GODS first and greatest object is his own glory. There was a time, before all time, when there was no day but the Ancient of days, when God dwelt alone in the magnificence of his sublime solitude. Whether he should create, or not create was a question depending upon the answer to another question Would it be to his honor or not? He determined that he would glorify himself by creating; but, in creating, beyond all doubt, his motive was his glory. And since that time, he hath ever ruled the earth, and even blessed it with the same object in his infinite mind his own glory and honor.
Lesser motive for God to have, were less than divine; it is the highest position to which you or I could attain, to live for God; and the very highest virtue of God is for him to magnify himself in all his greatness as the Infinite and the Eternal.
Whatever, then, God permits or does, he doeth with this one motive, his own glory.
And even salvation, costly though it was, and infinitely a benefaction to us, had for its first object, and for its grand result, the exaltation of the Being and of the attributes of the Supreme Ruler.
It is true that God has a church, that that church has been redeemed and will be preserved for his glory, and it is equally true that everything that is done to the church, in the church, or for the church either with the permission or by the power of God, is for Gods glory, as well as for the churchs weal.
God is jealous of his own honor; he will not suffer even his church to be delivered in such a way as to honor men more than God; he will take to himself the throne without a rival he will wear a crown that never head did wear, and sway a scepter that never head hath grasped, for as truly as he is God, the earth shall know that he, and he alone, hath done it, and unto him shall be the glory.
Now, my objects this morning will be to glorify God, by showing to you, who love the Savior, that the preservation and the triumph of the church are both of them to be accomplished, not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of God, in order that all the honor might be to God, and none of it to man. I shall divide my text very simply; it divides itself. First, not by might; secondly, nor by power; thirdly, but by my Spirit.
You will ask me whether there is any distinction to be drawn between these two words, “NOT BY MIGHT, NOR BY POWER.” I answer, yes. The best Hebrew scholars tell us that the “might,” in the first place, may be translated, “army.” The Septuagint does so translate it. It signifies power collectedly the power of a number of men combined together. The second word, “power,” signifies the prowess of a single individual, so that I might paraphrase my text thus ”Not by the combined might of men laboring to assist each other, nor by the separate might of any single hero, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord.” And now you will see the distinction, which is not without a difference.
First, let us consider that collected might to represent human armies. The church, we affirm, can neither be preserved nor can its interests be promoted by human armies.
The great crime of war can never promote the religion of peace. The battle, and the garment rolled in blood, are not a fitting prelude to “peace on earth, goodwill to men.” And I do firmly hold, that the slaughter of men, that bayonets, and swords, and guns, have never yet been, and never can be, promoters of the gospel.
Now, understanding this word “might,” in another sense, to signify great corporations, or, as we say, denominations of men. Now-a-days, people get a queer notion in their head, and they form what they call a denomination. It is all wrong; there never ought to have been any denominations at all, for according to Scripture, every church is independent of every other. There ought to have been as many separate churches as there were separate opinions; but denominations, which are the gathering up of those churches, I take it, ought not to have existed at all. They may do some good, but they do a world of mischief.
Whilst the progress and advance of the church are neither to be accomplished by the collected might of armies, corporations, nor churches, nor by the separate exertions of individuals, by the might neither of learning nor of eloquence, yet both the objects are to be accomplished BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD.
The grand thing the church wants in this time, is Gods Holy Spirit. You all get up plans and say, “Now, if the church were altered a little bit, it would go on better.” You think if there were different ministers, or different church order, or something different, then all would be well. No, dear friends, it is not there the mistake lies, it is that we want more of the Spirit.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible