DIE DODELIKE GEVAAR VAN ‘N MENS-GERIGTE BOODSKAP – Albert Theron
Die Nuwe Testament lê oor en oor klem op ons hemelse identiteit, roeping en bestemming. Ons is burgers van die koninkryk van die hemele, ons is “deelgenote van die hemelse roeping” (Heb. 3:1), ons het volgens Hebreërs 12:22 reeds gearriveer by die “hemelse Jerusalem” en ons staan onder ‘n bevel van God om die “dinge wat daar bo is” te soek en bedink (Kol.3:1-2). Boonop word daar in die sterkste moontlike terme ‘n oordeel uitgespreek oor die wat slegs aardse dinge bedink
“Hulle einde is die verderf, hulle god is die buik en hulle eer is in hulle skande; hulle bedink aardse dinge.” Filippense 3:19
Volgens die Nuwe Testament het ons gesterf saam met Christus en behoort ons nou eksklusief aan God sodat ons die belange van Sy hemelse koninkryk op ons hart kan dra. God is nie onbetrokke by ons aardse omstandighede nie, maar Hy roep alle dissipels op om allereers en in elke omstandigheid Sý koninkryk te soek, Sý naam te vereer en Sý wil uit te voer (Matt. 6:9-10 en 33).
Daarom is boodskappe wat net fokus op mý omstandighede, mý finansies, mý gesondheid en mý sukses ‘n erge misbruik van die Skrifte en ‘n baie ernstige mistasting. God het ons gered om op Hom te fokus. Hy weet mos in elk geval hoe om te kyk na Sy kinders en Hy gee ons wat ons werklik nodig het, nie wat ons dink ons moet hê nie. Sý fokus is om van ons geestelike mense te maak wat besorg is oor verlore mense, dissipelskap, geestelike groei en die uitbreiding van Sy koninkryk. Wees op die uitkyk vir boodskappe wat Bybeltekste uit konteks aanhaal om ‘n mens-gerigte “evangelie” te probeer regverdig. Dit is dodelik gevaarlik en die slagoffers tel in die tien duisende in ons generasie.
FOLLOW HIM IN HUMILITY – K. P. Yohannan
When we seek to follow Christ and become like Him, we often start by making a long list of spiritual exercises we plan to do to make it happen. However, the foundation of becoming like Christ in humility—as well as in all other virtues—begins with this one step: “Take My yoke upon you” (Matthew 11:29).
If I carry a yoke on my neck, it means that I no longer stand up straight. I once saw a postcard with the words “Not I, but Christ” written on it. To illustrate, the artist had drawn a man standing up tall inside the letter “I.” Then he drew the same man inside the letter “C,” but now the man had to bend over to fit. This humility of Christ will not become a reality in my life by accident, by wishing for it, by studying about it or by fasting and praying for it. It only comes by my deliberate willingness to obey what Jesus told me to do: to take His yoke upon me. That means from now on, Jesus and I are yoked together. Where He goes, I go; where He turns, I turn; when He stops to comfort a widow, bless a child or wash His disciples’ feet, I do the same. As I learn from Him how to walk under His yoke, I discover that the yoke is easy and my heart is at peace. And by submitting to His yoke and imitating Him, His gentleness and humility will become mine. My dear friend, will you take this first step today and decide to take His yoke upon you? There is no other way to develop the humility that represents the Lord Jesus. Follow Him in humility.
RUS VAN JOU WERKE EN WERK UIT RUS – Albert Theron
Ons hele lewe as dissipels van Jesus word opgesom met hierdie frase. Eerstens leer die Bybel ons om te rus van ons eie werke. Dit is nodig omdat niks wat ons uit onsself doen ons voor God kan regverdig nie en niks wat ons uit onsself doen God ooit sal behaag nie.
“Kom na My toe, almal wat vermoeid en belas is, en Ek sal julle rus gee.” Mattheüs 11:28
“Daar bly dus ‘n sabbatsrus oor vir die volk van God; want wie in sy rus ingegaan het, rus ook self van sy werke soos God van syne. Hebreërs 4:9-10
Tweedens leer die Bybel ons om te werk uit rus. God is aktief aan die werk in ons innerlike mens, maar ons kan net Sý werke in ons onderskei wanneer ons gerus het van ons eie pogings om ‘n geestelike en morele mens te wees. In hierdie sabbatsrus begin ons die werke van God ín ons beleef en dan staan ons onder verpligting om kinderlik gehoorsaam te wees aan dit wat God in ons binneste doen.
“Daarom, my geliefdes, soos julle altyd gehoorsaam gewees het, nie in my teenwoordigheid alleen nie, maar baie meer nou in my afwesigheid, werk julle eie heil uit met vrees en bewing; want dit is God wat in julle werk om te wil sowel as om te werk na sy welbehae.” Filippense 2:12-13
So ons kan die vraag vra: “Is ‘n dissipel ‘n pasifis of ‘n aktivis?” Nie een nie. Hy is albei. Ware dissipels is vir seker aktief, maar hulle doen net wat God in hulle innerlike openbaar, en dit vanuit rus in Christus.
Hier is ons voorbeeld:
“Jesus het toe geantwoord en vir hulle gesê: Voorwaar, voorwaar Ek sê vir julle, die Seun kan niks uit Homself doen tensy Hy die Vader dit sien doen nie. Want alles wat Hy doen, dit doen die Seun ook net so.” Johannes 5:19
En hier is ons huidige werklikheid en verantwoordelikheid:
“Ek is die wynstok, julle die lote. Wie in My bly, en Ek in hom, hy dra veel vrug; want sonder My kan julle niks doen nie.” Johannes 15:5
BIBLE TAUGHT AND SPIRIT TAUGHT – A.W. Tozer
I believe it was Dr. G. Campbell Morgan who said that the whole truth does not lie in “It is written,” but in “It is written” and “Again it is written.” The second text must be placed over against the first to balance it and give it symmetry, just as the right wing must work with the left to balance the bird and enable it to fly. Many of the doctrinal divisions among the churches are the result of a blind and stubborn insistence that truth has but one wing. Truth has two wings.
For a long time I have believed that truth, to be understood, must be lived; that Bible doctrine is wholly ineffective until it has been digested and assimilated by the total life. The essence of my belief is that there is a difference, a vast difference, between fact and truth. Truth in the Scriptures is more than a fact. A fact may be detached, impersonal, cold and totally disassociated from life. Truth on the other hand, is warm, living and spiritual. A theological fact may be held in the mind for a lifetime without its having any positive effect upon the moral character; but truth is creative, saving, transforming, and it always changes the one who receives it into a humbler and holier man. At what point, then, does a theological fact become for the one that holds it a life-giving truth? At that point where obedience begins.
Theological facts are like the altar of Elijah on Carmel before the fire came, correct, properly laid out, but altogether cold. When the heart makes the ultimate surrender, the fire falls and true facts are transmuted into spiritual truth that transforms, enlightens, sanctifies. The church or the individual that is Bible taught without being Spirit taught has simply failed to see that truth lies deeper than the theological statement of it. We only possess what we experience.
The devil is a better theologian than any of us and is a devil still.
Divine truth is of the nature of spirit and for that reason can be received only by spiritual revelation. God’s thoughts belong to the world of spirit, man’s to the world of intellect, and while spirit can embrace intellect, the human intellect can never comprehend spirit. Man’s thoughts cannot cross over into God’s.
God made man in His own image and placed within him an organ by means of which he could know spiritual things. When man sinned that organ—the organ of God-knowledge within the human soul—died. Man by reason cannot know God; he can only know about God. When the Spirit illuminates the heart, then a part of the man sees which never saw before; a part of him knows which never knew before, and that with a kind of knowing which the most acute thinker cannot imitate. Man’s reason is a fine instrument and useful within its field. It was not given as an organ by which to know God.
ALWAYS APPLY THE SCRIPTURES TO YOURSELF FIRST – Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges’. You say, ‘I agree with what he has been saying in chapter one – these horrible things that people are doing all around us today’, and you pass on. No, I have not been talking only about the people living in the gutters of life, says Paul. I have been talking about you: ‘To the Jew first, and also to the Greek . . . There is none righteous, no, not one’. It does not matter who you are, or what you are, or what you know, or what you are ignorant of – we are all included here, we are all together. Have we understood chapter one? We have seen the dangers, have we not? What I mean is that the Scripture must always be applied, so that when you have read your portion of Scripture in the morning, or whenever you read it, you do not just say, ‘Ah, yes, I have read the Notes and I have got the analysis’. No, you must stop and say, ‘Now, what does this say to me? Where do I come in?’ I may have been reading about the Pharisees and our Lord’s arguments with them, and His final denunciation of them – and I think to myself, ‘What terrible people the Pharisees were!’ But I must go on from there and say, ‘Am I a Pharisee, I wonder? Is there anything of that in me? It may not be blatant always, it can be there in a very small form, but is there anything of that in me?’ Always apply it.
Oh, I say it again – there is no such thing in my opinion as ‘lecturing’ on the Bible,- the Bible must be preached; it must be applied; it must be brought home. The Apostle insists upon that. He will not pass on until he is clear and satisfied about it all. He wants it to be perfectly clear to these people who think they have got an understanding of it when they have not; so he works out the argument. And, God willing, we shall follow him as he proceeds through the Epistle. But above all, I do pray that we will be examining ourselves the whole time, seeing its relevance and application to us. We must always put ourselves under the Word and look up to it and listen to it as it speaks to us. We must never study the Bible academically. Never become theoretical!. That has been the curse of theological seminaries. Men who have gone in full of life have come out dead, and all because of this academic interest in the Scriptures. Beware of it! It can even be a danger of studies like these. It is a danger whenever we read the Scriptures, whenever we listen to a sermon. It must always be applied: applied to ourselves, not to the other person, and we must pray that we may all have grace to apply it as it comes to us.
NET JOU EIE GELOOF KAN JOU VRY MAAK – Albert Theron
“Nie dat ons heers oor julle geloof nie, maar ons is medewerkers aan julle blydskap; want in die geloof staan julle vas.” 2 Korinthiërs 1:24
Dit is werklik verstommend om te sien dat selfs die apostels wat die Nuwe Testament geskryf het nie probeer het om in te dring in die heiligdom van die dissipel se persoonlike geloof in Jesus nie. Ons leef in ‘n dag waar hedendaagse apostels en baie predikers en leraars sonder om te skroom instorm in daardie heilige plek van die individu se hart en dissipels dan met groot bravade meesleur in die illusie dat die apostel of leraar se geloof hulle kan dra en vrymaak. Dit is ‘n reuse mistasting en ongelukkig so algemeen vandag dat die meeste mense nie eers dink daaraan om dit te bevraagteken nie. Die waarheid is dat ander se geloof jou nooit werklik kan vry maak en vir jou volkome vreugde in Christus kan bring nie.
Ander dissipels en bedienaars se geloof kan jou stimuleer en kragtig inspireer om self die heilige grond van jou hart met geloof te bearbei, maar niemand op hierdie aarde kan ooit vír jou glo of ‘n substituut wees vir jou eie intimiteit met God nie. Vir hierdie rede leer Paulus dat die essensie van ons dissipelskap juis ons eie omgang met die Woord en ons eie geloofsoortuiging is, en dit des te meer wanneer daar nie ander dissipels of bedienaars by ons is nie.
“Daarom, my geliefdes, soos julle altyd gehoorsaam gewees het, nie in my teenwoordigheid alleen nie, maar baie meer nou in my afwesigheid, werk julle eie heil uit met vrees en bewing.” Filippense 2:12
Dit is juis wanneer ons met ons eie hart en hande die heilige waarhede van die evangelie hanteer dat ons groei en sterk word in Christus. Anders bly ons afhanklik van ander se geloof en is ons ervaring van God ook tweedehands. God nooi jou vandag uit om op te staan in jou eie geloof sonder vrees of twyfel, want dit is Hý wat persoonlik en intiem werk in elke dissipel se hart. Dieselfde God wat vir Paulus, Petrus en hedendaagse geloofshelde stap vir stap gelei het, leef ook in jou as jy wederbaar is deur die Gees van God. Staan op en glo! Hy leef in my, Hy werk in my, Hy wag vir my persoonlike respons op Sy Goddelike aktiwiteit in my binneste (Fil. 2:13).
SUPERFICIAL FIXING OF THE FLESH – Martin and Deidre Bobgan
Counseling involves two or more people conversing about problems with one being the so-called expert (counselor) who is expected to provide answers and solutions for the one in need (counselee). The desire to help people who are suffering from problems of living quickly translates into focusing on the person and the problem. Thus much of both psychological and biblical counseling focuses attention on people and their problems. The goal easily becomes solving the problem rather than spiritual growth and the center of attention becomes the person and the problem more than “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). Throughout Scripture problems of living are shown to be opportunities for spiritual growth. Problems of living are like torn up ground in a person’s life during which the Lord can work mightily through His Word, the Holy Spirit, and the Body of Christ. Will they be used as such? And how can fellow believers encourage such spiritual growth? How might we all edify one another and encourage one another to trust the Holy Spirit to empower all believers to walk according to their new life in Christ?
In addition to discarding theories and therapies of psychological counseling, we are discouraging all problem-centered counseling, whether psychological or biblical. Although this may seem to be a radical move, we contend that as long as personal ministry remains problem-centered and therefore person-focused there will be less spiritual growth and more superficial fixing of the flesh. When such counseling attempts to change behavior, it can end up being a type of behaviorism that cleans the “cup” on the outside (Matt. 23:25) and thereby strengthens the flesh. When such counseling attempts to go deeper than the problems at hand, humans often usurp the role of the Holy Spirit when they try to gain insight into another person or when they attempt to identify the “idols of the heart.”
DIE VADER WERK ANDERS – Albert Theron
“Vir so iemand is daardie bestraffing deur die meerderheid genoeg; sodat julle daarenteen hom liewer moet vergewe en vertroos, dat so iemand nie miskien deur al te groot droefheid verteer word nie. Daarom vermaan ek julle om die liefde aan hom te bevestig.” 2 Korinthiërs 2:6-8
Paulus vra die Korinthiërs om ‘n broer te vergewe en bemoedig wat klaarblyklik onder sensuur geplaas is, maar hom toe bekeer het. Daar is ‘n tere liefde wat deurskyn in Paulus se gesindheid teenoor die een wat gesondig het. Hy wil hê die dissipels in Korinthe moet weet dat die Vader se hart oop is vir berouvolle dissipels. Die satan se manier is om mense te verwoes en so moedeloos te maak deur versoeking, sonde en dan veroordeling, dat hulle opgee. Die Vader werk anders met mense.
Ons moet baie wakker wees om nie in satan se hande te speel deur te veroordeel en mense moedeloos te maak nie. Kerk dissipline is ‘n opdrag in die Bybel, maar ook vergifnis en vertroosting wanneer daar ware bekering is.
ONLY HIS VERY OWN LIFE CAN MAKE US FREE – Oswald Chambers
Beware of the subtlety that likes to listen to the teaching of Jesus but says, “There is no need for all this talk about the Atonement and the Cross, all that is necessary is to live out the Sermon on the Mount, to follow in the steps of Jesus.” If Jesus Christ came to teach a man to be what he never can be, would He had never come!
He is the greatest tantaliser of mankind if all He came to do was to tell us to be pure in heart, to be so holy that when God scrutinises us He can see nothing to censure. But what He came to do was to make it possible for any man to receive the disposition that ruled Him, viz., the Holy Spirit. When a man is born again what happens is that he receives the heredity of Jesus Christ. That is the meaning of Regeneration. There is only one disposition that can live out the teaching of Jesus, and that is His own disposition. When I have received the disposition of Jesus Christ, God does not shield me from any requirements of a son; I have the opportunity of proving actually worthy of His great Redemption. “If the Son . . . shall make you free, you shall be free indeed,” said Jesus—free from the inside, free in essence; there will be no pretence, no putting yourself on a pedestal and saying “This is what God has done for me,” you will be free, the thing will be there ostensibly.
THE ONLY WAY TO PUT THE SELF TO DEATH – Watchman Nee
After a believer is brought by God to a deep realization of the evil of the self, he will be willing to put his self to death. But what is the way for the self to die? There is no other way but by the cross. We have to read two passages of Scripture to understand the relationship between the cross and the self.
“I have been crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20).
“If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).
What Galatians 2:20 speaks of is something accomplished once for all. After we realize that our self needs to be put to death, we should then by faith acknowledge in a definite way that “I have been crucified with Christ.” The word in the original text is ego, the “I,” the self. Besides the cross, there is indeed no other way to put the self to death. We should also pay attention to the words “with Christ.” The crucifixion of the self is not an independent act of the believers. Believers are not to crucify the self on the cross by themselves in their own strength. The crucifixion of the self is to be joined to Christ and in conjunction with Christ. This is not to say that we help Christ to put the self on the cross. Rather, it means that Christ has already accomplished this fact, and I now merely acknowledge and believe its reality. Here the main focus is Christ. This is why it says: “I have been crucified with Christ,” and not “Christ has been crucified with me.” It is not that we want to put the self to death, and that Christ comes merely to accompany us. Rather, it was Christ who in His death brought all our “ego,” our self, to the cross and nailed it there. Therefore, I am not crucifying the self again but am merely acknowledging the fact. The two words “have been” show us that it is a fact and not a wish. A life that dies to the self is possible, real, and attainable.
The apostles in the ancient time obtained that kind of life already; their self passed the test. Therefore, it is possible for us to obtain this life also. However, we should remember that this is “crucified with” and not “crucified alone.” Apart from the Lord we can do nothing. To crucify the self with the strength of the self is an impossible task and can never be done. If we are not united with the Lord in His death, our self will never die. Christ alone brought all the old creation together with every part of it to the cross in His death. If we try to find another way besides the Lord’s way, and to try to accomplish anything besides the Lord’s accomplishment, we are not only foolish but are also wasting our time. Therefore, we are to do nothing but come to the Lord with full assurance of faith and acknowledge the Lord’s accomplishment as ours; following this we should pray for the Holy Spirit to apply in us the work of the Lord’s cross and to express this very work from us.
WEESKINDERS HET NIE STEMME NIE – Albert Theron
“Reine en onbesmette godsdiens voor God en die Vader is dít: om wese en weduwees in hulle verdrukking te besoek…” Jakobus 1:27
‘n Skrywer wat self ‘n weeskind was sê in een van sy boeke dat alle kinders soos dryfhout is wat rondgeslinger word deur die eb en vloei van volwassenes se lewens. Dit is ongelukkig so en in die geval van ‘n mens se eie kinders word jy hopelik deur die Woord en Gees van God gelei om met groot vrees en bewing daardie kosbare lewe, of lewens, te rig wat aan jou toevertrou is. Baie weeskinders het egter nie die voorreg om sulke ouers te hê nie en is dikwels oorgelaat aan ‘n maatskaplike sisteem wat nie deeglike wigte en teenwigte (“checks and balances”) het of neutrale oorsig oor wat daar gebeur nie en wat soms skreiend teen die sogenaamde “beste belang van die kind” optree. Die geskiedenis vertel vir ons baie welsprekend uit duisende monde van sulke kinders wat nou volwassenes is, wat die “sisteem” met hulle gemaak het.
Jou eie kinders het stemme omdat jy hulle toelaat om te praat en vertel wat in hulle harte aangaan. Hulle kan sonder vrees sê wat hulle bly en hartseer maak en hulle kan hulle lewensvrae vra. So leer jy hulle om die lewe reg te hanteer. Weeskinders kom egter baie gou agter dat hulle nie stemme het nie en maar vinnig moet leer om saam met die stroom van grootmens-besluite te swem ongeag hoe onregverdig, en in baie gevalle wreed, daardie besluite mag wees. Vergete, onsigbaar en stemloos beweeg baie van hulle deur die kinderjare en leer maar om te oorleef.
Maar God gee om en Hy verwag van ons om ons oë oop te maak en waar ons kan in ons invloedsfeer vir daardie kinders ‘n stem te wees wat hulle nie self het nie. Of dan ten minste die nood raak te sien en te begin bid daarvoor. Anders wat beteken hierdie vers in Jakobus dan? Is dit vir ons maar net ‘n mooi godsdienstige versie wat ons op ‘n Sondag vroom aanhoor? Ons Almagtige God se onomstootlike uitspraak is dat “reine godsdiens” beteken dat ek weeskinders begin raaksien en iets prakties doen om te help. Daar is na beraming 3.7 miljoen weeskinders in Suid Afrika en ongeveer 150 000 kinders wat in huishoudings is waar hulle ouer boeties of sussies die rol van pa of ma moet vervul, want daar is nie ‘n volwassene in die huis nie.
Dit mag selfs beteken dat God my gesin lei om ‘n kind aan te neem en vir daardie kind met tasbare liefde te demonstreer dat daar ‘n Skepper en Vader is wat omgee vir wese. ‘n Vader wat vir hulle ‘n stem wil gee sodat hulle geestelik, emosioneel en verhoudingsgewys reg kan ontwikkel en by gesonde en volwasse menswees kan uitkom. Wat sê die Heilige Gees vir jou oor hierdie saak?
THE SPIRITUAL FARMER – Warren Wiersbe
Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. James 5:7-8
If a man is impatient, then he had better not become a farmer. No crop appears overnight (except perhaps a crop of weeds), and no farmer has control over the weather. Too much rain can cause the crop to rot, and too much sun can burn it up. An early frost can kill the crop. How long-suffering the farmer must be with the weather! He must also have patience with the seed and the crop, for it takes time for plants to grow. Jewish farmers would plow and sow in what to us are the autumn months. The “early rain” would soften the soil. The “latter rain” would come in the early spring (our February-March) and help to mature the harvest. The farmer had to wait many weeks for his seed to produce fruit.
Why did he willingly wait so long? Because the fruit is “precious” (James 5:7). The harvest is worth waiting for. “In due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9). “For the earth produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come” (Mark 4:28–29, nasb). James pictured the Christian as a “spiritual farmer” looking for a spiritual harvest. “Be ye also patient, stablish your hearts” (James 5:8). Our hearts are the soil, and the “seed is the Word of God” (Luke 8:11). There are seasons to the spiritual life just as there are seasons to the soil. Sometimes, our hearts become cold and “wintry,” and the Lord has to “plow them up” before He can plant the seed (Jer. 4:3). He sends the sunshine and the rains of His goodness to water and nurture the seeds planted; but we must be patient to wait for the harvest.
MOENIE JOU ORE VERLOOR NIE – Albert Theron
”En Hy sê vir hulle: Wie ore het om te hoor, laat hom hoor.” Markus 4:9
Het almal dan nie ore nie? Klaarblyklik nie. Party mense gee ag op God se stem en ander nie. Jesus sê dat die wat wel ag gee seker moet maak dat die boodskap by hulle harte uitkom.
Ware dissipels het ore, maar hulle kan ook begin om hulle “ore te verloor” as hulle nie hierdie opdrag van Jesus gehoorsaam nie. As ons aanhou luister na waarheid sonder dat dit ons hart bereik en dan deur die krag van die Gees in dade oorgaan, gebeur daar onvermydelik iets met ons geestelike gehoor.
“Waaroor ons veel te sê het wat swaar is om te verklaar, omdat julle traag geword het om te hoor.” Hebreërs 5:11
As jy voel dat dit met jou aan die gebeur is of reeds die geval is, moenie wag nie. Gaan dadelik na die troon van genade en vra die Vader om jou gehoor te herstel. Bely jou traagheid m.b.t. geestelike werklikhede en vertrou God om herstel te bring.
OBTAINING IMMEDIATE PEACE – Horatius Bonar
Some do not object to a reputable man obtaining immediate peace, but they object to a profligate getting it at once! So it has always been; the old taunt is still on the lip of the modern Pharisee: “He is gone to be a guest with a man that is a sinner,” and the Simons of our day speak within themselves and say, “This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that touches him, for she is a sinner” (Luk 7:39). But what then of Manasseh, and Magdalene, and Saul, and the woman of Sychar, and the jailor, and the men of Jerusalem, whose hands were red with blood? Were they not trusted with a free and immediate peace? Did not the very essence and strength of the Gospel’s curative and purifying power lie in the freeness, the promptness, the certainty of the peace which it brought to these “chief of sinners”?
“So you say you have found Christ, and have peace with God?” said one who claimed the name of “evangelical,” to a poor profligate who, only a few weeks before, had been drawn to the Cross. “I have indeed,” said the poor man. “I have found Him, I have peace, and I know it.” “Know it!” said the divine, “and have you the presumption to tell me this? I have been a respectable member of a church for thirty years, and have not got peace nor assurance yet, and you, who have been a profligate most of your life, say that you have peace with God!” “Yes, I have been as bad as a man can well be, but I have believed the Gospel, and that Gospel is good news for the like of me; and if I have no right to peace, I had better go back to my sins, for if I cannot get peace as I am, I shall never get it at all.” “It’s all a delusion,” said the other. “Do you think that God would give a sinner like you peace, and not give it to me who have been doing all I can to get it for so many years?” “You are such a respectable man,” said the other, in unconscious irony, “that you can get on without peace and pardon, but a wretch like me cannot. If my peace is a delusion, it cannot be a bad one, for it makes me leave off sin, and makes me pray and read my Bible. Since I got it, I have turned over a new leaf.” “It won’t last,” said the other. “Well, but it is a good thing while it does last, and it is strange to see the like of you trying to take from me the only thing that ever did me good. It looks as if you would be glad to see me going back to my old sins. You never tried to bring me to Christ, and, now when I have come to Him, you are doing all you can to take me away. But I’ll stick to Him in spite of you.”
LOVE REGULATED BY LIGHT – A.W. Pink
The world says that love is blind, but the love of the Christian should be enlightened, well instructed, and directed in all its exercises, effects, and manifestations by the Scriptures. Unless love is regulated by an enlarged and exact knowledge of the Word, and by that good judgment which is the result of matured discernment and experience, it soon degenerates into fanaticism and unwise exertions. An affectionate regard for our brethren is to be far more than a mere sentiment, namely, “love in the truth” (2 John 1), love informed and controlled by the truth.
Some Christians have a good understanding of the truth yet are considerably carnal in their walk (1 Cor. 3:1-3). Others, though defective in knowledge and unsettled in the faith, are yet warmhearted, having much zeal toward God and His cause, and a considerable command over their passions. God’s people should labor for both. It was love and zeal for Christ which prompted the apostles to say, “Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias [Elijah] did?” when they saw how their Master was slighted. Yet it was misdirected love and zeal, as His “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of” (Luke 9:54-55) showed. Love must be instructed if it is to be placed on legitimate objects and restrained from non permissible ones, if it is to be rightly exercised on all occasions. And the needed instruction can be obtained only from God’s Word. Only as love is regulated by light, and light is accompanied by and infused with love, are we well balanced.
LIEFDE SONDER DIE KRUIS IS NIE BYBELSE LIEFDE NIE – Albert Theron
“En wandel in liefde, soos Christus ons ook liefgehad het en Hom vir ons oorgegee het as ‘n gawe en offer aan God tot ‘n lieflike geur.” Efesiërs 5:2
Wandel in liefde. Hoe? Soos Christus…. Ons behoort nooit die woord “liefde” in die Bybel te lees sonder om aan die kruis van Jesus Christus te dink nie. Dit is een van die grootste dwalinge van ons tyd. Ons het ‘n sentimentele idee van liefde en ons eie sieninge, gevoelens en opinies oor liefde tas dikwels die Bybelse gebruik van die woord aan en verdraai dit tot op die punt waar dit onherkenbaar is in vergelyking met die Bybel.
Die kruis is die verskriklike plek waar God se siening van liefde gedemonstreer is. Dit is die plek waar Jesus sterf vir verlore rebelle, maar dit is ook die plek waar verlore rebelle sterf saam met Christus en sodoende leer wat liefde werklik is. Daar is nie liefde sonder dood in die Bybel nie. Jesus sterf en wys so vir ons wat God se liefde behels. Ek en jy sterf saam met Hom om vir ander te wys wat liefde is.
“Ons het lief omdat God ons eerste liefgehad het.” 1 Johannes 4:19 (NAV)
” ‘n Nuwe gebod gee Ek julle, dat julle mekaar moet liefhê; soos Ek julle liefgehad het, moet julle ook mekaar liefhê.” Johannes 13:34 (OAV)
Liefde is ‘n groot woord in die Bybel. Dit is nie goedkoop nie. Mense wat nie hulle sterwe saam met Christus (Gal. 2:20) wil omhels nie moet eerder nie die woord gebruik nie. Regtig nie. Ek is dodelik ernstig.
Ek wil jou vandag nederig vra om nie die woord “liefde” goedkoop te maak in jou gesprekke oor en omgang met die Bybel nie. Dink oor die implikasies. Dit het Jesus se dood gekos en vra ook joune saam met Hom as jy wil liefhê soos wat God liefhet. ‘n Generasie wat die liefde van die kruis wil opeis, maar nie die liefde deur ‘n gekruisigde lewe wil uitwys nie staan op baie dun ys. Ons is waarskynlik almal tot een of ander mate beïnvloed deur die populêre idee van liefde vandag en het ‘n goeie wassing van die Woord nodig in hierdie area.
YOUR HEART MOVES TOWARD WHAT YOU CHERISH – John Piper
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34
This is given as the reason why we should pursue treasure in heaven that does not fail: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If your treasure is in heaven where God is, then that is where your heart will be also. Now what is this seemingly simple verse really saying? The word “treasure” I take to mean “the object cherished.” And the word “heart” I take to mean, “the organ that cherishes.” So read the verse like this: “Where the object that you cherish is, there will be the organ that cherishes.”
If the object you cherish is God in heaven, your heart will be with God in heaven. You will be with God. But if the object that you cherish is money and things on the earth, then your heart will be on the earth. You will be on the earth, cut off from God. This is what Jesus meant in Luke 16:13 when he said, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” To serve money is to cherish money and pursue all the benefits money can give. The heart goes after money. But to serve God means to cherish God and to pursue all the benefits God can give. The heart goes after God. And that is worship: the heart’s cherishing God and seeking him as the treasure above all treasures.
‘ N BETER AFTREDE OF ‘N BETER OPSTANDING? – Albert Theron
Abraham, die vader van ons geloof, het volgens Hebreërs 11 geleef met sy oë op die nuwe Jerusalem (Openb. 21:1-3).
“Want hy het die stad verwag wat fondamente het, waarvan God die boumeester en oprigter is.” Hebreërs 11:10
Sy visie op die Godstad het sy lewe regeer en al sy besluite beïnvloed. Sy oë was gerig op iets aan die ander kant van die tydelike en natuurlike. Ons het vandag ‘n baie meer volledige prentjie van God se heilsplan as wat Abraham gehad het, maar waar is ons oë gerig? Sien ons wat hy en die ander geloofshelde in Hebreërs 11 gesien het? Ons is veronderstel om ‘n baie helderder visie as hulle te hê, maar het ons? As mens luister na gesprekke vandag klink dit in alle eerlikheid asof baie van ons meer besorg is oor ‘n beter aftrede as ‘n beter opstanding.
“Vroue het hulle dode deur opstanding teruggekry, en ander is gefolter en wou geen bevryding aanneem nie, om ‘n beter opstanding te kan verkry.” Hebreërs 11:35
Iewers het ons generasie ‘n verkeerde idee van geloof opgetel en dit beïnvloed ons hele wêreldbeskouing. Mag God ons genadig wees en ons terugbring by Bybelse geloof.
THE UNRESTRICTED LIBERTY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT – Austin Sparks
We were saying what is foundational to the Body of Christ is a revelation and application of the Cross, for when the natural man of the flesh is ruled out, put aside, smitten, then you see the way is paved for true spiritual apprehension of the Body of Christ because the Body of Christ cannot exist and function with any natural man about. That is the nature of the Body of Christ. The natural man is put out altogether, so again let us resay that the revelation of the Body is based upon A REVELATION and AN APPLICATION of the Cross. Then the Body becomes the sphere of the Holy Spirit’s activity. The little phrase is in 1 Corinthians 12, “As He wills,” He appoints, He gives gifts, He equips, as He wills, implying the complete liberty, the unrestricted liberty of the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is restricted, in that measure the Body is limited in its realization of the Divine calling and the fulfilment of the Divine purpose of its existence. Only the unrestricted liberty of the Holy Spirit can produce a right representation and a right functioning and activity of the Body because the Body is the sphere of the Holy Spirit’s activity.
THE MYSTERIES OF GOD DIVINELY REVEALED IN SCRIPTURE – Thomas Watson
The Scripture appears to be the Word of God, by the matter contained in it. The mystery of Scripture is so abstruse and profound that no man or angel could have known it, had it not been divinely revealed. That eternity should be born; that he who thunders in the heavens should cry in the cradle; that he who rules the stars should suck the breasts; that the Prince of Life should die; that the Lord of Glory should be put to shame; that sin should be punished to the full, yet pardoned to the full; who could ever have conceived of such a mystery, had not the Scripture revealed it to us?
So, for the doctrine of the resurrection; that the same body which is crumbled into a thousand pieces, should rise idem numero, the same individual body, else it were a creation, not a resurrection. How could such a sacred riddle, above all human disquisition, be known, had not the Scripture made a discovery of it? As the matter of Scripture is so full of goodness, justice and sanctity, that it could be breathed from none but God; so the holiness of it shows it to be of God. Scripture is compared to silver refined seven times. Psa 12: 6. The Book of God has no errata in it; it is a beam of the Sun of Righteousness, a crystal stream flowing from the fountain of life. All laws and edicts of men have had their corruptions, but the Word of God has not the least tincture, it is of meridian splendour. Psa 119:140. ‘Thy word is very pure,’ like wine that comes from the grape, which is not mixed nor adulterated. It is so pure that it purifies everything else. John 17: I7. ‘Sanctify them through thy truth.’
NET DIE NEDERIGES HEERS IN HIERDIE KONINKRYK – Albert Theron
Ek kan nie aan die een kant wil staan op my identiteit in Christus en met vrymoedigheid praat daaroor, terwyl ek aan die ander kant steeds vashou aan my eie wysheid, krag, besittings, eer, status, ensovoorts nie. Volg maar hierdie lyn regdeur die Bybel en dit sal vir jou glashelder duidelik word dat God nooit, maar nooit, enigiemand in enige posisie in Sý koninkryk plaas wat nie eers in nederigheid die knie gebuig het voor Hom nie.
“Maghebbers het Hy van trone afgeruk en nederiges verhoog.” Lukas 1:52
Alle ware dissipels van Jesus het regtens deel aan Sy heerskappy in die hemel met die doel om God se wil te laat geskied op aarde. Dit is ‘n logiese gevolgtrekking op grond van Paulus se groot stelling in Efesiërs 2.
“En saam opgewek en saam laat sit in die hemele in Christus Jesus.” Efesiërs 2:6
Dit is daarom nie verkeerd om in geloof te staan op die uitsprake wat God self oor ons maak in Christus en om dit met vrymoedigheid te bely nie. Solank ons net onthou dat ons verhoging in Christus plaasgevind het aan die ander kant van ‘n erkenning dat ons in onssèlf niks is of het nie. Hierdie nederige belydenis bly die basis van alles wat ons in Christus het en ontvang het.
GOD IS ETERNAL – Francis Chan
Most of us would probably agree with that statement. But have you ever seriously meditated on what it means? Each of us had a beginning; everything in existence began on a particular day, at a specific time. Everything, that is, but God. He always has been, since before there was an earth, a universe, or even angels. God exists outside of time, and since we are within time, there is no way we will ever totally grasp that concept. Not being able to fully understand God is frustrating, but it is ridiculous for us to think we have the right to limit God to something we are capable of comprehending. What a stunted, insignificant god that would be! If my mind is the size of a soda can and God is the size of all the oceans, it would be stupid for me to say He is only the small amount of water I can scoop into my little can. God is so much bigger, so far beyond our time-encased, air/food/sleep–dependent lives. Please stop here, even if just for a moment, and glorify the eternal God: “But you, O Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations.… But you remain the same, and your years will never end” (Ps. 102:12, 27).
DIE SAAM-VERSTAAN VAN ‘N WARE HARTSEENHEID – Albert Theron
Die boek Efesiërs is die boek in die Bybel met die diepste openbaring van die gemeente en in hierdie boek word daar ‘n besondere klem gelê op die eenheid van die liggaam van Christus en die kosbare voordele van hierdie eenheid. Let wel dat dit die eenheid van ‘n liggaam is, ‘n organiese eenheid, nie ‘n organisatoriese eenheid nie. Dit is net in hierdie organiese eenheid wat ons die heerlikhede van die evangelie met mekaar kan deel op ‘n wyse wat ‘n begrip en verdieping bring wat nie andersins moontlik is nie.
“En julle in staat kan wees om saam met al die heiliges ten volle te begryp…” Efesiërs 3:18
Die uiterlike eenheid van ‘n godsdiens-institusie is net eenvoudig nie in staat om hierdie geestelike werklikhede te verwesenlik nie. Leef jy in die heerlike saam-verstaan van ‘n ware hartseenheid met ander dissipels van Jesus of bevind jy jou in ‘n woestyn van “formele kerk-verhoudings” en verwaarloosde verbintenisse. Eersgenoemde is jou erfenis in Christus. Moet dit nie verbeur nie. Soek dit met jou hele hart! As jy dit reeds beleef, koester dit soos ‘n kosbare skat.
THE TEST OF A GOSPEL-CENTERED CHURCH – Ray Ortlund
Not long after his life-altering crisis of faith, brought on by the personal ugliness he saw in his denomination, Francis Schaeffer wrote an article entitled “How Heresy Should Be Met.” Here is his main point:
“The final problem is not to prove men wrong but to win them back to Christ. Therefore, the only ultimately successful apologetic is, first, a clear, intellectual statement of what is wrong with the false doctrine, plus a clear, intellectual return to the proper scriptural emphasis, in all its vitality and in its relation to the total Christian Faith, plus a demonstration in the life that this correct and vital scriptural emphasis meets the genuine needs and aspirations of men in a way that Satan’s counterfeit does not.”
So the test of a gospel-centered church is its doctrine on paper plus its culture in practice—“a demonstration in the life that this correct and vital scriptural emphasis meets the genuine needs and aspirations of men.” If a church’s gospel culture has been lost, or was never built, the only remedy is found at the feet of Christ. That church needs a fresh rediscovery of his gospel in all its beauty. It needs to prayerfully reconsider everything it believes and practices. Nothing is gained by merely repackaging the church in forms more attractive to outsiders. First and foremost, the gospel of Christ must be fully believed and embraced by our churches. That is more profound than a momentary upsurge of enthusiasm. The need of our times is nothing less than the re-Christianization of our churches, according to the gospel alone, in both doctrine and culture, by Christ himself. Nothing less than the beauty of Christ will suffice today, though what a renewed church will look like might, at present, lie beyond our imaginations.
DIE KRUIS, DIE KERK EN DIE KONINKRYK – Albert Theron
Sonder die kruis is die kerk (gemeente) nie meer die kerk nie en sonder die ware kerk kan die koninkryk van God nie floreer nie. In ‘n sin gaan die hele Nuwe Testament oor hierdie drie dinge. Die kerk bestaan net op opstandingsgrond en niemand kan op daardie grond kom staan wat nie eers die sterwe saam met Christus in geloof omhels het nie. God bou nie Sy gemeente met die “ou mens” (ou skepping) nie, maar met die nuwe skepping.
“Daarom, as iemand in Christus is, is hy ‘n nuwe skepsel; die ou dinge het verbygegaan, kyk, dit het alles nuut geword.” 2 Kor. 5:17
Dit is heeltemal reg om te sê die tema van die hele Bybel is die koninkryk van God, maar hoe funksioneer daardie koninkryk op aarde? Eers die kruis, dan die kerk, dan die koninkryk. Geen kruis, geen kerk en geen kerk, geen koninkryk. Die kerk bestaan nie vir haarself nie, maar vir die uitbreiding van die koninkryk van God.
Die kruis, net die kruis, sny alle ander lojaliteite af en wen ons harte om aan Jesus alleen te behoort. Hierdie toewyding aan Jesus vorm die kerk. Dit is inderdaad die essensie van die kerk (Openb. 2:4-5). As ons terugkeer na die volle verkondiging van die kruis sal die essensie van die kerk herleef en so sal die koninkryk van God op aarde sigbaar word. Lees Mattheüs 16:15-28 en kyk bietjie hoe Jesus hierdie boodskap helder en duidelik aan Sy dissipels oordra.
THE SPIRIT OF THIS WORLD IS GAIN AND SELF-GLORY – Austin Sparks
What do we mean by the world? I think we can sum up the world as it is referred to in the Scriptures in two words – gain and self-glory: that is, glory which is not the glory of God. Is it not true that the spirit of this world is gain? How can you explain or interpret things in this world otherwise than that – gain? To have – whether it is territory, riches, knowledge, or whatever it may be – in every connection the goal is to have, to possess, to gain advantage, and thus by gaining to come to glory of its own. It is very subtle, it works in us all. We may think of the world, but it is here in our hearts – to have some gratification by coming to a position, to be self-satisfied by attaining to some eminence, some influence, some place of power, some possession. That is the spirit of this world, and that now is utterly contrary to God. Christ was a contradiction to all that spirit, and His Church, this candlestick vessel of testimony, is to be the embodiment of that contradiction – contrary to the world spirit and principle; not to get but to give; not to be glorified in itself but for Him to be glorified in all. The Lord Jesus sought not His own glory but the glory of Him that sent Him. He said “I seek not my own glory” (John 8:50), and, by the context, it was a reflection upon those around Him – even the religious leaders – who sought glory by possession, position and so on. No, this is an instrument which contradicts that whole thing in spirit and in principle.
DIE KONSTANTE FEES VAN INNERLIKE VERVULLING – Albert Theron
“En dag vir dag het hulle eendragtig volhard in die tempel en van huis tot huis brood gebreek en hulle voedsel met blydskap en eenvoudigheid van hart geniet.” Handelinge 2:46
Wat ‘n lieflike prentjie word vir ons hier geskets van die daaglikse lewe van die eerste gemeente. Wat ‘n vreugde is dit nie as mense kan saamleef met innerlike vervulling en dankbaarheid. Dan raak selfs ‘n eenvoudige ete ‘n fees!
Daarteenoor staan die hebsugtige lewe van die wêreld wat net nooit genoeg kan kry nie en selfs met oorvloed nooit werklik vervuld is nie.
“Die bloedsuier het twee dogters: Gee, gee! Drie is dit wat nie versadig word nie; vier sê nooit: Genoeg nie!” Spreuke 30:15
Leef jy in die konstante fees van innerlike vervulling of is jou dae gevul met die nimmereindigende soeke van onvergenoegdheid?
EMPTIED TO BE FILLED – R.A. Torrey
To understand God’s word we must empty ourselves utterly of our own wisdom, and rest in titter dependence upon the Spirit of God to interpret it to us. (Matt. 11:25.) When we put away our own righteousness, then, and only then, we get the righteousness of God. (Phil. 3:4-7:9; Rom. 10:3.) When we put away our own wisdom, then, and only then, we get the wisdom of God, (1 Cor. 3:18; Matt. 11:25; 1 Cor. 1:25-28.) When we put away our own strength, then, and only then, we get the strength of God. (Is. 40:29; 2 Cor. 12:9; 1 Cor. 1:27, 28.) Emptying must precede filling. Self poured out that Christ may be poured in, We must be daily taught of the Spirit to understand the Word. I cannot depend to-day on the fact that the Spirit taught me yesterday. Each new contact with the Word must be in the power of the Spirit. That the Holy Spirit once illumined our mind to grasp a certain passage is not enough. He must do so each time we confront that passage. Andrew Murray has put this truth well. He says: “Each time you come to the Word in study, in hearing a sermon or reading a religious book, there ought to be as distinct as your intercourse with the external means, a definite act of self -abnegation, denying your own wisdom and yielding yourself in faith to the divine teacher.” (The Spirit of Christ, p. 221.)
FEEDING SHEEP OR AMUSING GOATS? – Archibald Brown
An evil is in the ‘professed’ camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most short-sighted Christian can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years this evil has developed at an alarming rate. It has worked like leaven, until the whole lump ferments!
The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out the gospel, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony — then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!
My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work, then why did not Christ speak of it? “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature — and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel.”
No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people — or because they confronted them? The ‘concert’ has no martyr roll.
Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the apostolic Church to the world? “You are the salt of the world” — not the sugar candy; something the world will spit out — not swallow.
Had Jesus introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His teaching, He would have been more popular. When “many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him,” I do not hear Him say: “Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow; something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it! Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!”
No! Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them — but never sought to amuse them!
In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the ‘gospel of amusement.’ Their message is, “Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them… Don’t touch their filthy things…” Anything approaching amusement is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel, and employed no other weapon.
After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, “Lord, grant unto your servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are!”
No! They did not cease from preaching Christ. They had no time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution, they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down — that is the only difference from today’s church.
Lastly, amusement fails to effect the end desired. Let the heavy-laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God’s link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer! The mission of amusement produces no converts!
The need of the hour for today’s ministry is earnest spirituality joined with Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.
Lord, clear the Church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods!
THE LAW OF THE MANNA – Andrew Murray
It is late before they get to sleep: in the throng there is little time for quiet or for secret prayer. And lo, as they rise early in the morning, they find Him gone. In the silence of the night He has gone out to seek a place of solitude in the wilderness; when they find Him there, He is still praying. And why did my Saviour need these hours of prayer? Did He not know the blessedness of silently lifting up His soul to God in the midst of the most pressing business? Did not the Father dwell in Him? and did He not in the depth of His heart enjoy unbroken communion with Him? Yes, that hidden life was indeed His portion. But that life, as subject to the law of humanity, had need of continual refreshing and renewing from the fountain. It was a life of dependence; just because it was strong and true, it could not bear the loss of direct and constant intercourse with the Father, with whom and in whom it had its being and its blessedness. What a lesson for every Christian! Much intercourse with man is dissipating and dangerous to our spiritual life: it brings us under the influence of the visible and temporal. Nothing can atone for the loss of secret and direct intercourse with God. Even work in the service of God and of love is exhausting: we cannot bless others without power going out from us; this must be renewed from above. The law of the manna, that what is heavenly cannot remain good long upon earth, but must day by day be renewed afresh from heaven, still holds good. Jesus Christ teaches it us: I need every day time to have communion with my Father in secret. My life is like His a life hid in heaven, in God; it needs time day by day to be fed from heaven. It is from heaven alone that the power to lead a heavenly life on earth can come.