25/03/2008

Sermon God no respecter of persons


Acts 10:34 Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.
The observation here made by Peter, and so appropriate to the occasion on which it was uttered, frequently occurs in the divine word; and as the repetition of it shows its importance, so it calls for your diligent attention, whilst I show
1. What is implied in it; and, 2. In what particular instances the truth of it appears.
1. I am to show what is implied in this declaration, God is no respecter of persons.
1. It cannot imply that God has no regard to one person more than another, for this is contrary to scripture experience and observation.
2. Neither doth it imply that where persons' character and conduct are precisely the same God's conduct to them is always so.
3. The meaning is that God does not on any external account respect the persons of men.

I now proceed -
2. To point out some instances wherein the truth of this general proposition appears, that God is nor respecter of persons.
It does so
1. In his eternal choice for a certain number of the fallen race of mankind to grace here and glory hereafter,to holiness in this world and happiness in the next.
2. In the external privileges of the gospel afforded to one nation or people and denied to another possessed of the same merit and likely to make equal if not greater improvement.
3. In the distribution of spiritual gifts.
4. In our effectual calling.
5. In God's providential government of the world success does not always attend the most probable means or the most diligent endeavours. The race is not to the swift (Ecc 9:11)
6. This will appear to the conviction of all the world in the judgement of the great day; for God will then, without respect of persons, judge according to every man's work.

From this important subject we naturally draw the following reflections:
1. This should afford encouragement to the vilest sinners who are made sensible of the evil of their ways, and disposed to return to God. With him there is no respect of persons. As works of righteousness cannot recommend to his favour, so neither can works of wickedness exclude from
it, when the soul is deeply humbled under a sense of them, and sincerely inclined to forsake them. "Such," says the Apostle, "were some of you ; but ye are washed; but ye are sanctified; but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
2. Let saints ascribe all that they have, or hope to have, their present comfort and future happiness, to the free and distinguishing grace of God. We did nothing to deserve salvation, nor was there any thing in us that could engage God to bestow it. Say, then, with the Psalmist, "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy and for thy truth's sake."
3. Let us imitate the impartiality of God, not giving undue preference to one above another; neither flattering the rich, nor despising the poor. " Let me not," says Elihu, " accept any man's person;" that is, be so dazzled by his outward appearance as to overlook his moral character; for this, as Solomon tells us, is not good.

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