(Edited and Abridged from “John Ploughman’s Talk”)

All men praise patience, but few enough can practise it; it is a medicine which is good for all diseases, and therefore every old woman recommends it: but it is not every garden that grows the herbs to make it with. When one’s flesh and bones are full of aches and pains, it is as natural for us to murmur; but nature should not be the rule with Christians, or what is their religion worth? We expect more fruit from an apple tree than from a thorn, and we have a right to do so. Thus, the disciples of a patient Saviour should be patient themselves.

Impatient people water their miseries and hoe up their comforts; sorrows are visitors that come without invitation, but complaining minds send a wagon to bring their troubles home in. They think every other man’s burden to be light and their own feathers to be heavy as lead. Yet, if truth were known, it is their fancy rather than their fate which makes things go so hard with them.

To be poor is not always pleasant, but worse things than that happen at sea. Poverty is no shame but being discontented with it is. In some things, the poor are better off than the rich; for if a poor man has to seek meat for his stomach, he is more likely to get what he is after than a rich man who seeks a stomach for his meat. A poor man’s table is soon spread, and his labour spares him buying sauce. The best doctors are Dr Diet, Dr Quiet and Dr Merryman, and many a godly ploughman has all these gentlemen to wait upon him. Plenty makes dainty, but hunger finds no fault with the cook. Hard work brings health, and an ounce of health is worth a sack of diamonds. It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy that makes happiness. It is not the quantity of goods, but the blessing of God on what we have that makes us truly rich. “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.” (Prov. 15:17) A little wood will heat my little oven; why, then, should I murmur because the whole forest is not mine?

When troubles come, it is of no use to fly in the face of God by hard thoughts of providence; that is kicking against the pricks and hurting your feet. The trees blow in the wind, and so must we. Every time the sheep bleats it loses a mouthful, and every time we complain, we miss a blessing. Grumbling is a bad trade, and yields no profit, but patience has a golden hand. Our evils will soon be over. After rain comes clear shining; every winter turns to spring; every night breaks into morning. If one door be shut, God will open another. There is a bright side to all things, and a good God everywhere. Somewhere or other in the worst flood of trouble, there always is a spot of contentment to get its foot on, and if there were not, it would learn to swim.

Friends, let us take to patience and water gruel, rather than catch the miserables and give others the disease by wickedly finding fault with God. The best remedy to affliction is submitting to providence. What can’t be cured must be endured. If we cannot get bacon, let us bless God that there are still cabbages in the garden. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28) Whatever falls from the skies is, sooner or later, good for the land: whatever comes to us from God is worth having, even though I be a rod. We cannot by nature like trouble any more than a mouse can fall in love with a cat, and yet Paul by grace came to glory in tribulations also. Losses and crosses are heavy to bear, but when our hearts are right with God, it is wonderful how easy the yoke becomes. We must needs go to glory by the way of the Weeping Cross; and as we were never promised that we should ride to heaven in a feather bed, we must not be disappointed when we see the road to be rough, as our fathers found it before us. All well’s that ends well; and therefore, let us plough the heaviest soil with our eye on the sheaves of harvest, and learn to sing at our labour while others murmur.

Editor’s Note: “Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. (James. 5:8) – Church Theme 2021

Summary of Message Preached by Bro Samuel Joseph at Ladies Retreat 2020
Summary by Tammy Ho

Jude is moving to our response to this whole situation and the reality of apostasy. Verse 16 is the summary of the description of the enemies coming into the church. Vs 17-19 Jude begins with an encouragement.

1. Enemies (vs 16): The habit of murmuring is a tendency natural to our fallen nature, but it is dangerous and destructive. It comes from a lack of contentment and is the beginning of a rebellion against God. Thus, to murmur and complain is a dangerous sign.

Consider how the devil was not contented with his position and thus rebelled against God (Isaiah 14:12). Discontentment is oftentimes the stepping stone of outright and outward rebellion. It is a grievous sin against God and yet it is so common in churches and in us today. There can be a legitimate complaint, but there are biblical ways of dealing with it. God’s Word in Matthew 18:15 says that when a brother has sinned against us, go and tell him what he has done, so that he can repent. This is the general pattern and practice. But when we complain, we are going against God’s will for us. Murmuring and complaining leads to more rebellion, and thus leads to “walking after their own lusts.” Soon “…Their mouth speaketh great swelling words…” it is no longer just a complaint but an elevation of self. This is the way of the world, and not the way of a Christian. The way of the Christian is to be content, to know his place, to be faithful to his task and not to usurp. He is not to replace Christ but to point others to Him. That is the attitude which is missing in the apostates. These apostates speak to please the crowds, in order to gain advantage. And this is the enemy which we are facing.

2. Encouragement (vs 17-19): The word “remember” here in verse 17 is a remembrance of assurance, and it is meant to encourage us lest we despair because of what is happening. What we are seeing now is not unexpected and it was told to us before by the Apostles and prophets. It is not evidence that God’s plan is failing but being fulfilled. God’s promise still stands. All things are still under God’s sovereign direction. Nothing can destroy the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 19 then draws the links by what was said by the Apostles and prophets and what we are seeing now. “These be they who separate themselves,” They come out and leave, they separate themselves. Christians have a biblical duty of practicing separation (2 Cor 6:14), from sin and unbelief as well as from those within the church, who walk disorderly and who refuse to repent. On the other hand, the apostates who separate aim to be their own authority apart from the church. They do not have the Spirit of Christ, and thus have no part of Christ.

This message is to awaken us so that we will not be complacent. At the same time, this message is to encourage us, so that we do not give in to despair, but continue to earnestly contend for the faith. God is sovereign and His true church will prevail but it does not absolve us of our responsibility. God has entrusted His truth and this duty to us. Let us not be complacent of our own hearts and of the state of our church, and the errors that we see around us.