but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory;1 Corinthians 2:7(NASB)
We were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8,9)
It is a part of the nature of things that we never learn in a vital way by information. We really only come into the good of things by being "pressed out of measure." So the Lord has to take much time to make spiritual history. When at length our eyes are open, we cry, "Oh, why did I not see it before!" But everything else had to prove insufficient before we could really be shown, and that takes time. Thus it was that we were turned in that dark hour to Romans chapter six, and, almost as though He spoke in audible language, the Lord said: "When I died, you died. When I went to the Cross I not only took your sins, but I took you. When I took you, I not only took you as the sinner that you might regard yourself to be, but I took you as being all that you are by nature; your good (?) as your bad; your abilities as well as your disabilities; yes, every resource of yours. I took you as a 'worker,' a 'preacher,' an organizer! My Cross means that not even for Me can you be or do anything out from yourself, but if there is to be anything at all it must be out from Me, and that means a life of absolute dependence and faith."
At this point, therefore, we awoke to the fundamental principle of our Lord's own life while here, and it became the law of everything for us from that time. That principle was: "nothing of (out from) Himself", but "all things of (out from) God." "The Son can do nothing of (out from) Himself, but what He seeth the Father doing: for what things soever He doeth, then the Son also doeth in like manner" (John 5:19). Such a revelation, if it is to be a staggering and breaking thing, so that there is no strength left in us, requires a background of much vain effort. But then, it carries with it a great implication. While an end is written large in the Cross, and while that end is to be accepted as our end indeed, so that there can be no more of anything so far as we are concerned, Jesus lives! And that means boundless possibilities.
It pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. § Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory? § We judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. § He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God.
I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread. § His … bread will be given him, his water will be sure. § The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.
My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. § Be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna … that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. § Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Gal. 3:27).
The Holy Spirit baptizes us into the Lord Jesus, and fills us with Him.
"The one spiritual baptism positions the believer in Christ' (Rom. 6:3, 4; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12), and into His Body (1 Cor. 12:13). Since this position in the Lord Jesus is unchangeable, and eternal, the baptizing work of the Spirit is not repeatable. One in Christ' positionally, can never again through all eternity be out of Christ' positionally, as that position depends wholly upon the efficacy of the finished redemptive work of the Son, and does not hinge upon human merit or faithfulness.
"The filling with the Spirit, on the other hand, is repeatable (Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17), and is, in fact, a continuous process, as it conditions mutable experience, and has nothing whatever to do with immutable position. Christian position is effected by the baptism of the Spirit at the moment of the new birth. Christian experience is affected by the filling with the Holy Spirit. One effects our position, the other affects our condition." -M.U.
"The Holy Spirit gives a living knowledge; His light is the light of life; He is the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.' We see the Father and the Son as seeing us. When we behold them by the ministry of the Spirit it is as beholding us with infinite love, and bestowing upon us the blessings of grace. We know because we are known. Thou Father, Thou Son, seest me' is the immediate consciousness of the soul, when there is spiritual perception of the Father. In other words, love, petition, listening to the Father's voice, receiving the love and peace of the Lord Jesus, fellowship, are invoked in this knowledge." -A.S.
"The communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (2 Cor. 13:14).
“All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations.” Matthew 28:18-20
The basis of missionary appeals is the authority of Jesus Christ, not the needs of the heathen. We are apt to look upon Our Lord as One Who assists us in our enterprises for God. Our Lord puts Himself as the absolute sovereign supreme Lord over His disciples. He does not say the heathen will be lost if we do not go; He simply says - "Go ye therefore and teach all nations." Go on the revelation of My sovereignty; teach and preach out of a living experience of Me.
"Then the eleven disciples went . . unto a mountain where Jesus had appointed them." Matt.28:16. If I want to know the universal sovereignty of Christ, I must know Him for myself, and how to get alone with Him; I must take time to worship the Being Whose Name I bear. "Come unto Me" - that is the place to meet Jesus. Are you weary and heavy laden? How many missionaries are! We banish those marvellous words of the universal Sovereign of the world to the threshold of an after-meeting; they are the words of Jesus to His disciples.
"Go ye therefore. . . ." Go simply means live. Acts 1:8 is the description of how to go. Jesus did not say - Go into Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, but, "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me" in all these places. He undertakes to establish the goings.
"If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you. . . " - that is the way to keep going in our personal lives. Where we are placed is a matter of indifference; God engineers the goings.
"None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself . . ." That is how to keep going till we're gone.
Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know Me?” Jesus asked him. “The person who has seen Me has seen the Father. So how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Believers and unbelievers alike all long for a glimpse of a tangible, touchable God. There is a universal longing in the heart of everyman to know and see their Maker. Such is the desire in the heart of men that they will create gods of wood and stone. Such is the universal longing within, that man substitutes the creature for the Creator.
God in His great love for the world answered this universal longing and inner need. The incarnation of His only begotten Son was His precious answer to this inner ache. And though God in His grace sent His Son Who was the exact image of the invisible God to come and live and walk amongst us for 33 years – how few really understood.
In thought and word, action and attitude, Jesus Christ was the manifestation of God. He was the God-Man; Immanuel; God with us. Jesus Christ was God incarnate. Philip was not the only disciple that longed to see God. Indeed, all Christ’s disciples desired to see a visible God – to reach out and to touch a real, tangible, palpable God.
Even after the resurrection, Thomas was one who refused to believe in the risen Lord, unless he saw Christ’s body with his own eyes and touched the nail prints in His hands. But although in times past, God revealed Himself to man, through prophets, He has in these final days, graciously spoken to humanity through His dearly beloved Son.
The prophet Isaiah foretold that God would one day come to live among His people. He foretold Immanuel would come and tabernacle in the midst of His people Israel and yet they did not recognise Him – they did not understand – they were confused.
The mystery of the incarnation will neverread more
Exhortation and encouragement is a beautiful aspect of our Christian life. Peter is the apostle that encourages us to care for one another, in Christ. Peter tells us: above all, keep loving one another earnestly, for love covers a multitude of sins. 1Peter 4:8. We should be concerned for the well-being of fellow believers in many ways. Paul is one who reminds us of our responsibility to comfort one another: "wherefore comfort one another with these words..” 1Thess.4:18
Paul also prompts us to come alongside each other – to undergird the other's faith. "Wherefore exhort yourselves together, and edify one another, even also as ye do". 1Thess.5:11. We are to exhort ourselves together and edify the body of Christ. We are to comfort each other and help to underpin each other in life: "Exhort yourselves together – Heb.10:25 "Comfort one another" – 1Thess.4:18 "Love one another earnestly". 1Peter.1:22
Exhort is a beautiful word – exhort yourselves – exhort each other. Exhort is the root word of the Holy Spirit as the great Comforter of our souls. This is a beautiful picture of a friend who gently comes alongside, to encourage. We are shown that we should function in the Spirit of exhortation and comfort.
So in what way are we to reflect this spiritual quality of exhortation? How are we to be best used of Him to come alongside precious brothers and sisters? How are we best able to exhort our fellow believers? Sometimes it is to offer a word of comfort; sometimes to act as a balance; sometimes it is to be a solace or reassurance; sometimes it is to correct; sometimes it is to lead or to guide; sometimes it is to feed the flock – sometimes it is just to be there.
A faithful servant will act to exhort and edify his fellow believers in love. A careless steward will act to correct or criticise and smite his fellow-servants, but gracious exhortation can onlyread more