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IS JESUS EQUAL WITH GOD? The Difference Between Actual Suffering & Having A Mind To Suffer. Part 2

FORESIGHT OF THE MASTER PLANNER

First Begotten Son is God Part 3

THE NATURE OF JESUS CHRIST

IS JESUS EQUAL WITH GOD ? The Difference Between Actual Suffering & Having A Mind To Suffer. Part 2

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:1-7)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. (John 1:1)

“Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand. JUSTICE and JUDGEMENT are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face. Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted. For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king” (Psalms 89:13-18)

“For the time is come that JUDGEMENT MUST BEGIN AT THE HOUSE OF GOD: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1Peter 4:17) .

“Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel. Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth, Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name: That strengtheneth the spoiled against the strong, so that the spoiled shall come against the fortress. They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them. For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right. Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time. Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph. Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the Lord, saith thus; Wailing shall be in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways, Alas! alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing. And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the LORD. Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light” (Amos 5: 6-18)

Like I said in our last post, Church folks have been preached at to “accept their sufferings”“suffer suffer for world – enjoy for heaven” while most of those who do the preaching (this days) tend to live opulent lifestyles that is being envied by showbiz folks – These make the notion of suffering in the course of doing the work of God become a very touchy issue which when not taken before the Lord in prayer could lead to shipwreck.

In our last post as part of our look at the obedience of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as seen in His emptying and humbling of Himself we looked at Difference Between Actual Suffering & Having A Mind To Suffer we will now continue with the second part of the discourse by watchman Nee Called Having A Mind To Suffer.

I will like to reiterate again that as we move more into the perilous times prophesied by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, a time when it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate the true brethren from the false ones; a time when as Jesus put it:

“Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Mark 13:12-13).

It is fast becoming a time when with everyday reality:

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold“ (Matthew 24:12) .

It is a time when like never before:

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13)

But continually remember that:

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth“ (Lamentations 3:22-27).

Like in our last post, in going through this post, I would like us to ponder on these verses of the scriptures:

“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:8-9).

“For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself: And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:26-27).

“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (Heb. 13:12-15).

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls” (1Pet 2:21-25).

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1Pet. 3:18).

“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead” (1Pet. 4:1-5).

“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you“ (1Pe:5:10).

Difference Between Actual Suffering & Having A Mind To Suffer.

Let us now carry on with our look at this discourse written by Watchman Nee – HAVING A MIND TO SUFFER

Three

 

Here we see the dilemma in the Lord’s service. Sometimes, for example, in the work which God has called us to do, we find ourselves in physical need because He seemingly has not provided sufficiently for us. What shall we do amidst such trial? Well, if we stop working because of material straitness, might not our Lord be surprised and He not be justified in asking us what is the basis and reason for our service? So that in God’s service, having the mind to suffer is a decisive factor. For you cannot come to the Lord and say you quit because you encounter some unexpected difficulty or trial. No one who serves the Lord may stay home during rain and go forth only after the sun comes out. If you have the mind to suffer, then you will work on in spite of privation, difficulty, pain, sickness, or even approaching death.

Possessing a mind to suffer, you will stand up and declare to the devil, “I will work on, no matter what may come!” But if you are inwardly afraid, you will fall away at whatever provocation Satan may cast along your path. If you say, “I am not afraid of hunger,” then when Satan threatens you with hunger, you stand firm and the devil flees. If you say, “I am not afraid of coldness,” you will stand and Satan must withdraw when the latter tempts you with coldness. But if you should say, “I am afraid of being sick,” Satan will make you sick and thus you will be vanquished. Without a mind to suffer, you are subject to Satanic attack at this very point of your fear, and you will be finished. But if you declare, “I am not afraid of sickness,” Satan will be bound.

In the light of all this, every one of God’s workmen must be prepared before the Lord to go forth with a fearless heart. Whatever may happen – whether it be family trouble, physical ailment, hunger or cold – you shall continue to serve. With the result that the Enemy can do nothing to you. Such an attitude reveals having the mind to suffer. On the other hand, when such an attitude is lacking, you will be tempted with the very thing of which you are afraid. And the consequence will be that you will invariably withdraw from the work of God. In short, you become unusable.

May we all say to God, “For the sake of Your love and because of the grace You have given me today, I am fully committed to Your work. Come heaven or come hell, I will work on. Wether competent or incompetent, I shall pursue the work to its very end.” Without such a heart as this we will be open to the attack of the Enemy at our point of weakness. We will quickly be finished and reduced to ineffectiveness. For this reason we must plead with God to show mercy towards us and grant us this mind to suffer.

To have this mind is to be inwardly ready for the Lord regardless what event or future circumstance may overtake us. Having such a mind to suffer does not necessarily automatically incur suffering; probably, there will be no suffering; yet an inward determination anchors us firmly. And whoever has this inner assurance is fortified against trouble of any kind. But whoever lacks such certitude will collapse when confronted with trouble.

Have you now realized the absolute necessity for having such a mind? The way of service lies not in suffering, but in possessing the mind to suffer. That is to say, you thank God for hunger and nakedness as well as for food and clothing. These things create no difficulty in your life. Neither good nor bad represents any problem to you at all. Please understand that Christians do not ever seek to suffer, they must simply have a mind to suffer. They are prepared to press on in the face of whatever difficulties come their way. But if this should remain an unsettled issue in your life, then nothing is settled.

Let us take what may occur in travel as an example of what we have been saying here. It is true that some people may be physically weak and need to sleep on a better bed. But if you as God’s servant insist that you must sleep on a more comfortable bed because of your feebleness, then Satan can attack you at this very point and cause you to have an uncomfortable bed to sleep on. To have the mind to suffer denotes that, regardless of the condition of the bed, you will work on. If the Lord so arranges for you to sleep on a better bed, do not prefer to sleep on the floor. You should sleep on any kind of bed He provides for you. No matter what the condition of the bed is, you continue to serve and will not shrink back. Such an attitude is what the Scriptures call having the mind to suffer.

Some brother may be living under a poorer material condition. By this alone it cannot be assumed that he has the mind to suffer. Do not conclude that the materially poorer brother must certainly be one who possesses a greater mind to suffer than a materially better-off brother. Only those who have truly consecrated themselves to the Lord are in possession of such a mind. Such a heart to endure suffering knows no measure nor end. You may go to one place and sleep on the floor. You may go to another place, and there is no floor for you to sleep on but only a pile of hay in the mud. What will you do in such a circumstance? Someone may accept it with great reluctance.

Nevertheless, though he suffers, his suffering has a measure or boundary to it. He may be willing to sleep on the floor, but that is the extent to which he can manage the situation – he cannot lower himself further by sleeping in the hay on the muddy ground. By this he seems to say that his standard of living is already low enough and cannot go any lower. This only affirms that he has the fact of suffering but not the mind to suffer.

On the other hand, there are other brothers and sisters who in their daily living enjoy more material comforts and yet when their standard of living is compelled by circumstance to be lowered, they can take it in stride as though nothing has happened. They can sleep on the floor or even on muddy ground spread with hay. They utter not a word of reluctance or complaint, for they gladly accept the provision. Now this is having a mind to suffer. And God will choose such people to serve Him.

So our issue today is not over how much we suffer but over what is the measure or boundary to our endurance. Suffering may not be necessary for us, but having the mind to suffer is a must. The Lord will not purposely put us in continuous trial or hardship; He only desires to create in us a mind to suffer. No one who goes forth to serve God can be strong without possessing this kind of mind. Else he will be a feeble workman. He will pity, favor and shed tears for himself at the least difficulty or inconvenience. He will sigh and say, “How have I fallen into such a trying situation!” This reminds me of the instance when on one occasion a sister was weeping. Another sister who had served the Lord many years asked her: “But for whom are you weeping?” Alas, many weep for themselves. They bemoan the fact that, being so lovely and so precious, they have now been demoted into this uninviting, unpleasant place or situation. So they weep for themselves. Such people are the weakest, and they are the quickest to fold when the going gets rough.

The questions before you is this: when trial and pain come your way, where is your heart? On the one hand is your hardship; on the other hand is the Lord’s work. In the even you do not have the mind to suffer, you will immediately sacrifice the work of the Lord. You will muse, “How can I possibly take care of the Lord’s work when I can hardly take care of my distress!” Oh, at all costs, we must arm ourselves with the mind to suffer, for there is no question that our suffering shall indeed subside if we lay down the work; but in so doing God’s work will suffer loss.

Here, then, is the problem: when there is a lack of a mind to suffer, or when there is no mind present to suffer at all, Satan is able to tempt us to desert our work for the Lord at any time. yet we are to be people who maintain the glory of God. Come life or come death, we must fulfill our duty. We have to finish our course and persevere to the end. This that I have said is not meant to imply that it is expected that our laboring brothers and sisters are to suffer. Under ordinary situations, our need for food, clothing and lodging is legitimate and good in God’s sight to be met. We do not in the slightest encourage brothers and sisters to seek out sufferings to bear, nor would we ever put suffering upon anyone: we would that God would supply our every need so that we would lack in nothing. Yet we still maintain that to have a mind to suffer is an absolute necessity for those who are God’s workmen. On the one hand, we are aware that God would not withhold any good thing from us; on the other hand, we must possess the mind to suffer. If not, we shall fall at the least inconvenience or trouble.

Four

How much of a mind to suffer must we posses? The demand of the Scripture is: “faithful unto death” (Rev. 2:10c). In other words, we must be able to endure anything, even death itself. We are not advocating extremes here. Yet having the mind to suffer isnever moderately defined in God’s word. If moderation is called for in the case of some of you workers because of excess, then let the Lord, the Church or the more matured brethren temper your excess. But so far as you are concerned, you must give your all. How can you ever serve if you temper yourself? There is no way for you to work. A person who looks upon his own life in his own hand is very limited in the work of God. Every one of us who would be in God’s service must be prepared to be faithful unto death. This is the only path we can travel. It goes without saying that the Lord will not ask you to die because of your faithfulness. Nonetheless, the preserving of our life is up to the Lord and is not a matter for our concern. Should the Lord so order, that is His business. On our side, we must always be ready to lay down our life. No matter how painful, we must learn to endure.

Let me say this, that if you live your own life, you will not be able to be faithful unto death. Yet this is the basic demand of the Lord. The mind to suffer should be so strong in us that we may say, “O Lord, it is fine with me if death should come! I am willing to lay down my life for You, totally unmindful of any distressful situation.” God needds such “violent” ones to serve Him (see Mt. 11:12) – those who would dare to put their lives on the line. Let us not worry about how we can avoid being extreme. That is another matter. Here we must realize that though it is impossible for us to pre-arrange everything, it is absolutely necessary that we have this mind to suffer before God. We must be prepared to give our all in the face of outside trouble or physical weakness. If we will not be “violent” with ourselves, then we can do nothing. Let us tell the Lord, “O Lord, I am willing to give my all. Hereafter nothing can hinder my serving You. Come death or life, come sorrow or joy, with You I have cast my lot.”

This one thing is most effective – that of serving the Lord even unto death. The more you stand on this ground, the less the Enemy has any way with you. Alas, how people love their own selves. A little pain draws out rivers of tears and eruptions of sighs. Were we not to love ourselves, these tears and sighs would vanish from the scene. In order to travel this road God’s servants must be “violent” people. They must say to the Lord, “Lord, whether You have ordained for me to suffer or not, I am fully prepared to suffer.” Again and again I would say that suffering is a limited matter, whereas the mind to suffer is an unlimited one. the amount of hardship or trial the Lord allows you to endure is measurable, but the extent of your readiness to suffer before the Lord is to be immeasurable. On the other hand, if your mind to suffer is measurable, then you do not really have the mind to suffer. Any limit here renders such a person ineffective in the Lord’s work. Anything less than what God demands makes one’s service unacceptable to Him.

Never entertain the thought that the mind to suffer is restricted to only a certain measure of suffering. No, no, it is to be measureless, even unto death. Otherwise, Satan will be able to tempt you and make you fall. “They over came him [Satan] because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life even unto death” (Rev. 12:11). What can the Enemy do if your conscience is void of offence, you have the word of the testimony of Christ’s victory, and you love not your life even unto death? The Enemy has no way in the slightest to deal with those who love not their lives in that way!

We all know the story of Job. The reason why Satan attacked him so fiercely is because God’s Enemy just could not believe that a man would not seek to preserve his own life for the Lord’s sake. Hence he challenged Jehovah, saying, “Skin for skin, yes, all that a man has will he give for his life. But put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will renounce You to Your face” (Job 2:4-5). Satan knew that if he touched Job’s life and the latter loved his life, then God’s enemy would have his way. How very clear are the implications of the words in Rev. 12:11: Satan is at his wit’s end towards those who love not their lives even unto death.

The failure of God’s workmen can be plainly perceived right here – that they love their lives too much. Let us ask ourselves which is more important, the work of God or our own life? our duty to God or our own life? people’s souls or our own life? the Church of God or our own life? the testimony of God on earth or our own life? Those who love themselves cannot serve the Lord; and those who suffer may not necessarily be serving the Lord. Only those who have the mind to suffer, who have an unlimited measure of the mind to suffer, who have a mind that “love[s] not their life even unto death” – these, and these alone, are qualified to serve God.

Today, let us offer ourselves afresh to the Lord, not offering ourselves to suffer, but simply offering ourselves to give our all. The Lord may not have destined us to be martyrs, yet we must have the mind to suffer even unto a martyr’s death if that be His will. Let us acknowledge and confess how often the failure of our work can be traced to our indolence, self-protection and lack of self-denial. Do not presume that people are blind, that the eyes of other brothers and sisters are closed. Let us realize that they can easily detect whether we are giving our all or keeping back something.

When the Lord calls us, He calls us to put all on the altar. May He be gracious to us that none of us will so treasure his or her life as to be unwilling to lay it down. From the depths of our hearts we must cultivate the habit of not loving or pitying ourselves. Otherwise, our work will be circumscribed. The measure and extent of our having the mind to suffer will determine the measure and extent of our spiritual work for the Lord. Any limitation in having this mind limits the scope of spiritual service. It also limits the blessing to people. We need not use any other standard by which to measure God’s blessing than that of having the mind to suffer. And with a measureless mind to suffer there shall come an unlimited scope of blessing.

Prayer:

O Lord You have said in Your word in 1Corinthians 11:31-32 that “for if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world”: We pray this day O Lord that, You will multiply the Father’s glorious riches in You unto us and fill us with the Knowledge of The Father’s will to RIGHTEOUSLY JUDGE OURSELVES, SO THAT WE WILL NOT BE JUDGED AND CONDEMNED WITH THE WORLD.

Meanwhile, seek to be set free from God’s wrath today and seek the righteousness that really counts:

Most Importantly!!!!!

 You might say – “Why do I have to know and experience this Jesus you are going on about?” Here is why, when and how you can get to know Him.

Admit your spiritual need.

We all are sinners: nobody likes that title “SINNER”, but the bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.

What is the result of sin?

In Romans 6:23 we read “The wages of sin is death…” in other words, every sin is another step towards death. One thing that we need to remember is that God never sends anyone to hell; one can send himself there by rejecting the truth.

Since we can never measure up to God’s standards by our own strength; God has reached out to mankind.

In Romans 5:8 we read, “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. It is Jesus, after all, who is the source of life’s greatest high.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17).

What must a person do to accept this gift?

Simply receive it! Matthew 11:28 states –“come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks, seeking entrance into your life to give you peace, change you for the best. John 1:12 says: “For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God”.

If you haven’t already received Christ as your Saviour, don’t put it off another day! Take time right now to reflect on the state of your life, how does Romans 3:23 apply to you? Ask God to empower you to see the true state of your heart – “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) then when enabled, invite Jesus into your life. Confess your sins. Receive His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. You could pray something like this:

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of a Saviour. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Help me to live my life in a way that pleases You, for whatever time You give me here on earth. I look forward to living forever in Heaven with You. Amen.

IS JESUS EQUAL WITH GOD? The Difference Between Actual Suffering & Having A Mind To Suffer. Part 1

FORESIGHT OF THE MASTER PLANNER

First Begotten Son is God Part 3

THE NATURE OF JESUS CHRIST

IS JESUS EQUAL WITH GOD ? The Difference Between Actual Suffering & Having A Mind To Suffer. Part 1

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:1-7)“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. (John1:1)

Once again as ever, I thank the Lord for restoring me to this work and for His protection and never failing compassion: In the world we live in today, where the notion of suffering for the Gospel has been made to look like a show of naivety; the notion of suffering in the course of doing the work of God become a very touchy issue which when not taken before the Lord in prayer could lead to shipwreck.

As we move more into the perilous times prophesied by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; a time when it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate the true brethren from the false ones; a time when as Jesus put it:

“Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Mark 13:12-13).

It is fast becoming a time when with everyday reality:

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold“ (Matthew 24:12) .

It is a time when like Jeremiah we could even find ourselves saying:

“And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity. And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD: Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him. He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach. For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men“. (Lamentations 3:17-33).

Now, In our last post we started our look at the two sections of the acts by our lord and Saviour Jesus Christ that (as we will look at in the near future) led to His being exalted by God The Father and given a name that is above all names; these two sections of the acts as explained by watchman Nee being His emptying Himself. The second section is on His humbling Himself. We saw how the Lord lowered Himself twice, first in emptying Himself in His deity, and then in humbling Himself in His humanity: That His being the Lord was something given to Him by God The Father; being made the Lord is something that happened after He emptied Himself in His deity. We saw that the deity of our Lord Jesus is something that is based on what He is. Being God is His original position; but His attainment of the position of Lord is based on what He has done.

We will now in this post continue our look at the first in our classifications of who Jesus Christ is with regards to His Nature, His Pre-Existence and how He fits into the eternal purpose of the Master Planner. We will be having a look at the question IS JESUS EQUAL WITH GOD? We will now look at how the Father rewarded his Son for His obedience even unto death; obedience unto death that was the end result of His emptying Himself in His deity, and then in humbling Himself in His humanity:

But before we continue with this, I would like to have a look at this example of our Lord and Saviour’s suffering as a consequence of His emptying Himself in His deity, and then in humbling Himself in His humanity: and see The Difference Between Actual Suffering & Having A Mind To Suffer.

The Difference Between Actual Suffering & Having A Mind To Suffer.

In going through this post, I would like us to ponder on these verses of the scriptures:

“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:8-9).

“For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself: And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:26-27).

“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (Heb. 13:12-15).

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls” (1Pet 2:21-25).

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1Pet. 3:18).

“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead” (1Pet. 4:1-5).

“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you“ (1Pe:5:10).

I will now like us to ponder on these discourse written by Watchman Nee

Watchman Nee endured much suffering for the sake of the New Testament ministry. Due to his absoluteness in following the Lord and his faithfulness in fulfilling the Lord’s commission, he underwent frequent mistreatment as well as lifelong hardships. Because he unwaveringly fought the battle for the Lord’s move, he was under constant attack from God’s enemy. At the same time, he was also under God’s sovereign hand. He recognized the sovereign arrangements of God in his environment not merely as a divinely apportioned “thorn in the flesh,” but more importantly, as a means by which God was able to deal with him. Due to both the enemy’s attacks and God’s faithful environmental dealings, Watchman Nee lived a life of suffering. The majority of his sufferings came from five sources: poverty, ill health, various denominations, dissenting brothers and sisters in the local churches, and imprisonment.

HAVING A MIND TO SUFFER – Watchman Nee
 One

All who serve God need to possess an additional characteristic – that of having a mind to suffer (see 1 Pet. 4:1). This too is most essential. But before we address this specific question, let us first deal generally with the attitude of a Christian toward suffering.

The teaching of Scripture is quite plain: God has no desire to see His people suffer. There is a certain philosophical concept abroad which posits the notions that the human body is intrinsically evil – and that therefore we humans must suffer and not enjoy blessing. People with such a concept view any kind of enjoyment as something wrong.

As servants of the Lord, however, we go forth to represent Him. We ought to be clear that the above concept is not a Christian one. The Bible definitely shows us that God has never purposed to have His children suffer. On the contrary, it plainly tells us that the Lord has not withheld any good thing from us: “Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psa. 23:1; see also, 1 Tim. 6:17). The words “I shall not want” here, do not mean that I shall have no need. They simply mean that with Jehovah as my Shepherd, I shall not be in need of any kind. For example, if you have just had a solid meal, and someone offers you a bowl of congee (watery rice), you will doubtless say, “I am full, I do not need it.” In a similar vein, what the psalmist is saying here is that, having the Lord as my Shepherd, I shall be in lack of nothing. In other words, God does not desire that we be in lack; on the contrary, He wants us to be full; and so, “no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psa. 84:11).

Beginning at the very outset of the Old Testament record, the Bible consistently reveals to us how God takes care of His people, minimizes their problems and mitigates their sufferings so as to separate them from the heathen nations. Take as just one example the circumstances among the Hebrews in the land of Egypt. The land of Goshen where they lived was different from the rest of Egypt. God’s blessing was always present in Goshen. Hence we believers must not bring this kind of suffering philosophy into our Christian faith. Let us not confuse Christianity by mixing non-Christian notions into it. This is something we need to watch.

On the other hand, this is not to suggest that God will not test His children nor discipline them: He does indeed test them and chasten them. Yet we need to distinguish this from the philosophical concept of suffering just mentioned. In ordinary times God usually dispenses grace, taking care of, supporting and supplying His own children with whatever they need. But in times of necessity He will also test and chasten His own. Yet even here, this is not to say that He will try them every day.

He only chastens when chastening is necessary. He never chastens on a daily basis or at every moment: He only does so sometimes, not all the time. Our God is habitually mindful of us to provide for our every need. Nevertheless, if we persist in our obstinacy in a given area of life, He will have to allow the trial and discipline to continue – although according to His usual way He loves to deal kindly with us and is unwilling to make us suffer. It is the will of our Father God to give all good things to His children. We may therefore receive and enjoy all which the Lord has given to us.

What, then, is the meaning of the suffering for the saint which we find in the Bible? In the Scriptures we find that to suffer is a path which we deliberately choose to take before the Lord. This is to say that the Lord has indeed provided us with days of abundant grace; but today, for the sake of being God’s servants and serving Him, we instead choose this way of suffering. In short, this path is a selected way. It is not unlike what the three mighty men of David did who could have easily followed their leader and lived on peacefully, but once learning of David’s longing to taste water from the well by the gate of his home village of Bethlehem, they jeopardized their lives by breaking through the host of the Philistine army to draw water out of that very well (see 2 Sam. 23:14-17). Hence to suffer is something chosen by us; it is not ordained. We choose before God to suffer. We are willing to do so for the sake of serving the Lord. According to God’s providence, we may not have to suffer many pains; yet because we desire to serve Him, we gladly choose a path which differs from the common one. And this is what is meant by having a mind to suffer. To arm ourselves with such a mind is a basic characteristic of any person who would wish to serve God. Without this willingness, we will not be able to serve well in anything. Lacking this, our service will be very superficial.

Two

Yet, let it be clearly know here that being willing to suffer is not the same thing as suffering itself. It simply means that before God I have a desire of being willing to endure hardship, difficulty or trial for the Lord. I am prepared to do so and will gladly do so for Him. And this is having the mind to suffer. Whoever has this mind may not in fact suffer, yet in his mind and heart he has committed himself to do so gladly for the Lord.

Suppose, for example, that today, God supplies you with food and clothing and better lodging with better furniture. It is not wrong for you to enjoy these things. You may accept from the Lord whatever He has provided; nonetheless, you still possess a heart willing to suffer for Him. Though you do not experience any physical hardship at the moment, nevertheless your mind is still willing to experience that for the Lord. Hence the issue lies not in outward happenings but in your heart desire. When you are in a most favourable situation, do you still possess the mind to suffer? The Lord may not arrange to have us endure hardship every day, but all who work the work of God must not lack the mind to endure such a thing each day. Suffering may not be a daily experience, yet having a mind to suffer must be present daily.

The problem we face is that many brothers and sisters, as well as members of their families, shrink back at the slightest provocation. They do not possess the mind to suffer. When the Lord arranges to let us have a favourable environment, without any lack in material things, and with a relatively healthy body, we can serve Him daily and well. But once we encounter a little trial and meet up with the slightest trivial problem, our whole being collapses. This betrays the fact that we do not have the heart to suffer. How can we possibly stand any test if we do not have such a heart?

Having the mind to suffer speaks of my readiness before God to suffer. I am willing to go through trial, and I choose the path of hardship. It is up to the Lord whether or not to put suffering in my path, but on my part I am always prepared to suffer. Thus when His providential changes comes and trials fall upon me, I will not be surprised but rather feel that this is what I should go through in the first place. In the event I can only accept God’s favourable arrangement and am unable to endure any trial, then as soon as the circumstances shift in the latter direction, I am broken and my work for the Lord ceases. Now this is a clear indication that I do not have the mind to suffer.

Do please understand that work cannot wait for you. Whether you have food or not, you nonetheless must work. Whether you are clothed or not, you must nevertheless continue serving the Lord. When you are well you work; when you feel uncomfortable you still work. You serve whether in health or in sickness. But this shall you find out if you are armed with the mind to suffer or not. Yet this is an awesome weapon, before which Satan is unquestionably bound. Otherwise, once trial and trouble come, your work instantly ceases.

Some brothers and sisters have suffered, and yet they do not see the preciousness of suffering before God. And as a consequence they are not in the least thankful to the Lord. On the contrary, they may at times even murmur and complain. They become apprehensive if such a day does not speedily pass. They may have prayers, but they never give praise. Whatever has come upon them under the discipline of the Holy Spirit they will not gladly accept. They expect such a time to quickly fade away. This kind of attitude plainly manifests their lack of having a heart to suffer.

Allow me to say that if you do not possess the mind to suffer during peaceful days which the Lord has given you, you will only be able to proceed when the way is smooth, because as soon as the road turns muddy, you will stop serving. This ought not to be so. Let me reiterate what was said earlier, that having the mind to suffer is not suffering itself. You may in truth possess such a mind and yet the Lord may not see fit to give you suffering. Even so, if and when you are in fact touched with hardship or trial, you will not shrink back, because within you dwells a heart to suffer.

We need to note, however, that not all who suffer have the mind to do so. Many are going through difficulty and trial, and yet they may not possess the mind to suffer. So that among those who suffer, there are those with the mind to do so and others without the mind so to do. Quite a number of brothers and sisters cry almost daily for deliverance from the things they must endure. They are daily in distress, hoping day and night that such a time will soon pass away. Such people have no mind to suffer in the midst of hardship.

Therefore, let all who are under trials – whether physical, financial or otherwise – remember this: that what counts before the Lord is not whether you suffer, but whether you have the mind to suffer. Make no mistake in thinking that because you suffer greatly, you are therefore enduring hardship and trouble for the Lord. Without a doubt your circumstance is painful, but it needs to be asked how much of a mind to suffer for the Lord do you really have? Do you choose this path of suffering before the Lord? or are you complaining, annoyed, self-pitying and self-seeking when you do suffer? Let it be plainly understood that people can undergo much heart pain or actual physical trial and yet simultaneously have no mind to do so. Possessing a mind to suffer is a much deeper issue than undergoing the suffering itself. To have the mind to suffer may not issue forth in one suffering outwardly; but by the same token, for a person to suffer outwardly may not mean he has the mind to suffer.

We can also put it this way, that the materially poor may not be spiritually poor, for many who go through much material hardship and trial are rich in the spirit in that they do have a mind to suffer; yet there are many brothers and sisters who, though they might equally be going through difficulty and material hardship, do not have a mind to suffer. And should the Lord allow these latter to choose, they would rather not suffer, neither for a month, nor for a day – nay, not even for a moment. They do not possess a heart to suffer.

A person who lacks this character attitude shall find his labour in the Lord limited. For when the outside demand exceeds his ability, he will immediately withdraw. He is unable to sacrifice all. What he treasures he keeps for himself. He can only be engaged in the smoothest service during the most convenient days. He needs the Lord to remove all the obstacles for him so that he may work peacefully. Yet how surprising it is that a person who serves the Lord should make such a demand.

So let us clearly understand what is mean by having the mind to suffer. A brother who is living peacefully may have more of such a mind than he who is actually suffering. In human eyes, of these two brethren, the one under trial is undoubtedly the one who is suffering. Yet in God’s eyes, the brother in peace who definitely has the mind to suffer would be more precious to the Lord. This is because what the Lord values the most in His children is not the suffering itself but their having a heart to suffer. Yet because the Lord has no intention of making us suffer, let us not therefore think that our suffering itself has any merit.

May we ever keep in mind that the one thing God requires of us to respond well to is to be willing to have the mind to suffer. We must be armed with this very weapon. Without this as a weapon, we cannot fight the battle for the Lord. We will instead retreat at the least hint of hardship. We will not be able to endure the least pain or pay the smallest price. We will immediately shrink back. In view of this, the question to be put to you is not how much you suffer but how much you are willing to suffer. Naturally we would expect a brother who encounters much pain to have received more grace from God. Even so, we may not be able to find help from that brother simply because we later discover that within him there is no heart to suffer. How totally unwilling he is in this area. He has in truth gone through much trial and tribulation, but he has not learned any lesson before God because his heart is full of rebellion. We are therefore shown the difference here between the mind to suffer and suffering itself. We cannot in any way substitute the latter for the former.

We will continue with this discourse in our next post. Meanwhile:

Prayer:

O Lord, we thank You for the examples that you have set before us; we ask that the Holy Spirit may apply these words to the practical situations of our lives and show us how to follow in Your footsteps so that our Christian lives can be effective as we are continually enabled by the Holy Spirit to make the deliberate choice before You, to cultivate a mind to suffer and to realise how sure it is that our Father in You Christ Jesus will enable us to live it out.

Meanwhile, seek to be set free from God’s wrath today and seek the righteousness that really counts:

Most Importantly!!!!!

 You might say – “Why do I have to know and experience this Jesus you are going on about?” Here is why, when and how you can get to know Him.

Admit your spiritual need.

We all are sinners: nobody likes that title “SINNER”, but the bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.

What is the result of sin?

In Romans 6:23 we read “The wages of sin is death…” in other words, every sin is another step towards death. One thing that we need to remember is that God never sends anyone to hell; one can send himself there by rejecting the truth.

Since we can never measure up to God’s standards by our own strength; God has reached out to mankind.

In Romans 5:8 we read, “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. It is Jesus, after all, who is the source of life’s greatest high.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17).

What must a person do to accept this gift?

Simply receive it! Matthew 11:28 states –“come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks, seeking entrance into your life to give you peace, change you for the best. John 1:12 says: “For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God”.

If you haven’t already received Christ as your Saviour, don’t put it off another day! Take time right now to reflect on the state of your life, how does Romans 3:23 apply to you? Ask God to empower you to see the true state of your heart – “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) then when enabled, invite Jesus into your life. Confess your sins. Receive His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. You could pray something like this:

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of a Saviour. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Help me to live my life in a way that pleases You, for whatever time You give me here on earth. I look forward to living forever in Heaven with You. Amen.

IS JESUS EQUAL WITH GOD ?

FORESIGHT OF THE MASTER PLANNER

First Begotten Son is God Part 3

THE NATURE OF JESUS CHRIST

IS JESUS EQUAL WITH GOD ? Part 1

 

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:1-7)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. John 1:1

In our last 3 posts we looked at the first of three questions asked to see if Jesus is the “Saviour” and “liberator” of mankind; we took a look at the question IS JESUS MORE THAN MAN? we looked at Jesus as the Son of (M)man and also Jesus as the Son of God where we looked at the essence or reality of His nature – the essential nature or reality of Jesus Christ, in which the divine and the human are believed to be combined – How it is possible for Him to be God and man at the same time.

We will in this post continue our look at the first in our classifications of who Jesus Christ is with regards to His Nature, His Pre-Existence and how He fits into the eternal purpose of the Master Planner. We will be having a look at the question –  IS JESUS EQUAL WITH GOD?

 IS JESUS EQUAL WITH GOD ?

“A virgin would conceive and bear a son whose name is Immanuel—God with us (Isaiah 7:14).

“A child would be born whose name would be called the mighty God, the everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6).

“Let this MIND be in you, which was also in CHRIST JESUS: Who, being in the FORM OF GOD, thought it not robbery to be EQUAL WITH GOD: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore GOD also hath HIGHLY EXALTED HIM, and given him a name which is ABOVE EVERY NAME: That at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of things IN HEAVEN, and things IN EARTH, and things UNDER THE EARTH; And that EVERY TONGUE SHOULD CONFESS that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)

“Let this MIND be in you, which was also in CHRIST JESUS”

Before we go on to look at the question of Jesus being “equal with God” Let us see what led Apostle Paul to give the example of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ when admonishing the Philippians on the need for unity. There had been disagreements or opposition that led to open conflict among the Philippians; this disagreements, being the product of the vainglory and selfish ambition that existed in some amongst them highlights the fact that though there was the regeneration of the spirit amongst them there was to a lesser extent the regeneration of the mind (will, intellect and emotions). The fullness of this regeneration of the mind as characterised in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ:

“Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Philippians 2:2-4).

These same strife and vainglory can be seen to have been exhibited in religious folks of His (Jesus‘) time; one of these instances is seen when on the Sabbath, He healed the invalid man who had been lying at the pool of Bethesda for 38 years. For this (working on the Sabbath) the Jews challenged and when he replied them saying how “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (The Father and Son still working on man’s redemption and building), their ‘jungle justice’ instincts kicked in and they sought to kill Him:

“Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18).

Jesus then had to spend so much time explaining the basis of His claim of equality with God (His Father (and ours too) to them:

“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel….That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him……For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man……I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth….But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not….I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” John 5:19-44

Jesus here is showing the result of His training with the Father before His incarnation (becoming human from being God). Just as in any good family, the parents would do everything to empower their children so that they will turn out to be ideally greater than they are; they do not do this thinking that it would lead to their children having greater authority than them or that the children would then turn against them because they feel they are equal to their parents; this a natural instinct to preserve their lineage, make their name greater and even more so to have their won greatness displayed through their children:

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ“ (2 Corinthians 4:6).

We can see from what Jesus had to say in John 5 that, this natural instinct in parents is a Godly inheritance and the reaction of the child is to realise the importance of his/her parents irrespective of how successful he’she may be. We need to follow Jesus’ example. Charles Spurgeon observed in THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE FACE OF JESUS CHRIST:

With no other preface than this we shall ask your attention this morning, first, TO THE SUBJECT OF THAT KNOWLEDGE in which Paul delighted so much. What was this knowledge which, to his mind, was the chief of all and the most worthy to be spread? It was the knowledge of God—truly a most necessary and proper knowledge for all God’s creatures! For a man not to know his Maker and Ruler is deplorable ignorance, indeed! The proper study of mankind is God. Paul not only knew that there is a God, for he had known that before his conversion—none could have more surely believed in the Godhead than did Paul as a Jew.

Nor does he merely intend that he had learned somewhat of the Character of God, for that, also, he had known from the Old Testament Scriptures before he was met with on the way to Damascus. Now he had come to know God in a closer, clearer and surer way, for he had seen Him, Incarnate, in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle had also received the knowledge of “the Glory of God.” Never had the God of Abraham appeared so glorious as now! God in Christ Jesus had won the adoring wonder of the Apostle’s instructed mind. He had known Jehovah’s Glory as the One and only God. He had seen that Glory in creation, declared by the heavens and displayed upon the earth. He had beheld that Glory in the Law which blazed from Sinai and shed its insufferable light upon the face of Moses.

But now, beyond all else, he had come to perceive the Glory of God in the face, or Person, of Jesus Christ and this had won his soul! This special knowledge had been communicated to him at his conversion when Jesus spoke to him out of Heaven. In this knowledge he had made great advances by experience and by new Revelations—but he had not yet learned it to the fullest, for he was still seeking to know it perfectly by the teaching of the Divine Spirit and we find him

saying, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.”

Paul knew not merely God, but God in Christ Jesus! Not merely “the Glory of God,” but “the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” The knowledge dealt with God, but it was Christward knowledge! He pined not for a Christless Theism, but for God in Christ! This, Beloved, is the one thing which you and I should aim to know. There are parts of the Divine Glory which will never be seen by us in this life, speculate as we may. Mysticism would desire to pry into the unknowable—you and I may leave dreamers and their dreams—and follow the clear light which shines from the face of Jesus. What of God it is necessary and beneficial for us to know, He has revealed in Christ! And whatever is not there, we may rest assured it is unfit and unnecessary for us to know.

The Apostle Paul, exhorts us in Philippians 2:5-11:

“Let this MIND be in you, which was also in CHRIST JESUS: Who, being in the FORM OF GOD, thought it not robbery to be EQUAL WITH GOD: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore GOD also hath HIGHLY EXALTED HIM, and given him a name which is ABOVE EVERY NAME: That at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of things IN HEAVEN, and things IN EARTH, and things UNDER THE EARTH; And that EVERY TONGUE SHOULD CONFESS that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)

It would be fair to say that;, for Jesus to be equal with God He should have God’s distinctive character, , basic structure, appearance, behaviour or manners, mould or frame, mode of expression: The dictionary gives the meaning of EQUAL as:

Identical in size, quantity, value, or standard: Having the same privileges, rights, status, and opportunities as others: evenly balanced between opposing sides: equipped with the necessary qualities or means to accomplish something: having the same effect, application, or meaning as somebody or something else: somebody or something equal in quality to another.

And FORM as;

A type of something that has various different types: the particular way that something is or appears to be: the shape or structure of a thing that gives it its distinctive character, considered apart from its content, colour, texture, or composition: the shape or appearance of a thing that makes it identifiable: a shape like a person or other living thing that cannot be clearly made out: a mould, frame, or model within which or around which something can be shaped: a model of a human body or torso, used for fitting or displaying clothes.

Now, as we mentioned earlier every parent want his/her qualities (preferably the good ones) to be shown in their children, the father especially wants his children to look exactly like him, very much intrinsically; and would give such children freedom to be themselves within the family which then is shown when they are in the wider society; there is a danger that this freedom can be misconstrued by that child as a passport to live a reckless and disobedient life – challenging every decision of the parents. Jesus did not take this option but instead:

“CHRIST JESUS: Who, being in the FORM OF GOD, thought it not robbery to be EQUAL WITH GOD: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. ”

Watchman Nee in SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY explains this further:

The Word of God tells us that the Lord Jesus and the Father are one. In the beginning was the Word, just as in the beginning there was God. The Word was God, and this Word created the heavens and earth. With God in the beginning there was glory. It was an inapproachable glory, the glory of the Son. The Father and the Son are equal, equipotent, coexisting, and existing simultaneously. But there is a difference in person between the Father and the Son. It is not a distinction in intrinsic nature but in arrangement in the Godhead. The Bible says that the Lord did not consider being equal with God a treasure to be grasped (Phil 2:6). To be grasped means to take by force. The Lord’s equality with God is not something that He assumed by force. It is not an assertion or a usurpation because the Lord had the image of God in the first place.

Philippians 2:5-7 form one section, while verses 8-11 form another section. The first section is on Christ emptying Himself. The second section is on Christ humbling Himself. The Lord lowered Himself twice, first in emptying Himself in His deity, and then in humbling Himself in His humanity. When the Lord came down to earth, He emptied Himself of the glory, power, position, and image in His deity. As a result of His emptying, those without revelation did not recognize Him and would not acknowledge Him as God, considering Him merely as an ordinary man. In the Godhead the Lord voluntarily chose to be the Son, submitting Himself to the authority of the Father. Hence, He said that the Father was greater than He (John 14:28). The Son’s position was a voluntary choice of our Lord. In the Godhead there is full harmony. In the Godhead there is equality, yet it is happily arranged that the Father should be the Head and that the Son should submit. The Father became the representation of authority, and the Son became the representation of submission.

He went on to say:

Concerning His deity, the Lord was equal with God. But His being the Lord was something given to Him by God. Being made the Lord is something that happened after He emptied Himself in His deity. The deity of the Lord Jesus is something that is based on what He is. Being God is His original position. But His attainment of the position of Lord is based on what He has done. When He laid aside His divine form to fully maintain the principle of submission and subsequently ascended to the heavens, God accorded to Him the position of Lord.

Based on Himself, He is God. Based on His attainment, He is Lord. This lordship was not originally present in the Godhead. This portion in Philippians 2 is very difficult to explain and very controversial. But it is also a most divine passage. Today we have to come to this passage with our shoes off, standing on holy ground. It seems as if there was a conference in the Godhead in the beginning in which a plan was made to create the universe. In this plan the divine persons of the Godhead agreed with each other and came to the understanding that the Father would be the representation of authority. But if there was only authority without submission, authority could not be established, because authority is not something isolated. Hence, there must be submission in the universe.

Two kinds of creatures were created in the universe. The first kind was the angels—spirits. The second kind was man—souls. God’s foreknowledge foresaw the rebellion of the angels and the failure of man. God’s authority cannot be built upon the angels or upon the descendants of Adam. In the Godhead there was a harmonious decision that authority would be established first within the Godhead. From that time on, there was a distinction in operation of the Father and the Son. One day the Son willingly emptied Himself to become a created man as the representation of submission to authority. It was the creature that had rebelled. Therefore, only the submission of a creature could establish God’s authority. It was man who sinned and rebelled. Therefore, only through the submission of a man could God’s authority be established. This is why the Lord had to come to the earth to become a man and to be the same as a creature in every way.

The birth of the Lord is the coming forth of God. He did not retain His authority by being God. Rather, He took up human restrictions by becoming a man, even the restriction of a slave. This was a very risky matter for the Lord. Once the Lord stepped out from the form of God, there was a possibility that He could not return as a man. If He had not been submissive, He could have reclaimed the divine form of His deity only in His position as the Son. However, the principle of submission would have been broken forever. When the Lord stepped out, there were only two ways for Him to return. One was to be a proper man, absolutely and unreservedly submitting with no trace of rebellion, being obedient step by step, and letting God bring Him back and set Him up as Lord. If being a slave had been too difficult for Him, if weakness and the limitations of the flesh had been too much for Him, and if submission had been beyond Him, the only other way to return would have been for Him to force His way back by using the authority and glory of His deity. But our Lord rejected this way, a way which He was not meant to take. He set His heart to subject Himself to the way of submission even unto death.

Since He emptied Himself, He could no longer refill Himself. He did not vacillate in His mind. Since He emptied Himself of all divine glory and authority and stepped forth as a slave, He did not want to go back by any other way than the way of submission. Before He returned, He completed His course of being obedient unto death in the position of a man. He was able to return because He accomplished a perfect and pure submission.

Suffering upon suffering was piled on Him, but He remained absolutely submissive. There was not the slightest reaction or rebellion. Therefore, God exalted Him and ushered Him back as Lord in the Godhead. This was not just a refilling of what had been emptied, but the ushering of a MAN into the Godhead by the Father. The Son became Jesus (the Man), and was received back into the Godhead. Now we know the preciousness of the name of Jesus. In the whole universe there is no one like Him. When the Lord declared, “It is done” on the cross, He did not mean that just salvation had been secured, but that everything that He said had been done. For this He obtained a name that is above every name. At the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue should openly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. From that time forward, He was not only God, but Lord as well. His lordship speaks of His relationship with God. It speaks of what He attained before God. His being the Christ speaks of His relationship with the church.

In short, when the Lord came forth from God, He did not intend to return by His deity. Rather, He intended to return through His exaltation as a man. This is how God maintains His principle of submission. It is wrong for us to have even a trace of rebellion. We should submit to authority completely. This is a great matter. The Lord Jesus’ return to heaven was through His being a man and being submissive in the form of a man. As a result He was exalted by God. We must come face-to-face with this matter. In the whole Bible there is hardly any passage as mysterious as this one. The Lord bade farewell to His divine form. He did not return in just His divine form, because He had put on the flesh.

In Him there was no trace of disobedience; consequently, He was exalted by God in His humanity. He stepped forth to give up His glory. He returned to reclaim His glory. All of this was accomplished by God. We need to have the mind in us which was in Christ Jesus. All of us should take the way of our Lord, taking His principle of submission as our principle unto submission and learning submission from one another. Whoever knows this principle will realize that no sin is uglier than rebellion and that nothing is more important than submission. Only when we see the principle of submission can we serve God. God’s principle can be maintained only by submitting in the way that the Lord submitted. Once there is rebellion, we are in the principle of Satan.

We will stop here for now and in our next post we will be looking at how the Father rewarded his Son for His obedience even unto death. meanwhile

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, You who said, let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so as to beam forth the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of Your majesty and glory as it is manifest in the person and is revealed in the face of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Messiah. We ask that the Holy Spirit may apply these words to the practical situations of our lives and show us how defective the Christian’s life is, where obedience does not rule all; how that life can be exchanged for one of full surrender to absolute obedience; and how sure it is that You our Father in Christ Jesus will enable us to live it out.

Meanwhile, seek to be set free from God’s wrath today and seek the righteousness that really counts:

Most Importantly!!!!!

 You might say – “Why do I have to know and experience this Jesus you are going on about?” Here is why, when and how you can get to know Him.

Admit your spiritual need.

We all are sinners: nobody likes that title “SINNER”, but the bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.

What is the result of sin?

In Romans 6:23 we read “The wages of sin is death…” in other words, every sin is another step towards death. One thing that we need to remember is that God never sends anyone to hell; one can send himself there by rejecting the truth.

Since we can never measure up to God’s standards by our own strength; God has reached out to mankind.

In Romans 5:8 we read, “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. It is Jesus, after all, who is the source of life’s greatest high.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17).

What must a person do to accept this gift?

Simply receive it! Matthew 11:28 states –“come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks, seeking entrance into your life to give you peace, change you for the best. John 1:12 says: “For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God”.

If you haven’t already received Christ as your Saviour, don’t put it off another day! Take time right now to reflect on the state of your life, how does Romans 3:23 apply to you? Ask God to empower you to see the true state of your heart – “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) then when enabled, invite Jesus into your life. Confess your sins. Receive His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. You could pray something like this:

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of a Saviour. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Help me to live my life in a way that pleases You, for whatever time You give me here on earth. I look forward to living forever in Heaven with You. Amen.

IS JESUS MORE THAN MAN? (Part 3) The Son of God

FORESIGHT OF THE MASTER PLANNER

First Begotten Son is God Part 3

THE NATURE OF JESUS CHRIST

IS JESUS MORE THAN MAN? Part III

The Son of God

 

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:1-7)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. .(John 1:1)

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

In our last post we started our look at the second part of the first of three questions asked to see if Jesus is the “Saviour” and “liberator” of mankind; we looked at Jesus as the Son of (M)man: We have seen in previous posts how the term, Son of Man is used in the Bible to express different points (generally with reference to the weakness of humanity); some of these include; the ordinariness; the inherent physical, spiritual and moral weaknesses in humanity that lead to difficulty in resisting temptation or avoiding wrongdoing (character flaws).

It is also used in the old testament to uniquely show characteristics of Jesus Christ as the Saviour Son in capital “S” and in the new to illustrate His genealogy (as a man); as we have also seen that The Son of God has no genealogy (John 1:1). But as the Son of man Christ does have a genealogy (Matt. 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38).

In this post we shall be looking at the core of the hypostasis – or the essence or reality of the nature of Jesus Christ – the essential nature or reality of Jesus Christ, in which the divine and the human are believed to be combined in other words, we will take a look at common questions like; if He called Himself Son of man, how is He then able liberate man from sin? Or if God is Spirit, how can He have a Son? How is it possible for Him to be God and man at the same time? Is He the Son of God?

Son of God

“And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass” (Revelation 2:18).

In the days of the old testament God spoke through the prophets, who were men born through His Spirit (as seen in 2 Peter 1:21).

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they“ Hebrews 1:1-4

In the new testament He spoke through the Son; in the person of the Son. God had made the Son, God himself expressed:

“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom“ (Hebrews 1:8)

“Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Psalms 45:6-7).

God the Father is hidden; God the Son is expressed. No one has ever seen God; the Son, as the Word of God (John1:1; Rev. 19:13) and the speaking of God has declared Him with the full expression, explanation and definition of Him:

“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18)

The Son is the centre of the eternal purpose of God. He is the essence or the brightness radiating from the Father’s Glory and the impress of The Father’s substance. John explains this further when He said:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:15)

In creation, He is the means through which the universe is made; the power that upholds and bears all things; the heir appointed to inherit all things; in redemption He accomplished the purification of man’s sins and He is now sitting on the right side of God in the Heavens. Someone out there would ask – how is that possible? From God to man and then back to God? God and man at the same time? Why didn’t He stay as God to do all He wanted to do if He was really God? What was the need for all these? These is answered in what is called the “hypostatic union” because God in His infinite mercy decided to become man so as to save man.

GOTQUESTIONS.ORG describes the hypostatic union as:

“The hypostatic union is the term used to describe how God the Son, Jesus Christ, took on a human nature, yet remained fully God at the same time. Jesus always had been God (John 8:58, 10:30), but at the incarnation Jesus became a human being (John 1:14). The addition of the human nature to the divine nature is Jesus, the God-man. This is the hypostatic union, Jesus Christ, one Person, fully God and fully man.Jesus’ two natures, human and divine, are inseparable. Jesus will forever be the God-man, fully God and fully human, two distinct natures in one Person. Jesus’ humanity and divinity are not mixed, but are united without loss of separate identity. Jesus sometimes operated with the limitations of humanity (John 4:6, 19:28) and other times in the power of His deity (John 11:43; Matthew 14:18-21). In both, Jesus’ actions were from His one Person. Jesus had two natures, but only one personality.

The doctrine of the hypostatic union is an attempt to explain how Jesus could be both God and man at the same time. It is ultimately, though, a doctrine we are incapable of fully understanding. It is impossible for us to fully understand how God works. We, as human beings with finite minds, should not expect to totally comprehend an infinite God. Jesus is God’s Son in that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). But that does not mean Jesus did not exist before He was conceived. Jesus has always existed (John 8:58, 10:30). When Jesus was conceived, He became a human being in addition to being God (John 1:1, 14).

Jesus is both God and man. Jesus has always been God, but He did not become a human being until He was conceived in Mary. Jesus became a human being in order to identify with us in our struggles (Hebrews 2:17) and, more importantly, so that He could die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins (Philippians 2:5-11). In summary, the hypostatic union teaches that Jesus is both fully human and fully divine, that there is no mixture or dilution of either nature, and that He is one united Person, forever.”

“To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?” (Isaiah 40:18)“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18).“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature” (Colossians 1:15).

“Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen” (I Timothy 6:16).

“Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39).

Now, to “Save” or “liberate” mankind, being the reason for this hypostatic union there has to be a connection between the spirit of man and God. In the old testament (and even today in our 21st century, as man tries to help himself in every other way apart from God), the type of propitiation was (and is) only able to cover sins; but the Son took away the sin (John 1:29) and accomplished the purification of sins once for all. So He sat down for ever (Hebrews 10:10,12)

Propitiation – This is Jesus meeting the demands of the Father, to appease His wrath, so that humanity could be redeemed to God (Man being reconciled to God). Thankfully, Jesus paid the price for our sins. Eternal life is a free gift, paid for by Christ’s own physical blood. This gift can only be received by faith alone in Christ. All you have to do is admit to God that you’re a guilty sinner and believe upon the name of Jesus for forgiveness.

“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43).So, as:“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

click on image for larger size

Man is made up of BODY, SOUL, and SPIRIT; these three elements of man each have their own distinct level of supremacy; The spirit is highest in supremacy and the body is lowest, in other words, our SPIRIT, God-consciousness (as represented by the functions of our conscience, intuition and communion) This reconciliation with God actually takes place through empowerment from God that takes place through The curtain (see Ex. 26:31-33; Mark 15:38; Heb. 9:8-14; 10:19-20).

The curtain of the temple that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. The tearing of the curtain (like the Lord’s physical body) when the Son of God was crucified at Calvary indicated that Christ, The Son of God had entered heaven itself for us so that we too may now enter God’s very presence. (See Eph. 1:20-23; 2: 4-7; 13-16; Col. 2:13-15; Rev. 1:18; Heb. 1:4; 2:9-10; 4:14 –16; 9:24). These curtain is the connection from God to the spirit of man.

SPIRIT OF MAN

The principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul; Excellent disposition or attitude in terms of vigour, courage, firmness of intent, etc.; mettle: That’s the spirit; The incorporeal part of humans: present in spirit though absent in body. Our spirit comprises of our:

Conscience:
The inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action: to follow the dictates of conscience: The complex of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhibits the actions or thoughts of an individual: An inhibiting sense of what is prudent: I’d eat another piece of pie but my conscience would bother me: Knowledge shows what is right or wrong, but it is the conscience that approves of what is right and disapproves of what is contrary to it.
Compare with: Deut. 2:30; Psa. 34:18; Psa. 51:10; John 13:21; Acts 17:16; Rom. 8:16; 1 Cor. 5:3; 2 Cor. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:7

Intuition:
Direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension: A fact, truth, etc., perceived in this way: A keen and quick insight: The quality or ability of having such direct perception or quick insight: An immediate cognition of an object not inferred or determined by a previous cognition of the same object; any object or truth so discerned; pure, untaught, non-inferential knowledge: The ability of the native speaker to make linguistic judgments, as of the grammaticality, ambiguity, equivalence, or non-equivalence of sentences, deriving from the speaker’s native-language competence.

Compare with: Matt. 26:41; Mark 2:8; Mark 8:12; John 11:33; Acts 18:5; Acts 18:25; Acts 20:22; 1 Cor. 2:11; I Cor. 16:18; 2 Cor. 7:13

Communion:
Interchange or sharing of thoughts or emotions; intimate communication: communion with nature: The act of sharing, or holding in common; participation: Worship

Compare with: Luke 1:47; John 4:23; Rom. 1:9; Rom. 7:6; Rom. 8:15; Rom. 8:16; I Cor. 6:17; 1 Cor. 14:15; I Cor. 14:16; Rev. 21:10.

It is this curtain that connects man to God through His Son the Vine. We will be looking at this comprehensively in another post.

In the scheme of things regarding the “the eternal purpose of the Master planner” our almighty, all powerful God, His Son Jesus Christ have been and will be the centre of focus. In the Gospels of Christ who lived on the earth and on the cross for the accomplishment of redemption. Witness Lee, in his new testament commentaries outlines this focus for us:

In the acts of the Apostles is the resurrected and ascended Son of God propagated and ministered to the world. In Romans as we are now doing, is the Son of God, who is our righteousness for justification and our life for sanctification, transformation, glorification and building up. In Galatians is the Son of God who enables us to live a life that is versus the law, religions, traditions and forms. In Philippians is the Son of God who live out of His members. I Ephesians and Colossians is the Son of God who is the life, the content and the Head of the Body, the Church. In 1 and 2 Corinthians is the Son of God, who is everything in the practical Church life. In 1 and 2 Thessalonians is the Son of God, who is our holiness for His coming back. In 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus is the Son of God who is God’s economy, enabling us to know how to conduct ourselves in the house of God.

In Hebrews, He is the Son of God , the present Christ, who is now in the heavens as our Minister and our High Priest, ministering to us the heavenly life, grace, authority, power; and sustaining us to live a heavenly life on earth. He is the Son of God, Christ now, the Christ today, and the Christ on the throne in the heavens, who is our daily salvation and moment-by moment supply. In the Epistles of Peter is the Son of God, who enables us to take God’s governmental dealings administered through sufferings. In the Epistles of John is the Son of God who is the life and the fellowship of the children of God in God’s family. In Revelation is the Son of God, who is walking amongst the Churches in this age, ruling over the world in the coming age and expressing God in full glory in the new heaven and new earth for eternity.

Jesus during His ministry here on earth made statements that suggested and confirmed who He is; statements that pointed to Him as The Son of God, Some of these are:

“I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30).

“Believest thou not that I am IN THE FATHER, and the FATHER IN ME.? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” (John 14:10-11).

“Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are” (John 17:11).

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be ONE; as THOU, FATHER, ART IN ME, and I IN THEE, that they also may be ONE IN US: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be ONE, even as WE ARE ONE” (John 17:20-22).

His reaction to those who see Him as blaspheming by making these claims:

“If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not” (John 10:35-37; see also John 11:4)

There were those who (like is prevalent today) Challenged His claim of being the Son of God:

“And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:62-64; see also Matth. 27:40,43; Luke 22:70; John 19:7)

Even before He came into this world as a man (His incarnation), Prophet Daniel saw this:

“Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire“ (Daniel 3:24-26).

The devil also acknowledged this in His bid to tempt Jesus before the start of His ministry:

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” (Matthew 4:1-3, 6; see also Luke 4:3,9)

God the Father also confirmed these statements:

“Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid” (Matthew 17:4-6; see also Mark 9:6-8; Luke 9:34-36; 2 Peter 1:16-18).

Angel Gabriel confirmed to Jesus’ mother that her son would be the Son of God:

“Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren” (Luke 1:34-36).

Even the unclean spirits know that He is the Son of God:

“And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding” (Matthew 8:28-30; see also Mark 3:11; Luke 8:28).

The testimonies of those who were close to Him confirmed it:

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Mark 1:1-3; see also John 1:34, 49; 1 John 5:20).

The testimonies of those who came in contact with the power inherent in His being the Son of God:

“And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret” (Matthew 14:32-34; see also Luke 4:41; john 11:27).

Even at His death on the cross at Calvary, the centurion confirmed it:

“And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him” (Matthew 27:53-55; see also Mark 15:39).

The consequences of not believing in Him:

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:17-19; see also 1 John 5:10,12).

Gains for believing in Him:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself” (John 5:24-26).

“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:30-31; see also Romans 1:4; Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 4:14; 1 John 3:8; 4:15; 5:5,13).

Consequences of Knowing Him and then Falling away (Backsliding):

“And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God” (Hebrews 6:5-7; see also 10:28-30)

If you believe; what next?

“And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him” (Acts 8:36-38; see also 2 Corinthians 1:19; Ephesians 4:12-14).

In our next post we shall be looking at the Question –   IS JESUS EQUAL WITH GOD ? meanwhile:

Prayer:

Our Father, we pray as we bow before this blessed One, Your blessed son, that the eyes of our understanding may be opened, that we may realise that here is One who stands supreme in the midst of those thousands and tens of thousands in Revelation who cry, “Worthy is the Lamb to be praised, to receive honour and glory and blessing. Worthy is this One who is slain and is dead, and is alive, and lives forevermore.” “Your Son, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass” We thank you for this revelation, and pray that our hearts may echo these words, “Lord, here am l; I am nothing but a human being, nothing but a man, a woman, a boy, a girl, but Lord, here I am. Take me. Send me. Use me.” In Jesus name, Amen.

Meanwhile, seek to be set free from God’s wrath today and seek the righteousness that really counts:

Most Importantly!!!!!

 You might say – “Why do I have to know and experience this Jesus you are going on about?” Here is why, when and how you can get to know Him.

Admit your spiritual need.

We all are sinners: nobody likes that title “SINNER”, but the bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.

What is the result of sin?

In Romans 6:23 we read “The wages of sin is death…” in other words, every sin is another step towards death. One thing that we need to remember is that God never sends anyone to hell; one can send himself there by rejecting the truth.

Since we can never measure up to God’s standards by our own strength; God has reached out to mankind.

In Romans 5:8 we read, “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. It is Jesus, after all, who is the source of life’s greatest high.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17).

What must a person do to accept this gift?

Simply receive it! Matthew 11:28 states –“come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks, seeking entrance into your life to give you peace, change you for the best. John 1:12 says: “For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God”.

If you haven’t already received Christ as your Saviour, don’t put it off another day! Take time right now to reflect on the state of your life, how does Romans 3:23 apply to you? Ask God to empower you to see the true state of your heart – “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) then when enabled, invite Jesus into your life. Confess your sins. Receive His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. You could pray something like this:

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of a Saviour. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Help me to live my life in a way that pleases You, for whatever time You give me here on earth. I look forward to living forever in Heaven with You. Amen.

IS JESUS MORE THAN MAN? (Part 2) The Son of man

FORESIGHT OF THE MASTER PLANNER

First Begotten Son is God Part 3

THE NATURE OF JESUS CHRIST

IS JESUS MORE THAN MAN? Part II

The Son of man

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:1-7)“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. .In our last post we concluded that If Melchizedek who is “but made like unto the Son of God;” is “Without father, without mother, without descent,” (human father and mother are inferred here) Being eternal, The Son of God has no genealogy (John 1:1). But as the Son of man Christ does have a genealogy (Matt. 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38). In this post we shall be looking at the second part this first of three questions asked to see if Jesus is the “Saviour” and “liberator” of mankind – in other words take a look at common questions like; if He called Himself Son of man, how is He then able liberate man from sin? Or if God is Spirit, how can He have a Son?

Son of Man

GENEALOGY OF JESUS CHRIST (Human)

“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias; And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1:1-18).

The term, Son of Man is used in the Bible to express different points (generally with reference to the weakness of humanity); some of these are:

The ordinariness; the inherent physical, spiritual and moral weaknesses in humanity that leads to difficulty in resisting temptation or avoiding wrongdoing (character flaws).

“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Psalms 8:4).

“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God.” (Psalms 146:3-5; see also Job 25:6; Psalm144:3; Isaiah 51:12 etc)

It is used 93 times in the old testament probably to remind prophet Ezekiel of his own frailties.

“And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand“ (Ezekiel 3:16-18).

The phrase Son of Man is used in the old testament to uniquely show characteristics of Jesus Christ as the Saviour Son in capial “S”:

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.“ (Daniel 7:13-14; see also Psalm 80:17).

In the new testament, The phrase Son of Man is used 43 times and uniquely show the characteristics of Jesus Christ as the Saviour.

Firstly the use of this phrase in the new testament concerning lord Jesus illustrates His humanity and God’s infinite wisdom with regards His (Jesus’) incarnation in the project that is to deliver, save or liberate man from sin.

Incarnation is the manifestation of God or a god’s or spirit’s appearance in human form.

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage“ (Hebrews 2:14, 15).

To further illustrate these two perspectives of Jesus as “Son if man; It is recorded that even after His death and resurrection, Jesus showed Himself to the people around him

“And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread. And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet” (Luke 24:33-40).

It is for this reason that John commanded that we should test every spirit and the one test suggested is:

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (1 John 4:1-3).

Another instance of the phrase Son of man being used in the Bible was when He was called the Son of David:

The Messiah being the “Saviour“ or “Liberator“ “the Anointed One”.
King David like other kings, prophets and priests of his days, (see 1 Samuel 10:1; Exodus 40:15; Leviticus 21:10; 2 Kings 19:16) was anointed to be the saviour of the Children of Israel. And:

David testifies of Jesus being “Anointed”

“Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Psalms:45:6,7; see also Hebrews 1:8-10).

As prophet Isaiah puts it, Jesus like David in the office of the office of the Prophet:

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified” (Isaiah 61:1-3; see also Luke 4:18)

David also testifies of the superiority of Jesus as a priest – “the original, superior Priest”

“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Psalms 110:1-4).

At this point I would like to make one or two statements about our modern day evangelistic crusades; it is now a common phenomenon that a lot of these crusades are preceded by high power expensive advertising (and sometimes heavy marketing) and who do we see on these bill boards, postal or TV and radio adverts? The preacher (or in most cases these days, the motivational speaker). Wouldn’t it be better to have (instead of the preacher), the image of JESUS on this postal and advertisements, so that the people are prepared for who they are going there to meet when they come to these crusades.

Now, in our introduction to THE NATURE OF JESUS CHRIST We touched on the fact that:

one would have thought that the public debate in Israel during the days of Jesus Christ on earth (may be their “Question Time” as we have it here in England) would have been focused on most of the verses of the Torah that touched on the prophecies about the coming messiah; as there was so much agitation for the messiah that would save them from Roman oppression. While they waited in anticipation for this “emperor-like” fellow to show up, they must have neglected the faithfulness of the God of their Father Abraham, in bringing to pass some of these prophecies while Jesus was among them. If they had marked the fulfilment of each prophecy as it came to pass, they would have been led to thank and praise God for being true to His word, hence this colossal unbelief (that marvelled even Jesus Christ Himself) wouldn’t have set in.
“And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them”
One could be led to think that these few sick folks that got healed could have believed but still have some doubts, because the passage tells us that unbelief was the cause of Him not doing mighty works in their midst. Not to forget that this was as I said earlier, a time that the Jews were going through oppression from the Romans and were eagerly anticipating the arrival of this ‘messiah’. These religious leaders, in instigating the people against Him, instead of actually pointing the people to what the Torah says about the coming messiah and leaving the people to make their own judgements with regards to who He really is; have a share in the blame for the people’s unbelief . As unbelief is a sin, they should have heeded Jesus’ warning:
“AND [Jesus] said to His disciples, Temptations (snares, traps set to entice to sin) are sure to come, but woe to him by or through whom they come! It would be more profitable for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were hurled into the sea than that he should cause to sin or be a snare to one of these little ones [[a]lowly in rank or influence]”. Luke 17:1-2 (Amp)
Then something happened in the next chapter of Luke’s Gospel:“And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God“ (Luke 18:35-43).Mark actually tells us the name of this blind man:

“And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging” (Mark 10:46).

Blind Bartimaeus must have been one exception to these doubting believers. In this gathering around Jesus on this day (just like at any crusade we could have today) would be people who had different reasons to be there ; The Pharisees and Sadducees would be there (with their stones in their pockets) in case the opportunity arises for them to stone Him (Jesus) to death for blasphemy; the party guys would be there in case He declares an endless buffet like He had done with the fish and bread, you know – the guy who fed five thousand people in the desert (prosperity hunters); His disciples whom He had only just rebuked for inordinate concern with position and respectability; those who have heard of His profile as “just the son of Joseph the carpenter” and have come “just” to curiously see “how He does it“; and also there were people like blind Bartimaeus, who although is blind may not have seen (the equivalent in their days) of TV adverts; the poor, may not be able to afford (the equivalent in their days) of a radio – generally cut off from the mainstream of the society but in one way or the other must have heard, gotten hold of and continuously meditated on some verses of the torah like:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6,7).

He might also have been meditating on:

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified” (Isaiah 61:1-3; see also Luke 4:18; see also).

And who is in the best position to make this claim of restoration in Zion?

“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Psalms 110:1-4).

JESUS

While He (Blind Bartimaeus) must have listened to many of preachers or teachers in his days and this time out of Curiosity,

“And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by“.

It must be said that this crowd that were around Him (Jesus) must known Him for His human name which is attached to His works, be it compassion (Matthew 9:36); great teachings (Matthews chapters 5-7) etc which gave them great relieve from the tyranny of the Pharisees and Sadducees (who were at the beck and call of the Roman oppressors); But blind Bartimaeus, must have seen with the eyes of his heart beyond the human name “Jesus” into the eternal weight that name carries – he must have seen Him (Jesus) as David saw Him in Psalms 110:1-4 and also as prophet Isaiah did:

“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:1-12).

Then he was able with the deepest convictions to see Jesus as the:

“Saviour“ or “Liberator“ and “the Anointed One” – The Son of David

The crowd especially the ones that had told Him to shut up would have been so astonished at Jesus reaction to their silencing of Blind Bartimaeus; because just has they have failed to see beyond Jesus the man (human), they have also failed to see the deep spirituality that motivated Blind Bartimaeus to express Jesus as the Son of David, thus holding Him in the position of the Messiah.

So, just as today, so many know Jesus of Nazareth as the miracle worker, great preacher but have been denied or are denying themselves the opportunity of that life-saving faith that comes from seeing Him as “Christ Crucified” How rewarding can it be if we can live  our lives:

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God“ (Hebrews 12:2)In our next post we will be looking at the last part of IS JESUS MORE THAN MAN? The Son of God. meanwhilePrayer:

Our Father, we thank you for the truth in this mighty declaration that Jesus Christ is indeed Lord, that you have exalted him and give him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. We pray that any who have never come to know this One as Lord may now open their life and cry out to him as these men and women in His time did: “What shall we do?” and hear this delivering word to repent and to believe, and thus receive the promised Spirit, who is available to all. We thank you in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer by Ray Stedman

Meanwhile, seek to be set free from God’s wrath today and seek the righteousness that really counts:

Most Importantly!!!!!

 You might say – “Why do I have to know and experience this Jesus you are going on about?” Here is why, when and how you can get to know Him.

Admit your spiritual need.

We all are sinners: nobody likes that title “SINNER”, but the bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.

What is the result of sin?

In Romans 6:23 we read “The wages of sin is death…” in other words, every sin is another step towards death. One thing that we need to remember is that God never sends anyone to hell; one can send himself there by rejecting the truth.

Since we can never measure up to God’s standards by our own strength; God has reached out to mankind.

In Romans 5:8 we read, “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. It is Jesus, after all, who is the source of life’s greatest high.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17).

What must a person do to accept this gift?

Simply receive it! Matthew 11:28 states –“come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks, seeking entrance into your life to give you peace, change you for the best. John 1:12 says: “For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God”.

If you haven’t already received Christ as your Saviour, don’t put it off another day! Take time right now to reflect on the state of your life, how does Romans 3:23 apply to you? Ask God to empower you to see the true state of your heart – “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) then when enabled, invite Jesus into your life. Confess your sins. Receive His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. You could pray something like this:

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of a Saviour. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Help me to live my life in a way that pleases You, for whatever time You give me here on earth. I look forward to living forever in Heaven with You. Amen.

The Knowledge of Christ, and of the Power of His Resurrection (ii)

Foresight of The Master Planner

First Begotten Son is God Part 3

Jesus The Same Today – From Humanity Back To Divinity – Man Brought Into God (A)

PLAN A2, BACK ON TRACKTransformation; The proving of Faith and The Glory of God

 

Back on Track – That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (Eph. 1:3-12 emphasis added)

Jesus The Same, Yesterday, And Today, And Forever (Hebrews 13:8)

And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. (Romans 1:3-4)

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved); And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.(Ephesians 2:5-7)

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11)

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21)

We will start this PLAN A2, BACK ON TRACKTransformation; The proving of Faith and The Glory of God with a look at this sermon by J.C. philpot

The Knowledge of Christ, and of the Power of His Resurrection

J.C. Philpot: Preached at Zoar Chapel, Great Alie Street, London, on Thursday Evening, July 13, 1843

PART 2: The knowledge of the power of his resurrection. – “That I might known him.”

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.” (Philippians 3:10)

But the apostle in the text not only desired to know Christ, but also to know “the power of his resurrection.” What does he mean by the “power of Christ’s resurrection?” In order to understand what is meant by the power, we must look a little at the nature of Christ’s resurrection.

The reason why the Scriptures speak so much of Christ’s resurrection is, because it was, so to speak, the stamp which God put upon his work upon the cross.

The visible proof that God gave that Jesus was the Son of God, was, that he raised him up from the dead. As the apostle says,

“Declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead,” (Rom. 1:4).

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the grand point which the apostles enforced in their preaching; and it makes the most prominent feature in every sermon recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ was the seal of his being the promised Messiah, the Christ of God.

It was the Father’s visible and undeniable testimony that he had finished the work which had been given him to do; and that being raised up by the power of God, the authority and approbation of God himself was undeniably stamped upon all that he meritoriously did and suffered.

But again. The resurrection of Christ is not merely the authoritative stamp which God set upon his work, but sets forth also the regeneration of the soul, according to those words,

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ.”

The Scriptures of the New Testament very much connect together the resurrection of Jesus with the regeneration of his people.

The Church had an eternal union with the Son of God as her Covenant Head.

She was therefore mystically crucified, buried, and raised up with Christ. The same power which raised up Christ from the dead works in her heart (Eph. 1:19-20); so, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, she is to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4); and being “risen with Christ she seeks the things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God,” (Col. 3:1). Had the Church not risen with Christ she could not have been regenerated in due time by him.

But the members virtually rising with their glorious Head, each in due season receives life out of him, as it says,

“Thy dead men shall live; together with my dead body shall they arise,” (Isa. 26:19).

Thus Christ’s resurrection is the cause of the soul’s regeneration; and regeneration is the inward proof of Christ’s resurrection, and of an interest in it.

“Because I live, ye shall live also.”

“Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear,” (Acts 2:38).
1. As the resurrection, then, of Christ was the grand, visible stamp of God’s approbation of his finished work, the decisive witness which the Father gave that he was his only-begotten Son, the promised Messiah, the Christ of God;

to know the “power of his resurrection,” is to know the power of God’s approbation of the finished work of Jesus, and to have the stamp which God puts upon his dying love and atoning blood experimentally sealed upon the conscience.

So that, in knowing the power of Christ’s resurrection, the soul not only knows that the work of redemption is finished, that the Son of God has put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, that he has “finished the transgression, made an end of sins, made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness” (Dan. 9:24); but in knowing the approbation of God to be put upon the finished work of Christ, it is experimentally brought to feel that its sin is entirely put away, and its iniquity for ever abolished.
2. But Christ’s resurrection, I observed, is also connected with the regeneration of his people. If Christ had not risen from the dead, all his people would have eternally perished; as the Apostle says, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished,” (1 Cor. 15:17, 18).

But when Jesus rose from the dead all his elect spiritually and mystically arose with him, and thus his risen life at the right hand of the Father becomes their quickening life, for “the last Adam is a quickening Spirit;” and “those who have been planted in the likeness of his death are also planted in the likeness of his resurrection.”

To know, then, the power of Christ’s resurrection is to know the power of his risen and endless life in the soul, and to feel the quickening energy and efficacy of his Spirit creating vital faith in the heart.

Thus, when sunk in carnality, darkness, and death, the soul longs to feel a sweet and blessed revival, it desires to know the power of Christ’s resurrection. By virtue alone of his risen life can it arise out of that miserable state of barrenness and carnality into which it is so often sunk; and did not he forever live who is our life, long ago would it have sunk to rise no more. His “visitation alone preserves our spirit;” and when the soul pleads “Wilt thou not revive us again that thy people may rejoice in thee?” it breathes forth in that petition its desire to know the power of Christ’s resurrection.

3. But Christ in rising from the dead rose triumphant over sin. He sank into the grave overwhelmed, as it were, with sin; for according to covenant engagement, God the Father, in making his soul a sacrifice for sin, caused to meet upon him the iniquities of all his redeemed; and in bearing their iniquities he poured out his soul unto death. But when Jesus rose from the dead all the sins of his church were left in the sepulcher.

The reproach of Israel was rolled away with the stone that was rolled from the tomb where the Lord lay; and he rose as a justified person, as the apostle says, “justified in the Spirit,” (1 Tim. 3:16); and therefore the Lord said in prophecy, “He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me?”

To know, then, the power of Christ’s resurrection is to be delivered from the guilt, filth, and power of sin in the conscience.

Thus the knowledge of the pardon of sin is intimately and experimentally connected with the power of Christ’s resurrection.

God the Father has connected together the justification of the Head and the members, for “Christ was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” In desiring, then, to know the power of Christ’s resurrection, the soul desires to feel and know that “by him it is justified from all things from which it could not be justified by the law of Moses.” As therefore when Jesus rose from the tomb, the sentence of justification was openly and visibly pronounced upon him,

so when his resurrection is felt in the soul, a sentence of justification is passed in the conscience; and to know this is to know “the power of his resurrection.”

4. But when Jesus rose from the dead, it was not to tarry here below. His words to his sorrowing disciples were, “It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you,” (John 16:7). And again, “I go to prepare a place for you.” Thus he rose from the dead that he might ascend to his Father and their Father, to his God and their God; and that his risen life might be their spiritual life. According to those words, “When Christ, who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory,” (Col. 3:4). And therefore the Apostle says,

“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me, (Gal. 2:20).

To know, then, the power of Christ’s resurrection, is to know experimentally the power of that life which Christ now lives at the right hand of God for us; that he may be “our life,” working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight, and leading our souls up to himself that we may receive out of his fulness grace, mercy, and truth.

To know, then, the power of Christ’s resurrection in this sense, is to know the communications of that grace which raises us up out of that deadness and carnality which so often seizes hold of us; and, by virtue of the inflowing of the life of Christ, to be experimentally lifted up and brought out of that pit of worldliness, carelessness, and sensuality into which we so often sink, and beneath the mud and mire of which we feel as if suffocated.

By the power of his resurrection we are kept from being altogether swallowed up and buried in the pool of our corruptions; by the power of his resurrection we are enabled to cry and sigh for deliverance; and by the power of his resurrection alone do we ever obtain it.

Jonah, the type of Christ, came out of the whale’s belly by the power of Christ’s resurrection; and never would he have issued from that dark and doleful dungeon, had not his great Anti-type already, in the mind of him “who calleth those things which be not as though they were,” risen from the dead.

5. Again. Does Death, the King of Terrors, ever alarm and terrify us? And is our mind sometimes perplexed how we shall be able to face this solemn messenger, who comes to summon us into the presence of God? To know the power of Christ’s resurrection is to know a deliverance from this King of Terrors; for Jesus has passed through his territories, and disarmed him of his sting: he has perfumed the grave for all his saints by lying in it.

Nay more; he has “abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light by the gospel.” As the Apostle says, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage,” (Heb. 2:14-15).

Thus “as by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For, as in Adam all died, even so in Christ shall all (that is, of the election of grace) be made alive.” When, then, by a blessed reception of Christ’s resurrection into the soul, the fear of death is taken away, this is to know the power of Christ’s resurrection.

6. Again. Do we backslide? Does the soul depart from its first love?

Is the heart overcharged with the cares of this life?

Have carnality, carelessness, lukewarmness, and worldliness laid hold of the mind?

To know the power of Christ’s resurrection is to know a spiritual deliverance out of this God-dishonoring state. Every touch of God’s spirit in the conscience, every look of mercy or of reproof, every going forth of the heart in secret prayer, every promise made sweet to the soul, every breathing of spiritual affection, every emotion of filial fear, every act of living faith, every sensation of godly sorrow—

in a word, every recovery out of darkness and death, springs out of Jesus’ risen life, and is therefore a knowledge of the power of his resurrection.

When we do not look to him, nor live upon him, how we faint and sink in the way. How the hands hang down, how the knees totter, how the feet limp, how the lips stammer, how the heart becomes weak as water; and how all our religion seems to have left us, and we can scarcely find a grain of godliness remaining.

Thus the strength of Christ is made perfect in weakness, and the power of a risen Jesus is as much felt in raising up the soul now as it will one day be experienced in raising up the body.

If any of you, then, are brought to that spot where the Apostle was when he breathed forth these desires, it is because you have been led experimentally and vitally into these two things

to know yourselves, and to know the Lord; to know sin, and salvation; the malady, and the remedy; your wretched, lost, and ruined state by nature, and what Christ has done for everyone who cometh unto God by him.

Those, then, whom the Holy Ghost thus teaches, and whom he brings to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, do not learn these vital truths merely in the letter of the word, but they have an inward experience of their reality and power.

But there is this peculiarity in the scholars of Christ’s school, that they never can make themselves masters of their lesson.

Unlike other pupils, they never “finish schooling;” and, after all the instruction bestowed upon them, die with their lesson but a quarter learn t. As Paul says, “We see through a glass darkly.”

Every ray of light serves but to manifest more our own darkness, and every fresh teaching convinces us more of our own ignorance.

What we have only makes us long for more; and thus all the saints can join heart and hand with the apostle, in desiring to know Jesus and his power of resurrection. And this will run through every state and stage of experience. Is the soul doubting and fearing? There will be an experimental longing to feel an interest in the blood of Jesus; and these earnest desires will vent themselves in prayer and supplication for the manifestation of mercy, peace, and pardon.

Does the conscience feel guilt, and lie as it were bleeding under the wounds made by sin?

The longing desire of the soul will be to know Jesus, in the spiritual manifestations of himself, to take this guilt away.

Does it feel darkness covering it like a pitchy cloud?

Its longing desire and panting cry will be to know Christ, and the power of his resurrection, that by the shining in of the beams of the glorious Sun of Righteousness, it may see light in his light.

Do temptations assault the mind?

The soul desires to know him who was in all points tempted like as we are, and to feel the power of his resurrection by which he rose triumphant over them all. And just in proportion as he and the power of his resurrection are experimentally known, will the soul have a testimony, sealed with his own divine power.

A few sound Scriptural sentiments or a mere tissue of doctrines in the head will never satisfy one taught of God.

He must have an experimental enjoyment of their savor and power in his conscience; he cannot live comfortably, nor die happily without it; he must have the Spirit’s own witness in his heart, and the Lord’s own presence in his soul.

Thus, while some are wise in the letter, and are perfectly satisfied with a mere doctrinal knowledge of the truth, he feels deeply and daily his wretched ignorance when not sensibly blest with divine teaching, and wants to be taught of God;

while some are gathering together, with a wonderful deal of pains, heaps of bricks and slime to build up their Babel of confusion, he is seeking after the blessed revelations of Christ in his heart as the hope of glory;

whilst others are resting their salvation upon the bare letter of the Bible, he hangs all his hope upon the finished work of Christ as experimentally made known in his heart; and

while others are doing their works to be seen of men, and living upon the breath of the creature, he, in the stillness of his chamber, and in the depths of a broken heart, is looking wholly and solely unto the Lord.

How a living man can go on continually in a profession of religion for days, months, and years, contented with a sound creed and a few dreamy hopes, without any dissatisfaction with himself, or without repeated sighs, groans, and pantings after the Lord Jesus that he would make known in his soul the secrets of his dying love, and manifest himself unto him as he does not manifest himself unto the world, is a mystery which I cannot understand. It is a secret which I do not know, nor do I wish to know.

Sooner than be such a professor as that, I would make no profession at all; rather than be such a self-deceived, hardened wretch, with a name to live whilst dead, I would be a mere moral man, and make no pretensions to spiritual religion whatever.

I am very sure Paul would have not owned such, for he was quite decided “to know not the speech of them which were puffed up, but the power.” And what a contrast does he afford in his experience, as mentioned in the text, with such notional professors.

Though he had been in the third heavens, and had seen and heard there things which it was neither lawful nor possible for a man to utter, yet he does not come forth like a mighty giant towering aloft, and looking down with pride and contempt upon the dwarfs at his feet; but he drops down into nothingness, and says,

“Unto me who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given;”

“who am not worthy to be called an Apostle;”

“the chief of sinners;”

“though I be nothing;”

“that I may know him,”

as if as yet he knew nothing as it was to be known. And why was this, but because his eyes had been spiritually opened to see the unsearchable riches of the Lord of life and glory; and one view of them had filled him with a deep sense of his own ignorance.

But what a contrast does his experience form with the state of those who are wise in the letter of truth, but despise and ridicule all experience and the work of God in the heart. And what a contrast does his childlike teachability and his humble lying at the foot of the cross, present to the dead confidence and hardened presumption of many modern professors!

I wonder how many in this congregation are in the same spot with the Apostle Paul! How many as they lie on their midnight couch are panting after a knowledge of Jesus by his own special manifestations of himself! How many find the world, and the spirit of it, embittered to them, so that they can find neither rest nor happiness in it, and therefore seek it all at the foot of the cross? How many, driven out of every false refuge and lying hope, are anchoring their eternal all on the love and blood of the Lamb! Now all God’s people are brought to this point in their experience sooner or later.

They are all brought to know their own sinfulness, ignorance, and helplessness. And when their eyes are thus anointed with eye-salve to discover their own wretchedness, the same unction from the Holy One reveals to them what Christ has done to save them from it. They learn by this sacred teaching their own iniquity, and his atoning blood; their misery, and the bliss and blessedness which is secured up in him. And when these two extremes meet in the quickened soul, it is brought in one and the same moment, while it debases itself, to exalt the Lord of life and glory. And while it thus sinks down in the depth of creature wretchedness, it learns to glory in the Lord Jesus alone, as its “all in all,” and “as God over all, blessed for evermore.” Amen.

 O Lord, we pray that You will continually bring us to know  our sinfulness, ignorance, and helplessness; that our eyes may be anointed with eye-salve to discover our own wretchedness, We pray that You will also let the Holy Spirit continually reveal to us what You have done to save us from it. open the eye of our heart to see our own iniquity, and Your atoning blood; our misery, and the bliss and blessedness which is secured up in You. Amen

The Knowledge of Christ, and of the Power of His Resurrection (i & ii)

Foresight of The Master Planner

First Begotten Son is God Part 3

Jesus The Same Today – From Humanity Back To Divinity – Man Brought Into God (A)

PLAN A2, BACK ON TRACKTransformation; The proving of Faith and The Glory of God

 

Back on Track – That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (Eph. 1:3-12 emphasis added)

Jesus The Same, Yesterday, And Today, And Forever (Hebrews 13:8)

And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. (Romans 1:3-4)

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved); And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.(Ephesians 2:5-7)

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11)

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21)

We will start this PLAN A2, BACK ON TRACKTransformation; The proving of Faith and The Glory of God with a look at this sermon by J.C. philpot

The Knowledge of Christ, and of the Power of His Resurrection

J.C. Philpot: Preached at Zoar Chapel, Great Alie Street, London, on Thursday Evening, July 13, 1843

PART 1: The knowledge of Christ, Jesus – “That I might known him.”

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.” (Philippians 3:10)

When God created man in his own image, after his own likeness, and placed him in the garden of Eden, he gave him this one prohibition,

“Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” (Gen. 2:16, 17).

God thus prohibited Adam from seeking the knowledge of good and evil: he was to be fully satisfied with knowing his Creator, and not to grasp at any other knowledge than that which was contained in God himself. When Satan, then, tempted the woman, it was by holding out some advantage as the fruit of disobedience. His words were,

“God doth know that in the day that ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened; and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil,” (Gen. 3:5).

Elevation into God-ship and into knowledge, as yet unattained to, was the bait that the arch-deceiver laid before her, the peculiar temptation that he presented to her mind. And the Holy Ghost has revealed how that temptation worked:

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat,” (v. 6).

Now there were three things that worked with, and constituted the chief force of this temptation.

First, that “the tree was good for food.”

Secondly, that “it was pleasant to the eyes.” And

Thirdly, “that it was to be desired to make one wise.”

To this temptation she listened; and as it entered into her mind, it bred these three desires working powerfully together—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the lust of knowledge. Under their united power she fell, and by so doing disobeyed the solemn prohibition of God. And then, by drawing the man, in whom as their covenant-head all his posterity stood, into the committal of the same sin with herself, she involved the whole human race in one common gulf of misery and ruin.

And alas! this “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” has been in the heart of man ever since, striking its deep root downward, and bringing forth its bitter fruit upward: for the thirst which our first parents had after knowledge, at any price and at any cost, is still continually alive in their posterity, craving the same gratification. I can speak experimentally on this point; for I think few persons have had from childhood a greater thirst after human knowledge than myself. Nay, even since the Lord has quickened my soul, though fully convinced of its emptiness and worthlessness, I have felt the strongest temptations to indulge eagerly in the pursuit of it; and one of the greatest exercises of my mind, and what has often brought guilt upon my conscience, has been an inordinate thirst after the various branches of human knowledge, it being so suitable to my natural disposition, as well as fostered by the whole course of my education. But it is a seduction which draws away the soul from spiritual things, fosters the native infidelity of the heart, and leads it to seek its happiness in external things, instead of that which is to be found in the knowledge of the only true God, and of Jesus Christ whom he has sent.

But this was the first and strongest temptation. And I doubt not that the Apostle Paul was similarly exercised; for if he had not naturally had a great thirst after human knowledge, he would not have sat as he did at the feet of Gamaliel, who was a man so deeply skilled in all the various branches of learning then pursued. But when he had once powerfully felt the hand of God in his soul, he was brought to see that all his attainments in human knowledge were mere vanity and emptiness. He deeply felt the utter nothingness of human learning to speak pardon and peace; and, by the mighty work of the Holy Ghost on his heart, he was brought to part with every creature attainment, and all human wisdom, for the knowledge of that one grand Object, which is the only one really worth knowing,

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”

The Apostle was in this sweet and blessed frame of mind, counting all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord, when, under divine inspiration, he wrote this chapter. But it may be as well, before we enter into the experimental meaning of the words of the text, to trace out the work of grace which God was carrying on in his soul, and which brought him into that spiritual state of mind, so as to “count all things but dung that he might win Christ.”

He had told us, that those only were the true circumcision who

“worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”

It was this last expression which led him to enter into his own experience, for he says,

“Though I might also have confidence in the flesh.”

And then he tells us whence he might derive his fleshly confidence.

“If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more.”

He then goes on to enumerate certain particulars, which in those days the pharisaical Jews chiefly rested in as ensuring them the favour of God, such as,

“Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”

Well might he, then, on these grounds, as a blind, ignorant Pharisee, have had a feeling of confidence in the flesh; and till the day of his death would he have rested here, if God had not mercifully opened his eyes to see his own guilt and misery; and thus cut from under his feet the ground whereon he rested. He therefore goes on to say,

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ; yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.”

Thus God, by a secret and powerful work in his conscience, not only cast down all his fleshly confidence, stripped him entirely of his natural religion, (See Holy Spirit & Salvation of Man) showed him the emptiness of every hope in which he had so fondly trusted, and by sending his holy law into his conscience, slaughtered him outright (Rom. 7:9); but also, he manifested to his understanding, and revealed in his soul a precious Saviour, and thus drew forth all the affections of his heart, fixing them wholly and solely upon Jesus.

He then saw by the eye of faith such loveliness and preciousness in Christ, that every other object of desire or affection faded away; and those aims and pursuits which once seemed his richest gain, he could now rejoice in and pursue no longer; they utterly sank in his esteem; vanity and emptiness were stamped upon them; and he counted them as absolute loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.

Before, then, anyone can experimentally enter into these words, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection,” he must experimentally pass through something of the same process as the Apostle; everything must be taken away from him in which he once fondly trusted, every false hope must be demolished, and all creature good felt to be vanity and emptiness. These things must be wrought experimentally by a divine power in his soul; and their effect will be to bring him down into the dust and ashes of self-abasement. And when the sinner is brought thus to sink down before God into all the felt ruin of the creature, it is the work of the blessed Spirit to take of the things of Christ, and reveal them to his heart and conscience, and so fill him with love to the Lord of life and glory. Then everything else, as well as every other object of hope or desire, will sink in his esteem as dross and dung in comparison with the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord.

We will now look, then, with the Lord’s blessing, at the two main features in the text.

I.—The knowledge of Christ.
II.—The knowledge of the power of his resurrection.

Part 1:  “That I might known him.”

But did not the apostle know him? Whoever possessed a tongue to speak forth greater or more blessed things concerning the riches of Christ’s glorious Person, atoning blood, justifying righteousness, and finished salvation, than the great apostle of the Gentiles?

Were these things with him mere doctrines and theories, and had he not in his soul an experimental acquaintance with the Lord Jesus?

Had he not received the secret communications of Christ’s dying love into his heart?

Yes, surely. It was the very manifestation of these heavenly realities which brought him to desire more of them, and more intensely and ardently to seek them.

The opening up of the treasures of Christ’s love and blood in his soul brought him to pant more earnestly after the enjoyment of them. He saw such unsearchable riches in Christ that he found he knew so little of what was to be known, felt so little of what was to be felt, and lived so low, and so much beneath the enjoyments which were to be had in Christ, that in comparison he seemed to know nothing at all. He looked at his present experience and saw how faint and feeble it comparatively was; and this made him vent forth his longing desires to know more of Jesus.

In order, therefore, to have the same desires after the knowledge of Christ which the apostle had, there must be the same teachings by the blessed Spirit in our heart which were given to him. For unless the same experimental knowledge of Christ is imparted in a measure to us, Jesus will be to us but as “a root out of a dry ground;” there will be “no form nor comeliness” in him, nor any “beauty that we should desire him.”

When, therefore, Paul said, “That I may know him,” he was brought to that point where God brings all his people, to feel thoroughly convinced in their consciences that no man has any spiritual knowledge of Jesus except by the special revelation of the Spirit; as he himself declares, “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost.”

So when the Lord asked his disciples saying,

“Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” and they answered,

“Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias; or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Then Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

But what did the Lord Jesus then say?

Did he compliment Peter on the exercise of his reasoning powers? No;

but answered,

“Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven,” (Matt. 16:13-17).

The same solemn testimony the Lord bore in those remarkable words,

“No man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him,” (Matt. 11:27).

Nature in the exercise of all her faculties, and with all her reasoning powers, never knew anything experimentally of Christ.

The flesh may know him doctrinally, in the letter of the word, but it never knew him in spirit and in power, nor by experimental revelation, special teaching, and divine demonstration of the Holy Ghost in the heart.

Before, then, any person can say feelingly, “That I may know him,”

he must be brought to this point—that he never can know Christ by any creature ability, or by any exercise of the human intellect; that he never can receive such knowledge from man, whether it be from his own or from any other person’s instruction.

In order therefore that he may feel his utter inability to bring this knowledge into his heart, he must lie under the burden of this truth,

“No man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.”

Thus these two things are absolutely necessary to be wrought with power into a man’s experience, before he can enter into the spiritual meaning of the text; first,

a deep sense in his heart and conscience of the utter inability of the creature spiritually and experimentally to know a precious Christ; and secondly, that

it is the work and office of the Holy Ghost inwardly to reveal the Person, blood, righteousness, grace, and love of Jesus.

And thus, the deeper the soul sinks in the knowledge of its ignorance, the higher it will rise in the knowledge of the Person and work of Christ; and the more the eye is anointed with eye-salve to perceive the ruin and misery of the creature, the more the soul will be brought to see that the glorious mysteries of salvation can only be realized by the special manifestations of the Holy Comforter, whose office it is to lead the child of God into all truth.

The desire, then, of the apostle was to know Christ, and to have an experimental acquaintance with everything belonging to and springing out of Christ.

1. He therefore desired to know the glory of his Person in the union of the Godhead with the manhood, in his complex character of Immanuel, “God with us.” This is a mystery which nature has never fathomed, and which human reason never can comprehend.

The more we look at it in the light of carnal reason, the more we are lost in utter amazement at this mystery; and after being, perhaps, tossed for a season to and fro with doubt and infidelity, and fully convinced that we are utterly unable to extricate our souls by sense and reason from the labyrinth in which they are lost, we are brought at last to this point, to receive the truth as a little child.

For it becomes sealed in our conscience, that the kingdom of heaven is not to be entered into by climbing up into gospel mysteries by the ladder of human reason; but, as a little child receives the first rudiments of human knowledge, not by doubting, but simply on the authority of its teacher, so must the soul receive the great mysteries of truth from the mouth of God with unction and power.

And thus the eye being anointed with eye-salve to see the union of God and man in one glorious Person, and the conscience being divinely wrought upon to feel what God speaks, the soul is no more left to reason about it, or to puzzle and perplex itself with the mystery, “How can it be?” but is made to sink down into the posture of a little child, and to receive with meekness a truth which is so sweet and suitable to its lost and ruined condition.

There can be no earnest desire to know Christ, nor any holy panting after a spiritual revelation of him, while the heart is pursuing worldly objects; nor can there be any ardent seeking after a sight by faith of his glorious Person, while the mind is only speculatively informed, or, as in the case of too many, the judgment merely enlightened, without any divine savor or spiritual affection in the soul. But he who is spiritually taught is at times not only panting with holy longing and intense desires to know Jesus as Immanuel, but also that this blessed God-Man would come down in his heavenly power, in all his sweetness and suitability, and take up his abode in his soul, conforming it to his own image and likeness.

2. But again. In desiring to “know him,” the soul desires to know everything connected with him, and which springs out of him. It desires, for instance, to know the virtue of his atoning blood, which is derived solely from the union of the manhood with the Godhead in one glorious Person; for if Christ had not been God as well as man, there would have been no virtue in the bloodshed upon the cross to atone for sin. But when the soul is brought to enter into the glorious mystery of an incarnate God, and the heart is drawn out to this Lord of life and glory as the centre and the object of its love and worship, then it is taught to feel the preciousness, and set a due value on the effects of Christ’s atoning blood, and know it to be, as the Apostle says, “the blood of God.”

“Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood,” (Acts 20:28).

As long as a man lies dead in nature’s darkness, he does not know, neither has he any desire to know anything of this fountain opened for sin and uncleanness. He has never groaned under, nor felt the burden of sin; he has not smarted under the bite of that adder whose sting is unto death, and which causes a living conscience to bleed at well nigh every pore. In order therefore that he may be taught to set a right value upon the nature and efficacy of Christ’s atoning blood, a man must be made spiritually to feel the greatness of his iniquity.

Men talk of the blood of Jesus Christ as though any one could understand the glory of that mystery;

but the blood of Jesus Christ is only to be known experimentally by the application of it to the guilty conscience.

It is not for the whole-hearted, for those who are settled on their lees, and are at ease in Zion, who never groaned under the burden of sin, to know the balm of Jesus’ blood. The blood of the Lamb is not applied to any but to the sin-sick, broken, and contrite heart. And whenever the spirit is broken, and taught to feel the burden of sin, sooner or later it is brought experimentally to taste the preciousness of the blood of sprinkling.

And while the heart is thus opened by the Holy Ghost to feel its power, there will arise panting desires after a deeper acquaintance with its atoning efficacy and its cleansing power to purge the conscience from all its sin, guilt, and filth. Nor will these desires and this experience suffice for once only in a man’s life. For whatever he may have known of its efficacy and power, whenever any discovery is made of new sin, or any fresh breaking out of old, he will be sure to need a fresh application of the balmy blood of Immanuel to his conscience, as that which alone can cleanse and wash it away.

3. But again. In desiring “to know” Jesus, the soul that is anointed by the Holy Ghost to see Christ’s glorious Person and finished work, is also panting, as the Spirit is pleased to work upon it, to know, in personal experience and by divine manifestation, Christ’s justifying righteousness. What is Christ’s justifying righteousness to a Pharisee? to one dead in sin, or buried in the world? Until we are brought by the Holy Ghost to feel the guilt of sin in the conscience, and to know that we are utterly ruined and undone in ourselves, and stand naked and filthy before God, we cannot hunger nor thirst after the appropriation of that glorious robe of imputed righteousness which Christ wrought out and brought in, and which the Holy Ghost puts upon all those that believe in his name.

4. Again. The soul that desires to “know him” thirsts also after a blessed revelation of his dying love.

When the eye is spiritually opened to see the glory of Christ’s Person, it follows him as a suffering Mediator to Calvary, there to view him as a crucified Jesus, as the Lamb of God bearing our sins in his own body on the tree.

And as the child of God looks by faith to the bleeding Lamb, he desires to have a spiritual revelation and manifestation of the mystery of the cross to his heart, and by this dying love entering into his soul, he may “be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,” (Eph. 3:18-19).

The dying love of Christ spiritually felt and realized can alone wean the soul from the world, and make the things of time and sense to appear in their true light, as stamped with vanity and vexation of spirit.

The dying love of Christ, also, revealed to the soul, is the only thing that can make us love Jesus, and cleave to him with full purpose of heart; and nothing but this can make us willing to leave the world, and part with the things of time and sense that so we may “ever be with the Lord.”

5. But in desiring to know Jesus by the teaching and revelation of the Holy Ghost, the soul that is born of God longs after a manifestation of him in all his covenant characters and relations.

Is he spiritually held up before the eyes of the understanding as the great High Priest over the house of God?

As such is he spiritually longed after to be known, that the power of his priestly intercession may be felt and realized?

Is he set forth in the Scriptures as the Church’s Bridegroom and Husband?

As such does the heaven-taught soul desire to realize his presence, and cry with the Bride (Song 1:2), “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; for thy love is better than wine.

Is he the Church’s Lord?

As such does she desire to bow at his feet, and say, “Other lords beside thee have had dominion over us; but by thee only will we make mention of thy name,” (Isa. 26:13).

Is he the Church’s ever-living and ever-loving head?

Out of his ever-flowing and overflowing fulness does she long to receive, and grace for grace.

Is he her Advocate, Intercessor, Mediator, Brother born for Adversity, yea, Friend who sticketh closer than any earthly brother?

As the Lord Jesus in those different covenant characters and endearing relationships is presented to the eyes of the spiritual understanding, faith flows out towards, hope anchors in, and love clasps firm hold of him as thus revealed; and thus ardent desires and fervent longings are kindled in the soul to know him experimentally in all these relations, and inwardly realize their sweetness and power.

Every character that Jesus sustains has some reference to the felt and urgent wants of his people; and thus as they are from time to time brought into those circumstances of need and distress to which he in these various characters is suited, their desires flow forth toward him, that he would thus graciously manifest himself unto them.

And thus, whatever treasures of grace and truth dwell in him, “in whom it hath pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell,” as each are spiritually and successively made known to the soul, it desires inwardly and experimentally to realize them. Nor does it want the gifts severed from the Giver, or the love from the Lover; but as the enamored bride desires to possess the husband as the centre of her affections, so does the soul taught of God desire inwardly to possess Jesus as the centre of her spirit’s worship and heart’s affections.

O Lord, whatever it takes; imprint in the inner recesses of our heart that YOU and YOU ONLY!! ARE THE BOSS

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PART 2: The knowledge of the power of his resurrection. – “That I might known him.”

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.” (Philippians 3:10)

But the apostle in the text not only desired to know Christ, but also to know “the power of his resurrection.” What does he mean by the “power of Christ’s resurrection?” In order to understand what is meant by the power, we must look a little at the nature of Christ’s resurrection.

The reason why the Scriptures speak so much of Christ’s resurrection is, because it was, so to speak, the stamp which God put upon his work upon the cross.

The visible proof that God gave that Jesus was the Son of God, was, that he raised him up from the dead. As the apostle says,

“Declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead,” (Rom. 1:4).

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the grand point which the apostles enforced in their preaching; and it makes the most prominent feature in every sermon recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ was the seal of his being the promised Messiah, the Christ of God.

It was the Father’s visible and undeniable testimony that he had finished the work which had been given him to do; and that being raised up by the power of God, the authority and approbation of God himself was undeniably stamped upon all that he meritoriously did and suffered.

But again. The resurrection of Christ is not merely the authoritative stamp which God set upon his work, but sets forth also the regeneration of the soul, according to those words,

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ.”

The Scriptures of the New Testament very much connect together the resurrection of Jesus with the regeneration of his people.

The Church had an eternal union with the Son of God as her Covenant Head.

She was therefore mystically crucified, buried, and raised up with Christ. The same power which raised up Christ from the dead works in her heart (Eph. 1:19-20); so, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, she is to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4); and being “risen with Christ she seeks the things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God,” (Col. 3:1). Had the Church not risen with Christ she could not have been regenerated in due time by him.

But the members virtually rising with their glorious Head, each in due season receives life out of him, as it says,

“Thy dead men shall live; together with my dead body shall they arise,” (Isa. 26:19).

Thus Christ’s resurrection is the cause of the soul’s regeneration; and regeneration is the inward proof of Christ’s resurrection, and of an interest in it.

“Because I live, ye shall live also.”

“Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear,” (Acts 2:38).
1. As the resurrection, then, of Christ was the grand, visible stamp of God’s approbation of his finished work, the decisive witness which the Father gave that he was his only-begotten Son, the promised Messiah, the Christ of God;

to know the “power of his resurrection,” is to know the power of God’s approbation of the finished work of Jesus, and to have the stamp which God puts upon his dying love and atoning blood experimentally sealed upon the conscience.

So that, in knowing the power of Christ’s resurrection, the soul not only knows that the work of redemption is finished, that the Son of God has put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, that he has “finished the transgression, made an end of sins, made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness” (Dan. 9:24); but in knowing the approbation of God to be put upon the finished work of Christ, it is experimentally brought to feel that its sin is entirely put away, and its iniquity for ever abolished.
2. But Christ’s resurrection, I observed, is also connected with the regeneration of his people. If Christ had not risen from the dead, all his people would have eternally perished; as the Apostle says, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished,” (1 Cor. 15:17, 18).

But when Jesus rose from the dead all his elect spiritually and mystically arose with him, and thus his risen life at the right hand of the Father becomes their quickening life, for “the last Adam is a quickening Spirit;” and “those who have been planted in the likeness of his death are also planted in the likeness of his resurrection.”

To know, then, the power of Christ’s resurrection is to know the power of his risen and endless life in the soul, and to feel the quickening energy and efficacy of his Spirit creating vital faith in the heart.

Thus, when sunk in carnality, darkness, and death, the soul longs to feel a sweet and blessed revival, it desires to know the power of Christ’s resurrection. By virtue alone of his risen life can it arise out of that miserable state of barrenness and carnality into which it is so often sunk; and did not he forever live who is our life, long ago would it have sunk to rise no more. His “visitation alone preserves our spirit;” and when the soul pleads “Wilt thou not revive us again that thy people may rejoice in thee?” it breathes forth in that petition its desire to know the power of Christ’s resurrection.

3. But Christ in rising from the dead rose triumphant over sin. He sank into the grave overwhelmed, as it were, with sin; for according to covenant engagement, God the Father, in making his soul a sacrifice for sin, caused to meet upon him the iniquities of all his redeemed; and in bearing their iniquities he poured out his soul unto death. But when Jesus rose from the dead all the sins of his church were left in the sepulcher.

The reproach of Israel was rolled away with the stone that was rolled from the tomb where the Lord lay; and he rose as a justified person, as the apostle says, “justified in the Spirit,” (1 Tim. 3:16); and therefore the Lord said in prophecy, “He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me?”

To know, then, the power of Christ’s resurrection is to be delivered from the guilt, filth, and power of sin in the conscience.

Thus the knowledge of the pardon of sin is intimately and experimentally connected with the power of Christ’s resurrection.

God the Father has connected together the justification of the Head and the members, for “Christ was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” In desiring, then, to know the power of Christ’s resurrection, the soul desires to feel and know that “by him it is justified from all things from which it could not be justified by the law of Moses.” As therefore when Jesus rose from the tomb, the sentence of justification was openly and visibly pronounced upon him,

so when his resurrection is felt in the soul, a sentence of justification is passed in the conscience; and to know this is to know “the power of his resurrection.”

4. But when Jesus rose from the dead, it was not to tarry here below. His words to his sorrowing disciples were, “It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you,” (John 16:7). And again, “I go to prepare a place for you.” Thus he rose from the dead that he might ascend to his Father and their Father, to his God and their God; and that his risen life might be their spiritual life. According to those words, “When Christ, who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory,” (Col. 3:4). And therefore the Apostle says,

“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me, (Gal. 2:20).

To know, then, the power of Christ’s resurrection, is to know experimentally the power of that life which Christ now lives at the right hand of God for us; that he may be “our life,” working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight, and leading our souls up to himself that we may receive out of his fulness grace, mercy, and truth.

To know, then, the power of Christ’s resurrection in this sense, is to know the communications of that grace which raises us up out of that deadness and carnality which so often seizes hold of us; and, by virtue of the inflowing of the life of Christ, to be experimentally lifted up and brought out of that pit of worldliness, carelessness, and sensuality into which we so often sink, and beneath the mud and mire of which we feel as if suffocated.

By the power of his resurrection we are kept from being altogether swallowed up and buried in the pool of our corruptions; by the power of his resurrection we are enabled to cry and sigh for deliverance; and by the power of his resurrection alone do we ever obtain it.

Jonah, the type of Christ, came out of the whale’s belly by the power of Christ’s resurrection; and never would he have issued from that dark and doleful dungeon, had not his great Anti-type already, in the mind of him “who calleth those things which be not as though they were,” risen from the dead.

5. Again. Does Death, the King of Terrors, ever alarm and terrify us? And is our mind sometimes perplexed how we shall be able to face this solemn messenger, who comes to summon us into the presence of God? To know the power of Christ’s resurrection is to know a deliverance from this King of Terrors; for Jesus has passed through his territories, and disarmed him of his sting: he has perfumed the grave for all his saints by lying in it.

Nay more; he has “abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light by the gospel.” As the Apostle says, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage,” (Heb. 2:14-15).

Thus “as by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For, as in Adam all died, even so in Christ shall all (that is, of the election of grace) be made alive.” When, then, by a blessed reception of Christ’s resurrection into the soul, the fear of death is taken away, this is to know the power of Christ’s resurrection.

6. Again. Do we backslide? Does the soul depart from its first love?

Is the heart overcharged with the cares of this life?

Have carnality, carelessness, lukewarmness, and worldliness laid hold of the mind?

To know the power of Christ’s resurrection is to know a spiritual deliverance out of this God-dishonoring state. Every touch of God’s spirit in the conscience, every look of mercy or of reproof, every going forth of the heart in secret prayer, every promise made sweet to the soul, every breathing of spiritual affection, every emotion of filial fear, every act of living faith, every sensation of godly sorrow—

in a word, every recovery out of darkness and death, springs out of Jesus’ risen life, and is therefore a knowledge of the power of his resurrection.

When we do not look to him, nor live upon him, how we faint and sink in the way. How the hands hang down, how the knees totter, how the feet limp, how the lips stammer, how the heart becomes weak as water; and how all our religion seems to have left us, and we can scarcely find a grain of godliness remaining.

Thus the strength of Christ is made perfect in weakness, and the power of a risen Jesus is as much felt in raising up the soul now as it will one day be experienced in raising up the body.

If any of you, then, are brought to that spot where the Apostle was when he breathed forth these desires, it is because you have been led experimentally and vitally into these two things

to know yourselves, and to know the Lord; to know sin, and salvation; the malady, and the remedy; your wretched, lost, and ruined state by nature, and what Christ has done for everyone who cometh unto God by him.

Those, then, whom the Holy Ghost thus teaches, and whom he brings to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, do not learn these vital truths merely in the letter of the word, but they have an inward experience of their reality and power.

But there is this peculiarity in the scholars of Christ’s school, that they never can make themselves masters of their lesson.

Unlike other pupils, they never “finish schooling;” and, after all the instruction bestowed upon them, die with their lesson but a quarter learn t. As Paul says, “We see through a glass darkly.”

Every ray of light serves but to manifest more our own darkness, and every fresh teaching convinces us more of our own ignorance.

What we have only makes us long for more; and thus all the saints can join heart and hand with the apostle, in desiring to know Jesus and his power of resurrection. And this will run through every state and stage of experience. Is the soul doubting and fearing? There will be an experimental longing to feel an interest in the blood of Jesus; and these earnest desires will vent themselves in prayer and supplication for the manifestation of mercy, peace, and pardon.

Does the conscience feel guilt, and lie as it were bleeding under the wounds made by sin?

The longing desire of the soul will be to know Jesus, in the spiritual manifestations of himself, to take this guilt away.

Does it feel darkness covering it like a pitchy cloud?

Its longing desire and panting cry will be to know Christ, and the power of his resurrection, that by the shining in of the beams of the glorious Sun of Righteousness, it may see light in his light.

Do temptations assault the mind?

The soul desires to know him who was in all points tempted like as we are, and to feel the power of his resurrection by which he rose triumphant over them all. And just in proportion as he and the power of his resurrection are experimentally known, will the soul have a testimony, sealed with his own divine power.

A few sound Scriptural sentiments or a mere tissue of doctrines in the head will never satisfy one taught of God.

He must have an experimental enjoyment of their savor and power in his conscience; he cannot live comfortably, nor die happily without it; he must have the Spirit’s own witness in his heart, and the Lord’s own presence in his soul.

Thus, while some are wise in the letter, and are perfectly satisfied with a mere doctrinal knowledge of the truth, he feels deeply and daily his wretched ignorance when not sensibly blest with divine teaching, and wants to be taught of God;

while some are gathering together, with a wonderful deal of pains, heaps of bricks and slime to build up their Babel of confusion, he is seeking after the blessed revelations of Christ in his heart as the hope of glory;

whilst others are resting their salvation upon the bare letter of the Bible, he hangs all his hope upon the finished work of Christ as experimentally made known in his heart; and

while others are doing their works to be seen of men, and living upon the breath of the creature, he, in the stillness of his chamber, and in the depths of a broken heart, is looking wholly and solely unto the Lord.

How a living man can go on continually in a profession of religion for days, months, and years, contented with a sound creed and a few dreamy hopes, without any dissatisfaction with himself, or without repeated sighs, groans, and pantings after the Lord Jesus that he would make known in his soul the secrets of his dying love, and manifest himself unto him as he does not manifest himself unto the world, is a mystery which I cannot understand. It is a secret which I do not know, nor do I wish to know.

Sooner than be such a professor as that, I would make no profession at all; rather than be such a self-deceived, hardened wretch, with a name to live whilst dead, I would be a mere moral man, and make no pretensions to spiritual religion whatever.

I am very sure Paul would have not owned such, for he was quite decided “to know not the speech of them which were puffed up, but the power.” And what a contrast does he afford in his experience, as mentioned in the text, with such notional professors.

Though he had been in the third heavens, and had seen and heard there things which it was neither lawful nor possible for a man to utter, yet he does not come forth like a mighty giant towering aloft, and looking down with pride and contempt upon the dwarfs at his feet; but he drops down into nothingness, and says,

“Unto me who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given;”

“who am not worthy to be called an Apostle;”

“the chief of sinners;”

“though I be nothing;”

“that I may know him,”

as if as yet he knew nothing as it was to be known. And why was this, but because his eyes had been spiritually opened to see the unsearchable riches of the Lord of life and glory; and one view of them had filled him with a deep sense of his own ignorance.

But what a contrast does his experience form with the state of those who are wise in the letter of truth, but despise and ridicule all experience and the work of God in the heart. And what a contrast does his childlike teachability and his humble lying at the foot of the cross, present to the dead confidence and hardened presumption of many modern professors!

I wonder how many in this congregation are in the same spot with the Apostle Paul! How many as they lie on their midnight couch are panting after a knowledge of Jesus by his own special manifestations of himself! How many find the world, and the spirit of it, embittered to them, so that they can find neither rest nor happiness in it, and therefore seek it all at the foot of the cross? How many, driven out of every false refuge and lying hope, are anchoring their eternal all on the love and blood of the Lamb! Now all God’s people are brought to this point in their experience sooner or later.

They are all brought to know their own sinfulness, ignorance, and helplessness. And when their eyes are thus anointed with eye-salve to discover their own wretchedness, the same unction from the Holy One reveals to them what Christ has done to save them from it. They learn by this sacred teaching their own iniquity, and his atoning blood; their misery, and the bliss and blessedness which is secured up in him. And when these two extremes meet in the quickened soul, it is brought in one and the same moment, while it debases itself, to exalt the Lord of life and glory. And while it thus sinks down in the depth of creature wretchedness, it learns to glory in the Lord Jesus alone, as its “all in all,” and “as God over all, blessed for evermore.” Amen.

 O Lord, we pray that You will continually bring us to know  our sinfulness, ignorance, and helplessness; that our eyes may be anointed with eye-salve to discover our own wretchedness, We pray that You will also let the Holy Spirit continually reveal to us what You have done to save us from it. open the eye of our heart to see our own iniquity, and Your atoning blood; our misery, and the bliss and blessedness which is secured up in You. Amen