I have been concerned that we might get further gain from considering the Lord Jesus as our Teacher. At the beginning of the Acts this same servant, Luke, said that he put this Gospel together “concerning all things which Jesus began both to do and to teach.” There was clearly a great emphasis in his mind, led of the Holy Spirit, to set out the teaching the Lord Jesus gave when He was here.
The Lord Jesus is the Teacher; we are the learners, and these passages have something to do with our own place as learners.
It is an interesting word, ‘learning.’ We all know from school or work that lessons that need to be learned are not all learned in a moment. Learning, as I understand it, is not quite like coming to the Lord Jesus for the first time as Saviour. We are either saved or we are not, and thank God for every one who is saved – one lasting transaction with the Lord Jesus.
But learning is something that takes time, and it also takes some application. And in a sense, as in natural things, so it is in spiritual things. We have to limit that, of course, because making progress in Christianity is not a matter of being clever or anything of that kind. But still, the need for application is there, and giving heed to what is said, and also, as we shall see, to Who it is that is saying it.
I would like to say a little about the field which is being reaped. First of all, I would like to speak a word of encouragement for everyone here, and particularly for those who may be young in the faith. And then I would like to speak about the field that was reaped, the field that will be reaped, and the field that is being reaped.
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.
I would like to speak briefly, with the Spirit’s help, on what is within us, as to whether we are aware of what is within us. Sometimes it is a shock to find what is within you!
I would like to begin with what was found in Christ, because when I think of Christ, I think of perfection – divine perfection in a Man.
I want to speak of what it says in Hebrews, things that we “have come to” (v22). It is quite important when we are young to understand that in Christianity there are certain things that we need to come to. We might not arrive at all these truths at one time, because it would be in connection, always, with our growth. I have read of these three persons in the Old Testament because what we get in them are the final words at certain points which they had reached in their long history with God.
I would say at the outset that we all need to appreciate increasingly the history that we may have with God.
INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY Rom 10:12-13 Rom 12:1-6 (to “gifts”) Rev 3:14,20-22 2 Timothy 1:14; 2:1,19-22 I would like to speak about individual responsibility. I want to speak firstly of the obligation of every man, woman and child of responsible age to heed God’s call in the gospel, to repent and put their faith in Christ; […]
This Address is about a prophet who saw the glory of God. Isaiah is the prophet most quoted in the New Testament and he had a unique impression of the glory of Christ.
This Address is about what marked the assembly at the beginning. Earlier in the Acts we find the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost and tongues of fire sitting on each one (Acts 2:1-4). Peter (and others, but Peter in particular) preaches in the power of the Spirit, and as a result three thousand persons believed and were baptised. It was a time of great blessing and addition, and evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit. Then we find that these persons “persevered in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles, in breaking of bread and prayers.”
In this Address your attention is drawn to four men in the Acts of the Apostles who gave evidence of life without having much experience at all, so that we might be encouraged to go by the same way as they did and find the enjoyment of life for ourselves, because it is made quite clear in each passage what life meant to them and thus could mean to you and me as well.