Thursday, January 31, 2013



2 Cor. 12:4 “How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”

2 Cor. 12:2  “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.”

Luke 23:43  “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

Rev. 2:7 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”

Rev. 22:2 “In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

Rev. 22:14 “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

paradise “Paradise” here seems to be synonymous with the “third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2), or more likely some specific part of the third heaven. Although the word “paradise” does not occur in the Old Testament, the Septuagint translators of the Old Testament into Greek did use it to translate “the garden of Eden.” It occurs only two other times in the New Testament. Christ told the dying thief: “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Also, He told the church at Ephesus: “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7). This statement not only relates paradise back to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9; 3:22) but also to the future New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:2, 14). Although we cannot now be dogmatic, it seems that paradise (perhaps incorporating also the New Jerusalem now being prepared—John 14:2-3) is that region of the third heaven, where all the departed saints are blissfully awaiting, with Christ, the soon-coming day of His return to earth.



2 Cor. 5:20 “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

...we beseech (pray)  What urgency breathes through these words! The subject is that of the reconciliation made possible between man and God, because "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself." That word of reconciliation is committed to those called to serve Christ. They are ambassadors on behalf of Christ. Therefore the urgency. They must deliver their message in a way worthy of the One Who sends them: "As though God were entreating by us; we beseech." That was Paul's conception of the way to preach Christ; and it is manifest in all the records we have of his journeying’s, his spoken messages, as well as in his letters. The marvel and the glory of the Divine provision, and the terror and peril of human need, were such as to make anything in the nature of indifference to results, or coolness in presentation, impossible. Every call was a beseeching. Moreover he dared to say that in this attitude he was representing God; and every soul who knows anything of the real meaning of the Cross, knows that this is a true word. God does not treat human salvation as a matter about which He can be indifferent or careless. The Cross is His passion, His sincerity; may we not dare to say, that by which He begs men to be reconciled. In face of that, what can be worse than to declare His message as though it were not a message vital, tremendous, demanding all passion and power in its delivery? All this makes us think! And perhaps the thinking is better done alone!



2 Cor. 4:17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

suffering 101 The first impression made upon the mind as these words are read is that almost of amazement that Paul could speak of his afflictions as light. He had described them very clearly, as he spoke of himself and of those associated with him in ministry, as "pressed," "perplexed," "pursued," "smitten down," "always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus," "always delivered unto death." And these were no mere figures of speech. Very literally these things were true. And yet, summing them all up, he described them as "our light affliction." Moreover, be thought of them all, not as foes but as allies of the soul, for he declared that in their totality as affliction, it "worketh for us." This was the conviction which made him speak of it as light. That to which intended was glory so wonderful that he could only describe it as "an eternal weight of glory." Still further let it be noted that this reference to glory was not merely to the glory of the life beyond. It was a present experience, and a growing one, for said he, affliction "worketh for us more and more exceedingly."
In the process of affliction glory was present, and it grew. That is the real burden of all this teaching. Over against every description of affliction is one of glory, "not straitened," "not unto despair," "not forsaken," "not destroyed," "the life of Jesus . . . manifested in our body," "the life of Jesus . . . manifested in our mortal flesh." These are things of glory, and the entire affliction which accompanies service works these things. Thus it always is. Fellowship with the suffering Savior is fellowship in the glory of His triumphs.


1 Pet. 4:16 “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”

suffer as a Christian....glorify God  Cf. NEXT ARTICLE "SUFFERING 101" on 2 Cor 4:17. This is one of the very few places in the New Testament where this description of believers is employed. There are only three. In the first, we are told where it originated: "The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch" (Acts 11:26). It would seem that it was given to them by the men of Antioch, and it was not necessarily a term of reproach, but one used to mark the fact that they were followers of Christ. The second is where Agrippa said to Paul, "With but little persuasion thou wouldst fain make me a Christian" (Acts 26:28). This shows that by this time it had probably become a general term. The third and last time is here, where Peter employed it in a sense that shows that in some cases it brought suffering to be known as a Christian. (This is where the men get separated from the boys.) The Apostle says two things in view of that fact. The first is that no shame is attached to such suffering. As he wrote this he was probably remembering the time when he and his fellow-apostles left the council of the Jews, in actual physical agony from the stripes which had been laid on them but "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name" (Acts 5:41). The second word is an injunction: "Let him glorify God in this name." That is more than glorying in the name. It is so living worthily of all it means as to glorify God. If a man is known as a Christian, and does not live as one, he dishonors God. To bear the name is to take a responsibility, a great and glorious one, but none the less a very solemn one.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


                            (REGARDLESS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCE)

2 Cor. 4 “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not.”

Continuing about the ministry, the apostle said, "We faint not," "we have renounced the hidden things of shame," "we preach . . . Christ Jesus as Lord." Hearing, some perish because "the god of this world hath blinded their minds," and that because of "unbelief." The god of this world is able only to blind the minds of the unbelieving. This ministry, so full of triumph for such remarkable reasons, is yet exercised through great tribulation. The treasure is in earthen vessels, and these are subject to affliction, disease, and sickness. Yet there is in this a reason and a value. It is that the "exceeding greatness of the power may be God." From that initial statement the apostle proceeds to contrast in a very remarkable way these two things-the vessel, which is earthen, and the power, which is Divine. The earthen vessel is pressed on every side; but because of the power it is not straitened. It is often perplexed, but never to the point of despair; "pursued, yet not forsaken; smitten down, yet not destroyed." This is the revelation of a great principle of all successful work. It is through travail that others live, throughout going virtue that others are healed, through breaking the earthen vessels that the light flashes out on the pathway of others. These tribulations are endured because of the certainties which give strength even in the midst of tribulations. This very "affliction worketh" the glory.
We need to remember these three things concerning life in an earthen vessel:
1.   Affliction is not something to be endured in order to reach glory. It is the very process which creates the glory.
2.   Through pain comes birth.
3.   Through suffering comes the triumph.
4.   Through dying comes the living.

When we leave this earthen vessel behind, we gain a temporary body to worship and pray and serve Him til He gives us the eternal body we shall have forever that the supernatural becomes natural, having laws that we know nothing of unless He displayed them while on earth and He revealed some spectacular things about the eternal body. He was no longer straightened when He gained His eternal body, for He also had us.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013



2 Cor. 4:6 “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

The significance of the God of the Bible in relation to mankind is an interesting topic of study. Ideas have consequences, as the history of mankind thoroughly demonstrates. This is especially true in the area of religion. No person has ever risen above his religion, and no religion has ever exceeded in proportion its conception of God. "Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God." Men tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward the mental image of the object they worship. What men approve in perception they approach in performance. This means that the most revealing thing about the people of God in any period is the conception they hold of the God whom they worship.
With amazing subtlety Satan attacked the human race at this point. He distorted the conception of Eve concerning the goodness of God. By means of an insinuating question he suggested that God might be withholding some good thing from her by imposing the prohibition concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:1). Her evaluation of the benefits to be derived from partaking of the fruit deceived her into believing that God was deliberately depriving them (Gen. 3:6). She took of the fruit and ate, and Adam joined with her in an act that plunged the whole human race into darkness and even lower conceptions of God.
The testimony of history, through millenniums of time, is that men have fashioned the object of worship over the pattern of their own thoughts. "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself” (Psa. 50:21). This is the indictment of God hurled into the teeth of the wicked. God is something like man who was created in His image, but not altogether like him. And where sin prevails, it is certain that the image of God carried in the mind of the worshipper is measured over the pattern of sin. This explains how men "became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things" (Rom. 1:21-23).
This fact further explains the awful descent into sin of every conceivable variety: apostasy, thievery, adultery, and dishonesty, slander (Psa. 50:16-20). This low conception of God explains how men could descend to levels of sin so base and revolting that God was compelled to give them up (Rom. 1:24-32). Nor is the low conception of God to be restricted to the pagan world that engaged in idolatry. It is likewise manifest among those peoples where the images are mere mental conceptions of God issuing in the same plague of wickedness to be found in the pagan world.
To a world of sinners like this, the message of the Bible comes, speaking to the condition of all men. The message of the Bible concerning that exalted and majestic God who is therein described is both timeless and timely. Satan would, if possible, blind the minds of men lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine unto them (2 Cor. 4:4). And only as God hath shined in their hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, can men be rescued from this night of sin (2 Cor. 4:6).



Israel-the Religious Leader

Exod. 19:6 “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.”

In the days of the coming Kingdom the living nation of Israel, converted and cleansed, will be restored to her original ministry in the good purpose of God (Exod. 12:3). In the establishment of the historical Theocracy at Sinai, the word of Jehovah came to Israel, saying, "Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests" (Exod. 19:6), And, although the nation failed through unbelief and disobedience, the purpose of God will not fail. In the dark days of Israel's failure, Isaiah looked forward to a better time when "ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God" (Isa. 61:6). And here, lest there be any confusion as to the identity of the people in view, the prophet carefully distinguishes between them and the Gentile world: "Ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles." Thus the blessing of God promised through the seed of Abraham, although already realized in part even in the present age, will receive its ultimate fulfillment in the future Millennial Kingdom of God on earth. Then the religious ministry of Israel shall be fully recognized: "Their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed" (Isa. 61:9). To prepare the nation for a world-wide mission among the Gentile nations, God will give to the people of Israel faithful "shepherds" to feed them (Jer. 23:4). In this important ministry the tribe of Levi will again have a definite place (Jer. 33:17-22). "At that time," the Lord promises to Israel, "I will make you a name and a praise among all the people of the earth" (Zeph. 3:20).
They finally get it right but what a journey, a picture of the grace of God.

NOTE  Let it be observed that these are the very terms which describe His purpose for His Church, so far as the earthly calling of that Church is concerned. Their response to that word of grace was a declaration that they would do everything necessary on their part to be worthy of that redemption, and to fulfill that purpose. How little they knew themselves! Their answer was sincere, but it was ignorant.

Monday, January 28, 2013



Men have sought for a present manifested unity by misapprehending two things. (1) Unity is desirable, and it ought to exist, hence God commands it, and good men advocate and endeavor to exemplify it. God can do no less than to require it (just as He demands holiness, etc.), but does God teach us that it will be perfectly manifested in this dispensation? Instead of teaching the preservation of outward unity, we are expressly taught to expect divisions, etc., even in the early Church (Acts 20:29, 30; 1 Cor. 11:16, 18, 19; 2 Tim. 4:3, 4, etc.). The condition of the Church down to the harvest, a mingling of tares and wheat, good and bad fish, foolish and wise virgins, forbids the attainment of a manifested unity however desirable to man and acceptable to God, seeing that such a mixture itself-allowed for purposes of mercy--is productive of diversity. Had an external unity been the aim of God, then undoubtedly the apostles would have presented us with a regular ecclesiastical government (something, perhaps, like the Papacy developed), Canon laws, a Synoptical Confession of Faith, etc. But we are told that, for wise purposes (as e.g. to test character, faith, life), diversity and antagonism were permitted, so that through trial and suffering, fighting and struggling, the faithful members may be perfected. God now permits many things, which in themselves are not agreeable to Him, and which form a source of sorrow to pious souls. The history of the Church is the best commentary on this subject. (2) Unity now, however, exists (not outwardly but) between Christ, the Head, and all faithful, believing members (inasmuch as all receive from Him the same blessings, spiritual life, etc.), and even between such believers when the inward religious experience is permitted to testify (for all having the same faith, the same graces of the Spirit, same experience in spite of denominational ties, the likeness in one will respond to the same in another), and, in view of this spiritual unity (the only one that is promised to exist in the present dispensation), many able and most amiable writers have supposed that it ought to be manifested outwardly in a general amalgamation of all denominations, or in some external union embracing the various churches. That is the one-world church thinking.
Here, however, we must distinguish between things that differ. The union between Christ and His members is necessarily spiritual, invisible, until the day that He appears with them, and such union is openly revealed. The union between His members, resulting from the former, and evidenced by a like experience of grace and power, is undoubtedly to be evidenced by an expression of the same (as e.g. in the present alliances, public meetings of the representatives of various denominations, etc.), but irrespective (as now done) of particular forms of doctrine, church government, etc., being founded solely upon the religious experience of the individual believer, a common Church love arid adhesion to the One Messiah. Outward diversity will, notwithstanding, necessarily exist.

Men, also, have been searching for a bond that might bind into historic union the past Christian centuries. The secular and ecclesiastical institutions, civil and religious wars, the State and Church persecutions, the antagonistic forces arrayed against each other-these with a multitude of facts cannot, however able writers attempt it, be compressed within a bond of unity. Civilization, Christianity, development, etc, do not meet and unite the antagonism. Philosophy and science (today at odds with the Bible and what Christ Himself taught) vainly seek to unravel the mystery, and to account for the perversity manifested. Open the Bible, and it tells us that for certain reasons we are now in "the times of the Gentiles"-times that give no bond of unity owing to Gentile domination being adverse to the only influences that could develop the same. These are times in which truth and error, piety and wickedness, faith and unbelief, reason and cavil, etc., are to be exhibited in constant conflict. The unity is alone found in the Divine Purpose, which allows this period as a punishment to the Theocratic nation (i.e. the Jews), and as a mercy to the Gentiles (i.e. inviting to an engrafting, etc.). This very lack of unity externally is part of the Divine Plan, and its historic relationship is seen when the Divine Purpose is completed. Hence, we must not look for that which can only be made manifest at the end. Unity, in reference to the believer, is now found in what Julius Muller in the Evang. Union calls "an absolute and truthful surrender of one's self to the personal Savior; a surrender of which the simplest child is capable." This leads to fellowship one with another, seeing that the same mind which was in Christ actuates all. That selfish, lordly, alleged holy, exclusiveness, characteristic of some, is not the fruitage of true Christian love; its source is human.
Hold tight, for one day we shall all be perfected and then we shall be one.



“Thy kingdom come . . . . in earth, as it is in heaven.       -Matt. 6:10

        Centuries before the first Christian disciples were taught to pray, "Thy kingdom come," this petition had been often upon the hearts of godly men and women in Old Testament days. In fact, apart from the great prophecies of the Old Testament, there could have been no basis or inspiration for such a prayer. For in this hope for the coming of the Kingdom were gathered all the best and highest aspirations of that elect people, who historically had been made the channel of divine revelation. It was in the spirit of the Old Testament prophets, therefore, that the ancient petition was laid in a new way upon the lips of the men who by grace would become members of the royal family of the Mediatorial King. To them He said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Matt. 5:17). And later when His chosen apostle to the Gentiles had been brought before King Agrippa to answer the charge of apostasy from Old Testament revelation, his reply was, "I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come" (Acts 26:22). Whatever light has been shed upon the coming of God's Kingdom, in its original source, has come from the prophets of the Old Testament.

This Universal Kingdom Is Not Exactly Identical with That Kingdom for Which Our Lord Taught His Disciples to Pray (Mediatorial)
        His kingdom ruleth over all.  -Ps. 103:19
        Thy kingdom come.      -Matt. 6:10

        In its universal and providential sense, the Kingdom of God had already come, and the will of God was being done, in every place including even the earth. For, as we have seen above, this Kingdom "ruleth over all" (Ps. 103:19), and its sovereign God "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph. 1:11). This rule of God, in fact, had always existed and never had been abrogated or interrupted. The duty of man, in relation to such a Kingdom, was to acknowledge its reality and bow to its sovereignty; not to pray for its coming in any objective sense. There should be no confusion as to this distinction.
        What then was the Kingdom for which Christ bade His disciples to pray? The infallible key to the meaning of the petition, "Thy kingdom come," must be found in the clause which follows: "As in heaven, so on earth" (Matt. 6:10, ASV). Although this clause is immediately connected with the petition, "Thy will be done," it no doubt qualifies all three of the petitions which precede it.' The disciples are to pray for the hallowing of God's name, for the coming of God's Kingdom, and for the doing of God's will - all this to be done "on earth" as it is being done "in heaven." Although the Kingdom of God was already ruling over all (universal), there was nevertheless a profound difference between the exercise of its rule "in heaven" and "on earth." This difference arises out of the fact that rebellion and sin exist upon the earth (anarchy), sin which is to be dealt with in a way not known in any other place in the universe, not even among the angels which sinned. It is here that the great purpose of what I have named the Mediatorial Kingdom appears: On the basis of Mediatorial redemption it must "come" to put down at last all rebellion with its train of evil results, thus finally bringing the Kingdom and will of God on earth as it is in heaven. When this purpose has been fully accomplished, the Mediatorial phase of the Kingdom will disappear as a separate entity, being merged with the Universal Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 15:24).
        This is substantially the view taken by the discerning Adolph Saphir in his very able and spiritually helpful treatment of The Lord's Prayer. Commenting on the clause "Thy kingdom come," he says, The petition refers primarily and directly to the Messianic kingdom on earth, of which all Scripture testifies. The King of this kingdom is the Lord Jesus, the Son of David; the subjects of it are Israel and the nations,-the chosen people fulfilling the mission which, according to the election of God, is assigned unto them, of being the medium of blessing unto all the nations of the earth; the center of the kingdom is Jerusalem, and the means of its establishment is the coming and visible appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ. When we pray 'Thy kingdom come,' our true meaning is, 'Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!'
        Referring to the same petition in the Prayer, Ellicott finds that "Historically, the prayer had its origin in the Messianic expectations embodied in the picture of the ideal king in Isaiah 11: 1-6; Isa. 42:1-7; Daniel 7:14. It had long been familiar to all who looked for the consolation of Israel. Now the kingdom of God that, in which He manifests His sovereignty more than in the material world or in the common course of history, had been proclaimed as nigh at hand. The Teacher of the prayer knew Himself to be the Head of that kingdom." Here Ellicott seems to distinguish between the already existing divine kingdom in nature and history and that kingdom for which men are taught to pray.
        This distinction is also supported by the Greek text of the Prayer. In each of the petitions concerning God's name, kingdom, and will, the Greek verb is not only in the emphatic position but also aorist imperative in form, thus indicating "single or instantaneous" action. Thus, in harmony with all Old Testament prophecy, the prayer taught by our Lord suggests not only that His kingdom is to be prayed for, but also that its coming to the "earth" will be a definite crisis in history, not a long and gradual process of (evolution). This is in sharp contrast with the Universal Kingdom which has always been present in the world, on earth as well as in heaven.

“Come, Lord Jesus, Come quickly.” Enough is enough.



John 18:11 “Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”

“I shall drink the has been decided.”  These words were spoken to Peter in the moment when in love for his Master, and in mistaken zeal, he had struck a blow in order to attempt to deliver Him from the hands of His enemies. They are revealing words. They show us how the one dominant passion of all our Lord's life was still triumphant as He passed to death. He had but one passion, and that was to do His Father's will (Psa. 40:8). The other Evangelists tell us how the question of this cup had just been raised in communion with His Father, and always under the constraint of that same master passion. That hour of question was over. The cup had been given Him to drink. Therefore there was no further question. In the form of the statement we discover His perfect rest; the cup had been given Him by His Father, by the One Who loved Him, by the One Who confided in Him. Therefore there could be no further question. The question raised and settled in communion could not be raised in any other form, or with any other beings. And once more, we see how the highest love, the love of God, must ever qualify, and often cancel, the suggestions made by other loves, however loyal and well intentioned they may be. The love of God is always wise. The loves of men are often unintelligent. Of course, in our Lord we see all these things outstandingly, but there are profound values in them for us, to which we do well to take heed. Agape through and through. For someone else. Was it you?

Acts 21:14   “…The will of the Lord be done.”

Sunday, January 27, 2013



The manner in which this is done is contained within a book called the Bible.    It says there:

1.   God has to make that even possible.
2.   He has to take on a body because you can’t kill Spirit.
3.   Then He has to make that body available so you could kill Him unless you know where the third heaven is located.
4.   Then you have to verify that this One is actually God when He presents Himself.
5.   Then He must allow you to kill Him. This would be totally voluntary on His part.
6.   Last of all He has to stop taking breaths voluntarily because He furnishes breath to all.
7.   Woe to all men who desire to do this to Him and can’t keep Him in the grave.
The desire to kill Him is sometimes blatant and usually ones hatred of Him is hidden behind other reasons.

The Book which unveils this story of God coming to earth to end this hatred of Him and His ways is the only Book He wrote. The story contained within its covers will either make you alive or harden your heart. There is no middle ground. If this Book be only a dream, a fancy, then I am constrained to say, as I am always constrained to say in the presence of these accounts within, in God's name, find me the man who dreamed Him coming to earth, taking on flesh, and then allowing this to happen. My affirmation is that no man could have dreamed this. It is unique, lonely. It is the story of the death of One Who was at once the Son of God and the Son of Man.
That death has extreme value to some of us teaching us how to live and also how to die.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Eph. 2:1 “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”

There is in front of us, a garden, well watered, carefully tilled, properly tended. The soil is rich and fertile. I hold in my hand two things; a pebble that I have picked from the seashore, and an acorn that has just been shaken from the oak tree by autumn’s blast. I suppose for the moment that I do not know the nature of these two things they are about the same size. They are not unlike in appearance. I put a pebble in the garden; I put the acorn in the garden. The environment is the same in both cases, the soil is the same, and the same sun with shafts of light will permeate the soil and the same soft showers will reach the pebble and the acorn.

They acorn will burst his shell and spring, and we pass rapidly over the intervening centuries, and there it stands a proud oak battling against the blasts of winter, and in its turn, shedding acorns to the ground. Where is the pebble? No one has disturbed its resting place. There was in it no germ of life. In God we live and move and have our being; there is no exception. 
Life to one man means growth, advancement, movement, even on until that man is as a tree planted by the rivers of water. The other man living in the same environment is unmoved, thereby. In him the spirit life is dead. The physical basis is there, but that never consciously touches God. 
The spirit neglected, starved, is dead. He is dead in his trespasses and sins.

He is able to make oaks out of stones through His quickening of the spirit.



Matt. 9:13 “But go ye and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Religion can be hazardous to your eternal well-being.
If any man refuses to be reckoned among sinners, then according to the declaration of the Lord, that man stands outside the circle of people to which His appeal is made. He plainly declared He had no message for the righteous. Christ sat with those who admitted to being sinners and He wished to speak to any who desired to take their seat. See Rom 3:10. "There is none righteous, no, not one."
These words are the more arresting when we remember that they were addressed to the teachers of men. The ones who supposedly had it right and were teaching the people their views. The Pharisees were amazed when they saw the Lord eating with publicans and sinners. Their astonishment was due to their conception of God.
They thought of Him as aloof and distant in His holiness from men who neglected the ceremonial observances of religion, and so considered that all teachers of religion should observe the same attitude. The rebuke of Christ showed that they did not know God, and He told them go and learn the meaning of their own Scriptures.
        Herein is revealed a constant peril. It is terribly possible to be zealous for a wrong conception of God, and of Truth, and so to fail to co-operate with Him in the very enterprise which is dearest to His heart.
Nothing is more important, especially in the case of those who are in any way called upon to represent God to men, than that we should go and learn for ourselves the truth about Him. For us there need be no difficulty in this matter, for He has revealed Himself completely in the Son of His love. The hard morality of Pharisaism is impossible to those who have learned the truth as it is in Jesus. It follows necessarily that there is nothing of greater importance to all who are called to the service of God in the service of men than that they should go and learn. Time and strength of mind and heart and will must be given to the cultivation of that fellowship in which we always grow to fuller knowledge




Song of Solomon 2:1-2 “I am a rose of Sharon, and a lily of the valleys.
As the lily among thorns so is my love among the daughters.”

This is the language of the Bridegroom. In it, he adopts the description which the Bride has given of herself in the words immediately preceding, "I am a rose of Sharon; a lily of the valleys" but adds to its impressiveness and beauty by the words "arnong thorns." The lily referred to was certainly a scarlet flower, and a not uncommon one; just as the rose of Sharon was the violet and white crocus which abounded. Thus the Bride's description of herself was really self-depreciatory, rather than otherwise. It was as if she saw that there was nothing in her beauty extraordinary or out of the common. Here the Revised helps us as it renders "a rose of Sharon," rather than "the rose of Sharon"; and "a lily of the valleys," rather than "the lily of valleys." To this the Bridegroom replies by accepting her description of herself as "a lily," but not as one among many, but as one in comparison with whom all others in his eyes are as thorns. This is the true outlook of love. To the man, the wonder in his beloved is always that she is full of beauty, when others growing in the selfsame soil are devoid of it. When we interpret the words as those of Christ they are the more arresting, because the description is literally true. Those beloved of Him, flourish and become truly beautiful, in soil which produces thorns. The graces and beauties of the Lord's beloved ones are not those of plants nourished in hothouses; they are those which are developed in places of storm and frost and unpromising soils. Here, necessarily, the mystic interpretation carries us into a realm higher and more wonderful than nature can interpret.

Friday, January 25, 2013



Rom. 2:16 “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”

The Savior is to be the JudgeThe Judge is also the Savior
In this declaration the phrase "according to my Gospel" is a parenthetical qualification. The statement is that "God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." This fact Paul declares to be part of the Gospel.

Here we have a wonderful instance of the merging of the elements of the grace and severity of God in the Gospel. The Gospel is the good news that God has made righteousness available to sinful men through Christ. But the Gospel is also the declaration of the fact that men will be judged by the One through Whom that grace has been made available.

There we see the finality of the Gospel message. Let us put that in another way. The Judge is the Savior. He Whose eternal right it is to sit as judge of men has in His Son provided perfect redemption for men. By so doing He has not relinquished His right as judge, but has established it.
If men refuse His salvation, the justice of His sentence against them cannot be called in question. All men must meet Him as judge, but before they do so He comes to meet them with a righteous and just way of saving them from their sins. If they refuse that salvation, the Gospel declares that by so doing they have not escaped Him as Judge. The Gospel never lowers the standards of Divine requirements. It makes them possible of realization. If it be refused, then the Savior as Judge condemns and punishes.



The "age to come", as our Lord liked to call it, will be ushered in by the exercise of His immediate power and authority. He has all power now (Matt. 28:18; John 13:3); He will take this power and use it to the full when He returns. The age-long silence of God, the taunt of unbelief, will be broken by the translation and resurrection of the Church (rapture 1 Thess. 4:13-17); by the unloosing of judgment long withheld; by the visible and personal presence of the Mediatorial King; and by the complete establishment of His Kingdom on earth for a period specified by our Lord as a "1000 years" (John 20:1-7). The New Testament description of this period is very brief with few details. Why?
The Old Testament prophets had fully revealed these details, and the reader is presumed to know them. It is sufficient to say that during this period every aspect of the Mediatorial Kingdom as set forth in Old Testament prophecy is realized upon earth, truly the "Golden Age" of the world. Children are born; life goes on, men work and play, but under ideal conditions. The period closes with a brief rebellion of unsaved humanity, and the last judgment; its subjects are the "dead", not the living. And it is my conviction, based upon a study of the New Testament, that none will appear before that "Great White Throne" except those who have chosen death rather than life; those that loved darkness rather than Light. The Christian does not belong to the "dead", and he cannot come into judgment for sin.
When the last enemy is put down by our Lord as the Mediatorial King, when even death is abolished and complete harmony is established, then the purpose of the Mediatorial Kingdom will be fulfilled. Then the Son will deliver up the Kingdom to God to be merged in the eternal Kingdom (1 Cor. 15:24), thus being perpetuated forever, but no longer as a distinct entity. This does not mean the end of our Lord's rule. He only ceases to rule as the Mediatorial King. But as the Only Begotten Son, very God of very God, He shares with the Father the throne of the eternal Kingdom. In the final city of God, center of a redeemed new heaven and earth, there is but one throne, "the throne of God and of the Lamb".
"And his servants shall serve Him, and they shall see His face, and there shall be night no more; and they need no light of lamp, neither light of sun, for the Lord God shall give them light; and they shall reign unto the ages of the ages". (Rev. 22:3-5)



Jude 4 “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Master, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Here He is called a Despot by Jude, His earthly brother; the only Master. What a serious thing to be under the authority of Someone Who can upset everything in our lives without consulting us, and by a word can mark for us the moment of our departure! That is the government of God. We may say He is Lord and Master and then fail to talk with Him daily and look at His word to find direction from Him but we only fool ourselves to think such nonsense. God is absolute monarch wherever He is King at all. His government is autocratic. He does not consult with us as to what He shall do with us, where He shall send us, what He would have us to do. Moreover, His government is an imperative government. He never permits us to make compromises with Him for a single moment. He speaks the word of authority and has every right to. He marks the path without ever consulting us, and having done so, our only relationship to that government is that of implicit, unquestioning, immediate obedience.

2 Pet. 2:1 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

Same as saying, "We do not want this Man to reign over us." Luke 19:14. "We have no king but Caesar." John 19:15

“Swift destruction”  When the Despot can't tell you how He wants you to do something, and all because 'you' think it’s not important, when He thinks it is, hang on.

Cf. Isa. 42:23-24 “who among you will give ear to this? Who will give heed and listen hereafter? ..... Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned, and in whose ways they were not willing to walk."

Note: A Despot is to be obeyed in all things.  Cf. Titus 2:9-10.

Thursday, January 24, 2013



Why did God come to earth? First of all, He came to reveal the Father, and also to take away your sins if you’ll let Him.
I have chosen to take this, His own statement of truth, in this regard because of its simplicity and its sublimity. In our translation of the passage, so simple is it that no word of two syllables is employed except the word “Father.” “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9); and yet so sublime is it that among all the things Jesus said concerning His relationship to the Father none is more comprehensive, inclusive, exhaustive than this. Its very simplicity leaves us no room for doubt as to the meaning of our Lord. The last hours of Jesus with His disciples were passing away. He was talking to the disciples, and four times over they interrupted Him. Peter first, “Lord, whither goest Thou?” (John 13:36). While He was yet answering Peter, Thomas said, “Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; how know we the way?” While He was yet dealing with Thomas, Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” (John 14:8-9). Before He was done with Philip, Jude said, “What is come to pass that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” (John 14:22). The lonely Christ, recognizing the fact that the nearest friends of His life, His own followers, did not perfectly understand Him, could not walk with Him along the via dolorosa, were afraid of the gathering shadows, yet taught them, patiently and gently answering objections, clearing away difficulties, storing their minds with truth.
          Philip’s interruption was due, in the first place, to a conviction of Christ’s relation in some way to the Father. He had been so long with Jesus as to become familiar in some senses with His line of thought. He had heard over and over again strange things fall from the lips of the Master. He had listened to the wonderful familiarity with which Jesus had spoken of God as “My Father.” (30 references in the book of John alone). In all probability, moreover, Philip was asking that there should be repeated to him and the little group of disciples some such wonderful thing as they had read of in the past of their people’s history. He would have read therein of the great and glorious theophany’s of days gone by, of how the elders once ascended the mountain and saw God; of how the prophet had declared that “in the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple”; (Isa. 6:1) of how Ezekiel had declared that when he was by the river Chebar he had seen God in fire, and wheels; in majesty and glory. It was to that request, based upon a vision of Christ’s relationship to the Father, based upon the memory of how God had manifested Himself to the men of olden days that Jesus replied. I cannot read this answer of Jesus without feeling that He divested Himself of set purpose of anything that approached stateliness of diction, and dropped into the common speech of friend to friend, as looking back into the face of Philip He said, “Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” (John 14:9). Mark the simplicity of it. They were most familiar with Him. I think you will agree with me that it requires no stretch of the imagination to believe that they had looked upon His face more often than upon the face of any other during the three years. They had listened with greater interest to the tones of His voice than to any other sounds that had come to them during that period. The very simplicity of it is its audacity. The word may not be well chosen, and yet I take it of set purpose. If you want to know how audacious and daring a thing it is, put it into the lips of any other teacher the world has ever produced. Looking into the face of one man, who was voicing, though he little knew it, the great anguish of the human heart, the great hunger of the human soul, Christ said, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father,” (John 14:9) and in that declaration He claimed absolute identity with God. So much for the setting of my text and the claim thereof. That claim has been vindicated in the passing of the centuries. The conception of God which is triumphant, intellectually capturing the mind, emotionally capturing the heart, volitionally capturing the will, came to the world through that One Who, standing Man before man, yet said to Him, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.”
          I shall ask you therefore to consider with me, first, what this revelation of God has meant to the race; and, secondly, what it has meant to the individual. First, consider the highest knowledge of God which man had before the Advent, and the new values consequent upon the manifestation in Jesus. What conception of God had man before Christ came? Taking the Hebrew thought of God let me put the whole truth as I see it into one comprehensive statement. Prior to the Advent there had been a growing intellectual apprehension of God, accompanied by a diminishing moral result. 
There had been a growing intellectual apprehension of truth concerning God. That is the first half of my statement. It is impossible to study the Old Testament without seeing that gradually there broke through the mists a clearer light concerning God: the fact of unity of God, the fact of the might of God, the fact of the holiness of God, the fact of the beneficence of God. These things men had come to see through the process of the ages. There had been progressive understanding of the fact of God’s might. There had been progressive understanding of the fact of His holiness. There had been progressive understanding of the truth of His beneficence.
Yet, side by side with this growing intellectual apprehension of God, there was diminishing moral result, for it is impossible to read the story of the ancient Hebrew people without seeing how they waxed worse and worse in all matters morally until the last. The moral life of Abraham was far purer than life in the time of the kings. Life in the early time of the kings was far purer than the conditions which the prophets ultimately described. This diminishing moral result is not to be wondered at. In proportion as men grew in their intellectual conception of God, it seemed increasingly unthinkable that He could be interested in their everyday life. Morality became something not of intimate relationship to Him and therefore something that mattered far less. In some senses that has been repeated during the last half century. The discoveries of the scientists have created an ever-increasing sense of the greatness of the universe. Every decade has given man a larger grasp upon the truth of the universe. With the progress of man’s intellectual apprehension of the greatness of the universe, there has been an increase necessarily in his conception of the God of the universe, until at last God has grown out of knowledge and men have declared that He is unknowable, and have defined Him as force, as intelligence-or as the operation of force and intelligence combined.
The greater the universe, the greater the God, and the greater the God, the less man has been able to appreciate his relation to Him. Think of the great Gentile world as it then was, and as it still is, except where the message of the Gospel has reached it-for the things of the Gentile world prior to the Advent are the things of the Gentile world until this hour, save where the Gospel of the grace of God has reached it. In Gentile thought there is always a substratum of accurate consciousness. Go where you will, get down deeply enough, and you will find in the common consciousness of humanity a bedrock of truth. When it begins to express itself it does so falsely. When it begins to take that deep underlying conviction, and put it into form or expression it breaks down; but there is universally a sense of God. Occasional flashes of light have broken out of this underlying sub consciousness. We have had such remarkable teachers as Zoroaster, Buddha, Confucius, men speaking true things flashing with a new light. In spite of these things, a perpetual failure in morals and a uniform degradation of religion have been universal. No voice which has spoken some message of truth out of the sub consciousness in the passing of the centuries has been able to lift those to whom it has been addressed in the moral scale. The history of the Hindu religion is, perhaps, the most conspicuous illustration of this fact. Buddhism as it is practiced today and Buddhism as Buddha lived and taught are at the poles asunder.
Wherever you find Gentile nations you find these things true-a substratum of accurate consciousness, occasional flashes of clear light, but perpetual failure in morals and uniform degradation of religion. The failure has ever been due to lack of final knowledge concerning God. At last there came the song of the angels and the birth of a child. At the close of one swiftly passing generation of teaching and of working, of gathering a few souls together, there stood One in the midst of a little group of disciples, and at the same moment in the midst of all humanity, and He looked into the face of one man and said, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” Through that Advent and ministry there came to men a new consciousness of God. I turn to the centuries that have passed since His coming. What effect has that coming had in the realm of revelation? By that I mean among those who had received revelation from God. First, the inclusion in His teaching and manifestation of all the essential things which men had learned in the long ages of the past. He did not deny the truth of the unity of God. He re-emphasized it. He did not deny the might of God. He declared it and manifested it in many a gentle touch of infinite power. He did not deny the holiness of God. He insisted upon it in teaching and life, and at last by the mystery of dying. He did not deny the beneficence of God. He changed the cold word “beneficence” into the word throbbing with the infinite heart of Deity, “love”! He did more. He brought to men the new, that toward which they had been groping but had never found. That which men had imperfectly expressed in song and prophecy He came to state. “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” Not Elohim, not Jehovah, not Adonahy, none of the great names of the past, all of them suggestive, but “He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father.” In and through Him that truth of fatherhood was revealed. When I say that I ask you remember that fatherhood means a great deal more than we sometimes imagine it means. It is not merely a term of tenderness. It is also a term of law and discipline. But Fatherhood means absolutely that if the child has wandered away the Father will suffer everything to save and bring it home again. Within the realm of revealed religion this truth emerged, that the one God, mighty, holy, beneficent, is the Father Who will sacrifice Himself to save the child. There man found the point of contact in infinite love which never abandons him, never leaves him. That is the truth which, coming into revealed religion, saved it from being intellectual apprehension minus moral dynamic, and sent running through all human life rivers of cleansing, renewal, regeneration. Wherever Christ comes to people who have never had direct revelation, He comes first of all as fulfillment of all that in their thought and scheme is true. He comes, moreover, for the correction of all that in their thought and scheme is false. All the underlying consciousness of humanity concerning God is touched and answered, and lifted into the highest consciousness whenever God is seen in Christ. All the gleams of light which have been flashing across the consciousness of humanity merge into the essential light when He is presented.
I will take the illustration which is the lowest and the simplest, and therefore perhaps the profoundest at this point. It is an old story; I have often used it before. In Africa are found men of whom we speak as superstitious, perhaps the lowest in all the scale intellectually. The only form of religion they have is that of which we speak as fetish worship, which means nothing less and nothing more than that the uninstructed mind of the savage connects with some charm-a little piece of stick, a little piece of leather-certain values that are beyond his knowledge, supernatural values. He does not think it possible to be fortunate in business, in pleasure, in home or in marriage or anything else except as he is accompanied by his fetish. That is a low form of religion. You smile at it-and yet I know of people in America, Europe, Asia who carry charms about with them. In Africa, if you are about to trade with one of these men after he has driven his cattle hundreds of miles, and discovers that in his unutterable foolishness he has not brought his fetish with him, you cannot persuade him to trade with you. He will tramp all the weary miles back again, and postpone his traffic for days, weeks, months, because he cannot trade unless that fetish is with him. You smile at him. When Jesus meets that man he does not destroy that belief. He fulfills it. Christ comes to him and says in effect, “You are perfectly right in your underlying consciousness that you cannot be fortunate in business or home or marriage or pleasure unless you have dealing with the thing that is more than you are, the supernatural. You must have God with you.” Jesus takes out of the Black Hand the fetish, the little piece of leather or stick, and flings it away and puts back into the hand His own pierced hand, saying, “Lo, I am with you all the days-business days, pleasure days, home days, all the days. Never do business without God.” Before you mock the African who will not traffic without his fetish learn this, that if you do business without God you are far more heathen than he is. Christ comes not to contradict the essential truth of Buddhism but to fulfill it. He comes not to rob the China man of his regard for parents, as taught by Confucius, but to fulfill it, and to lift him upon that regard into regard for the One great Father, God. He comes always to fulfill. Wherever He has come, wherever He has been presented, wherever men, low or high in the intellectual scale, have seen God in Christ, their hands have opened and they have dropped the fetishes and the idols and have yielded themselves to Him. If the world has not come to God through Him it is because the world has not yet seen Him; and if the world has not yet seen Him the blame is upon the Christian Church.
  I pass, in the second place, to say some few words concerning the effect of the manifestation in relation to the individual. Here I propose to see one man as illustration. I think we cannot be truer to the text than by taking Philip, the man to whom Christ spoke. Mark the words of Jesus to him, “Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know Me, Philip?” The evident sense of the question is, “You have seen enough of Me, Philip, if you have really seen Me, to have found what you are asking for, a vision of God.” There is no other interpretation of Christ’s question possible. “Show us the Father and it sufficeth us,” was Philip’s request. “Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know Me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” He surely meant that Philip had seen enough of Him to have found the Father. What, then, had Philip seen? What revelations of Deity had come to this man who thought he had not seen and did not understand? Christ evidently intended to say he might have seen and might have understood. What were the things to which Christ referred? I am not going to indulge in speculation. I might gather up the general facts of His teaching and His doing, but I think we shall be safer if we adhere to what Scripture tells of what Philip had seen.
          The entire story is in John. Philip is referred to by Matthew, Mark, and Luke as being among the number of the Apostles, but in no other way. John tells me of four occasions when Philip is seen in union with Christ. I will take the first three, for the last is the one in which our text occurs. Philip was the first man Jesus called to follow him. I do not say the first man to follow Him. There were other two who preceded Philip, going after Christ in consequence of the teaching of John. Philip did not go to question. It is distinctly stated in the first chapter of John’s Gospel that Jesus found him and said, “Follow Me.” That was the first man to whom Christ used that great formula of calling men which has become so precious in the passing of the centuries. “Follow Me.” What happened? “Philip findeth Nathaniel, and saith unto Him, We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write.” (John 1:45). That was the first thing that Philip had seen in Christ, according to his own confession, One Who embodied all the ideals of Moses and the prophets. When he said, “We have found Him, of Whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write,” he did not refer to any particular word of Moses. The word he used covers the whole of the Old Testament teaching. What he meant was, “We have found Him Who embodies the ideal of Moses, and the ideal of the prophets, all the teaching of Moses, all the messages of the prophets. We have found Him.” It was the cry of a soul inviting another soul. It was the cry of a soul who had this conviction made alive. Here is One Who fulfills all the ideals and suggestions and intentions of the whole religious economy of the past! That was the first thought. I find Philip next in the sixth chapter, when the multitudes were about Christ and they were hungry. Jesus singled out Philip and said to him, “Whence are we to buy bread, that these may eat?” (John 6:5). John is very careful to state that Jesus did not ask that question because He needed advice, “for He Himself knew what He would do.” He asked it to prove Philip. Philip answered, “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient, that everyone may take a little.” That is the background. What happened next? Philip, who considered it impossible to feed the hungry multitude, is next seen with the other disciples seating them ready to be fed, doubtfully, perhaps; I do not know. Then he watched this selfsame Jesus take the loaves and fishes of the lad and break them. Then with the others he carried the food to rank after rank until the entire assembled multitude were fed. So that Philip had now seen Someone Who in a mysterious way had resource enough to satisfy human hunger. That is not all. Philip then listened while in matchless discourse Jesus lifted the thought from material hunger to spiritual need and declared, “I am the Bread of Life.” (John 6:35). So that the second vision Philip had of Jesus, according to the record, was a vision of Him full of resource and able to satisfy hunger both material and spiritual. I see Philip next in the twelfth chapter. The Greeks coming to him said, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” (John 12:21). Philip found his way with Andrew to Jesus, and asked Him to see the Greeks. Mark the relation with the Father, and that there was perfect harmony between them, no conflict, no controversy. He saw, moreover, that upon the basis of that communion with His Father and that perfect harmony, His voice changed from the tones of sorrow to those of triumph, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Myself.” (John 12:31). That was Philip’s third vision of Jesus. It was the vision of One acting in perfect accord with God, bending to the sorrow that surged upon His soul in order that through it He might accomplish human redemption. We now come back to the last scene. Philip said, “Show us the Father and it sufficeth us.” Gathering up all the things of the past, Christ looked into the face of Philip and replied, “Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know Me, Philip? When thou didst first see Me did there not come to thee the conviction that in Me there was the embodiment of law and righteousness? When thou didst watch Me feed men didst thou not understand that I am the One Who can satisfy all the hunger of the human heart? In the mystery of that strange hour when thou didst bring the Greeks to Me didst thou not understand that in union with God I am moving toward unutterable pain in order that men may be set free?” No, Philip had not seen these things. We are not to blame him. They were there to be seen, and by and by, the infinite work of Christ being accomplished and the glory of Pentecost having dawned upon the world, Philip saw it all. Then Philip saw the meaning of the things he had seen and had never seen, the things he had looked upon and had never understood. Then Philip found that having seen Jesus he had actually seen the Father. When he looked upon One Who embodied in His own personality all the facts of the law and righteousness, he had seen God. When he had looked upon One Who could touch the loaves of a lad until they fed a multitude, and One Who could deal with the spiritual needs of restless hearts until they were rested, he had seen God. When he had seen a Man Who shrank from sorrow yet pressed into it because through it in co-operation with God He could ransom humanity, he had seen God.
This manifestation wins the submission of the reason. This manifestation appeals to the love of the heart. This manifestation demands the surrender of the will. Here is the value of the Advent as revelation of God.
May God grant that we shall rather look into His face and say, “My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28). So shall we find our rest and our hearts be satisfied. It shall suffice as we see the Father in the Christ.