For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.Philippians 2:21(NASB)
You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Christ is your life. When He appears, then you, too, will appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:3,4 GW)
We are very often inclined to think that the Life of the Lord in us needs in some way to be improved, to be added to, when really what is required is that we should discover what we have, and, discovering it by experience, live according to it. This Life is not something apart from the Lord Jesus, and we can never think of His standing in need of some improvement, nor of the possibility of something being added to Him to make Him complete, or more complete. We would never think like that. And this Life is one with Himself. As the Apostle says, it is Christ who is our Life, and our need is to discover what Christ is in us, and to live accordingly. So in a very real sense it is a matter of the Life getting more of us, rather than of our getting more of the Life. That, at any rate, is the way of its working.
This, in the ordering of God, has to be done in a world where death still rules and works; for in this world the destruction of death has not yet been made manifest. Death, like the devil, goes on, although Calvary still remains full victory. We are left in this world, and it is in this world where death reigns and works as a great energy that we, by this sovereign ordering of God, have to come to prove the values of the Life which has been deposited in us, and to discover its potentialities. This is an experimental discovery. It therefore resolves itself into battle between that which is in this world and the Life which is in the believer. It is the battle for Life, not as to the forfeiture of that Life not as to whether death can take eternal Life away from us, for that is not the question at issue but as to the triumphant expression and the full manifestation of the power of that Life. That is the issue.
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. § Sympathize with our weaknesses.
He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses. § Jesus … being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well.
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. Jesus wept. § For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven the Lord viewed the earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to release those appointed to death. § He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. § When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then You knew my path.
He who touches you touches the apple of His eye. § In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them.
The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich. § He who waters will also be watered.
My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, “There are still four months and then comes the harvest”? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. § The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. § Do business till I come. § I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
For ye have died (not changed)" (Col. 3:3).
Realization of what the first Adam is prepares us for the realization of who the Last Adam is.
"Many a justified one might describe his experience in words like this: I fully recognize, and rejoice in the fact, that I am righteous before God according to Christ risen; and this being so, nothing but Christ can be my standard of holiness or rule of life.
If I could only walk up to it I think I should be a perfectly happy man. But it is one failure after another; and when I think I have got on a bit, something turns up, and I find myself as bad as ever, and the thought of this damps all my spiritual joy.'
"In this stage of spiritual development there are continual discoveries of the old man which makes that old self more and more repulsive, and there is also the presentation of the Lord Jesus again and again in which the soul finds increasing delight. Growth! He must increase, but I must decrease.'
"This repulsion and attraction go on together until the soul accepts with God the reality of the incorrigible badness of the old man. This fact prepares one to see that the death of the Lord Jesus severed us from our old man, and that the Lord Jesus is now our Christian life. We are free, by the finished work of the Cross, from the domination of the man who is now so repugnant to us, and we discover with untold delight that the One who so attracted our hearts is our very life." -C.A.C.
"Fruit is not produced by making fruit an object, nor by thinking of fruit; it is the outcome of having the Lord Jesus as one's object, of thinking of Him. He is the one True Vine who precedes and produces fruit." -H.S.
"And your (new) life is hid with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3).
"Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?" — Matthew 7:9
The illustration of prayer that Our Lord uses here is that of a good child asking for a good thing. We talk about prayer as if God heard us irrespective of the fact of our relationship to Him (cf. Matthew 5:45). Never say it is not God's will to give you what you ask, don't sit down and faint, but find out the reason, turn up the index. Are you rightly related to your wife, to your husband, to your children, to your fellow-students - are you a "good child" there? "O Lord, I have been irritable and cross, but I do want spiritual blessing." You cannot have it, you will have to do without until you come into the attitude of a good child.
We mistake defiance for devotion; arguing with God for abandonment. We will not look at the index. Have I been asking God to give me money for something I want when there is something I have not paid for? Have I been asking God for liberty while I am withholding it from someone who belongs to me? I have not forgiven someone his trespasses; I have not been kind to him; I have not been living as God's child among my relatives and friends. (v.12.)
I am a child of God only by regeneration, and as a child of God I am good only as I walk in the light. Prayer with most of us is turned into pious platitude, it is a matter of emotion, mystical communion with God. Spiritually we are all good at producing fogs. If we turn up the index, we will see very clearly what is wrong - that friendship, that debt, that temper of mind. It is no use praying unless we are living as children of God. Then, Jesus says - "Everyone that asketh receiveth." (Matthew 7:8)
God has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He promised through His holy prophets long ago.
Threading through the Old Testament are prophecies and promises of the coming Messiah Who was chosen of God to be His special representative and anointed king. Many references and titles, names and offices describe this long-awaited Saviour … He was Seed of the Woman; Lion of Judah – Immanuel; Messiah; Mediator and Man. He was the chief Shepherd and faithful Witness and the root and the stem of David. He was Servant and Saviour – Deliverer and King, for He was the Horn of Salvation. Every title traced a particular characteristic of the eternal Son and the perfect Man. It was Zacharias of the line of Levi that uttered forth his stunning prophecy of Christ, the coming Saviour – breaking God’s four hundred year long prophetic silence… and for nine amazing months Zacharias waited in silence to tell forth the good news.
The rebellious nation had disobeyed their long-suffering God, and Israel was under the yoke of the cruel Roman Empire – but God had not forgotten His chosen people. And filled with the Holy Spirit, Zacharias started to sing praises to the God of Israel for the time had come for God Himself to visit and redeem His people. Zacharias rejoiced that the promise made to their forefather Abraham was to be realised and that they would be enabled to serve the Lord in freedom and without fear – for the Seed of the woman would be manifested and the Messiah of Israel would redeem His people. Emmanuel was to come. The Saviour was at the door – for God has raised up a horn of salvation for the house of His servant David… as prophets predicted, so long ago.
Without a doubt, this was a shout of victory, for the enemies of Israel were to be routed, and Israel was to be rescued from the hands of all that hate them… The wallsread more
But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man.
How we love to see the best in others – to overlook their flaws and weaknesses. How we want to excuse their little foibles and disregard their faults and failings. “What would Jesus do..?” – we ask ourselves… He would love them and He would forgive them… we tell ourselves. Really!!!
That may be the truth but it’s not the whole truth, but only part of the truth! And a half-truth is no truth if the whole truth is not supplied, Jesus would indeed love them, but Jesus would also correct them.
How important it is to discipline ourselves into disillusionment. How vital to come to the place where we see men and women as they truly are.. where we see ourselves as we truly are. But in our foolish and shallow Christian walk, we often prefer to trust in our illusions.
The one taken in adultery was given the whole truth and told to go and sin no more. The one that was healed was also told the whole truth and told to go and sin no more: “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” John 5:14
If we truly love God rightly, then we will love others aright, but if we do not love God rightly, then we can never love others aright. If we truly love others rightly, we will love them with His love. If we truly love others, we will remove all man-erected illusions – we will see and love men as women through the eyes of disillusionment.
Through Him our love will have no cynicism, bitterness, cruelty, or dissatisfaction.. and through Him, we will not overlook flaws and weaknesses – faults and failings. But through Him, we will love with the sharpness of a double-edged sword. Faithful are the wounds ofread more