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The Emotions of Christ

In the events surrounding the last of the ‘signs’ of John’s Gospel – the raising of Lazarus, we get an insight into the heart and soul of the Word made flesh. It commences with the encounter that Martha had with her Master on the road as He approached Bethany. John is fulsome in the detailed discussion that took place and would indicate that all the while Martha was standing as they conversed. Her opening remark “Lord if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” has the feeling of a rebuke. Whereas Mary, while she used the same words said them on her knees weeping in an attitude of adoration and worship. This attitude corresponds with Luke’s account of the Lord’s visit to Martha and Mary’s home. The former over wrought, complains that she is left alone to serve while Mary sat at His feet. The word ‘weeping’ used of Mary and those who were with her was really a wailing, customary of those times. Whereas the word used by Jesus means the tears were running down His face! Divine eyes shedding human tears.

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Christian Fellowship – Words that Promote Fellowship

Then they that feared the Lord spoke often to one another; and the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name” (Malachi 3:16)

Over four hundred years later the risen Christ asked two of His followers, “What manner of communications are these that you have?” (Luke 24:17). It is a question we sometimes need to ask ourselves. By offering hospitality, providing physical assistance and sharing financially, we show fellowship with other believers. Such things give evidence of the genuineness of our love and care. However it is only how we speak when with them that shows whether we know the joy to be found in conversational fellowship. That is the subject of this article.

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Fools

I remember the case of a young man who married a moneyless girl and then sailed for Australia, taking with him his bride and what little money he could scrape together; it was only about £600. When the two families heard that he had used his capital in buying some land in an out of the way place, they said he ought to be shut up in a lunatic asylum. But there was gold in that piece of land, and when, some years later, I met him in London, he was very rich; and the relatives had given up talking about lunatic asylums.

The Christian is a follower of Him who likened Himself to a man that parts with all that he has in order to buy a field, because he knows there is treasure hidden in it. The Christian acts in the present with a view to the future. For he knows while the things which are seen are temporal, the things which are not seen are eternal.

– an excerpt from The Way by Sir Robert Anderson

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The Virgin Birth

Non-belief in the virgin birth leaves us with serious consequences as to who the person of Christ is. If His life as recorded in the Gospels and referred to in the Epistles is miraculous and His exit from death also miraculous then belief in the virgin birth must be a reality. Sinlessness demands a miraculous origin.

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Well Placed Loves

Solomon was given the gift of wisdom, but he misused it. God has given us the ability to love, but we often misuse it. As we saw in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 the last days are perilous times when professing Christians love self, money and pleasure instead of God. When these misplaced loves are no longer outside, but within, times are dangerous for the church.

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The Bible

THIS BOOK contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand object, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is given you in life, will be opened in judgement, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibilities, will reward the greatest labour, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents. – ANONYMOUS

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when he received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (1 Thessalonians 1:13)

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The Grace of God in Salvation

The boundless grace of God is one of the great themes that permeate scripture. When we speak about ‘grace’ in this context, we refer to the lavish, unlimited, unmerited favour that God has been pleased to bestow upon sinful man. This is something that will never cease to fill us with wonder and worship whilst here in this world, and it is the theme that will be song for all of eternity. As is found in the well-known hymn ‘Amazing grace’ of the onetime slave-trader JOHN NEWTON,’

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,

Bright shining as the sun,

We’ve no less days to sing his praise,

Than when we first begun.

In our day, one feels that we are in grave danger of losing sight of the grace of God in relation to the salvation. Perhaps this is due to an over-emphasis on the sovereign purposes of God, to the exclusion of the grace of God in the matter of a truly universal offer, or opportunity. This has created a deep divide among the Lord’s people, where the issue is seen to be one of sovereignty versus grace. This is unfortunate, because each has its place in the matter of salvation. One has no desire to acerbate the divided that exists, but one feels compelled to emphasise the involvement of the grace of God in relation to salvation, to protect the integrity of the gospel.

THE SOURCE OF GRACE:

The grace of God in relation to the salvation of man, finds its source in the eternal counsels of God. Scripture gives us to understand that even before the universe had been created, God, anticipating the Fall, conceived the plan of salvation for ruined man through the giving of His only begotten Son to the Cross of Calvary. Not only so, but ever since the first man sinned, it is God in His grace who has reached out to man with a view to restoring fellowship with Him. Man in his unregenerate condition has no thought of God, nor does he seek after him. It is God who takes the initiative to reach out to man in salvation. The hymn writer JOHN KENT put it well when he wrote:

A monument of grace,

A sinner saved by blood,

The streams of love I trace,

Back to the fountain God,

And in His sovereign counsels see,

Eternal thoughts of love to me.

THE SCOPE OF GRACE:

Such is the love of God for His benighted creature man, that He has placed the possibility of accepting His grace within the reach of all, without exception. Scripture abounds with insights to the will of God in relation to man’s salvation. We read “The Lord… is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Again, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.’ Again, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” Perhaps one of the most eloquent statements regarding the grace of God in salvation is contained in the statement of the Lord Jesus when He said “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” In this latter verse, two words emphasise the limitlessness of the grace of God. We learn that it embraces the ‘world,’ and that the offer is made to the ‘whosoever believeth.’ These few statements regarding the grace of God must dispel any idea that any human being on the face of the earth is excluded from receiving God’s grace in salvation. SIR ROBERT ANDERSON has written “There is no shuffling of the cards; There is no deception in it; If forgiveness is preached to all, it is because all may share it.” And again he writes “He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son – and he adds, not as a cold formula which the initiated know to be overshadowed by the doctrine of election – ‘ that WHOSOVER believeth in Him should not perish by have everlasting life.”

THE RECEIVING OF GRACE:

We have already shown that the will of God is that all men should be saved, and we have shown the work that God has done in order that the ‘whosevers’ can have eternal life through believing in Him.

In other words, such is the grace of God, that He has done all that He can do to bring men salvation, and now man is responsible to believe, to accept, to receive, the terms of the Gospel. The New Testament abounds with exhortations to men to do so. Indeed the exhortation to ‘believe’ is predominant in the evangelical gospel of John. From this we learn that while it is the will of God that all should be saved, man must now bend His will to the will of God in order to be saved. Unfortunately, man can, and does, resist the will of God, and the same freedom given Adam to cede to, or resist the will of God in the garden of Eden, is still in vogue today. Men, like Adam, have been given freedom of choice, and the ability to accept or reject the grace of God in Salvation.

A word must be said about the role of the Holy Spirit in the matter of salvation. Scripture makes it clear that no one can be saved apart from the convicting work of the Holy Spirit leading to conversion, and those of us who have been saved can testify to this fact. However, we must avoid the notion that the Spirit of God is selective in His dealings with men, thus giving opportunity to some, whilst denying it to others. This would be a reprehensible thing. One can testify from personal experience in evangelizing, that we have seen some come under the conviction of the Spirit, yielding to it, and being saved. We have also seen others come under the deep conviction of the Spirit, and then sadly turn away from it, and to be lost.

PRAYER AND THE RECEIVING OF GRACE:

One of the important factors in relation to the salvation of the lost is to engage in prayer for them. In doing so we are in harmony with the will of God who desires that all men should be saved, and our prayers must be offered with this in mind. The apostle Paul could say “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” We remember the story about the paralytic whom the Lord Jesus healed. His friends made valiant efforts to bring him before the Lord, to the extent of letting him down through the roof. We then read, “And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.”   So also we must make valiant efforts to bring the lost before the Lord, and to do so with the confidence the Lord will respond. One recollects hearing the late HARRY BELL of Jarrow, UK telling how that he prayed for his sister’s salvation for over 40 years. Upon receiving news that she was dying he hastened to her bedside, only to be told that she had passed away just minutes before he arrived. His heart sank upon hearing this. However, those present told him, that just before she died she made a clear confession of Christ as Saviour. Prayer had been answered. Brother Bell told this story as an encouragement to the saints to continue in prayer for the lost.

In concluding, the mysteries relating to the interaction between sovereignty and grace may only be fully understood when we have the capacity to do so upon reaching heaven. But in the meantime, we must never limit the scope of the Gospel nor flag in our efforts in both preaching and prayer on the understanding that both of these are an essential part of our responsibility before God, and to the lost around us, and to do so with the understanding that the ‘whosoever’ may come.

The grand word, whosoever,

Is ringing through my soul,

Whosoever will may come.            W.H.BURNETT, Oakville, Ontario

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The Sleuths

What quests the world has witnessed! In my boyhood days we were thrilled every now and again by the daring attempt of some gallant explorer to reach one or other of the Poles. The adventure was invariably whelmed in failure, if not in disaster; and few of us really believed that the Poles would ever be discovered.

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Worshipping Worthily

Worshipping Worthily

A believer’s circumstances under the Law were quite different from those of a believer under grace. This is especially true when it comes to approaching God and expressing praise or thanksgiving to the Lord. The Old Testament saint was made to understand the condemnation resulting from his or her sin and the complexity involved in any cure by the variety of offerings that must be brought. Those offerings all prefigured Christ but were only types and could in themselves accomplish nothing; never setting the conscience of the worshiper free. They only served to remind him of the absolute holiness of God and his own spiritual inadequacy; his failure to “measure up”.

By bringing a burnt offering he would be reminded that he could only expect full fellowship with God by being completely devoted to His will and obedient to it — even unto death. In presenting a meal offering his conscience would recall how impure was his inner life; with a peace offering how often his thoughts and actions did not harmonize with heaven, and with the sin and trespass offerings would come the continual realization that he sinned and fell short of the Divine glory. These sacrifices were inefficient; could “never give the guilty conscience peace or wash away sin’s stain.” For, “in those sacrifices there was a reminder of sins every year.” (Heb.10:4)

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A Holy Man, A Man of God

A Holy Man, A Man of God

After a meeting in Korea, a woman said to me, “You are a holy man, a man of God.” I felt embarrassed, humbled, speechless. Me? A holy man? A man of God?

But should we not all be holy men and women, men and women of God? What does it mean to be holy, a man or woman of God?
When the tabernacle was completed there were consecration ceremonies to consecrate it with all of its furniture and vessels to the service of God. There was also a solemn service to consecrate the priests to their holy work. “And you shall take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it; and you shall hallow it and all its utensils, and it shall be holy”(Ex. 40:9 NKJ).

The priests were consecrated previously. “And this what you shall do to them to hallow them for ministering to me as priests” (Ex. 29:1). Aaron and his sons became holy men, set apart to serve God as priests, holy men. Who are the priests today, hallowed for ministry to God? Peter emphasizes that today all believers are priests: “…a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5). Today all believers are priests, hallowed to God to serve Him. The priest was a priest twenty four hours a day and was to live a holy life, a pure life for God. Hence Peter exhorts all Christians, “…but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy for I am holy’”(1 Pet. 1:15-16). Remember the dignity of your calling as a priest and live a holy life.

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