1 OCTOBER (PREACHED NEW YEAR’S MORNING, 1770)
O look to Jesus
‘I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.’ 1 Corinthians 15:31
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Psalm 33:1–22
The advantages of dying daily:
(i) it has an immediate tendency to maintain in our souls a constant reverence of God, which is the spring and life of all true obedience. If you daily resign yourself to him as if you were going immediately into his presence, and do so sincerely, it will have an habitual effect upon the frame of your mind.
(ii) it teaches that moderation in all earthly things which becomes our profession [of faith]. From whence come our eager pursuits, our anxious fears, our liftings up and our castings down, our anger, impatience, disputes and jars? Alas, are not these plain proofs [that as] yet we are but little acquainted with this heavenly art of dying daily? Yea, may we not all take shame and say, ‘Teach us so to number our days’ [Psalm 90:12]?
(iii) it will animate to a faithful and diligent discharge of present duty. What thy hand finds to do, do it now, and do it with all thy might [Ecclesiastes 9:10].
(iv) it will prepare us for dying comfortably. This many desire. I will not limit the Lord, but in the way of means, we can hardly expect to die comfortably unless we endeavour to die daily.
I am afraid some of you understand but little of this subject. Yet die you must. And will you be thoughtless about it? If you had but a journey or a voyage before you, you would be often enquiring about it, asking questions, making provision. And can you be careless about your last journey?
FOR MEDITATION: I am now far advancing in my seventy-fourth year, and should be thankful for whatever the Lord sends to remind me that I cannot be long here.… I see little here worth living for, but my Christian profession and my ministry. I hope to be willing to live my appointed time; and I hope and pray that when the Lord shall call me hence, he will make me willing to go. Without him I can do nothing. Without the promised support of his grace, I am neither fit to die nor fit to live. I am to yield all up to him, and to say, ‘What and when and how thou wilt.’
John Newton to Mrs Barbara Wilberforce, 28 November 1798
SERMON: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:31 [6/6]