2013

110 of 16 items

Preservation Together

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We were speaking earlier today about how the Christian is to be preserved. That takes in, of course, how Christians together are to be preserved, but perhaps a good deal of what we were saying had to do with the individual Christian passing through this world, as under the eye of God, and needing to learn dependence in the same way as the Lord Jesus showed it when He was here. I would like to draw upon the Scriptures to turn rather more towards how the people of God may be preserved together, because there is a need for that, that we might be able to go on together in the things of the Lord, get the gain of fellowship in the things of the Lord, as sharing them, and make progress together so that there is a richer and sweeter response to God while we still remain here.
I thought the 17th chapter of John’s Gospel would be a good place to begin, because this is where we have the thoughts of the Lord Jesus on this subject. If we look back to the end of chapter 16 and the beginning of chapter 17, we find that the Lord took immediate account of the circumstances in which His disciples would be left here. He says, “In the world ye have tribulation; but be of good courage: I have overcome the world.” And that rings down the ages, and it remains true. The Lord Jesus personally has overcome the world. He was here as an Overcomer. He has maintained the rights of God and, in God’s own good time, the Lord Jesus will have His rights here. And He calls on us to be of good courage in the face of the trials and difficulties of the way.
And it says, “These things Jesus spoke, and lifted up His eyes to heaven.” This chapter follows immediately from what the Lord has been saying in the previous chapters. And this chapter, which is, of course, a very precious one and well known to many believers here, takes up a number of things which were on the Lord’s heart in the night in which He was delivered up.
We might well marvel that there was time for such an exchange with the Father to take place, but it evidently was so, and the Spirit of God has seen to it that what the Lord had to say was recorded.

Titles and Offices of the Lord Jesus as presented in the Epistle to the Hebrews

I just suggest these Scriptures, dear brethren, as presenting to us some of the glories of the Lord Jesus Christ, and desiring, as our brother said in prayer, that we might get some fresh views of Him and His Person and excellence. There is, of course, nothing new in Scripture; the Scripture is its own record, but we come back to it looking for what we might call fresh impressions of what the Scripture contains.
As regards titles and offices, I think they mainly relate to the Lord Jesus. That is to say that He fills many of the needs of God as desiring to have to do with men, and, through grace, of men as desiring to have dealings with God. It may be said of the Holy Spirit, of course, that He is the Comforter and the Earnest, and maybe has other titles as well. But Scripture, I think, dwells a good deal on the titles of the Lord Jesus Christ. And the Epistle to the Hebrews is one – not the only one, obviously, but one – good place to look to see what the Spirit has to say about the offices that the Lord Jesus fills.
I read these Scriptures in the order in which they occur in the Epistle, because that is just the easiest way to keep them in mind. But I did not have in mind to suggest that there was any progression through the passages we have read. They each stand by themselves, apart from the close connection that there is between chapter 3, “the Apostle and High Priest of our confession,” and what there is in chapter 8, where the apostle himself says that a summary of what has gone before is that “we have such a one High Priest Who has sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Greatness in the heavens.” And he then says that He is “Minister of the holy places and of the true tabernacle.” So, I think it is good to think of the High Priest and the Minister perhaps in somewhat the same context.

Preservation

The question has been weighing with me, dear brethren, as to how the Christian – and, indeed, the Christian company – is to be preserved. And I suggested these Scriptures – which bear, I think, upon us individually and, to some extent, together – to set on an enquiry as to how we may be preserved.
When I say ‘preserved,’ I actually mean being preserved at the most practical level of keeping our faith and our walk, in the state of the world as it now is. I am sure it was always a difficult world, but there are difficulties which are very obvious at the present time. Satan is making a definite assault on a number of things. Some of the things that are most obviously affected relate to the family and family life. I did not have in mind to go into any detail as to that, but rather that we should be alerted, freshly if necessary, to the fact that Satan is active, and that the saints, each of us, as well as the saints when together, need to be preserved.
It does not, of course, manifest itself only in its moral aspects. There is a great tide of what is secular and unbelieving, and that, too, can affect the saints if we are not careful. And we may also be in danger of simply being disheartened.
So we need to be encouraged, but not just in a vague, general way, that everything will come right in the end: we need, rather, to be quite specific that the saints do need to be preserved and that Scripture points to ways in which they can be.

The presence of the Lord amongst us

It has been on my heart for some time that we should have an impression of the presence of the Lord amongst us. I sought in prayer the help of the Lord to speak together about this important matter, of having a real impression of the presence of the Lord amongst us.

I was particularly impressed with the fact that, once we have come together, we can have an impression that, really, the Lord Jesus is pleased to be with us. It is a real matter. It is not a physical one, as, of course, we know, but it is a matter of really experiencing His presence. And I thought of these passages, the first one being the passage that sets forth the conditions in which we can receive the Lord.

The work of God in our souls

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Philippi was the first place in Europe where Paul and those with him brought the gospel (See Acts 16:12‑40). From Philippi they moved on to Thessalonica, and then to Athens and to Corinth. As a result, the apostle Paul wrote two letters to the Christians in Thessalonica. The first of those two letters is one of the first recorded in Scripture that he ever wrote. He also wrote later to the Corinthians. We have no letter that he wrote to the Philippians until he was in prison in Rome. But here it is. And we have what the apostle has to say, writing from prison. I do not know how we would get on if we were in prison for our faith – plenty of people are discovering the hard way how they get on in such circumstances at the present time, and, of course, we should not forget them. But, if you are imprisoned, you may have various thoughts; you may have thoughts about the injustice of your being there; you may wonder why God allowed you to be there. Or you might be like the apostle Paul who writes as a mature Christian to those who are not in prison, but whom he desires to encourage to persevere for the rest of the time that they are here.

The habitation of God

I have just a simple thought about the way in which what was on David’s heart in organising a habitation for God has been answered in the line of promises of God in a full way in the work of the Lord Jesus, and how this work is being carried on now as the house is being built. We refer, of course, to two different houses in these passages. One is a physical house that was actually built as a Temple, not by David, but by his son, as we know. And that house was meant in the exercise and desire of David to be God’s habitation amongst His people, as related to the centre of His promises in Zion, the place that God had chosen. The house that is being built now is not physical, nor localised in any particular place, but is made of living persons who have been put together by the Lord Jesus in His work. The Lord is building what will become, in true result, a habitation and pleasure of God. I thought that, following up what we had before us yesterday, and what we enjoyed together this morning, we could consider how God can find this habitation amongst His own, and how this can really be formed through what the Lord Himself is doing. I hope this thought can be developed by the brethren together.

Seeing more of the wonderful things of God

When I was thinking about this afternoon, for some reason I had an overriding impression of Psalm 23. And then, following through from the thought of what we can enjoy currently, as believers in this wilderness scene that we are all treading through, we can touch what is eternal and what is of God.

It led me to think of Psalm 27, too. These are both psalms of David, a man of experience. What comes out here, linking with what we were saying yesterday, is that he had a desire and an earnest longing to see more of these wonderful things. He did not just want to look in from the outside; he wanted to enter in to what God would have for him, and to see something of “the beauty of Jehovah” (v4).

I read the other two Scriptures because, whilst many, many readings have taken place on Luke 15 and John 14, there is always something new you can gain, I think, from the truth of the Father’s house. Luke 15, I suppose, tells us what, again, we can enjoy currently. The younger son wanted an inheritance now. He actually came into something, now, that was far better than what he had actually hankered after in the first place.

And then what we read about in John 14 is a future day in many ways. It is something the believer can look forward to. We should not forget that. It is not all current, we have a future. It is the wonderful thing for a believer that he does have a bright future. The wonder and glory of that should affect us now as well. That is why the Lord spoke to His disciples, that the future prospect might also be a current enjoyment.

Psalm 23 is for where we are now.

The Name of the Lord

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With the Spirit’s help, I want to say something tonight about the name of the Lord. When I say, ‘The name of the Lord,’ I do not mean His title. He has many titles. The many titles of the Lord Jesus in Scripture is an interesting study: Saviour, Lord, Shepherd, one could go on! It is an interesting study, especially when you are younger, just to go through the different titles of the Lord. But that is not what I have in mind. Every Scripture we have read mentions the name of the Lord, or the name of Jehovah. What I think that actually means is not so much His title, but what He is and, more importantly, how He identifies Himself with His people, or how we, as His people, identify with Him.

The Gifts of Eternal Life and the Holy Spirit

My thought today is quite simply that we should have a desire to appreciate what God has given us. As believers in the Lord Jesus we come into much blessing. Some of it is future, but much of it is now. But, also, I am challenged as to how much I am concerned with knowing more of it.

There are two things principally that I want to speak of this afternoon. One is the gift of eternal life, the other is the gift of the Holy Spirit. They are two things which are to be enjoyed currently. And they are two things which we should desire to know more of.
So I read the New Testament Scriptures so that we can think about the gift of eternal life and the gift of the Spirit. But then I read the Old Testament Scriptures because I think it is always good to get practical examples of truth that we are considering. What strikes me about Caleb and his daughter is that they both had desires. Also, in fact, the woman in John 4 said, “Give me this water” (v15). I know for myself that, as being brought up in a Christian household, amongst the brethren, we take a lot for granted. But these things are to be gone in for. Would that each of us desired a blessing!

Understanding the Times

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UNDERSTANDING  THE  TIMES 1 Chron 12:32 Hag 2:4-7 1 John 4:1-6 Phil 2:14-16 Mark 14:3-9 I believe, dear brethren, that one thing that is needed by every lover of the Lord Jesus is to have an understanding of the times. That is, for us, the day we are in, the present time. We know the […]