The activity and diligence of Christ – a pattern for all believers to imitate. – John Flavel.
The activity and diligence of Christ in finishing the work of God which was committed to him, was a pattern for all believers to imitate. It is said of him, Acts 10:38, “He went about doing good.” O what a great and glorious work did Christ finish in a little time! A work to be celebrated to all eternity by the praises of the redeemed. Six things were very remarkable in the diligence of Christ about his Father’s work.
First, That his heart was intently set upon it, Ps 40:8. “Thy law is in the midst of my heart,” or bowels.
Secondly, That he never fainted under the many great discouragements he frequently met withal in that work, Isa 42:4. “He shall not fail, nor be discouraged.”
Thirdly, That the shortness of his time provoked him to the greatest diligence, John 9:4. “I must work the work of him that “sent me, while it is day, for the night cometh, when no man “can work.”
Fourthly, Nothing more displeased him than when he met with dissuasions and discouragements in his work; upon that account it was that he gave Peter so sharp a check, Mat 8:33, “Get thee behind me, Satan.”
Sixthly, Nothing rejoiced his soul more, than the prosperity and success of his work, Luke 10:20,21. When the disciples made the report of the success of their ministry, it is said, “In that hour “Jesus rejoiced in Spirit.” And O what a triumphant shout was that upon the cross at the accomplishment of his work, John 19:30. It is finished!
Now, Christians, eye your parent, look unto Jesus; trifle not away your lives in vanity. Christ was diligent, be not you slothful. And to encourage you in your imitation of Christ in labour and diligence, consider,
First, How great an honour God puts upon you in employing you for his service: every vessel of service is vessel of honour, 2 Timo 2:21. The apostle was very ambitious of that honour, Rom 15:20. It was the glory of Eliakim to be fastened as a nail in a sure place, and to have many people hang upon him, Isa 22:33.
Secondly, Your diligence in the work of God will be your great security in the hour of temptation; for “the Lord is with you “while you are with him.” 2Chron 15:2. The schoolmen put the question, How the saints in heaven became impeccable? and resolve it thus, that they are therefore freed from sin, because they are continually employed and swallowed up in the blessed visions of God.
Thirdly, Diligence in the work of God is excellent help the improvement of grace. For, though gracious habits are not acquired, yet they are greatly improved by frequent acts; “To “him that hath shall be given,” Matt 25:29. It is a good note of Luther, “Faith improves by obedience.”
Fourthly, Diligence in the work of God is the direct way to the assurance of the love of God, 2 Pet 15:10. This path leads you into a heaven upon earth.
Fifthly, Diligence in obedience is a great security against backsliding: small remissions in duty, and little neglects, increase by degrees unto great apostasies, you may see how that disease is bred by the method prescribed for its cure, Rev 2:5. “Do thy first works.”
Sixthly, In a word, laborious diligence, in the day of life, will be your singular comfort when the night of death overtakes you, 2Pet 1:11, 2 Kings 20:3.