Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. Isaiah 42:1-2
Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. Matthew 12:18
Instead of trying to read ALL of volume one and then reviewing it as a whole, I thought I would review each work separately. The first work is a sermon entitled, "A Description of Christ." The preaching text is Isaiah 42:1-2 and Matthew 12:18. (I believe other verses are used as well as supports.) This sermon is also available online if you should want to seek it out.
In this sermon, Sibbes is describing the goodness--the sweetness--of Christ. This is my first time reading Sibbes, but, so far at least is to God--to Christ--be the GLORY. I think from start to finish, his goal is to point his readers--his listeners--to Christ so they can be saved. The sermon shows us WHY Christ is worth beholding, and it speaks of his servanthood. How Christ came as a prophet, priest, and king. The sermon speaks of our union with Christ as giving us all we could ever possibly want or need. It speaks of who Christ is, and who we are in Christ and apart from Christ.
Are you dejected? here is comfort; are you sinful? here is righteousness; are you led away with present contentments? here you have honours, and pleasures, and all in Christ Jesus. You have a right to common pleasures that others have, and besides them you have interest to others that are everlasting pleasures that shall never fail, so that there is nothing that is dejecting and abasing in man, but there is comfort for it in Christ Jesus; he is a salve for every sore, a remedy for every malady; therefore, ‘Behold my servant.’
We were severed and scattered from God. His office was to gather us together again, to bring us all to one head again, to bring us to himself, and so to God, to reconcile us, as the Scripture phrase is, Col.1:20. Now, it being the greatest work and service that over was, it required the greatest servant; for no creature in the world could perform it.
He is a servant that bears another man’s burden. There was a double burden—of obedience active, and obedience passive. He bore them both. He came under the law for us, both doing what we should have done, and indeed far more acceptably, and suffering that we should have suffered, and far more acceptably. He being our surety, being a more excellent person, he did bear our burden, and did our work, therefore he was God’s servant, and our servant; and God’s servant, because he was our servant, because he came to do a work behoveful to us.
Our liberty comes from his service and slavery, our life from his death, our adoption and sonship and all comes from his abasement.
A Christian is the greatest freeman in the world; he is free from the wrath of God, free from hell and damnation, from the curse of the law; but then, though he be free in these respects, yet, in regard of love, he is the greatest servant. Love abaseth him to do all the good he can; and the more the Spirit of Christ is in us, the more it will abase us to anything wherein we can be serviceable.
Christ was chosen before all worlds to be the head of the elect. He was predestinate and ordained by God. As we are ordained to salvation, so Christ is ordained to be the head of all that shall be saved. He was chosen eternally, and chosen in time. He was singled out to the work by God; and all others that are chosen are chosen in him. There had been no choosing of men but in him; for God saw us so defiled, lying in our filth, that he could not look upon us but in his Son. He chose him, and us in him.
Was Christ a chosen servant of God, and shall not we take God’s choice? Is not God’s choice the best and the wisest? Hath God chosen Christ to work our salvation, and shall we choose any other?
Again, if Christ be a chosen servant, O let us take heed how we neglect Christ. When God hath chosen him for us, shall not we think him worthy to be embraced and regarded; shall we not kiss the Son with the kiss of love, and faith, and subjection?
He is a Saviour of God’s own choosing, refuse him not.
What is the reason that men refuse this chosen stone? They will not be laid low enough to build upon this corner stone, this hidden stone. The excellency of Christ is hidden, it appears not to men, men will not be squared to be built upon him. Stones for a building must be framed, and made even, and flat. Men stick out with this and that lust, they will not be pared and cut and fitted for Christ. If they may have their lusts and wicked lives, they will admit of Christ. But we must make choice of him as a stone to build upon him; and to be built on him, we must be made like him. We like not this laying low and abasing, therefore we refuse this corner stone, though God hath made him the corner of building to all those that have the life of grace here, or shall have glory hereafter. God hath chosen him only, and we must choose him only, that we may be framed and laid upon him to make up one building.
This is our comfort and our confidence, that God accepts us, because he accepts his beloved; and when he shall cease to love Christ, he shall cease to love the members of Christ. They and Christ make one mystical Christ. This is our comfort in dejection for sin. We are so and so indeed, but Christ is the chosen servant of God, ‘in whom he delighteth,’ and delights in us in him. It is no matter what we are in ourselves, but what we are in Christ when we are once in him and continue in him. God loves us with that inseparable love wherewith he loves his own Son.
Let us present to ourselves thoughts of God as the Scripture sets forth God to us.
All God’s love and the fruits of it come to us as we are in Christ, and are one with him.
And shall God love him and delight in him, and shall not our soul delight in Christ?
We should therefore desire God to shed the love of Christ into our hearts more and more, that we may feel in our souls the love that he bears to us, and may love God and Christ again, for that that he hath done for us.
The very beholding of Christ is a transforming sight. The Spirit that makes us new creatures, and stirs us up to behold this servant, it is a transforming beholding. If we look upon him with the eye of faith, it will make us like Christ; for the gospel is a mirror, and such a mirror, that when we look into it, and see ourselves interested in it, we are changed from glory to glory, 2 Cor. 3:18. A man cannot look upon the love of God and of Christ in the gospel, but it will change him to be like God and Christ.
For how can we see Christ, and God in Christ, but we shall see how God hates sin, and this will transform us to hate it as God doth, who hated it so that it could not be expiated but with the blood of Christ, God-man.
There are three main defects in man since the fall. There is ignorance and blindness. There is rebellion in the will and affections. And in regard of his condition, by reason of the sins of nature and life, a subjection to a cursed estate, to the wrath of God and eternal damnation. Hereupon comes a threefold office in Christ, that is ordained to save man, to cure this threefold mischief and malady.
As we are ignorant and blind, he is a prophet to instruct us, to convince us of the ill state we are in, and then to convince us of the good he intends us, and hath wrought for us, to instruct us in all things concerning our everlasting comfort. He is such a prophet as teacheth not only the outward, but the inward man. He openeth the heart, he teacheth to do the things he teacheth. Men teach what we should do, but they teach not the doing of them. He is such a prophet as teacheth us the very things; he teacheth us to love and to obey, &c.
And answerable to the rebellion and sinfulness of our dispositions, he is a king to subdue whatsoever is ill in us, and likewise to subdue all opposite power without us. By little and little he will trample all enemies under his feet, and under our feet, too, ere long.
Now, as we are cursed by reason of our sinful condition, so he is a priest to satisfy the wrath of God for us. He was made a curse for us, Gal. 3:13. He became a servant, that, being so, he might die, and undergo the cursed death of the cross; not only death, but a cursed death, and so his blood might be an atonement as a priest. So, answerable to the threefold ill in us, you see here is a threefold office in Christ.
Let us labour, then, to see where to have supply in all our wants. We have a full treasury to go to. All treasure is hid in Christ for us. What a comfort is this in anything we want! If we want the favour of God, go to his beloved Christ, desire God to love us in his beloved, and to accept us in his gracious Son, in him whom he hath made his servant, and anointed with his Spirit for that purpose.
Christ is a prophet to teach us the way to heaven, but how few be there that will be directed by him! Christ is a king to subdue all our spiritual and worst enemies, to subdue those enemies that kings tremble at, to subdue death, to subdue the fear of judgment and the wrath of God, and yet how few will come under his government! ‘Christ is the light of the world,’ John 9:5, yet how few follow him! Christ is the way, yet how few tread in his steps! Christ is our wisdom and our riches, yet how few go to him to fetch any riches, but content themselves with the transitory things of this life! Men live as if Christ were nothing, or did nothing concern them, as if he were a person abstracted from them, as if he were not a head or husband, as if he had received the Spirit only for himself and not for them, whereas all that is in Christ is for us.
A man shall never go to heaven but by such a disposition and frame and temper of soul as is wrought by the Holy Ghost, persuading the soul first of the love and favour of God in Christ.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible