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Friday, November 2, 2018

HIS ETERNAL SONSHIP

HIS ETERNAL SONSHIP 


"Jesus . . . the son of Adam, the son of God" Luke 3:23, 38


While there are supposed to be difficulties in reconciling the TWO GENEALOGICAL TABLES OF MATTHEW AND LUKE, it is obvious that Mary and Joseph came of the same stock, and that both were of the house of David, and of the seed of Abraham. As a matter of fact there are no difficulties—or should not be. In Matthew we have THE LEGAL BIRTH BOOK OF JESUS AS THE ADOPTED SON OF JOSEPH. In Luke we have HIS ACTUAL GENEALOGY THROUGH HIS MOTHER. The peculiar value of Luke's is that in it he passes back through this house and seed to the human origin in Adam. The last named in his table is Adam, and through the successions Jesus is the SON OF ADAM. But Adam is here called the SON OF GOD, and so in this way also Jesus is the SON OF GOD. This is a matter of utmost importance in the light it throws upon human relationship to God.
Our Lord was “THE” SON OF GOD in a separate and lonely sense, but as the Son of Mary, a child of the human race, He was also “A” SON OF GOD. That then is the deepest fact of all human life, and it is when the fact is realized that the appalling tragedy of human life is also realized. By sin man is alienated from his birthright, cut off from God, degraded and lost. Jesus of Nazareth, Child of Mary, and ultimately Son of Adam and Son of God, was sinless in His human nature, and so lived in His birthright, in fellowship with God, full of grace and truth. Herein we find THE ELEMENT WHICH MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR HIM TO ACT WITH GOD FOR MEN; as the other, that of HIS ETERNAL SONSHIP, enabled Him to act WITH MEN for God, and as God.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

WORKING TOGETHER WITH HIM

WORKING TOGETHER WITH HIM 


"The manna ceased" Josh. 5:12


The manna had been God's supernatural provision for the needs of His people during the time of their journeying’s in a wilderness where cultivation of the soil was impossible. They were now in a land already cultivated, and capable of cultivation. They were now fed with the corn of the land, and their future supply would depend upon their own labor. They would be as surely fed by God in the land as they had been in the wilderness; but they would now be responsible for co-operation with Him in the labor of their own hands. This has always been so. For the needs of His people, God always provides. When they are in such circumstances, under His direction, as THEY ARE UNABLE TO PROVIDE FOR THEMSELVES, HE CARES FOR THEM WITHOUT ANY ACTION ON THEIR PART. When it is possible for them TO ACT AND TO WORK, He provides for them through that ACTIVITY. God never employs supernatural methods of supplying needs which can, be met by natural means. In other words, He puts no premium upon laziness by His provisions for men. If for any reason, within the compass of His government of our lives, we are unable by our own effort to obtain what is necessary for our life and service, we may count upon Him to provide for us. When the hour comes in which that inability no longer exists—when we are able by thought and toil to secure necessary things—He demands that we use the strength He has provided, and in such use, He works together with us (2 Cor. 6:1). The manna always ceases when by industry we are able to produce bread.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

MARIOLATRY AND TRUE HONOR

MARIOLATRY AND TRUE HONOR 


"Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee" Luke 1:28


These were the words which Gabriel employed when, sent from God, he came to Nazareth, to tell Mary the awful and tremendous secret of the part she was chosen to take in the Divine activity of human redemption. Thus the angel greeted her in the terms of respect, born of his apprehension of the greatness of the sacred sorrows and joys which were to be her lot. Moreover, his words reveal the fact of her character and fitness for the high honor; she was a woman "endued with grace," and one with whom the Lord was in COMMUNION.
The Christian Church generally has, in the process of time, fallen into two attitudes toward the Virgin Mother, one of which is utterly wrong, while the other is mistaken.
  1. The first is that of the Roman Church, which has placed her between humanity and the Son of God. This is IDOLATRY, and its effect has been disastrous. She is not the Advocate and Mediator between God and man, that One is the Man Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). Mary was “highly favored” (Luke 1:28). The phrase highly favored comes from a single Greek word, which essentially means “much grace.” Mary received God’s grace just as we do for our work He has for us.
  2. The second is that of Protestantism, which, in a warranted re-bound from Mariolatry, has forgotten to hold the mother of our Lord in the esteem which is due to her.
Mary was a member of the sinning race, and needed and shared in the redemption which was provided by her Son; but the HONOR conferred on her was of the HIGHEST, and our thoughts of her, and our language concerning her, should at least not lack the dignity and respect manifested in the words of Gabriel. Hers was the crown and glory of all Motherhood, and we should forever think and speak of her reverently.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

SANCTIFICATION BRINGS FORTH WONDERS

SANCTIFICATION BRINGS FORTH WONDERS 


"Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow Jehovah will do wonders among you” Josh. 3:5


This was the command which indicated the conditions upon which God agreed with His people to lead them in. Thus their first movement forward under Joshua was of such a nature as to impress them as the chosen people with THE TRUTH OF THEIR POSITIVE RELATION TO GOD. There was nothing in this first advance calculated to give them any cause for personal glorying. They came on to the actual soil of Canaan, not by deflecting the course of the intervening river or by bridging it, but by DIVINE INTERVENTION. His might was exercised as He laid arrest upon the rushing river, and so made a highway for His people to the other side. But His power operated when they fulfilled these conditions. The wonders of God are performed for His people when they SANCTIFY THEMSELVES that is when, so far as they have light, they walk in it. We play according to His rule book and when you know what the rule is and obey Him, wonders happen. The call to SANCTIFICATION, as an act on the part of the people of God, is a call to separation from everything which they know He disapproves, and of dedication to Him completely, in mind and heart and will. The attitude is more than activity. That is to say, in proportion as in our deepest life we YIELD TO HIS WILL, first knowing what His will is, we place ourselves in line with His work. The application is PERSONAL AND SOCIAL. It is true of the individual and of the Church, that all our progress is the result of the putting forth of His power; but it is equally true that HE WORKS WHEN THERE IS RESPONSE TO HIS CALL, and WHEN OUR SANCTIFICATION TO HIM IS UNQUESTIONED AND COMPLETE, for there are many pretenders out there (Matt. 7:21-22). Clean up your act if you need wonders in your life.

Monday, October 29, 2018

DIVINE ENERGY IN ORDER TO HEAR

DIVINE ENERGY IN ORDER TO HEAR 


"And He said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak with thee" Ezek. 2:1


After the vision in Ch. 1 come the voice; and the first command of the voice was that the man, who, prostrated by the glory of the vision, lay upon his face, should stand upon his feet, and hear the words of Jehovah. Let us consider this carefully. 1st came the vision, and therefore, whatever was to be said would come to this man with the authority of all that was revealed in that vision. There is no doubt that through all his ministry, whether Ezekiel listened to the voice, or spoke the messages entrusted to him, he did so in the consciousness of the glory of Jehovah as he had seen it in those visions. But when that vision had been seen, and the soul had responded in the act of worship which expressed itself in prostration, there was something more to be done. That prostrate soul was called to a new attitude, for which it had been prepared by the vision and the prostration. It was that of STANDING ERECT BEFORE GOD in order that face to face he might receive the word of God. In order to the delivery of His message God requires more than the worship which at its highest consists of the cessation of activity. He needs a man ERECT, in the attitude of alertness and attention, READY FOR ACTION. Remember this was not a call to stand erect to utter the word of Jehovah but to hear it. And yet more carefully observe what follows: "The Spirit entered into me . . . and set me upon my feet." This is the DIVINE ENERGY, enabling a man to come to the height of his manhood, and so to find readiness to hear the word of Jehovah. Those of us who are called to prophetic ministry might with profit have these words engraved before our eyes in the places of preparation for our work. Here are words to hang on study walls.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

HEARING AND DOING THE WORD

HEARING AND DOING THE WORD 


"Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only" James 1:22


This letter of James is pre-eminently ETHICAL, PRACTICAL, and FORCEFUL. In it there are more references to, sayings in the Sermon on the Mount than in all the other letters of the New Testament. All this is of great interest when we accept the view, which is almost beyond dispute, that the man who wrote the letter was a BROTHER of the Lord. He had LIVED WITH JESUS in all the early years in Nazareth. While it would seem that he did not join himself outwardly to the disciples till after the Resurrection, there are evidences that in the company of Mary, these brethren were much with Jesus in the central period of His ministry. All this would suggest that, looking back, and thinking of all those years, this man was impressed with the harmony there had always been in the Lord, BETWEEN HIS TEACHING AND HIS LIFE. Thus he argued, and rightly, that a faith which was not expressed in DEEDS was of no value at all. This does not mean that he was in any way ignorant of the deep spiritual mysteries of Christian life. If in these words he urges us to be DOERS OF THE WORD, we must remember that the Word he refers to is that which he has just described as "the inborn word" (vs. 21, marg.). He was referring, not merely to any written Word, nor to his Lord as the Word incarnate alone; but to the Word of God RECEIVED INTO THE SOUL THROUGH THE WRITTEN WORD, and by the Word incarnate. That Word is only of real value as it is OBEYED, as what it commands is done. There is no profit, but rather the reverse, in HEARING, if there be no DOING.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

BE CAREFUL WHO YOU FELLOWSHIP WITH

BE CAREFUL WHO YOU FELLOWSHIP WITH 


"Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone" Hosea 4:17


In the last 11 chapters of this book we have carefully edited notes, rather than verbatim reports of the prophetic utterances. These may be divided into three sections. The first (4:1-6:3) described the pollution of the nation of Israel, and dealt with its cause. The cause was that of the pollution of the priests; which issued in the pollution of the whole nation (the stream never rises above its source). In the course of his prophesying to Israel, Hosea's mind turned to Judah, and he interpolated a message to the southern nation to beware of any complicity with Israel. This is the meaning of the words we have stressed. Ephraim was at the time the dominant tribe in Israel, and that accounts for the prophet's constant references to it (37 times the name occurs). This word has often been interpreted as constituting a sentence on Ephraim, as though Jehovah declared that He, abandoned the nation altogether. But that were to CONTRADICT ALL THE TEACHING OF THE PROPHET. It was rather a solemn word to Judah, warning her against any POLITICAL ALLIANCE WITH ISRAEL. The distinction is revealing. God does not abandon His people wholly, even when they are unfaithful to Him, BUT THROUGH DISCIPLINE AND TROUBLING BRINGS THEM BACK TO HIMSELF. Nevertheless, those who are loyal to Him must stand aloof from the disloyal; they cannot have fellowship (koinonia) with those who are joined to idols. We are not to judge others (Matt 7:1) but we certainly are to judge who we fellowship with (vs. 17-21). To the Christian Church the word of the apostle of love involves this, as indeed all his letter shows. We are thinking of that final injunction of this first epistle (1 John 5:21), "Little children, guard yourselves from idols."