Profitable Teaching and Sure Guidance (Part 2)
Now you begin to know a little for yourself, and you feel your way towards more knowledge, more teaching, more light, and power, and to have the truth of God opened up. You have now new views of the truth of God, and you think "What high doctrines these hold! but after all, these are the men, these are the people, these are the sermons, these are the very things that suit my naked, guilty, filthy, distressed soul, these point my poor sinful heart to the Redeemer, and these bring before my eyes the way by which my guilt and filth may be purged and washed away." Now the Lord is teaching you this out of His word; for what a light does He cast upon His sacred truth! what light upon the Scriptures at times! a whole text is so full of light and sweetness, that it is like the honeycomb that cannot hold the honey, it is so full of it. So a text is sometimes so full of honey it cannot hold it, it drops through, as David says of his cup, "My cup runneth over," it runs over with sweetness; so He teaches you out of the word, then afflictions "make us see what else would scape our sight." You have seen your poor tabernacle perhaps consuming away under disease, with a prospect of speedy dissolution before you. All these things try your mind, they make you conscious of what you never knew before, they open up the realities of eternal things, and lay eternal things with weight upon your conscience, and you can see things as they are.
"Which teacheth thee to profit." There is a beauty here, it is all to profit. Why does the tradesman stand up early and late behind his counter? Why does the mechanic stick to his bench, and the labourer knock his feet against the clods? It is for profit. For who would stand behind the counter, and what labourer or mechanic would perform those things that bring toil to the mind, and fatigue to the body, except for profit? It is profit that puts the plough upon the field, and sows the grains of seed in broad furrows, profit is the great wheel that puts and keeps everything in motion.
"Which teacheth thee to profit." No other teaching is profitable. When a person examines his books at the end of the year, and "nil" is the sum total, so a person may sit under sermons, prate and prattle about religion; but what has he got, if he has got nothing of the Lord s teachings? He cannot say he has got anything; but if he has got that which shall save him from death and the law and take him to eternal bliss; and when he can look over the teachings of God, and see heaven as the balance, eternal righteousness in the kingdom of God as his enduring portion, oh! what millions are these to his account-what treasures? You may have had to walk in paths of great gloom and distress, dismay, doubt and fear; family afflictions, personal afflictions, painful bereavements, and trying temptations, may have crowded round you. But look at both sides, cast up the sum total, the creditor and the debtor side, and oh! if you can see eternal life and a kingdom of endless glory to be yours for ever at the great day! oh! what profit the Lord has given you by the teaching he has bestowed upon you! All other teaching is utterly unprofitable, it never does the soul any good; but is ever a prey to sin and Satan, and it lives under the eternal wrath of God and displeasure of the Almighty. What have I learned to profit? What have you learned to profit? If we have learned to fear God, that is profit; to believe in Jesus, that is profit; if we have had a testimony of our interest in and a blessed manifestation of dying love, and felt a sweet evidence that when He comes we shall be with Him in glory; these are things learned to profit.
IV.-But I pass on to my last point, upon which I must be brief. What sure and heavenly guidance He affords. "Which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go." Now there is a way we should go, and a way we should not go. Our evil nature is always bent on going the way we should not go, the way of the world, of sin, of self-righteousness, the way of carnality and death, that is the way we should not go; of self-indulgence, earthly delights, and sinful gratifications, in which the men of this world specially delight. This is the broad way that leads to eternal destruction, in which the multitude walk that walk toward evil, that thou shouldest not go and will not go. There is a curse in that way.
See well to it then that thy feet are in the way that thou shouldest go, and what is this way? The way of the Lord Jesus Christ, the way of faith, of hope, the way of obedience to His will and word, the way of holiness in which the redeemed alone walk, the way of truth, righteousness, and self-denial, the way of bringing forth fruit pleasing and acceptable to God, the way in which the holy prophets walked, the way in which the martyrs, apostles, and saints of God have all travelled. Now this is a way of tribulation, temptation, and affliction, it is a straight and narrow path, but the only one that leads to life, and the Lord will lead His saints and bring them to the end of it, which is salvation to the soul; and in this they will glory; and never cease to praise the Lord, their Redeemer, Teacher, and Guide, throughout the ages of eternity.