These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.1 John 1:4(NASB)
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
(Colossians 2:8 NIV)
It is absolutely useless, dear friends, to refer to tradition and say, “Well, God did this in the beginning, and this is the place where the oracles of God are found and the temple of God is and the great tradition of Israel as the chosen people. It is here, and we rest on that.” No, tradition will not support now. History will not support now. Institutions will not support now. It seems as though God has no regard, at length, for temple or ark or altar or priesthood. He cries through the prophets: “Away, away with you all. I want none of your sacrifices” in Isaiah 58. What a chapter! “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice.” Then, what follows? “Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways.” “I will have none of it”, says the Lord. “I will have none of it. These are not the sacrifices I want. This ritual is not what I am after. This traditional system is not what I desire. It is a spiritual state.” And only on that can the Lord associate Himself, ally Himself, to Zion....
If you look again at this letter to the Hebrews, you will see that we are come to Zion. We are not come to some thing, some religious thing, some tradition, we are not come to historical Christianity – if I may put it that way – we are come to a spiritual situation which is calculated to startle us. Oh, we say, “We are in the day of Grace. This is the dispensation of Grace.” True! Is the Letter to the Hebrews on any other ground than the ground of Grace? Surely not, but do you know that in this letter the most awful things in the Bible are written? “How shall we escape (we, we escape, we Christians, we believers of this dispensation) how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? ...Our God is a consuming fire... it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” This is said to these people, these Christians; and other things like that are said. But I am pointing this out, that this letter is written in the day of Grace; and it is a day which brings into view not some new Christian system, nor the formation of a new Christian tradition, but a spiritual condition, without which everything else is as nothing. You have come to Zion, yes, but you have come to the controversy of Zion. You have come, we have come, to the great battle of Zion; and it is a spiritual battle.
He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
(1 Corinthians 6:17)
The nature of this relationship is essentially spiritual; that is, it is a union of spirit. "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit." "They that worship Him must worship Him in spirit..." because "God is Spirit." The union, then, is the union of spirit. That goes deeper than any other kind of union. We cannot go deeper than that. That defines the nature of man in the deepest, the most real part of his being, that he is fundamentally in the sight of God, spirit. The basis is Life. That is what John brings out so clearly, by way of illustration in his Gospel, and by way of direct statement in his epistle – "...God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." "He that hath the Son hath the life." That is a statement imposing upon the basic declaration that our fellowship is with the Father and with the Son. The fellowship is explained as being that of possessing His very Life. The basis of the union with God is that God's own Life is given to us in new birth, and upon that God builds everything, on that He counts for everything. Where that is not, God can do nothing so far as union is concerned.
In order to reach and realize all God's thought, God must put Himself into man in the very essence of His being, His very Life. God cannot realize spiritual, eternal, universal intentions on the basis of natural life. The Scriptures make it very clear that man's own natural life can never be the basis of the realization of any of God's purposes, that God's own Life alone can be that. Thus for all His hopes God first of all provides His own basis. God's hope is in His own Life, not in ours, and He puts the basis of His hope within at new birth, and on that basis He proceeds to the development of all His thought, and the realization of all
My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives. § Just as a father the son in whom he delights. § He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole. § Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. § I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. § He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
When you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
They … called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.” . . . And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner!” I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other.
Lord, teach us to pray.
Having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them” (Col. 2:15).
“For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:15-17). Amen! “The sovereignty of God is what alone gives rest to the Christian heart in view of a world full of evil, which is gone astray from Him.
To know that after all, in spite of the rebellion of the creature, things are as absolutely in His hand as ever they were-this brings, and alone brings, full relief. Still He rules over all, and where evil cannot be turned to good, limits and forbids it: He maketh the wrath of man to praise Him, and the remainder of wrath (what would go beyond this) He restrains (Ps. 76:10).” - F.W.G. 114 “People may quarrel with the sovereignty of God, but I love it, because I know enough about my natural bent and will to be sure that if left to myself I should have gone straight to perdition. Some believers talk about man’s free will when they are on their feet, but all are firm believers in God’s sovereignty when they get on their knees.” -C.A.C. “Human history is not in the grip of fate, but in the hands of Him Who was pierced for us on Calvary.” -W.G.S.
“Now thanks be unto God, who always causeth us to triumph in Christ” (2 Cor. 2:14).
Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:27).
One hears much today about "body life," with its emphasis upon New Testament gathering, rather than Christ-centered growth. The Body is meant to manifest the Head, and that necessitates spiritual members.
"Where there is no Cross there is no life, and no ministry of life. The object of suffering is that there may be a full and abundant ministry. . . . We are not to invite trouble, nor by austerity to ill-treat our bodies. The Holy Spirit Himself takes responsibility for our experience, leading us in paths where we encounter, in body, heart, or spirit, that measure of the dying of Jesus' that will mean enrichment of our ministry."
"There are many today who seem to think that it is all or largely a matter of the order, technique, and form, and if we are to return to the New Testament' form or order of churches all would be well. The fact is that, while certain things characterize the N.T. churches, the Word does not give us a complete pattern according to which churches are to be formed!
"There is no blueprint for churches in the N.T., and to try to form such churches is only to create another system which may be as legal, sectarian and dead as others. Churches, like the Church, are organisms which spring out of life, which life itself springs out of the Cross of Christ wrought into the very being of believers. Unless believers are crucified people, there can be no true expression of the Church." -T. A-S.
“God forbid that I should glory, except in the Cross” (Gal. 6:14).
In this verse, Jesus Christ laid down a very important principle by saying, “Do what you know you must do— now. Do it quickly. If you don’t, an inevitable process will begin to work ‘till you have paid the last penny’ (Matthew 5:26) in pain, agony, and distress.” God’s laws are unchangeable and there is no escape from them. The teachings of Jesus always penetrate right to the heart of our being.
Wanting to make sure that my adversary gives me all my rights is a natural thing. But Jesus says that it is a matter of inescapable and eternal importance to me that I pay my adversary what I owe him. From our Lord’s standpoint it doesn’t matter whether I am cheated or not, but what does matter is that I don’t cheat someone else. Am I insisting on having my own rights, or am I paying what I owe from Jesus Christ’s standpoint?
Do it quickly— bring yourself to judgment now. In moral and spiritual matters, you must act immediately. If you don’t, the inevitable, relentless process will begin to work. God is determined to have His child as pure, clean, and white as driven snow, and as long as there is disobedience in any point of His teaching, He will allow His Spirit to use whatever process it may take to bring us to obedience. The fact that we insist on proving that we are right is almost always a clear indication that we have some point of disobedience. No wonder the Spirit of God so strongly urges us to stay steadfastly in the light! (see John 3:19-21).
“Agree with your adversary quickly….” Have you suddenly reached a certain place in your relationship with someone, only to find that you have anger in your heart? Confess it quickly— make it right before God. Be reconciled to that person— do it now!
God is One and His combined divine attributes identify His unitary being. His self-existence is incomprehensible. His omnipotence is transcendent. His all-sufficiency is eternal. His wisdom is immutable. His omnipresence is infinite. He is God and God alone and He perfect. He is not a jigsaw made up on many divine attributes – He is God and His divine attributes are not a combination of many characteristics.
But together in perfect unity they are an interlaced marriage of His divinity. All qualities being the interrelationship of a combination of eternal superlatives. Any failure discovered in even one attribute would render this God imperfect. All attributes of God have their roots in the depth of the mystery that is called God. All His characteristics of necessity harmonise and blend into one perfect whole. No individual divine quality can by definition, contradict any other characteristic. He is altogether all and altogether all in all.
God is Faithful and can never deny Himself nor the perfection of His being. If in my limited understanding I see a conflict in His attributes.. the fault is mine. If circumstances plead God’s disinterest.. the limitation in understanding is mine. If God appears uncaring or disinterested.. the fault is not with Him but with me. If His Word does not marry-up with my expectation.. it is I who am at fault, for in all things and in each attribute He is unswervingly faithful -faithful in word and faithful in deed.
The Church is at the threshold of its translation into the terrestrial realm. The day is fast approaching when each of us will stand alone – before His throne. The time is coming when we will have to give an account of ourselves to Him.
Every day is an astonishing gift – an opportunity to prepare to meet the Lord. He does not expect us to convert to world.. indeed, He instructs us that that whole of Christendom will be totally leavened – but Heread more
“If our faith were but more simple, we would take Him at His Word..” So go the words of a dearly loved hymn, with a truth we often miss.. but how often do we receive hymns and read scriptures in pure unbelief. Over the past few years God has brought me back to this truth many times. Everything of sin results in misery, depression, hurt, pain and disappointment, while all that comes from God is good, pure, holy, just, gracious and loving. This truth permeates the warp and weft of scripture… from beginning to end. “If our faith were but more simple, we would take Him at His Word..”
Throughout the Word of God we are repeatedly told not to fear.. and yet how many born-again devotees of Christ are choked with fear. It is now a scientifically proven fact that as fear increases so faith decreases. Research now confirms that worry and concerns of life envelop our thinking.. for worry is the root cause for a the vast majority of life’s problems, resulting in sickness of body and sickness of soul.
Yet scripture has repeatedly implored us to fear not.. and scripture shows the pernicious stream that flows from fear and its tributaries.. worry, anger, irritation, sickness, disappointment, hurt, pain.. discomfort, distress, disorientation, despair and finally death. What folly it is to fear.. when God’s word repeatedly reminds us: fear not.
“Fear not”, were the first words of grace spoken to that little band of shepherds – shepherds on a lonely hill in the little town of Bethlehem. Fear not, the angelic messenger proclaimed, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.. for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, Who is the Anointed of God – the Lord Jesus Christ.” Luke 2:10.
For 4000 years fallen man, in a fallen world waited for the Seed of the woman, and silently, secretly, deep within each generation.. the Seed traversed the centuries..read more