Luke 11* The disciples taught to pray. (1-4) Christ encourages beingearnest in prayer. (5-13) Christ casts out a devil, Theblasphemy of the Pharisees. (14-26) True happiness. (27,28)Christ reproves the Jews. (29-36) He reproves the Pharisees.(37-54)1-4 "Lord, teach us to pray," is a good prayer, and a veryneedful one, for Jesus Christ only can teach us, by his word andSpirit, how to pray. Lord, teach me what it is to pray; Lord,stir up and quicken me to the duty; Lord, direct me what to prayfor; teach me what I should say. Christ taught them a prayer,much the same that he had given before in his sermon upon themount. There are some differences in the words of the Lord'sprayer in Matthew and in Luke, but they are of no moment. Let usin our requests, both for others and for ourselves, come to ourheavenly Father, confiding in his power and goodness. 5-13 Christ encourages fervency and constancy in prayer. Wemust come for what we need, as a man does to his neighbour orfriend, who is kind to him. We must come for bread; for thatwhich is needful. If God does not answer our prayers speedily,yet he will in due time, if we continue to pray. Observe what topray for; we must ask for the Holy Spirit, not only as necessaryin order to our praying well, but as all spiritual blessings areincluded in that one. For by the influences of the Holy Spiritwe are brought to know God and ourselves, to repent, believe in,and love Christ, and so are made comfortable in this world, andmeet for happiness in the next. All these blessings our heavenlyFather is more ready to bestow on every one that asks for them,than an indulgent parent is to give food to a hungry child. Andthis is the advantage of the prayer of faith, that it quiets andestablishes the heart in God. 14-26 Christ's thus casting out the devils, was really thedestroying of their power. The heart of every unconverted sinneris the devil's palace, where he dwells, and where he rules.There is a kind of peace in the heart of an unconverted soul,while the devil, as a strong man armed, keeps it. The sinner issecure, has no doubt concerning the goodness of his state, norany dread of the judgment to come. But observe the wonderfulchange made in conversion. The conversion of a soul to God, isChrist's victory over the devil and his power in that soul,restoring the soul to its liberty, and recovering his owninterest in it and power over it. All the endowments of mind ofbody are now employed for Christ. Here is the condition of ahypocrite. The house is swept from common sins, by a forcedconfession, as Pharaoh's; by a feigned contrition, as Ahab's; orby a partial reformation, as Herod's. The house is swept, but itis not washed; the heart is not made holy. Sweeping takes offonly the loose dirt, while the sin that besets the sinner, thebeloved sin, is untouched. The house is garnished with commongifts and graces. It is not furnished with any true grace; it isall paint and varnish, not real nor lasting. It was never givenup to Christ, nor dwelt in by the Spirit. Let us take heed ofresting in that which a man may have, and yet come short ofheaven. The wicked spirits enter in without any difficulty; theyare welcomed, and they dwell there; there they work, there theyrule. From such an awful state let all earnestly pray to bedelivered. 27,28 While the scribes and Pharisees despised and blasphemedthe discourses of our Lord Jesus, this good woman admired them,and the wisdom and power with which he spake. Christ led thewoman to a higher consideration. Though it is a great privilegeto hear the word of God, yet those only are truly blessed, thatis, blessed of the Lord, that hear it, keep it in memory, andkeep to it as their way and rule. 29-36 Christ promised that there should be one sign more given,even the sign of Jonah the prophet; which in Matthew isexplained, as meaning the resurrection of Christ; and he warnedthem to improve this sign. But though Christ himself were theconstant preacher in any congregation, and worked miracles dailyamong them, yet unless his grace humbled their hearts, theywould not profit by his word. Let us not desire more evidenceand fuller teaching than the Lord is pleased to afford us. Weshould pray without ceasing that our hearts and understandingsmay be opened, that we may profit by the light we enjoy. Andespecially take heed that the light which is in us be notdarkness; for if our leading principles be wrong, our judgmentand practice must become more so. 37-54 We should all look to our hearts, that they may becleansed and new-created; and while we attend to the greatthings of the law and of the gospel, we must not neglect thesmallest matter God has appointed. When any wait to catchsomething out of our mouths, that they may insnare us, O Lord,give us thy prudence and thy patience, and disappoint their evilpurposes. Furnish us with such meekness and patience that we mayglory in reproaches, for Christ's sake, and that thy Holy Spiritmay rest upon us.
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