To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens!Psalm 123:1(NASB)
What Stephen saw, and what is stated, intimated, and implicit in the New Testament (a monumental document on the matter is "the Letter to the Hebrews"), was that Solomon was – at most – but a figure of a greater "Son," and his temple, with all its glory, wealth, and beauty, was only a pointer onward to "A house not made with hands"; what Peter – after a difficult and painful transition – called, God's spiritual house. Stephen concludes with a comprehensive gathering of all this history into "the Prophets," and virtually says that the spirit of prophecy was related to this ever-future, onward, and ultimate spiritual goal of God.
What again, then, does all this amount to? On the one side, it is a mighty exposure and denunciation of the incorrigible habit and disposition of God's people to bring what is essentially heavenly down to earth and fasten it there; to make of the spiritual something temporal; to make of the eternal something which will not – and cannot – abide; to make form, means, orders, and technique all-important. In a word, to have things fixed and boxed, so that the Holy Spirit is thwarted and frustrated in His ever-onward and ever-sovereign movement and innovation, if He so choose.
The most dominant note, the most imperative cry of the New Testament is "Let us go on." But the context of this cry is – "outside the camp." The writer of those words in the Letter to the Hebrews, who has so much in common with Stephen, makes it abundantly clear that "outside the camp" means outside of all that which in its Judaistic nature systematizes and crystallizes Christianity into a set and settled form: into something earth-bound and final. On the other side, all this is a revelation of how fierce and terrible will be the opposition of such systems to a purely and definitely spiritual testimony. Unless there is a conforming, there will at least be ostracism, and at most martyrdom.
Take heed, and be quiet; do not fear or be fainthearted. § Be still, and know that I am God. § Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God? § The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.
Mary … sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. § Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. § In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength. § Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established.
Whoever believes will not act hastily.
You shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
“When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the Lord God. § Whom the Lord loves He chastens.
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. § Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.
Put on the whole armor of God " (Eph. 6:11a).
My sovereign Father gives me a subservient Satan.
"Our Father has better thoughts for us than a portion here. He is educating us for a blessed and eternal rest, free from evil and all that could cause it, and He is bent on the blessing of His children; and moreover He is bound by His holiness to purge us suitably (though most graciously) for the place He has called us to. How often He lets Satan do this painful work, and try to sift us as Job! But the Father's hand and will are behind it all. He gives His saints up to Satan's hand to a certain point, but only so far as to bring the heart fully to a bearing before Himself." -J.N.D.
"It is a wonderful thing to see the way in which through the overruling power of the Father, the efforts of Satan against His people only bring them out the more distinctly in their own place of blessing."
"We cannot judge God's ways without judging God: we may love Him in His ways, but the moment we judge or question that which He has revealed, we get above God, we make ourselves gods, and we put Him in the place of the creature as subject to us. This brings our souls under the power of everyone that is more clever than ourselves: we are in their hands, and they can do what they please with us.
"Now the devil is more clever than we are. Therefore we ought to keep God ever in His place of God in our souls, lest Satan should make gods of us, and set us judging God Himself. If God be displaced, we get into the place of those who are irresponsible, and as creatures the prey of any more cunning than ourselves." -J.N.D.
"That ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:11b).
“They were Yours and You gave them to Me.” John 17:6
The missionary is one in whom the Holy Ghost has wrought this realization - "Ye are not your own." To say, "I am not my own" is to have reached a great point in spiritual nobility. The true nature of the life in the actual whirl is the deliberate giving up of myself to another in sovereign preference, and that other is Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit expounds the nature of Jesus to me in order to make me one with my Lord, not that I might go off as a showroom exhibit. Our Lord never sent any of the disciples out on the ground of what He had done for them. It was not until after the Resurrection, when the disciples had perceived by the power of the Holy Spirit Whom He was, that Jesus said "Go."
"If any man come to me and hate not…, he cannot be My disciple," not, he cannot be good and upright, but, he cannot be one over whom Jesus writes the word "Mine." Any one of the relationships Our Lord mentions may be a competitive relationship. I may prefer to belong to my mother, or to my wife, or to myself; then, says Jesus, you cannot be My disciple. This does not mean I will not be saved, but it does mean that I cannot be "His." Our Lord makes a disciple His own possession, He becomes responsible for him. "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me." The spirit that comes in is not that of doing anything for Jesus, but of being a perfect delight to Him. The secret of the missionary is - I am His, and He is carrying out His enterprises through me.
Be entirely His.
Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
We read that it was “neither by the blood of goats or calves, but by His own blood that Jesus entered in once into the holy place – having obtained eternal redemption for us. The blood of Jesus did not cover for our sins. It removed them right away – forever!
In past times the blood of bulls and goats atoned for man’s sin – it covered man’s sins. The innocent blood of animals was to cover sin until the final sacrifice was offered. Christ’s blood did not simply cover our sins – it removed them right away! But HOW and WHY did we need a perfect, innocent human sacrifice for our sins?
Well, when Adam sinned against God his very being was infused with sin – a sin nature. Adam’s sin - his sin nature was passed on to all people, so sin is inherent in all men. This inherent inclination to sin is passed down the generations, and no one is exempt. We all have inherited sin. We all have a sin nature – “the old man” as Paul often calls it.
We are also sinners because of the sins that we commit. These sins are imputed to us. The sins we commit are credited to our account, so to speak – because we have sinned! But both inherited sin from Adam and the sins imputed to us – are all worthy of death. Death is the outcome for our inherited sin nature and the many sins that we all commit.
The wages of sin is death and the meaning of death in scripture is SEPARATION. Sin’s reward for spiritual death is separation from God - separation from all that’s good. The sinner’s greatest need is for forgiveness of sins – and God alone can forgive sins.
But God had planned a unique way that all sinners could be forgiven of their sins., but it meant that the eternal Son ofread more
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners. When I first heard this saying I pondered it, to get it deep in my heart. My pride wants to say I am a good person, but God sees me as I am – a sinner; born dead in trespasses and sins; born with an inherent sin nature; born in enmity with the Father; born in desperate need of a Saviour.
Adam, created in God’s image, was authorised to rule the earth righteously, for God breathed into him the breath of lives – a living body, soul, and spirit. Commissioned as the federal head of mankind, his was the responsibility. Together with Eve, he was created to rule under God’s righteous authority – and Adam walked in the garden and had sweet fellowship with his God and Lord. God’s Spirit and man’s spirit fellowshipping together – Spirit to spirit communion.
Adam was given one command and a freewill to choose to obey or elect to rebel. His beloved wife was deceived by the serpent – questioning the truth of God’s Word. But as the authorised leader under God’s authority, it was Adam’s responsibility – and Adam choose to join her in sin, and fellowship with his Lord was severed.
Adam chose to disregard God’s word of truth, which is rebellion against God, but the day of his disobedience was the day man’s sin nature became a reality – for the seed of the man became tainted with sin and his progeny are tainted with sin. We are not sinners because we sin – we sin because we are sinners. We sin because we are born of Adam’s sinful seed, dead in sins – estranged from God.
The federal head chose to sin, unaware of the eternal consequence of his choice, for the wages of sin is separation and soread more