Acts 8:1-25 The Result of the Gospel is Joy

The instinct which prompts the vain and worldly to shut the door and keep earnest religion outside, lest it should mar their happiness, is a true instinct. Every creature after its kind. Every creature’s instinct is true for its own preservation. The apprehension that Christ’s entrance into the vain or vicious heart would be the death of its joy is a just apprehension. The devils believe this, and tremble at its truth. “What have we to do with thee, thou Jesus?” To open your whole heart for a whole Christ, — to take into your bosom the Christ who was crucified for sin, does indeed torment the old man; and the old man, a strong man armed, keeps his goods in peace as long as he can. The old man will not be spared at Christ’s coming; he will be crucified. When he is put off a new nature is put on, and the new nature has new joys. There was great joy in that city when Christ was preached to the citizens. This, however, is the ultimate result, not the first effect of such preaching. ”This child is set for the fall and the rising again of many in Israel” These Samaritans, when we get a glimpse of them, are bearing home their sheaves with rejoicing; but the seed-time was moist with their tears.

The pleasures of sin have been rent off, and the patient cried at the rending; but the joy of the Lord has now come. In the world of a man’s own heart and life he lived without God; lived and laughed because God was not there; trembled sometimes in the midst of his mirth with an instinctive dread lest God should burst into his world and quench its mirth in wrath. But at length the Stranger who long knocked outside has come in. At his presence the former joys fled; but with his presence come new joys — the peace of God that passeth all understanding.

In the secret of a soul, they make a great mistake who think that to abandon the crackling thorns of ungodly mirth is to plunge into spiritual gloom. They who through Christ have been reconciled to God, and walk in the light of his countenance, have indeed allowed one kind of happiness to be chased away; but it is like changing the flickering of the night lamp for the risen sun, and the breath of the dancing hall when the night is far spent for the morning breeze on the mountain.

There was joy in that city. Christ offered to a city or a soul, and kept out, seems like a cloud of wrath hanging in the heavens over it — a terror; but Christ freely offered, and believingly accepted, by a city or a soul, becomes a joy which life could not give, and death cannot destroy.

William Arnot

Heart Preparation
Read Acts 8:1-25. What greater joy is there than life found in Christ? If in Christ is all joy, who of your friends and family and neighbors would you like to share in your joy? What immediate plans will you make to see that they hear of this joy?

Posted on: August 1, 2013 - 7:57AM

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