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.
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.
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.
I have an impression to speak about possession – about possessing our inheritance. As believers on the Lord Jesus, we have a wonderful inheritance. We have been blessed “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ” (Eph 1:3). It is an inheritance that we shall enjoy when the Lord comes for us or we go to be with Him. But it is in God’s heart that we should enjoy that inheritance now. We know in natural things that it is not enough to know about an inheritance; we need to possess it to enjoy it. And possession involves spiritual conflict.
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 […]
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.”