The Lord's Requirement
by James Smith, 1861
Therefore he says, "If any man serves me — let him follow me." John 12:26
From the reprehensible treatment done to the Savior — the glory of the Christian arises!
His death — issued in our life.
He suffered — that we may sing.
He sunk in the horrible pit — that we may stand on an eternal rock.
He died the most painful, shameful death — that we may live the most happy and honorable life.
The Church of Jesus is to be like her head. But as she is to be like him in glory, she must be conformed to him in a measure now. We must imitate him on earth — if we would resemble him in Heaven. Therefore he says, "If any man serves me — let him follow me." Jesus must lead — we must follow; he must set the example — and we must imitate it.
The Supposition.If any man is willing to serve me — or to be my servant. If any man professes to serve me: that is: if he professes . . .
The Requirement."Let him follow me." Let him follow me in the path of affliction and suffering. Let him follow me in the field of labor and enterprise. Let him imitate me.
Every servant of Christ, should imitate his Master in the SPIRIT he displayed.
His was a spirit of filial faith — for he exercised unlimited confidence in his Father.
His was a spirit of yielding love — for he stooped to the very lowest.
His was a spirit of quiet patience — for he went as a lamb to the slaughter.
His was a spirit of cheerful self-denial — for his actions showed that he was the servant of all.
His was a spirit of condescending humility — for he associated with the poor and vulgar.
His was a spirit of consecration to God — for he always sought his Father's glory.
His was a spirit of waiting hope — which enabled him to keep his eyes fixed on the joy that was set before him.
We should imitate Christ in the WORK he performed. His food was to do the will of him who sent him, and to finish his work. He wrought for God — that he may be glorified; and he wrought for man — that he may be saved. He was always at work — and always at the right work. Therefore he could say at last, "I have glorified you on the earth, I have finished the work which you gave me to do." We should imitate Christ in the sufferings he endured. Whatever was brought upon him by his adherence to the truth, by his diligence in doing his Father's will, or by his carrying out his engagements — he met with fortitude, endured with courage, and overcame with patience. He has left a measure of sufferings to be filled up by us, and it befits us to meet them, endure them, and overcome them with fortitude, courage, and patience as he did.
We should imitate Christ in the PERSEVERANCE he displayed. He allowed nothing to turn him aside from his mark, or hinder him in his work. He pressed forward through all difficulties, overcame all obstacles, and has now set down at the right hand of God. So should we, let what will oppose us, or attempt to turn us aside — we should still press on toward the mark for the prize of our high calling.
Believer, you profess to be the Lord's servant. You have solemnly dedicated yourself to Jesus, to be his, to do his will, to suffer his pleasure, always and in all things. Take, therefore, Jesus for your model, endeavor to imitate him, and let your service to him, resemble as nearly as possible, his service to his Father.
Christian, you are to copy the conduct of your Savior, as his Father's servant, as nearly as you possibly can. He has set you an example, that you should do as he has done.
Professor, a mere profession is worthless, here is the royal standard, measure yourself by it. This is the touchstone, try yourself by it. If you profess but do not obey, to you the Savior speaks when he says, "Why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and do not do the things that I say?" To all of us who have professed to receive his word and engage in his service, he says, "If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Let us then, all and every one of us who profess the name of Jesus, looking to the Lord for ability, and depending on the Lord for success — go and work for him. Work as a child for its loving and beloved Father. Work as one of the brethren of Jesus, with his brethren. Work diligently, devotedly, and perseveringly. Let us work from love to our Savior, out of gratitude for what he has done for us. Let us work all we can, as long as we can; and when we have done all we can do, let us rest for our acceptance, and look for our salvation to the finished work of Jesus, and to that alone. Let us bring all our works to the cross to be sprinkled with his blood, and expect them to be accepted of God only for his sake, and renouncing all idea of merit, in profound humility exclaim, "We are unprofitable servants, for we have only done that which it was our duty to do!"