ is in the midst of her. You do not believe, I hope, in the preservation of orthodoxy by legal instruments and trust deeds. This is what too many Dissenters have relied upon, but they are like broken reeds if we rely on them. Neither can we depend on parliament and its laws. We may draw up the most express and distinct form of doctrine, but we shall find that the next generation will depart from the truth unless God shall be pleased to give it renewed grace from on high. You cannot secure the life of the church by any particular system. History shows that churches have prospered, as well as failed, under different systems. The fact is that forms of government have very little to do with the vital principle of the church. The reason why the church of God exists is not her ecclesiastical regulations, her organisation, her formularies, her ministers, or her creeds, but the presence of the Lord in the midst of her; and while Christ lives, and Christ reigns, and stands and feeds his church, she is safe; but if he were once gone, it would be with her as it is with you and me when the Spirit of God has departed from us; we are weak as other men, and she would be quite as powerless.
For meditation: The foundation rock on which the church is built is neither Peter and his supposed successors nor Peter’s creed and its successors, but the immovable Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16,18; 1 Corinthians 3:11).
Sermon no. 560
20 March (1864)