BEHOLD THE MAN
by Jim Flanigan
MESSAGES FROM MULLER
by George Muller
by William Blane
by A. D. Thropay
A PROPHETIC PERUSAL
by E. G. Parmenter
LESSONS FROM THE LIFE OF DAVID
by J. Burnett
GOD’S WILL AND MAN’S INDEPENDENCY
by the Late Thos. Newberry
MY CONVERSION AND CALL
by Albert E. Hull
(Meditations in Luke’s Gospel)
by JIM FLANIGAN, (Belfast)
It is a high privilege. Perhaps it is the highest privilege ever given to men, that we should be allowed to contemplate Christ. In an especial way this privilege was granted to those four men whom we call "The Evangelists", who gave us the four Gospels, and in these Gospels the fruits of their inspired meditations on Christ have been preserved for us. Each has written in his own unique way. It is as if Matthew has heard that cry, "Behold your King" (John 19.14), and has replied with a regal, royal account of the life and ministry of the Messiah. Mark has responded to that word of Isaiah 42.1, "Behold my Servant", and has given us his delightful story of Jehovah’s only perfect Servant. John of the fourth Gospel writes of the glory of Him of whom Isaiah 49.9 exclaims, "Behold your God". And in a manner greater and more reverend than Pilate ever intended or imagined, Luke has heard the exhortation, "Behold the Man" (John 19.5), and has responded accordingly.
It is befitting that, of the four, it should be the privilege of Luke to particularly emphasise our Lord’s manhood. Luke was, after all, the beloved physician (Col 4.14). He had seen many men in the pursuit of his professional interests. But he had never seen a perfect man like this Man of whom he now writes. Here was a life of incomparable grace and beauty. Here were thirty three wondrous years indeed. They have been called, "The Holy of Holies in the history of the world", and from babyhood, through childhood and boyhood, and into the maturity of perfect manhood, Luke gives us devotional and doctrinal glimpses into a life that was lived wholly in dependence upon God and for His pleasure and glory.
We have in mind (D.V.) to look at the preparation in the world for the coming of this Blessed One; then to consider the annunciation at Nazareth, and the incarnation at Bethlehem.
There follows the adoration of shepherds and angels, the presentation in the temple to Simeon and Anna, and twelve subsequent years of subjection to earthly parents in Galilee. The story unfolds in fragrance as a bud opens into flower and into full blossom, perfect at every stage. His temptation in the wilderness; His introduction in the synagogue at Nazareth; His compassion and His intercession, and His gracious exposition of Gospel truth. There is the account of His transfiguration on the holy mount, from which mount He now begins His journey to Golgotha. As we ponder these things, along with His humiliation in the Judgment Hall, His crucifixion at Calvary, His resurrection in the garden, and His ascent from Olivet to glory, may we be moved to exclaim again and again, "What manner of Man is this?". There is now, bless God, a Man in the glory, but once He was a Man of sorrows down here, and it is our privilege, in the loveliness of Luke’s Gospel, to "Behold the Man".
Amid saints and sinners divine sovereignty moved in the world in preparation for the coming of the Christ. It was J. N. Darby who once said that God was behind all the scenes and that He moved all the scenes that He was behind. Many individuals are named by Luke in connection with this preparation for the advent and ministry of the Messiah.
They are drawn from the two spheres that we have mentioned. On the one hand there were the Caesars and Tetrarchs and Governors of the pagan world. On the other hand there were godly souls, as Zacharias and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, Simeon and Anna.
Sovereignty knows no boundaries or limitations. The hearts of all men are in Jehovah’s hand for the outworking of His purpose. Whether emperors or carpenters, kings or governors, priests or prophets, daughters of Aaron or daughters of Asher, or the humble maid betrothed to the Galilean, all are in the divine plan. Whether wittingly or unwittingly, willingly or unwillingly, Jehovah will use whom He will, and this He does in preparation for the coming of the perfect Man.
It is not surprising, considering the momentous happenings of those days, and the exquisite beauty and glory of the life of Jesus,, that, as Luke says, many others had already undertaken to narrate the stupendous events. Other narratives, however, have long since gone. Luke’s remains, with those of Matthew, Mark, and John, divinely preserved. Luke was accurately acquainted with all those things which were fully believed by the saints of his day. He had the testimony of those who had been eye-witnesses, and who had been attendants on the Word Himself. It seemed good to him, he says, to write with method to one Theo-philus, whose name means, "A lover of God". And all lovers of God will revel in Luke’s story.
Zacharias is at the altar. Caesar is on the throne. Joseph is at his bench. Zacharias is in Jerusalem. Caesar is in Rome. Joseph is in Nazareth. Jehovah will move into the routine of their daily lives. The faith of Zacharias, (as is the case with many of us), was not as great as his prayers. His petitions, nevertheless, will be answered, and he will become the father of the fore-runner of the Christ. Joseph will become the husband of the maiden who is to be the virgin mother of that same Christ. Caesar Augustus will, in his supposed sovereignty, issue the decree which, unknown to him, will bring Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem for the birth of the holy Child, in fulfilment of the prophecy of Micah (5.2). Roman governors and provincial tetrarchs will ensure that Caesar’s decree is obeyed. And while the preparation goes on in the world, Simeon and Anna wait expectantly, and Elizabeth and Mary will fellowship together in the hill country. Morally elevated from the wilderness world around them these devoted souls rejoiced together and magnified the Lord. They sang together their psalms of joy.
He was coming, who was the Son of God of the Highest.
Well do we, who live on the other side of their expectations, join in their songs and rejoice with them as we "Behold the Man". The preparation is eventually complete. The fulness of the time has come, and God may now send forth His Son, born of a woman.
—to be continued
These are notes of addresses given by the late George Muller
The Gospel in the Holy Ghost.
"Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake."—1 Thessalonians 1.5.
"Our Gospel." That is, simply, the gospel which we preach. There is but one gospel, the gospel of the grace of God, the glad tidings, that God gave His only begotten Son,—who gave Himself for us, who suffered and was bruised for us, and who died for our sins. This is what we are to believe. The sinner believing in Jesus,—yea, the vilest, the most hardened, the oldest sinner,—will at once obtain the pardon of His sins, the full forgiveness of them. He has not to do any work, but just as he is, he should come; he has only to receive what God has to give in the person of His own dear Son, who, in our room and stead, died for us, unworthy, guilty sinners.
This gospel, the apostle says, "CAME NOT IN WORD ONLY, BUT IN POWER." Not only as a statement, nor even as a mere clear and scriptural statement, but in spiritual energy, in spiritual power. Such power is to be obtained by a holy and prayerful life, by which even now, believers may be brought into such a state as that out of them flow rivers of living water.
It came further to them "IN THE HOLY GHOST;" viz., the gospel was, as it were, inclosed all round by the Spirit, and accompanied by His power, though uttered by mortal and sinful lips. Only as the Holy Ghost works will the gospel be effectual. We should therefore, above all, seek by earnest, frequent prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit.
This "power," in connection with the ministry of the Word, is not only to be sought after by public preachers, or by such as minister to stated congregations, but also by district visitors’ tract distributors, teachers in schools, by masters, by parents, by all. classes of believers seeing that this "power" is the result of a holy walk and a prayerful life. All believers should seek to win souls for Christ. None should be content to go alone to heaven.
But if we would work successfully for God, we must have "power," and we cannot have this spiritual power without much prayer; we must also be especially careful that we do not allow anything which we know to be hateful to the Lord. Thus shall we be "vessels meet for the Master’s use;" but thus alone have we any right to expect to be used by the Lord.
The office of an apostle we never can have, but this spiritual state of heart which the apostle had we may have, yea, ought to have; and just in the degree in which we have it, will the gospel which we preach come in power and in the Holy Ghost. It is not the much we do, the number of visits we have made, or the number of tracts we have distributed; it is not the quantity, but the quality of our service which we should regard. If we have distributed a good many tracts, how much have we distributed them in prayer, and how much have we followed them in prayer?
"AND IN MUCH ASSURANCE;" viz., much full conviction. What an experience is this! a full conviction of the forgiveness of their sins, and of all their sins—hearts brimful of joy; thus showing, by their happy faces, their peace with God, and out of full hearts pouring forth blessed truths! It is true I am a stranger here, but heaven is my home. I am on my way to God. God, for Christ’s sake, has pardoned me.
Dear Sunday-School teachers, day-school teachers, superintendents of schools, district visitors, visitors of the sick, tract circulators, let all those with whom you have to do see that you are happy men and women. Let it never be asked by the children we teach, or those we visit. "Does Mr. So-and-so himself believe what he says?" "Does Mrs. So-and-so herself believe and enjoy the things she speaks of to me?" Therefore, my beloved brethren, do not expect fruit, unless you speak in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.
"AS YE KNOW WHAT MANNER OF MEN WE WERE AMONG YOU." There should be no uncertainty about this—no doubt as to whether the one who speaks, who teaches, who visits, is a man of God or not. It is to my shame, if men do not know what manner of person I am. If we want to know what manner of men we ought to be, let us read what Paul says of himself in the second chapter of the First Epistle to the Thessalonians.
I have made these few remarks, firstly, in order that all of us who in any way seek to serve the Lord may be encouraged. Do not let us say, this is too much—this is too high an attainment. Verily it is not! We may not expect to be able to perform miracles, nor have the gift of tongues, nor the office of an apostle; but we may confidently look for this spiritual power, and we shall not be disappointed.
And I have, secondly, made these remarks because the kind of service which I have been noticing is now so particularly needed. Let us pray that God, in the riches of His grace, would raise up, as pastors and teachers, as evangelists, as district visitors and tract distributors, as teachers of schools, etc., holy men, who shall speak not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; and who by their manner of life shall commend themselves to the consciences of men.
by William Blane
Part I (continued)
- Th’ Atonement was no business act
- In which the Saviour did contract
- To undergo so many pains
- That He might cleanse so many’s stains.
- He gave His all — His life’s blood flowed
- To reconcile the world to God.
- ‘Twixt God and man, to close the rent,
- The spotless Lamb of God was sent.
- If all the sins of Adam’s race,
- With perfect justice to each case,
- In Heaven’s balances were laid,
- They would be utterly outweigh’d
- By Jesus’ death. The value lies
- All in th’ infinite sacrifice:
- When Christ for man was crucified,
- Th’ Creator for the creature died.
- The vail within God’s house of old,
- That hid the mercy-seat of gold,
- With cherubims was strangely wrought,
- Which sadly to the memory brought
- The gate of Eden, where these stood
- With flaming sword lest man intrude,
- And showed that Justice veiled God’s face,
- And stayed the current of His grace.
- But, when the vail was rent in twain,
- These creatures were beheld again,
- No more a terror to the heart,
- But of the mercy-seat a part;
- Beneath their wings the sprinkled blood,
- Inviting sinners near to God.
- Th’ Atonement is the mercy-seat
- Where God the guilty one can meet,
- And show him how his sins are gone,
- Through what the Lord of Life hath done.
- There Truth and Mercy meet together,
- Justice and Peace have kissed each other,
- God’s attributes are harmoniz’d,
- And in His boundless love baptized;
- There Justice, which we once did fear,
- With outstretched hands invites us near.
- The Cross is now God’s trysting-place
- Where He can meet with man in grace—
- Where, on the ground of Jesus’ blood,
- The world may drink of Mercy’s flood,
- And every soul by sin denied
- o God in Christ be reconcil’d.
- What means a universal call
- If there be not enough for all?
- As if the Saviour passed some by
- While He for others’ sins did die,
- And that, though all are told to come,
- There’s but provision made for some;
- Or that, in some mysterious way,
- God means not what the Scriptures say.
- Let hampered minds their thoughts expand,
- Nor on such narrow footing stand:
- The mighty work of Jesus scan—
- He "tasted death for every man."
- He "died for all" that they who live
- Back to Himself that life should give.
- He has for "all" Atonement made—
- For all mankind the ransom paid.
- God loved the world; and when He gave
- His Son, it was the world to save.
- And though He knew some would not take
- Of the provision He would make,
- The foreseen choice of self-willed man
- Changed not heav’ns universal plan,
- As, in the love that moved His heart,
- All in th’ Atonement had a part.
- Some will be lost, and rescued some
- et "Whosoever will" may come.
- If not, He only mocks their fate
- Who presses all, "ere ’tis too late,"
- To trust a work not for them done,
- To take a pardon while there’s none,
- To fly from hell without a way,
- Or perish if they disobey.
- They never can the sinner reach
- Who, crippled thus, the Gospel preach.
- "Pis He who knows of food for all
- That only can afford to call
- A hungry world to come and feed—
- All others would but mock their need.
- 0 tell the tidings all around,
- That every soul may hear the sound—
- Th’ Atoning work embraces all
- Who were enveloped in the Fall.
- To earth’s remotest regions go,
- And preach to every child of woe,
- Impartial who or what they be—
- The rich, the poor, the bond, the free,
- That Christ on their behalf has died,
- That God with Him is satisfied,
- And now is ready to forgive—
- The simple terms, "Believe and live."
- And he who disregards the news,
- And doth his day of grace abuse,
- Shall find the worm that never dies,
- As in the burning lake he sighs
- To all eternity, shall be—
- "There was provision made for me:
- I might have been in heaven above,
- But I despised God’s mighty love."
—(to be cont.)
by A. D. THROPAY (California)
II. RECONCILIATION — 2.11-19
- A. Gentiles — Strangers, aliens from Israel — Verses 11, 12
- B. Gentiles made nigh by the blood of Christ — Verse 13
- C. Christ Jesus is our peace (between Jew and Gentile) — Verse 14
- D. One New Man — Reconciliation of Jew and Gentile — Verses 15, 16
- C. Christ Jesus preached peace (to Jew and Gentile)—Verse 17
- C. Christ Jesus is our peace (between Jew and Gentile) — Verse 14
- B. Gentiles and Jews have access to the Father — Verse 18
- B. Gentiles made nigh by the blood of Christ — Verse 13
- A. Gentiles — no longer strangers and foreigners — Verse 19
—Wherefore: (dio) That is, based on the facts in verses 1-10.
—remember: (mnemoneuo) "to keep in mind," or "to call to mind."
—that: (hoti) the fact that.
—Ye: This word is emphatic — What follows is a description of who they are. This description interrupts the sentence until verse 12.
—being in time past: (pote) Once, at some time or another, at some time in the past.
—Gentiles: There is an article in front of this word in the Greek: "The Gentiles." The article sets them apart as distinct.
—in the flesh: Their bodies declared by their lack of circumcision their heathen condition.
—who are called "Uncircumcision": This was a derogatory name of contempt thrown at the Gentiles. ..
—by that which is called "circumcision" in the flesh made by hands: Those who did not have the true spiritual circumcision of the heart made without hands (Romans 2.28, 29; Colossians 2.11), but only its physical picture, emphasized the difference in outward appearances by their name calling. They considered themselves superior to others because of this physical identity with Abraham.
—that: (hoti) resuming the thought from the beginning of verse 11. "Remember, I say, the fact that. . ."
—at that time ye were without: (choris) separate, apart from, aloof from, having no association with or relationship to.
—Christ: or Messiah. He had relationship to and was associated with the hope of the Jews.
—being aliens from: (apallotrioo) This word is a verb, and is better translated, "having been alienated from." It means, "To alienate, estrange, shut out from one’s intimacy and fellowship." Comp. 4.18; Colossians 1.21.
—the commonwealth: (politeia) (a) a state, country, or empire (b) citizenship or rights of a citizen. (We get our English word "politics" from this word).
—of Israel: The Gentiles were made to feel this alienation very keenly. They were considered "dogs" and "unclean animals." They were not even allowed to assist in the building of the temple. Ezra 4.1-3.
—and strangers: (xenos) a stranger, a foreigner, one having no share in a thing.
—from the covenants of promise: That is, the many covenants made to Abraham and the other Old Testament prophets of the coming Messiah and the blessings that should follow. Compare Genesis 17.1-14; 22.15-18.
—having no hope: (elpis) They had no favourable or confident expectation. They had no happy anticipation of good beyond this world.
—and without God: (atheoi) Being ignorant of the true God, they worship false, fake Gods that really do not exist, and thus have no God. Cp. Galatians 4.8 It means, (a) They were ignorant of the true God (b) They were without God’s help and salvation.
—in the world: (kosmos) as Verse 2 — Primarily, an arrangement, an order. Then it refers to the earth. It came to be used for the people on the earth, mankind, and then for the present condition of human affairs apart from God.
B. Gentiles made nigh by the blood of Christ — Verse 13
—But now: (de nuni) (a) Now at this very moment, or (b) Now, as the case stands.
—in Christ Jesus: He is introducing a state that is distinct from both the Jew and the Gentile. It is a new entity composed of believers IN Christ Jesus.
—ye who were sometimes: (pote) at one time, in time past, once.
—far off: (makran) A long way off. At a great distance. (That is, at a great distance from all that is mentioned in verse 12).
—are made nigh: (engus) near, close by.
—by (en) Literally, "in" the blood of Christ: The blood of Christ not only cleanses us from all sin, but it also brings us very close to God. In fact, by placing us IN Christ, we are as close to God as it is possible to be.
C. He is our peace (between Jew and Gentile) V. 14
—For: (gar) Giving the reason for our nearness to God now.
—He: (autos) This word holds the emphatic position in the sentence. "He and no other," (Expositors).
—is: that is, in His own Person. He not only made peace, He is peace. Without Him, there is no grace.
—our peace: (he eirene hemon) Literally, "the peace, ours." "The word refers to things joined together that were separated," (Wuest). "At one again," (W. E. Vine) "state of untroubled, undisturbed, well-being," (Cremer). "That which brings into unity," (Young). He is Himself the peace that is ours, personally.
—who hath made the both (that is, Jew and Gentile) one: (hen) The word is a singular, neuter word. "One thing, one organism."
—and hath broken down: (lusas) This word means primarily, "To loosen." Here, it means to loosen what is compacted or built together. Hence, "to break up, demolish, destroy," (Thayer).
—the middle wall: (mesotoichon) A midwall, especially in a house.
—of the partition: (phragmos) A fence or hedge. Verse 15 makes clear that this refers to the law of Moses. The metaphor may have been taken from the temple barriers where posted signs warned Gentiles to proceed no further on pain of death. It may also have been taken from the analogy of Israel being a fenced in vineyard. See Isaiah 5.2, Matthew 21.33
The hedge or fence kept them at a distance; the wall kept them in ignorance, they could not see past.
D. One new Man — Verses 15, 16
—having abolished: (katargeo) ‘To reduce to inactivity," "to render inoperative."
—in His flesh: That is, His crucified flesh.
—the enmity: (echthra) Hostile, separating feeling, hatred. Luke 23.12; Romans 8.7; James 4.4; Galatians 5.20; Ephesians 2.16. This word is the opposite of agape (love in action). This hostility and hatred was between the Jew and Gentile. In the Greek New Testament, the words translated "the enmity" come immediately after verse fourteen, and may be associated with either the midwall of the partition or with the law of commandments as the KJV.
—even the law of commandments: (entole) An injunction. Here it refers to the whole Mosaic law.
—contained (or expressed) in ordinances: (dogma) An opinion expressed with authority; a decree, statute, ordinance.
—for to: (hina) with the purpose of; in order to. . .
—make: (ktizo) To create. In scripture, this word always signifies creation as an act of God. We are a new spiritual creation. II Corinthians 5.17
—in Himself: The new creation, as the old creation (the universe) is created and sustained IN Him — They exist and consist by vital union to Him.
—of twain (the Jew and Gentile) one new: (kainon) New in quality. There was nothing like it before. The old distinctions of Jew and Gentile are lost in a new type or kind of..
—Man: (anthropos) A person, a human. This word is not specific for male or female. It is man in general.
—so making: (poieo) to do, perform, accomplish (with imagination and creativity). (Eng. "poem").
—peace: (eirene) As above.
—And: (kai) This conjunction shows that he is going to give a further statement of the purpose of Christ in making peace.
—that He might reconcile: (apokatallaso) "To reconcile completely," W. E. Vine. The word conveys the idea of a change in mutual relation. (Expositors) See also Colossians 1.20, 21.
—both: (amphoteros) "Both of them together," (Exp.)
—unto God: It is the new creation that is presented to God for reconciliation with Himself. The Lord places the believer, whether Jew or Gentile, into the "new man" and presents the "new man" to God for reconciliation.
—in one body: The concept of one body eliminates duality completely. They are no longer two but one. They are so much a "oneness" that they are called "one body."
—by: (dia) through, by means of.
—the cross, having slain: (apokteino) to put to death, kill.
—the enmity (as V.15) thereby: Man and God were enemies. Man was hostile and hateful towards God. This hostility ends in death at the cross.
Thus, the Lord Jesus is the peace, horizontally, between two enemy groups on earth, Jew and Gentile, and vertically, between God and Man.
C. He preached peace vl7
—And came: (aorist participle) "having come." These words refer to His first coming.
—and preached: (euaggelizo) "To proclaim good tidings."
—peace: as verse 14 (eirene) In verse 14, He is HIMSELF presented as the peace that is ours, personally. In verse 15, we are told that he MADE peace. In this verse, we are told that He PREACHED peace.
—to you which were afar off: These are the Gentiles referred to in verses 11-12.
—and to them that were nigh: This phrase refers to the Jews. The first word spoken to His disciples after His resurrection when they were all together was "peace." The Lord said in Matthew 5.9, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." The Lord Jesus is the Peacemaker. His example for us is that there can be no peace without suffering on the part of the peacemaker.
B. Both Jew and Gentile have access through Him. vl8
—For: (hoti) This word is used when a fact is being stated and is usually translated "that," meaning, "the fact that." (a) Some take "hoti" as "that" to give the contents; of the subject matter preached in vl7. Christ "came and preached peace.. . the fact that, etc. (b) The KJV and some others translate "hoti" as "for." The verse then becomes a confirmation of verse 17 in the form of an appeal to the experience of those addressed.
—Through: (dia) "By means of, through."
—Him: That is, the Son. He is the Channel, the Means, or the Way.
—we both have access: (prosagoge) Literally, "A leading into the presence of." It is used for "freedom to enter (for an interview) through assistance of another," (W. E. Vine). "An introduction," (Moule).
—by: (en) Literally, "In." That is, we are "surrounded, animated, and penetrated by"
—one Spirit: He is the one who produces the desire to communicate with the Father. By His dwelling within us and surrounding us, He transforms our desires and inclinations.
—unto: (pros) ‘This word usually involves motion towards a remote object." The same word is used in John 14.6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto (pros) the Father, but by me." John 14.6 was written to and for disciples as was Ephesians.
—the Father: He is the goal. To know the Father was the desire of the disciples. Philip was their spokesman. Believers, from among both Jew and Gentile, have come face to face with the Father and are able to communicate with Him intimately, through the Lord Jesus Christ.
A. Gentiles are no more strangers and foreigners. V. 19
—Now: (ara) "So," or "This being so." (JN Darby) Paul uses this particle often to sum up the force of argument.
—therefore: (oun) This word is used to show the consequences of what has been mentioned. "This being so, that is, that Christ is our peace, made peace, and preached peace, and as a consequence thereof,…"
—ye: i.e., Gentiles
—are no more strangers: As verse 12 — (xenos) a stranger, a foreigner, one having no share in a thing.
—and foreigners: (paroikos) Literally, "To make one’s home along side of." Hence, "A resident alien, a non-naturalized foreigner liable to legal removal any time," (H. C. Moule).
—but: (alla) But, in contrast
—fellow citizens: (sumpolit5s. From "sun," together, and "polities." citizen.) They are citizens together.
—with the saints: (hagios) "Holy ones." People set apart with God who sets evil apart from Himself by His glory. Every believer is a saint.
—and of the household: (oikeios) Fellow members of an immediate family. Belonging to the same household.
—of God: Not only have the barriers between Jew and Gentile been broken down by the cross of the Lord Jesus, and not only has He provided equal access to the Father for all believers, but through His peace making, we have become members of the immediate family of God Himself!
by E. G. Parmenter (Barton-on-Sea)
2. The Review of the Saints
It is necessary that our hearts and minds are established in the doctrine of scripture regarding future sessions of judgment and the believers eternal standing.
The New Testament reveals that there are three future sessions of judgment. Two are pre-millennial: one is post millennial
- Consequent on the rapture there will be the judgment seat of Christ for all Christians (Rom. 14; 2 Cor. 5).
- At the conclusion of Daniel’s 70th week there will be the judgment of the nations (Matt. 25.21-31).
- When Christ has reigned for 1000 years and the last effort of Satan to destroy the saints and the beloved city has been aborted (by fire from God out of Heaven, the nations in revolt being devoured by it); the devil himself cast into the lake of fire and the earth and the heaven have fled away — then there will take place the judgment of the wicked dead at the great white throne (Rev. 20).
The judgment of the living nations, and the judgment of the great white throne are both connected with judicial judgment, and in both cases the throne is a throne of authority.
The Judgment Seat of Christ is not a throne from which judgment issues and sentence passed, it is a seat upon which sat the man who at the Greek games would bestow the victors garlands. Thus the judgment seat of Christ is the elevated seat from which Christ will appraise the life-work of all who stand in the relation of servant to Him.
The New Testament doctrine regarding the eternal standing of the believer simply stated. God in His own essential righteousness, on the basis of the sacrifice of Christ, has come out as "just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" and those who have believed God have been reckoned righteous, and placed before the throne of His uncreated glory. The blessedness of this is expressed by David "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." Romans 4.7,8.
Once and for all, we who have believed God and are in Christ, have been judged by God as to the question of our sin. In Christ, at Calvary during those hours of darkness on the cross, a holy God dealt with the question of my sin, and as a result God has placed me beyond judgment forever, and I will never be exposed to judgment and the second death. Thus the following statements are true.
- There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus (John 5.24; Rom. 8.1).
- We are clean every whit (John 13.10).
- We are holy and without blame before Him eternally (Eph 1.4).
Therefore, reasoned the apostle, "who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect. . ." (Rom. 8.33-34).
During the present time God now, as our Father deals with us as sons and He chastens every son whom He loveth — "For our profit that we might be partakers of His holiness". This is not joyous but grievous at the time but "afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them who are exercised thereby." Heb 12:5-11.
Our eternal standing in Christ must be kept firmly in mind, when we consider the judgment seat of Christ. It is fundamental that the believer is "justified from all things". Through Christ he has received "the remission of sins" (Acts 13.38-39).
With this in mind we will consider Scriptural teaching concerning the judgement seat.
The Judgment Seat will not be in respect of our persons, but rather as to our works and our attitudes, both of which will come under the all searching eye of Christ, and all will be righteously assessed. In that day, nothing will remain hidden, all will be manifested.
This solemn matter is not revealed in scripture to put us in a state of fear. It is given as an incentive to live more holy and serve with purity of motive and greater obedience.
At the judgment seat, we shall there read the whole story of our life and marvel at the grace and long suffering of the Lord and heartily acquiesce to His assessment of our life and service in this world.
THE TIME of the judgment seat is indicated in (1 Cor. 4.5) "Wherefore judge nothing before the time until the Lord come who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and make manifest the counsels of the heart" The Corinthian chris-tians were indulging in passing judgment on the servants of Christ and Paul reminds them that all such judging is both premature and unauthorised. The appraisal of his servants, will be done by the Lord Himself at His coming. After the rapture, and before the marriage of the Lamb.
THE SCOPE of the judgment seat (2 Cor 5.10) "We must ALL appear": (Rom. 14.10) "We shall ALL stand before" The individual nature of the assessment is stated, that
- Each one may receive (2 Cor. 5.10)
- Each man’s work shall be made manifest (1 Cor. 3.13)
- Each one of us shall give account of himself (Rom. 14.12)
THE DETAIL of the judgment seat. The Christian’s attitude is the subject in Rom. 14.1 to 15.7.
1. The problem stated. All revolved around Receiving, Despising and Judging. Some were expressing their liberty by eating all things and regarding not days etc. Others were very restricted in what they would eat and kept all sorts of days.
- Let not him that eateth despise …. Let not him which eateth not, judge (v3)
- Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant (v4)
- Why dost thou judge thy brother? (vl0)
2. The principle involved. "We shall all stand: each one of us shall give account" that is, we shall all be made to stand — be placed before (vl0) and each one shall give account. The strong Christian who has been engaged in despising others. The weak Christian who has been judging the strong.
To the strong Paul says:
- Remember Calvary — and destroy not him for whom Christ died — Christ gave up everything for that man (vl5)
- Remember the kingdom — it is not meat and drink — but righteousness, peace and joy in the holy spirit (vl7)
- Remember the work of God — "for meat do not overthrow that divine work (v20)
To all Paul says:
- Remember Christ "For even Christ pleased not Himself (V3).
Christian attitudes in the anticipation of the Judgment Seat ought to be those of Christ-like consideration and God-like patience.
The Judgment Seat of Christ in 2 Cor. 5.10 is connected with, "Receiving things done in the body, whether good or bad". The whole of our life’s history will come under review — "we will come face to face with both the good and the bad"
Illustration: Father gives to his boy a "Piggy Bank" into which he can put coins. In due course the boy has filled his piggy bank with coins and the day arrives when his father takes the key and opens the piggy bank. All that the boy put in came out, whether good or bad. If any coins were bad they did not change the good, and the good did not change the bad — they were received exactly as they were put in.
At the Judgment Seat of Christ everything that has been done will be received by the one to whom it belongs.
Every idle word: every false statement: every wrong thought: every unkind deed, will one day be received by us and not by another. Every action done, every day, every hour, every moment, is being registered in heaven. Everything we do, every impression we make in this world is, as it were, being recorded above, and one day we will come face to face with it again. Everything will then come out in its true colour and at the Bema, Christ will give His assessment of all that has gone to make up our life in this world.
In 1 Cor. 3 the spiritual and the carnal Christian is in view and the Judgment Seat of Christ is indicated in vl3. There the apostle says "each man’s work shall be made manifest, for the day shall declare it". First the apostle gives in v6 an illustration of work which received the stamp of God’s approval. Paul planted: Apol-los watered: but God gave the increase, that is God gave the growth (v7).
God is everything, neither I or Apollos are anything, we are nobodies. Yet says Paul we are one in purpose and each man shall receive his own reward according to his labour, meaning, the fruit and the growth belong to God, the labour is my responsibility and for that there is reward.
The spiritual and the carnal representing two builders are reminded,
- v10 Take heed HOW you build i.e. In what spirit you build (cf v3)
- v13 Take heed WHAT you build i.e. There are two classes of materials.
- v12 Take heed WHERE you build i.e. There is a right foundation.
Our service for Christ can be of:
- Good quality — Gold, Silver, Precious Stones
- Bad quality —Wood, Hay, Stubble,— bulky but inflammable and when put to the test of the fire, the one will stand the test, but the other will be reduced to ashes. This may be illustrated as follows, the making of a mirror in days gone by was after this method, a clear sheet of plate glass was laid on a hot table which was covered with a woollen substance something like a blanket. Nitrate of silver was dissolved in distilled water and poured on the surface of the glass which was lying perfectly level: The heat of the table caused the silver to be deposited on the surface of the glass, the glass plate was then tilted and all the silver that did not adhere to the glass ran on to the woollen blanket. With this process constantly going on — the blanket became charged with silver and turned black, and to all appearances was of no value. It was then placed in the melting pot which was put on the fire. All the fibre of the old blanket goes off in smoke and nothing is left in the melting pot but a beautiful white molten silver lava. The fire has burnt up the fibre leaving behind the silver.
At the judgment seat of Christ, all will be put in the crucible, the fire will consume the "Wood, Hay, Stubble" and leave the "Gold, Silver, Precious Stones".
In Gen. 13 & 19 We have a man whose works were all burnt up behind him. Lot built much in Sodom, after great trouble he was dragged out by the angels, but he lost his wife in his flight from the doomed city and he lost all that he had Sodom, it was all burnt up behind him. He himself was saved … yet so as by fire.
Luke 23 We have a man who had no works to be rewarded and none to be burnt. The thief dying on the cross, with words of faith cried, ‘Lord remember me’ — The Lamb of God swiftly replied, ‘today shalt thou be with Me’. He entered heaven with no works to be burnt up and no works to be rewarded. He was saved by grace alone.
2 Tim 4 We have a man who had an abundance of works to be rewarded Paul said ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course: I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord the Righteous Judge shall give me at that day, and not to me only but unto all them that love His appearing.’
- A good fight — will bring a good reward.
- Keeping the course — will receive the well done and . . .
- Keeping the faith — will be rewarded with "enter thou into the joy of thy Lord"
—to be continued
By J. Burnett, Dunfermline, Scotland
No. 1 — Introduction
Scripture References: 1 Sam.17.20, 28-30; 1 Chron. 22.11.-16; 1 Chron.27.18
The examination of characters is one of the most interesting, instructive and rewarding ways in which the Word of God can be studied, since it has pleased God to link personalities with principles of truth.
As we examine the lives of those of a past day we see on the one hand these principles being observed and obeyed resulting in a life of usefulness. However, on the other hand, we see those same precepts being ignored resulting in spiritual poverty.
With that in mind it is the intention in this series of papers to highlight some practical lessons centred around the life and experience of David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel. In so doing it is not the intention to highlight the failures of the man but rather to note some moments of greatness as he walked in fellowship with God. There are many features of moral beauty about David we do well to carefully and prayerfully consider. Many and varied are the things which the Bible describes as being beautiful, for example:
- The Beautiful Features of David —1 Sam. 16.2
- The Beautiful Fellowship of the House —Psalm 48.2
- The Beautiful Feet of the Saviour —Isa.52.7
- The Beautiful Flock of God —Jer. 13.20
It has been well said that the men of God are not produced in the storms of life but in the Sanctuary of God. It is there character is formed and lasting impressions are made. It is there truth is imparted and Spirit begotten convictions are wrought. Many years ago an outstanding servant of Christ gave words of wise counsel to all who would handle God’s word when he said, "dwell much in the secret of the sanctuary until such impressions are made that in public the expression of these impressions are made easy."
However if such men are not produced in the storms of life they are certainly proved. Men of God will always be tested by God especially on their own ministry. This has been well verified by the experiences of the faithful through the generations and must be accepted by all who put their hand to the plough in the service of God. Men who live for God and seek to make straight paths for their feet, walking with the Lord in the light of his word will inevitably find themselves in the crucible of testing.
The prophet Ezekiel found it to be so as seen in Ezek. 24.18,
- "So I spake unto the people in the morning" — His Teaching;
- "and at even my wife died" — His Testing;
- "and in the morning I did as I was commanded — His Triumph.
Having been bereft of his dear wife he showed no signs of bitter resentment but demonstrated that even in life’s darkest hour it was no grievous thing to keep the precepts of God. Only men of the Sanctuary could rise to such heights of spiritual greatness.
We want to assess the worth of David in the sphere where he was most severely tested and that was in his own home with his own family. There is nothing quite like a man’s family to prove his worth. There are good men who have handled the pressures associated with the business world admirably; they have endeared themselves to the Lord’s people within the assembly fellowship, never putting a foot wrong; but alas have been found wanting when faced with the challenge of home life.
It is always very strange and sad when men are prepared to change course mid stream, simply to accommodate the family. This is not stated without feeling. Being a family man, the author fully appreciates the problems that can and do arise, but there is nothing to be gained in burying one’s convictions. Better by far to remain true to all that is held dear and seek grace from God to continue, despite the failure of the family, to follow the ways of the Lord. Had the father in Luke 15 gone with the Prodigal there would have been no home to which the wayward boy could return!
In the next papers we shall consider David and his relationship with three members of the family circle as outlined below.
- 1. With His Father Jesse — The Respect He Showed.
- 2. With His Brother Eliab — The Restraint He Exercised.
- 3. With His Son Solomon — The Responsibility He Fulfilled.
(to be continued)
by The Late THOS. NEWBERRY, of the "Englishman’s Bible"
There is but one will in Heaven. Angels never consult their own will, or plan their own pathway. They "do His commandments hearkening to the voice of His word" (Psa. 103. 20). One will regulate all, with neither jar nor discord.
I suspect the first discord caused in Heaven was by Satan’s having a will of his own, a counter will, and this discord he introduced into the world, by tempting our first parents to have and to exercise a will of their own, instead of carrying out the will of Him who said: "Thou shalt not" (Gen. 2. 17).
It is the independent will of man which fills the world with discord, and peoples the bottomless pit with millions of miserable souls.
God has no pleasure in the death of him that dieth. He willeth not the death of the sinner.
He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3 .9).
How comes it then that the Broad Road is thronged from age to age? Because man has a will of his own. He is not willing to come to Christ that he might have life.
What is conversion? What is salvation? What is eternal life? Letting God have His will with us, that is it.
Why are all in Heaven so eternally serene, happy, and blessed? Because there is a throne set in Heaven and One sitting upon it. No wonder the Lord Jesus put that marvellous prayer into the mouth of His disciples, "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven." When this prayer is answered, it will be "Heaven begun below." The starry heavens move on in unbroken harmony: "Not one faileth." This world, it would seem, is the only province in the universe in which God’s will is not fulfilled—the only part of the vast machinery which is out of gear. Man has a will of his own.
by Albert Hull (Nova Scotia)
When relating a conversion story we are made aware that each conversion to God has it’s own peculiar distinctiveness and yet at the same time each has similiarities. Some have different backgrounds, culturally, religiously and socially yet all are joined eternally by our link to Christ. Again there are differences as to ages, some in very young life some later and some in old-life. Thus conversions are always interesting and intriguing. When all are written down or related publicly we must ever give to our God and His Son all the glory.
I had the privilege of a clear gospel background, so that from earliest days the basic truth from God’s Word was taught. Sin and it’s wages, death, the Lord’s coming and salvation through the death of Christ were constantly brought before us in the home and also while attending Sunday School and gospel meetings. I can remember while young, some of the family being reached by the mighty grace of God and the attendant joy accompanying this newfound peace. However with shame I acknowledge my limited desire to go in for God’s salvation. Isaiah 53.5; the first part described my desires …. "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way." A few times it was evident that God was dealing with me and looking back one clearly understands such was God’s grace seeking the wanderer. The Lord’s coming was ever a constant concern to me and I knew if this took place my destiny was eternally sealed. These thoughts were very real especially when events in the world were alarming. Yet sadly such thoughts were like the morning dew or the passing cloud, they were so brief. At sixteen years of age I became most disturbed while attending meetings in the Whitehouse Gospel Hall, the speaker was the late Mr. Wm. Bunting. Many nights I was in deep concern, often bowed at my bed-side wondering how I could know that all my sins were forgiven, but these meetings passed and I was still a wandering sheep, away from God and sadder still, I lost all interest in salvation. From that time until mighty grace awoke me and His mercy saved me I was never again (except for one occasion) under the message of the gospel.
My life could well be summed up in the words of Luke 15 … "wasted his substance with riotous living." There is no doubt during the next four years many dear saints of God prayed for me and this was confirmed many times after God in grace saved me. Many times in my depravity and darkness the gracious Spirit tried to reach me but such was unheeded and unwanted. In December 1956 at the Christmas season I was in circumstances where once again I was brought face to face with my sin and eternity. My grandmother had died and at the viewing in the home I was in the room alone, staring at death and an inner voice seemed to say; "Albert your grandmother is in Heaven, but if it was your body in that casket, your soul would be in Hell." It was so real, I tried to cover it up before others, my stubborn heart fought against it, but this solemn moment remained with me until saved by grace. Until January 27th., 1957 I was under constant conflict, the world was calling, friends were calling and the devil was calling. The battle raged, the world or Christ, sin or salvation. I struggled in my darkness, sometimes my most solemn convictions were drowned by revelry and friends. On January 27th the choice was made (made in a little room in Whitehouse), as I sat with a number of my friends as we played that Sunday morning our weekly poker games. At approx. 10.30 a.m. I left, dejected and yet determined to go after salvation as a drowning man would grasp for a life-saver! A sad note here, one of my closest friends in those days who begged me to stay on at the game is now in eternity, died in 1987, others also who were in that little room are now in eternity.
At approx. 8 p.m. on that same day I left my home and walked alone with thoughts flooding my soul, the Bible verses came back to me that I was taught in earlier life, my sins tormented me, indeed at one point I trembled as I considered that all my sins would be set in order before me by God. I passed a portable hall (this was of God!) and heard them singing, I stopped and listened to the words; "Christ receiveth sinful men, even me with all my sin etc." This stirred within a deep longing to know how I could know that Christ would receive me, others I knew He had received. But my problem was, how could I know. I continued walking with increased burden. I tried to visualise Christ on the Cross, then I tried to feel and look for something to tell me I was saved, the verses like John 3.16,36; Isaiah 53.5,6 and others I quoted and pondered, but all of no avail. Finally I returned on my journey home with heavy heart. Near home, beside a School-House I paused a moment and there acknowledged to God that I was going to Hell in my sins and I could see no way out. At that moment a verse from the Bible came to mind; Matthew 11.28 Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. In that moment I took in the precious truth that Christ had died for me and His Word said, I will give you rest. In the lines of another;
- "Then fully I trusted in Jesus and Oh what a joy came to me,
- My heart was filled with his praises for saving a sinner like me."
- "Now rest my long divided heart,
- Fixed on that blissful center rest,
- Nor ever from my Lord depart
- With Him of every good possessed
- Happy day, happy day
- When Jesus washed my sins away."
When I arrived home I bowed my knee for the first time in willing and thankful appreciation for God’s Son. A verse from the Bible touched my heart; Romans 6.22 … But Now being made free from sin etc., sin that held me! sin that blinded me! sin that would have cast me away from God forever, I was free at last. (I was informed afterward that one of the speakers in the portable hall had said to his partner as there were few in the hall, open the windows there might be someone passing that will hear.) I was the one that was passing and thank God Jesus was passing also.
After conversion there was burned deep in my soul an interest in "others" and this brought me into a definite exercise before God as to my life and what the Lord wanted me to do. It was not too long after conversion that I was baptised and received in the assembly at Whitehouse, N.I. Choices had to be made and one could not relate all the various ways in which God seemed to indicate to me in the words of the Lord to His own in Mark 11.2,3 relative to the colt tied; "the Lord hath need of him." From that time forward the Lord prospered me in the secular world and I received promotions as manager in the Retail Grocery Business from time to time. While in this position it was encouraging that two of the staff professed salvation. While the demands at work were heavy I had time for some gospel meetings, tract distribution and open-air work. It was at Saturday night open-air meetings conducted by the Ebenezer assembly that I was introduced to open-air preaching. I had gone along to support the good brethren but they gave me a wee push out to speak a word in the gospel, this was done with shaking knees and a fluttering heart! My home assembly at Whitehouse were of invaluable help to me and some at that time took me under their wing. I am deeply thankful for their care and interest, while with others we consistantly and on a weekly basis distributed tracts and preached in the open-air with their full and happy fellowship. One of my dearest and closest companions was the late Mr. Hugh Alexander. I must give great credit to this dear brother for his help and encouragement as to engaging in ‘full-time’ work in the gospel, he was a strong link and of great support. Many experiences took place until I finally came to the conclusion that the Lord was calling me for ‘gospel work’. It was climaxed at a Buckna conference when one servant of the Lord in particular had a very personal and definite message for me, it was like the ‘green-light’ that gave direction and confirmation. From then I resolved whatever, whenever and wherever I was at the Lord’s bidding. The late and much esteemed servant of the Lord, Mr. L. K. Mcllwaine was across to N.I. in 1962 on a visit, his wife also with him. There seemed to be a friendship formed from our first meeting. It was not too long, indeed the same year after they returned to Nova Scotia that a letter arrived with a ‘Macedonia’ call in it, there was an urgency that implied an immediate response. Well this was at first too much for me, but I replied by assuring them of my appreciation and interest but felt it too soon to go immediately. I made my exercise known to the assembly and was greatly encouraged by their same exercise for me, thus mine, their’s and Mr. Mcllwaine’s was the same. Mr. Alexander was very happy that I was going to Nova Scotia and intimated that at one time he was very much exercised to go to Nova Scotia. I waited upon the Lord and was happy that in the period of waiting I found a true-helpmeet to come with me in 1963. Mae Torrens of the Killykergen assembly and I were married on the 3rd July 1963 and we left the shores of the home-land on the 10th July arriving in the land of our adoption on the 17th July.
I recall on one of my visits to the late Mr. Edmund Allen who was of great encouragement and help to me. When speaking with him as to the Lord’s work etc., his advice to me was most valuable. He said before leaving; "Go out trusting God and in twenty years you can recount His faithfulness."
We raise our sweet Ebenezers as we reflect of the kindness of God and have been, deeply grateful to the Lord allowing me to be yoked to a true pioneer and worthy servant of the Lord, Mr. L. K. McIlwaine with with whom I served as a son with a father for my first nine years. From this man we learned simple trust and confidence in the living God, and proved that God’s ways are best in carrying on the work of the Lord. During our 27 years here we have laboured with many of the servants of the Lord and thankful for the one-mindedness that is still maintained, pray for us that such will continue. While the Lord has given some blessing in the Work during the many years, yet so little has been accomplished for Him who did so much for us at the Cross.
Our record is on high. In closing one would express the deep gratitude for the prayers of the Lord’s people and their invaluable help as we continue unto this day preaching the gospel and ministering to the saints.
When I shall look on His beautiful face I’ll wish, Oh I’ll wish I had given Him more.
Endless being, endless torment— Terrible the thought to man; Everlasting ages passing, Running on beyond mind’s span; Not an end to offer comfort In that ocean of God’s wrath. To that prospect you are going; You are now on future’s path.
Endless being, endless bliss— ‘Tis a prospect sweet and sure; E’er to leave a world like this, Revel in that home so pure. Nevermore to grieve the Saviour: Instant fellowship with Him; Tasting, feasting at the fountain— You may also reach that clime.
What’s the difference—Hell or Heaven? Why is it there must be two? What has happened to the sinner, Who has said, "What must I do"? He has felt the awful sentence: "Sin brings death, and judgement too;" He has turned to Christ the Saviour: Hell is closed, now Heaven’s in view.
—Roy Marshall (Falkirk)
- More of Thyself, O show me, hour by hour;
- More of Thy glory, O my God and Lord;
- More of Thyself in all Thy grace and power;
- More of Thy love and truth, Incarnate Word.
OUR "SACRIFICES" ARE MEAGRE ENOUGH
We are only ashamed that the little sacrifices we have made are so terribly small as to be invisible. When we think of the life of our Lord and Saviour and God, who came to earth to redeem us, who was born in a manger, who had nowhere to lay His head, who died a felon’s death on the Cross, who said "Follow Me," then great shame oppresses us, because we are such terrible caricatures of Christ and His apostles.
Our object is the conversion and edification of these people, and for such a cause we are glad to sacrifice our personal comfort and to lay down our lives.
I believe more than ever that Jesus Christ is God, who died for me and for all men. I also believe that in the light of such marvellous grace, love and sacrifice, no sacrifice that I or any other person can make is of any value whatever; all sinks into insignificance. To mention Christ’s sacrifice for us and then suggest that anything on our part could rightly bear the name of sacrifice, is veritably a passing from the sublime to the ridiculous.
—C. T. Studd