September/October 1991

Printer-friendly version

Contents

EXPLANATION OF A NEGLECTED CHAPTER 1 CORINTHIANS 7
by Eric G. Parmenter

THE PROPHECY OF AMOS
by E. R Bower

THE MINISTRY OF THE RISEN LORD
by J. B. Hewitt

STUDIES IN THE LIFE OF AARON
by T. Meekin

EPHESIANS EXPOUNDED
by A. D. Thropay

VITAL VERITIES
by E. W. Rogers

PERILOUS TIMES OF THE LAST DAYS
by W. J. M'Clure

MY CONVERSION AND CALL
by A. Aiken

Quotes


An Explanation of a Neglected Chapter — 1 Corinthians 7

by ERIC G. PARMENTER, Basingstoke

PART 3

THE CALL OF GOD AND ITS EFFECTS, Verses 18-24. The apostle widens his instructions to take in certain distinction found among the believers, some in the religious realm, others in the social. Throughout this section Paul is showing that their conversion does not involve removing outward signs or social position. When the call of God came some of those who were saved had Jewish connections, in that case they were not to remove the outward sign of circumcision and where those who believed were slaves they were not to alter their position, but rather 'use it' to glorify God: "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called." If liberty for the slave became possible such was to be used verse 21, but all will be governed by their new relationship with the Lord.

The call in verse 22 relates to the time of their conversion, and as being "in the Lord" they were now subject to His authority in all their circumstances; those who were free when they became saved they are now the bondservants of Christ. Note the difference in the titles "in the Lord" — authority which demands subjection "Christ's servant" — emphasises His grace.

BOUGHT WITH A PRICE, verse 23. This is a reminder that the ground of their freedom from sin's slavery is the blood of Christ, and whatever their distinctions or positions whether religious or social Christ died to make them His servants, i.e. for them to be at His disposal. Therefore they were not to become the servants of men. Paul makes an important addition in relation to the call of God to what he has said in verse 20, ". . . therein abide with God"— literally "before God." Thus their position may be that of bondslaves, but instead of trying to alter things, they were to live out their lives "before" God in the conscious realisation of His presence knowing that any change they might desire can be left with God and His will for them.

COUNSEL FOR THE UNMARRIED Verses 25-40. Paul now reverts to the question which he was answering in verse 8 to give a fuller explanation as one having obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful: The apostle's "I think" verse 26 is not indication some doubt what he is to say, he has perfect confidence in the soundness of the principle to be enunciated.

PRESENT DISTRESS Verses 26-28. Evidently there were circumstances that had a noticeable bearing on what he is saying: Possibly pressures were being felt, therefore "this is good that a man be as he is" ie not to change his unmarried status verse 27. But if marriage is undertaken no sin is committed. Paul is not thinking of wrong doing but what is expedient. Trials and difficulties are often experienced in the responsibilities or married life, but he would spare them, meaning he would not press the point for them to remain unmarried.

SHORTENED TIME Verse 29-30. Paul declares that the time in which their life and circumstances were ordered, had been "drawn together" were "little in amount" and whatever remained of their future life down here was not to be governed by relationships, circumstances or possessions. Marriage relationships, circumstances which cause either joy or sorrow, the fashion of the world, are all transient and passing. The husband is to remember that in the responsibilities and relationships of marital life — his relationship to the Lord was higher and more permanent. Those who would possess goods — the word "possessed" having the meaning of "holding fast" "setting the heart on"— are to consider the transitory nature of such things — they are not to be absorbed with them, but as possessing them, hold everything in trust in the consciousness of their stewardship before God. The phrase "not abusing it" means not to "use it to the full", or not "over-using it" as if it were the great object of living, and the reason the apostle gives is " the fashion or outward form, of the world passeth away".

IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE Verse 32-35. The apostle expresses his desire for the Corinthians in verse 32 "I would have you without carefulness." He would encourage them to live without worrying or being over anxious and then outlines the differences between the Unmarried and the Married. The man who remains unmarried "careth for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord". The things, and the pleasure of the Lord occupies him without the distractions of a wife which also may limit his service for the Lord: "But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife." There is no suggestion by the apostle that the married man is "worldly minded" yet, in pleasing his wife he becomes involved in worldly matters. There is nothing superior in the single state only that such a man has greater liberty to serve God.

WIFE AND A VIRGIN Verses 34-35. The same principle is applied by Paul to the wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman "cares for the things of the Lord that she may be holy both in body and spirit" ie her consecration to the Lord has not the distractions as that of a wife, for "she that is married careth for the things of the world with a view to pleasing her husband". The apostle in making these observations has in view the profit of the believers. There was no intention of casting a snare, like a man would cast a noose over a horse in order to catch the animal, the best interest of the saints were before him, in touching things that were becoming, with the ultimate end that whether single or married they might attend upon the Lord without distraction.

STEDFAST IN HEART Verses 36-38. These verses have been the subject of a variety of explanations, some have taken them to mean a father and his unmarried daughter. The word virgin can apply to a man or a woman, the context will generally decide which. The word "her" found in verse 36 and twice in verse 38 is in italics, indicating its absence in the Greek text. Paul has been concerned with the subject of the man and the woman either married, or widowed, which might suggest that this is so throughout. To introduce the father here means the apostle is addressing himself to another question raised by the Corinthians. Seeing the word "virgin" can also be translated "virginity" the interpretation that seems more in keeping with the subject matter of the chapter is, that Paul continues his instruction to the unmarried man, not one who is a father with a daughter of marriageable age. The phrase if "she pass the flower of age" does not refer to the daughter cf The Englishman's Greek New Testament 1550; and J N Darby's translation where the phrase is rendered "if he be beyond . . ." Thus the flower of age is better understood as "If he hath fully attained age." Paul's logic is that if anyone thinks he behaves unseemly to his virginity, having attained to the full vigour of age, let him do what he will, let them marry, for in doing this he sinneth not, verse 36. "But he who stands firm, with authority over his own will, having decided in his heart to keep his own virginity, he doeth well". The apostle in verse 38 sums up the matter — To marry is not sinful — the man does well: But he that remains single does better.

WIDOWS AND RE-MARRIAGE Verses 39-40. Paul in concluding the chapter makes a clear statement of fact in view of the creatorial purpose of God. "A wife is bound for whatever time her husband lives (verse 39 JND) but if her husband be dead ie fallen asleep, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will . . . confirming that the marriage bond although transient can only be broken at the death of the partner. Then the apostle brings forward an important principle: In re-marrying, the widow is not free to marry of her own choice with no reference to the Lord — As with all who contemplate marrying, the widow is to discern the Lord's will in her choice of partner, "Only in the Lord" expresses the authority of the Lord in the matter of earthly relationships. "But she is happier if she will so abide—after my judgment" and in giving his judgment Paul has the assurance and conviction that such is the mind of the Spirit of God.

AN OBSERVATION

In the light of present day conditions how necessary are godly elders, who in their ministry as overseers are sensitive to when a marriage is under strain, such should be able to provide compassionate and understanding help to avoid a complete breakdown. Young couples are, in many cases, ready to discuss their problems and accept advice and counsel from elders—but is there a shortage of such men among the saints in assemblies today ie to whom the young people can go having confidence in the counsel given that such would be the mind of the Spirit?

Top of Page

THE PROPHECY OF AMOS

by E. R. BOWER, Worcester

Paper 3

MOAB. Chap. 2. 1-3;

Refs: 2 Kings 3 and 13.20; Isaiah 15,16,25; Jer. 48; Ezek. 25. 8-11; etc., Whilst judgment had been passed upon the preceding nations for their treatment of the people of God, judgment comes here because of Moab's treatment of the bones of the king of Edom — an incident not referred to elsewhere. It will be remembered that it was Balak, king of Moab, who influenced Balaam in causing Israel to sin. (Num. 24;) Note Num. 31.8. We cannot pass over the story of Balaam without reference to his prophecy which had a yet future connotation "There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth." (Sheth — Tumult.) One by one, God has dealt, and will deal with these "brethren". All were characterized by an innate hatred of Israel; an hatred which persists to this day and is flaring up more vehemently as we, it is believed, draw very near to the "last days". (This is written in the year 1990).

JUDAH. (Chap. 2. 4-5;)                         I

". . . they have despised the law of the Lord, and have not kept His commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked." "They have REJECTED the law of the Lord" (R. V.). The sins of the fathers! No reverence and no obedience to the Word of God. And then — "Lies" or false gods, lying prophets, lying teachers, and "modernism". Not new lies, but the old ones dressed up. Historically, Israel had come a long way since the days when they "who despised Moses' law died without compassion under two or three witnesses" (Heb. 10. 28). It could be that as Judah heard the denunciations upon the nations, that they adopted a "holier than thou" attitude and said in their hearts, "Serve them right", but now Amos turns their attention to themselves. The words of Peter (1. 4. 17), "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the

house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" Judah, even with the Temple of God in their midst, rejected the law which they professed to keep. Did Judah, as many believers today, regard the Law as having little or no relevance to our day? Had it become "out of date" and "boring"? If out of date (for "times have changed, and we are more enlightened") why bother to keep commandments that they did not revere? They were, in fact, no better than their neighbours, for they too had their "lies".. Cause and effect! A past generation took care to instil into their children and young believers the dire penalties for adding to or taking from the "blest Word of God" (Deut. 4.2; 12.23;). We may think too of Prov. 30. 5-6; and Rev. 22.18; In these days we add to, or subtract from with apparent impunity. But is it with impunity? Do we shut our eyes to the evidence? Are we content with the lowering of moral standards; the "free" society; lack of obedience to parents and, conversely, lack of parental control. Despite what the Bible teaches, we see an ever increasing disregard for marriage vows etc., — even within the church. "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall." (1 Cor. 10.12)

ISRAEL (Chap. 2. 6-16)

No doubt but that Israel had the same thoughts as Judah, as they listened to the words of Amos, the man who was "no prophet". For Judah, for Israel, for the nations "the sky was red and lowering" (Matt. 16. 1-4), but they all, as do the nations of the end of the 20th century chose to ignore the very evident "signs of the times." God would not "turn back" His judgments. And will not! Truly, there is " no new thing under the sun (Ecc. 1.9) and as we read this catalogue of the sins of Israel and of Judah we must surely see a parallel with our own times. In vv. 6 and 7a we see the oppression of the poor. A righteous man was sold for silver; a man might sell himself (Deut. 15.12) but not his brother or an insolvent debtor (cf. 2 King 4.1; Neh. 5.5) The case here is of a righteous man sold for a debt incurred through no fault of his own, and of a poor man who was unable to redeem (as some aver) the title deeds of property (cf. Ruth 4.7). It could be, of course, that he simply could not afford a pair of shoes and he was sold into bondage, and not hired as a servant.

Does the phrase "They sold a righteous man for silver" remind us of anything? Was not our Lord sold for thirty pieces of silver? The poor were literally ground down even as the dust of the earth was crushed, and the meek were an easy prey. V. 7b is a picture of the immorality of that day The abominations of the nations about them, though practised before, now come into the open and flourish. The 'maid' was probably the consecrated temple woman (cf. the opening chapters of 1 Samuel.) This open moral degradation was in defiance of the laws of God (Lev. 19. 8,15; 20,11;) and the Holy Name and the Holy Place was defiled. Pledged garments were not returned by sunset as the law required (Ex. 22. 26-7;) (Deut. 24. 13;) If not returned "wherein shall a man sleep'? and, if a man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge. Note that it is at "every altar" (Cf. 2 Kings 21. 5;) It has been suggested that a possible reading of v. 8b is — "In My Temple they offer wine purchased with stolen money." God, has, through the prophet, given a sevenfold picture of life without law, that is within the community of those who claimed to be the chosen people. Yet there is more to follow. Vv. 9-13 tell us of man's ingratitude. Had not God destroyed the ancient peoples of the Land, the Amorite (2.9) descended from Ham, Noah's younger son upon whom was a curse? (Gen. 9.25;) From Ham came the Canaanites, those nations that were ever at enmity with Israel and among whom were the giants. The Canaanites were, in the main, destroyed, BUT — their gods remained. We may wonder just how it was possible for Israel to forget Egypt and the four hundred years of captivity and bondage and delayed hope; the subsequent deliverance by the "stretched out arm" of Jehovah for did they not have the annual feast of the Passover as an enduring memorial? Generations come and go; ancient events become just "history" or fable and for the Church holy days become holidays; the one time Holy Day now has no significance other than a thought that it has something to do with "religion". Egypt and the wilderness were historial object lessons but, alas, Israel was blind to the purposes of God for their redemption. "If only. . ." The Christian, too, has his object lesson as he meets at the Table of the Lord. Human nature has not changed. Cf. Deut. 8. 18, 18; See how the servants of God were treated — the Nazarites encouraged to break their vows — one little drink will do no harm; prophets were forbidden to prophesy (Num. 6; Deut. 18. 15-18;) and we see again that times have not changed. Israel's "religion" was now "custom" and they had heaped up their transgressions without measure. God was satiated, not only with their offerings but also by their sin. The picture is a vivid one. An overloaded cart groaning under the harvest (so the A.V.) The A.V. marginal reading (and other versions) portray a picture of Israel being pressed down by God. The harvest of transgression would weigh them down. Isaiah 53 comes easily to mind, "Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. . .and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Can we see the "groaning cart" in such verses as seen in Isaiah 53? See John. 11.33,38; Matt. 11.38; Luke. 22.44; John. 12.27; "He took our sins and our sorrows, and made them His very own." THEREFORE the pressure of their sin brought upon them the pressure of judgment and human effort is powerless against it — there was to be "no escape". Having pronounced coming judgments upon the nations and upon Israel and Judah, Amos now follows up with four discourses (chaps. 3, 4 and 5.)

Top of Page

The Ministry of the Risen Lord

by The Late J. B. Hewitt, Chesterfield

8 — GLIMPSES OF HIS PRIESTLY MINISTRY

(Luke 24: Heb. 8. 1,2)

There are many delicate touches peculiar to Luke's gospel that set forth the infinite tenderness and immeasurable compassion of the sympathetic Priest, who came to unveil the very heart of God with all His kindly love. As a priest He represented Mankind before God, and His right to officiate on man's behalf lies in His kinship as Son of Man. His resolve to undertake the work of atonement emerges from His friendship, for Luke displays Him as the Friend of publicans and sinners. By virtue of the resurrection, the Mediator of the covenant became the Minister of the sanctuary (Heb. 8.2). The claims of righteousness are finally met and the comfort of love fully manifest.

His Priestly Suitability v. 1-12 The Conqueror of Death

Now dawns the first Lord's Day of the new creation, and the resurrection floods all the landscape of life with a brilliant light.

These women who sought Jesus "at deep dawn" were rewarded (v. 1). They had anticipated a difficulty (Mark 16. 3), but when they arrived, it was removed (v. 2).

His resurrection was the positive proof of the divine satisfaction in His offering (Rom. 4. 25). Observe, it is now the LORD JESUS (v. 3). The stone was removed not to enable Him to leave the tomb, but to allow others to see He had gone. Divine power removed the Body of Christ.

Luke gives a very condensed account of the first day of resurrection. He selects incidents that took place in the early morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening. The angel's message of interrogation, "Why;" of affirmation. "He is risen"; and exhortation, "remember": was meant to end their perplexity (v. 4) and calm their fear (v. 5). The resurrection ratifies Christ's loftiest claims. He is the first-born among His brethren (Rom. 8. 29), and the first-born from among the dead (Col. 1. 20). He is the first-fruits of them that slept (1 Cor. 15. 20), and our Forerunner within the veil (Heb. 6. 20).

His Priestly Sympathy v. 13-24 The Companion on the Highway

After the opened grave comes the opened Scriptures, on the road of glad surprise (v. 13-35). The Resurrection of Christ is a historical fact. It is God's pledge of final triumph for His people. These two disciples were full of gloom. With burdened hearts they were returning home. The value of this story is: 1) Evidential — a proof of Christ's Resurrection; 2) Preparatory — preparing His followers for His complete bodily absence, leading to days of faith, not sight. 3) Symbolic — for when two talk together with Christ as their theme, He draws near.

He lives to serve because He loves and cares, and longs to lead us into the privileges of this new relationship. His intrusion into their lives (v. 15). The Stranger who joined them none other than the Subject of their talk. He chose to remain unrecognised (v. 16).

His interest in their sorrow (v. 17-19).

He showed interest, sympathy, love. He chose to draw out their thoughts in order to clarify their sorrow. His inspiration from their testimony (v. 19-24). Their recital of events was a confession of their faith in Him. A sad outpouring of hearts unlocked by sympathy. Christ still revered, loved, mourned. They had doubts, disappointment and difficulties, hope once aroused, now shattered (v. 21-24).

His Priestly Spirituality v. 25-27 The Communication of Truth

"The Priests lips should keep knowledge" (Mal. 2. 7). His priestly knowledge enabled Him to teach them divine truth. He took them back to their sacred literature, to the things most familiar to them (v. 25,26). His perfect covenant knowledge qualifies Him to arbitrate in the affairs of His people (Deut. 17. 8-11). His authority is final, and His ability indisputable (Luke 4. 20, 22). They listened to His priestly instruction as He traced the Messianic note in the ritual of the Mosaic economy, the clear statements of the prophets, pointing out the tenor of the Old Testament in its ethical and symbolic character.

How much we have missed through not coming to Him more constantly for instruction (Prov. 8. 34, 35; 4. 5-9) It is God who reveals His Son (Gal. 1. 16). His Priestly Succour v. 28-33 The Comforter in the Home

They learned — "after Easter, always Easter". The Lord aroused their interest and tested them by feigning continuance of the journey (v. 28). He accepted their invitation to stay with them. Suddenly the Guest becomes the Host. The frugal meal became a Sacrament, and the home, a House of God. That's what Christ does wherever He goes. The familiar act brought a revelation of the living Saviour and they were satisfied (v. 30, 31). That changed defeat into victory. Their cup of gladness was now more than full, it overflowed. They were cheered and comforted, their burdened hearts became beaming hearts, (v. 32).

His Priestly Strength v. 34-43 The Centre of the House of God

Their faith was perfected by recognition and sealed by experience (1 John 1. 1) No good thing should ever be selfishly kept, hurry and tell somebody (v. 33). What a welcome at the expectant gathering. Their clear testimony — "He is risen", complete transformation — "appeared to Simon". He was the first apostle to see Him (1 Cor. 15. 5). Penitence brought Peter pardon and privilege. The Lord confirmed their story, dispelled their fears, and conferred His peace (36-38). He convinced them He was alive, granting proofs of His identity and reality (v. 39-43). No one would or could have invented this story.

His Priestly Service v. 45-49 The Commissioner of His Servants

These verses are a summary of the forty days ministry between the Resurrection and the Ascension. His gracious assurance (v. 45-48); His glorious Ascension (v. 50-53). The Lord opened their understanding to understand the Scriptures, thus fitting them to be His witnesses (v. 45, 48). Preparation of their mind (v. 45), and of their hearts (v. 47), for their work of witnessing. The guilt of sin pollutes, and the power of sin, paralyses mankind. The call of the Gospel is for repentance, and the comfort is the remission of sins (v. 47). The sphere is "all nations", and the power "in His Name". Their responsibility "to witness", and the resources of grace are assured (v. 49). The "promise of the Father" assured them of blessing, "power from on high" would be effective in every aspect of service. The dynamic -for evangelism (Acts 1. 8).

His Priestly Sanctuary v. 50-53 He Captivated their Hearts

As the Ark of the Covenant "He led them out" (v. 50; Josh. 3. 3, 6, 7).

Our Glorious Leader, leading to the place of separation and communion — "Bethany"; and benediction (v. 50). His departure indicates redemptive work accepted, and His representative position taken as Priest (v. 51b, Heb. 8. 1).

His priestly benediction (v. 50, 51) includes the Lord's keeping His grace, and His peace, which are inseparably linked with Himself (Num. 6. 23-27; 2 Cor. 13. 14). The propitiation having been made in the Sin offerings, the Lord can bless and keep. The dedication rendered in the Burnt offering enables the Lord to cause His face to shine and be glorious. The reconciliation effected in the Peace offering, the Lord can give peace.

He ascended as our representative and is still leading us to victory, interceding for us and blessing us. This is the source of our security and the secret of tranquillity.

May we daily recognise not only the suitability of Christ but His transcendent superiority as our Priest (Heb. 8. 1-6).

Like true disciples may we worship, obey, witness and rejoice. Believe the promise of the Prophet (v. 49); enjoy the blessing of the Priest (v. 50); and rejoice in the glory of the King (v. 51-53). Amen.

Top of Page

STUDIES IN THE LIFE OF AARON

by T. Meekin (Glengormley)

2. THE SPEAKER AND HIS SERMONS — Part 2

In the previous paper we noticed that Aaron preached at least five sermons and we looked briefly at the first three. We now come to the last two.

iv) Complaining about the Ways of God.

But Aaron the speaker was, it seems, a man of like passions as we are and it was true in his case as has been true in ours that "he spake unadvisedly with his lips", as did also Moses. The Heavenly Witness to his oratorial ability so profoundly recognised in Ex. 4. is the unseen listener to his voice in Num. 12. 1 when he was with Miriam "spake against Moses" and v. 2 records that "the Lord heard it".

I am sure that Aaron never intended that conversation to be heard in Heaven. It seems to have been in the context of a very private conversation. It does not seem to have been an open full-blooded attack upon the authority of the man Moses but it was heard none the less. It is one of those verses that should cause us to tremble. It makes interesting reading to compare the subject matter that the Lord is said to have "heard" throughout the scriptures, eg. Num. 12. 1, 1 Sam. 7. 9, Mal. 3. 16, Psa. 34. 6.

What a tragedy that Aaron's able tongue was ever used thus in Num. 12. He who could have profitably filled the ears of the people with good things turns his talents to speaking against the servant of the Lord. These things written aforetime were written for our learning and it is a great pity that we are not better scholars and that such lessons are wasted on us for much of the time. Is it not still a grief to the spiritually minded to see and hear the talents of able brethren, and saintly sisters too, being put to the service of "the accuser of the brethren", in their attitude to their fellow saints?

Many a platform has been misappropriated to speak against one another and what would have been otherwise profitable ministry has been so salted with offensive overtones that the good of it has been lost to an audience that needed its counsel. In the scriptures there are two kinds of ministries by two kinds of men—there is that which FEEDS the saints "feed the flock of God which is among you. ..." 1 Pet. 5. 2 and that which EATS the saints "whose word doth eat as doth a canker". 2 Tim. 2. 17

We ought to make sure that in our minds there is that which will be to the upbuilding of the saints, even though it may contain that which may not be naturally palatable. There are times when the medicine can be honeyed for the sake of the children but as the years go by we must learn to 'take it like a man', having in mind its medicinal and nutritional value.

Num. 12.1 is a solemn reminder that even the most spiritual of men (and God attests to this fact in Psa. 106 where even amidst the recounting of Israel's many failures, Aaron is mentioned by name only as "Aaron the saint of the Lord" v. 16) is subject to the misuse of the tongue. Rightly does James highlight its power in his N. T. epistle when this little member is seen to kindle a great fire.

v) Conforming to the Will of God.

Of all this noble speaker's great moments however none are more striking than that of Lev. 10. 3. The hardest thing for an able orator to do is to be silent. To pass by an occasion for the display of his gift and ability, to miss the chance for an emotional appeal or to show the powerful logic of his reasoning. Yet Aaron rises in our estimation and in that of Heaven as on this memorable occasion on the death of his two boys under the hand of God it is said that "Aaron held his peace."

Powerful indeed is the man who can rise above his own circumstances and personal aflictions to give God the glory and play a part of usefulness in His work. This Aaron manages as from the brick-kilns he rises to stand side by side with the man who spent his years in the palace. He seems oblivious to the fact that the other seems to have been favoured by God in a special way which he himself did not enjoy. Truly he that ruleth his own spirit is better than he that taketh a city, Prov. 16. 32.

More powerful even, if such were possible, is he who can rise above family prejudice to take sides with God. It is not true that this is the point in which many a blunder is made in the present time? Impartiality is a boon when seen amongst God's people but the temptation to be partial and have a law for other folks' families and another law for our own is the rock on which many perish.

It was so in the days of Malachi the prophet. Mal. 2.9 "ye have been partial in the law". The equality of the people is emphasized in the verse following as the marginal reading of "partial" is given "accepted faces". This is out of character with the God viewed continually on the table of shewbread twelve loaves representative of ALL the tribes. It is called "bread of faces". God saw them all as the same, not so with us at times.

Could we have stood silently by as two blackened corpses were carried out, stricken down in the flower of manhood, from whom so much had been expected and in whom so many hopes had been centred? Was not God overreacting? Was not this too stern a measure? Had not others made mistakes without such disastrous consequences? Thus the logical mind would run. Had we been the orator that Aaron was could we not have ably spoken on their behalf and in their defence? Have not at times the guilty been acquitted through the skill and oratory of their counsel?

Aaron held his peace. Bad enough not to speak but not to weep! No uncovered head, no mourning clothes, no funeral attendance, no graveside oration, NOTHING! This is a man in the good of the words we, at times, so glibly sing.—

"I'll that God blesses is our good and unblest good is ill,
And all is right that seems most wrong
If it be His sweet will."

A man can occupy no higher ground that when taking sides with God even when it comes to his own family. Herein failed many of the giants of the Book. —David, Samuel, Eli, and other such and anyone of us could fail on the same point. Aaron has learned that God has one standard for ALL and His holiness and sanctuary can under no circumstances be defiled. The Tabernacle must not suffer. The Priesthood must not be corrupted even if it means the silence of a father in relation to his own family.

Has not the Devil had great success in this very sphere still in so many places? Family links have prevailed over divine standards. Offence cannot be given to leaders and what they would never have allowed in others they have permitted in their own families. Thus the mouths of good men, and able men, have been stopped, their ministry losing its effectiveness.

Better to be silent in respect of God's ways and judgements than to open the mouth vindictively and have it closed thereafter for effective testimony.

"He always wins who sides with God,
To him no chance is lost.
God's will is sweetest to him when
It triumphs at his cost."
Top of Page

EPHESIANS EXPOUNDED

by A. D. THROPAY (California)

Paper No. 2

I. THE BEAUTY OF GOD'S MASTERPIECE 1.1-3:21

A. Introduction 1.1-2

Verse 1

-Paul: This name is from the Latin and means "small" or "little." His Hebrew name "Saul" means "to ask" or "pray." Throughout the history of the Jews, it was not uncommon for them to adopt Gentile names while they were under Gentile rule. (Wuest) In the Old Testament, the Babylonians sometimes renamed their captives. Cp.II Kings 24.17, Daniel 1.7,

-an apostle: (apostolos) to send forth on a commission as a representative. Paul was chosen and commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The qualifications for an apostle are mentioned in Acts 1.20-22. They are:

1.  He must be a man (Greek — aner — never used of women) Acts 1.21
2.  He must be faithful ("companied with us all the time") Acts 1.21
3.  He must be a witness of Christ Acts 1.21,22
4.  He must be chosen by the Lord Acts 1.23-26 .

Paul was a special apostle to the Gentiles Romans 11.13; 1 Cor. 15.9.

1. He was a man
2. He was faithful (Acts 9.27-28)
3. He was a witness of Christ (Acts 9.1-6; 1 Cor. 15.8)
4. He was chosen by the Lord (1 Timothy 1.1)

-of Jesus Christ: This title of the Lord is the one most used in the Gospels. The emphasis is on the name "Jesus," His name given Him when He humbled Himself to become a Man. The name "Christ," means "anointed one." The full title refers to the Man that lived and died on earth as the Anointed One of God.

-by: (dia) "through," "by means of."

-the will: (thelema) The execution of God's will in grace.

-of God: Paul was the last of the apostles. He could not have qualified if he had not seen the Lord in a miraculous way on the road to Damascus. God, in His gracious design, revealed Christ to Paul in this way so that He could call him to be an apostle to the Gentiles.

-to the saints: (hagios) "Holy ones." People set apart with God who sets evil apart from Himself by His glory. Every believer is a saint.

-which are at Ephesus: probably where his letter was read first

-and to the faithful: (pistos) the word is in the active voice ="relying, believing, trusting." Their faith is in the Lord Jesus Christ. He not only is writing to the Ephesian believers but to all those who are trusting in Christ Jesus.

-in Christ Jesus: In this title, the emphasis is on the word "Christ." This is His title as risen and glorified. The Anointed One who is now exalted who once humbled Himself.

Verse 2

-Grace: (charis) The unlimited (Romans 11.6), unmerited (Ephesians 2.8), unselfish (II Corinthians 8.9), loving favour of God to the sinner which produces "leaping for Joy" and "thankfulness."

-to be you: Paul had enjoyed God's grace in abundance. He was not selfish, however. He was willing that others might enjoy God's grace as much as he did. There is plenty of grace for all to receive an infinite supply because God is "rich in grace."

-and peace: (eirene) "a state of untroubled, undisturbed, well-being," Cremer. "that which brings into unity," Young. It describes (1) that harmony between God and man brought about through the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5.1) (2) harmony between believers (some of which may have been enemies prior to conversion — Ephesians 2.13-18) produced through faith in Christ. (3) the inward calmness and harmony of spirit enjoyed in the heart of a believer who knows that his God has all things under His control (Philippians 4.6, 7).

-from God our Father and (from the) Lord Jesus Christ: They are one in what They are able to give, both giving "grace and peace." Thus they are equal in rank and power. The two are the same source of "grace and peace" because They are one God. Yet, They are distinct in their relation to the believers. God is Father, having made them children by adoption (Romans 8.14,15). Jesus Christ is Lord as Head of the church (Colossians 1.18).

Chiasm of verses 3-21

A Spiritual blessings in the heavens v3
    B He chose us in Him v4
        C He predestinated us to the praise of His glory v5, 6
            D In whom we have redemption (what we are saved to) v11
                E The mystery of His will v9, 10
            D In whom we have an inheritance (what we are saved to) v11
        C He predestinated us to the praise of His glory vll, 12
    B We trusted (chose) Him v13
A Spirit's seal — a spiritual blessing on earth v14

B. THE PURPOSE OF THE TRINITY 1:3-14

1. The WILL of God the Father 1.3-6

Verse 3

-Blessed: (eulogetos) Literally, "well spoken of," praised, celebrated with praises; applied only to God, acknowledging His goodness- Mark 14.61; Luke 1.68; Romans 1.25; 9.5

-be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: Compare Psalm 45.6,7- Persons of the Godhead address one another as God-Cp John 5.18 The Lord Jesus claimed that God was His own private, individual Father, in a unique way, thus making Himself equal with God.

-who hath blessed: (eulogeo) blessings invoked on a person; Luke 6.26; Romans 12.14; (b) to cause to prosper, make happy, to bestow blessings on. Said of God in Acts 3.26; Galatians 3.9

-us: This includes the writer, the saints at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus

-with: (en) Literally, "in," showing the sphere in which we have been immersed.

-all: (pase) any and every; of every kind

-spiritual: (pneumatikos) "Always implies the working of the Holy Spirit." Alford — Spirit and spiritual occur thirteen times in this epistle. In this letter the work of God's Spirit upon the human spirit is emphasized. The word "spiritual" in this case is not in contrast to that which is "material" or "body," but refers to that which proceeds from the Holy Spirit.

-blessing: (eulogia) (1) "a blessing, benefit, or free gift bestowed." (2) praise, to speak well of SPIRITUAL BLESSING ARE VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE BENEFITS BESTOWED ON BELIEVERS BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. HE HAS IMMERSED US IN THESE GIFTS.

-in: (en) indicating the sphere from which these gifts come

-heavenly places: (tois epouraniois) Lit. "The Heavenlies." God's dwelling place. See verse 20. This is where the blessings originate and can be enjoyed.

-in Christ: He is the sphere in which we receive everything. To understand what it means to be "in Christ," please read Eph. 5.30

Verse 4

-according as: (Kathos) "in accordance with the fact that. . ."; "even as," "being measured and characterized by."

-He hath chosen: (eklego - in middle voice) "to pick out or choose for oneself." -us in Him: The Lord Jesus is the sphere in which we were chosen for God. Notice, it does NOT say that we were chosen "to be in Him," but that we were chosen "in Him."

-before the foundation: (Katabole) from two words meaning "to throw down." It refers to the creator throwing down the universe when He brought it into existence.

-of the world: (Kosmos) harmonious arrangement and order. This word refers to the universe.

THE CHOICE IS AS ETERNAL AS GOD. HE ALWAYS KNEW WHAT HE EVER WILL KNOW. THERE NEVER WAS A TIME IN GOD'S EXISTENCE WHEN HE FIRST DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING! HIS DECISIONS ARE AS ETERNAL AS HIMSELF.

-that we: stating the purpose for the choice.

-should be holy: (hagios — as v1 "saints") "Holy ones." People set apart with God who sets evil apart from Himself by His glory. WE BELONG TO GOD.

-and without blame: (amomos) without spot, blot, or blemish. Used in 1 Peter 1:19 referring to the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God. It indicates His absolute perfection of character and life as a sinless Man. The Greek version of the Old Testament uses the word as a technical term to designate the absence of anything amiss in a sacrifice that represented, the Lord Jesus. Cp Lev. 22:21. GOD WANTS US LIKE HIS SON.

-before: (Katenopion - from "Kata," down; and "enopion," in the sight of) Literally means "to see down in." A searching gaze of satisfaction and delight into the innermost recesses of the believer. It implies a special nearness and fondness.

-Him: God is absolutely holy. His desire is to be able to look at His creatures with scrutiny and see His own righteousness; with every mar and stain of sin removed from us totally. (It is not the scrutiny of man that counts, but the approval of God).

-in love: This phrase stands as a transitional point. God is doing what He just mentioned in the sphere of love. This love has a further goal in view mentioned in verse 5.

Verse 5

-Having predestinated: (proorizo — from "pro," before, and "horizo," to declare, to mark out) Hence = to mark out beforehand; to declare beforehand.

-us unto: (eis) with a view towards, for

-the adoption of children: (Huiothesia — from "tithemi," to place; and "huios," an adult son) Paul uses and illustration from the Roman practice of not only legally adopting a child, but also giving him the legal position of an adult son; a true heir.

IN ORDER FOR GOD TO GIVE US THIS POSITION, HE FIRST HAS TO MAKE US SUITABLE TO BE ADOPTED AS SONS. THIS IS WHY HE MUST FIRST MAKE US HOLY AND WITHOUT BLAME UNDER HIS OWN SCRUTINY.

-by: (Dia) through, by means of

-Jesus Christ: the true Son and rightful Heir. He joyfully shares His inheritance. It was His death at the cross that made it possible for us to be adopted by God into His family.

-to Himself, according to the good pleasure: (eudokia) "a term of grace, expressing 'good pleasure,' as kind intent, gracious will." (Expositors) Good will which gives happiness and satisfaction.

-of His will: (thelema) God graciously executing His decision or will.

Verse 6

-To: (eis) with a view to; for; expressing the purpose of v5

-(the) praise: (epainos — for epi = upon; and ainos = primarily a tale of narration) Came to denote praise, approbation, commendation. — All creation, visible and invisible, will take part in this praise. Cp Psalm 148; Revelation 5.8-14

-of the glory: (doxa) the outshining; brightness or splendour; The outward manifestation of God's attributes. In this case, it is the bright, shining, splendour of His grace.

-of His grace: as v2 (charis)—God has the attribute of grace. However, His creatures could not intelligently praise Him for it until they saw His grace in action.

-wherein: (en he) "in which," showing that grace is the sphere or atmosphere in which the following fact took place.

-He hath made us accepted: (charitoo) "to pursue with grace, to compass with favour, to honour with blessings." (Wuest); To make objects of grace.

-in (en) the Beloved: (agapao) The Greek word is in the locative case of "sphere." The locative case indicates location and place. The Father pursues us with grace while we are encompassed and surrounded by the One God loves, His Son. God thus treats believers as He treats His own Son. He accepts them as He accepts His own Son and showers them with honour, favour, and blessings only deserved by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Top of Page

VITAL VERITIES (17)

by E. W. ROGERS

REDEMPTION

There were two contingencies which were likely to occur to an Israelite: the one was that, under the necessity of raising ready money, he might have to dispose of his property; and the other was, for the same cause, he might have to forfeit his liberty: he might be compelled to sell himself to another. God, however, in His mercy, made provision whereby such a condition of loss and bondage was not to be permanent, for in the year of Jubilee the property was to be returned to its original owner and the individual was to be granted his former liberty. The legislation touching these matters is contained in Leviticus 25. If, however, in the interim, a person were able to raise sufficient funds he was permitted to redeem his property, and/or to redeem himself. The likelihood was remote, but the law provided for such an eventuality. Note the words of vv. 26, 49: "If he be able," and observe how the R. V. gives them: "If he be waxen rich and find sufficient." It demonstrates the kindness and fairness of God. In spiritual affairs man has lost the possessions with which the Creator originally endowed him, and he also has

FORFEITED HIS LIBERTY

so that he is now a "slave" of sin (John 8. 34 and Rom. 7). God does not desire that that condition should abide for ever. He intends to restore to man his property and liberty, but if anyone could find the requisite sum — the redemption price — he himself is at liberty to take steps to achieve the desired end. Failing his competency so to do an alternative provision was made: one of his kinsmen of the nearness indicated might exercise the right of redemption on his behalf. But natural relationship in the matter of spiritual redemption is of no avail, for all alike are in the same position and each needs redemption for himself, which manifestly precludes his redeeming another.

A further duty of the "kinsman" was to avenge the blood of one of his relatives who had been slain (see Num. 35.19). This was not optional: it had to be done.

Thus, three things are predicated of the kinsman-redeemer. (1) He must be a blood relation; (2) He has the right to restore lost property and lost liberty; (3) He must avenge blood. This is the law of the matter.

Now in Ruth, chapter 4, we have a test case. Notwithstanding the case is hopelessly complicated through legal breaches, the kinsman is offered the opportunity of redemption which he declines because of those legal complications. Twice he says: "I cannot redeem it," thus setting forth typically the incompetency of blood relations, in the spiritual sphere, to redeem another. How many parents would redeem their children if they could: and children parents: and uncles nephews, and so on? Who has not prayed long and fervently for the conversion of relations? "I cannot redeem" is heard on every hand, and we have to leave it to another.

Indeed, universal human incompetency in this matter is categorically stated in Psalm 49,7-8: "None can by any means redeem his brother or give to God a ransom for him," and the cause allocated is "For the redemption of their soul is costly, and must be let alone for ever" (see R.V. reading). Moses, with the best of intentions, expressed his readiness to be blotted out of God's Book if the people could be spared. Paul, also, expressed his readiness to become accursed from Christ on behalf of his brethren, but in neither case could the offer be accepted because of the ruling of Psalm 49.7-8. The longest purse and the best will in the world are altogether inadequate for the accomplishment of the redemption of' the soul.

If, then, the individual cannot redeem himself, and if (as Ruth 4 shows) no relative can do it, and if indeed (as Psalm 49 shows) no one anywhere can do it. "Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or shall lawful captive be delivered"? (for law is on the side of the captor). Is the case hopeless? Thank God, no! For listen to the divine promise: "I the Lord am thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob" (see Isa. 49.24-26).

He promises to do what none other can.

But here lies a difficulty. Jehovah is not flesh and blood, yet as we have seen, a requisite of the kinsman is that he must be a blood relation. How, then, can Jehovah be a kinsman in accordance with His promise? That mystery remained unsolved for ages until— in the temple in Jerusalem Simeon took the "babe" in his arms and blessed God because he had "seen His Salvation," and Anna who came in that instant and saw the babe, spake of Him to all that looked for "redemption" but could not understand how it was to be effected. Here, indeed, was Jehovah manifest in flesh—here the problem was solved, and God had become man so that He could be the Kinsman Redeemer.

Another difficulty, however, was not created. How could this babe effect deliverance? How can He take the "prey from the mighty?" In His poverty how could he pay the requisite price?

For in contrast to having "waxen rich" this One, though originally rich, had become poor. Time will reveal.

For when the Lord Jesus had become full-grown man He defined

THE INTENTION OF HIS ADVENT

thus: "The Son of Man is come, not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Matt. 20. 28). The price to be paid (not to the Devil but to Justice) was His own life—a greater price could never be paid: not silver (as the half shekel redemption money), nor even gold, but His precious Blood. The beneficiaries were many (not all), limited, as the later Scriptures reveal, to those who believe. It is true that "He gave Himself a ransom for—in the interests of—all" (1 Tim. 2. 6), but the actual application of the redemption is only in respect of "many."

Later events revealed how He voluntarily gave Himself to His enemies, Son of God though He was, the then Possessor of deity and all its attributes, and "willingly died in our stead." No man took His life from Him: He had authority to lay it down and so He did. Evidences in support of the voluntary nature of the death of the Son of God are conclusive, though space forbids their enumeration.

He died: He died voluntarily: but because neither its purpose nor meaning was understood, His death was the temporary end of all the hopes that had been entertained by the godly few who were expecting Redemption in Jerusalem. "We supposed it was He who should have redeemed Israel, and besides all this, to-day is the third day." Their redemption hopes had vanished, but not long for long.

His death, indeed was the very means by which the Kinsman fulfilled His office, as the writer to the Hebrews (ch. 2. 14) explains.

Listen to his remarks:

'Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He likewise took part of the same," shows that by His incarnation He fulfilled the requisite of blood relationship.

"That through death, He might destroy Him that had the power of death, that is the devil," shows that another requisite is fulfilled—He was the avenger.

"And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage"—so that yet another requisite is fulfilled—He recovered liberty "to the bound."

It is a fruitful way of studying the Scriptures to search out all that they have to say on a particular topic and, if the reader will do this in respect of the matter now under review, he will make many discoveries of detail. He will find that the different words which are used in the Hebrew and Greek throw a great deal of light on the subject. He will learn that Christ has found "eternal redemption" for us: that it is "through His blood"; it involves the "forgiveness of sins": it begins with the soul but extends ultimately to the body, and so on. Pursuing such a research the student will at length exclaim with the heavenly host: "Thou art worthy to take the book and to loose the seals thereof, for Thou wast slain and hast

REDEEMED US TO GOD

by Thy blood" (Rev. 5.9). We are not worthy, for we could not redeem ourselves: nor can worthiness be claimed for any other. That honour is reserved exclusively for Christ—the Son of God Who became the Son of Man.

Blessed Redeemer, wonderful Saviour,
Fountain of wisdom, Ancient of Days,
Hope of the Faithful, Light of all Ages,
Jesus my Saviour, Thee will I praise!
Top of Page

PERILOUS TIMES OF THE LAST DAYS (4)

By The late W. J. M'Clure.

(These articles appeared in 1922 in the Believers' Magazine, and are still up to date).

A MARKED feature of these last days, and one that militates against the Gospel being spread among the people is, the vast increase of so-called

FRIENDLY SOCIETIES, composed largely of the industrial classes. These Societies, in their beginnings, were for men, but they are no longer so limited. The average man and woman belongs to one or more of these organizations, and is zealously engaged in their activities, be they benevolent, fraternal, political, or religious. Weekly or bi-weekly meetings occupy much of their time, so that even were they so disposed, few of them find a spare evening to attend a meeting for the preaching of the Gospel. And it cannot be said, what that occupies them at these Society gatherings is favourable to the progress of the Gospel, or in any way conducive to cause people to think on eternal things. Often the reverse. A spirit of lawlessness, which tends to cast cast off all fear of God, and thought of man's eternal destiny, pervades most of these associations.

COMMERCIAL UNIONS are another feature of the perils to which Christians are exposed in these last days, in which master and servant have their share. It becomes increasingly difficult for a Christian to act as the Word of God enjoins, and to follow his occupation with a good conscience toward God. The time was, when it was left to a man's own choice whether or not he would be associated in trade relations, with ungodly men, who either made no profession of Christ's Name, or openly opposed the truth. But this is not so now. In very many cases, these trades' unions have become so powerful, that they can dictate to all in the same occupation what they MUST do. And a Christian man's conscientious objections are not now respected. He must "join up," or quit the trade. And the Christian employer must become a member of the masters' union, or suffer the anti-

Christian tactics of the "boycott." All this tests individual faith, and brings out how far the teaching of the Word of God and the path of true separation to Christ are practically owned, in our time. A walk with God, and in His truth alone can preserve the saint, in the midst of such perils, and keep him clean and clear of their coils.

MODERN REVIVALISM, in its later forms, is a real danger to spiritual life and godliness among the true children of God. In earlier times a Revival was regarded as the work of the Spirit of God, awaking, restoring, and refreshing the saved, and bringing conviction of sin and desire for God's salvation to the unconverted. But the imitation of both has come in, and become the popular thing. We are now familiar with what are called "drives"—a term used to describe an effort to raise funds for "church work." and to increase the membership of religious and philanthropic organizations. Their success is reckoned in proportion to the amount of money gained and members added, and the efforts is well organised, with chairman, treasurer, secretary, advertising manager, and their respective staffs. Converts are numbered and announced, success reported, and others encouraged to similar efforts. If only a small percentage of those who "profess conversion" were born again, the circles in which they move would be turned upside down. But the common result of such movements is, that in a very short time, you may as well look for winter's snow on a July day, as for the converts of such movements. And from this, the difficulties of true Gospel work are vastly increased. For those who are by such means urged into a false profession, are the hardest to reach afterwards, most of them becoming utterly indifferent to eternal things. A genuine Revival comes from God. It is the work of His Spirit. In it invariably the result of deep heart-searching, self-judgement and believing prayer, among the people of God, with room left for God to work through and by means of whom He pleases to use. And when the people of God are right, the unconverted are soon aroused, awakened, and brought to see and own their need of salvation. Then the Gospel comes in "power," and, as in ancient days, sinners are 'turned to God' (I Thess. i. 9), and there is no need to advertise their number, for, as the apostle tells, "they themselves show" what God has done in that place.

Top of Page

MY CONVERSION AND CALL (14)

by A. Aiken (N. Ireland)

THE MASTER'S CALL

I was a lad, like Timothy, brought up in early days,
To know the precious Word of God, and all His wondrous ways.
But in spite of parents' teaching — a boy not well behaved!
I learned at home and Sunday School, I needed to be saved.
 
Around me were my family who'd trusted in the Lord,
And in assembly fellowship according to God's Word. I thought that it was much too soon to think of things divine, And in my heart, though very young, world's pleasures all were mine.
 
Now Satan whispered in my ears, "You've time enough to think;
That little boys as young as you, are far from Hell's dark brink!
So why not see the world so bright before you settle down,
For after all, if you get saved, school pals will only frown?"
 
The Devil's lie is oft believed by sinners travelling on —
They never think of God's dear Son, and all He has done.
"My Spirit will not always strive with man," God's Word hath said:
"The Coming of the Lord draws near" — were thoughts I had in bed.
 
'Twas in the month of February, Nineteen Forty Five,
A man from Ballymena town in Carnlough did arrive,
To preach the glorious Gospel in that village by the sea,
That souls be saved for Heaven and for all Eternity.
 
The Lord Himself was working and poor sinners did repent;
So thankful for the preacher, who by God alone was sent.
His name was Harold Paisley — a sinner saved by Grace
While at work in Ballylumford, a most ungodly place.
 
He travelled night and morning, up and down the Antrim shore
To earn his daily living — but his love for souls was more.
Each night he preached with power, for he was full of zeal,
And in the meeting every night, God's Presence we could feel.
 
Christ's Coming was a frightening thought: it made me tremble too,
To think that I'd be left behind! — For I the Scriptures knew.
Then the Hand of God was moving on sinners pleasure bent,
But Satan's grasp was on my soul — he never would relent.
 
On February the Twentieth — decision must be made!
I saw in John Three and Thirty-six that my sins were laid
On Jesus; on that cruel tree, God punished Him instead.
And through that promise in His Word, I knew my soul was saved.
 
And oh! the joy that filled my heart, never to know God's wrath!
For in that glorious Gospel verse, I found God's promise, 'HATH'.
Since then, long years have rolled their course, yet Jesus is the same,
Unchanging is His promise still, all Glory to His Name!
 
Then down the Largy Road I went. What joy! I cannot tell!
With every step I took, I said, "Thank God, I'm not for Hell!"
And looking out across the sea, the moon in beauty shone,
With reflection on the water, just like th' Eternal Dawn.
 
When travelling homeward I said to Dad, "All my sins were laid
Upon the Blessed Son of God." Said he, "Your fortune's made."
Though many times my feet did slip in early Christian days,
Thank God! I had desires to learn more of His Wondrous Ways.
 
In March the following year in obedience to God's Word,
I was baptized and raised to walk anew with Christ my Lord.
Now on the first day of each week what privilege is mine,
Proclaiming His Sacrificial death in the bread and wine.
 
For almost twenty years at work, Shorts was my mission field,
With many hours spent alone, to have God's Will revealed.
Then David Craig came preaching from the prophet Malachi,
Of obnoxious offerings, brought by the House of Levi.
 
Polluted bread they offered up, upon the altar there;
They kept the good and healthy beasts to use for personal fare.
The governor refused to take the sacrifices brought —
The lame, the sick, even the blind were what Jehovah got.
 
At last the cross-roads, it was reached — 'which way shall I now take?
Will life be all for business? or, for His Own Name's Sake?'
The answer came in morn's dark hours, while wrestling with the Lord—
In Romans Chapter Twelve, I read of 'Presentation made'.
 
It was a sacred time and place, down by the fireside —
A living sacrifice He sought, and nothing else beside.
The mission field in Africa, was where my heart was keen;
But just like Paul, the preacher, as we read in Acts Sixteen,
 
The Lord did close that doorway, and I to my knees fell down,
But burdened still for God's Own Work, my plans were then — Cape Town.
I felt that in a while, the Lord would open up the way
To dear Malawi and its need, to serve Him all my day.
 
With preparations ready made to sail on Twelfth of June,
The year was Nineteen Seventy — it seemed so very soon!
But God had other plans for me. Said He, "You can't go
THERE." The burden now was heavier: The greatest question "WHERE?."
 
When I approached the elders, all to whom I had appealed,
Said the oldest sitting there, "your place is your own home-field."
Then as that way did open up, the need was, oh, so great!
July the Sixth, Nineteen seventy three — on that very date
 
I left my work to serve the Lord. Such folly it did seem
Saying 'Goodbye' to colleagues in the Guided Missile team.
And while I serve my Master, may He give me strength and
Grace To "Occupy until He come", when I shall see His face.
 
Our service will be perfect then and we His wounds shall see —
The cost of our redemption, through that Man of Calvary.
And as those endless years roll on, we at His feet shall fall,
We'll bring the Royal Diadem and Crown Him LORD of ALL.
Top of Page

Quotes

PETER REMEMBERED Matthew 26.75

The faculty called memory can sting,
Things that we thought were dead, to life can bring;
The little "Something," who can it explain?
Or silence it when'er it causes pain.
 
Peter had vowed for Jesus he would die,
Other disciples may their Lord deny;
But he must learn the weakness of the flesh
And from the grain, the empty chaff must thresh.
 
What memories that tender look conveyed,
Piercing the soul by words he just had said;
Sad, sad the night, but sadder still the morn
When to that maid, Peter the lie had sworn.
 
The fear of man has often been the test,
To try our love, our true state manifest;
A little maid can bring a strong man down
And rob him of the glory and the crown.
 
Let us be slow to judge a Peter's slip,
For Satan's wiles the strongest man can trip;
Snares be along our pathway well concealed
The scars they leave are not so easily healed.
 
Then let us think pure thoughts as Jesus did,
And let His word deep in our hearts be hid;
Then memories sweet shall in our closing years
Bring holy joy, and not remorseful tears.

—R. Hull, Belfast.

Top of Page