[b]"Lord, smite this sin!"[/b]
(Thomas Watson, "The Godly Man's
Picture Drawn with a Scripture Pencil)
"Your Word is completely pure, and Your
servant loves it." Psalms 119:140
Do we love the holiness of the Word? The Word is
preached--to beat down sin, and advance holiness.
Do we love it for its spirituality and purity? Many
love the Preached Word only for its eloquence and
notion. They come to a sermon as to a performance
(Ezek. 33:31,32) or as to a garden to pick flowers;
but not to have their lusts subdued or their hearts
purified. These are like a foolish woman who paints
her face--but neglects her health!
Do we love the convictions of the Word? Do we
love the Word when it comes home to our conscience
and shoots its arrows of reproof at our sins? It is the
minister's duty sometimes to reprove. He who can
speak smooth words in the pulpit--but does not know
how to reprove, is like a sword with a fine handle, but
without an edge! "Rebuke them sharply!" (Titus 2:15).
Dip the nail in oil--reprove in love--but strike the nail
Now Christian, when the Word touches on your sin
and says, "You are the man!" do you love the reproof?
Can you bless God that "the sword of the Spirit" has
divided between you and your lusts? This is indeed a
sign of grace, and shows that you are a lover of the
A corrupt heart loves the comforts of the Word--but
not the reproofs: "You hate the one who reproves...
and despise him who tells the truth!" (Amos 5:10).
"Their eyes flash with fire!" Like venomous creatures
that at the least touch, spit poison! "When they heard
these things, they were enraged in their hearts and
gnashed their teeth at him!" (Acts 7:54). When
Stephen touched their sins, they were furious and
could not endure it.
How shall we know that we love the reproofs of the Word?
When we desire to sit under a heart-searching ministry.
Who cares for medicines that will not work? A godly man
does not choose to sit under a ministry that will not work
upon his conscience.
When we pray that the Word may meet with our sins. If
there is any traitorous lust in our heart--we would have
it found out, and executed. We do not want sin covered;
but cured! We can open our heart to the sword of the
Word and say, "Lord, smite this sin!"
When we are thankful for a reproof. "Let a righteous
man strike me--it is a kindness; let him rebuke me--it
is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it." (Psalm
141:5). David was glad for a reproof.
Suppose a man were in the mouth of a lion, and another
should shoot the lion and save the man; would he not be
thankful? So, when we are in the mouth of sin, as of a
lion, and the minister by a reproof shoots this sin to
death--shall we not be thankful?
A gracious soul rejoices, when the sharp lance of the Word
has pierced his abscess of sin! He wears a reproof like a jewel
on his ear: "Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
is a wise man's rebuke to a listening ear." (Proverbs 25:12).
To conclude, it is convincing preaching which must do the
soul good. A nipping reproof prepares for comfort--as a
nipping frost prepares for the sweet flowers of spring.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon