THE SUPPLIED LIFE
The very nature of the Christian life requires that we live a life of being daily supplied. We begin this life by receiving, and we go on by receiving. The Christian life is a supplied life. It is a life that has already been lived out and preserved for us in the Holy Spirit. Now, that “lived out life” is received and supplied to us. The Christian life is not dependent on our own resources or any potential in ourselves. It has everything to do with the rich resources of Another life. Indeed, The Supplied Life is Christ Himself. He has been prepared by God for us and is now being supplied and furnished to us.
The way God does this is by organically joining us as branches to Christ, the true Vine (John 15:1, 4-5). Thus, the supplied life comes by abiding as a branch in the Vine. Our daily need is to spend time with the Lord cultivating our life of abiding in Him so as to receive all the riches of His Person and work. Our understanding of the Christian life needs to be renewed to see that our one unique need is to learn how to receive from the Lord. Paul’s statement to the Corinthians sums up this spiritual principle: “What do you have that you did not receive?” This shows us that everything in the Christian life is supplied to us.
It is for this reason that we need to spend time cultivating such a life. For Christ to be everything to us in our daily life, we need daily supply. In our time with the Lord, a number of things may take place. To begin, we may need to cast all our preoccupations and anxieties upon Him (1 Pet. 5:7). Then we may spend time just feeding upon the Word by praying over a verse or part of a verse. We can take the very words of Scripture themselves and make them our prayer, as the apostle Paul tells us: “Take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit.” Following this we may sense the need to wait upon the Lord quietly, allowing the love-life of the Father and the Son to be cultivated within our hearts (Gal. 4:6; Rom. 5:5). We may find ourselves making melody in our heart to the Lord by singing a hymn or chorus. Paul and Silas blended their praying with singing: “Now, about midnight Paul and Silas while they were praying were also singing praises to God, mingling petition with songs of praise . . .” Our time with the Lord may include a blend of several ways of contacting Him. However we spend our time with the Lord and whatever we do during that time should usher us into God Himself. It is a time to have direct contact with Him in spirit, where nothing is mere routine. It is this contact that nourishes, supplies, and furnishes Christ to us as The Supplied Life.
GELOOF IN GELOOF OF GELOOF IN GOD?
Daar is ‘n massiewe aanslag op Bybelse geloof in ons tyd, en hierdie aanslag kom nie uit die sekulêre wêreld nie maar van binne die kerk. Bybelse geloof is geloof in God, nie geloof in geloof nie.
Ons geloof kan volgens die Bybel net in werklikheid sterker word namate ons in Christus meer sien van Gód se Vaderskap, karakter, liefde en betroubaarheid. Derduisende gelowiges vandag het die leuen gesluk dat God van ons verwag om te visualiseer, “positief” te dink en “positief” te bely en dat ons sodoende ‘n realiteit kan skep op hierdie aarde wat God se wil ‘n werklikheid sal maak. Volgens hierdie valse benadering staan God magteloos en wag dat óns outoriteit moet neem en begin dink en praat wat ons wil sien gebeur in ons lewens. Sukses, gesondheid, finansies, of wat ek ookal nodig het lê binne my bereik as ek dit maar net lank genoeg visualiseer, bedink, en aanhou bely. Dít is nie Christenskap nie, maar eerder “Christian Science”.
Skakel maar net die televisie aan op een van die godsdienskanale en jy sal hierdie leuen in een of ander vorm iewers in die meeste van die boodskappe vind. Die waarheid is dat God die mens geskep het as ‘n afhanklike wese! Jesus het na hierdie aarde gekom en aan ‘n kruis gesterf om ons terug te bring na ‘n plek van absolute afhanklikheid van God, nie om ons in ons eie droomwêreld te plaas waar ons God begin speel nie. Jesus is dié Seun van God en Hy het gesê toe Hy op aarde was “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” (Joh. 5:19).
Daar is nog talle sulke stellings van afhanklikheid in die evangelie van Johannes waar Jesus, die Leidsman van ons geloof, vir ons demonstreer hoe ons veronderstel is om te leef op hierdie aarde. Ware dissipels van Jesus groei in afhanklikheid van God, en hulle denke en woorde is in alles onderworpe aan die Vader se wil. Die Vader soek ‘n gesindheid van afhanklikheid by ons. Hy wil hê ons moet in verhouding leef met Hom. Verhouding is die sleutelwoord! Hierdie verhouding vind ons net in Christus. Hy het eens en vir altyd vir ons kom wys dat net ‘n lewe van absolute afhanklikheid van die Vader en onderwerping aan Sý wil ‘n werklik geseënde lewe is.
“Geseënd is dié wat weet hoe afhanklik hulle van God is, want aan hulle behoort die koninkryk van die hemel.” Mattheüs 5:3 (NAV)
THE ART OF PLEASANT SPEECH
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. – Proverbs 25:11
It is well to form the habit of saying kindly things. Sincere words of commendation help all true men and women to live more worthily and to achieve better things. They should be spoken, too, while people live. Kind words come too late when they are held back till death has closed the ears and chilled the heart, when words cannot avail to comfort or help.
Too many people speak the wrong words, too – words that hurt, that fall on sensitive feelings like frost on the flowers. They thoughtlessly allude to matters which are of painful interest. They stir up sad or bitter memories in those who are trying to forget them. They lack the tact which always turns conversation into pleasant channels. We should all learn the art of pleasant speech. It is not a matter of elocution or grammar – it is a matter of heart culture. Love must be the inspirer, and there must be the grace of thoughtfulness in word and tone.
THE UNKNOWN JOURNEY
John Henry Jowett
And he went out, not knowing where he was going. Hebrews 11:8
Abram began his journey without any knowledge of his ultimate destination. He obeyed a noble impulse without any discernment of its consequences. He took “one step,” and he did not “ask to see the distant scene.”
And that is faith, to do God’s will here and now, quietly leaving the results to Him. Faith is not concerned with the entire chain; its devoted attention is fixed upon the immediate link. Faith is not knowledge of a moral process; it is fidelity in a moral act. Faith leaves something to the Lord; it obeys His immediate commandment and leaves to Him direction and destiny.
And so faith is accompanied by serenity. “He that believes shall not make haste”—or, more literally, “shall not get into a fuss.” He shall not get into a panic, neither fetching fears from his yesterdays nor from his to-morrows. Concerning his yesterdays faith says, “You have beset me behind.” Concerning his to-morrows faith says, “You have beset me before.” Concerning his to-day faith says, “You have laid Your hand upon me.” That is enough, just to feel the pressure of the guiding hand.
GOD MAAK DIE GODDELOSE REGVERDIG
“Wanneer mense ’n werk verrig, word hulle loon nie as ’n guns beskou nie, maar as vergoeding. Die saak staan heeltemal anders met daardie mense wat geen prestasie het waarop hulle kan staatmaak nie, maar wat glo in Hom wat die goddeloses vryspreek – hulle word vrygespreek deurdat hulle glo.” Rom. 4:4-5 (NLV)
“Maar aan hom wat werk, word die loon nie na guns toegereken nie, maar na verdienste; aan hom egter wat nie werk nie, maar glo in Hom wat die goddelose regverdig, word sy geloof tot geregtigheid gereken.” Rom. 4:4-5 (OAV)
Abraham, die vader van ons geloof, het geglo dat God die goddelose (hyself!) regverdig maak sonder enige verdienste “en dit is hom tot geregtigheid gereken” (Rom. 4:3). God skenk slegs Sy geregtigheid in Christus aan diegene wat erken dat hulle geen geregtigheid in hulleself het nie.
Wanneer dissipels van Jesus hulle greep op hierdie waarheid verloor het dit die volgende gevolge:
– ons raak geestelik hoogmoedig
– ons raak Fariseërs wat geweldig bewus is van ons andersheid in plaas daarvan om te besef dat ons deur genade gered is en nie omdat ons anders of beter is as ander mense nie
– ons het nie meer ‘n diepe waardering en dankbaarheid vir ons redding nie
– ons verstaan of waardeer nie die kosbare boodskap van Christus wat in ons leef nie, want ons het ongemerk begin om ons eie regverdigheid te bevorder
Wanneer ons egter gedurig hierdie waarheid voor oë hou het dit tot gevolg dat ons:
– lewe vanuit ‘n onuitspreeklike dankbaarheid dat die Here ons onverdienstelik geregverdig het
– kan lewe in ware nederigheid en nie die ‘eiesinnige godsdiens en nederigheid’ wat Kolossense 2:23 van praat nie
– eg kan wees en eerlik met onsself en andere, omdat ons besef dat ons almal in dieselfde bootjie is en die Here ewe nodig het
– waarlik die lewe en vryheid van die Evangelie kan beleef en besef dat ons niks het om te verdedig nie, want ons hele geloof en hoop is in “die God wat die goddelose regverdig maak”. Ons kan dus onbevange leef.
OUR PRESENT PURPOSE IN THIS WORLD
He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him. 2 Corinthians 5:15 NIV
We can only know Christ after the Spirit, so that Christ for us in this dispensation is spiritual in the sense that all that we know of Him or can have to do with Him can only be in the Spirit. “Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.” (2 Cor. 5:16).
He is known after the Spirit. Our resources are spiritual. The weapons of our warfare are spiritual. Everything has got to come to us from above. The one great effort of the enemy, which is again and again successful through this dispensation, has been to bring the things of God down to the attachment with this world, attachment to this earth, to make them something here…. You only need to read John to see how unattached everything is, how everything is lifted clean out of this world, and everything is bound up with the fact that Christ is in heaven, and that the Lord‟s people are here, but not here; here, but not known; in the world, but not of it; a mystery people in this world so far as the world is concerned… unrecognized, unknown. And yet by that very means and for that very reason, the most potent force that this universe knows: the spiritual, hidden, secret people of God in this earth.
To take hold of Christianity and mold it, and shape it, and systematize it, and crystallize it, and make it some mighty movement here; with its roots here, with all its associations such as man can see, appreciate and approve; to register itself upon the ordinary consciousness of this world as being something; all of that is contrary to the Word of God and is contrary to spiritual life and spiritual power. Christ is in heaven, and we are lifted out, translated, seated together with Him in the heavenlies. Our present purpose in this world is testimony only, by which others will be taken out of the nations, a people for His name.
EXPECT TO SEE MORE AND MORE
You shall see greater than these. John 1:50
This is spoken to a child-like believer, who was ready to accept Jesus as the Son of God, the King of Israel, upon one convincing piece of argument. Those who are willing to see shall see; it is because we shut our eyes that we become so sadly blind. We have seen much already. Great things and unsearchable has the LORD showed unto us, for which we praise His name; but there are greater truths in His Word, greater depths of experience, greater heights of fellowship, greater works of usefulness, greater discoveries of power, and love, and wisdom. These we are yet to see if we are willing to believe our LORD. The faculty of inventing false doctrine is ruinous, but power to see the truth is a blessing.
Heaven shall be opened to us, the way there shall be made clear to us in the Son of Man, and the angelic commerce which goes on between the upper and the lower kingdoms shall be made more manifest to us. Let us keep our eyes open toward spiritual objects and expect to see more and more. Let us believe that our lives will not drivel down into nothing but that we shall be always on the growing hand, seeing greater and still greater things, till we behold the great God Himself and never again lose the sight of Him.
Paul David Tripp
If eternity is the plan, then it makes no sense to shrink your living down to the needs and wants of this little moment.
There is no doubt about it—the Bible is a big-picture book that calls us to big-picture living. It stretches the elasticity of your mind as it calls you to think about things before the world began and thousands of years into eternity. The Bible simply does not permit you to live for the moment. It doesn’t give you room to shrink your thoughts, desires, words, and actions down to whatever spontaneous thought, emotion, or need grips you at any given time. In a moment, your thoughts can seem more important than they actually are. In a moment, your emotions can seem more reliable than they really are. In a moment, your needs can seem more essential than they truly are. We are meant to live lives that are connected to beginnings and to endings. And we are meant to live this way because all that we do is meant to have connection to the God of beginnings and endings, by whom and for whom we were created.
It’s hard to live with eternity in view. Life does shrink to the moment again and again. There are moments when it seems that the most important thing in life is getting through this traffic, winning this argument, or satisfying this sexual desire. There are moments when our happiness and contentment shrink to getting those new shoes or to the steak that is just ten minutes away. There are moments when who we are, who God is, and where this whole thing is going shrink into the background of the thoughts, emotions, and needs of the moment. There are moments when we get lost in the middle of God’s story. We lose our minds, we lose our sense of direction, and we lose our remembrance of him.
God reminds us that this is not all there is, that we were created and re-created in Christ Jesus for eternity. He reminds us not to live for the treasures of the moment: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:19–20). Think about this: if God has already granted you a place in eternity, then he has also granted you all the grace you need along the way, or you’d never get there. There is grace for our fickle and easily distracted hearts. There is rescue for our self-absorption and lack of focus. The God of eternity grants you his eternal grace so that you can live with eternity in view.
For further study and encouragement: Luke 12:13–21
THE KEY TO EVERYTHING WITH GOD IS LIFE
Everything was created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:16 (NLT)
The key to everything with God is Life…. We must realize that Christ‟s ascendancy, supremacy, power, ability and all that goes with Headship, is in terms of His prerogative of Life.
He is the Son, vested with Life; He has the right given Him of God to give Life to as many as believe. That is why He is Head. You can set up people in office and make Popes of them and they may make great claims, but what does it amount to? When you come up against death, what can they do? But bring in one who has the power of life over death, be he ever so humble on this earth, he is head, he is master, he is lord. You may bring all the greatest physicians that the world knows into the presence of death, and when death takes charge, they are helpless. But supposing you bring in a little, insignificant person who is nobody, with no capabilities whatever in this world, no training, and that one be invested with the power of life over death, he rules out all these others, they are as nothing in his presence, he is lord of the situation.
Christ is Head, not just by appointment, but in terms of Life. We may be very insignificant people on this earth, nothing at all to be taken account of by the world, but if only we have Christ in fullness of Life we are in a supreme position, we make all the great organizations and institutions as nothing. It is a spiritual thing, the impact of Christ; not tradition, not history, not theology, but the spiritual power of His presence in terms of Life through faith and righteousness.
ONUITSPREEKLIKE BLYDSKAP VIR EWIG
Omdat die heerlikheid van Christus oneindig is, is die potensiaal vir menslike vreugde oneindig. Dit is die hoofrede waarom ons nie verveeld gaan raak in die hemel nie. God het ons geskep om die heerlikheid van Christus ononderbroke te aanskou en sodoende reflekteerders te wees van Sy heerlikheid (2 Kor. 3:18). Hierdie heerlikheid kan egter net gereflekteer word deur ‘n blymoedige hart wat versadig is en dan oorloop van die vreugde van die Here. Hoe lyk dit met jóu hart?
“U sal my die pad van die lewe bekend maak; versadiging van vreugde is voor u aangesig, lieflikhede in u regterhand, vir ewig.” Psalm 16:11
“Vir wie julle, al het julle Hom nie gesien nie, tog liefhet; in wie julle, al sien julle Hom nou nie, tog glo en julle verbly met ‘n onuitspreeklike en heerlike blydskap.” 1 Petrus 1:8
THE SPIRIT OF THIS WORLD
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 mine 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.
THE INCREASE OF WISDOM
The merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver. – Proverbs 3:14
There is something that gives better returns than silver or gold in the world’s markets. It is better to be wise than to be rich. A proper use of wisdom yields larger and better gains than the best use of money. Wisdom increases continually in the life of him who possesses it.
Take the wisdom of trusting God, and how experience enlarges it! The timid faith of to-day becomes the heroic confidence of to-morrow.
Or take the wisdom of loving others. Only begin it and practice it, and your heart will expand and your hand will acquire new skill in ministering. Many a young person with only a commonplace life, by simple beginning in a small way to help others and do good, has at length attained a measure of helpfulness that is simply amazing.
A sailor boy brought home to his mother a little flower from some foreign land, and all the fuchsias in England are the harvest from that little kindness.
JESUS HIMSELF AS THE LIFE AND SOURCE OF EVERYTHING
By A.B. Simpson
It is the person of Jesus Christ we want. Plenty of people get the idea and do not get anything out of it. They get it into their head, and it into their conscience, and it into their will; but somehow they do not get Him into their life and spirit, because they have only that which is the outward expression and symbol of the spiritual reality. I once saw a picture of the Constitution of the United States, very skillfully engraved in copper plate, so that when you looked at it closely it was nothing more than a piece of writing, but when you looked at it at a distance, it was the face of George Washington. The face shone out in the shading of the letters at a little distance, and I saw the person, not the words, nor the ideas; and I thought, “‘That is the way to look at the Scriptures and understand the thoughts of God, to see in them the face of love, shining through and through; not ideas, nor doctrines, but Jesus Himself as the Life and Source and sustaining Presence of all our life.”
I prayed a long time to get sanctified, and sometimes I thought I had it. On one occasion I felt something, and I held on with a desperate grip for fear I should lose it, and kept awake the whole night fearing it would go, and, of course, it went with the next sensation and the next mood. Of course, I lost it because I did not hold on to Him. I had been taking a little water from the reservoir, when I might have all the time received from Him fullness through the open channels. I went to meetings and heard people speak of joy. I even thought I had the joy, but I did not keep it because I had not Himself as my joy.
At last He said to me – Oh so tenderly – “My child, just take Me, and let Me be in you the constant supply of all this, Myself.” And when at last I got my eyes off my sanctification, and my experience of it, and just placed them on the Christ in me, I found, instead of an experience, the Christ larger than the moment’s need, the Christ that had all that I should ever need who was given to me at once, and for ever! And when I thus saw Him, it was such rest; it was all right, and right for ever. For I had not only what I could hold that little hour, but also in Him, all that I should need the next and the next and so on, until sometimes I get a glimpse of what it will be a million years afterwards, when we shall “shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of our Father” (Matt. 13: 43), and have “all the fullness of God.”
OUR PERSONAL IDENTITY IS IN THE HEAVENLY REALMS
Several years ago, as I was wrestling with the teachings of Paul, I was unable to see or grasp what he meant when he wrote that we were seated in the heavenly places. The words of Paul which really stumped me were in Colossians 3:1‐3. He wrote: “Since then you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
I could grasp the idea that I had died with Christ. This truth changed my way of thinking. I was dead to sin, dead to the world, dead to “self.” I could even grasp the idea that I had been raised with Christ and was therefore a new creature. Because I was raised with Christ, I tried very hard to think of myself as being a “born‐again, Spirit‐filled victorious saint in this world,” but this caused me all kinds of conflicts and guilt, because my life did not agree with my resurrected identity. While I wanted to believe, and would confess that I was a new victorious creature because I was resurrected with Christ, I could not get my behavior, my attitudes and my life to go along with my confession. The conflicts were caused by the fact that I was unable to understand the significance of the fact that God had also identified me with the ascension of Jesus Christ.
One day, while walking the streets of beautiful downtown Omaha, Nebraska where I was speaking at a church that evening, I was meditating upon those verses from Colossians 3. I was prayerfully asking the questions: “What did the apostle Paul mean when he said that I was dead and my real life was hidden with Christ in God? What does it mean that Christ is my life? Open my eyes Lord!” After a few moments, the thought hit me: “If in God’s eyes you ascended into the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, then, as far as God is concerned, you are not even here. You are where Jesus is! For this reason, you have no identity here on this earth. You have no reason to even be concerned with yourself? From God’s perspective, you have no life to improve and no righteousness or holiness to call your own. You have no great ministry in which you can boast. You are dead, and the person of Christ Jesus, dwelling within you by the Holy Spirit, is your only life.”
This was a revolutionary eye‐opening thought which changed my entire approach to myself. At the time, it struck me as being very funny that I had been so wrapped up in myself when in the eyes of God, I was not even here. I began to laugh. I have often wondered what some of the people who passed me on the streets, giving me weird looks, were thinking. The truth is, God put us to death with Christ, made us alive in the resurrection, and raised us up with Christ in the ascension. Our personal identity is in the heavenly realms. While the death of Jesus frees us from the “negative self,” His ascension frees us from trying to find a “new spiritual self,” which can be just as big a problem. It is no fun trying to act “spiritual” in the company of other people who are trying to act “spiritual.” They may see through your act. By identifying us with the ascension of Jesus, God took us out of the picture completely. Having been identified with Christ, WE ARE WHERE HE IS! Our citizenship is in heaven. Our real life is hidden with Christ in God.
REDDING HET ALLES TE DOEN MET DIE AANGESIG VAN JESUS CHRISTUS
Hoe ons ookal die evangelie wil beskryf of definieër, een ding is duidelik; geen definisie van die evangelie wat nalaat om die “aangesig van Jesus Christus” sentraal te maak, kan ten volle die goeie nuus openbaar nie.
“Want God wat gesê het dat daar uit duisternis lig moet skyn—dit is Hy wat in ons harte geskyn het om die verligting te bring van die kennis van die heerlikheid van God in die aangesig van Jesus Christus.” 2 Korinthiërs 4:6
Ons word gered “in die aangesig van Jesus Christus” soos wat die Heilige Gees Hom vir ons “afskilder” (Gal. 3:1) tydens die ware prediking van die evangelie. Ons word verder ook geheilig en verander soos wat ons áánhou om die heerlikheid van Christus te aanskou (2 Kor. 3:18).
Daarom kan ons waarlik sê dat Jesus Christus nie net ons Redder is nie, maar dat die aanskoue van Sy aangesig ook die doel van ons redding is. Hy is voorwaar die “Leidsman en Voleinder” (Heb. 12:2) van ons geloof! Die Bybel sê nie verniet dat die straf van die ongelowige ‘n ewigheid “weg van die aangesig van die Here” is nie. Dit is ‘n skrikwekkende gedagte.
“Hulle sal as straf ondergaan ‘n ewige verderf, weg van die aangesig van die Here en van die heerlikheid van sy sterkte.” 2 Thessalonicense 1:9
Dink jy aan jou geloofslewe as die aanskoue van die aangesig van Jesus in die evangelie? Dit is nie net absoluut skriftuurlik nie, dit is die grootste vreugde moontlik vir enige skepsel. Die hemel het alles te doen met Sy aangesig en die hel met die afwesigheid van sy aangesig.
WHERE THERE IS LOVE THERE IS A WAY THROUGH
If you touch anything that is other than love – if you touch hate, animosity, suspicion, prejudice, criticism, jealousy, envy or any other thing that is contrary to love – you touch death. It is horrible. When you meet somebody who is eyeing you, not sure of you, suspicious of you, oh, how helpless, how hopeless, the situation is; you cannot get on, you are glad when you have passed, but you are sad. You have met with a touch of death. You touch love in another child of God coming out to you, and oh, what a prospect fills the air, what possibilities arise! There is a way through, everything possible where there is love.
That is the issue which bounds all, and that is why you begin with the tree of life. You end with the tree of life, but it is in the garden, the garden of Divine love. That tree can only thrive in the soil of love. These are very practical matters with a challenge. Do not forget that while you need people to love you and show you love, so that your spiritual life may grow and you may be released from smallness and pettiness and limitation and be enlarged, other people need your love to the same end; and you are not going to enlarge other peoples’ spiritual life by criticizing them, by eyeing them. You are going to help their spiritual enlargement by loving them with the love of God.
DIE VRUG VOLG VANSELF
“Bly in My, soos Ek in julle. Net soos die loot geen vrug kan dra van homself as dit nie in die wynstok bly nie, so julle ook nie as julle in My nie bly nie.” Joh. 15:4
“Maar julle moet toeneem in die genade en kennis van onse Here en Saligmaker, Jesus Christus…” 2 Pet. 3:18
Ons hemelse Vader is die landbouer (Joh. 15:1) en soos enige goeie boer verwag Hy ‘n oes. Sy doel in alles is om vrug te sien in ons lewens wat Hom as landbouer verheerlik. Daar is ‘n vreugde in die oes wat niks anders kan bring nie. Ons probleem is egter dat ons so dikwels probeer om uit onsself vrug te dra. Jesus maak dit baie duidelik dat ons net vrug kan dra as ons in Hom bly. D.w.s. as ons toeneem en groei in ons afhanklikheid van Hom in elke aspek van ons lewens soos wat ons harte al hoe meer gevul word met die kennis van Sy heerlikheid.
Ons verantwoordelikheid is om ons rykdom in Christus in die Bybel te ontgin en geniet. Die Vader sal sorg vir die groei. Ek hoef nie te probeer om groei te bewerkstellig nie. Soos wat ek op Jesus fokus en in verhouding met Hom leef vind die groei vanself plaas en die vrug volg vir seker! O wat ‘n salige rus bring dit wanneer ons hierdie waarheid begin ontdek.
THE KINGDOM NEITHER ENTIRELY PRESENT NOR ENTIRELY FUTURE
When does God accomplish his reconciling work? Nearly all Christians admit that, in one sense or another, God is bringing history to a cosmic climax. But one branch of the Church has said, “Not now; then!” And in reaction, another group has said, “Not then; now!”
The argument has centered on the nature of the Kingdom of God. Those who postpone any real presence of the Kingdom until after Christ’s return (“Not now; then!”) expect substantial renewal now only in the realm of individual religious experience, but not in politics, art, education or culture in general, and not even really, in the Church. On the other side are those who so emphasize present social renewal that both personal conversion and the space-time future return of Christ are denied or overshadowed, shadowed, and our deep sinfulness and rebellion are not taken seriously.
Our hope should be that orthodox Christians throughout the world can come to see that the Kingdom of God is neither entirely present nor entirely future. There should be no false antithesis between the presence and the future coming of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God (the uniting of all things under Christ) is now here, is coming and will come. This is certainly one of the lessons of the parables of the Kingdom.
Francis Schaeffer expresses this more balanced view when he speaks of a “substantial healing” now in all areas of alienation caused by sin. Avoiding the extremes sometimes found both in premillennialism and in postmillennialism, Schaeffer says Christians should not put all real reconciliation off into an eschatological future; neither should they expect total perfection now. What God promises is a substantial healing now and a total healing after Christ’s return.’
What this means is that God has already begun the reconciliation of all things in human history. The “fullness of time” has come (Gal. 4:4; Eph. 1:10), but not in total fullness. The decisive act of God’s reconciling work has taken place in Jesus Christ. God’s cosmic plan is now unfolding. The Church is not the Kingdom but it is bound up with the Kingdom. It is the people of the Kingdom of God, the “eschatological community” which already lives under and proclaims God’s rule.’ Jesus’ disciples are colaborers with him in revealing the Kingdom, for the head and body act together (2 Cor. 5:18-6:1; 1 Cor. 3:9). But even in its action the Church knows and confesses that the full coming of the Kingdom awaits Jesus’ final revealing at his second coming.
IS JY ‘N DISSIPEL?
Bybelse geloof is gebaseer op liefde vir God. Dit is nie net om in te stem met Bybelse feite of om dit te bely nie. Ek wonder of daar ‘n waarheid is wat ons generasie meer nodig het om te hoor as hierdie een.
Vir een of ander rede het die idee by ons posgevat dat party dissipels Jesus liefhet en dat ander maar net glo in Hom en dat dit nie regtig so ‘n groot verskil maak in die finale analise nie. Solank jy net glo. Reg?
Nee, heeltemal verkeerd. Die “duiwels glo ook” (Jak. 2:19), maar hulle het geen liefde vir God nie. So ‘n geloof kan niemand red nie.
Waarom is die terme van dissipelskap wat Jesus neerlê so streng? Soos byvoorbeeld Mattheüs 10 vers 37: “Wie vader of moeder bo My liefhet, is My nie waardig nie; en wie seun of dogter bo My liefhet, is My nie waardig nie.“
Want dit toets ons liefde vir Hom! Sonder hierdie liefde kan ons volgens Jesus self níe Sy dissipels wees nie. Jesus het geen dissipels wat Hom nie só liefhet nie. Nie eers een nie. Miskien moet ons weer gaan dink oor wat dit beteken om “dissipels” te maak “van al die nasies” (Mt. 28:19) en wat die inhoud en oogmerk is van die evangelie wat ons verkondig.
Maar los dit ons nie dan net weer by redding deur verdienste en nie deur geloof alleen nie? Nee geensins nie, want hierdie liefde vir Jesus is die gevólg van Sy liefde vir ons en dit is dan ook die wese van Bybelse geloof.
“Ons het Hom lief, omdat Hy ons eerste liefgehad het.” 1 Johannes 4:19
Indien hierdie liefde vir Jesus dus nie in my hart is nie, bewys dit net een ding; die evangelie het nog nooit tot binne in my hart deurgedring om daar Bybelse geloof op te wek nie (Rom. 10:17). Dan het ek dringend nodig om na God te draai en te bid dat dit wel sal gebeur. Dit is letterlik ‘n saak van lewe en dood.
ONE MASTER-PASSION, CHRIST
In the last resort, his [Paul’s] life and work and preaching and writing and witness were all utterly consistent, for they were all Christ. “To me to live is Christ” he said : ” life means Christ to me,” as Dr. Moffatt translates it. ” I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ.” It was the very voice of the apostle that was speaking through Luther, when he declared ” We preach always Him, the true God and man. . . . This may seem a limited and monotonous subject, likely to be soon exhausted, but we are never at the end of it. “
“He is Alpha and Omega, ” said the early Church ; Christ, as we should say, is simply everything in life from A to Z : that was literally Paul’s experience. He spoke of ” the simplicity that is toward Christ,” meaning that in this difficult, complex, and often incoherent world the life of a true Christian would always be conspicuous for a deep, inner coherence and unity, an integration of experience, a simplicity of which the secret was a single-hearted devotion and loyalty to one Master, an undivided heart laid at Jesus’ feet.
And if ever a man had a right to speak thus, Paul had : for that undivided heart was his. Hence we might take his own confession to the Philippians and set it as the motto of his life, ” This one thing I do. ” The quest for a doctrinal system, the search for a unified Paulinism, ceases when you have heard that. ” If he had been this (a system-maker),” declares Bishop Gore, “he would have saved the controversial and critical world a great deal of trouble, but he would not have been St. Paul. ” No, and he would not have been the flaming, royal spirit to whom all generations of Christians look back with gratitude to God. He would not have been the mighty instrument he proved himself in God’s hand for the converting of the world. He would not have been the man who shines as a beacon for ever because he had one master-passion, Christ.
Herein lies the true unity, deeper than all logical precision, more enduring than all imposing systems. With utter clearness, the great day of Damascus had revealed to him Christ as the sole meaning of his own life and of all life, and the very centre of the universe of God ; and all the days since then had verified and confirmed the revelation. Possessed, from that first glorious hour of discovery, with an overmastering gratitude to the Lord to whom he owed it, with an utter conviction that what had then happened to himself could happen to everyone, and with a consuming passion to see it happening all over the earth and to share his Christ with all mankind, he threw everything he had, everything he was, into his response to the Gospel challenge. ” This one thing I do “- that is the final, real, consistency. Systems, dogmatisms, Paulinisms have no more unity than the shifting sands ; but Paul’s Gospel, spoken and written, stands on solid rock. And that Rock is Christ.
THE MOST PRECIOUS TRUTH ABOUT ADOPTIVE SONSHIP IN THE GOSPEL
Marcus Peter Johnson
Only through and in Christ do we have “adoption as sons” (Rom. 8:15, 23; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5), and only in and through Christ are we “born of God” (John 1:13; 1 John 4:7; 5:1) so as to become “children of God” (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1; 5:2).
The fact that God adopts us and we thereby become children of God is based in the reality of God’s own relationship to his Son. It is not a reality that is derived from God external to himself—a category of blessing that God creates outside of the Father-Son relationship internal to his being—but an existence that is derived from within God’s communal being as Father and Son.
That is exactly what is so stunning about adoptive sonship—it is a sharing in the Son’s own relationship to the Father: “He who loves me will be loved by my Father” (John 14:21). There is no adoption, no other way to be children of God, no experience of the fatherly love of God except through the Father’s love for his only begotten Son.
ONLY FIRSTHAND KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST WILL GIVE US THE VICTORY
The trouble with a lot of people is that they will not hand up their tradition to God and let Him transcend all that is merely secondhand and bring them from zero into something of Himself. They are clinging to their accepted, already-made beliefs and doctrines, and God has His great difficulty there. He has to say, in effect: ‘All right, I cannot do anything here. I must go and work where I have a chance.’ If God is going to do today what He did in Samuel’s day, somehow there has got to be that clean cut in between what is merely tradition and what is experience, what is secondhand and what is firsthand, what has come to us from the outside and what has come to us inside.
You can see how true this was with such men as Paul. What a tradition! What an inheritance! What a history! Ah, but what a break right down to death and starting all over again! He said: “It was the good pleasure of God… to reveal His Son in me” (Gal. 1:15-16). That is the beginning. We need not enlarge upon it. This is the very first thing. God needs men and women, a vessel which is not constituted upon something secondhand, although that something may be true and right and of Himself. Do not despise it, but remember that is not good enough. You have got to have it from the beginning in yourself, and God would do that. He can do it, and some of us know how drastically He can do it. We have had a big tradition; we have had it all and been in that whole history and realm, and then an end was brought, and so complete that it was beginning all over again, even although we were preachers and in the full flood of Christian work and activity – an end, and a new beginning, everything born right out from God in a new way.
Well, something like that is necessary. The Lord will have His own way of doing it. You ask Him to do it. Your transaction with the Lord must be this: ‘Lord, give me firsthand knowledge of Yourself. Bring me into the place where everything is living between You and myself, and where I know You for myself.’ You may go through it, but God will do it. It is essential.
Do you brethren – those of you who have had years of experience – agree with me that one of the paralysing handicaps today is a fully-fledged, established system of Christian doctrine which is taken up in a secondhand way and propagated? Put that round the other way. Is not the weakness of today the inability of men to come forth and say: ‘Thus saith the Lord! The Lord has spoken to me and He has spoken to me today!
WILSKRAG OF GEWILLIGHEID?
In die wêreld is dit gewoonlik die persoon met die sterkste wilskrag en deursettingsvermoë wat suksesvol is. Motivering aktiveer die wil en die wil gee die deurvoering vir dit wat ons beplan. Daarom is ons ook gou om vandag vir mekaar te sê “glo net jy kan”!
Is dit egter hoe dissipelskap werk? Word Jesus effektief gevolg deur menslike wilskrag? Ek lê aan jou voor dat die appél van die evangelie op gewilligheid (m.a.w. die hart) is en nie wilskrag per se nie.
“My seun, gee my jou hart, en laat jou oë ‘n welgevalle hê in my weë.” Spreuke 23:26
Enigiemand wat Jesus wil volg op die pad van die kruis kom gou agter dat wilskrag nie hier gaan werk nie. Daarteenoor verwag die Here dat ons gedurig net ons harte voor Hom sal hou in ‘n liefdesgewilligheid sodat Hy dan deur die krag van die Gees Sý wil in en deur ons kan laat geskied. Gewilligheid teenoor wilskrag is nie ‘n passiewe dissipelskap (passiwiteit) nie, maar ‘n baie aktiewe luister vir die stem van die Gees in my binneste.
“Laat nogtans nie my wil nie, maar u wil geskied!” Lukas 22:42b
Ek vermoed dat hierdie eenvoudige waarheid vir baie (wat dalk al moedeloos is langs die pad van ‘n wilskrag Christenskap) ‘n groot las van hulle skouers sal afrol om dan eerder die “sagte juk” en “ligte las” van Jesus op te neem (Mt. 11:30).
Gaan dink ‘n bietjie oor die volgende tekste in hierdie verband:
“Bewaak jou hart meer as alles wat bewaar moet word, want daaruit is die oorspronge van die lewe.” Spreuke 4:23
“…dit is goed dat die hart versterk word deur genade…” Hebreërss 13:9
“Neem my juk op julle en leer van My, want Ek is sagmoedig en nederig van hart, en julle sal rus vind vir julle siele.” Mattheüs 11:29
VICTORY OVER SATAN
Read 2 Corinthians 2:5-11.
“Lest Satan should gain an advantage over us, for we are not ignorant of his devices.” The apostle only saw two forces, the power of the devil on the one hand and the person and honor of the Lord Jesus on the other, and, in comparison with these two opposing forces, the injustice of his enemies and his own personal wrongs all sank into insignificance.
It is Satan that inspires every case of spiritual declension, every separation of friends and flocks, every ecclesiastical controversy, every mutual injury and resentment, and when we yield to vindictiveness or impatience, we are but pleasing him and playing into his hands. His deep design was to destroy the soul that he had led astray, and his most powerful weapon was discouragement and despair. If he could only lead this man to give up hope and to consider himself rejected and lost, then his point would have been gained. The apostle therefore was deeply concerned lest “such an one should be swallowed up of over-much sorrow,” and thus Satan gain the advantage over him.
The great adversary loves to hide his hand and work in disguise. He tries to make people prominent in our thoughts and judgments, so that in their misconduct we shall overlook the greater plotter who simply uses them as pawns on the great chessboard. Let us recognize him and we shall always find that he cannot bear the light of exposure, and the moment we see his hand our victory is assured.
IS ONS GEMEENTES VANDAG ADAMVERBETERINGS-SENTRUMS?
Gestel jy neem tien lidmate uit tien verskillende gemeentes in Suid-Afrika en jy vra hulle om in net ‘n klompie sinne die essensie van Christenskap op te som. Hoeveel van hulle sal op een of ander manier klem lê op die feit dat Christenskap nie gaan oor die verbetering van Adam nie, maar die vorming van die lewe van Christus in die dissipel en dan die ekspressie van Christus deur die dissipel? M.a.w. dat ons so geïdentifiseer is met die dood (sterf saam met Hom) en opstanding (staan op saam met Hom) van Jesus dat God die Vader niks anders van ons verwag nie as ‘n geloof wat wegkyk van onsself sodat Christus alles in en deur ons kan wees (Heb. 12:2; Kol. 3:1-3).
Is die meeste gemeentes vandag nie tragies Adamverbeterings-sentrums in plaas van sentrums wat fokus op die openbaring van Christus in en deur “gewone” dissipels nie? Daar is net twee moontlike gemeenteprogramme, ongeag die wye verskeidenheid van denominasies en kerkgroepe in Suid-Afrika:
- Die evangelie skenk vir die gevalle Adam vergifnis van sondes en poog dan om die presiese Adam wat God aan die kruis veroordeel het te verbeter vir die res van sy pad van dissipelskap.
- Daar is vergifnis van sondes in Christus, maar daarna is die pad van dissipelskap die groei vandie nuwe mens in Christussoos wat die gevalle Adam en sy hele selfsugtige leefwêreld as “dood” gereken word (Rom. 6:11).
Indien jy voel dat dit te gekompliseerd is of onnodig tegnies of nie werklik so belangrik nie of nie die dringendste kwessie vir die gemeentes van Jesus Christus nie wil ek net enkele tekste (uit honderde in die Nuwe Testament) aan jou voorhou met die hoop dat dit jou genoegsaam sal stimuleer om jou eie studie van die Nuwe Testament te gaan doen in die lig van hierdie essensiële waarheid.
“Want soos deur die ongehoorsaamheid van die een mens baie tot sondaars gestel is, so sal ook deur die gehoorsaamheid van die Één baie tot regverdiges gestel word.” Romeine 5:19
“Want soos hulle almal in Adam sterwe, so sal hulle ook almal in Christus lewend gemaak word.” 1 Corinthians 15:22
“Ek is met Christus gekruisig, en ék leef nie meer nie, maar Christus leef in my. En wat ek nou in die vlees lewe, leef ek deur die geloof in die Seun van God wat my liefgehad het en Homself vir my oorgegee het.” Galasiërs 2:20
“My kinders, vir wie ek weer in barensnood is totdat Christus in julle ‘n gestalte verkry.” Galatians 4:19
“Maar ons het hierdie skat in erdekruike, sodat die voortreflikheid van die krag van God mag wees en nie uit ons nie.” 2 Corinthians 4:7
“Waar daar nie Griek en Jood, besnedene en onbesnedene, barbaar, Skith, slaaf, vryman is nie, maar Christus is alles en in almal.” Colossians 3:11
THE ROOTS OF OUR HEARTS HAVE GROWN DOWN INTO THINGS
Before the Lord God made man upon the earth, He first prepared for him a world of useful and pleasant things for his sustenance and delight. . . . They were made for man’s use, but they were meant always to be external to the man and subservient to him.
In the deep heart of the man was a shrine where none but God was worthy to come. Within him was God; without, a thousand gifts which God had showered upon him. But sin has introduced complications and has made those very gifts of God a potential source of ruin to the soul. Our woes began when God was forced out of His central shrine and things were allowed to enter. Within the human heart things have taken over. Men have now by nature no peace within their hearts, for God is crowned there no longer, but there in the moral dusk stubborn and aggressive usurpers fight among themselves for the first place on the throne.
This is not a mere metaphor, but an accurate analysis of our real spiritual trouble. There is within the human heart a tough, fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess. It covets things with a deep and fierce passion. The pronouns my and mine look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant. They express the real nature of the old Adamic man better than a thousand volumes of theology could do. They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease.
The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God’s gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution.
This letter-preaching deals with the surface and shadow of things, and not the things themselves. It does not penetrate the inner part. It has no deep insight into, no strong grasp of, the hidden life of God’s Word. It is true to the outside, but the outside is the hull which must be broken and penetrated for the kernel.
The letter may be dressed so as to attract and be fashionable, but the attraction is not toward God nor is the fashion for heaven. The failure is in the preacher. God has not made him. He has never been in the hands of God like clay in the hands of the potter. He has been busy about the sermon, its thought and finish, its drawing and impressive forces; but the deep things of God have never been sought, studied, fathomed, experienced by him. He has never stood before “the throne high and lifted up,” never heard the seraphim song, never seen the vision nor felt the rush of that awful holiness, and cried out in utter abandon and despair under the sense of weakness and guilt, and had his life renewed, his heart touched, purged, inflamed by the live coal from God’s altar.
His ministry may draw people to him, to the Church, to the form and ceremony; but no true drawings to God, no sweet, holy, divine communion induced. The Church has been frescoed but not edified, pleased but not sanctified. Life is suppressed; a chill is on the summer air; the soil is baked. The city of our God becomes the city of the dead; the Church a graveyard, not an embattled army. Praise and prayer are stifled; worship is dead. The preacher and the preaching have helped sin, not holiness; peopled hell, not heaven.
WANNEER GOD MET ONS PRAAT IN DIE NAG
“Verder is ’n woord op geheimsinnige wyse na my gebring, en my oor het ’n gefluister daarvan opgevang, by die gedagtespel, uit naggesigte gebore, wanneer diepe slaap op die mense val.” Job 4:12-13
Die manier wat die Bybel die openbaringe en insig beskryf wat ‘n mens soms in die nagure kry wanneer alles stil is en jy meer innerlik gefokus is, is aangrypend! God kommunikeer voortdurend met ons, ons moet net seker maak dat ons luister. Selfs in die nagure wil Hy ons leer en lei.
“Ek sal die Here loof wat my raad gegee het; selfs in die nag vermaan my niere my.” Psalm 16:7
DO NOT FORGET!
“’Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.”
These chilling words from a popular movie of a few years back compel us as it were to think deeply of the responsibility of every new generation to not allow precious things to be lost.
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children–” Deuteronomy 4:9
“For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.” 2 Peter 1:9
It is astounding to see how easily we can forget the redemptive works of God and the spiritual lessons He has taught us. We are sometimes so seamlessly swallowed up by the sights and sounds of the world of the senses and the demands of the present.
Disciples of Jesus have already been declared righteous in Christ and separated unto God, but to swim against the tide of a secular culture is not something that happens automatically and effortlessly. Without an intense focus and a deep heart devotion to Jesus we just drift along with the corruption and fallenness of our culture and zeitgeist and we forget that we have to constantly by faith and hope keep track of the invisible and eternal realities in Christ.
This is one of the reasons why we so urgently need to take up the Bible with an undivided heart and a resolute focus on Christ so that we would be enabled with deep conviction to transmit the precious things of the past to a younger generation lost in the evil of this present age. This should preferably happen while your children are still living at home. Afterwards it becomes increasingly difficult. If the younger generation fails to see the glory and beauty of Christ displayed in the older generation the truly precious things are lost in the winds of time and circumstance. It happens so easily. Do not forget!
99% van dissipelskap is net God wat ons AANDAG probeer kry!
“En die sorge van hierdie wêreld en die verleiding van die rykdom en die begeerlikhede in verband met die ander dinge kom in en verstik die woord, en dit word onvrugbaar.” Markus 4:19
“En ‘n ander deel het in die goeie grond geval en gegroei en honderdvoudige vrug opgelewer. Toe Hy dit gesê het, roep Hy uit: Wie ore het om te hoor, laat hom hoor!” Lukas 8:8
“My seun, luister na my wysheid, neig jou oor tot my insig.” Spreuke 5:1
“Luister na My, o Jakob, en Israel, wat Ek geroep het, dit is Ek; Ek is die Eerste, ook is Ek die Laaste.” Jesaja 48:12
“Luister na My, julle wat die geregtigheid najaag, wat die HERE soek!” Jesaja 51:1a
“Want Ek het julle vaders nadruklik gewaarsku op die dag toe Ek hulle uit Egipteland laat optrek het tot vandag toe, vroeg en laat, en gesê: Luister na my stem!” Jeremia 11:7