NO MAN CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS, MATT. vi. 24
Consider first, this great principle of Christian morality, laid down by our Lord in the gospel, no man can serve two masters; by which he gives us to understand, that there is no such thing as serving him and saving our souls, if at the same time we are serving the world, the flesh, or the devil. For these are enemies to God, and claim a service of us which our great master absolutely disallows; so that we cannot please them, without displeasing him; nor be friends to them, without being enemies to him. Christians, we have all manner of obligations to serve our God. He is our only true master; he is our first beginning, and our last end; he is our creator, and our redeemer; infinitely good in himself and infinitely good to us. He is the source of our very being, and of all our good: we came into the world for nothing else but to serve him: to his service we were solemnly dedicated, when we were first made Christians: the serving him is to make us happy both in time and eternity. But what pretensions can the world, the flesh, or the devil, have to our service? Or what obligations have we to them? They are all of them mortal enemies to our true welfare, and to the eternal salvation of our souls; if we serve them, they will make us miserable for ever. O let us then never be so wretched, so mad, so wicked, as to put them in competition with God, or to withdraw any part of our service from our God, (to whom it is all due,) to bestow it upon these traitors and rebels, who are enemies to all that is good.
Consider 2ndly, the particular application which our Lord makes of this principle, to warn us against the love and service of mammon, that is of worldly riches, of filthy lucre, of money, and of all the other perishable goods, as we call them, of this deluded and deluding world: you cannot serve, said he, both God and mammon. No man has any inclination to serve the devil, for his own sake, or out of any love that he can have for this filthy monster; but this wicked enemy makes use of the mammon of the world, and of the allurements of the flesh, as baits, to draw poor unthinking souls to him, and to engage them in his slavery for the sake of these perishable toys, which he points out to them as if they were solid goods, so as to fix their affections upon them, to the prejudice of the love and service of their maker. Therefore both here and in many other places of Holy Writ, we are warned against these baits of Satan, and especially against the love and service of this mammon of iniquity, as inconsistent with the love and service of God, and destructive of the salvation of our souls; because ’tis setting up an idol in opposition to the living God; and loving and serving the creature, instead of the creator, who is blessed for evermore. Dear Lord, preserve us from being ever guilty of any such treason.
Consider 3rdly, that as we cannot serve both God and mammon, so we cannot serve both God and pleasure; we cannot serve both God and pride; we cannot serve both God and our impure affections, or our unhappy self-love, which is the source of all our evils. And so in general, with regard to everything else – the love of which takes us off from the love and service of the living God – it always holds good, that we cannot serve both the creator and the creature. Our God is a jealous lover; he will allow of no love but what is quite regular and orderly, and kept in subjection to the love of him. He declares against a divided heart; Osea x. 2, ‘Their heart is divided,’ said he, ‘now they shall perish.’ He claims the whole heart as his own due. He will allow of no rival there. He expects to reign there without a partner. See, my soul, upon what conditions God will accept of thee. Thou must be wholly his without reserve, or he will not receive thee. In the offering thou makest of thyself to his divine service, thou must take care not to keep back, by fraud, any part, like Ananias and Saphira, Acts v., lest thou fall under the like judgment that they did.
Conclude to admit of no other master of thy heart and affection but the God that made thy heart for himself, and all things else for thee. None but he can fill thy heart: all other things are just nothing at all when compared with him. Fear him alone: love him alone: give thy whole self to him alone: thus shalt thou be wholly his and he holly thine, for all eternity.