For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;2 Corinthians 2:15(NASB)
Serve each other through love. (Galatians 5:13 GW)
It is always the work of God's enemy to clog up our lives by introducing love of self or love of the world, and it needs ruthless determination to remove the accumulated rubbish and re-dig the well in purity of devotion to Christ. It may well be, though, that the hindrances arise from lack of love to our fellow believers. We must remember that the Holy Spirit can never have free course in us and through us if we harbor unloving thoughts concerning other of God's children, let alone put those thoughts into actions. He is the Spirit of fellowship, so that if we fail in that realm then we fail in the matter of love. It is so easy to allow unworthy considerations to quench brotherly love, to be clogged up with resentment or to be wrongly influenced by our susceptibilities or hurt feelings.... We have to be active in positive cultivation of fellowship. To some it is quite natural to be independent. For them deference to others represents a major difficulty. Sometimes they may deliberately ignore or despise others, but sometimes they just prefer to do it alone and never seriously think of inter-relatedness and inter-dependence.
The Word of God, however, is most explicit in ordering us to esteem one another, to submit to one another and to live and work together. The Holy Spirit demands that the people of God live according to a team order of things, that they should be governed by a family spirit. Anything which is of an isolated or detached nature, which fails to recognize and fully accept the family thought of God, is a check on Him. By failing to observe fellowship we quench the Spirit. It is not only a matter of avoiding giving offence but of active pursuit of fellowship. Some may be wondering why there is so little up-springing from the inner well, when they are sitting back in a wrong kind of modesty, failing to bring in their own personal contribution to fellowship life and ministry. Unkindness is not the only obstacle in this realm. Shyness and diffidence can equally rest like a stone on the flow of Life. The only thing to do is to dig it up and move it away. Get in, get right in, and let yourself go! Do not always choose the back seat because you like to be left alone, but come forward in the Lord's name and give the Holy Spirit a free course in your lives. He is well able to check you if you become too self-assertive, but there is little He can do if your well is all stopped up with fears and inhibitions.
Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. § I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins. Put Me in remembrance; let us contend together; state your case, that you may be acquitted. § I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. § But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. § And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. § To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.
I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. § Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business? § Leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. § Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it. § Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
For we. . . worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh" (Phil. 3:3)
Failure to live the Christian life is due to one's utter inability, but it is all governed by the Father. He teaches us to become proficient in failure, in order to bring us to total reliance upon His Son, who is our Christian life. "For to me to live is Christ" (Phil. 1:21).
"It is a wonderful moment for the believer when we by faith occupy our standing in the favor of the Father - when we know that we are received by Him in all the acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"We do not then think of ourselves, of our worthiness or unworthiness, at all. We think of the Lord Jesus - His perfections, His suitability to divine favor, His infinite acceptance with the Father - and by faith, we have access into the favor of which He is so worthy." -C.A.C.
"To find that we are objects of consideration to the Lord Jesus is an infinite solace, and it brings Him before our hearts in such a way that we are sustained above the consideration of ourselves."
"There is an infinite difference between self-improvement and growing in the Lord Jesus, nourished and cherished by Him. Instead of being elated by our own improvement, or depressed because we cannot effect it, we are to be occupied with the grace and beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ, in which we are thus made to share."
"We cannot be in the presence of the Father in innocence, for we are guilty; so that we must be there in His righteousness, and that place which used to repel us, now forms me into a likeness of itself. I am not tolerated there, I am at home; and where the distance was, there is now nearness and attraction." -J.B.S.
"Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God" (Eph. 2:19)
What was the joy that Jesus had? It is an insult to use the word happiness in connection with Jesus Christ. The joy of Jesus was the absolute self-surrender and self-sacrifice of Himself to His Father, the joy of doing that which the Father sent Him to do. "I delight to do Thy will." Jesus prayed that our joy might go on fulfilling itself until it was the same joy as His. Have I allowed Jesus Christ to introduce His joy to me?
The full flood of my life is not in bodily health, not in external happenings, not in seeing God's work succeed, but in the perfect understanding of God, and in the communion with Him that Jesus Himself had. The first thing that will hinder this joy is the captious irritation of thinking out circumstances. The cares of this world, said Jesus, will choke God's word. Before we know where we are, we are caught up in the shows of things. All that God has done for us is the mere threshold; He wants to get us to the place where we will be His witnesses and proclaim Who Jesus is.
Be rightly related to God, find your joy there, and out of you will flow rivers of living water. Be a centre for Jesus Christ to pour living water through. Stop being self-conscious, stop being a sanctified prig, and live the life hid with Christ. The life that is rightly related to God is as natural as breathing wherever it goes. The lives that have been of most blessing to you are those who were unconscious of it.
I, Jesus, have sent My angel to attest these things to you for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright Morning Star.
Were Jesus not fully God He could never have become our Saviour nor could He have imputed us with His own righteousness or given us the free gift of eternal life – for only God is good and perfect and sinless and eternal. However, were Christ not a living, breathing human being, with His own lifeblood pulsing through His veins, He could never have shed His life-giving blood on the cross.
Were Christ not fully man He could not have redeemed humanity; broken the curse of sin and death; imputed believers with His own righteousness; given us eternal life and reunited us forever with God the Father our Creator. But united in this one Person was undiminished deity and true humanity – the Word made flesh – the Lord Jesus Christ.
Although the promise of great blessings and a land inheritance came to the people of faith through Abraham, perhaps the most stupendous promises given to man – were made to Israel’s King David. David was promised that one of his descendants – a Man Who would be born through the seed of David, would be anointed of God to sit on David’s kingly throne – throughout all eternity. The humanity of Christ is indisputably linked with the great king David. Indeed, there are numerous passages where we discover that the Lord Jesus Christ is linked with the house of David.
In Romans we read that Christ was made of the seed of David – according to the flesh, while the Luke reminds us that Jesus was born in the little town of Bethlehem, the city of David. Christ’s genealogy listed in Luke links the Lord Jesus through Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer of Ruth, who was to become the grandmother of king David – while in Acts we read that Christ, Who was raised from the dead was anointed to receive theread more
All religions have tried to find God. All faiths have tried to reach God. All philosophies have tried to define God. All philologies have tried to express God. All searches prove fruitless.. except the discovery of the true Anointed. All Babel* towers are laid waist, save His strong arm, mighty to save. All definitions are worthless.. save the One Way, One Truth, One Life. All expressions are inane.. save the One expressed through the Lord Jesus.
The Bible is the only truth that stands as an eternal monument. The Scriptures alone are shrouded in ineffable glory. Every religion, faith, philosophy, and philology are counterfeit toys, cast in humanity’s path to avert the eye of mans’ understanding from truth. Every attempted definition negates God.. save those of sublime inspiration.
Take possession of your own vain ideas or distorted images of God and you will not glimpse the living One. Rest your hope on false ideas and relativism’s hypotheses of Him.. and the severed head your Dagon** will smash to the ground.
When the fluency and eloquence of poetic utterances about God is hushed.. when the extravagant tints of religious art have been stopped… when the last harmonic strains of musical praise drift into silence – there is one lone voice that remains: I am the way and the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except by Me. John 14:16
Only when silenced by the plethora of such considerations about God can we begin to contemplate the enormity of Who He is. Only with a chastened heart that is disciplined and stilled before His throne can we whisper with Job in the fullness of our time. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee – wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. Job 42: 5,6
*Read about Babel in Genesis 10
**Read about Dagon in 1Samuel 5