Posts Tagged ‘Christian Literature’


THE CHANGED PROGRAM

(Mark 6:30-40)

When the disciples had completed the mission of preaching, healing, and casting out demons, they returned to the One who had sent them out.  We read that the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus.  If we have been standing before the Lord while working, the Lord will draw us back to be alone with Him as quickly as possible before men can come in and break our communion with God.  Then the Lord can lift us up and encourage us if we have been broken down, or He can humble us and bring us back into the right attitude if there has been any tendency to self-exaltation.  He can put all things right and make us ready for another and better service.

The disciples, upon their return to Jesus, “told Him all things, whatsoever they had done and whatsoever they had taught,” in order that He might have the opportunity of correcting them and putting right everything concerning the things they had done and had spoken.  By confiding in Jesus, we can go from blessing to blessing, and not come to a point–as so often happens among Christians–when the Lord is obliged, because of our self-seeking, to stop the blessing, the fruits having gone beyond what the tree is able to bear.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile.”  It was now time to rest, and Jesus felt that it was time to have His disciples with Him, for there were so many people coming and going that they did not have any leisure time in which to eat.  They needed to be alone with Him.  And let us be very careful, if the Lord shows us in our daily work that it is His desire for us to be alone with Him, not to have this silent intercourse with Him shortened;  very careful, also, to see whether it is He who calls us away, or only man and seeming duty.

And they went away in the boat to a desert place apart.”  This was the Lord’s program.  The disciples needed to be alone, and He chose the other side of the lake, an uninhabited region, so that they had every chance, humanly speaking, to be alone.

But then the people came in:  “And the people saw them going, and many knew them, and they ran together there on foot from all the cities and outwent them.”  But behind the people was the living Father, who came in to change the program of the Son, so that the promise which He had laid before them–that they should have the Master for themselves–was not carried out but postponed.

When Jesus “came forth and saw a great multitude,” He got angry?  He was disappointed?  He called His disciples to go to the boat to move to another place, leaving the thousands of people?  No;  the Lord knew no such thing as disappointment…and still less, anger;  He knew only one thing–His Father’s heart:  “Well, Father, if Thou dost know they can bear it, the disciples will have their time when Thou art pleased.”  When He saw the multitude, He had compassion on them “because they were as sheep not having a shepherd;  and He began to teach them many things.”  He did not say, “Oh, I cannot preach to you now;  My disciples need rest.”  No;  He looked to His Father, just as He did when the afflicted woman and Jairus, the father of a dying child, stood before Him at the same time and He left Jairus in that dreadful moment because He discerned the hand of His Father in the woman’s need.

The day which the disciples had expected to be a quiet day with their God was fuller than any other day.  That is what I call a program open before God.  With our programs, let us be ready to let the Lord our God come in and change them as He pleases.

Finally the disciples came seeking their portion according to His promise, saying, “The place is desert, and the day is now far spent;  send (the people) away, that they may go into the country and villages round about and buy themselves somewhat to eat.”  I do not know whether their cry was really for the multitudes or whether they were weary and wished to be alone with their Lord, but the Lord was not yet too weary to bless and to help:  “He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat.”

They were to be blessed, not in the way they had expected, but in becoming in a new way a channel between the Lord and the multitudes, and in taking out of His mighty hand bread for the multitudes.  We never lose anything when we permit our God to change our programs.  Let them keep open that the Lord may take everything in His hand from morning until evening.

So we read further on that Jesus took the five loaves and the two fishes that were turned over to Him and, “looking up to Heaven, He blessed and He brake the loaves;  and He gave to the disciples to set before them;  and the two fishes divided He among them all.  And they all ate and were filled.”

How could this be?  I do not know, and you do not know, but we read that He is still able to do beyond what we are able to ask or think, when we leave our programs open before Him, conscious of our nothingness and His power.

At last the day ended, the passing hours filled in quite a different way from what the disciples had expected in the morning, and different from the way the Master Himself had led them to hope.  The Lord saw that the moment had come to send them before Him “unto the other side” of the lake.  Perhaps the disciples were tempted to say, “It is good to be here;  let us build tabernacles.”  “But He constrained His disciples to enter into the boat…while He (sent) the multitude away.”

They had been anxious to be alone with the Lord earlier in the day and had asked Him to send the multitude away, but He had said, “Give ye them to eat.”  Then at the end of the day He sent the disciples away before the other people;  instead of a day alone with Him, they were to have a lonely night on the sea without Him–a night that they would never forget.

Let us trust the Lord, our Shepherd, and He will strengthen our hearts that we may glorify Him by trust–by going on with Him through storm and tempest, through grief of heart, and through whatever experiences He may be pleased to lead us–in order that we may glorify the Father and that our life may be the place in which He may manifest Himself to others and make Himself to be known to the world.

GUIDANCE IN PERPLEXITIES

(Mark 5:21-43)

One of the difficulties which we meet in our Christian life, a difficulty which threatens sometimes to become a perplexity, is the so-called conflict of duties. When at the same moment different duties or different calls meet us, we cannot at once discern what God means, or discriminate as to what is most urgent–what must be done first and what can wait to be done later. Insofar as we have any choice of our own, preferring to go here rather than to go there–to have one service rather than another–we are not sanctified ones unto God, at His disposal for Him to use our moments and choose between duties and calls. As long as our wishes and our heart’s desires are not resting on the heart of the Father, even for our dearest ones, we are sure to go astray by going rather to help the one who is nearest to our heart than to help another–someone for whom the Lord would have our time and our help just now through ministering, it may be, in money or in counsel.

As long as we do not realize and carry out the attitude of consecrated ones, who cannot, and will no more, dispose of their life power, just so long God cannot lead us. Our will must be His even about our own children; we cannot save them, and sometimes we wrong them by helping them before the time. Many children have been wronged by their parents because they unwisely gave help in a certain period in the life of the child when he needed to be alone in order, perhaps, to profit by painful experience. To help another before the time is to anticipate God’s time, and everything is a failure. One distinctive feature of the consecrated one is that he can afford to leave his dearest ones in the hand of God.

At one point in the life of the Lord, there was a most solemn conflict of duties. He was by the sea, with a great multitude gathered around Him. Among this multitude was a ruler of the synagogue, a man of position among the Jews, named Jairus, who fell at His feet in deep anxiety of heart. He was in such perplexity because his own child was dying; he had to have help from the Master, the only One in the world who could help. He pled with Him, “My daughter is at the point of death; I pray Thee to come and lay Thy hands on her that she may be made whole and live.” Jesus went with the man, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.

Now comes this word. There was in the region a dear woman who had suffered for twelve years from an issue of blood. She had done what she could–she had suffered many things from many physicians and had spent all her money–but “was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.” This woman heard of that Man called Jesus, concerning whom strange things were reported.

The woman in her distress–not being able to get any help but rather growing worse–heard the strange things about Jesus’ healing, helping, and saving everyone, scattering help and salvation and health and hope and whatever was needed, and she took it to heart. It was not for her a mere sermon such as is customarily heard about the Bible; it touched her life. She was going down to the grave, growing worse and worse, but she took courage when she heard these things; and she came.

Picture the situation, please. He was thronged; it was not easy for a weak, feeble, sick woman to get into His presence, but she succeeded. The Heavenly Father had met her already when Jesus, only after the Life-power had gone out of Him, became conscious that someone had touched Him in a peculiar way. He knew not who it was, but as the Sanctified One, the Son in touch with His Father’s heart, He knew one thing–He knew that something had gone forth and that something had been done by the Father which must not be half done; He knew that He could not let this woman go. It was cruel, humanly speaking, to call her back before the whole town, after she had been secretly healed by faith. And furthermore, Jesus knew the gravity of the situation: here was the trembling father whose daughter was at the very point of death.

Jesus left this poor father, with a child in a dying condition, and dealt with a woman. People might have asked how Jesus could have been so hard. He could have dealt with that woman at another time; let Him go first to the most urgent case–to the father who pleads.

Our Saviour was the Sanctified One. Even before coming into the world, He had been sanctified by the Father–set aside, chosen from eternity–for the special work given Him to do; and even before He came to earth, He sanctified Himself to the Father, saying, “Father, here I am; send Me, and I will go down and become the Brother of the lowest ones to save them.”

The Sanctified One, the Man who exists for God and only for God, was led by God. I can always see in spirit my dear, holy, blessed Saviour looking up to His Father for direction in such circumstances. He was the Man of whom Isaiah speaks in his prophecy: “The Lord God hath given Me the tongue of them that are being taught”–not the tongue of a teacher but (the original language means) the tongue of a disciple–“that I may know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.” My God “wakeneth My ear to hear as a disciple”–as One who is being taught, listening to His Word, and does not go on through the day by His own program and His own wisdom, as He thinks best, but lives by God’s program the whole day, from morning until evening. He never said His own words; what He taught, He taught not from Himself but as He was led by the Father. It was thus that He lived on earth among people who were as sheep going astray, each one making the best of his time for his family and others. But He could afford to be understood by no one; in fact, He had to go up to the Cross contrary to the desires of the whole company of the apostles–they were all opposed to His taking the pathway of suffering.

The moment we no longer have a will of our own and desire only to do the will of our Father, we will be His seed, bearing His character; we will be His people, living for Him, His seed springing up; a people of whose time and money God is able to dispose, and a people, it may be, understood by no one.

On earth Jesus could not do two things at the same time; He could not at the same time deal with that woman and be in the house of Jairus. Today it is all changed; it is as if each one of us were the only one in the universe to be helped by Him. Every time one of us truly cries out from his heart to the Lord, it will be as if He had nothing to do except help him, as if He were in the world only for him, and as if He were forgetting Jairus and everything else just because he came to Him; take this in!

The woman hesitated at first to come. The disciples said, “The multitude thronged Thee.” Thronged, and yet only one touch of faith! But this woman, out of all the throng, had got a portion–half her portion–and she was to have the whole portion, as the Father said to His Son. She must confess; she must stand forth! Poor woman, we would have said. But she had to stand forth and give glory to God in order that the Lord Jesus might put His seal upon this healing. At last she came; she could not help it–she had to come to receive the seal of her healing. The plague might have come back afterward, but it is another thing when one stands forth and gives God the glory. Blushing and trembling, knowing what had been done for her, she came, fell down before Him, told Him all, and gave Him glory; and He was thus enabled to put the Divine seal upon His Father’s work: “Thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” That is the secret–not only healed but made whole.

Each one has his own trial. The woman had her trial until she could touch Him. Jairus had to go through the deep trial occasioned by this woman’s interruption. Never get angry with anyone who cries for help for himself. The Lord hears the cry of the one and hears the cry of the other, and there is time for help for each one in His time.
Indeed, “while He yet spake,” the deputation from the synagogue ruler’s house came, “saying, Thy daughter is dead; why troublest thou the Teacher any further?” Such are not easy moments, friends. Some of us–perhaps myself–might have asked, “Father, was I mistaken, now that she has died?” “Was I mistaken to give all this time to the woman instead of coming back afterward from Jairus’ house to seek her out?” “But Jesus”–not noting and not moved by the word spoken by the deputation, because through His Father’s command He had given His time and heart to the woman–“saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Fear not; only believe.”

That is the attitude and the majesty of a sanctified one, led by his Father in the directions and into situations which at the moment nobody can understand but which–when really the work of God–will afterward, in due time, be owned, by all that have correct knowledge of the situation, as the only true thing that could be done at the time. That is the glory of a purchased one–purchased and saved from the power of human opinion. In this situation with the woman and Jairus, Jesus was not only thronged in a bodily way, but had He not been standing before God alone, He would have been pressed in spirit by the thought: What will the people say if the daughter dies and I keep the poor father waiting?

Leave it with God to justify you before the universe in His own time, at the coming of our Saviour, when He will manifest the secrets of hearts and the reasons and circumstances by which you have been acting in human life. Only in this way could Jesus Christ live a life in which no minute was wasted nor applied in a false direction, a life in which those with eyes to see could see God in everything. “He who sees Me, sees the Father,” He said Himself. He acted not by Himself, but by the Father’s direction.

And that is our heritage: to have been purchased not to act by the pressure of human opinion, human love, or human ideas of duty–even of our dearest ones–the moment the Father gives contrary directions; to show that we are really standing before God and that nothing–not even the dying daughter–can throw us out of line of the direction of the Spirit of God and of being led and guided by the Father’s eyes.

Moments such as this moment in which Jesus found Himself with Jairus on one side and the woman on the other come into the life of every Christian. That is what I mean by conflict of duties: inability to do two things at the same moment. How much such moments can become to us! At these times, let us trust the heart of the Father in Heaven, who lifts the current of the clouds and storm, who sends the sunshine and rain; who, while one would have sunshine and another, rain–one person needing one thing and another, some other thing–sends what is needed for each one in His own time.

Learn to look to your Heavenly Father when you do not know what to do, and do not obey the impulse of your own heart; you might wrong yourself and those whom you run to help. We must be able to go through moments in which we are forbidden to help others until the situation ripens and it is His hour to come in; we would have spoiled the situation if we had tried to help before the time. Others must first go through certain inward experiences in order that God may find them out and in order that the trial through which they go may bring forth fruit in their lives; then He uses you or me or another–no matter whom. But He needs people who understand their God, who can wait, and who can go away from everyone at His bidding. He needs people who are sanctified unto Himself, at His disposal, whose eyes and ears and mind are turned toward Him–people who are learning from Him Divine wisdom, even through the conflicts of human life, and learning by the very conflicts to go deeper into eternal silence and into the rest of soul which believes in God’s love even when things seem hard.

NIGHT-WALKERS AND DAY-WALKERS

(Luke 2:40-51; John 11)

It is on my heart to go closer with you into the subject of sanctification, and how could we do it better–and in a way more sure–than to see how the Lord Jesus, from His earliest childhood up to the last day of His life, carried out the attitude taken in eternity by the call of the Father–the attitude of a Sanctified One: “He whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world,” the One–the only One–all the days and all the minutes of whose lifetime, from the earliest awakening of consciousness up to the last breath on Calvary, the Father was sure of having for Himself. To redeem the world, God needed a man whose ear was always open to Him, someone whose ear could never be dulled by the noise of the world, or by blame or flattery of man; a man whose eyes would always be turned toward the Father and whose ear would hear nothing which did not come from God. For God so to have one’s ear–that is being sanctified, set apart, living out an existence in God’s hand from the beginning to the end; but freely given, as the Son gives to the Father. From the moment when the Father called Him, He did not regard anyone, not even His mother; yet He was the most obedient son that had ever lived on earth.

The portion of Luke is the only New Testament passage which gives us a glimpse of the childhood of our blessed Saviour. This Scripture discloses the fact that at this point His mother was unfaithful to the heavenly vision, and unfaithful to what she knew of the Divine origin of her Son; and He had to reprove her. He knew, even at the age of twelve years, how to be faithful to His mother as a sinner and to reprove her, and yet immediately to take up again the attitude of a respectful Son. What an example to children who have to obey parents in whom they see faults!

This story opens up the early life of the Child Jesus. He had been subject in everything to His mother and His step-father and His brothers from the first awakening of consciousness throughout His first twelve years. But it is evident from His question, “How is it that ye sought Me? Did ye not know that I must be in My Father’s House?” that they had ground to know that when the moment came suddenly for Him to have an opportunity of hearing of God and of His Word, this was the spot where the Child ought to be sought.

“Did ye not know?”–Did I ever, from the first awakening of My understanding, lose one occasion to hear the Word of My Father, His Holy Scriptures?

He was begotten by the Holy Ghost; and being begotten by the Holy Ghost–by the very act–involves dependence upon Scripture as His daily food. The Spirit of God and the Word of God cannot be separated; you have as much of the Holy Ghost–not as you have read written or printed texts–but as you have taken in the Word of God in the substance of your life. This Child never listened to the Word of God without taking it into the innermost substance of His being, drinking it as a child drinks its mother’s milk. As a child is drawn to the breast of his mother, so this Child was drawn toward the Word of God. Had He lost even one occasion in all these years?

Mary, go back to that moment, years before, when He went for the first time to the synagogue. Did He have to be inquired for or sought for when that hour came? “Did you not know?”

Had you no eyes, Mother? Had you no memory? You knew about the process of My first coming forth, even though it was hidden behind the veil. Did you not see these holy things springing up? Where were your eyes and your ears, Mother, that you could for one moment think I ought to be sought among the relatives and kinsmen when the hour was opened for Me?

At the age of twelve years, the Boy had to be taken to Jerusalem to the feast. He had learned all He could from the teachers of Nazareth; He had exhausted all other sources of knowledge. He knew that His glorious moment had come. Where else than in the Temple would He be likely to be looked for? Did Mary not know that He was always to be found in the things of His Father? He was always to be found as a sanctified One. The Boy, long before the age of twelve years, had come to know His Father without any revelation from Mary. He could not be elsewhere.

His questions astonished the doctors–the old, gray-headed scribes; and if His spirit and mind had already to such an extent been opened by the Spirit of God as to astonish these old men, it was because from early childhood knowledge and experience had been kept in equal balance in His life. He was in the things of His Father, and He learned to see things from His Father’s point of view. He was sanctified to His Father, He was set apart, chosen, by the Father from eternity to be the Lamb of God. He did not wait until He was twelve years old to manifest the Lamb-life. A boy could not have brothers and sisters, step-father and mother, without having opportunities to live out the Lamb-life–to take the place of the wrong one when He was right; to suffer, to be slain, without complaint. In living with His brothers and sisters, who were seeking their own life, He exercised the Lamb-life. As a Boy He was sanctified unto His Father, and He probably had wonderful glimpses of light into His own mission.

Of course I cannot go with you through the entire life of our blessed Saviour, but I now take the closing period as recorded in the eleventh chapter of John; and I look to the Lord that He may open your eyes to see the things which are written in this Scripture. What you find here may stand out as a question: What does it mean to walk in the night, and what does it mean to walk in the day?

There are night-walkers and there are day-walkers. If you take the portion of Scripture as a whole, the distinction will spring out very clearly and definitely. I may first sum it up in one word: to walk in the day is to carry out through the whole being the attitude of a sanctified one; and again–to give the key to the chapter–to walk in the night is to shrink back from the place in which they would stone you and to go to the place where you feel at home without direction from on high, following the drawing of your heart and avoiding trying circumstances.

The sisters in Bethany sent their simple message: “Lord, he whom Thou lovest is sick”; they were quite sure He would not need to be called twice–He would come at once–but He did not come.

There was, I am quite sure, at that moment–as throughout the whole life of Christ–a looking into the Father’s face to know what He would say about this matter, instead of a running to help the poor sisters. He had been received so kindly in that home, where–if anywhere on earth–He felt at home, but the truly sanctified one never follows the drawing of his own heart with reference even to the nearest and dearest, but rather says, “Father, what wilt Thou have me to do?”

“When Jesus heard it, He said, ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified thereby.'” These words He said through the Father; He did nothing by His own will or personal decision. Then in order that we may not be mistaken, it says immediately, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. When, therefore, He heard that he was sick, He abode….” Not, “He went”; but “He abode.” He had His direction from the Father, and He could afford not to be understood by His nearest and dearest. No man, no home, was nearer to Him than Bethany; to leave two sisters in such a situation with a dying brother–to be able to help and not to go–proved Him to be a sanctified One! In the first moment He did not understand but just obeyed; then the Father gave the clue.

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. When, therefore, …” What would follow if He loved them? Therefore He went? No; He went not. For the very reason that they were so near and dear to Jesus, He had to be anxious that the full will of God should be fulfilled in Bethany, not only for the Father’s sake but for His beloved ones’ sake. No matter whether they would personally understand Him, or what they would think of Him, He loved them so truly that He could afford to be misunderstood in order that the Father’s will might be fulfilled in that home and the Father’s glory manifested in a way that it could not have been manifested had the Lord gone before to end the trial.

Oh, let us never interfere between our loved ones and the Father; otherwise we love them in the flesh and spoil them–we are not sanctified ones. Others must know, by our going or not going, that we are sanctified ones.

Now this is the first distinctive characteristic of the day-walker–the one who walks in the day. It is not to go, so long as the Lord does not permit you to go, to the place to which your heart is drawn because of a tender love that suffers with the suffering ones; but to leave them restfully in the hands of God that He might carry out His purposes in their lives, not minding whether they understand now or later on when they will thank you for having been true in the time when they thought you hard and lacking tenderness.

The first characteristic is not to go where your heart draws, and the other characteristic follows immediately afterwards in the story. The trial had gone on, and after two days the Father lifted the cloud and opened the way. Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Let us go into Judea again.” They answered, “Rabbi, the Jews were but now seeking to stone Thee, and goest Thou thither again?”

You must go where you expect to be stoned! How is this? The sanctified one can refrain from going to Bethany, and the sanctified one can afford to be stoned if it should be necessary. The need of the nearest ones is no determining reason to go to Bethany so long as the Father has not opened the way; and the stones waiting in Jerusalem are no reason not to go to Judea when you are sanctified. When sanctified–and knowing you are sanctified and belong to God, and God only has the right to you–you are sure that the Spirit will guide you and lead you straight. Circumstances can no longer keep you back and the suffering and agony of others cannot determine your coming; then the Spirit can reach you, and you prove to be sons of light and day-walkers; not going to Bethany before the time, and being ready to go to Judea and the waiting stones at the very moment that the Father makes a movement of His hand in that direction. That is to walk in the day!

And this, my beloved friends, is His will: to fulfil a full day-walk of twelve hours. “Hath the day not twelve hours?” No power of sickness, no power of death, can take us away before our day-walk be fulfilled, if we walk in the daylight–in the lines in which Jesus walked in Bethany and in Judea with regard to Lazarus and his sisters and the stones of Jerusalem.

That is the freedom of the servant of Jehovah. That is to be sanctified to God. That is in a practical way to be set apart–by none to be held, by none to be freed. There is only one thing in view: never to miss the will and pleasure of the Father, and to grow up day by day into better and quicker understanding of what God the Father means by stillness of will and stillness of heart–not the heart of a stoic, without tenderness; but a loving, and perhaps a bleeding, heart. I say this is the way to fulfil a full day-walk.

The day, the Lord said, has twelve hours. He stood in the eleventh hour of His day-walk, at the opening of the twelfth; the Lazarus incident was just the stepping from the eleventh into the twelfth hour. His whole day-walk would have been prolonged and turned into a false direction if He had not waited for His Father’s hour in regard to Bethany–if He had not been able to leave the sisters without comfort and to let Lazarus die (and He knew he was dying). You know your Bible as well as I know mine, and you have only to look carefully to see that the resurrection of Lazarus was the determining point in the attitude of the Scribes and Pharisees toward Him: now this is enough; He must die. It would have been a prolonging of His day-walk if He had not gone to Bethany–and gone just when He did. The raising of Lazarus was the last drop to make the waters overflow: He must die; His day is finished.

No man can shorten the day-walk of one who lives and walks in the day. How many day-walks are prolonged, and how many others are shortened before their time! Not so with Jesus; He simply followed the Father. There was no unnecessary prolonging of suffering; the work was done. The last obedience was in regard to Bethany. This was the signal for the Pharisees: this is enough.

Well, brethren, may these glimpses help you to understand what it means to be sanctified of the Father and to the Father, and may you come to know that every clear shining of Light has loosening and binding power; it loosens us from many things which held us back. We have to do with the Lord, not with the Jews or with circumstances; not even with Mary and Martha. Never play with Light. Light is given to kill us and to quicken us again into new life–to loosen us from any fear of circumstances or of what man may say of us.

The Lord never gives us Light in the one hand without giving us in the other hand a cord; for every bit of Light, new cords of love are present to bind us to His heart and to His altar. As sanctified ones, all things are bound to His altar. Every trial, victoriously overcome, is another cord binding us to the horns of the altar–to the altar of the Father and to the Saviour, with cords no power of flesh nor hell nor men can break. As conquered ones, we are bound to the triumphal chariot of our Saviour, who gives us strength to go the way He leads alone.

It is written of Christ that He “through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish unto God….” I do not know if there is another place in our Bible where the Spirit of God is spoken of as the Eternal Spirit. Of course He is the Eternal Spirit; but why is His Name so called here, and only here? The answer came to me with power. Christ was obedient unto death through the Spirit; He was enabled through the Spirit of God, with whom He had been baptized, to go this way. If He needed the Spirit of God for His ministry of teaching, He needed the Spirit of God for that awful ministry of offering Himself unto God on the Cross. It was through the Spirit of God that He made such an offering; and where the Breaker has broken through, there is a way open for His own to break through behind Him. The Spirit through whom He broke through was stronger than any Peter or any angel or any devil; they were all impotent to prevent Him from going this way. If He did this, and the Spirit through whom He did it is the Eternal Spirit, then the Spirit who brought my Saviour through brings me through. He is the same today; He opened the way and left behind Him an open door. It is a pathway of power: to suffer, to be slain, to love others, to die, to seek not our own life. The pathway is open; He has given us His Eternal Spirit, that through the Spirit we may go the same way and be sanctified ones day and night.

I find so many Christians who cry after the Holy Ghost and who do not believe, day by day and hour by hour, in the Holy Ghost–the Eternal Spirit–to go along whatever pathway of humbling, of suffering, or of crucifixion that the Lord may be pleased to lead them. He never opens before us any pathway of self-denial or crucifixion, in any way or degree, but that the Spirit stands with Christ–one with Him–on His bidding to open the way, to lead us there, and to strengthen us.

Follow Him, never shrinking back from any ministry or any humbling to which He leads in His own season and in His own time, when you are able. Fear to shrink back; fear with a holy trembling to stop short. The whole creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God who are working out their own salvation with fear and trembling.

And thus far our glorious Redeemer has opened the way. Will you go?

SANCTIFIED AND SENT

(Jeremiah 1:4-10)

Before the mother of Jeremiah had brought him forth–before he had been conceived–God laid His hand upon the Prophet Jeremiah; for we read, “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee.” “I called thee Mine in a special way.” He uses an instrumentality to get from little circles out to wider circles, that the whole community may be brought back to God. And immediately after the fourth verse, we read, “I have appointed thee a prophet unto the nations.” A prophet represents God–is in God’s place to us, and by his calling as prophet is constituted a messenger for God. To be sanctified is to be in God’s hand for silence and waiting, for acting and suffering, or for whatever commission God may be pleased to use you.

The Lord, who has created us in Christ and for Christ, has from all eternity predestinated us to be in Christ; what He does in time He has seen before–from eternity. Before we were conceived, the Lord knew for what special purpose He would use us in our earthly life after He had brought us into the knowledge of redemption and into the consciousness that we are sanctified ones, and that the existence which we try to make our best of–to make beautiful and useful–is not for us. Rather are we a people called to be ministers of the Holy One–of the household of God–in which each one has his own place to minister unto Him and to show forth the praise of His Name.

It may be a ministry to break down, to pluck up, to destroy and over-throw. How often the Lord is obliged to throw down, pluck up, and destroy and overthrow before anything for eternity can be created in us–builded and planted. How long He had to overthrow our building and planting, pluck up our gardens, and destroy our fields; but it was our own building and planting, and it could not last. Whether it be preaching or a most devoted life, which is not in the consciousness of a sanctified life–from Him and through Him and of Him–it simply magnifies us. If He cannot accept our planting and our gardens, He comes with storms to waste our flowers and destroy our plantings.

We find, as we go through the Old Testament, that these glorious ministers–Moses and Elisha, Isaiah and Jeremiah–all foreshadow that other One whom the Father had sanctified before He was conceived by the Holy Ghost in Mary’s womb. Have you ever pondered over that glorious word of our Saviour in John, chapter 10, verse 36? “…say ye of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world…?”

“Sanctified and sent into the world”–in these words the Lord Jesus sums up the teaching of Psalm 40 and Hebrews 10:10: “Lo, here am I”–words spoken by Christ before He came into the world. As the Lord had sanctified Jeremiah before his birth, so the moment came when the Father looked at the Son, the moment to go down to accomplish the ministry which no angel or archangel could accomplish–the ministry foreseen in the Father’s heart from eternity, when the Son was foreordained as the Lamb slain in the Father’s heart; the ministry of carrying out that for which He stood at the side of the Father when He created man. (I have no passage just now, but you find it in the Holy Scripture as you go deeper.) God would not have created man, with the dreadful possibility that he might fall, had not the Guarantee or Security, the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world, stood at His side. And now in time came the moment when the Father looked at the Son, and the Son answered, “Here am I; send Me.” He whom the Father had sanctified and sent into the world undertook a mission for which all the missions of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Moses, and Elisha had only been foreshadowings and preparations–mere shadows. So He said, “Yes, Father, here I am; send Me.” That is to be sanctified: Whom the Father sanctified.

What a unique mission–to redeem the lost world by the shedding of His own Blood on Calvary (No fallen man could know what it means to be separated from God, having separated Himself by sin and transgression)! Jesus sanctified Himself in order to make us sanctified ones in a sense and bearing and meaning deeper than Jeremiah, for through Christ revealed we reach deeper into the Godhead than any Old Testament prophet could reach–even into oneness with the Son and the Father, into oneness with God.

There is in John 17, verse 19, another word of His about sanctification–“And for their sakes I (the Holy One, the Pure One, who did not need to be cleansed from anything) sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.” Through sanctifying Himself, He was enabled to make of us sanctified ones. He brought us back into the proprietorship of God and into the use of God–back to God from human hopes and planting and building.

May we not better understand what it meant for Jesus–this wonderful One–to sanctify Himself, when we sum up that which took place before He said this word, “I sanctify Myself for them–for their sakes–that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.” The truth is a solemn living for His Father; for blessing or curse, to exist for God: “To do Thy will is My pleasure, even if it be Thy will to go down to Gethsemane and the Cross; I delight to do Thy will.”

Do you not recognize, in the entire life of Jesus, one unique purpose and guiding thought? “I come to do thy will, Father”; and He kept faithful to that thought with which He came. There was not a moment in the life of our Saviour in which He had any other preoccupation than to please the Father and to do His will. There was not one interruption in His inward life and most hidden standing before His Father–in His silence or His speaking, in His doing or His resting; there was but one thread–one guiding thread–all through: “Here I am to please the Father.” And more than once during His earthly service and ministry–in the solemn and critical hours of His life–the Heaven opened and the Voice said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Well, brothers and sisters, “cursed” ones, yet delivered from the curse forever through Christ’s having been made a curse for us and now made to be the beloved of the Father in the Son–Christ has done this and has said this: “I sanctify Myself to make of them sanctified ones.” He did it to make of us a people like the dew of the morning–a people of free will, devoted to execute the will of God in households, in a hidden spot, in public ministry, or whenever and however and wherever God may be pleased.

You know the purpose for which the three thousand received the Holy Ghost: it was to do God’s pleasure and to know God’s will; not to walk in the twilight, but to know–through the Spirit of the Son and the Father and through looking into the face of the Father–what would please Him; to know always, in every peculiar surrounding and circumstance, in every hour of life, in complications and difficult hours and sorrowful hours, His will.

The Father never failed to let His Son know what pleased Him; and devoted ones, consciously sanctified ones, who exist for God and for God alone, He never fails to let know what may please Him. It may be difficult for a while to know; there may come critical moments in which we hesitate. But from knowledge to knowledge, growing nearer to the heart of the Father and knowing Him better through every critical hour through which He makes us pass, we may with a keener eye grasp what is pleasing and what is not pleasing to the Father. Christ lived His life of thirty-three years to bring our lives into that glorious reign of light–to make them to be lives of holiness (that comes afterwards–the normal proof); but it means being a people who know and glory in the fact–most simply–that they exist for God and that they may be sanctified in the truth.

Take an example from the continent from which I came–an example from some servant of the Emperor, such as his coachman. Ask him, when he is driving for the Emperor, to guide you here or there. He would laugh in your face! The Emperor claims him; and even if the first general in Germany were to claim his service, he would only laugh. He has been called out from ordinary service–sanctified–to serve the Emperor. There is glory even upon such people; they cannot be bribed. The coachman is “sanctified” to the Emperor; there is glory in it.

Oh, the glory upon us poor, miserable sinners, who had been serving sin and ourselves–the very essence of wickedness–now to be forgiven and redeemed and sanctified for God!

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Advertising

Analytics

Other