THE ONLY REAL HOPE OF UNITY IN THE CHURCH – A.T. Pierson
As we come into contact with true fellow believers and perceive in them the Christ image — as we see that they breathe the same air and live the same life, that they also belong to Christ and partake also of His Spirit, our conception of the unity of all believers in Him grows continually in vividness of impression. We cannot help our love going out to them; to whatever different sphere they may belong, in family, social, or national life, they belong with us to that supreme sphere which is celestial and eternal. And here is the only real hope of unity in the Church: it is found in the recognition of our mutual relation to Christ, and in Him to each other -as our Lord prayed, “that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21).
The spheres of family life, social life, church life, and national life are all visible, and they impress us with a vivid sense of our unity, as brothers, neighbors, fellow church members, fellow citizens. But, to a true child of God, the invisible bond that unites all believers to Christ is far more tender, and lasting, and precious; and, as we come to recognize and realize that we are all dwelling in one sphere of life in Him, we learn to look on every believer as our brother, in a sense that is infinitely higher than all human relationships. This is the one and only way to bring disciples permanently together. All other plans for promoting the unity of the Church have failed. Let us live more and more in Christ, and then we shall and must live more and more in the bonds of a holy love and peace. It must be first of all the unity of the Spirit.
DIE ANTWOORD IS STEEDS JESUS – Albert Theron
“Filippus sê vir Hom: Here, toon ons die Vader, en dit is vir ons genoeg. Jesus sê vir hom: Ek is so lankal by julle, en het jy My nie geken nie, Filippus? Hy wat My gesien het, het die Vader gesien. En hoe sê jy: Toon ons die Vader?” Joh. 14:8-9
Die hele Bybel gaan oor Jesus en wil ons van aangesig tot aangesig bring met Hom (2 Kor. 3:18). Ons maak soms ons geloof so gekompliseerd en vra so baie onnodige vrae dat ons die eenvoud mis. Wat is die eenvoud van ons geloof? Die feit dat alles wat ons nodig het net in een Persoon en op een plek te vinde is. Hoe kan ons byvoorbeeld God die Vader ken en Sy karakter peil? Net deur die openbaring van Jesus in die Bybel. As ons geloofsoë oopgaan en ons “sien” Hom, het ons outomaties ook die Vader gesien. Jesus is “die afskynsel is van sy heerlikheid en die afdruksel van sy wese” (Heb. 1:3). Jy hoef nie te wonder nie en jy hoef nie verward te wees nie. Bly by die eenvoud van jou geloof.
Alles wat ek en jy nodig het, is in Jesus. Net omdat jy op ‘n moeilike plek in jou lewe is, beteken dit nie die antwoord gaan skielik verander en dat daar nou ‘n ander oplossing is nie. Die antwoord is steeds Jesus. Die manier wat die Vader vir jou uitkoms gaan gee, is steeds eenvoudig deur om vir jou meer van Sy Seun te wys en te openbaar. Slegs hierdie openbaring bring geloof (Rom. 10:17) en dáárdie geloof stel jou in staat om op die branders te loop, bo die omstandighede van die lewe.
THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST – Jason Henderson
When a ray of God’s perspective shines in the darkness of our hearts, one of the first things that appears is this terrible and wonderful otherness. There comes a sudden understanding that absolutely no aspect of Christ’s life, nature, or character could be produced or copied by a human being. In this light, all that we see of Christ is perfectly foreign to us in every conceivable way. We understand that the will of man, at its best, is another will and not the Lord’s. Our greatest intentions and most spiritual ideas are seen to be Towers of Babel that rise up and contradict God’s purpose and His ways. The mind of man, in its highest state of enlightenment and education, is still very much a contrary mind. The apostle Paul described the natural mind as “enmity with God” and entirely incapable of knowing spiritual reality. In the light of God’s perspective, we understand and agree that our purest thoughts are unclean, and that what we call wisdom is foolishness to God. Describing this reality in the strongest of words, Jesus said, “That which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” When we have submitted ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s school of Christ, one of His very first lessons reveals that Jesus Christ is the only one of His kind. T. Austin-Sparks says it like this:
We have to come into a very severe school of the Spirit which eventuates in our coming to discover that our best intentions are defiled, our purest motives are unclean before those eyes; things we intended to be for God, somewhere at their spring is self. We cannot produce from this nature anything acceptable to God. All that can ever come to God is in Christ alone, not in us. It never will, in this life, be in us as ours. It will always be the difference between Christ and ourselves. Though He be resident within us, He and He only is the object of the Divine good pleasure and satisfaction; and the one basic lesson you and I have to learn in this life, under the Holy Spirit’s tuition and revelation and discipline is that He is other than we are… When you have come to your best, there is still a gulf between you and the beginnings of Christ that cannot be bridged.
As strange at it sounds, genuinely knowing the Lord begins with a Spirit-given comprehension of what we are not. This is a hard first step, but it leads to a wonderful place.
CHRIST’S INWARD AND INVISIBLE KINGDOM IN THE HEARTS OF MEN – Isaac Penington
The prophets of old “prophesied of the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” 1 Pet. 1:10-11. Now, what was the glory which should follow? Was it not the setting up of Christ’s inward and invisible kingdom in the hearts of men? Was it not God’s abundant pouring out of his Spirit, and filling vessels, so that the Spirit of grace and of glory should rest upon believers, even as it had done upon Christ? Was it not God’s tabernacling in men, and becoming their God, and making them his people? Was it not the fulfilling of precious promises concerning the gospel state, whereby men should be made partakers of the divine nature (of the heavenly image), and be changed from glory to glory by the renewing Spirit and power? Was it not to have fellowship with Christ, not only in his sufferings and death, but also in his resurrection and kingdom, where the bread and wine of the kingdom is eaten and drunk, and the feast of fat things enjoyed? Is it not a glorious state to be translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the dear Son, and to dwell with Christ in the kingdom? Is it not to have fellowship (pure fellowship, living fellowship) with the Father and the Son, that the blessedness and joy of the soul in the gospel state may be full?
The law was a ministration of shadows, for under it were the various and many shadows of the good things to come, which were to be possessed and enjoyed in the days of the gospel. In the law there was an outward people (the outward Jews), an outward covenant, an outward land of blessings, plenty, and rest. There was an outward Zion, outward Jerusalem, outward temple, outward ark, outward table, outward laver, outward candlesticks, outward lamps, outward oil, outward anointing, outward circumcision and sacrifices, outward new moons and Sabbaths, outward kings, outward priests, and outward victories over outward enemies, etc.
But now, in the gospel, there is the substance of these things inwardly revealed, and inwardly possessed and enjoyed. There is an inward Jew (the new man of the heart), an inward covenant of life and peace, an inward land of blessedness, of rest, an inward Sabbath or day of gospel rest (which the true believer keeps in the faith, not bearing any burden, kindling any fire, nor doing any work of the flesh therein). There is an inward Zion, an inward Jerusalem or holy city, an inward temple (in which is the Holy of Holies), an inward ark, in which the law of life is treasured up, an inward table, inward laver, inward candlestick, inward lamp, inward oil, inward anointing, inward circumcision and sacrifices, and solemn seasons. Indeed, there is now an inward King of glory, an inward Prophet and Priest known, even Christ within, who gives victories and dominion over the inward enemies, and gives his to partake of his kingdom and priesthood (Rev. 1:6). Yes, and by his Spirit poured out upon them, he makes his children seers and prophets also, as it is written, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.”
AS JY DINK JY WEET, WEET JY NIKS – ALbert Theron
“As iemand meen dat hy enige kennis het, weet hy nog niks soos ‘n mens behoort te weet nie.” 1 Kor. 8:2
Hierdie vers sny diep en konfronteer ons met ons inherente begeerte om altyd op hoogte te wees en tog net nooit in ‘n posisie waar ons moet erken ons het nie kennis, of voldoende kennis, oor iets nie. W.E. Vine parafraseer die teks as volg: “If a man imagines he has fully acquired knowledge, he has not even begun to know how it ought to be gained.”
In hierdie konteks kan die gevaarlikste kennis, vreemd genoeg, Bybelkennis wees. Dit is hoekom Paulus in die vorige vers sê ‘die kennis maak opgeblase, maar die liefde stig.’ Die skrifgeleerdes en Fariseërs het tonne kennis van die Bybel gehad, maar met al hulle kennis het hulle nie raakgesien dat Jesus hulle Messias was nie. Hoekom nie? Want God het die ware geestelike kennis en insig oor Sy Seun vir hulle verberg.
Is hierdie waarheid dan van toepassing op mense wat reeds wedergebore is? Sekerlik! Die Nuwe Testament is propvol waarskuwings oor die gevare van ‘n kopkennis wat nie deur die Heilige Gees geopenbaar is nie. Ons teks in 1 Korinthiërs 8 is ‘n goeie voorbeeld. Pasop vir die afdraaipaadjies van die verstand as hy onafhanklik van die Gees begin funksioneer.
Die Here wil ons vir seker baie dinge leer, maar dit is maklik om ‘n Slimjan te raak met ‘n kop soos ‘n waatlemoen en ‘n hart soos ‘n grondboontjie. Ons kennis moet ons dieper neem in verhouding met God en laat groei in liefde vir mekaar. Die beste moontlike kennis is om te weet dat jy niks weet (in Bybelse terme) solank as wat jy dink jy kan alles met jou kop uitredeneer nie. Dan alleen is jou voete stewig op die pad na die ware kennis van God soos geopenbaar deur die Heilige Gees. Op hierdie pad is daar baie openbaringe en ‘n vaste sekerheid wat net kom deur die insig wat God gee aan ‘n nederige en leerbare hart.
THE MEANING OF CHRIST CRUCIFIED – Austin Sparks
The Cross is basic to the house of God, basic to our lives if the glory of the Lord is going to be revealed. The measure of the Cross will be the measure of the glory; the measure of the glory in our lives and in our meeting together will be the measure in which the Cross has done its work in bringing to an end our own natural life, our own natural glory and all that belongs to this world in us. The glory of the Lord will be just in proportion to the work of the Cross in us for the house of God, for His testimony is always based upon an altar. Wherever it is, you will find it so. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” The Holy Spirit has come to constitute a vessel for the testimony of God, the glory of God. The Holy Spirit waits upon the work of the Cross and the Holy Spirit will always demand the work of the Cross. If the Cross leads to the Spirit, the Spirit always points back to the Cross.
At Corinth there is that which claims to represent the house of God but there is strength of flesh, worldly interest there, the natural glory. The first chapters of the first letter to the Corinthians show that so clearly, and the apostle, because he is a man in whom the Spirit is burning concerning the testimony of God, the glory of God and the true sanctuary for that testimony, he has to say, “I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2). It is the only thing for you Corinthians: it is no use my coming to say anything else to you; the only thing to be said to you is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That is the only way to change this situation. Christ crucified – the judgment and end of all this that belongs to man by nature, unregenerate, whatever it is.” That is the meaning of Christ crucified.
DIE KERKMASJIEN – Albert Theron
“En skryf aan die engel van die gemeente in Sardis: Dít sê Hy wat die sewe Geeste van God en die sewe sterre het: Ek ken jou werke, dat jy die naam het dat jy leef en jy is dood.” Openb. 3:1 (OAV)
“…Ek weet dat julle die naam het dat julle lewe, en tog is julle dood.” Openb. 3:1 (NAV)
Hy soek sy petrol, sy olie, en sy dienste. Hoe groter hy word, hoe meer tyd neem hy in beslag. Hy het nie lewe nie en gee nie lewe nie, maar hy belowe so baie. Hy is gemaak om in gery te word, maar voor jy jou kom kry is hy in beheer en doen hý die rywerk. Sy slagoffers tel in die duisende. Sy wiele het al baie dissipels van Jesus raakgetrap. Pasop vir die ‘kerkmasjien’! Die gemeente van Jesus is ‘n organisme wat gebruik maak van organisasie. Wanneer die organisasie mense begin misbruik om homself te bevoordeel en laat groei, het dit ‘n gruwel en ‘n onding geword.
CHRIST’S CERTAIN KNOWLEDGE OF HIS LIMITED TIME – George Morrison
There were many reasons for that wholehearted zeal which it does not fall to me to touch on here. But one was the certain knowledge of the Lord that there were only twelve hours in His day. Before His birth, in His pre-existent life, there had been no rising or setting of the sun. After His death, in the life beyond the grave, the day would be endless, for “there is no night there.” But here on earth with a mighty work to do and to get finished before His side was pierced, Christ was aroused into triumphant energy by the thought of the determined time. “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work.” That must—what is it but the shadow of sunset and the breath of the twilight that was soon to fall? A day at its longest—what a little space! Twelve hours—they are ringing to evensong already! Under that power the tide that seemed asleep moved on “too full for sound or foam.”
It is always very wonderful to me that Christ thus felt the shortness of the time. This Child of Eternity heard with quickened ear the muffled summons of the fleeting hours. It is only occasionally that we hearken to it; far more commonly we seek to silence it. Most men, as Professor Lecky says, are afraid to look time in the face. But Christ was never afraid to look time in the face; steadily He eyed the sinking sands, till moved to His depths by the urgency of days, the zeal of the house of His Father ate Him up. Have you awakened to that compelling thought, or do you live as if your sun would never set? There are but twelve hours in the day, and it will be sunset before you dream of it. Get done what God has sent you here to do. Wait not for the fool’s phantom of tomorrow—Act, act today, act in the living present!
LIVING BY FAITH VERSUS LIVING ON FAITH – A.W. Tozer
None of us should be living on faith, for if we rest on faith we have a complete misunderstanding of what faith is. The purpose of faith is to get us to rest completely on God—on God Himself!
It is only by faith that we can rest on God. It is through faith that we can trust the promises of God. It is in faith that we can daily live our lives in dependence upon God, His Word and His promises. These are the Christian contrasts to the worldly philosophy of human activity and presumption on faith. “Just go ahead bravely on faith. Never say die!”—that is the self-courageous attitude of this world. “Never say die!” But then they die. “You can if you will—it is all up to you,” is the world’s refrain. “He who thinks he can, can!”
Since I have been a Christian, I have had a negative reaction to that kind of human psychology. I do not mind saying that my favorite hymns are not those that exhort me to rise up, bare my chest to the elements, flex my biceps and tell the world where to get off. That is not my philosophy because it would put my confidence in the wrong place. If my faith, my belief, my confidence are in myself, then they cannot at the same time be resting in God.
The Bible tells us to believe in God and to put our trust in Him. It warns us against having any confidence in the flesh. So I do not want some voice exhorting me to “Rise up, O man of God, go forth to face the foe”—and all of that. I would rather go to the place of prayer, meet God there and then let Him face the world for me. To meet the kinds of temptations and enemies confronting us, it is not enough for us to stick out our chins, inflate our chests and mutter the old refrain, “Never say die!” We do not operate on faith; rather, we rest our case completely on God. Then our experiences proceed by faith, through faith and in faith. That is the way victory comes, because our victory must be God’s victory first!
MOENIE OORDEEL NIE? – Albert Theron
Jesus het nie gesê ‘jy mag nie onderskei tussen reg en verkeerd of tussen sonde en gehoorsaamheid, ens.” nie. In dieselfde gedeelte waar Jesus sê “moenie oordeel nie” (Mt. 7:1) sê Hy net bietjie verder aan “Moenie wat heilig is, aan die honde gee nie; en gooi julle pêrels nie voor die varke nie …” (v.6a). Hoe gaan ek weet wie hierdie persone is sonder om te onderskei?
Die “oordeel” wat Jesus van praat in vers 1 het te doen met die opstel van myself as ‘n regter oor ander mense i.p.v. om eers myself onder die oordeel van die evangelie te plaas (v.5a) en dan ander te help om dieselfde te doen (v.5b). Vir seker is die groot appél van die evangelie dat ons mense moet liefhê, maar ware liefde poog om mense te help om onder die Woord van Christus te kom staan sonder om jou eie posisie op te gee of te kompromitteer.
THE PRESENCE OF GOD IS THE CENTRAL FACT OF CHRISTIANITY – A.W. Tozer
The universal Presence is a fact. God is here. The whole universe is alive with His life. And He is no strange or foreign God, but the familiar Father of our Lord Jesus Christ whose love has for these thousands of years enfolded the sinful race of men. And always He is trying to get our attention to reveal Himself to us, to communicate with us. We have within us the ability to know Him if we will but respond to His overtures. (And this we call pursuing God!) We will know Him in increasing degree as our receptivity becomes more perfect by faith and love and practice.
Similarly the presence of God is the central fact of Christianity. At the heart of the Christian message is God Himself waiting for His redeemed children to push in to conscious awareness of His presence. That type of Christianity which happens now to be the vogue knows this Presence only in theory. It fails to stress the Christian’s privilege of present realization. According to its teachings we are in the presence of God positionally, and nothing is said about the need to experience that Presence actually. The fiery urge that drove men like McCheyne is wholly missing. And the present generation of Christians measures itself by this imperfect rule. Ignoble contentment takes the place of burning zeal. We are satisfied to rest in our judicial possessions and for the most part, we bother ourselves very little about the absence of personal experience.
The presence of God in our midst—bringing a sense of godly fear and reverence—this is largely missing today.
You cannot induce it by soft organ music and light streaming through beautifully designed windows. You cannot induce it by holding up a biscuit and claiming that it is God. You cannot induce it by any kind or any amount of mumbo-jumbo.
What people feel in the presence of that kind of paganism is not the true fear of God. It is just the inducement of a superstitious dread.
A true fear of God is a beautiful thing, for it is worship, it is love, it is veneration. It is a high moral happiness because God is. It is a delight so great that if God were not, the worshiper would not want to be, either. He or she could easily pray, “My God, continue to be as Thou art, or let me die! I cannot think of any other God but Thee!”
DIE GEHEIME VAN GOD VIR KINDERTJIES – Albert Theron
“In daardie tyd het Jesus gespreek en gesê: Ek loof U, Vader, Here van die hemel en die aarde, dat U hierdie dinge verberg het vir wyse en verstandige mense en dit aan kindertjies geopenbaar het.” Mattheüs 11:25
Die slim en geleerde mense in Israel kon nie verstaan wie Jesus was of wat Sy missie was nie. Hulle het nie besef dat al die ‘verborge skatte van wysheid en kennis’ net in Hom te vinde was nie (Kol. 2:3). Hulle het ‘die Skrifte ondersoek’ sonder om Jesus, die sleutel tot die Skrifte, raak te sien (Jn. 5:39).
Die verborge skatte van die koninkryk word net openbaar aan die wat ‘weet hoe afhanklik hulle van God is’ (Mt. 5:3) en aan die wat ‘rein van hart is’ (Mt. 5:8), m.a.w. aan ‘kindertjies’. Maar let wel, net aan ‘kindertjies’ wat honger en dors na die openbaring van God en Sy koninkryk in Christus; aan dissipels wat ‘bly in Sy Woord’ (Jn. 8:31).
“Sodat julle geloof nie in wysheid van mense sou bestaan nie, maar in die krag van God.” 1 Kor. 2:5
“Maar ons spreek die wysheid van God, wat bestaan in verborgenheid wat bedek was en wat God van ewigheid af voorbeskik het tot ons heerlikheid.” 1 Kor. 2:7
“He [Christ] is the key that opens all the hidden treasures of God’s wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:3 (GNB)
THE LIGHT THAT REDEFINES ALL THINGS – Jason Henderson
Christ came into a world of darkness as the only existing light. He wasn’t just the brightest light. He was the only light in a world of pitch black humanity. And that is why He said “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
He offered mankind a light. Not a natural light. The light that he offered was the Light of Life. And so, man could not keep his own life and have this light. Man’s life was the darkness. Man’s life was the problem. In order to receive the light that Christ offered, man had to receive the Light of Life, and be crucified to all that they had formerly called light and life. Do you understand what I mean? Christ didn’t offer the old man light. Christ is not trying to shine light on your day or on your plans. He’s not trying to help you plan your future with his light. He’s not trying to help you make good financial decisions with his light. That’s not the kind of light that He is. He offers a light that shines in your soul to redefine all things.
He shines a light in you that is the lamp of God, the light that is God’s view. And that light has a life associated with it, just as darkness has a life associated with it. The fallen adamic man is the universe of darkness in which Satan dictates what is real. But the resurrected life of the Son of God is the universe of Christ in which the Spirit of Truth reveals what is real. And, in every way, to know the one will cost you the other. Remember, God has divided the two. He divided them even in the shadow. They do not overlap. They do not blend. To every degree that the Light of Life has been formed in your soul, to that degree you have been liberated from darkness. To whatever degree that you and I love the darkness, to that degree the Light is not free to shine. The only way that His light works in us is to the measure that we will part with all things that we have formerly known and formerly been.
I’m mentioning all of this because of what Paul says here in Ephesians 5:8. He says “formerly you were darkness”. He doesn’t say “formerly you were influenced by darkness”, or “formerly you had some dark ideas”, or some “darkness issues”. He says something much stronger than that. And until we are willing to face the darkness of the natural condition, the darkness that we are, not only will we not understand what Paul is talking about here in Ephesians, we also will not allow the Light of Life to teach us the truth. We are the darkness into which Christ’s Light of Life must come and shine. He doesn’t shine ON us. He shines in us to our displacement. He doesn’t give us a better perspective. He gives us Himself, His Life, as our perspective.
THE UNDERSTANDINGS OF UNBELIEVERS ARE DARKENED – Martyn Lloyd-Jones
They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. Ephesians 4:18
I find it very difficult to understand why many Christian people are really troubled and worried by the fact that so many great and intellectual people do not believe in Christianity, but dismiss it and deride it. You know them, I need not mention their names, they often speak on the radio; they write in the journals and they produce their books, Why I am not a Christian, and so on. Yet there are Christian people who are troubled by that and frightened by it. That, I repeat, is the thing I cannot understand, for if Christians understood this one text from Ephesians, they would never be surprised again. The understandings of unbelievers are darkened! They boast about intellect—of course! They say, I am not a Christian because I have got a brain; I can think, I am not taken in by sobstuff, I am not given to this kind of brain-washing; I still am in control, I am rational and I can think and reason, and because of my understanding I am not a Christian! That is their position. And, there, you see the masterpiece of Satan and the height of the deception. He has succeeded in deluding such people primarily about themselves, and the whole time they cannot see that their real trouble is in their understanding! This, to me, is almost a matter for humour and divine laughter. The chief of all the slogans of the Greek philosophers, the pagan Greeks, was ‘Know thyself’! In that knowledge, they said, was the whole art of life and living. ‘Know thyself!’ I say it is laughable for this reason, because there was no other point at which they failed so completely and disastrously.
Now it is as true to say that today as it was two thousand years ago. The philosophers did not know themselves, for they thought their intellects were big enough and great enough to discover God and to encompass God and to understand God! But a man who starts thinking he can do that is nothing better than a fool, he does not know himself. And men are still doing it! And here I do want to emphasise that this statement about the understanding being darkened is true of all men who are not Christians. Do not think that this is simply a reference to illiterate, uneducated people. It is equally true of the most erudite, the most knowledgeable, the most cultured person in the world today. His mind and his understanding, are utterly darkened. And his whole difficulty about the Gospel is that this darkness exists between his mind and the thing he is looking at.
Perhaps a simple illustration will make this plain and clear. Have you not often observed that what is said in derision about Christianity by these supposed great thinkers and philosophers is also said in exactly the same way by Tom, Dick and Harry, by the man standing at the street corner? What makes the first man dismiss it is not his intellect; the other people may not be intellectual at all, but they still say exactly the same thing. The great philosopher writes his book on Why I am not a Christian, and he gives you the impression that his unbelief is the outcome of his powerful intellect. But go and listen to the man on the street corner, who says, ‘I am not a Christian’, and he will give you exactly the same reasons; there is no difference at all. It is played out, he says, it is bunkum, it is out of date. His terminology is slightly different, but the essential argument is precisely the same.
This is a very important matter for us all to grasp. Look at it like this. I remember having an experience a few years ago; I was being driven by a friend of mine through a part of Northern Ireland, and he had been telling me how, at a given point in our tour, we should be able to see Scotland. Eventually we came to that point, but we could not see Scotland. Why not? A mist had come down! I looked, with all the intensity I was capable of, and still I could see nothing but a mist. My friend kept on saying, ‘Scotland is just over there’, but I could not see it. Now why could I not see Scotland? Was it because I suddenly began to suffer from some terrible disease of the eyes? Had I suddenly developed cataracts? Had my optic nerve suddenly become paralysed? Was there some defect in my mechanism? Not at all! My mechanism was as normal as it had ever been, but I could not see Scotland. Why? It was the mist—the darkness of the mist. But the fact that I could not see Scotland did not mean that Scotland was not there. And had I started to say, I do not believe that Scotland is there, I do not believe it can ever be seen, I am looking and I cannot see it—what would you have said of me? You would have said that I was a fool, and you would have been right. That is precisely the position with all who are not Christians. Their understandings are darkened! I am not saying that the mighty philosophers do not possess great brains. But the greatest brain in the world cannot see through a mist and when the pall of darkness comes down, as it has come down upon the whole human race, then the greatest mind in the world is useless.
HOU DIT EENVOUDIG – Albert Theron
Maar ek vrees dat, net soos die slang Eva deur sy listigheid bedrieg het, julle sinne so miskien bedorwe kan raak, vervreemd van die opregtheid teenoor Christus. 2 Korinthiërs 11:3
Maar ek is bang dat julle gedagtes weggelei sal word van die onverdeelde en suiwere toewyding aan Christus, net soos Eva verlei is deur die listigheid van die slang. 2 Korinthiërs 11:3 (NAV)
Daar is vandag soveel Christelike bedieninge waaraan gelowiges deur die media blootgestel word en baie van hulle maak groot uitsprake oor die impak wat hulle het en gaan hê; wêreldwye invloed, profesieë oor herlewing, ensovoorts, ensovoorts.
Verder word persoonlike profesieë dikwels die somtotaal van gelowiges se geestelike lewe en verwagting en bou hulle alles rondom sulke “woorde” van ander. Hoe moet die dissipel van Jesus homself posisioneer ten opsigte van al hierdie dinge? Daar is sekerlik ‘n tyd en ‘n plek vir sekere van hierdie dinge, maar God het vir ons ‘n vaste anker gegee in Christus en dit bring stewige grond onder ons voete en ‘n fondasie waarop ons kan bou.
Maak seker dat jou fokus op Christus alleen is as die Een in wie jy volkome is (Kol. 2:10), en dat jy vanuit ‘n ‘’Eerste Liefde’’ verhouding met Hom in gehoorsaamheid leef in jou daaglikse lewe. Ons moet maar gereeld in gedeeltes soos die bergpredikasie (Mt. 5-7) gaan kyk en seker maak of ons werklik leef vanuit Christus in ons, want dit is net Sy lewe in ons wat so ‘n koninkrykslewe op aarde moontlik maak. Dit hou ons nederig en help ons ook om verby die uiterlike en die oorvloed van woorde te kyk en duidelik te onderskei in die tyd van “information overload” waarin ons leef.
In 1 Kor. 4:20 sê Paulus “die koninkryk van God bestaan nie in woorde nie, maar in krag.” Die krag waarvan Paulus hier praat is die krag om ‘n heilige lewe te leef wat vir God welbehaaglik is; die krag van Christus in ons. Die primêre verskil tussen die ou en nuwe verbond is dat ons nou “onder die wet van Christus” is, omdat Hy in ons leef. In verhouding met Hom is daar ‘n toenemende geloofsgehoorsaamheid in ons lewens wat Christus se karakter deur ons openbaar.
Die eenvoud is te vinde in Jesus wat vir ons alles geword het (1 Kor. 1:30). Nie my lewe wat verbeter moet word nie, maar Sý lewe in en deur my soos wat ek my lewe neerlê om plek te maak vir Syne.
GOD WILL NEVER ACCEPT OUR PLANS AND PROJECTS – Austin Sparks
The fire will test the quality of each person’s work. (1 Corinthians 3:13 NIV)
I have no doubt that you love the Lord. I am not raising any question about that. But, I do say again, we are involved in a great system which is a very complicated thing, and a great deal of it is not of the Lord. It is something that man has brought in. Man has put his hand upon the things of the Lord, and man has made things according to his own mind, and therefore a great deal has come in which is of man and not of the Lord. And when we say that, we are not only thinking of Christianity in general, we are thinking of ourselves. This is true of ourselves. We have all come into something called Christianity, and we have all taken on something of Christianity, and there may be a great deal that we have to get rid of, and come back to the simple fundamental reality. And the fundamental reality of all realities is the presence of the Lord.
We have got to know that the Lord is with us, and that the Lord is with us in all that we do, that this did not originate in our mind. It did not originate in our will, it did not originate in our emotion. It did not come from our soul, this thing has come from the Lord in every detail, like the tabernacle. Just like Jesus Christ, in every detail it has to come to us from God. That ought to send us back to our knees – to go through all our work.
It may be necessary for us, from time to time, to stand back and ask the Lord about all that we are doing.“Is this out from God, or is it something out from ourselves? Is this way of doing things the mind of God, or is it our mind? Is the Lord in this, or have we come into it?” You see, that is a great deciding matter. Make no mistake about it! Everything that is only of man is going to perish. Sooner or later it will be shaken. Every man’s work shall be tried in the fire, says the Word of God.
GOD SÉLF IS DIE BELONING – Albert Theron
“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 (OAV)
“God wat gesê het: “Laat daar lig skyn uit die duisternis,” het ook in ons harte ‘n lig laat skyn om ons te verlig met die kennis van die heerlikheid van God, wat van Jesus Christus uitstraal.” 2 Korinthiërs 4:6 (NAV)
Ware dissipels van Jesus het in Sy aangesig die heerlikheid van God ontdek! Dit beteken, onder andere, dat ons nou weet en verstaan dat daar niks meer heerlik is in hierdie heelal as God self nie.
Dit is so maklik om opgewonde te raak (en ons moet) oor al die lieflike gawes van die evangelie en te vergeet dat God self die groot beloning van die evangelie is. Die Persoon van God is ons grootste vreugde en om Hom te ken ons grootste doelwit (Filippense 3:8). In die finale analise het verlossing alles te doen daarmee om ons totaal God-gerig en God-bewus te maak. Die Vader, die Seun, en die Heilige Gees; God drie-enig, ons beloning, ons vreugde, ons heil. Hoe bevoorreg is ons nie! Om Hom met onuitspreeklike vreugde te verheerlik tot in alle ewigheid is ons voorland, roeping (1 Kor. 1:9) en bestemming. As jy fokus verloor het, draai jou oë opnuut na die aangesig van Jesus en ontdek weer dat God jou groot beloning is.
“Ná hierdie dinge het die woord van die HERE tot Abram gekom in ‘n gesig en gesê: Vrees nie, Abram, Ek is vir jou ‘n skild en jou loon is baie groot.” Gen 15:1
“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” Gen 15:1 (NKJV)
Lees ook Ps. 16:5, 6, 11; Ps. 27:4; Lukas 10:38-42, en 2 Kor. 3:18.
THE SECRET PLACE OF THE MOST HIGH WITHIN US – Andrew Murray
And the one great lesson which the truth that we are God’s temple, because His Spirit dwells in us, must teach us, is this, to, acknowledge the Holy Presence that dwells within us. This alone will enable us to regard the whole temple, even to the outmost court, as sacred to His service, and to yield every power of our nature to His leading and will.
The most sacred part of the Temple, that for which all the rest existed and on which all depended, was the Holiest of all. Even though the priests might never enter there, and might never see the glory that dwelt there, all their conduct was regulated, and all their faith animated, by the thought of the unseen Presence there. It was this that gave the sprinkling of the blood and the burning of the incense their value. It was this made it a privilege to draw nigh, and gave confidence to go out and bless. It was the Most Holy, the Holiest of all, that made the place of their serving to them a Holy Place. Their whole life was controlled and inspired by the faith of the unseen indwelling glory within the veil. It is not otherwise with the believer. Until he learns by faith to tremble in presence of the wondrous mystery that he is God’s temple, because God’s Spirit dwellsin him, he never will yield himself to his high vocation with the holy reverence or the joyful confidence that becomes him.
As long as he looks only into the Holy Place, into the heart, as far as man can see and know what passes there, he will often search in vain for the Holy Spirit, or only find cause for bitter shame that his workings are so few and feeble. Each of us must learn to know that there is a Holiest of all in that temple which he himself is; the secret place of the Most High within us must become the central truth in our temple worship. This must be to us the meaning of our confession: ‘I believe in the Holy Spirit.’
And how is this deep faith in the hidden indwelling to become ours ? Taking our stand, upon God’s blessed Word, we must accept and appropriate its teaching. We must take trouble to believe that God means what it says. I am a temple ; just such a temple as God commanded to be built of old ; He meant me to see in it what I am to be. There the Holiest of all was the central point, the essential thing. It was all dark, secret, hidden,till the time of unveiling came. It demanded and received the faith of priest and people.
The Holiest of all within me, too, is unseen and hidden, a thing for faith alone to know and deal with. Let me, as I approach to the Holy One, bow before Him in deep and lowly reverence. Let me there say that I believe what He says, that His Holy Spirit, God, one with the Father and the Son, even now has His abode within me. I will meditate, and be still, until something of the overwhelming glory of the truth fall upon me, and faith begin to realize it: I am His temple, and in the secret place He sits upon His throne. As I yield myself in silent meditation and worship day by day, surrendering and setting open my whole being to Him, He will in His divine, loving, living power, shine into my consciousness the light of His presence.
CULTIVATE THE HABIT OF CONSTANT DEPENDENCE ON HIM – A.B. Simpson
It is only as we get out of the way of the Lord that He can use us. And so, beloved, let us practice the repression of self and the suspending of our will about everything until we have looked to Him and said, “Lord, what is Your will? What is Your thought about it?” When you have that, you and He are not at cross-purposes; and there is blessed harmony.
Those who thus abide in Christ have the habit of reserve and quiet; they are not reckless talkers; they will not always have an opinion about everything, and they will not always know what they are going to do. They will be found holding back rash judgments, and walking softly with God. It is our headlong, impulsive spirit that keeps us so constantly from hearing and following the Lord.
If we would abide in Christ we must remember that Christ has undertaken not only the emergencies of life, but everything; and so we must cultivate the habit of constant dependence on Him; falling back on Him and finding Him everywhere; recognizing that He has undertaken the business of your life, and there is not a difficulty that comes up, but He will carry you through if you let Him have His way and hold the reins, and you just trust and follow.
Again, if you would abide in Christ you must cultivate the habit of always recognizing Him as near, in your heart of hearts, so that you need not try to find Him, reaching out to the distant heavens and wondering where He has gone. He is right here; His throne is in your heart; His resources are at hand. There may be no sense of God’s presence, but just accept the fact that the Spirit is in your heart, and act accordingly. Bring everything to Him, and soon the consciousness will become real and delightful. We do not begin with feeling–we begin with acting as though He were here. So, if you would abide in Christ, treat Him as if He were in you, and you in Him; and He will respond to your trust, and honor your confidence.
DRIE TOETSE VIR WARE DISSIPELSKAP EN GEMEENTELEWE – Albert Theron
“Want óns is die besnydenis, ons wat God in die Gees dien en in Christus Jesus roem en nie op die vlees vertrou nie.” Filippense 3:3
Hier gee Paulus vir ons ‘n wonderlike maatstaf om ware dissipelskap en ook dan ware gemeentelewe mee te meet. Ons het so nodig vandag om tekste soos hierdie ernstig op te neem en die nodige aanpassings te maak.
Dien ons God werklik in totale afhanklikheid van die Heilige Gees met die varsheid van Sy lewe of dien ons Hom grotendeels met meganiese roetine en slaafse toewyding aan ons menslike tradisies en historiese sentimente?
Roem ons in Christus alleen of vind ons nog ons waarde en sekuriteit in ons assosiasie met groot name, belangrike mense, uitstaande akademiese kwalifikasies, wonderlike reputasies, en sekulêre gewildheid?
Het ons werklik al ons vertroue oorgeplaas op die algenoegsame wysheid, krag en lewe van Christus in ons of steun ons nog op ons eie intellek, gawes, talente, sterk persoonlikheid, welsprekendheid, en leierseienskappe? Hoe lyk ons lewens in hierdie lig? Hoe lyk ons gemeentes?
WE ENTER INTO HIS LIFE BY MEANS OF HIS DEATH – Oswald Chambers
The death of Jesus is the only entrance into the life He lived. We cannot get into His life by admiring Him, or by saying what a beautiful life His was, so pure and holy. To dwell only on His life would drive us to despair. We enter into His life by means of His death. Until the Holy Spirit has had His way with us spiritually, the death of Jesus Christ is an insignificant thing, and we are amazed that the New Testament should make so much of it. The death of Jesus Christ is always a puzzle to unsaved human nature. Why should the Apostle Paul say, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified”? Because unless the death of Jesus has the meaning the Apostle Paul gave to it, viz., that it is the entrance into His life, the Resurrection has no meaning for us either. The life of Jesus is a wonderful example of a perfect human life, but what is the good of that to us? What is the good of presenting to us a speckless holiness that is hopeless of attainment? It would simply tantalise us. Unless Jesus Christ can put a totally new heredity into us, there is no use asking us to think about the wonderful life He lived. The revelation made by the Redemption is that God can put into us a new disposition whereby we can live a totally new life.
Now we can see why our Lord lived the life He did for thirty-three years. Before He made the entrance into that life possible for any human being, He had to show us what the life of God’s normal man was like. The life of Jesus is the life we have to live here, not hereafter. There is no chance to live this kind of life hereafter, we have to live it here. Our Lord’s death is not the death of a martyr, not the death of a good man; His cross is the Cross of God, whereby any human being can enter into a totally new life. The way into the life of Jesus is not by imitation of Him, but by identification with His Cross. That is the meaning of being born from above (rv mg): we enter into His life by its entering into us.
We talk about imitating Jesus, but isn’t it highly absurd! Before we have taken three steps, we come across lust, pride, envy, jealousy, hatred, malice, anger—things that never were in Him, and we get disheartened and say there is nothing in it. If Jesus Christ came to teach the human race only, He had better have stayed away. But if we know Him first as Saviour by being born again, we know that He did not come to teach merely: He came to make us what He teaches we should be; He came to make us sons of God. He came to give us the right disposition, not to tell us that we ought not to have the wrong one; and the way into all these benedictions is by means of His death.
To Christianise human nature is simply to veneer that which is not real. The life of Jesus Christ is the Standard, and we receive His life by means of His Death. The emphasis on His death is explained when we remember that His teaching only applies to His life in us. When we preach Christ, it is not His birth that we preach, but His Cross, and we bring ourselves face to face with the wonder and the power of His resurrection life.
ARE YOU A THANKFUL PERSON? – C.J. Mahaney
What would happen if I crossed your path tomorrow morning? Would I encounter someone who was an alert and thankful observer of answered prayer, someone who in a pronounced way was grateful for God’s many mercies?
We want to continue throughout the day expressing gratefulness for the innumerable manifestations of God’s grace. It’s as if God is placing sticky-notes in our lives everywhere. How alert and perceptive of them are you?
Are you a thankful observer of the countless indications of His provision, His presence, His kindness, and His grace? An ungrateful person is a proud person. If I’m ungrateful, I’m arrogant.
And if I’m arrogant, I need to remember God doesn’t sympathize with me in that arrogance; He is opposed to the proud. Let each of us recognize every day that whatever grace we receive from God is so much more than we’re worthy of, and indescribably better than the hell we all deserve.
SIT AT HIS FEET – John Butler Stoney
“Mary . . . sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His Word. But Martha was encumbered about much serving” (Luke 10:39, 40).
Do not look for service, look for preparation for it. Everyone has to serve an apprenticeship. We do not know what we are to be fitted for, but if we keep at His feet He will prepare us for the very thing for which He has designed us. We hinder both ourselves and His work by attempting things to which we have not been called.
If you begin with serving (as many do nowadays), you will never truly sit at His feet; whereas if you begin with looking unto Him you will soon serve well, wisely and acceptably. When the serving quiets the conscience, and the sitting is overlooked and neglected, the enemy gains an advantage, for it is at the sitting that the conscience is enlightened, and the pleasure and mind of the Lord become better known. I never met with anyone making his service prominent who knew what it was to sit at the Master’s feet; but, thank God, I know indefatigable workers who enjoy sitting at His feet above any service. It is clear that those who abide in Him must be most competent to serve, and most in His confidence, which, after all, is the clue to all effective service.
“Behold as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters… so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God” (Ps. 123:2).
DIE HEERLIKE VERLOSSING UIT MENSLIKE GODSDIENS-SISTEME – Albert Theron
“En wanneer hy sy eie skape uitgebring het, loop hy voor hulle uit; en die skape volg hom, omdat hulle sy stem ken.” Johannes 10:4
Die dag wat ‘n ware dissipel werklik sien dat hy reeds alles in Jesus ontvang het wat hy ooit sal nodig hê vir hierdie lewe en die volgende, verander alles. Geen manipulasie of intimidasie kan jou dan geketting hou aan menslike godsdiens-sisteme nie. Geen dreigement of omkoopgeskenk kan jou meer terughou nie. Geen skuld of veroordeling van godsdienstige mense kan jou meer gekluister hou in die klooster van ‘n ambisieuse leierskap se individualistiese visie en agenda nie. Geen humanistiese gepaaiery of slim truuks van die sielkunde kan jou flous of oortuig om te kompromitteer nie.
Jy volg Jesus alleen voortaan in die vryheid van die kinders van God, om Hóm te dien saam met ander dissipels wat net onder Sý juk wil staan. Jésus se visie en agenda is nou jou een passie; ‘n passie wat jy deel met ander dissipels in liefdevolle onderdanigheid aan mekaar onder die heerskappy van Jesus (Efes. 5:20-21).
“Staan dan vas in die vryheid waarmee Christus ons vrygemaak het, en laat julle nie weer onder die juk van diensbaarheid bring nie.” Galasiërs 5:1
“Maar tog het selfs baie van die owerstes in Hom geglo; maar ter wille van die Fariseërs het hulle dit nie bely nie, om nie uit die sinagoge geban te word nie. Want hulle het die eer van die mense meer liefgehad as die eer van God.” Johannes 12:42-43
“Want my juk is sag en my las is lig.” Mattheüs 11:30
NEVER TOO TENDER TO BE WISE – J.R. Miller
“Jesus did not answer a word.” Matthew 15:23
Jesus is not so tender-hearted, that he cannot tolerate to see us suffer—when suffering is the best experience for us. He does not immediately lift burdens from our shoulders when it is needful for our growth that we bear the burdens longer. There is a mushy sentimentality in many people’s ideas about Christ—as if he were too gentle to endure the sight of suffering.
It is possible to be too tender toward pain. It is possible for parents to be too emotionally kind to their children. Uncontrolled pity is great weakness, and it is ofttimes very injurious. Christ’s tenderness is never too tender to be wise—as well as tender. He never makes the mistake of yielding to anyone’s entreaties, when denial would be better than acquiescence. He never lets us have what we want—because he cannot bear to say “no” to our tearful cries. He is not so tenderhearted as to allow his own disciples to go unchastened, when only by chastisement can he promote their spiritual growth.
But one thing we must not forget, it is love which prompts his severity. He was silent here, that, in the end, he might give the full, rich blessing he wanted to give this woman—but which she could not receive at the first. He denies us, and is silent to us when we cry—that he may draw out our faith, and give us his best blessings by and by.
PEACE AND REST – Andrew Murray
“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me” (Ps. 138:8).
After the believer enters into life by faith, he wonders why it was so difficult for him to see that it was all of grace—the humble reception of a finished work. And yet he goes through the faithless struggle once again before he sees that his daily Christian life is also a finished work—complete in Christ. ‘God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord’ (1 Cor. 1:9).
What believers need is the simple faith that the establishing in Christ, day by day, is God’s work—a work that He delights to do, in spite of all our weakness and unfaithfulness, if we will but trust Him for it. To the blessedness of such faith, and the experience it brings, many can testify. What peace and rest, to know that there is a Husbandman who cares for the branch, to see that it grows stronger; who watches over every hindrance and danger, who supplies every needed aid! “What peace and rest, fully and finally to give up our abiding into the care of the Father, and never have a wish or thought, never to offer a prayer or engage in an exercise connected with it, without first having the glad remembrance that what we do is only the manifestation of what our Father is doing in us! The establishing in Christ is His work: He accomplishes it by stirring us to watch, and wait, and work. “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ.” (2 Cor. 1:21).
WE START WITH THE CROSS – Austin Sparks
We have been judged in the Cross of the Lord Jesus, and in our own selves we have been brought to an end. Everything of the natural has been judged and brought to an end in the Cross of the Lord Jesus. It is a very important thing to recognize that. You see, that makes anything possible. That is why I have said that if the Cross is in its place, everything else would be right. The House will be right; that is, the Church will be right. The ministry will be right. The order will be right. You will not have to go to work to try and bring about a right order. It spontaneously comes out of the work of the Cross.
I do hope that you are writing that in your minds. You may meet disorders in the House of God. You may meet the natural man in the House of God. You may meet conditions which are all wrong in the House of God. How are you going to deal with them? You can only deal with them by the principle of the Cross. You cannot deal with the people themselves, you cannot deal with the things themselves; but if only you can bring the Cross into that situation, you have solved the whole problem. It is like that. We do not start from the outside. We do not start with the people, we do not start with the order of the Lord’s House, we do not start with the ministry – WE START WITH THE CROSS. And if only people see the Cross, everything else would put itself right. Everything is judged by the Cross.
The Letter to the Romans is the message of the Cross in its full measure. In that letter to the Romans, you see the great measurement of the Cross. There the Cross comprehends all things. It brings the whole race in Adam to an end, and it begins an entirely new race in Christ risen! It is very impressive that the first of the New Testament Letters should put the Cross there in its full measurement. You all know that the Letter to the Romans was not the first letter written by Paul, but the Holy Spirit has put it first in the arrangement. I think the Holy Spirit had something to do with the arrangement of the books in the New Testament, and in His sovereign arrangement of this book, He has put the altar in its fullness right at the beginning.
DIE GEVAARLIKSTE LEEFRUIMTE OP AARDE – Albert Theron
“En Ek sal julle ‘n nuwe hart gee en ‘n nuwe gees in jul binneste gee; en Ek sal die hart van klip uit julle vlees wegneem en julle ‘n hart van vlees gee. En Ek sal my Gees in jul binneste gee en sal maak dat julle in my insettinge wandel en my verordeninge onderhou en doen.” Esegiël 36:26-27
Die belofte van die Nuwe Verbond het alles te doen met ‘n nuwe hart. Uit die hart vloei “die oorspronge van die lewe” (Spreuke 4:23). Daarom is die wedergeboorte onontbeerlik en godsdiens sonder ‘n nuwe hart nie net dwaas en geheel en al nutteloos nie, maar sekerlik die gevaarlikste leefruimte op aarde. Hoekom? Want dit is moontlik vir ons om met al ons godsdiens rites en rituele totaal mislei te wees en onsself te verbeel dat godsdiensbeoefening en allerhande godsdienstige aktiwiteite God vreeslik beïndruk en outomaties Sy guns waarborg. Die Bybel leer egter duidelik dat God slegs beïndruk is met dit wat Hyself inisieër en onderhou in en deur Sy geliefde Seun (Rom. 11:36).
Daarom is gemeentes, groepe, en bedieninge waar persoonlike bekering, wedergeboorte, en die nuwe lewe in Christus nie verkondig en konstant beklemtoon word as die basis van alles wat ons doen nie, gevaarlike plekke. Daar vind ons gewoonlik groot getalle mense “wat ‘n gedaante van godsaligheid het, maar die krag daarvan verloën het” (2 Tim. 3:5). Wat dit so gevaarlik maak is dat hierdie mense gewoonlik salig onbewus is daarvan dat hulle heeltemal verlore is en ‘n ewigheid sonder God tegemoet gaan. Dan liewer ‘n opperste wêreldling wat bewus is van sy behoefte aan redding. Mag God ons ‘n las gee vir verlore godsdienstige mense en ‘n dringendheid in ons gees om reguit te praat oor wedergeboorte. Om ons op te hou met allerhande godsdienspraatjies as dit nie gebaseer is op die nuwe lewe in Christus nie, is dwaas en gevaarlik.
“Jesus antwoord en sê vir hom: Voorwaar, voorwaar Ek sê vir jou, as iemand nie weer gebore word nie, kan hy die koninkryk van God nie sien nie.” Johannes 3:3
“En dié van die Fariseërs wat by Hom was, het dit gehoor en vir Hom gesê: Is ons dan ook blind? Jesus antwoord hulle: As julle blind was, sou julle geen sonde hê nie; maar nou sê julle: Ons sien! Daarom bly julle sonde.” Johannes 9:40-41
THE SUPPLIED LIFE – Bill Freeman
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.