For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?1 Thessalonians 2:19(NASB)
I am the true vine. (John 15:1)
The true vine is that which fulfils the one and only purpose of its existence. So Jesus brings this illustration over to Himself and His Church, and it is perfectly clear what is the nature of the Lord Jesus. He is reaching out to all men, embracing the whole world. He asks ALL the nations into His heart. ALL men are His concern - not any one nation. He says to His disciples: "Go ye therefore, and make disciples of ALL THE NATIONS" (Matthew 28:19). It is the very nature of Jesus to do that. It is quite foreign to Him to be exclusive, small and narrow and self-occupied.... But it is all very well to think of this objectively. It has to come down to every one of us. What is the proof that Christ is in you and in me? How can it be known that Christ is in us? Only in one way – that others are receiving Life through us, that we minister the Life of Christ to others, that when hungry and needy people come into touch with us they feel the touch of Life. They may express it in different ways, but it amounts to this: 'That man, that woman, has something that I have not got and it is something that I need. There is something about them that I feel, and it is what I really need.' That should be true of every Christian because Christ is in us, expanding Himself through us and ministering His Life through us.
Oh, do pray, dear friends, every day as you get up: 'Lord, make me a channel of Life to someone today. Lord, minister Your own Life through me to someone today. May I bring Life wherever I am.' The Lord has no other purpose for you and for me. We may try to do a lot of things, but if we belong to the Vine we are no good for anything but to bear fruit; and that is to bring Life to others.
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey?
One and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills… The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all. § As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. § It is required in stewards that one be found faithful. § For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
Who is sufficient for these things? § I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
David said, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me… Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me. § Whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.
Do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. § For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God" (1 Pet. 2:19, 20).
When self reacts correctly in a difficult situation, it can only result in the sin of self-righteousness. In order for Christ's righteousness to be manifested, the Holy Spirit must hold self inoperative by means of the Cross.
"Accustom yourself in everything that happens, to recognize the hand of the Father. Before you fix your thoughts on the person who did it, first be still, and remember, God allows me to come into this trouble to see if I shall glorify Him in it. This trial, be it the greatest or least, is allowed of God, and is His will concerning me. Let me first recognize and submit to God's will in it. Then in the rest of soul which this gives, I shall receive wisdom to know how to behave in it. With my eye turned from man to God, suffering wrong is not as hard as it seems.
"The Lord Jesus knew that His Father would care for His rights and honor. But he who lives in the visible, wants his honor to be vindicated at once here below. He who lives in the eternal, and as seeing the Invisible, is satisfied to leave the vindication of his rights and honor in God's hands; he knows that they are safe with Him. Giving one's all into God's keeping brings rest and peace." -A.M.
"When He suffered, He . . . committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously" (1 Pet. 2:23).
“Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8
Purity is not innocence, it is much more. Purity is the outcome of sustained spiritual sympathy with God. We have to grow in purity. The life with God may be right and the inner purity remain unsullied, and yet every now and again the bloom on the outside may be sullied. God does not shield us from this possibility, because in this way we realize the necessity of maintaining the vision by personal purity. If the spiritual bloom of our life with God is getting impaired in the tiniest degree, we must leave off everything and get it put right. Remember that vision depends on character - the pure in heart see God.
God makes us pure by His sovereign grace, but we have something to look after, this bodily life by which we come in contact with other people and with other points of view, it is these that are apt to sully. Not only must the inner sanctuary be kept right with God, but the outer courts as well are to be brought into perfect accord with the purity God gives us by His grace. The spiritual understanding is blurred immediately the outerward court is sullied. If we are going to retain personal contact with the Lord Jesus Christ, it will mean there are some things we must scorn to do or to think, some legitimate things we must scorn to touch.
A practical way of keeping personal purity unsullied in relation to other people is to say to yourself - That man, that woman, perfect in Christ Jesus! That friend, that relative, perfect in Christ Jesus!
When Jesus cried “it is Finished” on the cross, He meant – it is Finished. ALL the punishment and pain for ALL sin and ALL power of sin : finished : completed. This was indeed a cry of victory that shook the very foundations of hell to its core. This truth has remained unchanged since that pivotal time in eternity’s history. This reality is forever engraved on the heart of God in heaven’s council chambers. God does not change, and He recognises Christ’s work of the cross as finished. He accepts forever the forever finished work of Calvary’s Cross – forever and forever, AMEN.
Paul reminds us that there is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. Nothing can be said, done or thought, for which Christ hasn’t paid full restitution. Those that believe on Him are accepted because of this forever-finished Work. He accepts forever the forever finished work of Calvary’s Cross – forever and forever. Our acceptance by God has no conditions. Our acceptance by God is unconditional. Nothing in heaven or earth, hell or the universe can alter this truth. It is finished.
He accepts forever, the forever finished work of Calvary’s Cross forever and forever. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, and the verse continues… who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Rom.8:1 Many have made this verse conditional – counter to God’s proclaimed Word. Ahhh, they say… if you are not walking in the Spirit, then this does not apply. Hmmm, they say… no condemnation! but only for those walking in the spirit. Rubbish! poppycock! What nonsense! Read the word. Study to show yourself approved. 2Timothy2:15. There follows a dissertation of a carnal Christian compared with the spiritual man.. and throughout his epistles, Paul rehearses this truth – that we have two options.
First a carnal Christian life:– born again but walking in the realm of the flesh and second a spiritual Christian life:– born again and walking inread more
In Romans 5:8 we read that: God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. While Ephesians 1:5-6 tells us that: Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. And Romans 5:1 tells us: Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Does he really accept me? Does he truly love me? Does he fully trust me.. despite my foibles, my weaknesses, my lack, my silly traits, my eccentricities... in spite of my outbursts, my failing beauty, my advancing years. Am I still accepted by the one I love? Does He still love me? These are the assurances every wife and lover yearns to have from her beloved. These are the eternal questions buried deep in the heart of every-woman…. and every-man.
But how often does the believer desire such reassurance of God’s acceptance? How often does a Christian crave to be thus comforted by his own Lord? How often does he ask - Does God fully accept me? Does He still love and trust me with all my faults – despite my foibles, my weaknesses, my lack, my silly traits, my eccentricities? Am I still accepted by God? Does God still love me?
But God preordained that all who believe in Jesus are fully accepted in His beloved Son. The peace and love and acceptance of God is only through His beloved Son. Without assurance of this precious fact, many live a life of daily dissatisfaction. Without confidence in His Word, many spend their years in constant mistrust. If the failing beauty of a wife doesn’t influence the ardour of a devoted husband, how much more God’s never-failing acceptance is of the believer in Christ. God’s acceptance of you and His acceptance of me is based on one thing – the finishedread more