July/August 1994

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Contents

MIRACLES AT CALVARY
by John B. D. Page

BEHOLD THE MAN
by Jim Flanigan

PAPERS ON PROPHECY
by W. W. Fereday

SOME PSALMS OF ASAPH
by D. S. Parrack

EPHESIANS EXPOUNDED
by A. D. Thropay

A CALL TO FULL TIME SERVICE
by R. Catchpole

A SWEET SAVOUR
by Donald M. Clark

MY CONVERSION AND CALL
by Alex Wilson

QUOTES


Miracles at Calvary (1b)

by John B. D. Page (Weston-Super-Mare)

All four gospels refer to the crucifixion of criminals with Christ. Whilst Matthew and Mark say that two thieves were crucified with Jesus, Luke says two malefactors were then put to death with Him. This is not a case of literary variation for translating one word in the Original Text, but two different Greek words are used to describe these condemned men. Luke's word "malefactors" (kakourgos, Gk.) denotes evil men, and someone has suggested they were insurgents intent upon emancipating their homeland from the yoke of Roman rule, for which Rome's penalty was capital punishment. Matthew and Mark refers to "thieves" (testes, Gk.) or "robbers" (RV & NTr.) which is a word signifying they plundered openly and by violence — in contrast to thieves who steal at night! This, with other details, has prompted some expositors to suggest they were different persons, but the important matter in the context of these articles is to note the words of Mark, "And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, And He was numbered with the transgressors" Mark 15.28. Only a few hours earlier when leaving the upper room, the Lord Jesus quoted Isaiah 53.12 to His disciples, "I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in Me, And He was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning Me have an end" Luke 22.37. The verb "accomplished" (teleo, Gk.) here means "to finish, to bring to an end", frequently signifies, not merely to terminate a thing, but to carry out a thing to the full" (W. E. Vine).

From this prophetic scripture in Isaiah dating back some 700 years, the Lord Jesus warned His disciples how evil men would soon place Him among transgressors, and Mark, although not present in the upper room, saw its fulfilment at His death when violent robbers were crucified on either side of Him and so He was counted with, and as being one of, them. Such accurate fulfilment of Scripture is a miracle. Only John says that "Jesus (was) in the midst, John 19.18. The soldiers knew the charge brought against Jesus at His civil trial and the wording of the accusation affixed to the gibbet above His head. By putting "Jesus in the midst," they mockingly gave Him the place of honour as the supposed "King of the Jews". The soldiers could have crucified Jesus at either end of the criminals but they were restrained from doing it. Consequently, at the last deepest depth of His humiliation on earth even in the hour of death, the Lord Jesus occupied the central position. Whilst men humiliated Him by crucifying Him, God has highly exalted Him. Later, John saw Him in heaven "in the midst" of celestial beings Rev. 5.6. The under-lying significance of that scene first at Calvary and then in the opened heaven is the centrality of Christ at all times and in all spheres. If Christ is central and foremost in our lives, He is then sanctified as Lord, 1 Pet. 3.15, RV.

According to John 19.28ff, Jesus knew that by the ninth hour (i.e. 3.00 p.m.) all things were accomplished. Therefore, "that the scriptures might be fulfilled, (He) saith, I thirst". Hearing Him, the soldiers filled a sponge with vinegar (i.e. sour wine) from a nearby vessel and, putting it to His mouth on a stalk of hyssop, He received it. Despite agonising pain in His dying moments, Jesus knew by His omniscience there was still a scripture to be fulfilled and so He said intentionally, "I thirst". His dying words resulted in the fulfilment of Psalm 69.21b, "... in My thirst they gave me vinegar to drink". The soldiers, who may have reckoned Him to be a criminal like those on either side of Him, could have ignored His request. But, unknown to them, the unseen overruling hand of God did not permit them to turn a deaf ear to His words. By responding to His request, the soldiers unwittingly fulfilled literally that ancient scripture spoken by David about ten centuries beforehand. Such accurate fulfilment of scripture is indeed miraculous.

In his gospel, John gives the Jewish background for what he is about to say concerning the next fulfilment of scripture relating to Christ's death. As the sixth day of the week was known as the day of preparation when food was prepared and other domestic duties done ready for the sabbath which was kept with solemnity, Jews were anxious that no bodies remained in hanging on their gibbets during that holy day. Therefore, they obtained Pilate's permission for the crucified victims' legs to be broken for hastening their death, and then the corpses could be taken away for burial in accordance with the divine command of Deuteronomy 21.23. This was in sharp contrast to Roman custom which was to leave the bodies on their gibbets to putrefy. Having broken the legs of the criminals on either side of Jesus, the soldiers "saw that He was dead already, (and so) they brake not His legs," but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side (John 19.31-34). As the narrator and without naming himself, John says that he was an eyewitness and testifies to the veracity of these things, so that his readers may also believe (John 9.35). Commenting upon this verse in the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges (St. John), A. Plummer says, "Why does St. John attest thus earnestly the trustworthiness of his narrative at this particular point? Four reasons may be assigned. This incident proved

  1. the reality of Christ's humanity against Docetic views; and these verses therefore are conclusive evidence against the theory that the Fourth Gospel is the work of a Docetic Gnostic;
  2. the reality of Christ's Divinity, against Ebionite views; while His human form was no mere phantom, but flesh and blood, yet He was not therefore a mere man, but the Son of God:
  3. the reality of Christ's death, and therefore of His Resurrection, against Jewish insinuations of trickery (comp. Matt. 28.13-15):
  4. the clear and unexpected fulfilment of two Messianic prophecies." These four points made by Plummer are important, bearing in mind that John wrote towards the close of the first century when heresy about the person of Christ was evident — even as it is so widespread today. "These things were done," says John (19.36), "that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken." This quotation refers to the paschal lamb, concerning which the Lord commanded, "neither shall ye break a bone thereof Ex. 12.46. If this were true for the type, then it had to be for the Anti-type! (N.B. 1 Cor. 11.24," . . . Take eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: ..." — the word "broken" is omitted in the Revised Version and J. N. Darby's New Translation and then it accords with Luke 22.19, "which is given for you.") The death of Christ was so timed that the need for breaking His legs did not arise, and consequently this scripture, dating back about 1500 years, was wonderfully fulfilled. At the opening of John's gospel, Christ is proclaimed explicitly to be "the Lamb of God" John 1. 29,36; at the close of it He is declared implicitly to be the true Passover Lamb slain, John 19.18,36. Concerning the fulfilment of these ancient prophecies Peter confirms that "those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled" Act 3.18.

Alluding probably to people standing around and seeing a soldier piercing the side of Jesus, John says, "And again another scripture saith, They shall look on Him whom they pierced" John 19.37. Quoting Zechariah 12.10, spoken by the prophet somewhere around 500 B.C., John is careful not to claim it was fulfilled at Calvary as he had said in verse 36 that Exodus 12.46 was then fulfilled, but in this instance he says another scripture "saith". As one of the onlookers this scripture came apparently to his mind, realising that this scene of people gazing upon the Man whose side a soldier had pierced is illustrative of Zechariah's unfulfilled prophecy. In a coming day when the Son of Man will come in power and glory to the earth, the spirit of grace will be poured out upon penitent Israelis as they look upon Him still bearing that wound in His side. The fulfilment of these prophecies in every jot and tittle concerning death of Christ at His first advent provide an assurance for Christians that unfulfilled prophecies of His second advent will be fulfilled as accurately.

Early in His ministry, the Lord Jesus said "I am not come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil" Matt. 5.17, and this He did not only during His life but also in His death as shown in the four gospels. It may be rightly said that Christ is the fulfilment of the Old Testament, and the fulness of the New.

Where the gospel writers state that certain scriptures were fulfilled in relation to a specific aspect of Christ's death, the quotations are made from each of the three main divisions of the Jewish canon of Scripture which are mentioned in Luke 24.44. The quotation from Exodus 12 is from the first division, "The Law of Moses" (the first five books of the Bible); that from Isaiah 53 is from the second division, "The Prophets" (which include the historical books); and those from Psalms 22 and 69 from the third division, "The Psalms" (including the poetical books). This confirms that all the Scriptures were written concerning Christ.

It may not come amiss to mention that during the closing phase of His ministry the Lord Jesus on several occasions told His disciples how He must be killed and be raised again on the third day. In each prediction, He enlarged upon the last (e.g. Matt. 16.21; 17.22f; 20.17ff). After His death and burial , some women arrived at dawn on the first day of the week at the sepulchre where an angel said to them, "... I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen," adding significantly, "as He said" (Matt. 28.5f). By saying to them, "as He said", the angel indicated that the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus were in fulfilment of His earlier prophetic utterances concerning these things. As the Word Incarnate, He spoke the word predicting His own death and resurrection, and His word could not be annulled but it had to be fulfilled — as it was! —(To be continued)

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BEHOLD THE MAN

 

(Meditations in Luke's Gospel)

by JIM FLANIGAN, (Belfast)

12. His Crucifixion

At nine o'clock in the morning on that dark day, they crucified Him. From Gethsemane with its agony, through Gabbatha with its mockery, He had walked to Golgotha. For this day He had waited. Now His hour had come. It was Passover, and He was the true Paschal Lamb, without blemish or spot. Now He would be slain; His blood would be shed.

The hours of the preceding night had been dark and difficult. The traitor had kissed Him and betrayed Him. Peter had denied Him and had wept bitterly. The chief priests had tried Him and had delivered Him to Pilate. Pilate had sent Him to Herod, and Herod had sent Him back to Pilate. Jew and Gentile were joined in their rejection of Him. He had been mocked and maligned. They had spat on Him, beaten Him, stripped Him and scourged Him, They had crowned Him with thorns and robed Him in purple. And through it all He had remained silent, unmurmuring and uncomplaining; He opened not His mouth (Isaiah 53.7). A Man of sorrows indeed, condemned to die by crucifixion, and two malefactors led out with Him to the Place of a Skull.

If we can identify Calvary correctly today, it is the northern tip of the hill which is Mount Moriah. Two hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the Maccabees had cut a highway through the hill. The greater, southern part of the hill is the Temple Mount. On the other side of the highway, outside the city wall, is that rocky prominence with the skull features, Golgotha. Centuries earlier another father and son had walked together to Moriah (Gen 22). It was an early foreshadowing of this scene, Father and Son moving together to the place of sacrifice.

For at least part of the way He carried His cross, He walks calmly amid the tumult, the shouts of the men and the tears of the women. Gently He speaks comfort to these. "Weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children". "His blood be on us and on our children", the multitudes had cried to Pilate. "Weep for them" says the Lord Jesus. Less than forty years later, in AD 70, more than a million Jews perished in the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. No doubt some of these were present at Calvary. And today, near to the site of the House of Caiaphas on Mount Zion, there stands a monument to the memory of one million, two hundred thousand Jewish children who died in the holocaust. And the worst is yet to come.

The Gospels do not record all the painful details of the crucifixion. It was an ignominious death, employed by the Romans only for slaves, aliens and traitors. Other offending Roman citizens were beheaded if guilty of death. So does Paul write, "Even the death of the cross" (Phil 2:8). For the greater detail and for the feelings of Christ, we must turn to the Psalms, and especially Psalm 22. There was the nailing of His hands and feet to the wood. Gentle hands that had been laid on little children and upon their sick, now spiked cruelly to the tree. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings", their prophet had written (Isaiah 52.7), but those feet were spiked, like His hands, to the cross.

There followed the lifting up of the cross. Crucifixion was known as a "lifting up" (John 12.32-33). The Son of Man must be lifted up. What shame was this, lifted up, bereft of garments, lifted up to the irreverent gaze of wicked men. "All my bones are out of joint", He cries (Psalm 22.14), as the heavy cross would be jolted into the socket in the ground. "They gaped upon Me". "They look and stare upon Me".

The physical weakness of the Crucified was painful. "I am poured out like water". "My strength is dried up." And with this the awful thirst. For three hours He hung under the burning Jerusalem sun. "My tongue cleaveth to my jaws". "I thirst". And they touched His parched lips with vinegar. They gambled for His clothing while He suffered. He was the gentle hind of the dawn, surrounded by bulls and dogs, by the proud and arrogant bulls of Bashan, the leaders of the nation, and by the fierce dogs of Rome, unleashed upon Him.

From the third hour (9 a.m.) until noonday, the sun blazed upon Him. Then suddenly, supernaturally, the sun withdrew its light. There followed three mysterious hours of darkness which covered the land. The sinless One is now the Sin-bearer. The guiltless Substitute is taking the place of the guilty. He was made sin for us. Jehovah deals with Him accordingly. "Eloi Eloi lama sabacthani?"

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemned He stood; Sealed my pardon with His blood; Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

At the ninth hour (3 p.m.) He cried with a loud voice. Probably He cried only one word, "Finished!" The saving work was done. The suffering and pain were over. The darkness was past.

Crucified, crucified, and nailed upon the tree; With pierced hands, and feet, and side; For you; for me.

God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

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PAPERS ON PROPHECY

by The Late W. W. Fereday (written in 1897/98)

VOLUME I

Paper 3c—The Judgement of the Dead

In pursuing our subject, we have now reached the end of time. Christ is the Judge of the dead, even as of the living. "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honour, the Son, even as they honour the Father" (John 5.22,23). How solemn that men should have to stand before Him! The One who died for sinners, and rose again: the One who has waited throughout this period of Divine long-suffering and grace, able and willing to save all who believe, however lost or vile! Then for men to have to stand before Him at the end! What shame and confusion of face! What speechlessness! Will men in Christendom be able to say that they never heard His Name, nor the sound of saving grace? Will they be able to plead that the Word of God, containing the record of His grace and truth, was never placed within their reach? Neither will nor can be urged in extenuation of their position. The sentence of God will be justified by each and all.

"And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from Whose face the earth and the heavens fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God (or 'the throne'), and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell (Hades) delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell (Hades) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20.11-15). It is a "great" throne, for the most momentous of all questions is to be settled there; "white" because of the holiness and righteousness of all that is there enacted. All who are not raised in the first resurrection must then rise, the mighty voice of the Son of God calling them from their tombs. The sea comes forward with its contingent, as Hades delivers up the spirits to be reunited with the bodies. The books tell their tale, all is faithfully recorded by a holy God. The Word of God will be there, even as the Lord Jesus said, "The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge you in the last day" (John 12.48). Every word heard, every chapter read, only increases responsibility, if not received by faith in the heart. How does the reader stand in view of all this? Has the reader been cleansed from his sins by the blood of Jesus? Is forgiveness yours, and justification and acceptance in the risen Christ?

If not, lose no time, we entreat you. The present period of grace and mercy is fast hastening to its close, and soon the Master of the house will rise up and shut the door. Then all hope must flee, mercy will be no more. What a contrast! Eternal glory in the Father's house for all who believe in the Son; a long eternity of woe in the lake of fire for all who avail not themselves of His wondrous grace.

—(to be continued DV).

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Some Psalms of Asaph

by D. S. Parrack, (Somerset)

No. 1—Psalm 75

From the claims made in this psalm it would seem that the words are spoken prophetically of the Lord Jesus. No one else could make such statements regarding the present (e.g. v3) or the future (e.g. v2). Accepting the psalm on this basis, vl may be seen as introductory, looking forward to what the Lord Himself is about to say.

v1 Introduction. God seen as the source of all blessing and the rightful recipient of thanksgiving

One of the baleful characteristics of natural, unregenerate man, linked to their own rebellion against God, was that "when they knew God they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful" (Rom. 1.21). Not being thankful evidences that there is no appreciation of God and no response to Him. As believers we are exhorted, "Do not err my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights" (James 1.17). There is no one else to whom we can look with any confidence. Everything, including any effort of our own, is subject to failure and will, if depended on, brings only disappointment. Asaph points us to the one sure source of blessing and sets us an example of thankfulness. "Unto Thee O God do we give thanks," and repeats himself for emphasis, "unto Thee do we give thanks".

But we may sometimes feel that things have gone very wrong in our souls, that our perception of God's activity has dwindled almost into nothingness. How can we be assured of the continuity of His care and love when we are in that unhappy state of heart? When the scriptures speak of a person's name, the whole personality and character are included. So God's nearness is borne witness to by what He has done and is doing. "For that Thy name is near, Thy wondrous works declare." The one work, the one act of God which envelopes and includes all others is the giving of the Lord Jesus for us at Calvary. "Herein us love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4.10). That giving leads to and ensures the never changing nearness of the Lord Jesus to His people. "For he hath said, I will never leave thee or forsake thee" (Heb. 13.5). That is how we know His nearness, not by any warm glow in our hearts, because that comes and goes as we change, but because of the altogether dependable promise of the One who Himself never changes (see e.g. Heb. 13.8).

v2/10 The Lord Jesus speaks directly to His people with statements and promises

The form of address changes from the 'we' of v1 to the I of the rest of the psalm. Having associated himself with the people of God in indebtedness and response to God's goodness, Asaph now records His personal words to us.

Although it seems scarcely possible, from the chaotic state in which things are today, a time is coming when all the iniquities of this world will be put to rights. "When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly." That is the promising statement of the Lord Jesus and refers to the period when He will return with His redeemed people to reign on this earth for 1000 years. The dreadful state into which man's sin has brought not only himself as a race but the whole of natural creation as well, is such that, "The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved." Only one Person is capable of retrieving the situation, the very One who in the beginning brought everything into being is now the One who holds them together (see e.g. Col. 1, 16.17). "I bear up the pillars of it," Selah—Think about that.

But we are living now in the period preceding the 1000 years, and in our lifetime the sustaining grace and power of the Lord Jesus is just as essential. Man may still be acting in ways which are totally contrary to the expressed will of God but that is by His allowing, not as the result of any lack of ability on His part to exercise control (see e.g. Prov. 8, 15.16). In this dispensation, whilst God may not seem to be intervening directly in the affairs of this planet He is nonetheless speaking to the hearts of even the most obdurate of men and their refusal to respond is their own responsibility not His. "I said unto the fools — and to the wicked." Both of these categories of people may feel that they can do quite nicely without God's help. From the human point of view many of them have done, at least for a time. Who would have said say, in 1941, that the wickedness of Nazism had not put Hitler into a position of power, unrivalled globally? Or that by 1947 Stalin had not engineered himself into a dominant position in Europe and most of Asia? But where are those individuals, their followers and their policies now? "Promotion cometh neither from the east nor from the west," so much for the super-power aspirations. But neutral nation status is no more effective for the psalm goes on to say, "nor from the south.' The only one whose appointing on any level is worthwhile is God Himself. "God is the judge, He putteth down one and setteth up another." That 'setting up' may not always be what we would have expected (see e.g. Dan. 4.17), but it will accomplish God's purpose even if without the cooperation of the one appointed (see e.g. Isa. 10.5-7).

Even in this life however, it is by no means unknown for individuals, indeed often for nations, to reap the results of what they have sown. Paul's part warning, part encouragement along these lines (see Gal. 6, 7-10) can best be seen as applying to individual or small group dealings, but when Hosea was writing it was of those priding themselves as being the people of God whilst acting in a way which denied that claim. Of them nationally he prophesies "They have sown the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind" (Hos. 8.7).

In one sense the choice as to which form of reaping follows what kind of sowing is the responsibility of the individual. "For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup and the wine is red". That may sound an attractive proposition, but the vessel contains more than one kind of drink. "It is full of mixture". God is the One who pours out the contents, "He poureth out the same". There are however those who will not avail themselves of the good portion, "but the dregs thereof all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out and drink them." That is a deliberate policy and action on their part, it is not of God's doing nor in accord with His will, for "God our Saviour — will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2.4).

On the opposite side of the divide the Lord Jesus stands with and for His people, that is His eternal stance. "I will declare for ever, I will sing praises to the God of Jacob." This indivisible union is evidenced in both the 'declaring' and the 'singing'. "I will declare they name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee" (Heb. 2.12).

The horn in scripture is a symbol of strength and security (see e.g. Deut. 33,17 & 1 Kings 1.50). In both senses, "all the horns of the wicked also will I cut off." There is neither strength nor security in anyone or anything else save the Lord Jesus Himself. As far as believers are concerned, those seen as righteous not on the basis of their own merits but because of the imputed righteousness of God (see e.g. Rom. 4.22-25), the assured promise is given them, "the horns of the righteous shall be exalted" Since we recognise our strength and security to be in Him alone, it is those attributes of His which will be exalted, brought to fruition in our lives, and remember that He is not speaking here of heaven but of our experiences in this world. —(to be continued D.V.)

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EPHESIANS EXPOUNDED

by A. D. THROPAY (California)

Paper 19

II. THE BEHAVIOUR OF GOD'S MASTERPIECE 4.1-6.23

 

D. Walking in the light 5.8-14

 
Verse 8

—For: (gar) this word means "Because." It is introducing the reason for what was said in verse 7.

—ye were sometimes: (pote) "at some time or other;" "previously."

—darkness: (skotos) That is, "darkness itself." It does not say that they were in darkness, but that they were darkness itself. Persons . . . "in whom darkness becomes visible and holds sway." This does not discount the fact that they were were also living in the sphere of darkness. The Lord Jesus mentioned this while He was on earth. John 12.35 "Then Jesus said unto them, 'Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth." John 12.46 "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness."

—but: (de) this word is used to show distinction between two thoughts or situations.

—now: (nun) at the present time during which he was writing.

—are ye light: (phos) Again, they are not only in light, they are light itself! We cannot see the light reflected in the physical realm, we can only see the "Fruit of light" described in verse 9. Those that belong to God and those that do not belong to Him are easily detected in the spirit realm by spirit beings. God's children shine out as lights.

—in the Lord: He is the sphere in which our light shines. He is also the source of our brilliance. II Corinthians 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."

—Walk: (peripateo) Literally means, "walk around." It came to mean, "order one's behaviour; conduct oneself." The tense is present imperative, "keep on walking or conducting yourselves."

—as children: (teknon) "born ones".

—of light: Conduct yourselves as those who were born from light. A person who is born from light is actually born from God. We are told in 1 John 1.15 "This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." If they are lights, the light is obviously not for themselves but for others. Paul explained this in Philippians 2.15 "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;" The Lord Jesus said the same thing recorded in Matthew 5.14-16 "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Verse 9

—for: (gar) explaining and confirming what is stated in verse 8.

—the fruit: (karpos) A figurative term for the moral results of anything. In this case it refers to the moral results of light. (Expositors).

—of the spirit: most manuscripts have "phos" here in keeping with the context, "the fruit of light ..."

—is in all: (pas) as verse 3, "every form of; every kind of."

—goodness: (agathosune) "Uprightness in heart and life." (Thayer) "Producing kindly activity on behalf of others." (Lightfoot) "Active goodness, beneficence." (Expositors) "the character that leads to good work towards others without any expectation or desire for recompense or repayment."

—and righteousness: (dikaiosune) The doing or being what is right, fair, just.

—and truth: (aletheia) "reality at the basis of an appearance." Being genuine, sincere, real.

Verse 10

—Proving: (dokimazo) "To test, examine, prove, scrutinize;" (Thayers) "To prove by testing." "To put to the test or prove by experience." "The ability to test a thing, see its value, and give full approval." (see TDNT; Wuest) This word is to be connected with verse 8. The thought of verse 8 was interrupted by the parenthesis in verse 9 which explained what the walk would consist of. This verse defines the "walk" required by each believer as conduct which is to be taken up as a constant evidence of what pleases the Lord.

—what is acceptable: (eureston) "well pleasing." (Cp. Colossians 1.10 "that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"

—unto the Lord:

Verse 11

—And have no fellowship: (sunkoinoneo) "to become a partaker together with others." A joint participation in a common interest or common activity.

—with the unfruitful: (akarpos) Cp. with "karpos" in verse 9. "Contributing nothing to the benefit of others, (see Thayers).

—works: (ergon) a deed, work, action. Anything accomplished by the hand or mind. (Thayer) Contrast "fruit" (verse 9) with "works" (in this verse). Fruit comes effortlessly to the branch on the vine. Works are exhausting. Cp. Galations 5.19-23.

—of darkness: (skotos) Literal darkness; moral or spiritual darkness.

—but rather: (mallon de) "in place of; instead of." It shows opposition to what precedes and does away with it. (See Thayers).

—even: (kai) even, also.

—reprove: (elengcho) To rebuke with sufficient cause, then to refute with evidence so as to convince and bring about conviction.

(As II Timothy 4.2; Titus 1.9) The scriptures are the source for reproof. LEARN THE SCRIPTURES, NOT ERROR IN ORDER TO REBUKE OR CONVINCE THOSE THAT BELIEVE OR TEACH ERROR. See verses 12,13. Also see Titus 1.9 "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." II Timothy 3.16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:".

Verse 12

—For: (gar) The basic meaning of "gar" is "because." (J. N. Darby) This word is used to explain why he made the statement that he did in verse 11.

—it is a shame: (aischron) Strictly means, "ugly, deformed." Hence, it is used for something that is unbecoming, improper, indecorous, dishonorable, shameful, and disgraceful.

—even: (kai) "even, also,".

—to speak of those things which are done: (present tense of ginomai) "are being done, performed, produced."

—of: (hupo) Literally, "under." That is, under the power and direction of; by.

—them in secret: (kruphe) secretly, not openly. Many unbelievers practice things secretly that are too ugly to mention. It is better to openly rebuke the practice and separate from those that practice it, than to silently ignore what they are doing and fellowship with them. Compare Lot, II Peter 2.7,8 "And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)."

Verse 13

—But: (de) Paul is now making a distinction between what occurs when a person reproves the unfruitful works of darkness instead of having fellowship with them.

—all things: (panta) that is, "all things of darkness"

—that are reproved: (elengcho) so as to convince and bring about conviction.

—are made manifest: (phonero) To present to view, display, lay bare.

—by: (hupo) under.

—the light: The position of this phrase, "by the light" in the Greek text allows connection with what precedes as well as with what follows. The placement of words should be as follows, "But all things that are reproved by the light are made manifest." It is the light that reproves, and it is the light that makes manifest.

—For: (gar) Introducing the reason for the above statement.

—whatsoever: (pan) or, "everything." Paul is making a general statement to reinforce the first statement.

—doth make manifest: (phaneroo) this word is passive as above and can be translated, "that is made manifest." (Expositors, Pulpit, Newberry).

—is light: This is a truism. All darkness that light shines on becomes light. Morally, evil avoids the light and loves darkness rather than light. John 3.20 "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." However, he is eventually brought to the light and is manifest in that light.

What light is referred to?

  1. The believer is referred to as light in the context (verse 8). His presence reproves the unfruitful works of darkness.
  2. The life of the believer is referred to as light in the context (Verses 8, 9). The believer is a light source (a lamp). His actions are the shining out of that light. See Matthew 5.14, 16 "Ye are the light of the world .... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
  3. God is Light in the context (Verse 8). If we are to "walk as children of light," there must be a Father of lights. James.1.17 says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." See also, I John 1.5.
  4. The Lord Jesus Christ is Light in the context (Verse 14).
  5. God's word is light. Psalms 119.105 "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Also please see II Peter 1.19.
Verse 14

—Wherefore: (dio) "On which account," or "Things being as I have stated them." (Expositors).

—He saith, "awake thou: (egeirō) The aorist imperative tense in the middle voice means, "awake yourself, arouse yourself, get up." Many manuscripts have the present imperative tense, which means, "Up!" "Awake!"

—that sleepest: {(katheudō) From kata = down; and eudӧ = to sleep.}

Literally, "to sleep down." It refers to "a deep sleep; a sound sleep. It is used metaphorically of spiritual sleep.

—and arise: (anasta) "stand up, rise up."

—from: (ek) out from.

—the dead: The dark condition of sin explained above is described by two figures in this verse: A profound sleep and death.

—and Christ shall give thee light: (epiphauskō) "To shine upon, shed light upon, give light upon."

Various interpretations of the verse:

  1. "The clause as we have it means not merely 'Christ will cause His face to shine graciously upon thee,' but, 'Christ will shine upon thee with light of His truth and bring thee out of the pagan darkness of ignorance and immorality." Expositors.
  2. "Since it is light that manifests, there must be a rousing voice to awake the sleeper, that the light of life may be poured fully upon him .... The command .... 'awake .... and arise from the dead.' The first thing is to open the eyes; but we are not to suppose that the sinner has any power of himself to open them .... It is the light which Christ is to shed upon the sleeper that will waken him. Just as the sun in the natural heavens, shining upon the eye of the sleeper, awakes him, so the beams of the Sun of Righteousness end the sleep of death." (Pulpit Commentary, Homilies).

Where is the quote taken from? There is no exact counterpart in the Old Testament. The passage that is closest to it is Isaiah 60.1. "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee."

  1. Some say that Paul only intended to give the spirit of the passage in Isaiah 60.1.
  2. Some suggest that he is quoting a saying of our Lord not recorded in the Gospels.
  3. The verse is written in a rhythmical pattern. Some believe that this is a part of a very ancient hymn or liturgical composition."
  4. The spirit of the passage in Isaiah 60.1 and 26.19 may have been put into poetry and quoted by Paul in this passage. (From Expositors, Pulpit Commentary).
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A CALL TO FULL-TIME SERVICE

by R. Catchpole (London, England)

Every believer has been called of God. The apostle writing in 1 Cor. 1.24 describes such as "them that are called", this call being to salvation. Other verses develop various aspects of this call:

  1. that it is "of God", 1 Thess. 2.12,
  2. "according to his own purpose and grace", 2 Tim. 1.9,
  3. that it came "by the Gospel", 2 Thess. 2.14.

The results of this call are likewise clearly stated:

  1. "called out of darkness into his marvellous light", 1 Pet. 2.9,
  2. "called unto the fellowship of his Son", 1 Cor. 1.9,
  3. "called unto his eternal glory", 1 Pet. 5.10.

Since every believer has been called of God it follows that all are to be servants of God, indeed Paul expressed it thus, "being made free from sin and become servants to God", Rom. 6.22. It should not surprise us therefore that while we tend to divide the secular life from the spiritual life there is no such division in the Scriptures, the believer is to do all "as to the Lord", Col. 3.23. We should not miss the tremendous dignity this gave to even the service of a slave, and although all believers are not called to be "set apart" to the work as were Paul and Barnabas, Acts 13.2, it nevertheless surely behoves each one to seek God's will for his life that he might be found in the service of God's choosing.

THE CALL TO SERVICE

That God sets some apart to a particular work for Him is clearly illustrated in the Scriptures, Moses, Ex. 3.4; Gideon, Jud. 6.11—39; and Elisha, 1 Kings 19.19—21 are fitting examples and no doubt others readily come to the readers' mind. It is essential that any contemplating such work for Christ are first fully assured that they have a definite call from God. The servant of God is not immune from discouragements and difficulties and at such times reassurance can be drawn by looking back to that initial call and conviction.

The Call:— While God is sovereign in whom He chooses it does appear that He limits Himself to those that are willing to go. In Isaiah 6.8, the Lord said "whom shall I send, and who will go for us". The phrase "whom shall I send" demonstrates that God elects His workmen, but the words that follow "who will go for us" suggests that He limits Himself to those who are willing to respond to that call. This is, we must stress, a general principle, and we must not infer from it that all who are willing will automatically be called. Again we must not limit God, for Jonah is a clear example of His dealings with one who was reluctant to go, though do not forget that the prophet had already been used in the service of God, 2 Kings 14.25.

The Conviction:— Having established that God does call individuals to particular service for Him the immediate question to be addressed is "how can I know if God is calling me?" This in turn opens up the broader issue of knowing God's will for my life.

Prayerfully three things need to be considered.

  1. In what direction are my desires and inclinations leading me?" We recognise that God might call us to a field of service for which initially we might have little desire. If that be so then over the following months there will be an increasing awareness that this is indeed God's will for us and with that a willing acceptance of, and growing interest in, that work.
  2. Are the circumstances of my life also pointing in that direction? We should expect to see the hand of God overruling our pathway to that same end.
  3. Do I have a direct word from the Lord? This might come from my own personal reading of the Scriptures or through the ministry of other saints. When God is calling to a definite pathway these three features will be found in total harmony. They are well illustrated in the life of Jacob, see Gen. 30.25; 31.1,2; 31.3. It should be appreciated that definite conviction of a call to service does not come overnight but is the fruit of much spiritual exercise over a protracted period of time. A period in which the servant will apply himself to prayer and to the study of God's Word, and in which he is gaining experience in God's work and ways in preparation for his future service.

The Commendation:— Thus far we have spoken of God's call as it affects the individual, there is however another aspect that is equally important before he can step out into the Lord's work, and that is the need for a similar conviction on the part of the local assembly that he has indeed been called of God, for it is they who are responsible to commend him to the grace of God for that work, see Acts 13.1—4; 14.26. It is evident that God's calling of Barnabas and Saul was made known to, and recognised by, the saint's at Antioch. The local assembly should expect that any believer seeking their commendation will :—

  1. have been a committed member of the assembly,
  2. have shown an interest and an ability for the particular line of service to which they feel they have been called,
  3. have seen the hand of God blessing them in that sphere,
  4. have shown spiritual maturity, a love of God's Word, and an ability to work in fellowship with others.

Many other items could be added to this list but these are basic features that should be true of all who seek commendation. Should there be any reservations on the part of the commending assembly, it is essential for the servant to prayerfully wait until such time as he has their confidence and approval in this matter. It might be objected that a commendation could be withheld, not for spiritual reasons, but purely from personal prejudices and that in such a case one truly called of God might be hindered from going. Surely we believe that as the servant prayerfully commits the matter to God, He can change attitudes and remove any obstacles to the fulfilment of His will. Alternatively reluctance on the part of spiritually minded brethren will prevent the believer entering into a field of service to which he has not been called or for which he is not yet ready.

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A SWEET SAVOUR

by Donald M. Clark (Stoney Creek)

Song of Solomon 1.3: "Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee."

In this verse it is the savour "of thy good ointments" that is before us. To savour something means that it is treasured, enjoyed and valued by the recipient. Since the Lord Jesus is typically spoken of here we may apprehend the "good ointments" to direct our hearts to the glory of his Person and work.

There are types in the Word of God that will help us understand what is spoken of in this verse.

First let us turn our attention to the holy anointing oil as given to us in Ex. 30.23-25: "Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, and of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: and thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil."

The ingredients of this holy anointing oil have been recorded by the Holy Spirit for our instruction and learning, not merely as a recipe. By considering them we may receive help in understanding the phrase "thy good ointments" in our verse above.

The first ingredient is myrrh which is a resin that is obtained from a Mid-East shrub. It is bitter to taste but is used as a perfume. The bitterness suggests to us the cross of the Lord, which was surely most bitter. There God dealt with Christ about our sins. For the believer it is a sweet perfume because that bitterness of the cross resulted in our redemption.

The next, cinnamon, is obtained by stripping the bark from an aromatic tree and exposing the bark to the sun. This turns our thoughts to the extreme cruelty of the cross. There the Lord of Glory was crucified. How intense the suffering for the sinless Lamb of God, exposed to all the cruelty of man. We can scarcely take in the fact that He endured the cross to display His absolute obedience to the will of God and His love to us. "With joy and sorrow mingling we do remember thee!"

The third ingredient is calamus. Strictly speaking this was a reed, which had a fragrant smell, and when dried and pounded formed a valuable ingredient for rich perfumes. The reed that was placed in the right hand of the Lord Jesus in mockery comes before us, Matt. 27:29-30: "And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head." What humiliation for the Son of God to be so treated by the very creatures His hand had made. This is another element of Christ's work that contributed to the fragrance of the anointing oil. A verse of a hymn by Bernard of Clairvaux expresses the thought.

"O Head! once full of bruises,
So full of pain and scorn, 'Mid other sore abuses Mocked with a crown of thorn; O Head! e'en now surrounded
With brightest majesty, In death once bowed and wounded
On the accursed tree."

Cassia was obtained by stripping the bark from an aromatic plant. Our Lord was stripped of all His garments and a purple robe placed upon him, again to add to His humiliation. He was degraded in the eyes of man, but He who was so humiliated had been exalted by God to the highest place of all, at His own right hand. Along with myrrh and aloes it will perfume the garments of the Lord when He returns as King. (Psalm 45.8) Further His precious name has been set above every name. Phil. 2.9,10. And so once again from the bitterness of the cross came forth a sweet savour.

The last ingredient was olive oil. Gethsemane means "oil press," for there was a garden of olive trees. Olive oil is extracted from the olive by pressing it. What an appropriate name for the place where, in His agony, in anticipation of being made sin for us, Jesus passed through the press, so to speak. What intense pressure was brought to bear on Him as the horror of our sins being borne on His sinless person came before Him. "And His sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling down to the ground," Luke 22:44.

The combination of these four ingredients as holy anointing oil were not to be duplicated nor to serve any other purpose. So the work of the sufferings of Christ could not be duplicated, nor can salvation be obtained by any other means than through faith in Him who completed the work. We have received an anointing by the Holy Spirit which should permeate our entire being and send forth the fragrance of Christ.

A further type will be found in the offerings spoken of in Leviticus chapters 1 to 3.

In them is revealed His total and absolute commitment to fulfilling God's will at whatever cost. The Burnt Offering, the Meal Offering and the Peace Offering are all spoken of as Sweet Savour offerings. (Lev. 1.13, 2.3, 3.5) This cannot be said of the Trespass and Sin offerings for sin was dealt with there.

The Burnt Offering, which was wholly consumed on the altar, tells us that Christ gave Himself up wholly for the glory of God. The offerer placed his hand on the head of the sacrifice, by this means all of the virtue of the sacrifice was transferred to him, whereas, in the Sin offering all of the sins of the offerer were transferred to the sacrifice.

In the Meal Offering we have the Person of the Lord presented in His grace and perfectness as a living man. His life was fragrant to God (frankincense) while His sufferings are typified by the baking of the offering in the oven.

The Peace Offering presents Christ as the basis of our communion with God. Is the bridge between the sin offering, where our sins are dealt with, and leads to our position, as accepted in the Beloved, in the Burnt Offering.

Paul sums up these offerings in Eph. 5.2, "Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour."

When we are gathered together in His presence (Matt. 18.20) we savour His good ointments as we remember all that He was in His person and all that He was to God as He gave Himself as an Offering wholly to God and as our Substitute.

These are the savours that should come to our hearts as we hear the name of our Blessed Saviour exalted, Now we understand the balance of the verse, "thy name is as ointment poured faith, therefore do the virgins love thee." The virgins would speak of those who were in His presence and savoured the delights of the "good ointments" associated with His name. Our hearts should burn within us as we contemplate who this Person was and His perfect sacrifice at Calvary.

Song of Solomon 1.12, "While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof."

On a Lord's Day morning, as we gather at the table of the Lord, we know that the very Lord of Glory is in our midst. It is our privilege to show forth His death, (1 Cor. 11.26) a witness to the world that our Saviour died that we might live. Having been saturated with the savour of His good ointments, our (worship) spikenard should send forth the smell thereof. It should rise as sweet incense to God. Our hearts should be filled with His beauties and our praise and thanksgiving should overflow to our Lord.

One further illustration. John 12.3: "Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment." Mary's action here serves as an example of the worship associated with the remembrance of the Lord. She had entered into what the Lord would pass through in His death and anointed the Lord's body beforehand unto the burying. The consequence was that the whole house was filled with the odour. The remembrance supper should have the same effect on those gathered to remember Him.

Since she used her hair to wipe His feet with the ointment then it follows that wherever she went she too would give evidence of having been in the presence of Jesus. What a wonderful example for us! May we too carry that sweet savour with us wherever we go. 2 Cor. 2.14-15, "But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph — as trophies of Christ's victory — and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere. For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ unto God." (Amplified Bible)

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OUR LORD IN GETHSEMANE

"My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death " Matthew 26:38.

We ought often to sit down with our Lord in Gethsemane, and look upon Him while He suffers. We never can understand more than a very little of the anguish of that hour in the garden, yet we should often study it. Some hints of its meaning may be reverently mentioned.

Before our Lord there lay the betrayal, the arrest, the trial with all its mockery and humiliation, then death amid the ignominy of the cross. These physical sufferings alone made an anguish that was terrible to endure. Another element of our Lord's suffering was the falseness of the human hearts about Him. There were the traitorous kiss of Judas, the sad denial of Peter, the flight and desertion of the other disciples, the rejection and crucifixion by the people He had come to save. All this He foresaw from Gethsemane.

But that which made the very essence of the anguish of Gethsemane was the fact that Jesus was to be made sin and bear our sins. What that meant to Him we never can know. We know only what is most dimly shadowed for us in the deep words of Holy Scripture, which speak of His vicarious sacrifice. They are such words as these: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!"— "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all"—"He bare our sins in his own body on the tree"—"He hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." We are sure, at least, that the death of Jesus was not like the death of any other man, even though others did endure the physical sufferings that attended our Lord's agony. In some way, though innocent and holy Himself, and without sin, He was to die for sin. The mystery we never can fathom, but the fact we must remember as we watch with our Lord in Gethsemane. —Selected

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MY CONVERSION AND CALL (28)

by Alex Wilson (Canada)

It was a cold morning on February 9, 1925 at 5.45 a.m. in our home in North Vancouver, B.C., Canada that I passed from death to life by faith in the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Being raised in a Christian home is a great privilege yet carries with it added responsibility. The former was my experience as every Sunday I was under the sound of the Word of God and in Sunday School committed to memory many passages of the Bible. From my earliest years there was a consciousness that things were not right between my soul and God. Two scriptures in particular spoke to me — Job 33.27-28 and Isaiah 53.5. Two years before God saved me, while about thirteen years of age, interest in things that attract boys that age waned in light of the thought of my soul's salvation. Especially Sunday night after listening to the Gospel, getting to sleep was most difficult and the thought of being killed as I rode my bicycle around Vancouver troubled me.

On this certain night in February as I neared the age of fifteen years, lying on my bed repeating "He looketh upon men", the fact that God looked upon me and knew all about me was intensely real but sleep overcame me. At about 5.30 the next morning I awoke and my first thought was "Why not get this matter settled right now." So down on my knees with God looking into my very being and confessing my sinnership and my desperate need of salvation, I just simply took God at His word: "He will deliver his souls from going into the pit". I knew from Job 33 and Isaiah 53.5 that the ransom had been paid.

Payment God will not twice demand
First at my bleeding Surety's hand
Then again at mine

The peace of God filled my soul, the heavy laden had found rest. My younger brother sleeping across the room never stirred or realized that a great transaction had taken place and the destiny of a soul had been changed from hell to heaven.

Being timid, the news which would make my parents happy was not told for a couple of days, and when confession was made, they were not surprised as they had already noticed a change in me.

The brethren baptized me on June 2nd, 1925 and a week later I was received into the fellowship of the assembly.

Like most backward boys, it was not easy to start taking a public part but an exercise was there and with the encouragement of the brethren and help of the Lord this was gradually achieved.

My first employment was with a grocery store, helping with • customers and doing deliveries. Later I started with one of the brethren as an apprentice in the plastering business and was employed a number of years.

At the Easter conference in North Vancouver one of the responsible brethren said to me "I hear you are going up country with Alex McGaughy, a commended worker." This statement no doubt was meant as an encouragement and caught me by surprise. My job had temporarily terminated, so seeking the mind of the Lord, this appeared to be the door opening for me. Thus we were found leaving with our dear brother in the 1924 Chevrolet Van that had been fitted and remodelled for living and sleeping in. We touched towns and farms on our way east spreading the gospel in tract form and having open air meetings whenever the circumstance presented itself. We went almost four hundred miles north, then east to the Okanagan Valley, souls were saved and this was a real stimulant and encouragement. We returned to our home area and had meetings in schools, upper rooms and rented halls and were encouraged to hear of some coming to Christ.

As the year 1933 came, I was not as yet a commended worker but had been clearly taught a person should be commended by the assembly for the work of the Lord. We had a series near our home area for eight weeks in one place, followed by six weeks in the gospel eighty miles away. God blessed in both instances and as this is being written, fruit remains in the assemblies to this day. It was during this year the brethren laid their hands on me in identification commending me to the grace of God for the work of the Lord.

We have laboured much in northern Saskatchewan with brother Hector Alves, sometimes under very trying circumstances, but "The Lord working with us" gave a compensating joy which made our light affliction seem but for a moment.

Then I married and moved to Central Canada. Many summers were spent on the Canadian Prairies with Jim Ronald and other brethren. Our journeys reached into the northern part of the United States where there are assemblies and fruit in the gospel was seen. On two occasions we got to the east coast helping the assemblies there, also paid a visit to Alaska where Brother Thompson labours.

Now, and in failing health, after sixty years seeking to serve the best of Masters, one can bear witness to the words of scripture, "God is faithful, God is able and there hath not failed one word of all His good promises" 1 Kings 8.56. To God only wise be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen, Romans 16.27.

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Quotes

 

Make me go in the way of Thy commandments
Psalm 119 v 35
 
In the way of Thy commandments,
Lord make me now to go;
Teach me to understand their meaning
And at Thy feet keep low.
 
Thy holy precepts seek to learn,
With all my heart each day,
And meditate in all Thy law
And all Thy grace display.
 
Thy testimonies are wonderful,
To be observed by all;
Who seek to learn from
Thee alone And on Thy name do call.
 
Teach us, Oh Lord, Thy statutes
That songs may rise to Thee;
From lips of praise and worship,
Until Thy face we see.
 
Quicken Thou our footsteps,
As pilgrims travelling on;
To that bright celestial city,
Till day eternal dawns.
 
As strangers pressing homeward,
To Heaven's fair land above;
Leaving behind earth's sorrows,
We triumph in His love.
 
To seek His will and guidance,
Is now required no more;
We've reached our home in glory,
On that bright and tearless shore.
 
—R. Magill (Belfast)

"THE LORD IS DUE!"
 
Yet a little while,
And He will come
For many bringing joy
But — sadly for some!
 
Why should it be
That it is thus so,
Is it not because
For Him they did not go?
 
For when the Lord
That task did give,
They'd laid it aside;
For — the world to live!
 
Dear one reading this,
Which one are you?
Take quickly stock now!
For — The Lord is Due!
 
—John W. Diamond (Guernsey)
 
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