1. Protection of Grace. "Hast Thou not made an hedge about him?" (Job 1:10).
2. Pathway of Grace. "God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea" (Exod. 13:18).
3. Discipline of Grace. "He led him about and instructed him" (Deut. 32:10).
4. Diligence of Grace. "I must be about My Father's business" (Luke 2:49).
5. Direction of Grace. "Let your loins be girded about." "Girt about" (Luke 12:35; Eph. 6:14).
6. Life of Grace. "Always bearing about in the body," etc. (2 Cor. 4:10).
7. Aim of Grace. "Went about doing good" (Acts 10:38).
1. Christ, who came "from above" did a work for us which was outside in its merit and worth—John 3:31.
2. Life. The life which qualifies us for the Kingdom of God is "from above"—John 3:3, 5. The word "again" should be "above," and is so given in John 3:31.
3. Love. The "perfect gift" of God's love and grace is "from above," as well as every good gift of His providence—Jas. 1:17.
4. Wisdom. The wisdom which makes us wise is "from above"—Jas. 3:17.
5. Affection. To set our affection on "things above" is to evidence we need resources above and beyond us—Col. 3:1, 2.
6. Protection. We need "above all" the Shield of Faith (Christ) to shield us from the enemies' attacks—Eph. 6:16.
7. Satisfaction. Covering all and in all the Lord Himself, who is above, is the One who can take out of danger and bring us into untold blessing—Psa. 18:16-19.
There is a path to be found, and God alone can find it; so if we would find the path we must find God by being found by Him.
1. The Departure of Faith—12:4. Abram "departed out of Haran," the half-way place of compromise, and this was "as the Lord had spoken to Him." Faith's authority and action is always based upon what God says—Rom. 10:17. Obedience is the act of faith. When we will what God wills, we show our faith.
2. The Destination of Faith—12:5; "This land" (ver. 7). "They went forth" to "Canaan," and "into the land of Canaan they came," and there "Jehovah appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land." The land was God's gift of earthly possession to Abram and his seed. God has given to faith "all spiritual blessing in Christ" (Eph. 1:3). See how many blessings are mentioned in Ephesians 1, and "name them one by one."
3. The Worship of Faith. Three times we read of Abram in connection with an altar, and in three different relations. First, when Jehovah gave Abram the land—12:7; second, when he was restored after his backsliding into Egypt—14:4; and third, as he progressed on his journey—14:18. The altar, in its typical meaning, is worship founded on sacrifice. The Cross of Christ's sacrifice is the basis of God's giving—Rom. 8:32, the plea for restoration—Heb. 9:13, 14, and the spur to progress in Christian life and service—2 Cor. 5:14-16. The only place where we can worship God is in and at the Cross of Christ's atoning sacrifice. We cannot worship Him if we are in the Egypt of the world and lack heart separation to Him. The altar and tent are not mentioned as long as Abram is in Egypt—see Gen. 12:9-13:4.
4. The Declension of Faith. Abram "went down into Egypt," and when he had "come into Egypt" he compromised with Sarah, caused Pharaoh pain, told a lie about Sarah, and was sent away by the Egyptians—12:10, 14, 17, 19, 20. When a child of God gets out of communion with the Lord, he will often do what a man of the world would scorn to do. Our faith will wane if we are not watchful, even as a plant will languish for want of attention. A musty room means the exclusion of light, sun, and air, and a declining faith will cause the whole spiritual life to be lacking in the warmth of love, the light of knowledge, and the air of the Spirit's life-imparting grace.
5. The Vision of Faith—13:14-16. The Lord told Abram to "look," after he was separated from Lot. Lot was the man who looked on the plains of Jordan—13:10, and soon was in Sodom. He followed the eyes of his inclination, but Abram followed the direction of the Lord. When we see things at the Lord's bidding we always find a blessing; but when we look with the eyes of self-will we are courting a bane. To see the Lord is to see things in their true light—Heb. 11:27. To see things truly there is a needs be for the heart to be clean, the hands right, the spirit possessed by Christ, and the soul dominated by the Spirit.
6. The Journey of Faith. There are seven stages in the journeyings of Abram.
From the Ur of idolatry to the Haran of compromise—11:31.
From the Haran of compromise to the Canaan of blessing—12:4, 5.
From the Canaan of blessing and the "Moreh" of conflict to the Bethel of prayer—12:6-8.
From the Bethel of prayer to the "going and journeying" (margin) to "the south" of bordering on the Egypt of the world, and to the Egypt of straitening—12:9-20.
From the Egypt of backsliding to the Bethel of restoration—13:1-4.
From the Bethel of restoration to the Hebron of fellowship—13:18.
7. The Advance of Faith. When the Haran of compromise is left, the Egypt of the world is abandoned, and Lot is cut off; then Abram is able to "look" with God into His purpose for him, and to "walk" through the land, and dwell with the Lord in the Hebron of fellowship—13:14-18. Hindrances gone, faith advances. When faith advances in the ways of God, it enjoys His word and keeps on in fellowship with Him.
Dr. Joseph Parker, in referring to Sodom, and Abraham's prayer for it, and God's knowledge of its sin, said: "There are four great facts to consider. 1, That God holds inquest upon the moral condition of cities. 2, That God is accessible to earnest human appeal. 3, That the few can serve the many. 4, That human prayer falls below Divine resources." There are several traits in Abraham's intercession.
1. He was confident in spirit, for he stood before the Lord—v. 22.
2. He was definite in his plea, for he prayed that Sodom might be spared for the sake of the righteous in it—v. 23-25.
3. He pleaded what the Lord was, and His righteousness, as arguments for his prayer to be answered, for he confessed the Judge of all the earth would do right—v. 25, 26.
4. His intercession was humble in tone, for he confessed he was but dust and ashes—v. 27.
5. And his petition was persistent in spirit—28. And yet it failed in its continuance, for he left off in his intercession before the Lord left off in His giving—v. 32, 33.
Fellowship is the soul of friendship, or the common interest that the one has with the other.
The Lord appeared to him—1, 2. If the different occasions when God appeared to Abraham are looked up, it will be found they were crisis points in his history. On this occasion God promised a son to him. Every true Christian experience begins with a vision of Christ, and we fail to see anything that is worth seeing till we have seen Him. Recall how this fact is illustrated in the lives of—
1. Moses, the Leader—Exod. 3:2.
2. Isaiah, the Prophet—Isa. 6:1.
3. Paul, the Apostle—Acts 9:3-5.
4. Peter, the Fisherman—Luke 5:8.
5. John, the Disciple—Rev. 1:17.
6. Gideon, the Warrior—Judges 6:12.
7. Jacob, the Prince—Gen. 32:24-30.
The Greek word for "agree" in Matthew 18:19, means to symphonise and suggests a musical harmony, where chords are tuned to the same key, and struck by a master hand.
1. There is a symphonising which we should avoid, that is, a concert for the furtherance of evil, like Ananias and Sapphira, when they "agreed together" to tempt the Holy Spirit—Acts 5:9.
2. There is a symphonisation which we should recognise, namely, when the working of God's providence agrees with the fulfilment of God's Word (see the word "agree" in Acts 15:15).
3. But the symphony which is specially pleasing to the Lord is when His people agree in a concert of prayer, as Judah did—2 Chron. 20:4, as the disciples did in the upper room—Acts 1:14, as the Church did for Peter—Acts 12:12, and as Nehemiah and his workers did—Neh. 4:9.
"Able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think" (Eph. 3:20).
"The principal and most valuable characteristic of the cod is its amazing fecundity. It has been calculated that a single fish will deposit nine millions of eggs, a number which in its vastness simply bewilders us, for we cannot at all realise what such a mighty host means." What is true in this realm of Nature is true in every other, and especially in the realm of grace, for the Lord provides—
1. Abundant Grace to save us—Rom. 5:20.
2. Abundant Pardon to forgive us—Isa. 55:7.
3. Abundant Satisfaction to fill us—Psa. 36:8.
4. Abundant Peace to quieten us—Phil. 4:7.
5. Abundant Life to equip us—John 10:10.
6. Abundant Joy to gladden us—Phil. 1:26.
7. Abundant Power to energise us—Col. 1:11.
1. Predestination. "According to the good pleasure of His will," He hath predestinated us to the place of children (v. 5).
2. Benediction. "According to the riches of His grace," He has blessed us in Christ (v. 7).
3. Revelation. "According to His good pleasure," He hath made known to us the secret of His will (v. 9, 10).
4. Inheritance. "According to the purpose" of His counsel, He hath given us an inheritance in Christ (v. 11).
5. Power. "According to the working of His mighty power," He energises us for life and labour (v. 19).
The words "Glad," "Rejoice," etc., are one and the same in the Greek.
1. A Glad Saviour—Luke 15:5.
2. A Glad Sinner—Luke 19:6; Acts 8:39.
3. A Glad Servant—Acts 11:23.
4. A Glad Sufferer—Col. 1:24.
5. A Glad Saint—2 John 4.
6. A Glad Surveyor—Col. 2:5.
7. A Glad Scoffer—Luke 23:8.
Among the activities of God on behalf of His people, we have—1. Hurrying Feet in Grace for our blessing—Luke 15:20.
2. Holding Hands in Power for our security—John 10:29.
3. A Loving Heart in Sympathy for our encouragement—John 16:27.
4. Listening Ears in Attention for our prayers—Psa. 34:15.
5. Watching Eyes in Outlook for our enablement—2 Chron. 16:9.
6. Gracious Lips in Promise for our faith—Song of Solomon 5:13.
7. Everlasting Arms in Upholding for our sustainment—Deut. 33:27.
There are many characters who are said to be "afar off."
1. A Demon-Possessed Man, when he "saw Jesus afar off," ran and worshipped Him (Mark 5:6).
2. The Women at the Cross were "beholding" Him "afar off" (Matt. 27:55).
3. Peter followed his Lord "afar off" when he ought to have been near (Luke 22:54).
4. The Lepers, conscious of their disease, "stood afar off" (Luke 17:12).
5. The Publican, knowing his sin and unworthiness, stood "afar off" (Luke 18:13).
6. The Gentile Sinners are "afar off" from Jewish blessings and promises (Acts 2:39; Eph. 2:13, 17).
7. Old Testament Saints did not enjoy to the full the blessings of the Gospel, but they saw them "afar of" (Heb. 11:13).
In John 11 The Man of men, the greatest Person who ever lived.
1. The Listening Friend. "Jesus heard" (v. 4).
2. The Loving Lord. "Jesus loved" (v. 5).
3. The Gracious Teacher. "Jesus answered" (v. 9).
4. The Wondrous Speaker. "Jesus saith" and "spake" (v. 13, 23).
5. The Timely Visitor. "Jesus came" (v. 17).
6. The Located Saviour. "Jesus was" (v. 32).
7. The Seeing Helper. "Jesus saw" (v. 33).
8. The Troubled Groaner. "He groaned and was troubled" (v. 33, 38).
9. The Weeping Compassionator. "Jesus wept" (v. 35).
10. The Believing Son. "Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, Father" (v. 41).
11. The Commanding Life-Giver. "He cried" (v. 43).
12. The Constant Worker. "Jesus did... done" (v. 45, 46).
13. The Undisputed Witness. "This Man doeth many miracles" (v. 47).
14. The Delivering Substitute. "Jesus should die" (v. 51, 53).
1. Shining. Arising to shine—Eph. 5:14.
2. Running. Running to win—1 Cor. 9:24-27.
3. Helping. Helping to succour—Phil. 4:3.
4. Sowing. Sowing to reap—Gal. 6:7-9.
5. Fighting. Fighting to subdue—1 Tim. 6:12.
6. Praying. Praying to bless—1 Tim. 2:1, 2.
7. Fishing. Fishing to catch—Matt. 4:19.
1. Following to prove—John 10:27.
2. Growing to attain—Eph. 4:15.
3. Walking to accomplish—Eph. 5:1, 2.
4. Working to benefit—Rom. 12:6-16.
5. Wrestling to conquer—2 Tim. 2:5.
6. Washing to cleanse—John 13:14.
7. Reaching to gain—Phil. 3:13, 14.
1. Sin. "All have sinned" (Rom. 3:23).
2. Subjection. "All under sin" (Rom. 3:9).
3. Sacrifice. "Gave Him up for us all" (Rom. 8:32).
4. Supply. "Freely give us all things" (Rom. 8:32).
5. Supplication. "All who call upon Him" (Rom. 10:12).
6. Superintendence. "Lord over all" (Rom. 10:12).
7. Support. "The God of Peace be with you all" (Rom. 15:33).
The importance, intensity, and repetition of a given act, or the statement of a truth, is seen in the word palin, rendered "again." The importance of distinguishing words given "again" is seen if we contrast two other words. "Again" should be "above" in the sentence, "Born from above" (John 3 is given "above" in verse 31). Another word, "again," is the word associated with Christ rising "again" from the dead. It means to stand up. Strictly speaking, "again" can only be applied to a second act. Christ did rise the second time. He was standing in life before He died, and He stood up again in resurrection; but in the instances where palin is used of Christ, it means a repetition.
1. Life Given and Taken. "I lay down My life, that I may take it again" (John 10:17, 18). Here is the double purpose of deliberate action. His death and resurrection were no accident.
2. "Written" and "Written Again." To Satan's partial quotation of Scripture, Christ gave him an utterance of full statement. "Jesus said to him, It is written again" (Matt. 4:7).
3. Hands Upon Eyes and Again. There was a double touch with Christ in His healing of the blind man—Mark 8:23-25.
4. Christ's Repeated Statement. The disciples were astonished at Christ's teaching about riches, but He emphasised His statement by repeating it—Mark 10:23, 24.
5. Peace and Peace. "Jesus saith to them again" (John 20:21). He gives a double peace. The peace of the Cross and the peace of Himself—John 14:27.
6. Prayer and Prayer. "He went away again" (Matt. 26:42, 44). To pray again is to get into the heart of things.
7. Coming and Coming. "I will come again" (John 14:3). His future coming is associated with His first.
1. Trusting after hearing—Eph. 1:13.
2. Communion after cleansing—Lev. 14:8.
3. Revelation after separation—Gen. 13:14.
4. Service after consecration—Num. 8:15, 22.
5. Power after the Spirit's coming—Acts 1:8.
6. Thanksgiving after blessing—Deut. 16:13-17.
7. Glory after suffering—1 Peter 5:10.
The acts of Christ are frequently referred to in connection with the word "Forth."
1. His Power to Heal. "Put forth His Hand" (Matt. 8:3).
2. His Power to Send. "Jesus sent forth" (Matt. 10:5).
3. His Power to Sow. "Sower went forth to sow" (Matt. 13:3).
4. His Power to Manifest. "Manifested forth His glory" (John 2:11).
5. His Power to Direct. "Putteth forth His own sheep" (John 10:4).
6. His Power to Evidence. "Jesus Christ might shew forth" (1 Tim. 1:16).
7. His Power to Return and Reward. "Will come forth and serve" (Luke 12:37).
"All things" occurs 221 times in the Bible.
1. They are of God as to their Source. "All things are of God" (2 Cor. 5:18).
2. Are for the sake of the believer as to their Object. "All things" are yours—1 Cor. 3:21.
3. Work together for good as to their Purpose. "All things work together for good to them that love God" (Rom. 8:28).
4. Christ Head over the Church as to their Arrangement. "Head over all things to the Church" (Eph. 1:22).
5. The believer may know, hence his Privilege. "Teacheth you of all things" (1 John 2:27).
6. The believer can do, hence his Power. "Do all things through Christ which strengthened" (Phil. 4:13).
7. Granted in answer to Prayer, hence his dependence. "All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer" (Matt. 21:22).
8. Only possible to Faith, hence his responsibility. "All things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23).
9. Are to be Proved, hence his diligence. "Prove all things" (1 Thess. 5:21).
10. Thanks to be given for, hence his gratitude. "Giving thanks for all things" (Eph. 5:20).
11. Their End at hand, hence his watchfulness. "The end of all things is at hand" (1 Peter 4:7).
12. To be Inherited by the believer, hence his hope. "Inherit all things" (Rev. 21:7).
How many of God's saints know the fullness of blessing found in connection with the little word "all" in the following Scriptures.
1. God has blessed us with "all spiritual blessings in Christ" (Eph. 1:3).
2. He has "given all things that pertain to life and holiness" (2 Peter 1:3).
3. He is able to make "all grace abound toward you" (2 Cor. 9:8).
1."All the promises of God are yea and amen in Christ" (2 Cor. 1:20).
5. He desires we should be filled into "all" His fullness —Eph. 3:19.
6. He can supply "all" our need, according to His riches in Christ Jesus—Phil. 4:19.
7. He assures us "all things" are ours—1 Cor. 3:21, 22.
1. A Joyful Chorister. "I will bless Jehovah at all times" (v. 1).
2. A Delivered Suppliant. "Jehovah... delivered me from all my fears" (v. 4).
3. A Saved Saint. "Jehovah... saved him out of all his troubles" (v. 6).
4. A Confident Witness—v. 17. "Jehovah heard, and delivered out of all troubles."
5. Escaped Believer—v. 19. "Afflictions... Jehovah delivereth him out of them all."
6. A Preserved Servant—v. 20. "He keepeth all his bones."
1. What man is. "Every man at his best is altogether vanity" (Psa. 39:5).
2. What man has become. "Altogether become filthy" (Psa. 53:3).
3. What God's Word is. "The judgments of Jehovah are true and righteous altogether" (Psa. 19:9).
4. What God thinks about man's thinking about Himself. "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself" (Psa. 1. 21).
5. What the convicted saint knows God knows. "There is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Jehovah, Thou knowest it altogether" (Psa. 139:4).
6. God's other blessing of His people. "Thou hast altogether blessed them these three times... what the Lord saith, that will I speak" (Num. 23:11, 26; 24:1, 10, 13).
7. The secret of blessing. "That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live and inherit the land" (Deut. 16:20).
1. A Clean Separation. "Abram went up out of Egypt... and all that he had" (Gen. 13:1).
2. A Beautiful Type. "Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac" (Gen. 25:5; John 3:35).
3. A Worthy Ruler. "All that he had he put into his hand" (Gen. 39:4, 6).
4. A Prosperous Man. "The blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had" (Gen. 39:5).
5. A Bankrupt Servant. "Commanded him to be sold... and all that he had" (Matt. 18:25).
6. A Weary Quest. "Spent all that she had, nothing bettered" (Mark 5:26).
7. A Magnificent Gift. "Cast in all that she had" (Mark 12:44).
The angel's message is full of the grace and glow of the Gospel. Weigh his sevenfold message.
1. The "Fear not" (v. 5) of Love. The earthquake caused the keepers to shake and quake; we are therefore not surprised that the lightning countenance of the angel should fill the women with consternation.
2. The "I know" of Appreciation. The angel knew the loving quest of the women. He knew they wanted to see the loved form that they had last seen on the cruel Cross. Faith's memory always centres in the Cross.
3. The "He is not here" of Reminder. He had said He would not remain in the grave. We do not always find what we expect, but we discover the unexpected to our joy and comfort.
4. The "He is risen" of Joy. He travelled through the realm of Hades, and preached the Gospel to the spirits in prison—1 Peter 3:18; 4:6; and now He is risen triumphant over death, Hell, the grave, and the Devil—Heb. 2:14; Rev. 1:18.
5. The "See the place" of Observation. The place of expiation was Calvary—Luke 23:33; the place of glory will be in the Father's mansions—John 14:2, 3; and the place of resurrection was an empty tomb.
6. The "Go quickly" of Commission. To go and "tell" others that "He was risen from the dead" when they expected still to find Him lifeless, gave wings to their feet and a glow in their hearts.
7. The "Ye shall see Him" of Expectation. To hear He was risen was good, but to have the assurance of seeing Him was better.
"Glass, with anxiety!" Strange expression this! What does it mean? These words accompanied a parcel sent from Norway to England, and they were intended to indicate that the sender feared, from the fragile nature of the contents, that some mishap might befall it.
Is there not a lesson here for Christians? Might not some of us be rightly labelled, "Christians with anxiety?" In many instances there is no need for a label, as anxiety is only too plainly stamped upon the countenance, although the apostolic injunction is, "In nothing be anxious" (Phil. 4:6. R.V.). Some obey this command in certain circumstances only, while others reverse the reading, and live as though they were to be anxious for everything. The Lord wishes His children to carry their worries and anxieties to Him; and to leave them with Him. Here are seven things which He bids us cast upon Him, or commit unto Him.
1. Commit Yourself unto Him. "He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day" (2 Tim. 1:12). Paul deposited himself in the hands of the Heavenly Banker; and, as the money in the Bank of England is kept safe in the strong-rooms within and by the guard without, so was the apostle, for he was kept by the Holy Spirit within, and by the Lord who encamped round about him.
2. Commit Your Soul unto Him. "Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator" (1 Peter 4:19). Suffering we shall have, but if we commit the keeping of our souls unto the Lord in well-doing, as the three Hebrew young men did, we shall, like them, cut loose our bonds, and gain the company of Jesus.
3. Commit Your Spirit unto Him. "Into Thine hand I commit my spirit" (Psa. 31:5). If the Lord has the control of our spirit, He will control us altogether.
4. Commit Your Way unto Him. "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass" (Psa. 37:5). If we commit our way unto Him, we shall never stray from Him.
5. Commit Your Works unto Him. "Commit thy works unto the Lord" (Prov. 16:3). If the Lord controls the works and the workers, there will be no clashing in the working.
6. Commit Your Burden unto Him. "Cast thy burden upon the Lord" (Psa. 55:22). If the Lord is our Burden-bearer, we shall be free to bear one another's burdens.
7. Commit Your Care unto Him. "Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7). One, John Careless, a martyr, in writing to a friend, said: "Now my soul is turned to her old rest again, and has taken a sweet nap in Christ's lap. I have cast my care upon the Lord, who careth for me, and will be careless, according to my name." If we cast all our cares upon Him, He will take all care of us.
Many appreciations were given of the Right Hon. John Morley. Mr. A. G. Gardiner, writing in the Nation, says of him: "In an active life that covered nearly half a century of history, he played a part as disinterested, as elevated, and as free from blemish as that of any man in our public annals. Neither as journalist, author, nor statesman, did he fall on any great issue below the high standards which he professed, and by which he lived. He never trimmed his sails to the popular breeze, never deserted a cause which he believed to be just, never put truth in the balance against any private end. To his essay 'On Compromise' he affixed this motto: 'It makes all the difference in the world whether we put truth in the first place or in the second place.' It may, I think, be said with confidence that no man in our public life ever lived more steadily and unfalteringly by the lamp of truth than John Morley."
Thus says one of the great statesmen, as viewed from the outside. Sometimes we lack in appreciating each other as believers in Christ. We need to follow Paul's example, and record what we see in others.
1. Of the Nameless Brother, he said his praises were in all the churches—2 Cor. 8:18.
2. Of Epaphras, he said, "He laboured fervently in prayer" (Col. 4:12).
3. Of Epaphroditus, he said, "He ministered to my wants" (Phil. 2:25).
4. Of Onesimus, the slave, he said, He is "a faithful and beloved brother" (Col. 4:9).
5. Of the Women in Philippi, he said, "They laboured with me" (Phil. 4:3).
6. Of the Thessalonian Saints he said, "From you sounded out the Word of the Lord" (1 Thess. 1:8).
7. Of Onesiphorus, he said, "He oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain" (2 Tim. 1:16).
1. Redeeming Arm to Deliver—Exod. 6:6.
2. Great Arm to Achieve—Exod. 15:16; Psa. 98:1.
3. Persistent Arm to Accomplish—Deut. 4:34.
4. Promising Arm to Overthrow—Deut. 7:18, 19.
5. Powerful Arm to Overawe—Deut. 26:8.
6. Strong Arm to Scatter—Psa. 89:10, 13.
7. Strengthening Arm to Empower—Psa. 89:21.
The Greek word for "servant," in the Book of Revelation, means a slave, and is rendered "bondman" and "bond"—6:15; 13:16; 19:18. It occurs fourteen times, and in eleven instances indicates a servant of God, or of Christ.
1. Revelation. "Shew unto His servants" (11; 22:6). God reveals to His servants what He does not make known to the world.
2. Possession. "His servant John" (1:1). We are the Lord's by creation, calling, purchase, and possession.
3. Opposition. "Seduce My servants" (2:20). Satan and his emissaries do not trouble those who are his, but he and they are always at work to beguile and blast the Lord's.
4. Preservation. "Sealed the servants of our God" (7:3). Things are sealed for security and secrecy, so the Lord hides and preserves His own.
5. Completion. "As He hath declared to His servants" (10:7). God will fill to the full all He has declared shall be.
6. Compensation "Shouldest give reward unto thy servants" (11:18). The Lord has eyes to see, a heart to appreciate any service done to Him, and a reward is in His hands for those who have served.
7. Recognition. "Moses, the servant of God" (15:3). The Lord knows each of His servants by name.
8. Retribution. "Avenge the blood of His servants" (19:2). The saints who are saintly do not vindicate themselves, but the Lord does.
9. Ascription. "Praise our God, all ye His servants" (19:5). Worship is the out-going of the heart in praise, gratitude, and adoration to the Lord.
10. Consecration. "His servants shall serve Him" (22:3). "Serve Him." To serve Him means loyalty, affection, thoroughness, and disinterestedness.
1. Stripped Bodies. "Lay aside every weight," etc. (v. 1). The simile used is the putting off of a garment, as the athlete who lays aside every encumbrance before he runs in the race.
2. Looking Eyes. "Looking unto Jesus" (v. 2). The figure indicates the looking away from one object to another. Christ is the Leader and Completer of faith. We have a Perfect Example of faith to follow, and a Perfect Indweller to impart the faith He requires.
3. Lifting Hands. "Lift up the hands," etc. (v. 12). A loving heart to Christ in remembering how He lifted us up from sin to Himself, will prompt us to have hands for Christ in helping others in need.
4. Straight Paths. "Make straight paths," etc. (v. 13). The best way to restore others is to be perfectly sure we are right with God ourselves. We need to be straight ourselves if we would straighten others.
5. Pursuing Feet. "Follow peace," etc. (v. 14). Peace is the terminus which is reached by travelling in the way of holiness.
6. Alert Attention. "Looking diligently," etc. (v. 15). Not to take in supplies is to be devoid of provender. To fail the grace of God is to fail to take God in His grace, who never fails.
7. Good Service. "Serve God acceptably," etc. (v. 28). To be well-pleasing to God is the highest form of service. Acceptable service has love for its motive, truth for its guide, the Spirit for its power, and God's glory for its end.
The Lord binds Himself to His Word of Promise, and we command His fulfilment when we obey the conditions attached thereto. Ponder the words, "as He hath promised," in the following Scriptures.
1. Bestowment. After Jehovah had brought Israel into the land of Canaan, "as He" had promised (see seven "I wills" in Exod. 6:6-8), they were to call to mind God's giving in redemption by keeping the feast of the Passover. A lively memory causes the heart to sing in loving praise. To forget His redeeming love, His saving grace, His liberating, His supplying gifts, His gracious presence, His guiding Word, and His willing service, is to express the deepest ingratitude.
2. Enlargement. "When the Lord thy God shall enlarge thy border, as He hath promised, thou mayest eat flesh" (Deut. 12:20). Previously to this command, the children of Israel were prohibited from eating only such animal food as had been offered in sacrifice, but now they could have as much as they desired; and the reason given is, because they were enlarged, that is, having greater facilities for production, there was greater provision for supply. An enlargement of soul always means an enlargement of capacity to appreciate what the Lord gives.
3. Avouchment. "The Lord hath avouched thee this day to be His peculiar people" ("a people for His own possession," R.V.), "as He hath promised thee" (Deut. 26:18). Israel had avouched the Lord to be their God—v. 17, and He responds by taking what they gave. Nothing gives the Lord greater pleasure than to possess us when we want to be possessed; when we love Him well we are willing to let Him take all. Adam's sleeping—Gen. 2:21; Abram's giving—Gen. 22:16; Rebekah's going—Gen. 24:58; Moses' forsaking—Heb. 11:24-27; Ruth's clinging—Ruth 1:16; Jonathan's surrendering—1 Sam. 18:4; David's growing—1 Chron. xii; mighty men's risking—1 Chron. 11:17-19; widow's casting—Luke 12:59; Mary's anointing—John 12:3, are a few illustrations of what results when the Lord possesses.
4. Accomplishment. "For the Lord your God fighteth for you, as He hath promised you" (Joshua 23:10). Israel was an instrument of judgment to repel the inhabitants of Canaan because of their sins. We who believe in Christ have foes of a different character to contend with, namely, principalities and powers in heavenly places. When we walk with the Conqueror we shall surely conquer. Mark what the "Lord your God" is said to have done all down Joshua 23, and don't forget the whole reason is in the "for" of verse 10. When the Lord drives out we can chase out our enemies.
5. Fulfilment. "The Gospel of God, which He had promised afore by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 1:1-3). The Scriptures are meaningless unless we see Christ in them, but they are meanful if we see Him. Adam, the man; Abel, the shepherd; Noah, the saviour; Enoch, the godly; Abraham, the giver; Isaac, the offered; Jacob, the toiler; and Joseph, the provider, foregleam His glory. The offerings are types of the many-sidedness of His atoning sacrifice; and the messages of the Psalms and the prophets proclaim His worth and work.
6. Advent. "Now He hath promised... Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also Heaven" (Heb. 12:26). If the passage is pondered from which the writer to the Hebrew Christians quotes—Haggai 2:5-9, it will be seen it has to do with the Lord's Coming in power to set up His Kingdom on the earth. The nations will then recognise the Lord in Jerusalem, for when He shakes the earth and the Heavens, and the nations, then the nations will acknowledge the Lord, for "the precious things of all the nations shall come" (2:7, R.V.), that is, shall be brought as offerings—see Zeph. 3:10; Zech. 14:16.
7. Enrichment. "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him" (Jas. 1:12; 2:5). Crown-wearers are first of all cross-bearers. Those who stand the test of trial take their place among those who have triumphed.
1. Trust. "Trust in Him at all times" (Psa. 62:8).
2. Praise. "I will bless the Lord at all times" (Psa. 34:1).
3. Love. "A friend loveth at all times" (Prov. 17:17).
4. Righteousness. "Blessed... is he that doeth righteousness at all times" (Psa. 106:3).
5. Desire. "My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto Thy judgments at all times" (Psa. 119:20).
6. Faithfulness. "It is good to be zealously affected at all times" (Gal. 4:18, R.V.).
7. Concern. "He maintain the cause... of His people at all times" (1 Kings 8:59). "The Lord... give you peace at all times" (2 Thess. 3:16, R.V.).
1. "As many as were baptised into Jesus Christ" (Rom. 6:3).
2. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14).
3. "As many as walk according to this rule" (Gal. 6:16).
4. "As many as be perfect" (Phil. 3:15).
5. "As many as I love, I rebuke" (Rev. 3:19).
6. "As many as received Him," etc. (John 1:12).
7. "As many as were ordained to eternal life" (Acts 13:48).
The objective of Christ's Coming is often found associated with the Greek preposition "en," which denotes a fixed position, as being in a place, state, or time.
1. "At His Coming," those who are "Christ's" will be claimed by Him—1 Cor. 15:23.
2. "At the Last Trump, "those who are the Lord's will be "changed in the twinkling of an eye" (1 Cor. 15:52).
3. "At His Appearing," Christ will reward those who have endured trial with "praise, honour, and glory" (1 Peter 1:7).
4. "At His Coming," we may be "ashamed before Him" if we are not found abiding in Christ—1 John 2:28.
5. "At the Revelation" (1 Peter 1:13) of Christ we shall have a fresh revelation of God's grace.
6. "At that Day" of His appearing, Christ will give those who have loved His approach a crown of righteousness—2 Tim. 4:8.
7. "At Hand" is the time when the predictions of the Revelation will be fulfilled—Rev. 1:3; 22:10.
Places in which people were found.
1. "At the Beautiful Gate" a poor cripple was found—Acts 3:10. Like many Christians, he had life, but not liberty.
2. "At the Door" Peter knocked for admittance—Acts 12:13. The saints often need to be knocked up to have fellowship with them.
3. "At the Sepulchre" Mary Magdalene was found—John 20:11. Where she had last seen Him dead, she met Him alive.
4. "At His Feet" Mary fell, to find comfort about the death of her brother—John 11:32.
5. "At the Fire" Peter "warmed himself," when he ought to have been near his Lord—Mark 14:54.
6. "At Home" is the place to show piety at first—1 Tim. 5:4.
7. "At the Door" the Lord is found when a church is wrong, instead of being inside—Rev. 3:20.
The italicised words in the Scriptures are the same in the Greek.
1. An Hour of Woe. "The hour is at hand" (Matt. 26:45).
2. A Means to an End. "By the which we draw nigh unto God" (Heb. 7:19).
3. A Reciprocal Action. "Draw nigh unto God, and He will draw nigh unto you" (James 4:8).
4. A Cheering Lord. "Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them" (Luke 24:15).
5. A Returning Saviour. "The Coming of the Lord draweth nigh" (James 5:8).
6. A Near Redemption. "Your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28).
7. An Approaching Day. "The Day is at hand" (Rom. 13:12; Heb. 10:25).
Three times the compound word "paralambano" occurs in John's Gospel. The word means to take near to one's self, hence to have with one the object thus taken. "Lambano" occurs many times in the aforesaid Gospel, at least forty-five times, and is generally given "receive" and "took;" but where the prefix "para" is added to "lambano" it means to take near to one's self.
1. Rejection. The Spirit's lament about Christ's own is, "His own received Him not" (John 1:11). Being His kinsmen and possessions, they should not only "receive" (lambano) Him, but receive Him near with glad hearts, surrendered wills, and communing spirits. What an added touch of meaning is given when the Spirit goes on to say, "As many as received (lambano) Him, to them gave He the right to become the children of God" (1:12). Those who were not His kinsmen who receive Him, become His kinsmen. Those who had not the relationship of life, by the life of relationship enter into a closer bond.
2. Crucifixion. "And they took (paralambano) Jesus and led Him away." This was after Pilate had weakly and against his conviction delivered Him to be crucified. Wicked hands took Him near to themselves and led Him to the "place of a skull." Their ill-intent of wickedness carried out the God-intent of purpose—Acts 2:23. The manner of His death was prophesied—John 19:37; its cause was sin—Rom. 4:25; its power was love—Gal. 2:20; its basis was grace—Heb. 2:9; its unfolding is wisdom—1 Cor. 1:23; its practicality is separation from self, sin, and the world—Rom. 6:6; Gal. 5:24; 6:14; and its end is identification with Christ—Matt. 27:44; Gal. 2:20. The word "crucified with" in these passages signifies co-crucifixion.
3. Expectation. "I will come again and receive you to Myself," or, as it might be given, "I am coming to take you to be near to Myself" (John 14:3). When Christ returns for His own, He comes as the Saviour to redeem—Rom. 8:23; as the Uniter to gather—1 Thess. 4:13-18; as the Blessed Hope to gladden—Titus 2:13; as the Transformer to glorify—Phil. 3:20, 21; as the Lover to present—Eph. 5:27; as the Lord to reward—1 Cor. 3:14; 4:5; and as the Friend to receive to Himself.
The atonement of Christ's death is—
1. The Sin-cleanser of the sinner's conscience—1 John 1:7.
2. The Self-annuller of the old life—Gal. 2:20.
3. The Soul-sanctifier of the saint's life—Heb. 13:12.
4. The Service-inspirer of the believer's work—2 Cor. 5:14.
5. The Victory-giver in the warrior's conflict—Rev. 12:11.
6. The Magnet-drawer to the Church's communion—1 Cor. 10:16.
7. The Song-incentive of Heaven's praise—Rev. 5:9.
There are some terms which relate to the Christian life which are of pressing importance, because of the issues which are involved in relation to them. The following seven words indicate a few aspects of the Christian's life, namely, "Believe," "Pray," "Abide," "Walk," "Take," "Stand," "Watch."
1. To Believe on Christ is the secret of the Christian life—Gal. 2:20,
2. To Pray to Christ is the stay of the Christian life-Phil. 4:6.
3. To Abide in Christ is the strength of the Christian life—John 15:4.
4. To Walk as Christ is the shining out of the Christian life—1 John 2:6-9; 1 Peter 2:21.
5. To Take from Christ is the supply of the Christian life—Isaiah 27:5.
6. To Stand with Christ is the staple of the Christian life—Eph. 6:14.
7. To Watch for Christ is the standing order of the Christian life—Mark 13:33. The term watchfulness is a comprehensive one. It signifies far more than merely holding the truth of the Lord's Coming. It covers the whole trend of the spiritual life in the variety of its traits.
The careful attention of the Lord to details is aptly expressed when we remember He—
1. Names His sheep—John 10:3.
2. Numbers our hairs—Matt. 10:30.
3. Counts our steps—Job. 31:4.
4. Books our thoughts—Mal. 3:16.
5. Bottles our tears—Psa. 56:8.
6. Takes our hands—Isa. 41:13.
7. Supplies our need—Phil. 4:19.
When we are under the authority of Christ, we have all His authority behind us. The usage of the word for authority (exousia "Exonsia" is translated 'authority" in John 5:27, "right" in Rev. 22:14, "jurisdiction" in Luke 23:7, "liberty" in 1 Cor. 8:9, and "power" in John 10:18.) is instructive and inspiring.
1. Authority to Heal "Power (exousia) to heal sicknesses" (Mark 3:15).
2. Authority over Demons. "Power (exousia) over unclean spirits" (Mark 6:7).
3. Authority to Preach. "Go... all power (exousia) is given unto Me" (Matt. 28:18).
4. Authority to Become. "Power (exousia) to become the children of God" (John 1:12).