Archive for May 18, 2013

Strong Hands for Service   1 comment


Above:  Jerusalem, Palestine, Between 1934 and 1939

Image Source = Library of Congress


Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-matpc-04131


Neh. 2, 18

1.  This a noble patriotic work–to rebuild the walls of the city.  But it was great, so they must arouse themselves and rally, one and all, to the enterprise.  “So they strengthened their hands for good work.”

2.  We have a nobler and Christian work–to save lost souls & fortify the church.  God certainly calls us for this service.  If we do it not it will go undone.

3.  But it is no ordinary task.  It calls for all that is in us.  “The kingdom responds to violence.”  Pity if for lack of a little more zeal one soul is lost.   Are you sure such may not be the case?

4.  Shall we not strengthen our hands for the work?  How?

(a)  They united in the work, were ready to do each his part.

(b)  Were inspired by faith and prayer and each had a mind to work.  Ch. 4, 6 & 6, 9.

(c)  Found the joy of the Lord–ch. 8, 10.  The sense of service in His name gave joy and thereby the were strong.

5.  O that we may be strong in the Spirit to do His work now assigned us!


Woman’s Work in the Gospel   3 comments


Above:  St. Mary Magdalene (1899), by Viktor M. Vasnetsov



My priest is female.  I suspect that my great-grandfather would disapprove of this fact, based on the content of this post.

I do recall that his daughter and my grandmother, Nell Barrett Taylor, served on the Session of the Summerville Presbyterian Church, Summerville, Georgia.  My father (John Dodson Taylor, III) asked her what her father would think of that.  My grandmother replied that she thought that her father would approve.



Phils. 4, 3

God’s mercies appeal to her as well to man.  She had some part in the Jewish Church.  She was devoted to the Christ.  Last at the cross and first at the tomb.

1.  Women labored with the Apostles.  It was needed to reach the women who by custom were secluded from them.  She taught the scriptures, aided the poor, and entertained the Apostles.

2.  Like conditions exist today calling for her service & she alone can perform it.  Her service is of God and used of Him.  He is pleased that she breaks the box of spikeward still.

3.  As missionary she teaches and leads woman to Christ where man can’t.  She also trains the young in school, for God.

4.  She builds homes for his servants.  She provided the first parsonage.  2 Ks. 4, 8-10.

5.  As medical missionary she is signally used of God to reach the lost.

6.  As deaconess she is an angel of mercy.  This is her rightful place as in Apostolic days.  Thus she supplements the pastor’s work to great advantage.

7.  Who can’t see in all this the hand of God and hence a call to service.  The prayers & help of every woman in the church are needed.  Help those women who labor in the work.


Losing All Things for Christ   1 comment

Christ Pantocrator

Above:  Christ Pantocrator


Phils. 3, 7-11

1.  Paul meets any who boast of externals on their own ground.  “If any thinketh he hath whereof to boast, I even more.”  (v. 4)  He mentions the things of which he could boast (vs. 5 & 6).  These are the very things a Hebrew would boast, the height of his ideals, and th basis of his hope of heaven itself.

2.  But Paul had a vision of the Lord whereby his ideals were raised.  “What things were gain t me I count loss for Christ.”  Life’s fondest hopes I surrender; my highest ambitions I renounce for Christ.

Then he puts Christ on one side and all things else on the other & with one supreme choice bids them all go, and chooses Christ.  I count all things but loss for Him; yea, men as refuse, a thing despised.  Forgets the past and strains every nerve after Christ.  “Thou, O Christ, art all I want.”  Not satisfied with the present, he strives on.

3.  Here is ambition worthy a world.  Yet how men are tempted away from it.  Christ is ignored or his name worn occasionally as a badge of honor.

4.  We need to be, not a Saul depending upon these externals, but a Paul counting them loss for the sake of greater blessings.  God forgive the earthliness of our affections and help us love Him more and more!


Christ’s Great Humiliation   1 comment


Above:  What Our Saviour Saw from the Cross, by James Tissot


Phils. 2, 6-8

1.  Emptied himself–laying aside the effulgence of his glory.  He was God and adored by the angels, but left his high abode to reach us.

2.  Became incarnate, veiled his glory by taking human form, subject to the humiliations and temptations of man, sin only excepted.

3.  Became a servant–assume the lowest innocent character, that of being the servant of all.  He came not to be ministered to but to minister.  “I am among you as one that serveth.”  The God of all worlds stooping to be the servant of sinners.

4.  Submitted to the power of death.  He raised others from the dead, but suffered death himself.  He submitted to it to accomplish his mission.

5.  Suffered not only death, but the death of the cross–the severest, most reproached death known to antiquity.  “Endured the cross despite its shame.”  Poured out his soul unto death.  So deep was our sin!

6.  He suffered all of this for you.  What have you suffered for him?  Will you not renounce your sin, take up the cross, and do his will?


Missions God’s Eternal Plan   9 comments


Above:  Missionary’s Home, the Congo, Africa

An undated photograph created by the Bain News Service

Image Source = Library of Congress


Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ggbain-00538



God certainly had in the beginning a well-wrought out plan.  Every step indicates design every way worthy of the Great Architect.

Yet I doubt not this thro’ ages one increasing purpose runs,

And the thoughts of men are widening with the process of the suns.

Men may hinder and delay His plans, but He will raise up others to execute them.


Paul here speaks of one of God’s eternal purposes hitherto a mystery because not revealed fully, viz!  His purpose is to give the gospel to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews.  It is no lately formed purpose of God’s, but was fixed before the world was created.–Ephesians 1, 4-5.

(1)  His unity as God of Jew & Gentile makes this inevitable.  Rom. 3, 29-30.  Hence He is no respecter of persons.

(2)  By his death Jesus removed the middle wall of [illegible word] between them; all are the purchase of his blood (ch. 2, 14-15)


Universal history has tended in this direction.

(1)  Gentiles could become Jews by ritual observance–Gen. 34, 15-17.

(2)  The Temple had its court of the Gentiles.

(3)  The prophets foretold Christ’s mission to the Gentiles–to all people.  Solomon prayed for them at the dedication of the Temple.  1 Kings 8, 41-42.  They are promised to Christ–Ps. 2, 8.  All kings & nations shall serve Him.  Ps. 72, 8-11.  See Ps. 87, 40-5; Isa. 2, 2-4; 11, 10; 42, 1 &6.

(4)  The Spirit in due time sent them the gospel (Acts 8, 26-27; 9, 15; 10, 45; 11, 17-18; 13, 47) and rested upon the work amongst them.


That same Spirit has opened up the way among the nations.  Once they were isolated and hostile.  But God has changed all that.  The nations have joined the world’s neighborhood & seek the best assets of the earth.  Hence missions are inevitable, being but the developments of history.  God has labored long to bring the world where it is.  He certainly is much interested in it.


To oppose missions is to oppose the ongoings of history.  It is not a wave but the tides of the ages.  To arrest it one would have to undo the developments of time–to throttle the world.

How sublime it is to help God carry out His eternal purposes.  He has called us to be fellow-workers with Him.  Can he depend on us?  Will we do our part?  He waits for our answer.


The Work of Education   1 comment


Above:  Mammoth Cave, Kentucky:  Crossing the River Styx, 1877

Image Source = Library of Congress


Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-79592



My great-grandfather held a dim view of Roman Catholicism.  He even voted for Herbert Hoover in 1928 because the Democratic Party nominated Alfred Smith, a Roman Catholic, for President that year.  His anti-Roman Catholicism does not reflect my attitudes.  It was, however, commonplace and much accepted before Vatican II.



Eph. 4, 17-18

1.  “Man receives no new faculty after birth.”  But he may and must develop his powers.  Unused faculties ultimately perish, e.g. blind fish in Mammoth Cave.

2.  Education is vitally related to the whole; body, mind, & soul profit by it.  He “perishes for lack of knowledge.”  It is his training & equipment for life.  Its worth cannot be overestimated.  Culture enhances the value of life.  Protestantism stands for the enlightenment of the people.  Protestant countries may have their submerged one-tenth; but how about the submerged nine-tenths of Catholic countries?

3.  The religious element is fundamental to all life.  Man is a religious being.  It is fatal to divorce education from religion.  School days fix character–life habits.  Hence their great importance.  They bring large opportunities for illustrating & enforcing the truth.

4.  The church is commissioned to teach, is in this work to see that religion is emphasized reverently.

But a crisis is upon her.  She must advance or be forced out of business.  Hence in the name of the Lord she is striving to do His will in these things.


The Manifold Wisdom of God   1 comment


Above:  Lutheran Orphanage, Salem, Virginia, Between 1920 and 1930

Image Source = Library of Congress


Reproduction Number =  LC-USZ62-37575


Eph. 3, 10

“Manifold”–many colored, wrought in many details; fulfilled itself in many ways and diverse manners.

1.  His wisdom manifests itself in the varieties revealed truth.  Doctrine is vitally related to experience hence all needed teaching is found there.  Man may serve Him in any life if only it does no harm to others.

2.  Manifested in the large variety of the church’s work.

(a)  Led by Him the church is called to serve in many ways.  Where there is a need the church is to supply it.  “Seeing the multitudes he was moved with compassion.”

(b)  These different lines of activity are the expression of the life of the church and are as varied as is all life.  A dead church does nothing.

3.  In this variety is unity.  Many members of the one body.  Methodism is one, but her unity is in everything she is and does–gospel, Sunday Schools, colleges, orphanages, polity, etc.  God’s wisdom is manifested in it all.

4.  In all this service we are serving Him.  He will reward every act done in His name.  It all embodies so much of Him, His life.


Buying Up the Opportunity   1 comment


Above:  Plains Methodist Church, Plains, Georgia

Image Source = Library of Congress


Reproduction Number = HABS GA,131-PLAIN,16–2


Eph. 5, 16

1.  Paul writes to concerted Gentiles who had let much free time turn to waste, living in sin.  He would have them reflect on how serious life is and improve their every opportunity for good.

2.  Men are most prodigal of their time and opportunity.  Christians should improve every opportunity for good–prayer, Bible study, & all the services of the sanctuary.  All these mean so much to those who diligently improve them.  “Gather up the fragments that nothing be lost.”

3.  This is a marked sin of unbelievers.  How many opportunities do they have to make peace with God?  The gospel call constantly falls upon their ears.  Still they neglect Him.  They are prodigals indeed, wasting in [illegible word] living, gracious opportunities.

4.  No one can afford to lose one opportunity to improve himself.  “For the days are evil.”  Much opposition confronts us all.  The doom of the unrepentant is certain.  Dare anyone dream away his life in idleness?  Contrast those who “buy up the opportunity” and those who do not.

5.  Then be admonished.  Lose not one opportunity; yea, even this one.  Seek Him without delay.


Be Strong in the Lord   1 comment


Above:  Depiction of Satan, by Gustave Dore


1.  The Christian has a war to wage against a strong and subtle foe.  Religion is no child’s play, but a fight for the soul’s destiny.  There is need for valiance.  It is a defensive, but especially aggressive war.

2.  The foe is strong.  We fight not against flesh and blood; but against spiritual wickedness.  Satan will contest every inch of the way.  We will have literally to drive him from the field.  He is a usurper and they are always desperate.

3.  Hence the need of strength.  He [God] alone can arm us & equip us.  Conquest within and without is possible only as He helps us.  Peter was bold when near his Lord; weak when away from Him.

There is service that only the strong can render.  Moses and Paul were strong men, but they had all they could do.  Had they been weaker they could not have done their work.

4.  Paul wants them fully equipped.  “Take the armor of god.”  Don’t omit anything that can help you.  Use all the means of grace.  “Take to arm you for fight the [illegible word] of God.”

Then having done all this stand.  Stand for God and the right.


Saved for Good Works   7 comments


Above:  The Recycling Center at St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia, Saturday, April 13, 2013

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta



Eph. 2, 10

1.  Material creation was made for a specific purpose–for man.  Genesis 1, 27-30; 1 Cor. 3, 21-23

2.  Christians are his spiritual creation.  He alone transforms our natures.  Eph. 2, 10 & 15; 4, 24; Col. 3, 10; Jno. 3, 3; etc.  All this is of grace–the ability & opportunity to believe.  To believe is man’s free act, after this grace is offered.

3.  God has one great purpose in saving us–“for good works.”  We are saved not because of good works, but saved to do them.  We work not to be saved, but because we are saved.

Works without faith are not religious from lack of pure motive.

Faith without works is dead.  But how many do not really believe it!!

God is not pleased with an idle professor.  Judges 5, 23; Matt. 25, 26.

4.  Men will be judged by their works.  See the Parables of the Pounds & Talents.  “Hungry and ye gave me not meat.”  Final salvation depends on obedience.  “Be thou faithful unto the death.”

5.  Then be admonished to do good.  Lay up treasure in heaven by doing every possible good.  “Do all the good you can, to as many people as you can, as long as you can,” for great is your reward in heaven.