Hebrews 3:1-6; 8:1-2; 12:1-2, 22-24 DJB 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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
I would like to say something tonight to believers. I say that because what I want to say is something that I would not tell you in the gospel. If you are not a believer in Christ, if you do not know Jesus as your Saviour, you are very welcome, and I hope you will hear something that is useful to you – but what I want to say is for believers.
Part of the reason for that is that I need you to think back to the time when you first believed. Each of us has come a different way to the Saviour. I first heard the gospel when I was too small to remember it now, and I heard it week by week for many years. I knew I was saved when I was about nineteen. That is a lot of preachings that I had heard. Before I was about twelve, I must have prayed a lot of times and asked God to forgive me my sins. When I was in my mid-teens, I hardly prayed at all. The only time I read my bible was probably when I was in a meeting.
Then, when I was in my late teens, I started to pray again. I cannot really tell you why. Eventually I knew that Jesus was alive. I knew that my sins were forgiven. I have talked to other Christians, and I know other people that have come to Christ like that.
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.
What is in mind in reading these Scriptures is the thought of what has been prepared. In John 12 it is what the household in Bethany prepared. In Luke’s Gospel it is what Peter and John prepared; also, it says in Matthew and Mark it is what the disciples prepared. In John 14 it is what the Lord has prepared. And in 1 Corinthians it is what God has prepared. We can get, I think, only a little of what these Scriptures may have for us, because in themselves they are very full.
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.