Exodus 33:12-16 Revelation 1:12-16 John 20:19-21 (to “to you”) Psalm 22:21 (from “Yea”)-23 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 […]
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.
John 17:6-19 Leviticus 2:1-3, 11-13 Hebrews 2:10-15 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 […]
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.
I just had in my heart this matter of the day that we are in, and the need of standing.
The picture in Romans is that without Christ, outside of Christ, we are in the mud, we are in the mire, there is no standing, we cannot stand, we collapse, we fail, we fall back into sin, all the resolutions in the world do not work, all the willpower does not work, and we cannot stand. Mephibosheth could not stand – he was lame in both feet (2 Sam 9:13). And that is our position – we are unable to stand.
Now, that was not God’s purpose. And man is unique in that he stands! From all the animals, it is a distinguishing creatorial feature – standing. Why did God do that? Man is upright – man is standing. There is a glory connected with it. God is working to imprint His image and His likeness on man. We deal with a holy and upright God. And a God whose word stands whatever falls; His counsels stand, there is what is firm there – every blessing. And He would imbue that on the creature.
I want to say a further word about revival. Revival implies that there has been the evidence of life, but that something has happened, so that life has become dulled or stifled. We all know what it is to droop and to flag. The need is to know the secret of being revived. We have all seen the plant in the house; after many days of neglect the flowers begin to droop. Once it is attended to and given food and water, it springs to life again – it revives. That is so like you and me as believers in Christ. If we stray from the source of our sustenance, we begin to droop. How important it is to get back to that source and to be revived!
In these Scriptures I have read, we have the personal service of the Lord Jesus seen in reviving and restoring the soul. Reviving, like the feeding, like the leading, like the anointing in this psalm, is the continuous service of the Shepherd towards His own. As believers, during our whole life, we need times of reviving, and times of restoring. The Shepherd is the key to that revival each day of our lives.
There are times when all of us are particularly aware of the weakness that marks us in our Christian pathway: weakness in our faith, weakness in our understanding, weakness in our localities, and in many other ways. There are many ways in which that is brought home to us, and that is what led me to these three Scriptures.
John the Baptist was marked by weakness of faith; suddenly his faith wobbled. Sometimes that happens to us. Then in John 6 we have Philip overwhelmed by the need that he was faced with. Finally, we see the apostle Paul at his first defence, finding that all his companions left him, and in that situation he could only rely upon the Lord. I trust, as we consider these three passages, we may be encouraged ourselves, as seeing how the Lord strengthens people and brings in help and blessing.
In Matthew 11 we see that John the Baptist is in prison. He had spoken against Herod’s improper marriage, and as a result he was imprisoned, and in the prison, reports were reaching him of what the Lord was doing, blessing and healing, and so on. Perhaps John was beginning to think, ‘Well, if this is what is happening, why is not some of this power devoted to getting me released
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.
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.