Sermon Notes By Pastor Arthur H. Coleman Sr. For Sunday March 2, 2014
Text: Psa. 127:1 "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."
Eccl.3:14 "I know that, whatsoever God doeth , it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it : and God doeth it, that men should fear before him."
Isaiah 55:6-9 “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (vs7) Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (vs8) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. (vs9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
St. John 15:4-5 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (vs5) I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
The Pulpit Commentary Volumes 8 &9 , Pages 62-63 &227-228 , comments on Psa.127:1 and Eccl. 3:14."UNBLESSED LABOUR 1. We can do nothing at all without the Divine co-operation. We constantly depend on the presence of his material, on the action of his laws, on the activity of the forces he keeps in play. We all recognize this in agriculture; that it is vain for the husbandman to sow his seed, unless God sends his rain and wind and sunshine ect. It is also true of our other occupations. The sailor and the builder depend on the constancy and regularity of Divine laws and forces. We are always assuming their existence, though we may think nothing of their Author. 2. We can effect nothing without divine permission. If God means that the guilty city shall fall, the watchman will wake and the soldier will fight in vain. If God intends to humble a man whose pride needs to be brought down, his utmost exertions in his trade or in his profession will not bring success. Many a man has found, as he at first thought to his cost, but afterwards knew to his advantage, that when God's wise and faithful providence is against his prosperity, he wakes early and works hard in vain. But how much more is blessed is he in a corrective adversity, than he would be in a hardened prosperity! We do well to ask that God's blessing may wait upon and crown all our activities; we do well, also; to remember that it may happen that, for our own sake, God will not grant us our desire in the form of temporal success. 3. We find no blessedness in a prosperity which is not hallowed by devotion. It is a vain thing for a man to strive hard and to attain the immediate object of his pursuit , if he is not making his life a life of holy service. Even if the bread he eats is not "bread of sorrows" in the sense that it is scanty, yet it will be such in the sense that it yields no abiding joy; for it is abundantly clear that a life of even prosperous labour , apart from the service and without the friendship of God, selfish and earthbound, is a life of dissatisfaction and practical defeat. The springs of pure and lasting joy do not rise on that lower ground."
A comment on Eccl.3:14 says "Behind man's free action and volition (the act of willing) stands the will of God, which orders events with a view to eternity, and that man can alter nothing of the providential arrangement. We cannot hasten or retard God's designs; we cannot add to or curtail his plans. There is a moral purpose in this disposal of events. Men feel this uniformity and unchangeableness in the working of Providence, and thence learn to cherish a reverential awe for the righteous government of which they are the subjects."