“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; my elect, in whom my soul delights; 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. A bruised reed, he shall not break, and the smoking flax, he shall not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth” (Isa. 42:1 3)
Some of my reading this year has been among the works of Richard Sibbes. Sibbes (1577–1635) speaks with profound biblical truths that reach beyond his time and his theological background. A Puritan preaching within the Church of England, he taught with conviction on the current state of the world and the comfort found in our Christian theology.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones said that Sibbes’ writings “quietened, soothed, comforted, encouraged, and healed me.” I felt that same comfort in reading The Bruised Reed. In this lengthy sermon, we enter into the pains of Christ on our behalf. We see his endurance, and it shapes our endurance. Sibbes expounds on many great topics along the way, but I found his words on the church then strong words for the church today.
If we look to the present state of the church of Christ, it is like Daniel in the midst of lions, like a lily among thorns, like a ship not only tossed but almost covered with waves. It is so low that the enemies think they have buried Christ in the grave, with respect to his gospel, and there they think to keep him from rising. But just as Christ rose in his person, so he will roll away all stones and rise again in his church. How little support the church and the cause of Christ have at this day! How strong a conspiracy is against it! The spirit of antichrist is now lifted up and marches furiously. Things seem to hang on a small and invisible thread. But our comfort is that Christ lives and reigns, and stands on Mount Zion in defense of those who stand for him (Rev. 14:1); and when states and kingdoms dash one against another, Christ will have care of his own children and cause, seeing there is nothing else in the world that he esteems much. At this very time, the delivery of his church and the ruin of his enemies are in progress. We see nothing in motion till Christ has done his work, and then we shall see that the Lord reigns.
Christ and his church, when they are at the lowest, are nearest to rising. His enemies, when at their highest, are actually nearest their downfall. The Jews have not yet come in under Christ’s banner; but God who has persuaded Japheth to come into the tents of Shem, will persuade Shem to come into the tents of Japheth (Gen. 9:27). The “fullness of the Gentiles” has not yet come in (Rom. 11:25), but Christ, who has the uttermost parts of the earth given to him for his possession (Psa. 2:8), will gather all the sheep his Father has given him into one fold, so that there may be one sheepfold and one shepherd (John 10:16).
Read it here. – via Banner of Truth