"Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. The beast of the field will honour Me, The jackals and the ostriches, Because I give waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My people, My chosen. This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise.
This is our final text (Isaiah 43 18-21) for the year. Jeff suggested this text as a good starting point for the last Sunday of the year. As you will have heard, it opens with "Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old". The verse then springs way forward, beyond the times of even now, to the days of heaven and eternity. So, within the few minutes we have today, let us look at various aspects of this incredible time frame, and see that God is saying to us.
So where do we begin? Is God telling us to forget everything in the past? Obviously not, for this verse is from the past, Jesus Christ was in the past. Remembering our Lord is something we do every week. Maybe we should put this into context? Isaiah was a prophet around 740 BC, that is, 360 years after King David's glorious reign. There are two kingdoms - Israel and Judah. The former is about to be completely annihilated by the Assyrians, the latter will go into exile, not too far down the track. They had a history of sin, transgression and walking apart from God. Isaiah is looking ahead, towards both the Messiah and to the time when God reigns supreme. The absolute bottom line of these verses is this - if Israel thought that Mose's opening the way across the Red Sea was something to remember, following the escape from Egypt, then forget it. Something else was coming that will be so incredible, they will find it difficult to believe, with Israel and Judah restored into one country, and under God's rule, water will be plentiful, and even the animals will be acknowledging God. And why did I use the example, you may ask, of the Red Sea? Verse 2 of this chapter says "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you."
We all know the Bible does not have contradictions, just poor interpretation by men not being led by the Spirit. Remember, just a minute ago I mentioned that forgetting all things, was not a literal expression. We can know this, as Isaiah obviously thought that some may ask this very question! So in chapter 46 he writes this:
"Remember this, and show yourselves men; Recall to mind, O you transgressors. Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, `My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure" Isaiah 46:8-10
Hmmm, you may think, though I trust not, this does contradict the earlier passage: our verses of today! But God is using His method in mentioning the story of the Red Sea, and then telling the people to forget about that event, because He is also prophesying in the same breath! Our text is about thinking on things to come, not past glories. We know this because of this second text that is reminding Israel who he is, through those very same past glories. Thus we have a dual text for today.
The Book of Isaiah very large which deals with many aspects of Israel, and one very important prophecy - the coming of Jesus Christ - both His first and His second. I think that we should remind ourselves at this point what it is that God does in His Word. The Old Testament tells the story of Israel. The Old Testament informs the New Testament - everything in the New can be explained by passages in the Old. The Old Testament does not mention Jesus Christ by name, but time and time again it draws pictures, and allegories of Jesus Christ, in the characters that God has in his various books, in the prophecies, and through the text. The Old Testament tells the story of Jesus Christ and His redemption of not only Israel but also the Gentiles. The Old and New Testament do one more thing, and we will find that this third expression is given as a further meaning of the same text - it foretells the period post Satan, when God reigns over all the heavens and the earth, and the old things have disappeared. In this way, our passage of today is doing this.
So, we see the essence of our verses, it says that no matter the miracle of the past, the future is going to make all of that completely forgettable. The verses therefore, do not contradict the verses of chapter 46 I read. It is a completely different context! So, you may ask, what does this do for me as end of 2010 approaches, and the beginning of 2011 is nigh. Many people are saying to each other - "I hope your new year is a good one" or words to that effect. A word of warning first, we are only nearing the end of one year, yet the new year may never come as such, for us. Christ may return, maybe before midnight on the 31st! I guess, then, if that question, or statement of hope, includes heaven, it is OK to say it! However, in case He does not come before 2011 gets here, Jesus tells us to be ready. So, let us look at the context of these verses in that light, being ready.
Being ready means that there is something we can forget, and not feel guilty about. I will say this though with a caveat, for the caveat is always required (caveat is a single word that means quite literally, "let him beware"). If we turn to Corinthians 5, starting at 21 we read:
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." 2 Corinthians 5:21 - 6:2
Yes? Praise the Lord. So just a verse or two earlier in the same chapter states:
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation" 2 Corinthians 5:17,18
Old things have passed away. We are a new creation. When we received Jesus Christ into our lives, we were freed of the old things - so forget them, there can be no regrets in God's world. But the caveat: If I am smoker, heavily so, and lead a pretty woeful lifestyle, then take up our Lord's invitation to receive salvation: I will be convicted of my sins, including that of polluting not only God's earth, but His Holy Temple. So I quit smoking, stop eating those fat foods, loose weight, and take up exercise - the question is: will God remove from my body all traces of those bad habits that have caused my arteries to block, my brain to have small narrow blood vessels? Can I still have a stroke, a heart attack? Absolutely! Will I still have three ex-wives and a string of illegitimate children? Yes. Am I forgiven as Corinthians tells me - Absolutely. Are these thoughts biblical? I think so. Look at King David. He has an affair, and then initiates homicide on the hapless husband, and as a result of his sin, his lover is pregnant. Nathan the prophet confronts David the King. David repents, so all is well? No! Just read 2 Samuel chapter 12 verses 15-18.
"Then Nathan departed to his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and it became ill. David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. So the elders of his house arose and went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them. Then on the seventh day it came to pass that the child died. 2 Samuel 12:15-18
Who dies? The child, the innocent party in this sordid affair. Why? God is a just God, he had His reasons why He decided to take the child and leave both David and Bathsheba to marry and have Solomon. (Note that the child is actually in a far better place - and us with God) But, I would think that David bore this memory for ever, despite being forgiven the sin.
So where am I heading with this. As you can see, the first part of our text can be applied to the process of redemption. It is a little out of context, but in another way, it is completely in context. Passing through the Red Sea, which these verses are alluding to, is that of leaving the world behind, as in Egypt, and moving towards the Promised Land with God leading. Putting things behind us is all part of the redemptive process. However, there is more than just forgetting our old life. There is the question of salvation. Sure, I am stretching the point of the text, but it is all very relevant, and there are a couple of places I want to go today, things learned in our home group, things of God I had never thought about. It all relates to redemption and our relationship with Christ.
So, to the question of salvation, is it just stepping from one life to another? In itself, the answer is yes. But, we also we find in the book of Romans chapter 7:
For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:15-25
Being saved may free us from sin, but we do not suddenly become perfect creatures. As seen here, Paul is lamenting his slide into sin, more than he ever would have liked. It maybe is a cry that each one of us have; some of us far too frequently. Sometimes, it is the things in the past life that hangs on like a bad smell. These things are to be forgotten, put away, the door shut behind them. This time of year is a good time of year to do that forgetting. Our prayer would be that the Holy Spirit helps us to clean out the hidden places, and replace the trash we stored in them with the glorious things of God. However, this is the part that is hard. Cleaning out the bad things, may, or may not, be easy.
We may not have realised that some old habits, friends, shows, music was the trigger for sliding back to the ways of the world. However, it may be very hard, as we can be left with a vacuum. "Lord, clean out the secret hidden places", is a good prayer. "Lord, teach me and fill me with your glorious work and words is not so easy" Why? I don't know about you, but the only way I can fix the vacuum is to get into God's Word, to study, meditate, prayer, listen for the Holy Spirit instructions, and generally live one on one with God. That may be OK during the summer, when football is not there, though the sun, the beach, the outdoors may be tugging us to relax, enjoy ourselves, and exercise is good isn't it? Time with God, is the only way to get that vacuum filled with the things of God. So letting go and forgetting those things of yesterday, last month, or last year is great advice, but, there is a further caveat - you must replace it with something, and that something must be the things of a spiritual nature.
Our text gives us the hint of what is to come. This is what salvation is all about. Heaven, and being with our God, and our saviour Jesus Christ: being in heaven, enjoying - what? What is it that we will be enjoying? 24/7 praise and worship! But, wait there is more. Eternity always will have more, not some shady shifty promises of the salesperson, giving away cheap trash they cannot sell. The more comes though with the salvation message, and how we fill our vacuum.
What is the salvation message? We were saved through the redemptive blood of Christ; that same blood we remembered when taking the cup in remembrance, and we were saved as we reached out our hand, acknowledging our sin, our filth and despair, our total disconnect with God. We were washed clean, and brought across the chasm on the bridge of the cross, through the love of God, who gave His only begotten Son for us, so that we might live. Hallelujah! This is called justification; that is separation from the penalty from sin, by the blood of Christ. We can do nothing to get there, but accept the gift that us offered. But there is more!
If we read 1 Corinthians 1:18 we read an interesting little twist in the verse. Let us read the verse:
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
What is this? But to us who are being saved.? Hang on, I thought that I was saved, as I have just mentioned, and thanks be to God this is true and it cannot be taken away from us. Once saved always saved. But, the Bible does not contradict. So how can this verse be? Is there the same sentiment anywhere else? The answer is yes - read Philippians 2:12.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. There we are again, a twist in the line - work out your own salvation.!
Again, I say, I thought that salvation came freely through the blood of Christ. I know that I cannot work to get salvation. This us where the Catholics get it so wrong, for they believe in doing works to ensure a place in heaven. I know I have a place in heaven, so how can this be?
I have Gary Graham, our home group, and the Holy Spirit to thank for these questions, and the answers. Heaven is an amazing place, and salvation is a marvellous thing that God gives to us. But salvation has three layers or aspects: The first, as mentioned, has 'a past tense or aspect'. This is when we accepted Christ as Saviour and salvation has occurred through justification. It is the justification through the blood of Christ that separates us from the penalty of sin. There is also the 'future tense or aspect' or salvation, also known as glorification. This is where we are totally separated from any sin and occurs when we reach heaven. Both justification and glorification are free to anyone who asks, as the latter will follow the former - 1 John 2:25 states: And this is the promise that He has promised us--eternal life. but interestingly enough, just a few short words later, John writes these words as well in verse 28 And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. All is forgiven, God does not remember our sins (we know this from Isaiah, where our current passage comes from, in chapter 43: 25 "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins".). But, back to the first epistle of John, he writes "and not be ashamed," ashamed of what? We are in heaven are we not, so salvation has given us eternal life? Yes, absolutely. But, that is only part of it. I know I am way off the verses we started with, but this journey is one that leads to heaven, as we read in the second half of the passage I began with: The beast of the field will honour Me, The jackals and the ostriches, Because I give waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My people, My chosen. The beasts of the field will honour God, but we may be ashamed - if we join Isaiah with John, both are about heavenly things.
This leads me to the next part of this sermon - that of the meaning of salvation and the twist as it were we just read and what you may read of in various commentaries as the 'present tense or aspect' of salvation, which is called sanctification. Sanctification is separation from the power of sin, which is what Paul meant when he wrote work out your own salvation¸ and is an ongoing process (Justification has occurred, glorification will occur, and sanctification is occurring in every saint of God). We have the Holy Spirit within us, and as we grow as Christians, we allow the Holy Spirit to chip away and remove from our lives the things that are not of God, and replace them with the things that are of God. However, this is not an inactive activity on our part. The Holy Spirit does not work by osmosis, we need to work at it, and we need to be in communion with God, to enable the Holy Spirit to work within us. As we read in Romans 6 starting at verse19:
I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity, even so now present your members as servants to righteousness unto sanctification ASV (the NKJV has the word holiness). For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. .But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God" Romans 6: 19-22
We become slaves of God, after being saved through justification and hence our work is for Him.
For, if we at the end of the year are going to forget the past, be it our own, which is worthwhile forgetting, apart from those things of God of course, we can forget the past because God has something truly amazing for us, with which the past cannot compare. We will be rejoicing in all things, or, be ashamed. This takes me to what I am borrowing from Gary - I trust my memory does not diminish what was taught by him. I pray the Holy Spirit provides all the words, so you too can grasp this important truth, to enable each one of us to know what we may need in 2011.
Turn in your Bible to Matthew 25:
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. "Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. "Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, "but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. "But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. "And at midnight a cry was heard: `Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' "Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. "And the foolish said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' "But the wise answered, saying, `No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' "And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, `Lord, Lord, open to us!' "But he answered and said, `Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming." Matthew 25:1-13
Note the opening verse - Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to. and so forth. These verses are talking of being in heaven. There are ten virgins all in heaven, all who have received salvation, all awaiting the bridegroom. They all start with oil, oil in Scripture always referring to the Holy Spirit. We as Christians are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, as we read in 1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? If they have the Holy Spirit within, and the initial oils, they have received salvation, as previously mentioned, that of justification. But what have they done towards sanctification? James tells us, in chapter two: 8 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
We all start of with the same amount of oil in our lamps. However, the wise virgins took oil in their vessels for their lamps. They had to do something, to have more oil. Let us remember the earlier verse I noted had a twist - work out your own salvation. Therefore, as seen in the James verse God expects us to do something about our salvation. There are a number of biblical passages that tell us this, from the story of the talents, to that of gifts. God has given us a job, a role, a part to play. We are to ensure that we have enough oil. We are to ensure that our lamps stay alight. Isaiah is a great place to be even in this context. Isaiah chapter 60 starting verse one says:
Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. "Lift up your eyes all around, and see: They all gather together, they come to you; Your sons shall come from afar, And your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see and become radiant, And your heart shall swell with joy; Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you. The multitude of camels shall cover your land, The dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; All those from Sheba shall come; They shall bring gold and incense, And they shall proclaim the praises of the LORD. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together to you, The rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; They shall ascend with acceptance on My altar, And I will glorify the house of My glory. Isaiah 60: 1-8
Arise shine! We must have oil to ensure our lamp shines brightly. What happens when we shine for Christ? For Isaiah, talking of Israel, the Gentiles, the kings, sons and daughters will come to the light of God, and God will glorify His house of His glory.
What then of the foolish virgins. They are in the Kingdom of heaven, they have no oil. They stand before the throne, and their works are tested. No gold, silver or precious stones here (1 Corinthians 3:11). So they miss out on one of the most amazing parts of heaven that Scripture has let us into: those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. They were not at the banquet to celebrate the marriage of the Lamb. They miss out. Note that they are not thrown out into outer darkness as will those who pretend salvation, but have never received it at all. Imagine that, being so close, yet so far.
God is a just God, and through His justice, he knows our very being. He knows that some need a stick, most need a carrot. He offers a series of rewards in heaven, including various crowns, but, to be sure we know, God writes time and time again to us about the need to work for Him, to study his Word, to be in constant communion with Him, in prayer and meditation, day and night, building up a relationship that will just continue to new heights in heaven. Otherwise, God says, you will miss out on some of the best bits of heaven.
Do I know this just because it was taught at Bible study? No, the more and more I read God's Word, the more and more I can see that what occurs here on earth, will change my ultimate position in heaven. If I am proud of my theological achievements here on earth, I will discover that I really knew nothing once I reach heaven. If I lack holiness and meekness here on earth, I will have a place in heaven where I may learn both. 2 Corinthians 9:6 says:
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 1 Corinthians 9:6-19
Luke 19 tells us in the story of the Master and the servants, when they came to him after he had been away.
"Then came the first, saying, `Master, your mina has earned ten minas.' "And he said to him, `Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.' "And the second came, saying, `Master, your mina has earned five minas.' "Likewise he said to him, `You also be over five cities.' Luke 19: 16-19.
Finally in this section, Hebrews 11:7 tells us: "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." There are rewards, but for some Christians there are losses, based upon what he or she does with their faith and in their relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father. I reiterate the Biblical principles of works - holy, humbly, with meekness, prayer, and led by the Holy Spirit according to God's will. Prayer is only answered if it is God's will. We should never pray outside of this.
I will finish today's message with a short inclusion on the Lord's Prayer. This prayer is given twice in the gospels as a way to pray. I confess I rarely prayed this prayer, but I am slowly learning it.
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
"But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Here is our New Years resolution. Here is where we need to head and what we need to heed. You will note that some of what has already been said is here, and more.
We look to our Father in heaven. As Isaiah looked for the water in the desert, we know a more intimate picture, our Father, there, waiting for us. It makes us look heavenward. Hallowed be thy name, or, may your name be Holy. We reverence our Father. God is way above us, always to be feared, but also to love and adore, to praise and call "Abba". This is the starting point - ensure that our relationship with God is as Father and son, as we are the adopted sons of God (Romans 8:14-18). A relationship is needed if we intend to serve Him as we should, so in remembering our Father, the Holy One in heaven, we can then turn our thoughts to the future.
Your Kingdom come - we want His kingdom to be here. We want to be there in that Kingdom. However, we also want to sure that when that day arrives we are not ashamed. So the next point is critical - Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. This is beyond looking for rewards, for that is not the focus, rather the carrot to help us focus on what we really need - God's will being done here, by all. How? We can start with ourselves, how well are we doing God's will? How well are we spreading the gospel so others know of God's will? Sure, it won't be particularly spectacular until He comes, but, we in our own hearts can prepare by following His will.
Give us this day our daily bread - two requests in one! We need food and nourishment, and God provides all the needs of our physical and spiritual body, otherwise how can we know and do God's will. Looking heavenward to God our Father, we receive the Bread of Life. But one cannot nourish a sinful body, the physical needs the doctor, the spiritual needs forgiveness, but look, here again is another caveat, God will forgive us, as much as we forgive others. There are a couple of parables that highlight this, but alas our time is well and truly down to the last grains of sand.
And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Does God lead people into temptation? No, that is out of context for the prayer. The Bible does not contradict itself and the message is spelt out clearly in James 1:13
Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. James 1:13, 14
The Bible tells us that temptations will abound, and we are to resist. Therefore, this is not a prayer about God leading us into temptation, but that God enables us to resist when temptation is afoot, therefore, it is talking strength to stand up to trials that will test, and refine us. And yes, it is a plea to be delivered from that which we may be too weak for, as David prayed in Psalm 141:4: Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, To practice wicked works With men who work iniquity; And do not let me eat of their delicacies. The next line reinforces our prayer - deliver us from the evil one. We know from the book of Job that God has control over what the devil can do. The final part of the line confirms it, the kingdom, power and glory belongs to God forever. John Wesley paraphrases this as: O thou that helpest our infirmities, suffer us not to enter into temptation; to be overcome or suffer loss thereby; but make a way for us to escape, so that we may be more than conquerors, through thy love, over sin and all the consequences of it. What a thought for us this day! The prayer ends with a note of caution, once again reiterating that forgiveness is a two way street. We too must forgive in our hearts, anyone that seems to, may have, or actually does wrong us. So often though, the person who is seemingly at fault is oblivious, thus, the forgiveness is in your heart, not out in the open, it is surrender to God, to wipe resentment, offence, and bitterness from our heart, so when the Kingdom comes we are not ashamed.
To conclude, heaven awaits. It may happen soon, or very soon. The thing most sure is that Jesus will return and take us home. Let us put aside the things of the past, or in context of the text, let us also recognise that all that has gone before is just a shadow of the things to come. Let us move forward, rejoicing in the Saviour that enables all things righteous to be possible. Let us establish the relationship with the Father, as true sons, knowing His will, doing His will, and walking on his paths, using the talents given to us. Let us be "This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise."
 Note, this parable has many layers, and in this example, I am using it to illustrate that without works, your faith is not going to get you the rewards that God offers us. My interpretation is this - they had oil, therefore they had the Holy Spirit that only comes through salvation. Their faith did not produce works. I believe that salvation is eternal, however I also know that 1 Corinthians 3:15 states: If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. I do not profess to understand at all fully, how this occurs - I know this does not pertain to purgatory (as the RC's erroneously teach). I do know that the foolish virgins loose some thing they could have had by storing up oil for the coming of the bridegroom. 2 Peter 1:8 states "For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
 Wesley's Notes on the Bible published on-line by BibleHub at https://biblehub.com/commentaries/wes/matthew/6.htm (Accessed 10 January 2021)