I would like to speak to you about commitment – commitment to the Lord Jesus. Commitment is a subject for those that already have believed in the Lord Jesus. It is not possible to commit to something or someone you do not believe in. So before I start, I just want to appeal to your heart, if there is anyone in this room that still does not believe in Jesus – it is not too late, and you are not in the wrong place. As a matter of fact, take your opportunity tonight, just trust in Jesus, believe in Jesus: the Man Who came from heaven to earth to die on the Cross of Calvary’s tree. And the reason He did this was because of your sins and my sins. Just trust in Him! Leave your life in His hands. Trust and believe in Him, and you will be saved immediately, now and for ever.
It is clear that we are living in exceptional times, I do not need to elaborate on that, really, save to say that they are times which cause us to ask what the Lord has in mind in what He allows, and I trust also to ask what we are gaining from what He allows. I do not suppose that any of us would claim to have full answers to those questions, but in thinking about our recent experiences and about this occasion it came to me that the experiences of the children of Israel in the wilderness may have some bearing on the lessons that we, too, may need to learn.
I would like to say something this evening about the value of a brother – a brother in Christ. However, nothing I want to say about a brother in Christ is intended to detract from the uniqueness of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
I want to say a little about the safe place that can be found in Christ where He is, and where He might lead. Particularly in mind is that comment of David’s, “Abide with me, fear not; . . . for with me thou art in safe keeping.” I would like to begin with looking afresh at the place of safety that the soul can find when it flees to Christ.
Some weeks ago, we considered the epistles of John. I was struck with the word in 3 John verse 4 where John says, “I have no greater joy than these things that I hear of my children walking in the truth”. It is a superlative statement – I have no greater joy. I would like to consider a number of statements on the part of the epistle writers, where they speak of their joy.
I want you to think tonight about a question that has been going round in my head for the last few weeks – Why did Jesus have to be our sacrifice? Why did it have to be Him?
I will share a few thoughts that have come to me. This is not intended to be a comprehensive answer to my question: I am hoping that you will come up with other answers. I have asked the Holy Spirit to help us in how we think about it.
I do not mean, what was the sacrifice for? You are all believers, you know what it was for. But, why did it have to be Him? Why could it not be something else or someone else. Why did it have to be Jesus? That is what I want you to think about tonight.
I sometimes find a helpful place to start is to look in the Bible and see what was prophesied and what has been promised. Why was the sacrifice Jesus and not something or someone else? Well, if you look in the Old Testament you will find that is because God promised it would be Jesus and He delivers on His promises.
I want to say a brief and simple word, dear brethren, about the presence of the Lord. But, as in our reading, I am thinking more of the presence of the Lord with us when we are together: the presence of the Lord among His own, in His Church.
Our objective this evening is to have a greater appreciation of the Lord Jesus as a Friend, the Friend of sinners, and I believe it would help us in our pathway here, to walk in a way that is pleasing to Him.
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.
hese passages, on a first view, may not seem to belong together or have a similar thought, but I would like to present these passages as throwing light on the matter of prayer. Prayer can be seen in many ways. It is not just a prayer to do in the morning, or at night before going to sleep. Prayer is not only something to be seen from the viewpoint of man: prayer always has to be seen from the viewpoint of God. And so I would like to bring these passages before us concerning the matter of prayer.
Prayer should be a constant act in the life of a believer. I am sure – I can say it because I see my own failure – prayer is often put aside. It is a communication with our Lord and Saviour. Prayer is also a great part of worshipping, it is a great part of adoration. And so to go to Scripture, and to look what Scripture says about prayer, is a very precious thing. I was tested to bring that before you, before us all. I often say that it is important to know that what is preached and what is said is not only for those who hear, but also for the one who speaks, the one who preaches. I do not put myself outside this, or think that I fully understand this matter, or fully practise it in a right way: consideration of this is something that is helpful for us all.