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end of the race, with the prize in his hand, calling you to make haste and follow him, and to run so, in faith and obedience, that you may obtain, 1 Cor. ix. 24. Have “respect to the recompense of reward,” Heb. xi. 26. Set and keep your eye upon it, all along in your service, as a won prize, and won for you, by the great Servant : and let the hope of it excite, animate, and encourage you to the hardest pieces of service in your way towards it. The time is but short: wherefore, though your service be difficult, it will not be longsome. And the glorious reward will more than counterbalance all your toil. And remember, that according to your works in his service, so will your share of the reward be, greater or smaller, 2 Cor. ix. 6, "He which soweth sparingly, shall reap also sparingly: and he which soweth bountifully, shall reap also bountifully.” The reason is, because both our service to God, and our reward, are purely and equally the fruits of Christ's service for us; and so they are proportioned to the efficacy of it in us; wherefore, according to the efficacy of Christ's service in us, so will our service be, and so will our reward be; and so the greater service, the greater reward.
8. If ye do indeed belong to Christ, as these for whom he served, ye shall certainly serve him. For, if he was crucified for you, your old man was nailed to the same cross with him, that sin might be destroyed in you, and you might serve him ; Rom. vi. 6, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” And your service is a part of the reward of his service, which he cannot lose ; for he has his Father's faithfulness engaged for it, in the promise of the covenant made to him, Psalm xxii. 30, "A seed shall serve him;" they shall serve him sincerely here, and perfectly hereafter. So that heaven and earth shall be overturned, and the whole frame and course of nature reversed, rather than one soul, for which Christ served, be left in bondage to its lusts.
Take heed then to yourselves; for your deliverance from the bondage of your lusts, and your serving the Lord, is the necessary decisive evidence of your part in Christ, of any saving interest in him and his service. If ye serve him in truth, his service is yours, imputed to you for all the purposes of life and salvation. If ye serve him not, ye have neither part nor lot in that matter, but must perish for ever, Luke xiii. 3, “ Except ye repent, yo shall all likewise perish.” Rom. viii. 13, “If ye live after the flesh ye shall die: but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” If ye be not his servants, to serve bim, ye are slaves to the devil and your lusts; and ye shall die the death of slaves
for your transgressions : ye shall die a cursed death, under the curse of the law, staking you down under eternal wrath, from which ye shall never be able to lift your head : ye shall die a shameful death, stripped of all covering whatsoever, the whole world beholding your shame ; ye shall die a death painful beyond expression, through revenging wrath, like nails and spears, piercing into your very souls: and ye shall die a lingering death, spun out through all the ages of eternity.
Lastly, By Christ's service there is strength purchased, wherewith ye may serve him; and it lies open to you, to be improved in the way of believing, for enabling you to your work, Isa. xlv. 24, “Surely, shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength.” The service which the Lord Jesus took off our hand upon himself, namely, the bond-service, was what we neither had nor could have strength for. Strength for the suffering part of it man never had; strength for the working part of it man once indeed had, but now it is lost. Hence these who continue in the bondservice still, under the law or covenant of works, can work none at all; they can work no work truly good and acceptable in the sight of God. And it is vain, upon that view, to bid them work, without directing them, in the first place, to get in to Jesus Christ from under that covenant. But now the Mediator has purchased a new stock of strength, for the new service which he puts in our hand; and it is lodged in himself, treasured ap in him as the head of influences : and in the faith of it we are to set about our work, 2 Tim. ii. 1, “ Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." So shall we be enabled for the hardest service required of us, Philip. iv. 13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Come then, and resolutely ply the service he calls you to.
II. If ye have any part or lot in Christ's service, serve him as sons and daughters ; serve him as a son serveth his father, not as a bond-servant serveth his master. If thou art in Christ, “thou art no more a servant, (i. e. a bond-servant), but a son.” Gal. iv. 7. Serve him then agreeable to the character ye bear before him. As it is your duty, so it is your high privilege, that ye have access to serve him in that manner. It is the price of Christ's blood; slight it not. Ho served as a bond-man, that ye might serve as sons. had been bond-servants for ever, had not the Son of God become a bond-servant for you, being made under the law, that ye might receive the adoption of sons,” Gal. iv. 4, 5. And indeed he only was fit to serve God in that character: none else was able to bave managed it acceptably. Wherefore,
1. Serve him out of love to him; let your work and labour be a “ work and labour of love," Heb. vi. 10. Behold the Son of God serving a hard service in your stead, from love to his father, and love to you who were altogether unlovely; and let the love of Christ constrain you to obedience. Believing views of Christ in the form of a servant will produce this constraining love, 2 Cor. v. 14, “ For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all," &c. They will also prevent your acting from a slavish fear of punishment, and a servile hope of reward, both of them unbecoming the state of sonship, 2 Tim. i. 7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power, and of love, and of a sound inind." As, on the other hand, they will fill you with a filial fear of God's fatherly anger, and a son-like hope of the purchased and promised reward.
2. Serve him universally, so as ye may “stand perfect and complete in all the will of God,” Col. iv. 12. The Spirit of adoption brings men unto this evangelical perfection : but a sinner serving God in the state of bondage will never comply with the whole will of God; but there will still be exceptions lying in the heart of such a one against some one or other piece of commanded service. This is evident from the Psalmist's testimony, Psalm cxix. 3, “ Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.” Serve ye the Lord then as sons, sticking at no piece of service commanded you, however painful, costly, or dangerous; for at this rate Christ served for you, sparing neither pains nor cost, and sticking at no danger.
Lastly, Serve him constantly, even to the end, Psalm. cxis. 112, “I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.” It argues the spirit of a sinner in the state of bondage, to ply the work no longer than the whip is held over one's head, or than one has something to gain to himself by his work, Job xxvii. 10,“ Will he delight himself in the Almighty? will be always call upon God?” Shew yourselves sons of God, by clearing to his service continually, and never going back again to your old masters. Remember him who was obedient even unto death.
Secondly, And more particularly, If ye have any part or lot in this matter, let the same mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus, who for
took on him the form of a servant. 1. Be of a loving and charitable disposition towards your brethren the sons of men. Be concerned for the good of others, as well as for your own. Lay aside all hatred, malice and revenge, envy and grudge, at the good of others, as ever ye would shew yourselves
partakers of the Spirit of Christ. Love your neighbour as yourselves. Let the love that Christ shewed to his Father and to mankind, in taking on the form of a servant in man's nature, inspire you with this love.
2. “As ye bave opportunity, do good," and be serviceable "unto all meu, especially unto them who are of the household of faith,” Gal. vi. 10. Whether they be good or bad, withhold not ye the good that is in the power of your hand to do them. The Father set his love on a select company of mankind: but they behoved to be redeemed, to be bought from destruction with a price : and no sooner was it proposed to the Son to do this for them, but he consented to it, and to take on him the form of a servant for that effect. If the same mind be in you that was in Christ, it will not divert you from doing good to men, though you are nothing obliged to them, they are unworthy of kindness, have done wrong to you, and ye cannot expect compensation from them. Could any or all of these arguments have prevailed with the Son of God to withhold his helping hand from us, we had been all under bondage to this day, without hope of relief. And let it move you to do good to the saints in a special manner, that they are the persons in particular for whom Christ took on bim the form of a servant.
3. Pat on bowels of humanity, mercies, and compassion towards those who are in distress, Col. iii. 12. A selfish and untender disposition, void of sympathy with those in misery, is most unlike that mind which was in Christ Jesus, who, in his pity towards miserable sinners, laid aside the robes of his glory, and took on him the form of a servant, that he might relieve them. But “he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy,” James. ii. 13.
4. Shew a strict regard to justice in your dealings; and be conscientious in giving every one his due. It was from regard to justice and that the service due unto God om the elect, virtue of the original contract, might be performed, that Jesus Christ took on him the form of a servant, and made out the service.
5. Be humble, and condescend to low things necessary for the good of others. For this we have the example of God's equal, taking on him the form of a servant: which may fill the faces of the proud and selfish with shame and blushing, John xiii. 14, 15, "If I then your Lord and Master have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you."
Lastly, Be mortified to the ease, pomp and splendour of the world. Be ready at God's call, to forego the comforts of a present life, in the believing prospect of a better ; " looking unto Jesus, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame:" and sit down contented, though the world should neither give you its good word, nor its kind look. All the time that our blessed Lord Jesus Christ was in the world, from his birth to his burial, he was in it in the character of a bond-servant: and accordingly had but coarse entertainment, hard lodging, being held in no reputation, and at length buffeted, scourged, and crucified.