27 DECEMBER (PREACHED NEW YEAR’S EVENING 1774)
Citizens of Zion
‘They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.’ Jeremiah 50:5
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Psalm 87:1–7
Zion represents the church of God. It has two branches during the present state of things: the church in glory—that is, the heavenly state—and the church on earth. Heaven answers not to the idea of a carnal heart. It is the state and place where the redeemed of the Lord rejoice in his presence and love, freed from all their sins, troubles and enemies, to which they are exposed here. Zion likewise is the church upon earth. Not this or that particular church, or denomination, but it consists of all who know Jesus, and have peace and communion with God by him. These are said to come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, and as sure as they belong to the church below, they belong to the church above, and shall in due time join. This then expresses the desire of awakened souls—they wish to be remembered with the power which the Lord bears to his people, in time and to eternity.
Now my dear friends, how stand you affected to this thought? What is Zion in your view? Have you no desire to be a citizen of Zion? They, and they only, are happy. Their sins are pardoned, their persons accepted, they have access to God, are under his immediate teaching, care, protection. His eye is upon them, his ear is open to them. How far is their portion preferable to the worldling’s while here, and when they die they are blessed indeed, and enter upon a glorious immortality. If nothing of this engages you, if you die before you are united to the Head of the church by faith, then when they are admitted, you will be shut out and must take up your abode with devils.
FOR MEDITATION: [Asking the way to Zion, written to be sung after this sermon]
Zion! the city of our God,
Firm, against every adverse shock,
How glorious is the place!
Its mighty bulwarks prove
The Saviour there has his abode,
’Tis built upon the living Rock,
And sinners see his face.
And walled around with love.
SERMON: JEREMIAH 50:5 [3/7] [TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE]
John Newton and Marylynn Rouse, 365 Days with Newton (Leominster, UK: Day One Publications, 2006), 371.