Christianity – Process of Transformation (3)


Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber to be an example of a charismatic religious leader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Conclusion – BALANCE

So, over against intellectualism – foolishness; over against powerism – weakness; over against emotionalism – what? The denial that the quest, the craving, the pursuit of sensationalism will get you there. For I believe that was the heart of these Corinthians’ lust, their excessive desire, their outreach of soul for spiritual gifts. It is impressive that it is to the Corinthians, far more than to any other church in the New Testament, that so much is said about spiritual gifts. These demonstrations, this display, these things that you can see and glory in because you can see them, are all out of sensationalism. I am quite sure, from what we read, that if you had gone into those gatherings in Corinth you would have seen some hysterical behaviour as they made these spiritual gifts, as THEY thought, the ground and nature of their spirituality – and they are the most unspiritual church of all. So over against unbalance, lopsidedness in the Christian Church, there is need of balance.
Do you notice one characteristic of these Christians, one defect which is written so clearly and so largely here in the Letter? There is a lack of the power of spiritual discernment, the spiritual perception, the spiritual intuition which warns us: ‘Go steady! Don’t be carried away! Don’t be thrown off your balance! This thing may be all right in its right place and under proper control, but be careful! There is a snare in every spiritual gift, and if you make the GIFT the main thing and not the spiritual meaning of the gift, that thing, which in itself may be quite right, will lead you into trouble.’ I am covering a lot of history when I say that. Perhaps some of the biggest problems with which some of us have had to deal in people have been the result of this unbalanced quest for the manifestation of the sensational aspects of Christianity.
Well, perhaps some of you are not able to understand all this, but this is the situation here in Corinth, and I am only saying this to show that there are these two orders, these two categories of what I have called species of humanity which have their residence within one shell of the human body: soul and spirit. They are there, and the Apostle writes to these same people – for the second Letter is only a continuation of the first – ‘We are being changed from one form to another.’

What is going on?

What is the process of the Spirit of God in the believer?

What is the meaning of all this that the Lord allows to come our way, this discipline, these adversities, these trials, these sufferings, these difficulties, these ‘strange things’ (to use Peter’s words, for they are strange to us as coming from God, or being allowed by God)?

What is the meaning of it all?

To bring about the change, the transformation from one species to another, from one kind of humanity to another. There is something in each trial, in each adversity in the suffering, which, under the sovereignty of God, is intended by Him to make a difference in us.

‘We are being transformed.’
It is certainly not wrong to have a soul! It is THAT which has to be saved. In the course of that salvation, the great lesson is how to keep the soul under the control of the spirit. This is what is meant by being ‘spiritual’.

This is truly “He that is spiritual”.

Whose Will (11)


 

Fellowship Rests on the Will

Think of the relationship of will to fellowship—man’s spiritual fellowship with his Redeemer. That friendship is not based on kindred feeling; it is based, according to Christ, on kindred-will. “Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee”; and Jesus answered, “Who is my brother? He that doeth the will of my Father in heaven, the same is my mother, my brother, and my sister.” It is not a question, then, of what you know, if you are to be a brother or sister of the Lord. It is not a matter of excited feeling nor of any glowing or ecstatic rapture. He that does the will—though it might be often sore and though the way might be dark and though the wind be chill—he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My sister and My brother. That means that all fellowship with Jesus Christ depends on dedication of the will.

We must say, “Take my will, and make it Thine,” if we are to be numbered in His company. And if fellowship with Him be true religion—the truest and purest the world has ever known—you see how it does not rest on thought or feeling, but has its wellspring in the surrendered will.

Surrender of the Will

And in the life of Christ this is the crowning glory—a will in perfect conformity with God’s. He is our Savior and our great exam-pie because of that unfailing dedication. Look at Him as He is tempted in the wilderness—is there not there a terrible reality of choice? Does there not rise before Him the alternative of self, to be instantly and magnificently spurned?

Think on these things – Christ who was also one with God, left His throne and Majesty, left His glory and splendor and took on the human state, the nature of mere men. He had the power to unleash legions of angels to clear the road, heal every sick man and triumph into Jerusalem, but every action, every thought, has to be the will of His Father in Heaven, (I must do the will of Him that sent me and finish it). And ever through the progress of His years, He left what He was and could do behind, only and fully focused on one goal which was His meat is to do the will of God who sent Him; until at last, upon the cross of Calvary, the dedication is perfected and crowned.
May we  all, young or old, shepherds and ministers, ever remember that the will is the very citadel of manhood.

To be a true Christian that must be yielded up. Everything else, (personality, fame, charisma, tongues, gifts, eloquence, wealth and riches)  without it aligning with the perfect will of God for us for this time is in vain.

Perfect Will of the Almighty God comes when we humbly go to Him everyday and everytime for direction and guidance, not repeat methodology, because “it worked perfectly yesterday” or “that principle is what we used last year” or as some say “this is how it is done”. Don’t forget the strategy for parting the red seas, was different from the conquering of Jericho, and that was different from other battles that confronted the people of Israel, when you search the scriptures, you discover that every time the Israelites go into battle without consulting the Lord, failure and death awaits them. The Almighty God is unique in His ways and dealings with us as a Nation and as an individual.  “It is not for man to direct His ways, the Lord orders our steps” and He does this every single day, that is why His blessings and mercies are NEW every day.

Religion founded on feeling is unstable. A religion of intellect is cold and hard and doomed for failure

Our ultimate goal is to be conformed to the image of Christ our saviour. Total surrender is what Christ did and demands, and in it lies the secret of all peace. You may have the best idea, most tenderest feelings but if you habour an un-surrendered will, your righteousness is but a  filthy rag before the Almighty God.

So I urge you to pay attention to these words..“And do not be conformed to this world (and its system of things), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” Romans 12: 2

Think on these things.

Rebecca Ajibola

 

Whose Will (1)


 

The Dedication of the Will

My meat is to do the will of him that sent me— Joh_4:34

Is Religion Based on Reason or Feeling,’

It has been a matter of controversy time and again which is the true wellspring of religion; and to this question, which is fresh in every age, there are two answers which demand attention.

On the one hand there are many reverent thinkers who trace the roots of religion to the reason. It is because we are reasonable beings that we know the infinite reason, which is God. A dumb beast is not endowed with reason though it has instinct. It is man alone, lifting his forehead heavenward, who is a truly reasonable creature; and in man alone, because he is so gifted, is there the craving for the eternal Being, and the assurance, at the back of all things visible, of a hand that guides and of a heart that plans. Thought is the lattice through which the human spirit peers forth upon the vista of eternity. Thought is the mystical ladder that goes heavenward and lifts itself through the silence to the throne. And if the angels, clad in their garb of ministry, move up and down upon its steps of radiance, it is because the head that lies upon the pillow is that of a reasonable man.

On the other hand, there have been many thinkers who have denied this primary place to thought. It is not from reason that religion springs, they tell us; it is from the deeper region of the feelings. How can the fragmentary thought of man reach forth to the perfect thought of the Almighty? Can any by intellectual searching find Him out, and are not His thoughts different from out thoughts? Do we not know, too, that an age of so-called reason is never a time when eternal things are clear, but always a time when voices are but faint that come with the music of the faraway? On these grounds there has been raised a protest against reason as the wellspring of religion. Not upon reason is religion based; it sinks its shaft into the depth of feeling. It is born in the longing you cannot analyze; in the emotion that is prior to all thought; in the craving for God that rests upon no proof, and stirs in a depth below the reach of argument.

 

The Wellspring of Personal Religion Is the Will

But when we turn to the word of Jesus Christ and to its translation in apostolic doctrine, we discover that neither thought nor feeling is laid at the foundation of religion. Christ had no quarrel with the human intellect. He recognized its wonder and its power. His own intellectual life was far too rich for Him to be a traitor to the brain. Nor was Christ the enemy of human feelings. He never made light of tenderest emotion. He who wept beside the grave of Lazarus could never be the antagonist of tears. But in the teaching of Christ, it is not thought nor feeling that is the wellspring of personal religion. “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me”; the wellspring is in the region of the will. It is there that a man must pass from death to life. It is there that the path of piety begins—not in the loftiest and holiest thought nor in the rapture of excited feeling. The first thing is the dedication of the will; the response of a free man to a great God; the yielding of self to that imperious claim which is made by the loving Father in the heavens. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness”—”Let the dead bury their dead, follow thou me“—such are the words in which our Lord describes the primary and determinative action. A man may cherish the most reverent thought or may luxuriate in tenderest feeling, yet if he harbor an unsurrendered will, he knows not yet the meaning of religion.

 

Yield Your Will to Christ

It is thus that we begin to understand the condemnation of Christ on indecision. “He that is not with me, is against me”—”No man can serve two masters.” No matter how ignorant a man might be, Christ never was without hope for him. No matter how depraved he was, there was a spark within him that might be fanned to flame. But of all men the most hopeless in Christ’s sight was the irresolute and undecided person, the man who refused to take a spiritual stand and who was contented to drift aimlessly. It is very probable that Judas Iscariot was a man of such irresolution. It had been growing increasingly clear to him, as months went by, that he was hopelessly out of sympathy with Jesus. But instead of arising in some great decision that might have closed that mockery of following, he drifted, amid ever quickening waters, till suddenly the whirlpool and the cry. The man who hesitates, we say, is lost—but Christ has come to seek and save the lost. Am I speaking to any waverer, to any hesitating, undecided person? Till the will is right, nothing is right. No man is Christ’s until the will has been yielded. “Our wills are ours, we know not how; Our wills are ours to make them Thine.”

Jesus Never Overpowered the Will

It is further notable in this connection that Jesus never over powered the will. It was His glory to empower it, but to overpower it He scorned. “Come unto me, and I will give you rest”—a man must come; no hand from heaven will drag him. No irresistible and irrational constraint will force him into the presence of the Savior. A man is something better than a beast—he is but a little lower than the angels—and as a man, or not at all, Christ will have the allegiance of the will. “Ye will not come to me that ye might have life” —there is the ring of an infinite pity about that; but the other side of that so baffled yearning, reveals the very grandeur of humanity. For it tells of a being whose heritage is freedom—not to be overborne by God Himself—of one who must come with a freely yielded will, or else not come at all. With Mohammed it was the Koran or the sword, and that compulsion was a degradation. Hence never, under Mohammedan dominion, has manhood risen to its highest splendor. But with Christ there was no compulsion of the will, save the compulsion of overmastering love, and that great recognition of our freedom has blossomed into the flower of Christian manhood. Do not wait, then, I would beg of you, as if a day were coming when you must be good. Do not think that the hour will ever strike when you will be swept irresistibly into the kingdom. At the last it is a matter of decision, and in all the changes of the coming years, never will it be easier for you to make the great decision than now.

Christ’s Emphasis on the Motive

We might further illustrate Christ’s emphasis on will by some of the relationships in which He sets it. Think first of its relationship to action. It is not the action in itself that Jesus looks at; He has a gaze that pierces deeper than the action. He sees at the back of every deed, its motive, and that is the measure of value in His sight. Viewed from the standpoint of the day’s collection there was no great value in the widow’s mite. One coin out of the pocket of the rich was worth a hundred such in some eyes. But there is a certain kind of calculation that is intolerant of all arithmetic, and it was always on that basis Christ computed. Was there no sacrifice behind that little gift which was dropped so quietly into the temple treasury? Was there no will so bent upon obedience that it must pour its all into the offering? What Jesus saw was not the mite; it was the dedicated will behind the mite. An action had no value in Christ’s eyes unless at the back of it there was the willing mind. Deep down, in the unseen springs of a man’s being, lay that which determined the value of his conduct. And that is the reason why Christ appraises action in a way that is sublimely careless of the common standards by which the world distributes applause.

To Know, You Must Will

Or think of the relationship of will to knowledge if you want to know how Christ regarded will. “If any man will to do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.” If any man will ( or want) to do His will—then at the back of true knowledge is obedience, and what we know of the highest and the best ultimately depends upon the will. Let a man refuse to submit his will to God, and the gateway of truth is closed to him forever. No daring of intellect will pierce its deeps, nor will any imagination see its beauty. Truth at the heart of it is always ethical, kindred in being to man’s moral nature; and if that nature be choice less and disordered, the power and majesty of truth are never known. That is the reason why the simplest duty has always an illuminating power. Do the next thing, and do it heartily, and the very brain will grow a little clearer. For the Word of God is a lamp unto our feet, and only when our feet go forward bravely will the circle of light advance upon the dark and reveal what is always shadowed to the stationary. It is not merely by His depth of thought that Christ has kindled the best thought of Christendom. It is by His urgent and passionate insistence upon the dedication of the will. And men have obeyed Him, and taken up their cross, and followed bravely when all in front was shrouded, to find that they were moving into a larger world and under a brighter heaven.

(..to be continued)

Rebecca Ajibola

 

Unwarrantable Interferences


The Chastisement of Uzzah

The Chastisement of Uzzah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him— Joh_11:48

The Error of the Pharisees

There was a sense in which the Pharisees were entirely wrong. Historically, and in the sovereign will of God, it is just because the Pharisees did not let Christ alone that we believe and worship Him. Had they let Christ alone, I speak with reverence, there would have been no Calvary for Jesus. And had Jesus never been lifted up on Calvary, He never would have drawn all men to Him. They were quite wrong, then, these Pharisees, in one sense. Their interference was a predestined thing. They plotted and schemed and compassed the death of Jesus. And they said, That ends it, none will believe Him now. Yet the King in His beauty is the crucified Redeemer still.

 

Don’t Leave God Alone When He Wants to Be Prayed to

Now the strange thing is—and I call it strange though to the man who knows his Bible it is quite familiar—the strange thing is, that the times when we must leave God alone are not the times when God appears to wish it. Go back to the story of Exodus, for instance. Recall that sad scene of the golden calf. The people made their idol and they danced around it, and they played the harlot and forgot God around it till the anger of God was like a scorching flame. And what did God cry to Moses? “Let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, that I may consume them.” And Moses simply refused to let God be—he fell on his face, entreated passionately, saved the people, and was never more Christlike than in that splendid disobedience. Or take the cry of the Syrophoenician woman. “Lord, save my daughter, save my daughter, Lord!” And if the silence of Christ meant anything at all, and if His word about the lost sheep of the house of Israel meant anything at all, it meant, “Let Me alone.” But her mother’s heart refused to let Christ alone. She pleaded, she parried, she found a choice argument in His refusal, till Christ was mastered by that most disobedient persistency, and she went home to find her daughter healed.

I think you see now what the lesson is. With a life to live and with a death to die, never let God alone by not praying. “Let me alone,” the God of science is crying, “for I work by my inexorable laws, and I shall not change them at my creature’s bidding.” “Let me alone,” the God of providence is crying, “for your neighbor yonder has not prayed for years, and yet he has all he needs.” But I take sides with Moses and that woman. And if new depth, new insight, new power for the little self-denials of everyday, new cravings for holiness, new humility—if these things rise in me as the tide rises, come to me like a bird upon the wing, I shall thank God that I have learned the lesson of never letting Him alone in prayer.

Let God Alone to Have His Way with You

That, then, is one sphere where the earnest heart cannot leave God alone. And I have thought it right to touch on that to safeguard this topic from abuse. But there is another sphere where God is sovereign. It is the sphere of action. It is the realm of life. And there it is wisdom, it is peace, just to let God alone to have His way with you. I suppose there never was a general, not even Lord Roberts, who was more loved by his soldiers than the Viscount de Turenne, who was marshal of France in the time of the great Louis. It was he who, if he gained a battle, used to write we won, and if his army were defeated, wrote I lost. Well, I have read how one night, going the round of his camp, he overheard some of the younger soldiers bitterly murmuring at the discomforts of the march. And an old veteran just recovering from a wound was saying, “You do not know our father. When you are older, you will never talk like that. Be sure he has some grand end in view that we cannot make out, or he would never allow us to suffer so.” And brave Turenne, who tells the story himself, used to say that that moment of eavesdropping was the proudest and happiest moment of his life. The young men were bitter and angry at his leadership. Things would be different if they were in command. But the old veterans who had fought with their general in many fields and marched with their general in many  weary mile, they let him alone because they so loved and trusted him.

Do that with God. It is one secret of a strenuous life. The deepest philosophy comes to its crown in that. I have known fathers whose hearts turned hard as adamant when the angel of death stooped down and kissed their children. They are the raw recruits in life’s great army, and they cannot let their General alone. But the trained soldier trusts Him, believes in a life-plan that he cannot see, and prays for submission to the will of God, though the cup be bitter and the cross be sore. O follower of Christ, let God alone. Perhaps it is kinder to bring the rod upon our back than to put the jeweled ring upon our finger. He has a path for thee. He has a plan for thee. He has a heaven for thee. Watch, wait, cooperate, accept, but do not insolently interfere.

I believe, too, that there is a wider sense in which we are called to let God alone. For I am conscious in the religious life of our time of a certain fretful anxiety and unrest and the absence of a quiet and solemn dignity that gave a grandeur to our fathers’ piety. I am amazed, indeed, to note how men and women can be engaged for years in so-called Christian service, and it never seems to dignify their characters, and never lifts them an inch above the world, and never sweetens their so unkindly tongue. Do you remember Uzzah? Do you remember how the ark of God on the new cart was jolted and shaken by Nachon’s threshing-floor? And Uzzah, in terror lest the ark should fall, put out his hand, took hold of it, and steadied it. And the anger of God was kindled against Uzzah, and God smote him there, and he died. Happy for Uzzah had he let God alone! And the spirit of Uzzah is very much abroad today.

Rather than line ourself with His perfect will, we find men and women alike advising God, blaming God, telling Him what to do, suggesting to Him, Yes Him, the Eternal, Immortal, Ancient of Days, Our Maker, the Creator of Heavens and Earth, Oh what a folly on our path.

There is an irreligious anxiety for God. And while I thank Him for all loyal service, and praise Him for all consecrated hands, may we believe that the ark is holy, and may we believe that God is sovereign, and may we give a little of the reverence and of the wonder and of the awe brought back again that befit the creature serving his reigning King.

Twelve Hours In A Day


Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbles not, because he sees the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbles, because there is no light in him — Joh_11:9-10

The Confidence of Christ

These words are the recoil of Jesus from the fearfulness of the disciples. They had just told Him that if He went into Judaea, He did it at the peril of His life. To that, the answer of their Lord was, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? Is not My life planned out for Me by God? Are not My times in His hand? Till the appointed hour strikes, ten thousand may fall at My right hand, but it shall not (and it cannot) come near Me.” It was this confidence, not in a dark fate, but in the perfect ordering of love, that kept our Savior undismayed and tranquil when fear was on every hand. There were twelve hours in His day, and till the sands of the twelfth hour had run, His enemies were powerless to touch Him.

In View of the Glory of the Cross

Now this was spoken by our Lord when He knew that Calvary was not far away. The miracle He was about to work on Lazarus was to prove to be the crisis of His life. When St. John speaks of the Savior being “glorified,” he is almost always thinking of the cross. That lifting up of Jesus was His glory: the cross was His crown. And when our Lord says here that the sickness of Lazarus was for the glorifying of the Son of God (Joh_11:4), He knew that the impending miracle was to lead Him straight to the bitter way of Calvary. There were twelve hours in His day—with what swiftness these winged hours had fled! It seemed but yesterday since He had played at Nazareth, and now the sun was setting. What deep thoughts of life and opportunity and of the flying shuttle on the loom of time must have occupied the heart of Jesus as, deliberately, He moved onward to Judaea! Must He die just then? Might He not prolong His life a little? It was a sweet, glad thing to be alive—could He not postpone the agony a season? If He was tempted in all points like as we are, surely He was tempted, thus when He went forward to raise Lazarus—and to die (Joh_11:53).

Heavenly Light on the Pathway of Life as Long as It Lasts

And then out of these deep and solemn musings come these wonderful words that stir the heart—”But if a man walk in the night, he stumbles.” The figure is, that as long as daylight lasts the traveler has the light of heaven to guide him. But let him push on into the falling darkness, and he stumbles, for the light is gone. And Christ fought back the insidious temptation to escape death and to live a little longer by that awful thought of stumbling in the night. Just as long as His twelve hours endured He had the promise and certainty of light. Led by His Father, He would be kept from stumbling, however hard and perilous the way. But let Him push on, past the appointed time, into the service of a thirteenth hour, and His feet, which had been beautiful upon the mountains, would stumble in the bewilderment of night. In other words, He must not shun the cross. To escape it would only lead to tragedy. A year gained by avoidance of the agony would be a year bereft of the shining of God’s face. So He set His face steadfastly towards Jerusalem and refused the aid of the legions of angels and cried with a loud voice, “It is finished.”

Prolongation of Physical Life at Spiritual Detriment

And for us the lesson is just this—and there are times when we all need to learn it—that we may purchase a few years of added life at far too great a spiritual cost. When a believer, in times of persecution, lengthens his years by being false to Christ;  when a minister shuns the sickbed of infection lest he catch the infection himself and perhaps die; when a physician flees at the approach of plague; when anyone evades or shirks the cross, he is prolonging his life into the night. I do not think I have known a single young fellow who got exemption in the war to save his skin whose character has not deteriorated steadily. Life thus lengthened is always un- illumined. There is no sunshine in the thirteenth hour. To shirk one’s duty that life may be prolonged is to gain years that are not worth the living. And yet how often gentle, kindly hearts beg us to take care and not run risks, just as Peter did when he heard about the cross. We are immortal till our work is done. There are twelve hours in the day. Possibly by shirking dangerous duty a man might add to his day a thirteenth hour. But if he does, says Jesus, no birds will sing for him nor will the light of the glad sun direct his feet— he will walk in the night and he will stumble.

Think on these things my friend especially in these perilous times; when it’s not popular to be a Christian or do your Christian virtue.

But think seriously too, because we all must give account of that which has been entrusted into our ours.

Our time here is for us to fulfill an assigned task from our Maker, as an ambassador when our time is up, its up; right now we have but twelve hours in a day.

The Man Who Does No Miracle


Tomb of St. John the Baptist at a Coptic monas...

Tomb of St. John the Baptist at a Coptic monastery in Lower Egypt. The bones of St. John the Baptist were said to have been found here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true— Joh_10:41

The Brilliant and the Average

The kind of man who does no miracle is the kind we are meeting every day. He is the man who never makes us marvel. There are men like Shakespeare who cannot take up a pen without enriching us with miracles of wisdom. There are women who delight us with miracles of song. But the average man is different from that. One can reckon on the thing that he will do. It is the sort of thing that we can do ourselves. Now, brilliance may be perilous; but mediocrity also has perils. Remember that in the Master’s story it was the man of the one talent who made shipwreck. So it may help us to consider briefly what Scripture has to teach about a man who never did a miracle.

Even Though John Didn’t Do Any Miracles. He Had a Lofty Character

First, the Baptist did no miracle, yet he had a lofty character. Perhaps we should be aware of that more vividly if the Baptist did not stand so close to Jesus. A flower is apt to blossom unobserved if it be near one that is altogether lovely. And our blessed Lord, in that perfect poise of His, was “altogether lovely.” So that often we are likely to miss, from its very proximity to what was perfect, the grandeur of the character of John. How true he was in every relationship! How wise in the midst of tumultuous excitements! How brave both in the desert and the dungeon! How exquisitely and gloriously humble!—and all this loftiness and moral worth found, not in the child of genius, but in the man who never did a miracle. Character does not demand great gifts. Character can ripen in the commonplace. Men who have no wonder-working genius can “come smiling from the world’s great snare uncaught.” And to do that, when life is difficult, and skies are dark and temptations are insistent is to reach the sunrise and the crown.

John Had a Special Work to Do

Again, the Baptist did no miracle, yet God gave him a special work to do. It was the work of witnessing to Christ, and John fulfilled it in the noblest way. Others dreamed that the Messiah would come in splendor: John witnessed that He was in their midst. Others dreamed that He would appear in sovereignty: John witnessed that He was the Lamb of God. And this great mission, of such supreme importance in the loving purposes of heaven, was given to a man who did no miracle. We are so apt to think that special service is only given to very special people, that great tasks are not for common folk but for men of wonder-working gifts. And the beautiful lesson of our text is this, that though you may have no power to do a miracle, for you, too, there is a special service-something that only you can do; something that won’t be done unless you do it; something the world needs, which you and you only can supply—you, not dowered with any gift of miracle. Business men in a humble way of business, mothers in undistinguished homes, riveters working in the shipyards, clerks and typists in the city offices—such do no miracles and never will save the one miracle of patient drudgery; yet God for each has a special work to do.

John’s Influence

Then the Baptist did no miracle, yet he exercised a deep and lasting influence. It was of that, in part, our Lord was thinking when He said that John was greater than the prophets. In the long history of Israel none were more influential than the prophets. They stirred the conscience; they revived the state; they brought God to bear on daily life. But even greater than that prophetic influence was the influence of John the Baptist—yet John was a man who never did a miracle. Is not that true of human life? Most of us in our journey through the years have met with some who had the gift of miracle—some who could take a common thing and touch it, and it would blossom into a world of beauty. And for all these wonderful gifts we shall be grateful, for every good and perfect gift is from above, but—are these the folk who have influenced us most? Is it not far more often common, humble people, dowered with no extraordinary gifts?—a wife or mother, a wise and faithful friend, a minister whom none would call a genius? It is one of life’s most perfect compensations that influence does not depend on brilliance but comes to those (like John) who do no miracle.

God’s “Well Done” Is for the Faithful Man

Lastly, the Baptist did no miracle, yet he won the highest praise of Christ. “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John.” A man may lead a false and rotten life and yet win the praise of men. The acid test of the successful life is this: does it win the praise of Christ? And the fine thing is that to win that praise one does not need to be wonderful or striking: it is given to those who may do no miracle—to those who trust Him when everything is dark; to those who keep their faces towards the morning; to those who, through headache and through heartache, quietly and doggedly do their appointed bit; to those who “endure” with a smile upon their lips; to those who help a brother by the way; to those who look for a city which hath foundations. In this big world there is room for every gift and for every genius who has the power of miracle. But in this big world there is room and power and victory for the great multitude who do no miracle. It is not “Well done, thou good and brilliant servant,” else would there be little hope for millions. It is “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

 

The Number Of Hours


 

Jesus

Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Are there not twelve hours in the day?   John_11:9

 

 

 

The Disciples’ Misunderstanding of Christ

 

These words were spoken by Jesus at the time when news had been brought Him that Lazarus was sick. For two days Jesus had made no move, but had abode with His disciples where He was. The disciples would be certain to misconstrue that inactivity—they would whisper, “Our Master at last is growing prudent”—and therefore their amazement and dismay when Christ announced He was going to Judea. They broke out upon Him with expostulation—”Lord, it was but yesterday that You were stoned there. It is as much as Your life is worth to think of going—it is the rankest folly to run that tremendous risk.” And it was then that Jesus turned upon the twelve with a look which they never would forget and said to them, “Are there not twelve hours in the day?” It is on these words that I wish to dwell a little. I want to use them as a lamp to illumine some of the characteristics of the Lord, for they seem to me to irradiate first, the earnestness; second, the fearlessness; and third, the restlessness of our Savior.

 

 

 

The Earnestness of Christ

 

What first arrests us, reading the life of Jesus, is not His strong intensity of purpose. It is only gradually, and as our study deepens, that we feel the push of that unswerving will. If you put the Gospel story into the hand of a pagan to whom it came with the freshness of discovery, what would impress him would not be Christ’s tenacity, but the variety and the freedom of His life. Never was there a career that bore so little trace of being lived in accordance with a plan. Never were deeds so happily spontaneous; never were words so sweetly incidental. To every moment was perfect adaptation as if that were the only moment of existence. This hiding of intensity is mirrored in the great paintings of the face of Christ. In the galleries of the old masters I do not know one picture where the face of Christ is a determined face. For the artists felt with that poetic feeling which wins nearer to the heart of things than argument, that the earnestness of Jesus lay too deep to be portrayed by brush upon the canvas.

 

But when we reach the inner life of Christ, there passes a wonderful change over our thought. We slowly awake, amid all the spontaneity, to one tremendous and increasing purpose. As underneath the screaming of the seabirds we hear the ceaseless breakers on the shore, as through the rack and drift of driving clouds we catch the radiance of one unchanging star, so gradually, back of all stir and change and the varied and free activity of Christ, we discern the pressure of a mighty purpose moving without a swerve towards its goal. From the hour of His boyhood when He said to Mary, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business,” on to the hour of triumph on the cross when He cried with a loud voice, “It is finished,” unhasting and unresting, without one check or falter, the face of Jesus is set in one direction; and it is when we come to recognize that unity hidden amid the luxuriance of freedom that we wake to the sublime earnestness of Christ. I think that the apostles hardly recognized it till He set His face steadfastly towards Jerusalem. Before that, they were always offering suggestions: after that, they offered them no more. They were amazed, we read; they were afraid. The eagerness of Jesus overwhelmed them. At last they knew His majesty of will and were awestruck at the earnestness of Christ.

 

 

 

Christ’s Certain Knowledge of His Limited Time

 

There were many reasons for that wholehearted zeal which it does not fall to me to touch on here. But one was the certain knowledge of the Lord that there were only twelve hours in His day. Before His birth, in His pre-existent life, there had been no rising or setting of the sun. After His death, in the life beyond the grave, the day would be endless, for “there is no night there.” But here on earth with a mighty work to do and to get finished before His side was pierced, Christ was aroused into triumphant energy by the thought of the determined time. “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work.” That must—what is it but the shadow of sunset and the breath of the twilight that was soon to fall? A day at its longest—what a little space! Twelve hours—they are ringing to evensong already! Under that power the tide that seemed asleep moved on “too full for sound or foam.”

 

It is always very wonderful to me that Christ thus felt the shortness of the time. This Child of Eternity heard with quickened ear the muffled summons of the fleeting hours. It is only occasionally that we hearken to it; far more commonly we seek to silence it. Most men, as Professor Lecky says, are afraid to look time in the face. But Christ was never afraid to look time in the face; steadily He eyed the sinking sands, till moved to His depths by the urgency of days, the zeal of the house of His Father ate Him up. Have you awakened to that compelling thought, or do you live as if your sun would never set? There are but twelve hours in the day, and it will be sunset before you dream of it. Get done what God has sent you here to do. Wait not for the fool’s phantom of tomorrow—Act, act today, act in the living present!

 

 

 

Christ’s Fearlessness

 

In the next place, our text illuminates Christ’s fearlessness, and that indeed is the textual meaning of it, for it was when the disciples were trying to alarm Him that Jesus silenced their suggestions so. “Master,” they said, “It is a dangerous thing to show Yourself at Bethany. Remember how You were stoned on Your last visit; it will be almost certain death to go thither again.” And it was then, to silence all their terror and with a courage as sublime as it was simple that Jesus asked, “Are there not twelve hours in the day ?” What did He mean? He meant, “I have my day. Its dawn and its sunset have been fixed by God. Nothing can shorten it and nothing can prolong it. Till the curfew of God rings out, I cannot die.” It was that steadying sense of the divine disposal which made the Christ so absolutely fearless and braced Him for every “clenched antagonism” that rose with menace upon the path of duty. When Dr. Livingstone was in the heart of Africa, he wrote a memorable sentence in his diary. He was ill and far away from any friend, and he was deserted by his medicine-carrier. But he was willing to go anywhere provided it was forward, and what he wrote with a trembling hand was this: “I am immortal till my work is done.” That was the faith of Paul and of Martin Luther, the faith of Oliver Cromwell and of Livingstone. They had caught the fearless spirit of the Master who knew there were twelve hours in the day.

 

 

 

The Strength in Knowing That God Appoints Our Times

 

Now it is always a source of buoyant strength when a man comes to see that his way is ordered. There is a quiet courage that is unmistakable in one who is certain he is led by God. But remember, according to the Master’s doctrine, our times are fixed as surely as our ways; and if we are here with a certain work to do which in the purposes of God must be fulfilled, no harm can touch us nor is there power in death till it draws to sunset and to evening star. What is it that makes the Turk such a brave soldier that with all his vices we cannot but admire him? It is his conviction of a relentless fate which he cannot hasten yet cannot hope to shun. In the name of freedom, Christ rejects that fatalism; but on the ruins of it He erects another. It is the fatalism of a love that is divine, for it includes the end in the beginning. Never shirk dangers on the path of duty. On the path of duty one is always safest. Let a man be careful that he does his task, and God will take care of the task-doing man. For always there are twelve hours in the day, and though the clouds should darken into storm, they cannot hasten the appointed time when it is night.

 

And just here we ought to bear in mind that the true measurement of life is not duration. We live in deeds, not breaths—it is not time; it is intensity that is life’s measurement. Twelve hours of joy, what a brief space they are! Twelve hours of pain, what an eternity! We take the equal hours which the clock gives, and we mould them in the matrix of our hearts. Was it the dawn that crimsoned in the east as Romeo stood with Juliet at the window? It seemed but a moment since the casement opened, and—”It is my lady, O it is my love.” But to the sufferer tossing on her sickbed and hearing every hour the chiming in the dark, that night went wearily with feet of lead, and it seemed as if the dawn would never break. “Are there not twelve hours in the day?” said Jesus—yet Jesus died when He was thirty-three. The dial of God has got no minute hands; its hours are measured by service and by sacrifice. Call no life fragmentary. Call it not incomplete. Think thee how love abbreviates the hours. If God be love, time may be fiery-footed, and the goal be won far earlier than we ever dreamed.

 

 

 

Christ’s Restlessness

 

 

 

Then lastly, and in a word or two, our text illuminates Christ’s restlessness. For never was there a life of such untiring labor that breathed such a spirit of unruffled calm. We talk about our busy modern city, and many of us are busy in the city, but for a life of interruption and distraction, give me the life of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Some of us could hardly live without the hills—a day in their solitude is benediction; but when Jesus retired to that fellowship of lonely places, even there He was pressed and harassed by the crowd. Every day was thronged with incident or danger. There was no leisure so much as to eat. Now He was teaching—now He was healing—now He was parrying some cruel attack. Yet through it all, with all its stir and movement, there is a brooding calm upon the heart of Christ that is only comparable to a wave less sea asleep in the stillness of a summer evening. Some men are calm because they do not feel. We call it quiet, and it is callousness. But Christ being sinless was infinitely sensitive—quick to respond to every touch and token. Yet He talked without contradiction of His peace—”My peace that the world cannot give or take away”—and down in the depths of that unfathomed peace was the thought of the twelve hours in the day. Christ knew that if God had given Him a twelve hours’ work, God would give Him the twelve hours to do it in. To every task its time, and to every time its task, that was one great method of the Master. And no man will ever be calm as Christ was calm who cannot halt in the midst of the stir and say, “My peace”; who cannot stop for a moment in the busiest whirl and say to himself, “My times are in Thy hand.” God never blesses unnecessary labor. That is the labor of the thirteenth hour.

All that God calls us to and all that love demands is fitted with perfect wisdom to the twelve.

Therefore be restful; do not be nervous and fussy; leave a little leisure for smiling and for sleep.

There is no time to squander, but there is time enough—are there not twelve hours in the day?

 

That I May Know Him and The Power Of His Ressurection


That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 1:17-20).

From time to time, right through the ages, those who have stood in quite a definite relationship to the things of God have either been seduced, or have drifted, or have for some reason come to be in a fixed and systematized positions as to the ways, works, and purposes of God, and these fixed ideas have come to limit Him, bind them, and result in going round in a circle instead of on a direct course of ever-enlarging and clarifying spiritual fulness and newness.

This propensity for fixedness and finality in conceptions has threatened the people of God many times with a fatal impasse. Indeed, Israel’s captivity and eventual disintegration among the nations, with all the agony of centuries, very largely rests upon their fixed idea of being so right as God’s elect. This same peril threatened to frustrate the real spiritual way and purpose of God with Christ’s own disciples. Because of Jewish ideas interpreted by their natural minds, they had prejudices and preconceptions which menaced their spiritual lives and constantly came into conflict with Christ’s mind and way. Paul’s life and ministry was continually opposed by this element, and he himself in his pre-conversion days, is a supreme example of its danger.

So it has been through the ages since, and is one of the greatest hindrances to the quicker realisation of the thought and purpose of the Lord in our own times. The fact is that God must not move or do anything which does not conform to the accepted and recognised order of traditional evangelical Christianity.

Anything that is outside of a prescribed circle of what has been done and how it has been done for generations is unfortunately suspect and boycotted.

The official bodies of organised evangelical Christianity are the final court of appeal. One of the strong factors in the ministry that this paper has sought to fulfil through these many years has been that, while there are those foundational facts which are in their essence unalterable and unchanging, there is always, in everything that comes from God, a wealth and fulness of meaning and value which is commensurate with its infinite Source and Fountainhead, and that the Spirit of Truth can continually make us know that God’s meaning infinitely transcends our apprehension.

We must therefore never box the compass of truth or interpretation, and fix our methods and framework of doctrine or work in a way that makes it impossible for the Lord to show us that, although a certain way of out working was all right for the time being, it was only relatively so, and fuller light means further adjustments. All this, not because the Lord is developing or changing, but because we can only move and change by life, organically, as we grow in understanding. That this is so is proved by much Scripture, and Ephesians 1:17-20 is the great stand-by in this matter; a word written to believers of no immature degree.

We venture to say that a time has begun when the old and fixed positions of traditional Christianity are losing their hold on—not only the Christian public in general—but many sincere seekers for reality, and that great numbers of young people are looking for something not to be found in many of the churches, and what they are looking for is the real and true life of God.

The question which confronts us all is this:

Can the Lord lead us on into His fulness in Christ without continually bumping up against something in our own carry-over of—not fixed truth, but—our fixed limit of its meaning; or something in our fixedness of position in any direction or connection?

Steadfastness, unmovableness, faithfulness, etc. are to be to the Lord, and to the foundation realities of the faith, and also in the purpose for which and to which He has called us in life and service; but adjusting is an essential to growth and increase in light and fulness. At the same time, we cannot change and move on only as there is a basic work of the Cross by which the strength of nature; even as it impinges upon Divine things is set aside.

May the Lord find us such all to have only one object, and that truly at any cost, “That I may know Him”,..that We all may Know Him and the power of His Resurrection, Amen.

Shalom
Rebecca.
Reference: T Sparks

How can I begin to break the silence and be open about being sexually abused as a child?


Every time my stepfather touched me, I felt as if I was losing a small piece of me. As I got smaller and smaller, our secret seemed to grow bigger and bigger. The silence was cramming all the small, shattered pieces of me into some secret, shameful box that I hoped no one would ever open.

I am not alone. Every day I receive e-mails from people who have been sexually abused and have kept silent about it. Many survivors who have lived in silence falsely believe that talking about their abuse will not only do nothing to reduce their shame and isolation, but that it will actually make things worse.

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse long to be accepted for who we are. As children, we never felt accepted because we believed something was wrong with us. We thought something about us was bad and deserved punishment. Now, as adults, it doesn’t make sense that someone would accept us just because we’re not being abused anymore. So we decide to become someone else—someone others will accept and maybe even love.

But even though our façade helps win us the acceptance of others, we feel exactly the same inside. Contrary to what we believed, we do not feel better. We still can’t accept ourselves, for we don’t even know the real us. We long to know who we really are. But we find we fear it just as much as we long for it. It seems easier to just keep faking it.

When I decided to get real, I took small, quick breaths of fresh air. A little trust here. A little openness there. I kept the blanket off just long enough to know I was making progress. But as I kept working at getting real, I began to realize what I was looking for was a community where I could heal, where I could find acceptance, love, purpose and hope. I was looking for a circle of inspiration.

Creating your own circle can take a while. Most of the time, no one will know that you even need this kind of support until you speak up about it. Hence my passion and focus on empowering survivors to break the silence. It also takes time to build relationships by learning to trust again and allowing others to know you.

Your circle may seem small or even nonexistent at this point. You may still be holding your breath, too afraid to breathe. But just as Jesus got to choose the men He wanted in His circle, you get to choose the people you want in yours. You’re the only one who decides who will get to hear your story and have the high honor of getting to know the real you.

We need to find people we trust—or people we can begin to try to trust—and share our story with them. This is where our healing journey begins and where our circle of inspiration starts to grow. So to begin to form your circle, start with someone you feel you can trust. Chances are, this person will be caring and compassionate, someone who is willing to reach out to you in your pain.

(Help is out there, you dont have to tolerate or accept any nonsense because that is what sexual abuse is, please do not suffer in silence. No man has the right to Lord over another human being. It is not acceptable. Contact us or simple email us for counsel; Pastor Rebecca).

The Removing of those things that are Shaken


Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber to be an example of a charismatic religious leader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The letter to the Hebrews, chapter 12 at verse 26: “Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more will I make to tremble not the earth only, but also the heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain. Wherefore, receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace, whereby we may offer service well-pleasing to God with reverence and awe.” Chapter 13 and verse 14: “For we have not here an abiding city, but we seek after the city which is to come.”

Now, into a very few minutes I want to put just a few things that are on my heart at this time, I believe as partly introductory to the conference which is ahead of us during this next week. You, most of you at least, know why this letter to the Hebrews (as it is called) was written. That is, from the Divine standpoint, why God had it written and preserved. And that undoubtedly was in the light of what we have just read: an imminent, great, shaking… for this letter was written a little before the end of the Jewish system and regime and dispensation. The year 70 was fast approaching when the Roman legions would throw their siege around Jerusalem and reduce it – as the capital and centre of the Jewish world – to rubble; literally fulfilling the words of the Lord Jesus, “They will not leave one stone upon another”. It was the end of that long, long Jewish era, and that was on the very near horizon when this letter was written. And we can see therefore, the infinite wisdom of God in bringing into view the heavenly and eternal counterpart of that whole system of earthly things. That system was to be shaken to its foundations and toppled to the earth. But after all, as the whole letter shows, at most and at best it was but an earthly representation of heavenly things and the earthly was passing now and it was therefore necessary for men and women of faith in the Lord Jesus to have their anchorage in the heavenly, and the abiding; the eternal. And that was the purpose of the letter.

But you can clearly see, even from the fragments which we have read, that that was not the end of the matter. For even here when that had happened, when it had happened, the whole earthly thing broken to pieces and passed away, there’s a pointing on. There’s still a future vision, and even these who looked beyond the figures and the types and the symbols and the earthly and the temporal, had in view a City which was never of this earth and of this world: “We look for a City, we have here no abiding City…”. That was very evident with the passing of Jerusalem, but: “…we seek one.”

Now, dear friends, of course that opens up far more than I can put into fifteen minutes but out of that and around that I want to gather one or two things a little on my heart very much in these days. If it is true that that shaking was only half of the great shaking and the other half will be the shaking not only of the earth but of the heavens also (that is, not only of the temporal but of the spiritual, not only of the local but of the universal) then to bring in the setting which is abiding… everything that is not abiding, that cannot stand has got to be shaken to its foundation.

When the Lord Jesus was speaking in many words about this very day of Jerusalem’s destruction and passing and Israel’s scattering, He gave many indications; signs which would clearly indicate that that day was at hand. He spoke about the “signs of the times” as we call them; spoke about a fig tree and other things which would clearly indicate that that day was at hand. But then He passed beyond that and carried us to the end of this dispensation and He gave many further signs of how we should know that this greater end than the end of Jerusalem and Jewry was at hand; given us many signs and I’m not going to try to gather up or even mention, but they are indeed very significant. I think, dear friends, this is the point: I think that we have today an almost overwhelming amount of evidence that we are on the point of this far greater shaking. In other words: that we are at the end of another dispensation.

I always hesitate in the realm of prophecy, you never hear me say very much about prophecy; I’ve had enough of the confusion of prophecy in fifty years of study of it. But at the same time, with all that, with all my carefulness about it, I cannot but feel that everything today is most portentous. I would not be surprised (if I may say it) if during this past week one of the most significant things has happened in relation to the end. There is a great system, the very heart and core of which is anti-God and anti-Christ. And one of the things which the Bible tells us will mark the manifestation of the man of sin who will put himself in the place of God is that he will be a tremendous showman, calling down fire from heaven. Everybody can see how easy that could be any day now, calling down fire from heaven! We are almost familiar with that aren’t we, and many other such things.

Now I could dwell on that side of the matter for a long time but I simply mention that, I think… indicative of so much more that points to our coming to the end of this dispensation very soon – the heading up of the final great shaking of heaven and earth. But what I want to touch upon at least this morning is what this means to believers. And that means you and me. What are we to expect? What will be the spiritual signs of the times? We are fascinated with the material, the temporal signs; tremendously impressed with the outward, but what will be the spiritual signs? I just mention it; you must take it away and think about it.

I believe that the Word of God makes very clear (we shall see that much more fully later) that as we get near to the end, as the end approaches, two or three things are going to happen where believers are concerned. One is, one is that they are going to be brought very definitely to the point of accountability for all that God has given them – accountability for all that God has given. God has given much: a great revelation, a great deposit in His Word and through His Word, in ministry, ministry which He Himself has given. I’m not speaking just here, but to His people; a tremendous amount of ministry that God has given through His Word. But there the foundation and substance of it is all preserved in a most marvelous way in the Scriptures and at the end you and I are going to be brought to our accountability to God for what He’s given us. I believe the church, the people of God, are really going to have to face up to what they’ve got; what they’ve received. There, I feel, and I could show you from the Word, that that is made perfectly clear in the Scriptures: that we are going to be brought face to face in very real and even drastic ways with what we’ve got, with what we’ve received; to answer for it and to it.

Let me carry that further. I believe the Word shows very clearly that the people of God will pass into a phase of spiritual experience where what they have is required to be their very life. What they have is required to be their very life and their very survival! That could be said in another way: that the things that you and I have received and think we know are going to be sifted right down of all mere teaching, interpretation, mental grasp; stripped of everything. Now then, what about that that you have taught, you have believed? Now then, what about the meaning of the Cross? Now then, what about the meaning of the Body of Christ, spiritual unity and fellowship? What about it? Now then, what about the sufficiency of Christ? See? I believe that that is going to happen. Reality! Downright reality is going to be the emphasis of the Holy Spirit at the end and you and I and the people of God will pass into such an intensity of spiritual experience under pressure, under stress, under trial and testing that we shall be found out as to what proportion of all that we have claimed to hold is really our being and our life. We’re going to be just stripped down to that.

I believe that is what is happening just now and may be the explanation. We have spoken of Christ as our Life. Very well then, the Holy Spirit says, “Let’s find out how true that is and how much there is.” It may be an explanation of the physical; something along that line – how much is Christ our Life physically? Have we proved Christ as our Life for our bodies as well as for our spirit? Have we? Because there is divine Life for the body dear friends, some of us would not be here today if that were not true. There is divine Life for the body to be had, if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead be in you… “He that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall quicken also your mortal body”. That’s not the dust that’s in the earth; that’s your body now “by His Spirit that dwelleth within”. Well what about it? That’s only one point, there’s many others.

We’re just going to be brought to this: is it real? Is the Cross real? Is the Life real? Is Christ real? How much so? That’s going to be sifted out at the end and there’s going to be a shaking of all that can be shaken. And does this not explain very much? Yes there’ll be a great falling away because the large measure of mere profession or claim that is not justified deep down in the very constitution of those people. Well, this is it. This letter, this whole letter, puts its emphasis here: the thing, the thing that matters is the eternal. All history… the Lord has built up a tremendous history around that, do you notice? And what a lot of light it throws upon things, although many problems associated with it.

Have you noticed that whenever, during the whole Christian era from apostolic times to this day, whenever anything that was raised up by God at its beginning became crystallized and static, fixed and set, the Lord had no further interest in preserving it? The explanation of why things have a wonderful beginning and their end… what? Well, you don’t see the Lord preserving it intact! It’s living on a past. It’s simply holding a tradition. The Lord doesn’t care about that. It’s become something fixed down here on this earth and God is only interested, in this dispensation, in the eternal! The City is not here, it’s there. “We are come unto the heavenly Jerusalem.” The Lord won’t let us, won’t let us! And we here have got to be as careful of this as any others have in their connection, that what we call or what is called “Honor Oak” never becomes a fixed system of things, a rigid, set, crystallized, boxed compass of teaching and truth: “That’s that! Finished! Complete!”. Never! God forbid that ever anything like that should happen to us. If so, the Lord won’t preserve it; He won’t! He will have no interest in our preservation for that is the history of things: something new from God (and we could put our finger upon so many couldn’t we?) down through the centuries. Yes, something from God; the reformation, and Wesley, and the Brethren, and all the rest; but… but! Has God founded something so dear to His heart that He would preserve it intact and never allow it to go to pieces and become confused and divided and mixed up? Not at all. Why? Because it became Protestantism; an ism. It became an ism you see. Something like that, fixed, set and rounded off. He’s not in that at all. This heavenly, eternal, spiritual is His interest and He won’t let it settle down here. No ambitions on this earth or in this world will be allowed by God in His people. Have anything like that and you’re in for a bad time, a really bad time.

Now, you see I’m defeated entirely trying to range this, but what I wanted to say, and what is really on my heart that I’m feeling so strongly, is just this: that if we can see anything that corresponds to this in the experience of the Lord’s people today, a sifting, shaking, stripping, getting down to roots and foundations and finding out where we are – that is a sign of the times. It’s a real sign of the times, an internal one. The day is far spent, the coming of the Lord is drawing near. And of course we agree that’s right. We say it’s right. It must be. Surely it’s the thing that must happen! The Lord mustn’t come and find us in a false position; mustn’t come and find us in a position where it’s make-believe, it’s not true; not at all.

So the end may be through much tribulation that we enter the kingdom, the Word says so: “receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken”. A part of the much tribulation through which we enter the kingdom is just this: finding out, oh by such drastic ways, in discipline and chastening and hammering and battering and pressure… finding out how much is real. How much is real? How much is true? Well, the Lord throw more light on that.

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