James Smith, 1860
The church and the world are essentially
and eternally distinct. They ever have been, and will be until the Lord
Jesus comes. Yet they dwell together on the same earth, and are at times so
mixed, that it is not easy to distinguish them. But as when Israel dwelt in
Egypt, the Lord kept them distinct, and when about to bring them out,
did most plainly separate the one from the other — so it will be with
the church and the world in the end of the age. Let us look at the testimony
of Moses in this light, "Then you will know that the Lord makes a
difference between the Egyptians and the Israelites." Exodus 11:7
THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE LORD'S PEOPLE AND
OTHERS. This difference is ANCIENT, for the Lord . . .
chose his people in Christ,
predestined them to be conformed to his image,
appointed them to the adoption of children, and
prepared for them a kingdom before the foundation of the world!
This difference is LEGAL, for he sent his Son to pay a ransom price for them, to redeem them to himself by his own blood, out of every nation, kingdom, and people. By this price he purchased them, and they became really his. This led the apostle to say, "Feed the church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood." And, "You are not your own, for you are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your bodies, and in your spirits, which are his."
This difference is EFFECTUAL, for they are called by God
out of the mass of mankind, are created anew in Christ Jesus. In consequence
of this effectual call — they . . .
come to Jesus,
dedicate themselves to Jesus,
and engage to live and die for him.
This difference is EXPERIMENTAL, for they experience a
change of heart and a change of state. They are born again, born of the
Spirit, born of God. They are . . .
pardoned as criminals,
justified as believers,
and taught as children.
They have . . .
faith given them,
the love of God shed abroad within them,
and sweet and holy comfort imparted to them.
This difference is PROVIDENTIAL, for God's providence towards them is special and particular. They are supplied with all they need, receive all they wish, or are taught to be satisfied without it.
This difference is PRACTICAL, for grace inclines them to
. . .
separate from the world,
dedicate themselves to God, and
employ their talents in the service of God.
They are not of the world, even as Jesus is not of the
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE LORD'S PEOPLE AND THE WORLD IS MADE BY HIMSELF. "The Lord makes a difference between the Egyptians and the Israelites."
This difference is done by his purpose and decree — by his purpose which led to the eternal council; by his decree which was passed in the everlasting covenant. "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning."
This difference is done by his promise and grace. He promised to put enmity between the serpent and the woman, between his seed and her seed; and by his grace, transforming and sanctifying, his people, he does so.
This difference is done by his Spirit and his word. For the Spirit working by the word, separates the one from the other, making them distinct.
This difference is done by his providence and work. By the former, he proves himself their God; and by the latter, he proves himself their Father.
Thus . . .
in eternity past, he planned their separation;
in time, he separates them; and
to all eternity future, he will keep them separate.
The Lord ever has put a difference between Israel, and the Egyptians, and he will forever.
The question therefore is of the highest importance: to which party do I belong? Am I an Egyptian or an Israelite? I may be enrolled among the latter, meet with them, and join in all the externals of religion — and yet not be really of them; "for they are not all Israel, which are of Israel." "He is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew, who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men — but of God."
Let us therefore get the question settled, and keep it settled. In order to which, let us not be satisfied with a few faint, or feeble, or questionable evidences of grace — but let us seek for deep and thorough sanctification, thorough and entire dedication to God. Let us come right out of Egypt, brave all the dangers of the Red Sea and the wilderness, following Jesus, as the Jews did Moses; and allowing the cloudy fiery pillar to lead us through the journey of life.
The clearer the line of demarcation between us and the world, the better. The more thorough and entire our devotion to the Lord's cause and service, the better.
A mixed multitude went up out of Egypt — some Egyptians and others would mix up with Israel — but they soon fell a-lusting, and perished in the wilderness. Even so at the present day, there are many in the Church, who are not of the Church, and by some means or other they will be separated before long.
As in the days of the Apostle, so it will be again, as John testified, "They went out from us — but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."
Finally, what a separation will be made between the Egyptians and Israel at last, when the Lord shall send his angels to gather out of his kingdom all who do evil. When he shall say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them — but gather the wheat into my barn!" Then shall he gathered together before him all nations, and he shall separate between them, as the shepherd divides between the sheep and the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand — but the goats on his left. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment — but the righteous into life eternal!
Which will be my doom?
Reader, which will be your doom?
What are you now?
Whose image do you bear?
Whose spirit do you breathe?
Whose example do you copy?
For what end do you live?
By what rule do you walk?
Where are your hearts?
Lord, search us and try us, and let us not be found among the Egyptians at last, to be drowned in the red sea of your wrath!
"Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father's Kingdom!" Matthew 13:40-43