A TENDER HEART – A.W. Pink
A tender heart is one which has a deep concern for the glory of God and the welfare of His kingdom. Superlatively was this exemplified by the Lord Jesus Christ: who so thoroughly absorbed with the honor of His Father and the furtherance of His cause on earth, His own interests and aggrandizement were completely swallowed up in magnifying the One who had sent Him. And the same principle is found in each of His followers, though with vastly different degrees of manifestation. The tender heart is one in which the love of God is shed abroad, and just so far as that is allowed to dominate and regulate do we seek to please Him. Consequently, a tender heart is one which is deeply grieved, touched to the quick, by everything which dishonors his best Friend—whether it be seen in others or discovered in himself. What more tender than the eye—and what so sensitive to a foreign substance!
A “tender heart” is pliant. The heart of the unregenerate is likened unto “the lower millstone” (Job 41:24). But that which is wrought upon by the Holy Spirit resembles wax—receptive to His impressions upon it. The stony heart is impervious to pleadings and threatenings alike—but the tender heart is amenable and responsive to the Divine call. Man in his natural state says with Pharaoh, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?” (Exo. 5:2). But one which has been supernaturally quickened asks, “Lord, what will You have me to do?” (Acts 9:6). The more tender the plant, the more readily it lends itself to being trained or twined around an upright stake. So it is with the child of God. In his “first love” he freely yields himself unto God as one that is alive from the dead, and his members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Rom. 6:13).
U WIL IN MY – Albert Theron
“… laat u wil geskied, soos in die hemel net so ook op die aarde.” Mattheüs 6:10
Dit gons eintlik soos daar vandag gepraat word oor die betekenis van hierdie stelling in die model gebed van Mattheüs 6. Sommige glo dat Jesus hiermee wou leer dat net soos daar byvoorbeeld geen siekte of gebrek in die hemel is nie ons die Vader kan vra dat daar geen siekte of gebrek in ons lewe sal wees nie. Die res van die Nuwe Testament gee egter ‘n ander prentjie en fokus baie meer op ons gééstelike oorwinning in Christus te midde van gebrokenheid. Dit beteken natuurlik glad nie dat ons nie kan bid vir genesing en wonderwerke nie. Dit is net nie die fokus van die Nuwe Testament nie.
Daar is egter iets anders in hierdie stelling van Jesus wat ons maklik mis en wat baie nader aan ons vel kom as ‘n blote akademiese debat oor wat dit presies beteken. Die wil van God kan nie geskied op aarde sonder gewillige en bruikbare dissipels nie. Die wil van die Here is nie net iets wat ons objektief voor kan vra terwyl ons self op ‘n afstand bly staan nie. Die wil van God moet déúr ons geskied. Wanneer ons hierdie gebed bid moet ons bereid wees om self die mense te wees deur wie God hierdie wil laat geskied op aarde. God wil veral die karakter van Jesus deur ons vertoon aan ‘n verlore wêreld. Ons moet daarom self die antwoord word op ons gebed dat God se wil geskied. Maar is ons gewillig en beskikbaar? Dit is die vraag.
DEVELOPING DISCERNMENT – David de Bruyn
Anyone who has been a parent or even a child-minder know one thing. Keep small objects away from babies or they’ll swallow them. Babies have no sense of what is supposed to be put in the mouth and swallowed and what is not meant to be eaten. It is only as they grow up that they learn what shouldn’t be swallowed. Many Christians are like that too. If it’s taught by someone somewhere and sounds Christian, they take it in and believe it. Hence the saying, “They’ll swallow anything.” If it has the name Jesus attached to it, and uses Bible verses, they consider it to be true. Even the most outlandish and unbiblical ideas such as the idea that you can speak out what you want and God must give you that thing because of your faith, this is a popular and largely accepted false teaching. It seems believers are not growing past that stage where they swallow everything and instead look carefully at what they are about to put in their mouths and see if it must be swallowed. What are we talking about? Discernment. Discernment- the ability to make a difference literally. To be able to distinguish right from wrong, truth from error, good from evil. Just as in the physical realm people need to grow in discerning what they put into their mouths, so in the spiritual realm, people must grow in discernment as to what is true and false teaching. Not everything you hear on Christian radio is true doctrine. Not everything you see on Christian TV is true doctrine. Not every Christian book in the Christian book store is truth. There is and always will be a lot of false doctrine. God is especially concerned that His children develop discernment.
Ephesians 4:14-15: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”
PERSEVERING PRAYER – Andrew Murray
Keep on praying. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
One of the greatest drawbacks to the life of prayer is that the answer does not come as quickly as we expect. We are discouraged and think: “Perhaps I do not pray right.” So we do not persevere. Jesus often talked about this. There may be a reason for the delay, and the waiting may bring a blessing. Our desire must grow deeper and stronger, and we must ask with our whole heart. God puts us into the practicing school of persevering prayer so that our weak faith may be strengthened. Above all, God wants to draw us into closer fellowship with Him. When our prayers are not answered, we learn that the fellowship and love of God are more to us than the answers of our requests, and then we continue in prayer. Do not be impatient or discouraged if the answer does not come. “Always be prayerful.” “Keep on praying.” You will find real blessing in doing so. Ask whether your prayer is really in accordance with the will of God and the Word of God. Ask if it is in the right spirit and in the name of Christ. You will learn that the delay in the answer is one of the most precious ways God gives you His grace. Those who have persevered before God are those who have had the greatest power in prayer.
DIE WÊRELD IN DIE KERK – Albert Theron
Wat is die groot verskil tussen die wêreld en die kerk en hoe kan ons onderskei of die wêreld gemeentes of denominasies binne gedring het?
“Judas, nie die Iskáriot nie, sê vir Hom: Here, hoe is dit dat U aan ons U sal openbaar en nie aan die wêreld nie? 23 Jesus antwoord en sê vir hom: As iemand My liefhet, sal hy my woord bewaar, en my Vader sal hom liefhê, en Ons sal na hom toe kom en by hom woning maak.” Johannes 14:22-23
Ware dissipels bewaar die woord van Jesus. Dit is so eenvoudig soos dit. Jesus self het hierdie standaard gestel en die toets vir ons liefde neergelê. As ons sê ons is lief vir Jesus moet ons ook lief wees vir Sy woord. Ons kan en mag nooit Jesus skei van Sy woord nie.
Dit gaan ook nie in die eerste plek oor die verdediging van ons groep of denominasie se leerstellings nie, maar oor absolute lojaliteit aan Jesus en kinderlike gehoorsaamheid aan dit wat die Vader ons self leer uit die Bybel. Kortliks, as ons bely dat Jesus die Here is, sal absolute onderwerping aan Sy woord die kenmerk van ons lewens wees. Daar is so ‘n grootskaalse vermenging van die kerk en die wêreld in ons generasie dat hierdie stelling van Jesus in vers 23 dringend ons aandag eis.
THE SHADOW OF DEATH – Ray Comfort
An atheist is someone who pretends that there is no God. Creation screams of the genius of the creative hand of the Almighty, yet the skeptic shuts down his mind. You can lead an atheist to evidence, but you can’t make him think. He wrongly assumes that the Christian has made a decision to believe in an invisible God for whom there is no evidence. Yet all sane people “believe” in God (see Rom. 1:18-20). Creation and conscience leave the doubter without excuse. However, the requirement for salvation isn’t an intellectual acknowledgement of God’s existence. Rather, it entails believing God. Trusting Him is to implicitly trust His Word, not only accepting it as absolute truth, but appropriating it as though your very life depends on it. And it does. He who believes God repents and trusts in Him who saves us from the wrath that is to come.
An atheist once sent me an email with which I was in total agreement. He said: You are really convinced that you’ve got all the answers. You’ve really got yourself tricked into believing that you’re 100 percent right. Well, let me tell you just one thing. Do you consider yourself to be compassionate of other humans? If you’re right, as you say you are, and you believe that, then how can you sleep at night? When you speak with me, you are speaking with someone who you believe is walking directly into eternal damnation, into an endless onslaught of horrendous pain that your “loving” god created, yet you stand by and do nothing. If you believed one bit that thousands every day were falling into an eternal and unchangeable fate, you should be running the streets mad with rage at their blindness. That’s equivalent to standing on a street corner and watching every person that passes you walk blindly directly into the path of a bus and die, yet you stand idly by and do nothing. You’re just twiddling your thumbs, happy in the knowledge that one day that “walk” signal will shine your way across the road. Think about it. Imagine the horrors hell must have in store if the Bible is true. You’re just going to allow that to happen and not care about saving anyone but yourself? If you’re right, then you’re an uncaring, unemotional, and purely selfish (expletive) that has no right to talk about subjects such as love and caring.
I wrote back and said that I couldn’t sleep at night because I was so horrified by the thought that anyone would go to hell. Since 1982, I have risen from bed around midnight most nights each week to cry out to God to save them. I told him that for more than thirty years I have been “running” the streets, pleading with the unsaved to turn from sin. When we read the book of Acts, we see that this is nothing special. It is our reasonable service and should be the testimony of every believer who professes to possess the love of God. Charles Spurgeon knew what it was to have a deep concern for the lost. He pleaded: “Save some, 0 Christians! By all means, save some. From yonder flames and outer darkness, and the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, seek to save some! Let this, as in the case of the apostle, be your great, ruling object in life, that by all means you might save some.”
DIE ARMOEDE VAN DIE VERSIE-LESERS – Albert Theron
“Maar Hy antwoord en sê: Daar is geskrywe: Die mens sal nie van brood alleen lewe nie, maar van elke woord wat deur die mond van God uitgaan.” Mattheüs 4:4
Die Here kan soms baie spesifiek en vrugbaar met ons kommunikeer deur die regte vers op die regte tyd, maar as ons geestelike voeding bestaan uit ‘n versie hier en daar sal ons nooit sterk word en volwassenheid bereik nie. ‘n Kind wat leef op versnaperinge in plaas van ‘n gereelde ordentlike bord kos gaan sieklik en ondervoed wees.
Die hemelse Vader het ‘n lieflike tafel van verlossing vir Sy kinders voorberei in die 66 boeke van die Bybel en verwag van ons om aan te sit en alles te eet wat vir ons voorgesit is. ‘n Gasheer wat baie moeite gedoen het om ‘n vyfgang maaltyd vir sy gaste voor te sit, sal diep teleurgesteld en beledig voel as hulle net peusel aan ‘n lepeltjie sop en ‘n happie of twee brood neem sonder om eers die hoofgereg te eet. Die Bybelskrywers was profete en apostels wat soos briljante sjefs onder leiding van die Hoof van die huis ‘n volledige maaltyd voorberei het vir die lesers (gaste).
As jy ‘n versie-leser van gewoonte is, gaan jy geestelik skade ly, jy gaan nie volwasse word nie, jy gaan nooit jou potensiaal in Christus bereik nie, jy gaan nie ‘n innerlike transformasie beleef wat Christus in jou na vore gaan bring nie (Rom. 12:2 en Gal. 4:19), jy sal nooit in staat wees om ander mense te help om geestelik te groei en sterk te word nie, en jy loop toenemend gevaar om mislei te word en op syspore te beland wat rampspoedig kan wees. Wat ‘n verskriklike prys om te betaal vir geestelike nalatigheid.
Ek pleit vandag by jou in Jesus naam om jou weë te verander, selfs al is jy vir baie jare al net ‘n versie-leser. Gaan na God, bely jou sonde van nalatigheid en begin dadelik om hele Bybelboeke te lees soos wat die Heilige Gees jou lei. Koop vir jou ‘n studiebybel of maak gebruik van die honderde beskikbare hulpbronne op die internet wat agtergrond gee en jou sal help om ‘n greep te kry op spesifieke Bybelboeke. Maar die belangrikste is net om te lees, lees, lees. Jy mag maar ‘n geestelike vraat wees. Eet jouself trommeldik aan dit wat God vir jou voorsit.
“Waarom weeg julle geld af vir wat geen brood is nie, en julle arbeid vir wat nie kan versadig nie? Luister aandagtig na My en eet die goeie, en laat julle siel hom in vettigheid verlustig.” Jesaja 55:2
Daar wag baie aangename verrassings vir jou as jy jou hart en lewe rig om dit te begin doen. God belowe oor en oor dat Hy deur Sy Woord groot omwentelinge in en deur ons sal bring wanneer ons ernstig raak oor die Bybel en ons harte instel om te hoor en gehoorsaam. Mag Hy ons almal ‘n diep honger en dors gee om Sy Woord te hoor, te bewaar en te gehoorsaam in die krag van die Gees. Dit is die enigste pad van oorvloedige seën in Christus Jesus. Lees Psalm 1, Psalm 19, Psalm 119 en Spreuke 2:1-11 as jy twyfel oor my laaste stelling.
THE FINAL TEST OF ALL THINGS – Austin Sparks
In Acts 17:31 we have these words: “He has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained; whereof he has given assurance unto all men, in that he has raised him from the dead.” The literal rendering is not, by a man, but “in a man whom he has ordained.” That word “ordained” means horizoned. God has made His Son the horizon of everything. Everything has to come within the horizon of this man and be judged according to Him.
You see the point. Christ is the criterion, Christ is the standard, Christ is the measure of that great judgment of the world which God has fixed, the final test of all things. That means that the judgment of the world will be according to how it measures up to Christ, its standing in the light of Christ, as to its attitude toward or relationship with Christ. God will not judge on any other ground. That is a very simple formula for judgment. If God had to take us one by one and judge us on the numerous things which belong to us by our inheritance, our birth, our upbringing, by the fortunes or misfortunes of our lives, well, He would have His hands full, speaking after the manner of men, and it would be something that would require a standard of righteousness so infinitesimal, so exhaustive, as to be almost unthinkable. God is not going to judge us upon the number of our sins, whether few or many, or upon our temperaments, or upon anything like that at all that comes down to us in the bloodstream. His one simple solution is, What is your attitude to My Son? What is your relationship to My Son? How do you stand here in the horizon of Christ, not just as a person, but in relationship with Him as a kind, what He means in Himself? What is your attitude, relationship and measure where the Son is concerned? On that all judgment will be based. And notice, that is a very righteous judgment. It says “he will judge the world in righteousness.” Thank God, that takes in the very thing that so many complain of through their lives, the disadvantages of their inheritance, of heredity, of early training and so on. My dear friends, take heart from this, that on none of those matters is God going to judge at all; it would be unrighteous. He brings us all down to the one issue of our relationship to His Son. Where do you stand with Him? What have you done with Him? What are you making of Him? How are you progressing in your conformity to His image? That is the basis of judgment, and the only one. Christ is the criterion, the final test of all things.
DIE GESKENK VAN DIE EVANGELIE KAN NIE VERDIEN WORD NIE – Albert Theron
Daar is niks meer tragies nie as ‘n godsdienstige mens wat die heerlikheid van die evangelie mis omdat hy nie verby sy eie geregtigheid kan sien nie.
“Want omdat hulle die geregtigheid van God nie ken nie en hulle eie geregtigheid probeer oprig, het hulle hul aan die geregtigheid van God nie onderwerp nie.” Romeine 10:3
Die “geregtigheid van God” is ‘n geskenk wat God ons bied in Sy Seun (Rom. 5:17) en daar is absoluut niks wat ons kan doen om dit te verdien nie.
Hierdie geregtigheid is die enigste basis waarop ons in die teenwoordigheid van ‘n heilige God kan verskyn en in verhouding met Hom kan staan. Dit is 100 persent gegrond op die verdienste van Jesus. Een van die grootste redes waarom mense nie die evangelie met blydskap ontvang en gered word nie is omdat hulle ‘n bydrae wil maak tot hulle eie redding. Ons kan nie werk daarvoor nie. Ons kan dit nie verdien nie. Ons kan niks daar byvoeg nie. Ons kan dit net in geloof en met dankbaarheid ontvang en dan begin om daaruit te leef.
THE SAME LIFE IN US – Bill Freeman
“But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, as the truth is in Jesus.” Ephesians 4:20-21
By observing the Lord’s life on the earth, we can become more familiar with the Lord’s life within us. The one unique life that is described in the four Gospels is the very same life that is now living in us. By studying the Lord’s life in the Gospels, we are not merely considering something objective to us, but something that is also subjective in our spirit. His life lived out in the Gospels is what is now being reproduced in us by His indwelling. As Christians we can have the assurance that the Christ who was once outside of us is the same Christ who is now inside of us. Furthermore, the way Christ lived on the earth is precisely the same way He is living in us. We must see that the kind of life He lived in the flesh is not something different from the life He now lives in us. This is a basic biblical principle—learning how to apply the Lord’s life in the flesh to our own experience of Him in the spirit. To “learn Christ” is to learn Him by His example in the four Gospels. “The truth . . . in Jesus” means that Jesus lived a life of truth, or reality, by always doing things in the Father, with the Father, and for the Father. This was the truth in Jesus demonstrated and recorded in the Gospels. Now as believers having Christ as our life and being taught in the realm of our union with Him, we learn that the relationship He had with the Father in the flesh is the same kind of experience being repeated in us in the spirit. We “have heard Him and have been taught in Him.” Thus, to adequately learn the indwelling Christ in our experience, we need two things: to study the Lord’s example in the Gospels, and to watch how that same life is being worked out in us in the details of our daily life.
THE GOSPEL PRODUCES THE CHURCH – A.W. Tozer
Every local church is a microcosm, having all the qualities of the macrocosm, the church universal. Each local company is ideally and should be actually equipped to do anything that the Head of the church wills to accomplish. Wherever such a company is found, there is the true church, the complete church, so complete that if all the believers in the world were to be gathered in one place it would not add anything to the perfection of the smaller assembly.
Each local church is a fellowship in the deepest spiritual meaning of that word. It comes into being by an afflatus of power and a bestowment of life. It cannot be produced by organization, though after it is there it may be strengthened and improved by a wise and Spirit-led organization. A true church existed in Crete before Titus was left there to ”set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city.” Organization did not create the church; it was imposed upon a church already present, a church which had been born out of the preaching of the gospel. For it is always the gospel that produces the church; there can be no church apart from the gospel.
VERANDER JOU BINNEWÊRELD DEUR DANKBAARHEID – Albert Theron
“Wees in alles dankbaar, want dit is die wil van God in Christus Jesus oor julle.” 1 Thessalonicense 5:18
Dit is net verstommend om te beleef hoe ‘n hartskuif van murmurering na dankbaarheid ‘n mens se hele binnewêreld kan verander. Die openbaring van God se onverdiende guns in Christus, lei onvermydelik tot ‘n opwelling van dankbaarheid in ons harte. Maar aan die ander kant beleef ons ook wonder bo wonder méér van God se genade wanneer ons ‘n atmosfeer van dankbaarheid in ons harte en huise skep.
Genade lei tot dankbaarheid en dankbaarheid ontsluit genade. Dit is so ‘n eenvoudige sleutel tot ‘n lewe van vervulling in Christus en dit is binne bereik van alle dissipels, op alle vlakke van geestelike ontwikkeling. Praat met jou hart en maak in geloof dankbaarheid wakker daar binne. Dit is ‘n slapende reus wat groot veranderinge in jou lewe kan bring, want dit ontsluit soveel ander verlossingswerklikhede wat in God se genade weggelê is vir ons.
ALL OF CHRIST OR ALL OF MAN – C.H. Spurgeon
It is contrary to the very nature of things—that Divine Grace and merit should ever mingle and co-work. Our Apostle has declared times without number that if it is of Grace, it is not of works, otherwise Grace is no more Divine Grace. And if it is of works, then it is not of Grace, otherwise work is no more work. It must be either one or the other. These two cannot be married, for God forbids the bands. He will have it all Grace or all works, all of Christ or all of man. But for Christ to be a make-weight, for Christ to supplement your narrow robes by patching on a piece of His own, for Christ to tread a part of the winepress, and for you to tread the rest—oh, this can never be! God will never be yoked with the creature. You might link an angel with a worm and bid them fly together! But God with the creature? The precious blood of Jesus with the foul ditch-water of our human merits? Never! Never! Our paste gems, our varnished falsehoods, our righteousnesses which are but filthy rags—put with the real, true, precious, everlasting, Divine things of Christ? Never! Unless Heaven should blend in alliance with Hell, and holiness hold dalliance with impurity, it must be one or the other—either man’s merit, absolutely and alone—or unmixed, unmerited favor from the Lord.
Now, I suppose if I were to labor ever so arduously to hunt out this evil spirit from the sons of men, I should miss it, still, for it hides in so many shapes. Therefore let me say that in no shape, in no sense, in no single case and in no degree whatsoever, are we saved by our works or by the Law. I say in no sense, because men make such shifts to save alive their own righteousness. I will show you one man who says, “Well, I don’t expect to be saved by my honesty. I don’t expect to be saved by my generosity, nor by my morality. But then, I have been baptized. I receive the Lord’s Supper. I have been confirmed. I go to Church, or I have a sitting in a meeting house. I am, as touching the ceremonies, blameless.”
Well, Friend, in that sense you cannot be saved by works, for all these things have no avail whatever upon the matter of salvation, if you have not faith. If you are saved, God’s ordinances will be blessed things to you. But if you are not a Believer you have no right to them. And with regard to Baptism and the Supper, every time you touch them you increase your guilt. Whether it is Baptism or the Lord’s Supper, you have no right to either, unless you are saved already. They are both ordinances for Believers and for Believers, only. These ordinances are blessed means of Divine Grace to living, quickened, saved souls.
LEES EERS SELF – Albert Theron
God skenk genadiglik leraars, predikers en skrywers vir Sy gemeentes en ons moet ten volle gebruik maak van hierdie gawes en bedieninge wat daar is vir ons seën en verryking in Christus (Efes. 4:11). Maar aan die ander kant moet ons waak daarteen om kommentare te lees en na leringe te luister oor ‘n onderwerp of ‘n spesifieke Skrifgedeelte voordat ons self by die oorsprong van die fontein, die Bybel, gaan drink het.
Lees eers self die Bybel en laat die Heilige Gees toe om persoonlik met jou eie hart te praat. Selfs al verstaan jy nie aanvanklik alles wat jy lees nie, moenie te gou gryp na jou Bybelkommentare of gunsteling leraars of outeurs nie. Die gevaar daarin is dat jy bloot intellektueel met die Bybel begin omgaan en die wonder van God se lieflike innerlike bediening deur Sy Woord verbeur. Moenie tevrede wees net met ander se insigte nie. Daar is ‘n proses van verstaan in jou eie hart wat baie kosbaar is en wat die Vader self vir jou deur wil neem.
Soms is daar polemiek oor ‘n onderwerp in ‘n gemeente of tussen twee dissipels van Jesus en dan kry ons vinnig ons kommentare en boeke uit om ons argumente te staaf. ‘n Baie beter benadering sou wees om jou konkordansie of soekfunksie vir jou elektroniese Bybel te gebruik en die relevante teksgedeeltes of Bybelboeke sonder vooroordeel te lees en bepeins totdat die Heilige Gees jou persoonlik begin bedien oor die onderwerp. Dan kan jy jou kommentare en ander boeke nader trek en met nederigheid ook ontvang wat die Here vir ander dissipels gewys het in die Woord. Laat ons gaan drink by die oorsprong van die fontein. God nooi ons almal uit en wil groot dinge in ons harte doen as ons net bereid is om self te lees en bepeins.
PEACE WITH GOD – Philip Mauro
The first message of the resurrection is peace with God—settled, firm, everlasting peace, resting upon the enduring foundation of the sacrifice and sufferings of Christ. His first word to His disciples when He appeared in their midst after His resurrection was “Peace”; and then He sent them forth with the word of reconciliation to proclaim forgiveness of sins (John 20:21-23). Moreover, He brought them joy; for we read: “Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord” (verse 20).
Peace and joy were theirs in consequence of resurrection made known to them; and also the gift of the Holy Spirit, for “He breathed on them and said unto them, Receive the Holy Spirit.” “Having MADE PEACE by the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20), He came in person and “proclaimed peace,” not only to those who were near, His Jewish disciples, but to them that were afar off, i.e., Gentiles (Eph. 2:17). This is in fulfillment of the promise of Isa. 57:19, “I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace, to him that is far off, and to him that is near, says the Lord.”
This is the message of peace that falls so sweetly, and with such assurance upon the believer’s ear, when he learns that his sins have been put away, and justly put away, in view of the value of the blood of the cross. There are some things that are said to be too good to be true. But this message of peace is too good not to be true. No one but Him who is true could have originated such a message.
FAITH AND COMMON SENSE – K.P. Yohannan
Nothing is going to be accomplished for eternity without faith. Only that which is done by faith will last. It is impossible to please God without faith (see Hebrews 11:6). Faith is the foundation of everything. Salvation will never happen without faith. Sanctification will never happen without faith. Heaven will never be ours without faith. But we need to be careful not to embrace foolish steps of ungrounded “faith.” We need to keep a balance between faith and the common sense God has given us
The ministry of Gospel for Asia is a testimony to the power of faith in action. The Lord has done so many incredible things that A Life of Balance Faith and Common Sense we alone could have never made happen. What God promised to do, He will do. Faith is one of the subjects I like to talk about, because I see it working continually. Oftentimes, people forget that we cannot respond beyond the measure of faith we have received from the Lord. When we hear incredible stories of God’s dealings with other people, surely it encourages our hearts to believe God for greater things. But in all of this, we must guard against the tendency to exercise “faith” not in line with God’s purposes. We cannot decide on something “good” we want to have happen and then presume God will do it if we keep on praying. We must not fall into the “nameit-and-claim-it” trap. God’s definition of “good” is so much greater than ours. He has our spiritual well-being in His perspective. For a lot of people in Christendom, faith has become a magic wand that will do wonders to meet certain wishes and wants. This type of “faith” is totally self-centered, leaving no room for God’s glory or the extension of the Lord’s kingdom in someone’s life. Hebrews 11 shows those whom God considered people of faith; their lives were spent continually for the glory of God, and they paid the price with their life.
When we read about David facing the giant Goliath and defeating him, and Abraham getting a son even though his natural body was incapable of producing such, and the wall of Jericho falling down, and about all the many incredible miracles recorded in the Gospels—the blind man seeing and the leper healed—we stand amazed to see how these individuals believed God and held onto His promises. We need to realize that the faith they had was not something they could cook up. Rather, it was based on what they heard and learned about the grace and the promises of the living God. We, too, are given the challenge and encouragement to believe and have faith for God to do wonders on our behalf. Let us be careful not to presume on God and take foolish steps, acting out of presumption.
I pray for sick people often, and I see God heal and do miracles. I have seen people recover from illnesses for which there was no treatment. But does that mean I don’t take medicine? No. I have a friend who is a well-known preacher, whom God used to do outstanding miracles. I was an eyewitness to what happened. The blind saw. Totally deaf people heard, and mute people spoke. I was right there when these things happened. One day this pastor told me that he had developed a heart problem. Up to that point, he had experienced continual healing in his life, and he was scared to go to a doctor. But the Lord spoke to his heart and said, “If you don’t go to a doctor, you are going to die. If you go to a doctor and get treatment, you will live.” So he went to the hospital, had surgery and lived. I asked him why he thought this had happened. He told me that he believed the Lord wanted to show him that He heals through medicine and doctors. God wanted him to help other people see this, too, so that they were not led into blind faith. It is not God’s intent that people die because they refuse medical attention. My friend realized that the whole experience was God’s plan to help him understand the balance needed in this area. God is the author and finisher of our faith. Faith is something He gives us through His Word and in proportion to our readiness to receive it. We cannot generate our own faith through the flesh and positive thinking. We need to have understanding so we can discern these things. It is absolutely essential to keep a balance between faith and common sense so that we do not fall into counterfeit faith.
THE CROSS AS THE FIXED POINT FOR DISCIPLES OF JESUS – Jessie Penn-Lewis
We need a ‘fixed point’, which acts as a centre and a goal, and that ‘point’ in the history of the world-back to the ages before it, and forward to the ages following it-is the Cross of Calvary. It is the central pivot of the dealing of God with the universe in every aspect. It is because we Christians get away from the ‘fixed point’ of the Cross, that we wander into all kinds of cul-de-sac places, where we lose the balance and right perspective of truth. At this, opening meeting we will gather around this fixed point-the Cross of Christ-so that we may get to know more of the Christ of the Cross. From this the Holy Spirit will enable us to open out other aspects of truth in their relationship to the Cross.
Let us begin at Romans 4: 25 (Conybeare’s translation), which reads thus, “Our Lord Jesus; Who was given up to death for our transgressions, and raised again to life for our justification”. Throughout the epistles of Paul we find this repeated again and again. The death of the Lord Jesus Christ was a substitutionary and a propitiatory sacrifice.
The Cross is therefore central for justification, and central for the forgiveness of sins, and the justification of the sinner. Again read Romans 5: 6-8, “While we were yet helpless [in our sins], Christ at the appointed time died for sinners. Now hardly for a righteous man will any be found to die [although some perchance would endure death for the good], but God gives proof of His own love to us, because, while we were yet sinners, Christ DIED FOR us”. Then in verse 9, “Much more, now that we have been justified in His blood, ( i.e., By participation in His blood; that is, being made partakers of His death. ) shall we be saved through Him from the wrath of God. For if, when we were His enemies, we were reconciled to God by the DEATH of His Son, much more being already reconciled, shall we be saved, by SHARING IN HIS LIFE”.
The words are so plain and obvious in their meaning, that to an open mind, it is clear that Christ died for us; we are “justified in His blood”; when we were enemies we were “reconciled to God by the death of His Son”, and, being reconciled, we are saved by “sharing in His life”. These are declared basic facts, showing that Christ’s death on Calvary was a death for sinners, and a reconciliation with God of sinners in a state of enmity against Him; and a salvation for those sinners through the impartation of a ‘share’ of the life which Christ, as their Substitute, obtained for them out of His death.
Now let us pass on to see the Cross as the centre, or ‘fixed point’, for VICTORY OVER SIN, OVER THE WORLD, OVER THE FLESH, AND OVER THE DEVIL. For a clear unveiling of the Cross as the ‘fixed point’ for the Christian’s victory over sin, we turn to Romans 6. It is the basic chapter in the whole of the New Testament, where the deep meaning of the death at Calvary is set forth, in language which is extraordinary in its simplicity and clearness, and marvellous in its comprehensive explanation of the gospel. No wonder that the “god of this world” has influenced so many to relegate Romans 6 to the theologians, so as to keep believers from understanding its simple truth, because the deceiver knows it to be the CRUCIAL MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL from the experimental standpoint.
God-ward, the death of the Lord Jesus Christ was the atonement, and the propitiation for sin, but in Romans 6 we are shown the Cross in its manward aspect-in its dealing with the sinner. Here is the practical, deep and vital message to the sinner, showing him the way of deliverance from the power of sin, from the world, the flesh and the devil. Here in the Romans 6 message of Calvary, Paul laid the foundation deep and, strong. Here lies the bed-rock depth of the Cross, as the ‘fixed point’ for the personal life of the believer, personal equipment, and personal victory in every aspect of need.
VREEMDELINGE MET ‘N VERSKIL – Albert Theron
Met die vleeswording van Jesus 2 000 jaar gelede het die koninkryk van God kragtig in ons tyd en ruimte ‘n verskyning gemaak en van daardie tyd af gaan die oproep uit na alle mense om hulle te bekeer en die goeie nuus van verlossing persoonlik toe te eien. Die boodskap was nooit bedoel om net ‘n kaartjie hemel toe te wees wat ek eenmalig ontvang en daarna gaan ek aan met ‘n onverloste lewe nie. Ons is nie net gered om hemel toe te gaan nie, maar om in die hier-en-nou van ons lewens die heerlikhede van die hemel te begin beleef. As dissipels van Jesus is ons lewens ook bedoel om ‘n vertoonvenster te wees van die onsigbare werklikheid van die hemel.
“Julle is die lig van die wêreld. ‘n Stad wat bo-op ‘n berg lê, kan nie weggesteek word nie.” Mattheüs 5:14
Aan die ander kant maak die Nuwe Testament dit ook baie duidelik dat ons nie moet leef vír die tydelike nie, maar juis vanuit ons hoop op ‘n nuwe hemel en aarde heilig moet leef ín die tydelike. In die boek Handelinge sien ons verstommende wonderwerke en deurbrake in die hier-en-nou, maar dit het nooit die apostels se boodskap verander nie, dat ons uitgered word uit die teenwoordige bose wêreld (Gal. 1:4) om voorberei te word vir ‘n nuwe hemel en aarde. Ons belewenis van die “kragte van die toekomstige wêreld” (Heb 6:5) is nie bedoel om ons so gemaklik te maak op hierdie aarde dat ons, ons sig op die nuwe hemel en aarde verloor nie. Maar ons moet ook nie so gefokus wees op die ewigheid dat ons die kragtige werkinge van die Heilige Gees in ons hede misken, of selfs ontken, nie. Ja, ons bly ” bywoners en vreemdelinge” (1 Pet. 2:11) op hierdie aarde, maar vreemdelinge met ‘n verskil. Ons is mense wat kan getuig van ‘n verlossing van ons ou sondige lewe en ook van ‘n God wat teenwoordig is by ons en in ons in die hier-en-nou van ons lewens.
THE ESSENTIAL MEANING AND NATURE OF THE CHURCH – Austin Sparks
Speaking of the Church, let us at once make it clear that we refer to the Church which was born on the Day of Pentecost and is the Church of the New Testament. To describe this is to make distinctions clear.
The Church takes its character from Christ risen. It is referred to as that which is ‘risen together with Christ’. It is as truly a miracle as was His resurrection. It is a supernatural entity.
If Christ in resurrection can only be known spiritually, i.e., in a spiritual way by the Holy Spirit’s revelation, that is also true of the true Church. It is inscrutable, it is a “mystery”. Although it may have embodiment in human life it is not a temporal thing. If we had lived in the first days of the Church we should not have been able to identify it by special buildings, dress, ritual, liturgy, or such externals. While certain language and ways of life may have characterized it, the thing that marked it out most clearly was its life. This was a living entity. There was a life in it which was a spiritual power, a spiritual beauty, a spiritual joy, a spiritual influence. This was a self-propagating and reproductive life.
The one impression registered upon people who came into contact with it was this livingness, and triumphant livingness. If asked to explain it, the answer would invariably and exultingly be ‘Jesus lives, and He lives within us and in the midst of us.’
If Christ was raised by the power of God, so the Church survived the most terrible ordeals of persecution and manifold suffering, went on its way overcoming immense difficulties, by reason of that same power. It was the embodiment of “the power of his resurrection”.
Again, if in resurrection Christ was released from merely local and geographical limitations, the very life and progress of the Church had to be universal. Local testimonies and representations there would be, but only of the universality of Christ. The local is never the horizon in the New Testament. Christ risen, ascended, and reigning was the Horizon, and the Holy Spirit saw to it that when He was really in charge, the vision and passion was to the fullest compass of Christ. In the thought of God, nothing was to be smaller than Christ.
These are but a few statements of facts. A very big volume would be required in which to do justice to the true nature of the Church.
THE NEED FOR A CIRCUMCISED INTELLECT – Austin Sparks
It [the self-life/flesh] makes use of our intellect and our reason in order to overpower opposition and bring things our way, to argue and to substantiate our own position. And therefore, before you and I can ever get into the true realm of heavenly things, we have got to have a “circumcised” intellect, reason, mind. Is that not exactly what the Lord was saying to Nicodemus? Here is this teacher of Israel, coming to argue, to discuss, and the Lord says, “It is no use. You may have been circumcised in the flesh as a good Jew, but what you need is to have your intellect circumcised”. “Except a man be born anew, he cannot SEE…” “You have got it all in the mind, all as an intellectual apprehension. If I have spoken of earthly things, and you do not understand them, where will you be if I begin to talk to you about heavenly things? Out of your depth altogether! Devout son of Abraham though you may be, you need to experience a radical severance between your natural mind and the things of Heaven.” That is the trouble with many people. It is their head that is in the way all the time — the one thing that is obstructing their progress is their own head! Their stubborn-mindedness, or their clever-mindedness; their intellectual superiority, or their argumentative disposition: you meet it all the time — there is no way through. If you try to take them on that line you are simply beating your own head against a wall. The Lord Jesus never attempted such an approach in trying to win souls. He simply said: “You must be born from above”.
THE PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST – Thomas Schreiner
The preeminence of Christ breathes through all of Colossians. Apparently, the church was influenced by certain teachers who contended for a different path to divine fullness. We need not determine here the precise contours of what is often called “the Colossian heresy.” The details are obscure, but the main picture is reasonably clear. The teachers advocated divine fullness through asceticism and devotion to angels (Col 2:8-23). Paul emphatically repudiates this teaching because it robs Christ of his supremacy. The magnificent hymn of Colossians 1:15-20 emphasizes the person of Christ. He is the image of God, the firstborn, the agent of creation and the purpose of creation. The created order is sustained and preserved by him, and he is “before all things” (Col 1:17). Not only is he the ruler of creation, but he is also the ruler of the church (Col 1:18). He was resurrected “in order that he should be preeminent in all things” (Col 1:18). The divine fullness is in him, and reconciliation of all things is via his cross (Col 1:19-20). The rival teachers may claim to have the “mystery” that is the secret to vitality and growth, but they should be summarily dismissed. The “mystery” is “Christ in you” (Col 1:27), God’s mystery is “Christ” (Col 2:2), and “in him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden” (Col 2:3). Seeking to find wisdom through any other source than Christ is folly. The philosophy offered by the teachers is deficient because “it is not according to Christ” (Col 2:8). Growth in the Christian life comes by walking in him (Col 2:6-7), not by following some ascetic regime where certain foods are forbidden and special festival days are observed (Col 2:16-17, 21-23). These things are “shadows,” and the substance is Christ (Col 2:17). Nor will people discover fullness by pandering to angels or worshiping them (Col 2:10, 15, 18). The angels are subordinated to Christ because he created them (Col 1:16), defeated them at the cross (Col 2:15) and reigns over them (Col 2:10). Since all of God’s fullness resides in Christ, believers will experience fullness only in him (Col 2:9-10). Believers should hold fast to the head, who is Christ himself (Col 2:19), and realize that in him they have all they need: their sins are forgiven (Col 2:14), they have died to the elements of the world (Col 2:20), and they have been raised up with Christ (Col 3:1). “Christ is your life” (Col 3:4), and believers await future glory with him.
HIERDIE PLEK GAAN BRAND, BOET!- Albert Theron
Ons generasie is besig om die seilstoele op die Titanic mooi te rangskik terwyl hy besig is om te sink. Ons huur vrolik binnenshuise versierders om ‘n brandende gebou fraaier en meer “cozy” te maak. Jesus het gesê Sy dissipels is “die lig van die wêreld”, maar ons moet dit binne konteks van die hele boodskap van die Nuwe Testament verstaan. Ons optimisme oor hierdie wêreld en sy toekoms moet ‘n nekslag toegedien word sodat ons Bybels kan begin dink oor die koninkryk van God en ons bestaan op aarde.
Waar dissipels van Jesus betrokke is, sal daar noodwendig opheffing plaasvind, maar wat is ons boodskap aan hierdie wêreld? Dit is veronderstel om te wees: “Hierdie plek gaan brand, maar daar is ‘n uitweg, Sy naam is Jesus”. Die Noag boodskap is steeds van toepassing. Die einde kom, maar daar is ‘n ark deur God berei. Die wat dit glo kan die komende oordeel ontvlug. Die wêreld sal nie weer deur water vergaan nie, maar hy gaan beslis deur vuur vergaan.
Waar is jou hoop, my vriend, en wat is jou boodskap? Lees asseblief die onderstaande tekste biddend en hoor wat die Heilige Gees vir jou sê.
“Waardeur die toenmalige wêreld met water oorstroom is en vergaan het. Maar die teenswoordige hemele en die aarde is deur dieselfde woord as ‘n skat weggelê en word vir die vuur bewaar teen die dag van die oordeel en die verderf van die goddelose mense.” 2 Petrus 3:6-7
“Julle wat die koms van die dag van God verwag en verhaas, waardeur die hemele deur vuur sal vergaan en die elemente sal brand en versmelt.” 2 Petrus 3:12
“En met baie ander woorde het hy hulle besweer en vermaan en gesê: Laat julle red uit hierdie verkeerde geslag.” Handelinge 2:40
“En aan julle wat verdruk word, verligting te gee saam met ons in die openbaring van die Here Jesus uit die hemel met sy magtige engele in vuur en vlam, wanneer Hy wraak uitoefen op die wat God nie ken nie en op die wat aan die evangelie van onse Here Jesus nie gehoorsaam is nie.” 2 Thessalonicense 1:7-8
“En sy Seun uit die hemele te verwag, wat Hy uit die dode opgewek het, Jesus wat ons van die toekomstige toorn verlos.” 1 Thessalonicense 1:10
“En ek het ‘n nuwe hemel en ‘n nuwe aarde gesien, want die eerste hemel en die eerste aarde het verbygegaan; en die see was daar nie meer nie.” Openbaring 21:1
THE MYSTERY OF THE INCARNATION – Harry Ironside
You remember that when the children asked, “What mean ye by these things?” they were told how their fathers had been slaves in the land of Egypt, and how God had delivered them and brought them out of the house of bondage. The parents were to explain the meaning of the Passover lamb, and though, perhaps, they realized it not, it was a picture of redemption.
One can think of our blessed Lord as a mere child taking the place of a little Jewish boy in that home, looking up into the eyes of His dear mother and saying, “What mean ye by these things?” Then as Joseph went on to explain, He would know far better than Joseph the real meaning of the Passover rites. He knew that He was the true Passover Lamb. He had come from heaven in order to give His life a ransom for many. He knew that the blood of the Passover lamb typified His own precious blood soon to be shed for the world’s redemption, and yet, perhaps all this knowledge did not come to Him as a child immediately, for we are told that Jesus increased in wisdom as He increased in stature and in favor with God and man. The mystery of His incarnation is beyond our keenest comprehension. As the Eternal Son of God we hear Him saying to the Father, “Lo, I came to do Your will, O My God. Yes, Your law is within My heart.” Voluntarily He left the throne of glory for the manger of Bethlehem. As God, of course, He knew all things, and yet as Man He chose to grow in wisdom as He grew in stature. It is a mystery. We cannot understand how He, who was the Eternal Wisdom, could yet learn from the Word of God. When we turn back to the prophet Isaiah we hear Him say, “He wakens morning by morning, He wakens My ear to hear as the learned.” Our Lord Jesus, as a little child, grew and studied the Word of God. Later He fed on the Word of God. It was His constant delight and joy. All these different circumstances must have spoken to His heart as He knew He was the One who had come to fulfil every one of the types and shadows of the Law.
SUMMONED TO A WALK IN THE SPIRIT – Arthur Katz
We are summoned to a walk in the Spirit, moment by moment. What God blessed, anointed, and made into a life-giving thing in the past, He may not use today. Early in my ministerial walk, I had to learn that just because the Lord gave me a message yesterday that blessed the people, I cannot, as a matter of course, bring it out today in order to be a blessing. Any kind of methodology, any kind of technique, anything that is cut and dried and can be put down in a set number of laws or principles is not likely to be the perfect thing of God in a specific situation. There may be a time when the Lord will employ it, but not every time. Jesus said: “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
Assuredly gathering that the Lord has called us to a particular place and that we have, in truth, presented our bodies as a living sacrifice, we can boldly speak and do what is in our heart at that moment. If you are a mature believer whose life is not your own, and whose only purpose is His glory, then this is wise counsel. If you are fleshly, carnal, and immature, wanting to do your own thing, wanting to be seen and applauded, then for me to suggest to you that you ought to do what is in your heart is the most dangerous counsel I can give. It is only when your will is His will, your thought is His thought, and your heart is His heart that it is safe to say, “do what is in your heart.” The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delights in his way.” (Psalm 37:23)
IS JY TUIS IN JOU EWIGE TUISTE? – Albert Theron
Die evangelie van Johannes maak dit baie duidelik dat Jesus selfs terwyl Hy op aarde was ‘n hemelse adres gehad het.
“Niemand het ooit God gesien nie; die eniggebore Seun wat in die boesem van die Vader is, dié het Hom verklaar.” Johannes 1:18
Jesus het geleef in Sy Vader en vanuit Sy Vader se liefde en gemeenskap. Dit word op verskillende maniere vir ons uitgebeeld in die evangelie van Johannes. Die verstommende is egter dat hierdie bestaanswyse en manier van leef ook van die begin af Jesus se plan was vir Sy dissipels. Kyk bietjie wat bid Hy daar in Johannes 17.
“Vader, Ek wil dat waar Ek is, hulle wat U My gegee het, ook saam met My sal wees, sodat hulle my heerlikheid kan aanskou wat U My gegee het, omdat U My liefgehad het voor die grondlegging van die wêreld.” Johannes 17:24
Sjoe! ‘n Verstommende versoek. Baie jare later skryf Paulus aan die gemeente in Thessalonika en hy bevestig sommer met die intrapslag dat hulle in die Vader en die Seun is. Dit is hulle ewige tuiste, nou-al!
“Paulus en Silvánus en Timótheüs aan die gemeente van die Thessalonicense wat in God die Vader en die Here Jesus Christus is: Genade vir julle en vrede van God onse Vader en die Here Jesus Christus!” 1 Thessalonicense 1:1
Ons is steeds in ons liggame op hierdie aarde, maar ons geestelike tuiste is vandag reeds die Vader en die Seun. Is jy tuis in jou ewige tuiste en geniet jy die geestelike voordele in die hier-en-nou? Baie dissipels leef ongelukkig met ‘n baie radikale skeiding in hulle denke tussen die tydelike/sigbare en die ewige. So asof die geestelike en die ewige eers “eendag in die verskiet” ‘n werklikheid gaan word. Dit is net eenvoudig nie waar nie. Ons kan nou-al begin leef in die geestelike werklikhede in Christus.
THE SECRET OF MINISTRY IS THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST – Austin Sparks
The secret of ministry is revelation, the revelation of Jesus Christ. Oh, how important it is that our ministry may be revelation. There is all the difference between Bible Study and Bible reproduction, and a ministry of revelation by the Holy Spirit as to the inner meaning of the Word of God which is Christ. Our ministry begins there. Paul saw the Lord, and that is where his ministry began, “I have appeared unto thee for this purpose…”. And in the case of all those who have been vessels of the Lord’s purpose, it has been a matter of a basic revelation of the Lord, nothing else, and no real heavenly ministry has ever commenced until there has been such a revelation of the Lord. There can be ministry of a kind, but it is not that in the power of resurrection which is utterly of God. Such is what the Lord desires.
Our object is to see that priestly ministry is a matter of revelation, and that the revelation of Jesus Christ; the revelation of what is wholly of God and nothing of man.
HEERSKAPPY IN DIE HEMEL BRING OORWINNING OP AARDE – Albert Theron
Christus het getriomfeer oor al die magte en kragte van die duisternis en gaan sit as Heerser aan die regterhand van die Vader. Ons is ten volle geïdentifiseer met Sy heerskappy. Lees die volgende drie verse in Efesiërs saam in hierdie konteks.
“En Hy het alle dinge onder sy voete onderwerp en Hom as Hoof bo alle dinge aan die gemeente gegee.” Efesiërs 1:22
“En saam opgewek en saam laat sit in die hemele in Christus Jesus.” Efesiërs 2:6
“Sodat nou deur die gemeente aan die owerhede en magte in die hemele die menigvuldige wysheid van God bekend gemaak kan word.” Efesiërs 3:10
Dit is dus baie duidelik dat ons nie nodig het om self oorwinning te bewerkstellig nie. Die probleem lê nie daar nie, maar by ons onkunde en gevolglike patetiese pogings om uit ons eie krag en wysheid deurbrake op aarde te bring vir dosyne situasies en omstandighede wat net God werklik kan verander. Die Nuwe Testament roep ons daarteenoor op om ons hele perspektief geheel en al te verander en te begin om te kyk na alles op hierdie aarde vanuit die hemelse heerskappy van Jesus Christus. Dit verg egter ‘n baie radikale verandering van denke en die geloof en geduld om ons hande af te hou van dinge wat God bonatuurlik wil bestuur volgens Sy eie wil en voorneme.
“As julle dan saam met Christus opgewek is, soek die dinge daarbo waar Christus is en aan die regterhand van God sit.” Kolossense 3:1
WAT DRYF MENSE? – Albert Theron
Al ooit gewonder wat dryf mense? Soeke na identiteit.
Toe Jesus se bediening begin op dertig, stap Hy die geskiedenis in met ‘n totale en absolute begrip van wie Hy is. Hy is nie in kompetisie met enigiemand nie en Hy hoef niks te bewys nie, want Hy leef uit Sy Vader se opinie. Sy waarde is nie in die weegskaal nie, want Sy Vader se hart is absoluut stabiel en onveranderlik. In die evangelies maak Hy bekend wie Hy is, waar Hy vandaan kom en wat Sy roeping is op aarde.
My identiteit bepaal my my fokus en my doel in hierdie lewe. Dit is duidelik regdeur die Bybel en ook in die geskiedenis. As ek nie weet wie ek is nie sal ek verward bly oor my roeping en bestemming. Mense jaag na geld, mag, sukses en invloed omdat hulle identiteit in wording is en hulle sin en waarde soek in dit wat hulle kan verwerf op aarde. Glo dit of nie, dit sluit ook die motivering van die godsdienstige mens en godsdiensleiers in.
“Want hulle het die eer van die mense meer liefgehad as die eer van God.” Johannes 12:43
Die wonderlike is dat almal wat waarlik Jesus se dissipels word oombliklik bevry word van die soeke na identiteit. Hoekom? Want ons verwantskap met Jesus maak ons onlosmaaklik deel van Sy identiteit en roeping. In Handelinge sien ons hoe dissipels en gemeentes lyk wat leef uit hierdie identiteit in Jesus. In die briewe van die Nuwe Testament word terme soos “in Christus”, “saam met Christus” en “deur Christus” kosbare sleutels om ons op koers te hou in ons roeping en bestemming. Dit is net mense wat verstaan dat hulle identiteit nie meer in die weegskaal is nie wat werklik ander kan dien en hulle lewe kan uitstort in die hier-en-nou.
PRECIOUS TO ALL THAT BELIEVE IN HIS NAME – J.C. Philpot
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32
Wherever Jesus is graciously and experimentally manifested to the soul, and made known by any sweet revelation of his glorious Person, atoning blood, and finished work; a secret yet sacred power is put forth, whereby we are drawn unto him; and every grace of the Spirit flows toward him as towards its attractive center. Thus Jeremiah speaks of the saints of God as coming and singing in the height of Zion, and flowing together to the goodness of the Lord (Jer. 31:12). And thus Isaiah speaks to the church of God, “Then you shall see, and flow together, and your heart shall fear [or as the word rather means, shall ‘palpitate’ with love and joy], and be enlarged” (Isaiah 60:5).
This view of Christ by faith is what the apostle speaks of to the Galatians, as Jesus evidently set forth before their eyes (Gal. 3:1). As thus set before our eyes, he becomes the object of our faith to look at, (“Look unto me and be saved, all the ends of the earth”); “the altogether lovely,” to whom love flows; and the Intercessor within the veil in whom hope effectually anchors. As, then, the blessed Lord is revealed to the soul by the power of God, his glorious Person held up before the eyes of the spiritual understanding, his blood and righteousness discovered to the conscience, and his suitability to all our needs and woes experimentally manifested, the blessed Spirit raises up a living faith whereby he is looked unto and laid hold of, and thus he becomes precious to all that believe in his name.
THE ETERNAL GOD IS OUR REFUGE – David Harsha
The same gracious eye that watched over the wandering tribes of Israel in their long journey through the Arabian wilderness, is now watching with the tenderest care and love over that chosen band, who have forsaken all for Christ, and who are marching through a changing, terrestrial scene to a higher, brighter, nobler world on high. “But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.” “He that touches you, touches the apple of his eye.” (Anyone who harms you harms my most precious possession.) The same kind hand that led Israel of old to the promised land, guides the humble followers of Jesus to mansions of glory in the skies. “The Lord of hosts is with us.” “The eternal God is our refuge; and underneath and around us are the Everlasting Arms.”
In the 8th chapter of the Song of Solomon we have the posture of the pilgrim, advancing to the celestial city, beautifully presented to us “Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?” Here we see the blessed object on which the Christian reposes, while passing through this scene of fluctuating and perishing mortality. He relies entirely upon Jesus Christ, the Beloved of his soul. He look to no other source for protection and support. He hopes in no other refuge. His language is, “Lord, to whom would we go? You alone have the words that give eternal life.”
THE CHURCH WHERE EVERYONE SERVES – Watchman Nee
Are all hands? A thousand hands or a hundred hands are a monster, not the body. I would also go one step further and ask, Is there only one hand? We cannot say that only we can do a certain type of work. We must see that the Body of Christ includes much more than us alone. Everyone can receive grace directly from the Head, not necessarily through us. The Lord’s grace always amazes me. How great is His grace! Since the Lord is gracious, He can cause others to receive grace apart from me; He can cause them to receive the blessing of God without passing through me. In the church the Lord can raise up all kinds of workers. We have to bring all the brothers and sisters into the work. We must not make them be the same as us. If only a few brothers are serving in a certain place and the rest of the brothers and sisters cannot work, this is just about the same as the one-man service of the denominations. As one-man service is abominable before God, so is the service of only a few people. The service of the whole Body is what pleases God. God says that everyone must serve. When we bring everyone into the work, we will see that this is the church. This is the content of the church.