God or Caesar, Which?

“Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.” (Matthew 22:15-22.)

The Pharisees and Herodians were completely answered in these words. A sharp distinction was drawn between the things of God and the things of Caesar; that is, the things which pertain to God,-religion, and the things which pertain to Caesar,-civil government. There was not one of those Pharisees or Herodians that had any ground to stand upon after He had made that answer. There was not one of them that thought it was any use to say, “That general principle is good, but you see there are some things in which God and Caesar are in partnership. What about that?” They did not dare to say a word. When He said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s,” they marvelled and went their way, because in those few words He had laid down those eternal principles of right, and had so completely answered them that there was nothing more to be said.

It was announced that we would consider this evening something of the evils of religious legislation; God or Caesar, Which? or the evils which result from religious legislation, in mixing up God and Caesar.

A PLAIN DISTINCTION

As a foundation, I want first to draw a distinction between the things of God and the things of Caesar. “Caesar” stands for civil government. The things of Caesar are those which have to do with civil government. The things of God are those which have to do with God, our relation to God, our duty to God, everything that pertains to God as a personal matter between us and God. I want to lay down for our consideration the contrast between the things of God and the things of Caesar; the contrast between the realms in which they rule, their subjects, and their manner of ruling. To make it plain we will draw a simple diagram:-

God. Caesar.
Mind. Body.
Thought. Action.
Sin. Crime.
Moral. Civil.
Forgiveness. Penalty.
Love. Force.
Eternal. Temporal.
THE TWO REALMS

First as to the realms in which they rule. God in Jesus Christ rules the mind; Caesar the body. Let us stop on this a moment. When Jesus Christ came to set up His kingdom, He came to set up a different sort of a kingdom than had existed. Human power and the kingdom of this world-Caesar- had ruled the body, they had ruled the outward conduct, but here comes Jesus Christ to set up a kingdom within a kingdom, to have a kingdom, to have subjects, and to have that right in this world, where Caesar’s kingdom is.

But while men had been-shall I say satisfied-not always that, and yet it was all Caesar could do to rule the body,-Jesus Christ comes to set up His kingdom in the mind; that is, to rule the thoughts, while Caesar has his kingdom over the body, and rules actions. This is not to say that Jesus Christ does not rule actions, but He gets behind actions, and controls actions through thought. They had had laws in the world, they had God’s law in the world, but Jesus Christ came to show what that law meant, to live it Himself, and to teach it as it meant to God. And so He explained it as we read Matthew 5, where Christ Himself, the very one who spoke the law from Sinai, now, with His divinity veiled in humanity, comes on the mount, and speaks that law over again, and gives it a spiritual meaning.

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment; but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” This is further expressed in 1 John 3:15: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer.” “Ye have heard how it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery; but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” He further explains that covetousness is idolatry, and this is set forth in Ephesians 5:2-5: “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints. Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient; but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”

This is Christ’s interpretation of how the law of God applies. This does not apply simply to the outward act. Caesar rules the outward conduct. I may stand before a man, I may hate him with a perfect hatred, and I may tell him so to his face, but Caesar says nothing to me. Caesar has nothing to do with it. But suppose my hatred grows into action, and I proceed to do the man violence. Caesar says, “You must keep your hate within yourself, or I shall come in and interfere.” But I am just as much in God’s sight a murderer when I hate my brother as though I had taken his life. It is better for civil society that there are laws to restrain the outward manifestation of that hate, but in God’s sight I am a murderer when I hate.

But suppose Caesar should attempt to enforce this law as God explains it, will you tell me how many would be left outside the prison walls to guard those within? Suppose he should come into this tent, and, taking the law as God explains it, should say, “I am here for every man who has ever been a murderer.” How many, do you think, would be left to listen to the sermon? God in Christ rules the hearts, and Christ came to do that which it is impossible for man to do,-to rule the very thoughts of the heart. And He explains that no service is acceptable to Him unless it is heart-service.

The Pharisees had plenty of religion of their kind. They liked to display it, and they kept bringing it forth. They had come to Christ to display it. They came to Him asking why His disciples ate with unwashen hands. I will not read the record, but Christ answered them, saying, “Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man.” “Then answered Peter and said unto Him, Declare unto us this parable.” “And Jesus said, Do ye not yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly and is cast out into the draught. But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies; these are the things which defile a man; but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” Matthew 15:10, 11, 15-20.

THOUGHT PRECEDES ACTION

Every overt act is preceded by thought. No man ever does a thing he has not thought of. Now many are thinking, I suppose, “I question that, because I have done things I did not intend to do. And I did them because I did not think.” I tell you the very reason you did them without thinking was because you had done them so many times before that by thinking it had become habit. I say that every act is preceded by the thought, and that thought is the very character of your being. It is in the inmost thought, the inner self, where character dwells. Man may be restrained by outward forms from expressing himself; he may be but a whited sepulchre. And if the sepulchre is whitewashed outside, Caesar has nothing to say; he cannot enter into the temple of the heart and control thought. Jesus Christ sets up His kingdom in the mind; His subjects are the thoughts of the heart, and no one is pure in God’s sight unless his very thought is pure; no one is free from transgression unless his very thoughts are in harmony with God. Says the Scripture, “Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5. That is religion and Jesus Christ can do that for us. But when Caesar has attempted to invade the realm of the mind, when he has stepped out of his place and tried to control what only Jesus Christ can control,-the inmost thoughts of the heart,-then we have had written in blood some of the darkest pages of human history.

SIN AND CRIME

God in Jesus Christ deals with sin; Caesar deals with crime. The Scripture says, “The thought of foolishness is sin;” but it is not crime. Therefore as Jesus Christ dwells in the mind, ruling the thoughts, anything contrary to His thought is sin, and He deals with sin. Sin is defined in the Scripture to be the “transgression of the law,” and Jesus Christ in His kingdom deals with sin. Caesar has nothing to do with sin; it is crime that he deals with. Sin is the transgression of God’s law in the thought of the heart. Sin is a lapse from holiness, and holiness dwells in the inmost heart. Anything different to that is sin; but Caesar cannot inquire about that. He waits till the thought becomes an overt act contrary to his law; because while God has a law to rule the heart, Caesar has a law to rule the action. When one transgresses Caesar’s law he may or may not have sinned against God, but it is crime. There should be a very careful distinction drawn between sin and crime. Crime is transgression of human law; sin is transgression of God’s law as interpreted by Jesus Christ. Sin may or may not be crime. A man may be a murderer of the blackest type before God, and not be guilty of a crime. I may be an idolater, breaking God’s law every day, and not have committed a single crime. I may be dark and deep-stained with sin, and not commit any crime.

MORALITY AND CIVILITY

God’s government is moral; Caesar’s government is civil. Christ deals with morality. But we must understand what morality is. There is an accommodated sense of the word, in which we say, “He is not a Christian, but he is a moral man.” When we come to the strict sense of the word, it means “One that is in harmony with God’s law.” The word “civil” has to do with the relations between man and man; the word “moral” has to do with the relations between man and God. The truly moral man will be civil, you may be sure of that, and the only purpose of civil government is to make those men civil who would not be otherwise, who are not governed by the higher law of morality, the law of God in the heart.

The object, and the only object, of Caesar’s government is,-not to give men rights, God does that,-but to protect men in their God-given rights. No company of men can confer rights upon any other company of men, but they can protect them in the proper use of those rights which they already have. Those rights belong to them, they are given them of God. Men will not be moral; then Caesar comes in with his power, and compels, and properly too, those men who will not be moral, to be civil. Outward conduct is civility; inward conduct is morality. God lives in the heart, making men moral by conferring upon them His own moral character. But Caesar cannot do this; he cannot get into the mind and see when men are committing sin. All he can do is to look at the body, see whether men are committing crime or not, and make them civil if they will not be moral.

FORGIVENESS v. PENALTY

Further, God in Christ exercises forgiveness in His government; Caesar knows no forgiveness, he knows nothing but the penalty. A man commits a sin against God, he has been a sinner all his life, but he sees Christ lifted up, and hears the promise, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” and he accepts that promise; and right there his sins are forgiven; his load of crime is entirely removed; and he stands before God as though he had never committed a sin in his life. But if a man commits a crime, he may he ever so sorry, and he may confess to Caesar, but Caesar says, “Settle that with your Maker; I know nothing but the penalty.”

If we should introduce into civil government the principles God uses in His kingdom, we should have perfect confusion. Look at these principles: “Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times, but, Until seventy times seven.” “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” Matthew 18:21, 22; Luke 17:3, 4

Suppose we should apply this principle to civil government. Here is a man arrested for horse stealing. He is brought up before the judge, and says, “I am very sorry, and the Bible says you must forgive.” The judge says, “You are forgiven.” He goes out and steals another horse, is brought back, and again forgiven. He does that seven times over. How do you think the judge would feel? I think that by the time he had reached the seventh experience he would think that there was some mistake about the law. These principles, which are the very glory of God’s moral government, the very glory of His character, we cannot apply to Caesar’s government. God does forgive, even to seventy times seven, and He does it for us, thank God, but these principles do not belong here; they are for a different realm, and God, by the gift of His Son, has so provided that He can exercise forgiveness and still maintain the character of His law. By the sacrifice of Jesus Christ God has upheld the character of His government, keeps His law where it belongs, and yet holds out forgiveness to all that believe on His Son. Because of His wonderful provision for the stability of His government, God’s law is not brought into disrepute when the man who has broken it again and again turns about and says, “I repent.”

By forgiving, civil government would break down the whole system of government; but God keeps His law where it belongs, and yet forgives everyone who repents.

November 5, 1895 Armadale Camp-meeting Talk




The Great Controversy of Good versus Evil

“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it in heaven.” Matt. 6:10.
It may help us to understand more clearly our own relation to God, and what the service of God means—what religion really is—if we study the fact that the cross of Jesus Christ has to do with more than this earth. We take altogether too limited a view of God’s plan of salvation if we confine its working simply to this world of ours.
In this petition the contrast is drawn between heaven and earth, and the prayer is that the will of God may be done on earth as it is done in heaven. The fact that God’s will reigns supreme there, makes heaven what it is; and because God’s will is not done here, makes this world what it is.

The Universe Interested in the Plan of Salvation.

Let us first notice two or three scriptures which will call our attention to the thought that heaven has been affected, and is still affected, by God’s plan of salvation. Sin has affected more than this world, and more than this world depends upon God’s plan of salvation. In his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul says, “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness 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.” Eph. 1:9, 10. “For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Col. 1:19, 20.
It may seem at first thought somewhat strange that there should be anything in heaven needing to be reconciled by the blood of His cross, but so it says. God’s plan of salvation extends further than reconciling those that are on the earth. There is something to be reconciled that has to do with things in heaven.

Rebellion in Heaven.

In the Revelation John says, “And there was war in heaven.” We are accustomed to the idea that this earth only has been in a state of rebellion; but this scripture says that there was war in heaven. “Michael and His angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ; for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
“Michael and His angels fought.” Michael is Christ. Three very simple scriptures will show us that. “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil, He disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” Jude 9. There we find that Michael is spoken of as the archangel. And in Thessalonians Paul says, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel.” 1 Thess. 4:16. The Lord Himself shall descend with the voice of the archangel. But we read in John 5:25, “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 shall come forth.” Michael is the archangel; the Lord will descend with the voice of the archangel; and it is the Lord’s voice that calls the dead from their tombs.
“And the dragon was cast out, that old serpent.” Not in the sense that we use the expression—that old serpent himself—but that ancient serpent, that one that caused the trouble in Eden. There was war in heaven, and the old serpent, the one that caused trouble in Eden, and is still causing trouble here, raised the rebellion, led in the fight, and was cast down to the earth.
Is there any way by which we can tell What Caused the Trouble in Heaven? I think we can tell very easily by reading the experience of Christ with Satan when He was here on this earth. “Therefore when they were gathered together Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered Him.” Matt. 27:17, 18. It was envy on the part of Satan against Christ that caused the war in heaven in the first place, and those who are opposed to Christ will have the same disposition to-day. Speaking of the experience of those who had been converted, and of what they had been before that, Paul says, “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.” Titus 3:3. Envy is characteristic of the natural heart, as we see from Rom. 1:29: “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy.” It was envy that set up the opposition to Christ when He was here in the flesh,—simply the carrying forward of that same feeling that set up the strife in heaven. What is envy?—The desire of one to occupy a higher position than he does, a feeling of great self-worthiness. Love never feels like that; “love envieth not.”
The Scripture points out very clearly that it was a feeling of envy on the part of Satan that led to all the trouble in heaven. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations? For thou hast said in thine heart,” notice the next five statements, and see how everyone of them begins, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.” Isa. 14:12-14. Ezekiel also speaks of Satan, “Thus saith the Lord God, Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold; the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so; thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned; therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God; and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness; I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.” Eze. 28:12-17. From these scriptures you will see that it was a feeling of envy on the part of Satan that led to the difficulty in heaven.
Christ was begotten, not created; Satan was created, not begotten. As the only begotten Son, Christ could enter fully into the councils of God. Because he could not do this as Christ did, envy sprang up in the heart of Satan, and he began to determine, I will exalt myself. He began to stir up rebellion, to say, God is arbitrary, and he began also to get his sympathisers. “We are in slavery, and I have a better plan of government. Choose me as leader, exalt me, and then I will exalt you.” Do you not see the same principle that has been in the world ever since the fall? You exalt me and I will exalt you,— perhaps.

Satan’s Disaffection.

Satan succeeded in getting enough followers to make a rebellion in heaven. Being cast out there he determined to set up his kingdom in this earth, and show to the universe that he could run a government. Gradually he would extend this government till he took away from God the dominion, and then “he would be like the Most High;” he would be God.
He started in just the same way that he started in heaven, by creating dissatisfaction. He said to the woman, “God knows that in the day you eat of the tree of knowledge, you will be as gods. The reason He gave why you should not eat of the tree, is not true. He told you that you would die, but that is not so. The fact is, that when you eat of the tree, you will be like Him. He does not want that, so He is keeping you down. If you listen to me and eat, you will be as gods.” And they tried it. In doing that Adam proved false to God, and passed everything into the hands of Satan.

Adam and His Dominion.

Adam was in a special sense the son of God. “Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” Luke 3:38. He was a son of God in a different sense from what we are. The Scripture says, “Beloved now are we the sons of God.” But we are the sons of God by re-creation; Adam was the son of God by creation in the first place. He was set here to have dominion over this part of the universe as God’s representative. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” God made Adam His premier, and placed the dominion in his hands, recognising him as His representative in this earth.

The Dominion Usurped By Fraud.

The devil, cast out of heaven by this war, comes to the earth, and by misrepresentation induces Adam, Christ’s representative, to hand over to him the dominion of this earth. He takes possession of it by lying and fraud; and determines to carry out here what he failed to do in heaven. This is recognised in the Scripture. Christ said, “Hereafter I will not talk much with you; for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.” John 14:30 “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.” 2 Cor. 4: 4. Satan refers to this fact in the temptation of Christ in the wilderness. “And the devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, showed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto Him, All this power will I give Thee, and the glory of them; for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will I give it. If Thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be Thine.” Luke 4:4-7. He got possession of this world, and set up his kingdom, and today he says, “I am king.”

On Which Side Are We?

And whose are we? and with whom are we sympathising in this government of the earth? From this standpoint, religion resolves itself into this question, Shall I be loyal to God in this great controversy that began in heaven and is now transferred to this earth, or shall I serve Satan? Whose subject shall I be in this great controversy?

Nature of the Two Kingdoms.

Satan set up his kingdom by fraud and usurpation, and he maintains it by force. Those are his characteristics. But God is love. His kingdom is founded upon love, and the only power He uses in His kingdom, is the power of love.

The charge Satan brought against God was that He was arbitrary, determined to have His own way, and did not love His people. He promised, if the angels would follow him, to set up a better kingdom. Now it remains for this pledge to work out. While God can see the end from the beginning, created beings cannot; and had He at the first crushed out the rebellion by force; had He suppressed it by mere force, there would still have been in the minds of created beings a question of God’s justice. So God lets Satan work out his plan, that all the universe may see the contrast between Satan’s plan and God’s plan. And This World is the Theatre on which a drama is being enacted which is commanding the attention of the universe. We are called to be actors in this drama. The question to be worked out is, Which plan of government is the better, Satan’s or God’s? To which one will God’s created beings give their allegiance? When God sends out His servants, what is their work? “Delivering thee from the people and from the Gentiles unto whom now I send thee. To open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins.” Acts 26:17, 18. The question is one of loyalty to God. This may help you to see the meaning of some things which have possibly been doubtful to you.

The Case of Job.

The case of Job is a remarkable one, and has probably been in the mind of every one who has ever had the Bible in their hands. Turn with me to the first chapter of the book of Job and follow his case with this idea in view. “There came a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.” What right had he to be there? These sons of God were God’s representatives in the different parts of the universe. Adam was a son of God, and he was put on this earth to have dominion under God over it. But he betrayed his dominion, and Satan stepped in and took his place, and so, when a council was called for the representatives of God to come together to counsel about their territory, Satan came also. The roll was called, and Earth answered, Here. But it was Satan, not Adam, who answered. “And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Pet. 5:8. The Son of man came not to destroy men’s lives but to save them. He went about doing good.
“And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil?” “Then Satan answered the Lord and said, Doth Job fear God for naught? Hast Thou not made an hedge about him and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.” These are the very characteristics of Satan.
Do you see, the Lord says to Satan, “My servant Job, although he is in your territory, yet he remains loyal to Me.” “Oh yes,” says Satan, “but that does not prove anything. Anyone would do that for the regard that you show him. It is not love that binds Job to you. He is serving you for his reward. Anybody would do it.” Do you see the complaint there? “You have put a hedge round him. Unfair. He is in my dominion. I should think anybody would be loyal to you on those grounds.” And that was said in a council in which there were representatives from all the universe. He there made the same charge that he made in heaven. And instead of deciding the matter there in an arbitrary way, the Lord said, “Behold all that he hath is in thy power, only upon himself put not forth thine hand.” You know how it went. One after another his possessions were taken from him, and last of all his children were slain, and he was left perfectly alone. Then he was advised to give up everything. “But in all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”

Satan Again Before God.

“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them, to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst Me against him to destroy him without cause?” One would think that that would settle the controversy, but you never can settle anything with the right argument with Satan. “And Satan answered the Lord and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.” “And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold he is in thy hand; but save his life.”

Job’s Integrity.

And you remember the experience of Job after this, how his wife urged him to curse God and die. But still he would not yield. “Though He slay me,” he said, “yet will I trust in Him.” “As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty who hath vexed my soul; all the while my breath is in me, and the Spirit of God is in my nostrils; my lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. God forbid that I should justify you; till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.” Job 27:2-5

The Lesson.

And what did it mean? Here was a demonstration,—not simply to the few that might know of Job’s case, nor to all those merely that should read of his experience, but before the whole universe,—that God’s power of love was sufficient to hold a man in his integrity. Though his possessions, his children, his all was gone, yet the love that God had to him, and the love that had sprung up in his heart to God, were sufficient to hold him, so that he said, “I will not give up my loyalty though I die.” Job was working out before the universe how much power there was in the love of God.
Many times we have experiences that we do not and cannot understand. Why this affliction? why this loss? why this trouble? Do you not see that Job was before the Universe as a man that could be trusted to reveal the power of God’s love to hold him firm in his confidence, demonstrating that there is a power in God’s love sufficient to stand against trial?
Did you ever wonder why it was that such a man as John the Baptist should end his life is he did. A great prophet, and yet he ended his life shut up in a prison. His head was cut off and his headless trunk buried by his disciples, and “they went and told Jesus.” What did that mean to Jesus?—It meant to Him and to all the on-looking universe, There is a man faithful unto death. “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” The pages of history are covered with examples such as this. The martyrs of all ages have testified to the power of God’s love. And remember that martyrs may be found in very humble homes. It is not always in the noblest palaces that the most heroic deeds are done. God and His universe look on and see these witnesses to His love, see that they are not turned away from their integrity by the sophistries and machinations of Satan, but are faithful unto death.

The Gift of Christ Gives the Lie to Satan’s Charges.

In the experience of Christ Himself on this earth we have an example of the working out of God’s plan of government. The charge Satan brought in the beginning was that God was arbitrary, determined to have His own way, that He did not love any one. And when Satan had turned man aside from the way of truth, and was holding him in slavery, yet “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” And by the gift of His Son God proved that there was love in His government, and that by love He desired to have His will done. In the love He had toward His created beings He gave His only begotten Son to make it possible that His will should be done on the earth. Christ came to this earth to work out this plan, that man might be loyal to God if he chose.
Then you see that when Christ came, it was The Climax of the Controversy between Him and Satan. If Satan shall be in any way able to turn Christ, the second Adam, the representative of the human race starting out again, aside; if he can by any means overcome Him, he will triumph and establish his kingdom here. So upon Christ was brought to bear every possible temptation, and all the power of malignity that had been working in Satan for thousands of years. And to effect his purpose he followed Christ every step of the way from the manger to the cross. He was determined that Christ should not remain loyal to God while in his dominion. When it came to the cross of Christ’s experience, Satan instigated on the part of man everything that his malignity could devise. He urged them on to overcome His human nature, that he might make Him swerve from the path of loyalty. He tried to bribe him. “Acknowledge my right to the kingdom of the earth,” he said, “and I will give you all these kingdoms.” But this Christ could not do; for it was the very point of the controversy.
We come to the climax of the struggle in the death of Christ. Satan’s charge had been that God’s government was arbitrary and hard, and that he would give his subjects a better government. The universe looked on to see it worked out. The curse of disobedience rested on the earth, but Christ came to redeem it, “being made a curse for us.” Satan had urged on the Jews till they took His life, and thus Satan became the murderer of the Son of God. By His gift to the world God showed that He did desire His will—the law of love and filial obedience—to be done on earth as it is done in heaven, and in order to make it possible He was willing to give His only begotten Son to die. Satan showed that he wanted his own way badly enough that he was willing to become the murderer of the Son of God. All this was enacted before the universe, and how did it effect it?

God’s Government Vindicated Before the Universe.

“And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast; the same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew; and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified…. Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto Me.” John 12:20-32. And Jesus Christ, lifted up between heaven and earth on the cross, did draw both heaven and earth to Him. Through death He destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. It is not often a king gains his kingdom by dying, but Jesus Christ won both His kingdom and His subjects by dying, and He destroyed His enemy by death.

The Cross Sealed Satan’s Fate.

“Now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto Me.” When He was lifted up on the cross, and when He said, “It is finished,” and gave up the ghost, all heaven heard; and wherever throughout the universe there had still been in minds thoughts of rebellion and lingering sympathy for Satan, that scene on the cross showed them that Satan’s government meant that nothing should stand in his way, and that to effect his purpose he was even ready to murder the Son of God. Thus they were drawn to God by His great love. Then the fate of Satan was sealed; he was cast out, and it was demonstrated that God is love, that He was governing by the power of love.

Concluding Thoughts.

And think you that if Satan would not hesitate to take the life of the Son of God that he will hesitate to take your life? Think you that his plan of government is any better now? Do you not see that it is loyalty to God or to Satan? Do you not see that we have either to put ourselves under Satan’s leadership and fight against Christ, or to put ourselves under the leadership of Christ to fight against Satan? Which side are you on? Which side are you choosing to-night? “Ye are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.” Who has your name enrolled in his book. Are you enrolled as fighting under the blood-stained banner of the Lamb, as a loyal subject of God; or as fighting under the black banner of Satan, against the government of God?
ghting under the black banner of Satan, against the government of God? This question of the two kingdoms is going on till Christ shall come the second time to take His kingdom. We are very near that time now. All one has to do is to read the Scripture and the signs of the times to know that it is near. Little argument is needed to show any one who will read the Scripture and the signs of the times that the day of the Lord’s coming is near and hasteth greatly. The controversy is in its height. Tremendous power is being brought to bear to hold subjects in the kingdom of Satan. He is bringing upon people every devise to hold them in the bonds of sin; to take their minds away from the realisation of the near coming of Christ, and fill them with pleasure and self-seeking. But Christ is at work in the earth, and is to-day selecting those who will be loyal to Him. And what does it mean to be loyal to Him?—It means to Obey the Laws of the Realm.
Christ has proclaimed the conditions of membership into His kingdom. He has sent His servants throughout the world, saying, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Matt. 28:19, 20. To-day they are preaching that the coming of His kingdom is near; and they are gathering out those who will be loyal to God.
It costs something to be loyal to God now. It cost Job something; but there is a power in the love of Jesus Christ to hold; there is something in His love that will satisfy every longing soul, and fill with fatness all who will come to Him. The call is now, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate.”
The two kingdoms cannot be joined together. And yet there has seemed to be a tendency to try to make them run together. You cannot do it. They are perfectly opposed to each other; light and darkness will not mix. Love and hate are opposite characteristics, and will not co-mingle. At the crucifixion the cross of Jesus Christ made a separation between the repentant and the unrepentant, and to-day it makes the same division. And God is now sending forth A Special Message for loyalty to His law. He calls upon every one now who will, to yield himself to obey the laws of His realm; and more than that, He has set up in this last generation a wonderful sign of loyalty. There is a special call to that portion of His law which has been set aside. “Hallow My Sabbaths.” “They shall be a sign between Me and you that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.” Eze. 20:20. In this generation the Lord has set up His Sabbath as a special sign that He created the heavens and the earth through Jesus Christ. “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 anything made that was made.” John 1:1-3.
The Sabbath is set up as a special sign of loyalty to God, of obedience to His laws, and of our belief in the creating power and the divinity of Jesus Christ our Lord. Shall we choose Him as our Lord, and step from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light? He is coming soon, and when He comes, He whose right it is to reign will reign. He has redeemed the earth, and He will save when He comes every one who has been obedient to His laws and has identified himself with Christ as leader.
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written that no man knew but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations and He shall rule them with a rod of iron and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.” Rev. 19:11-16. Is He our King and our Lord? Those who recognise Him now as King of kings and Lord of lords, will be prepared, when He is revealed, to say, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us; this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” Isa. 25:9.

October 23, 1895 Armadale Campmeeting Talk




Christ our Example

“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30.
I wish especially to call attention to these words: “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me.” Everybody knows that Christ is our example in the Christian life. It would be useless for me to take your time or mine to set forth that fact. There are a great many who desire to imitate the example of Christ, a great many who do not know how, and the purpose of our study this afternoon will be, if possible, to help some one to know how to do this. I take it for granted that every Christian knows that he ought to be like Christ. There is no teaching of the Scripture more plain than this, and the promise is, that while the disciple is not above his teacher, yet every one who is perfected, will be as his teacher. Our purpose is to bring out some simple and plain lessons which, we hope, will be helpful to you in understanding better how to imitate the life of Christ.

Three Definite Points.

We might wander over a great deal of ground in this matter, and occupy our whole time, without getting anything very definite in our minds. But I want to get two or three lessons fixed; for they are the foundation of every other lesson, and with them all the other lessons come of themselves. To make the point definite in our minds with reference to learning of Him, I want to set before you three points.
We are to imitate the example of Christ in living in God and with God and for God. How shall we live, as did Christ in God, with God, and for God?

Christ the Branch.

Christ was the very revelation of God, the life of God in the earth. In Zech. 6:12 the prophet says of Him: “Behold the man whose name is the Branch; and He shall grow up out of His place [not in the wrong place, but where He is; He will grow up out of His place], and He shall build the temple of the Lord.” Christ is here spoken of as the branch, and He was the branch of God. But His root was in heaven; and in being the branch of God to this world, He is, in another sense, the arm of God. God was in heaven, but He was reaching down in Jesus Christ to get hold of the world. As the branch, Christ grew as the branch, in order to be something visible to the world. God is in clouds and darkness; but He wanted to reveal Himself to a world that had been cut off by sin, so Christ came as a branch of Himself.

The Hidden Source of Life.

You know that the roots of a tree are hidden underneath; but they are the secret sources of life, and that which appears, which we call the tree, is after all but the root which comes up in sight. Christ was the branch to the world, but His root was hidden in God, and He was made manifest that the world might see what God is. Christ’s life, when He was here in the flesh, was in God, and He depended on God just as much for life for His service here as we are obliged to depend upon God. To be sure, He had life; “for as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself.” But when He came here to be the revelation of God to the world, and an example to humanity, He put Himself in the very place of humanity; and as humanity was weak, He became weak for humanity’s sake. As humanity was dependent wholly upon a power outside of itself, so He became dependent. And He said, “As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.”
He took that place of dependence, that position of weakness, in order that He might pass through the experience of those whom He came to save; His life was hid in God, and He depended wholly upon God and upon the ministry of angels.

Christ’s Life in God.

Do not think that the life of Christ here was a life of ease because He was the divine Son of God. He was the divine Son of God, but He veiled that divinity. Behold the wondrous condescension of God in Christ. Although He had power, yet He laid it down, and became dependent. This is stated in Scriptures. The Gospel of John is the great gospel of life. We turn to it when we want to learn about life. In this Gospel Christ says, “If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not. But if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe the works; that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”
While it is true that Jesus Christ was divinity veiled in humanity, it is also true that He was humanity enshrined in divinity. In His humanity He hung Himself upon His Father for help, for strength, for all that He needed as humanity; in His divinity, the Father dwelt in Him, and worked through Him. He was divinity in humanity, the roots reaching to heaven, but He was humanity enshrined in divinity. So He says in John 14:10: “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.” And He asked for His disciples, “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee.” John 17:21. Christ was that union of the divine and the human, which is the perfection of humanity, because of divinity working in and through humanity.
“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. Notice the statement. It does not say, “who came from the bosom of the Father,” but “which is in the bosom of the Father.” There was such a union between Christ and His Father that where Christ was, there the Father was. And He was in the bosom of the Father while here upon earth, His life hid in God for our sakes.
Now we will notice Christ’s Life With God; that is to say, His communion with God, His fellowship with God. While His life was with God, it must also flow out through humanity, and Christ, by putting Himself in the position of humanity, puts Himself in the place of the empty vine, that must be filled from the Father. He puts Himself in that position where, by His communion with God, He received from God what He gave to the world. In His last prayer He said, “For I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me;” “and the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them.” John 17:8, 22.
He stood between God and man, to receive from God on His divine side, to hand out on His human side, and to make a complete connection between the divine and the human. But in putting Himself there, He subjected Himself to the same conditions that we find in us. He had nothing in Himself, He emptied Himself, and became a channel of blessing and light and power and life and glory to man. What He brought to the world, He brought because the Father gave it to Him, and He must needs go to the Father to get what the Father would have Him give to the world, because of His dependence.

Christ’s Source of Strength

So we find Christ going often to the Father for communion, seeking from Him strength. Let us read two or three scriptures that will emphasise this. “In the morning rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Mark 1:35 Why?—Because He had a day before Him of revealing the Father, a day before Him of giving God to the people, and He must needs rise a great while before day, and go to the Father, and in fellowship with Him, in communion with Him, He must receive from Him what He was to give to the people.”Now when all the people were baptised, it came to pass that Jesus also being baptised, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, Thou art My beloved Sort, in whom I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21, 22. The heavens were opened to Christ when He prayed; the heavens will be opened to us when we pray.
“And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, He took Peter and John and James, and Went Up Into a Mountain to Pray. And as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistering.” Luke 9:28, 29. But let me tell you He prayed more than a short prayer that night. Christ prayed His short prayers in public; but when He went to commune with God in the night season, then it was that He poured out His soul before God, reaching out in His weakness, and clinging to God, not simply for Himself, but for all the people, for our sakes, that He might grasp divine power; and it was while He was praying that the fashion of His countenance was altered.
It was when Moses was in the presence of God that his face shone with glory, so that when he came out the people could not stand before him. It was when Christ, as our representative, prayed that night on the mountain till His disciples fell asleep and the dews of night fell on Him, that the heavens were opened to Him. It is in our communion with God that glory rests upon us, and our filthy garments are changed to the white robes of Christ’s righteousness.

Christ’s Life for God

And so it was in answer to His communion with the Father that He received from God the blessings He gave to humanity; but now, having a life in God, maintained by fellowship with God, that life of power is to be spent for God. Christ’s life was a life of sacrifice, a life of service for God; He was a representative of God as well as the representative of humanity. He was sent here to represent the divine character, but also to show that it is possible for that divine character to be revealed in humanity
Do not think that God is some far-away being. The life and experience of Christ were to show to the world that God can dwell in humanity; that God has made humanity as a temple for His own indwelling, and Christ received the very presence of the Father to dwell in His humanity, to show that humanity can be a temple for the living God.
Christ spent His life wholly in service for God. All the strength received from the Father in His hours of prayer went out in ministry. He fed the people, taught them, laboured for them, and He became weary as He walked up and down Judea, giving His life for the people. And He ended it by giving His life on the cross for them. That is the life of Christ, in God, with God, and for God.

Christ’s Life to Be Repeated in Us.

I delight to dwell upon that picture, and to have it presented before our minds; but I want to tell you that the only reason that picture is recorded on the page of history is because it is God’s intention that the same experience shall be lived over again in us. It is God’s purpose that we shall be like Christ, and He has made provision that we shall be. I know we are weak, I know we are helpless, I know we are unworthy; but I know that God has made wondrous provision. God knew that we were unworthy; but He made the provision that through just such humanity as there is here to-day, if they will have faith in Christ, He will reveal His character, and make them channels of blessing to the world. That is God’s design for us, and let us rejoice in the thought; let us take our eyes off the cheap, common things, and low grades of Christian experience, and look up to the throne of God and of Christ, our Advocate, who is there to intercede for us. Let us believe that God intends a wonderful experience for us in His Son. His plan is to do it, and His grace is sufficient.
Our lives, just like Christ’s are to be in God, with God, for God. “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” That experience is for us, and we are to realise every day that we have no life in ourselves; that we have no power in ourselves; but that all our life and power must come from Christ. Our life, like Christ’s, must be between the mountain and the multitude, going up into the mountain with God get what He has for us, that we may bring it down to give to the people.
When Christ fed the thousands by His miracles, He Himself did not give the bread to the people; but He blessed it and brake it, and gave it to His disciples, and they gave it to the people. We are to go to Him, and He will bless the loaf, and give it to us; and then, as a loaf blessed of Him, and having in it life and salvation, we are to bring it to the people. And so we must continue Our Life of Fellowship With God.
And this life of fellowship must be, in every detail, like Christ’s. We must be born in the Spirit as was He born in the Spirit; we must be baptised of the Holy Spirit as was He. When we go to temptation, we must go as He did,— led of the Spirit; when we return from victory over temptation, we must return as He did, in the power of the Spirit. When we preach we must say as He did—”The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” Luke 4:18. He was baptised of the Holy Spirit, and “went about doing good.” He would even go out of His way to give somebody the opportunity of receiving benefit from Him. His was a life of service and self-sacrifice, and He calls upon us to follow His example, not in our own strength, but with a life in God, rooted in heaven. He bids us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Learning By Service.

Our life, being a life with God in the power of the Spirit, must also be a life for God. We are kept many times from the fulness of this experience by being afraid of God. We are afraid that if we unreservedly and fully give ourselves up to God and say, “Whether I live or die, whether in sickness or health, all my life shall be for God,” that God will call us to something that we do not want; and it is that very fear that keeps God from revealing Himself to us and in us. God does not reveal Himself by telling about Himself; but He says, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me.” By service learn.
We do not enter the school of Christ to have Him tell us the theory of the Christian life simply as something to be studied out ourselves. God gives us knowledge of Himself by revealing Himself in us, and when He wants us to know the experience of faith and the victory of faith, He leads us up to a Red Sea, that He may teach us what this victory means. It is by living with God that we learn God. Our heads may be filled with a great many theories; but they will all be useless unless we know what God is by seeing what He does for us, by seeing what He can do for those that believe in Him, by being in Him, and letting Him work.
We have a great many lessons to learn about God, and the fundamental lesson is, “Walk in the light.” Everything depends upon light. Take it away and the flowers will die. They must live in the light. Take away the light of God from us, and our Christian experience perishes, but the light goes on. It is not stationary; it moves, and we must move with it in order to keep the light we have, and open the channel for more light.
Let us notice now our life for God.

Denying Self.

In Matt. 16:24 we read, “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” “Let him deny himself.” Those words have a much broader meaning than staying away from some place of amusement, or giving up eating something that pleases the palate. They mean the sacrifice of self, the disinheriting of self, the emptying out of self, the very denial of self. Peter denied Christ when he said, “I know Him not,” and we are to treat self in exactly the same way. Does self rise up and claim recognition? then say, “I know you not.” Just as distinctly as Peter three times denied his Lord, so we, when self rises up and wants to control us, are to say, “I do not know you; I will have nothing to do with you.” Deny self, disinherit self, let self die, and keep it dead, too.
Said Paul, “I protest by your rejoicing, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” I Cor. 15:31. Many people are troubled in their Christian experience because self is continually rising. “Why,” they say, “I thought yesterday that I had gained a complete victory, and that self was crucified.” Self was crucified just as long as the faith that cast self out kept it out, but just the moment that that faith wavers, self rises up and asserts its power. The faith which puts self to death must keep it dead. Self must be crucified daily and hourly through faith in Jesus Christ.
“Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” I would like to impress upon your minds to-day what is included in the cross of Christ. Let us spell it.
C.—Crucifixion.—The very first letter and the very first lesson of the cross. Said Paul in his letter to the Galatians, “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. He said again in this same letter, “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Chris, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Gal. 6:14. Taking up the cross means the death of self; bearing the cross means dying daily, selfdeath, keeping self dead. That is crucifixion, the very first letter of the cross, but I want to tell you that there is another letter.
R.—Resurrection.—After crucifixion there is a rising again. “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.” Rom. 6:5. I like the Revised Version of this verse, which reads, “For if we have been united with the likeness of His crucifixion, we shall be also with the likeness of His resurrection.” (margin.) If you spell C, you can spell R. For “like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Christ lived this life on the earth for our sakes; He was crucified for our offences, but He was raised again for our justification. We do not need to mourn; for He who made heaven and earth is our Saviour, and He lives today for us. He said when He was here, “All power upon heaven and earth is given unto Me.” He gained this power by His death, and when He was raised up, He was raised up to newness of life. “In that He died, He died unto sin once, but in that He lives, He lives unto God. Likewise reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” And the new life to which we are raised is not the old life of self, but it is the life of Jesus Christ,—that divine-human life, which is not simply the life of God apart from flesh, nor the life of flesh apart from God, but the life of God which has been wrought into human flesh. That life comes to us in our resurrection from the crucifixion of self. Where self dies Christ lives; where the old man is buried, the new man is raised to life; where the old man lived in sin, the new man walks with God. It is the resurrection life in the power of Christ’s resurrection.
Said Paul in his letter to the Philippians, I count everything that I ever thought was worth anything, as loss, “for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord.” As less than nothing I hold the experiences of the past, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.” It is the resurrection power that we Christians need; it is the resurrection life that we must have; and I thank God that it is the resurrection life that is provided. Do not be satisfied with anything short of that. It is God’s free gift in Jesus Christ. I would that I could arouse everyone that has the least spark of faith in Jesus Christ, to lay hold largely upon His power. There is no danger of our exhausting the supply; infinite are His resources; infinite His love; infinite His desire for us. He is only waiting for us to grasp it by faith. I thank God that it is so.
O.—Obedience.—That goes with the cross. To everyone who thinks that he cannot obey God’s law, I would say, Obey the gospel. If you are afraid of the law, obey the gospel, that is enough. What happens to those who do not obey the gospel?—”And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thess. 1:7-9. Friends, obey the gospel, and I will risk the law. Obey the gospel, because we have found in the plainest possible manner that the gospel is simply the law in Christ.
Read 2 Cor. 10:5, and it will show us to what extent this obedience is to go. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” He who does not obey the gospel in thought, does not obey the gospel at all. He who does not obey the truth in thought, does not obey the truth at all. No outward life can satisfy; it must be the inmost life of the soul; and the outward life, after all, will be but the revealing of what is within. “Out of the abundance of the heart the month speaketh.” And the glory of every pure thought and holy deed we are to give to Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. Obedience stands right in the centre of the cross.
S.—Sacrifice.—That sacrifice which offers up self,—self-sacrifice: the complete yielding of everything to God, the entire consecration which lays everything upon God’s altar, and cares not for the opinion of men, but looks to God for His opinion; which cares not for the words of men, but looks to God in Jesus Christ for His word; which lives the life He lived in the flesh, by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself for us.
S.—Service.—A life given up to God, devoted wholly to God. Christ’s mission here was to save the lost, and it is the mission of every representative of His to do the same work. Let me tell you, my friends, in the fear of God, that we will not stand clear in His sight if we have not laboured for Him. Selfishness has no place in heaven. And unless we get rid of self, we can never go to heaven. Jesus Christ is the only One who can take us there; self will drag us down to hell. Let Jesus Christ lift us up. Let us consecrate our lives and all we have to the service of God. It is all His anyway. How much I ask you, is it to give to God what belongs to Him already? Anything short of this sacrifice is robbing God. We are His by creation and by redemption. In the mouth of two witnesses shall it be established that we are His. Then act as though we were His, and let Him act as though we were His.
The very purpose of the life of Christ in heaven now is that the image of God may appear in our lives. Christ lived His life here in the flesh to show us what the image of God is; but He is not satisfied with that. He wants us to cooperate with Him in letting that life be lived again in us. Christ told His disciples just before ascending that He would send His Holy Spirit to dwell in them. God’s purpose, and I would that this thought might be burned in our minds, is that the very life that Christ lived shall be lived by His followers. And we live that life by our submission and willingness to give up our own way and let God be glorified in Jesus Christ.
That is Christian life. I would that I could impress upon every Christian what it is his privilege to be. If you have not known it, take hold of Jesus Christ. God is able to do great things for us. He has promised to do great things for us, and His promises never fail; they are to-day yea and amen in Jesus Christ. What God wants us to do is to have faith in them, and treat Him as our loving Father, who has given us all things in Jesus Christ.
Now we have the cross,—Crucifixion, resurrection, obedience, sacrifice, service. It begins with the death of self; it rises into a new life, even the life of Christ; it shows itself in implicit obedience to God in Jesus Christ; it gives itself a sacrifice to others; for says the Scripture, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16. “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” Matt. 10:25. He who holds on to self will perish with self; he who lets go of self will live in Jesus Christ, and will find a life that measures with the life of God.

Giving Up Self Only a Question of Time.

It is only a question with us of when we are going to give up this life. You are, I know, very well aware that the days of our life are but “threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” Ps. 90:10. Shall we give up this life now and receive the life of Christ, or shall we hold to this life until it is taken away from us, and it is too late to receive the life of Christ? We are to meet God face to face. Shall we meet Him in Christ or in self? We are to meet the law of God. Shall we meet that law in Jesus Christ or in ourselves? These experiences must come to everyone. The question for us to settle is, Shall they come to us in Christ or out of Christ? Our safety, our glory, our joy, is in meeting these experiences in Jesus Christ.
Degrees in the School of Christ. I want now to call your attention to the experience of the apostle Paul as a disciple, in the school of Christ. Before his conversion Paul was a disciple in the school of Gamaliel. I do not know what the customs of the Jewish schools were in that time, or whether they conferred any degrees on Paul, but I know that he was a learned man, and I suppose he had gathered up the wisdom of the day as it could be learned in the Jewish schools. Speaking of himself in his letter to the Philippians, he says, “For we are the circumcision which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more. 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.” And he speaks of this again to the Galatians: “For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews’ religion above many mine equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” Phil. 3:3-6; Gal. 1:13, 14. That is where Paul stood when he entered the school of Christ. I want to follow his experience in the school of Christ, and see the degrees that he took.

The first degree is— B. A.—Born again. That is the first degree everyone takes in the school of Christ. Writing to the Corinthians Paul says, “And last of all He was seen of me also, as one born out of due time.” 1 Cor. 15:8. Christ said, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” John 3:7. But right in connection with that “must” is another. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. “Ye must be born again,” “the Son of man must be lifted up”, and in Him is the life for the new birth. The first degree then is Born again.

The next degree that Paul took was— M. A.—Moulded afresh. Made over completely by the new life. Paul writes of this in Col. 3:9, 10, “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of Him that created Him.” The first degree, Born again, is conferred upon us in order that the new life dwelling in us may mould and fashion us after the image of God.

The next degree is— D. D.—Delivered Debtor. After one has received the new birth, moulding him into the new life, to what then is he debtor? Said Paul, “I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians; both to the wise and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am really to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.” Rom. 1:14, 15. He had been delivered, and he felt himself a debtor to give to others what he had received. He took this degree and deserved it. His life was a manifestation that he was indeed a D. D. in Christ, a delivered debtor, who gave his life to give to others what God had given him.

I think Paul took the next degree also, that of— LL. D.—Life Lovingly Dedicated. These are the genuine degrees in God’s school, Born Again, Moulded Afresh, Delivered Debtor, a Life Lovingly Dedicated. What is this but life in God, life with God, and life for God? That was Paul’s experience, and God has set forth that experience for us, because it belongs to every child of God.

We might continue this lesson at great length, but I want these thoughts to abide in your minds. They are a great deal better to talk about and to think about than the cheap, common things of life. Let our minds be filled with the things of God, with the word of God, and then expect God to tell us great things about His word, and to reveal to us the deep things of God. And let us look for these degrees in our lives. No university founded by man can confer these degrees upon anyone, but in the school of Christ they are open to everyone. If anyone wants to carry about with him degrees that are worth something, let him enter the school of Christ, and take the degrees given there.
If you will carry away with you these thoughts to-day, that God in Jesus Christ lived a life of perfection on earth, and that Jesus Christ now lives in heaven, our great high Priest, making intercession for us, receiving from the Father the promise of His Spirit that He may give it to us, in order that the very same character that appeared in the character of Jesus Christ to the glory of God may appear in you, and if you will believe in God to work that in you by crucifixion, by obedience, by self-sacrifice, by service, God will greatly bless your lives in Jesus Christ.

November 9, 1895 Armadale Campmeeting Talk




The Faith of Jesus

“Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12.

In our study at this time we will reverse the order, and say, Here are they that keep the faith of Jesus and the commandments of God. Here is the patience of the saints. The first experience necessary in order to keep a thing is to get it. So before we can keep the faith of Jesus we must get it. Faith is the gift of God, and no one need say that he cannot have it. “For I say through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3. No one need say that he cannot have faith; for God has given it to him. God gives faith, and our part is to exercise that faith, and just as in the physical frame exercise causes growth, so exercising what faith we have will cause it to grow.

You will observe that this is a closing message; for the next thing John saw was one “like unto the Son of man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.” What is seen just before the Saviour is revealed?—Those that keep the commandments of God. The commandments and teaching of men have come in to take the place of the commandments of God; but here is to be a people on the earth just before Christ comes, who will keep the commandments of God, and who will not be carried away by the traditions and teaching of men.

WHAT IS THE FAITH OF JESUS?

These people are also to have the faith of Jesus. In this time there is a great deal said about faith, but the subject is not worn out yet. This is to be the faith of Jesus, in contrast with the faith of the devil. Here are they that keep the commandments of God rather than the commandments of men, and have the faith of Jesus rather than the faith of the devil. What is the devil’s faith? It is spoken of in James 2:19: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well; the devils also believe and tremble.” When Jesus was here in the flesh, the devils said to Him, “I know Thee who Thou art; the Holy One of God.” The devil believes that God exists; he knows it is so, and he trembles at it; but he has not the faith of Jesus. He has the faith that assents to the truth of a certain fact. We may believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God; we may believe that the blood of Jesus Christ is able to cleanse from all sin; we may believe that every statement made in the Bible is true; and yet not have the faith of Jesus. We may believe in the creed of the church, which says, “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in His only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord;” we may confess to all that, and believe it as a fact, and yet not have the faith of Jesus.

What is the faith of Jesus as contrasted with the faith of the devil? Let us find out from the word. When Jesus came to the tomb of Lazarus, and said to him that was dead, “Lazarus, come forth,” He knew that He was speaking the word of God. He was sure of that; for He spoke the words of God continually. “The word which ye hear,” He said, “is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.” John 14:24. He knew that the word of God had power to accomplish that which He had spoken, and that Lazarus would come forth. That is, the faith of Jesus is that faith which believes that God’s word will do what it says. It simply lets God’s word be true.

But the word of God is true whether we believe it or not. John says, “Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in Him and in you.” 1 John 2:8. The purpose of the word of God is that it shall be true in us. The word was true in Jesus Christ, and He was the true representative of the word. What the word said, He was. And if the word of God is true in us, it will make us like Christ. We have faith in the word of God when we believe that it is a living word, and that it has power to transform our characters, and to work in us that of which it speaks.

FAITH IN THE WORD

This is the kind of faith that Jesus commended. We read in Matthew’s Gospel that “when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof; but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under [not having] authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, He marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Matthew 8:5-10. Here is the centurion, a commander of one hundred men in the Roman army. He says to Jesus, Speak the word; that is all you need to do.

We will say that the Roman authority is Caesar, that the centurion’s name is Julius, and the soldier’s, Alexander. Julius the man says to Alexander the man, “Go;” but Alexander the man says, “What right have you to command me to go? I shall go when I get ready.” That is Julius the man talking to Alexander the man apart from any authority. But Julius the centurion says to Alexander the soldier “Go,” and the soldier goes at once, because Julius is speaking as a representative of Caesar, and really, it is Caesar speaking. You see, then, the difference between the man talking to the man, and the centurion talking to the soldier. The soldier goes, because all the power of the Roman Empire is behind the word spoken by the centurion.

And the centurion said to Christ, I see that you, Jesus of Nazareth, are here, and that you are under authority, representing God. When you speak, it is not Jesus the son of Joseph speaking, but the Son of God; and I know that the word you speak is the word of God, and that it has power in it. This is the kind of faith that Christ commends. The centurion had confidence that Christ was not simply the son of the carpenter, but the Son of the living God, and he believed that the whole authority of God was in the word spoken through Him.

“Faith cometh by hearing,” and it is no use for us to talk about faith apart from the word of God. The fact that we desire something with all our heart, is not the least evidence that it will be done. Faith is confidence in God’s word, dependence upon God’s word, letting God’s word be true. Faith is seeing Christ in His word as the power of the living God, and believing with all the heart that He will do what He says. Faith is not sentimentalism, not merely a belief that something is true; it includes submitting and yielding wholly to the word of God. See to it whether you have the faith of Jesus or the faith of the devil. He believes that the Bible is true, and believes it more fully than many who make a high profession! He knows the Bible is wholly true. He knows it is true but he does not allow it to be true in him. He is a lie; his whole life is a lie; he is a falsehood from the first to the last; and so is everyone whose character is like his, and whose faith goes no further than his. Our very characters are a lie if they are not in harmony with the word of God.

Before a person is converted, he has the choice of saying, “I am true; I am righteous,” and thus making God a liar, or of saying, “God only is true,” thus making himself a liar. The Scripture says, “Let God be true; but every man a liar.” Romans 3:4. Every unconverted person must make his choice between calling God a liar, or admitting that he is one.Sin is being false, and that is what makes the devil wholly false, because he is a sinner from the beginning; he is a liar, and the father of lies. God says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” We must let Him be true and say, “I have sinned.” But when we come to that experience in that way, there is something more to be said. When Nathan came to David to reprove him for his sin and said to him, “Thou art the man,” David answered, “I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” 2 Samuel 12:13. Let God’s word be true. When the Lord says, “You have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” answer, “I have sinned.” When we make that confession, He says to us again, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” To this we must say, “It is so, and let God’s word be true in us.” And so we will keep saying, “Amen,” not in word simply, but in our lives. That is faith, living, divine faith.

FAITH IN THE WORD BRINGS A REFORMATION

This faith brought the reformation of the sixteenth century, and it is the faith that is to work the reformation of the nineteenth century. In Luther’s time the church had covered up God’s word, and was giving the people its own teaching, just as it is doing to a large extent now. It was Luther’s work to bring the word to the people and let them feed upon it. The word of God is seen constantly in Luther’s writing. Faith in God’s word, that faith that believes God’s word regardless of any outward circumstances whatever, brought the Reformation. Our test will come on the same point. The word tells us that miracles will be wrought to sustain falsehood. The people who depend upon outward circumstances for evidence of their acceptance with God, are the very ones who are preparing themselves to be taken captive by the devil at his will. He can bring outward signs. The word says that he will make fire come down from heaven in the sight of men.

When the earth is removed, what shall we stand on? The word of God will be the only sure foundation, but if we do not learn how to stand steadfastly on that word, we will not be prepared to risk it in that day, and we will be of those that come before the Lord in fear. We need to become accustomed to living in the presence of God, to seeing Him who is invisible, and then, when He becomes visible, it will not frighten us in the least. This is the faith of Jesus,—the faith that believes that God’s word is true, that lets God’s word work in its power in us, and that submits entirely to that working. No man can have faith in Jesus who is not willing to give up all for Him. He gave us everything, and He takes everything.

Making an acrostic of “faith” may help to impress these thoughts on our minds.

F-Forsaking.

A-All.

I-I.

T-Take.

H-Him.

The faith of Jesus means, Forsaking all, I take Him, and let Him be true in me. Being a saint is simply being a true man; being a sinner is simply being a liar. Christ is the faithful and true witness; Christ is the true vine; everything about Christ is true. To be like Christ is to be true; to be different from Christ is to be false.KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS

Now let us turn to the other thought. “Here are they that keep the commandments of God.” But it is just as true with the commandments, that we must get them before we can keep them, as it is with the faith. How do we get the commandments?—In the same way that we get the faith,—God must give them to us. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people.” Hebrews 8:10. He must give us the commandments before we can keep them, and He must give them to us in His own way, by writing them in our hearts. “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart.” 2 Corinthians 3:3. The commandments were first written with the finger of God on the tables of stone, thus foreshadowing the work of writing them on the heart by the Spirit of God. Compare two scriptures: “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.” Matthew 12:28; Luke 11:20. One says the “finger of God,” the other the “Spirit of God.” God wrote with His own finger on the tables of stone, and He says He will write His commandments in our hearts, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.This was foretold when He wrote them on stone. Moreover, as He wrote them on stone, He writes them now,—with His Spirit; and His writing in our hearts is to be just as eternal as His writing on stone. He that doeth the word of God abideth forever. He that keepeth My sayings shall never die.

The word of God is the very life of God, and this word being in our hearts keeps us through eternity. The word of God, written with the Spirit of God on the tables of the heart, will never change. It is His character. But God never puts anything into our hearts, and He never allows the devil to put anything into our hearts to stay there, unless we consent to it. God will never write His law in our hearts unless we consent. We will suppose now that God is going on with His work of writing His law in our hearts, and He writes, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me,” and you say, “I submit to that.” He writes again, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments;” and you say, “That is all right.” He writes the third commandment, and again you say, “I submit.” Then He begins to write the fourth, but you start and say, “O, no; do not write that; I cannot let that come in.” What happens?—He writes no more; and by your refusal to let Him write the fourth commandment, you rub out what He has written, and the law of God goes out of your heart. He does not write one portion of His law in our hearts contrary to our consent. We are to study the law in Jesus Christ, who kept His Father’s commandments, and then we are to submit to it, that the very life that was manifested in Jesus Christ shall be manifested in us. It is more a question of our submitting, and letting that life manifest itself, than of our manifesting it.

Christ the Living Law.

Writing the law in the heart is simply having Christ dwell in us. Christ was the living law, the law in life. Christ’s Spirit is the Spirit of that divine-human life that lived in obedience to God’s commandments. That is the Spirit He puts upon us, His other self dwelling in us. The law of God is ministered by the Spirit of God. When that comes into the heart, it is Christ Himself; it is “Christ in you the hope of glory.” And when Christ comes into our hearts, He is the living law, the law of God worked out in character. Christ dwelling in our hearts, means bringing the character of God into our lives. Keeping the commandments of God is manifesting the character of Jesus Christ.
Now a word as to obeying the commandments of God. Keeping the commandments of God is obeying the commandments, but there is an infinite amount of attempting to obey the commandments that is not keeping them. But righteousness does not come by the law. Some people hang the law upon the wall, read it over, and then try to do what it says. They have a terribly hard time, and then do not do it. Why?—because they put it up there. That is not where God puts it. He says He will put it in your heart, and you are to keep it there. “Out of the heart are the issues of life.” Do you suppose that out of a heart where the law of God is written, can come murders? God has told us what is in the natural heart. He say, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.” Mark 7:21,22. That is what God sees in the natural heart, but does man see all that? “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Man says, I am no murderer; I am a very moral man. I go to church regularly, nothing of the kind is in my heart. But those very things are there. Unless Christ is there and has cast them out, they have come in and defiled the temple of the soul.
But when Christ, who is the living law comes in, the law is written on the tables of the heart. And when Christ comes in, all the evils of the natural heart are cast out by His holy presence. When we submit to Him, He writes His law in our hearts and lives. Religion cannot be communicated as a theory. Religion is life. When Christ writes His law in our hearts, it is by writing it in our lives, and when this is done, murder and deceit are cast out! That is writing the law in the heart; that is putting the very life of Christ as our life, so that our life manifests His life.
It is a terrible mistake to think that keeping the commandments of God means to take the law, look at it, and then make up our minds that we will do it. That means only failure and discouragement. It is when we see that Christ is the law of God which we are to receive, and when we receive Him, that the law is written in our hearts, and our lives are brought into harmony with that law. The law of the Lord is holy, just, and good. We cannot make our lives holy, but Christ can do it for us. Oh, that we might see in its true light the privilege of being in harmony with God’s law. It is the privilege of being like Christ, the privilege of leading a true life, the privilege of communing with God, who created all things through Jesus Christ. It is the great privilege of humanity to be in harmony with God’s law.

Object of Christ’s Life on Earth.

The whole work of Christ was to show the perfection of God’s law, and to make it possible for us to be in harmony with it. And when we have Christ’s life and teaching to show us what the law of God is, it is perfectly amazing that so many will allow the devil to cheat them out of the privilege of being in harmony with that law. To be like Christ, to be like God, to lead a true life, to be exalted, to be brought into communion with God,—this is indeed a privilege. There are those that say, but if I live in harmony with the law of God, I will lose my situation, and what will my family do? But there is nothing that can happen to those who are in harmony with the law of God, except what God permits. If He takes away one thing, it is to give a better thing in its place. It may not mean more money, but what of that? Does not God care for His own? “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matt. 6:33. That is what God says. Let God be true, and every man a liar. Faith makes God’s word true, and believes what He says, and sees nothing except the word of God.

God Cares for Those Who Are True to Him.

God is caring for His people in these times. There is abundant proof that those who observe the seventh day, even in these hard times, are better situated financially than the average people. God will care for everyone who is true to Him. He spread a table in the wilderness to show us that, if necessary, He can bring bread from heaven and water from the rock. Trust God to do it. The time is right upon us when we shall need to trust Jesus Christ and His word to keep us in food and clothing, to keep us temporally and spiritually, and those only will be safe who are hidden in Jesus Christ. That is literally coming to pass, and those who do not trust in Jesus Christ will perish. God is warning us, trying to win people away from the destruction that is to come. Submission to Him in all things is our only safety now. “Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”

The Law Kept in Christ.

Although we cannot keep the commandments till we get them, that does not mean that the precepts of the law will not be lived out in our lives. That is just what will be done. No man can do it of himself; but we are to receive the law of God in Jesus Christ and to obey the law of God in Jesus Christ. Then it is that God dwells with us, and the law is written in our hearts.
“Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” It is because they keep the faith of Jesus that they keep the commandments. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart,” said the psalmist, “that I might not sin against Thee.” And “sin is the transgression of the law.” Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the A to Z; and when we hide Him in the heart, we hide the Word of God in the heart; and what we keep as a living law turns about and keeps us.
“Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” We are living just before the second coming of Christ. Through the faith of Jesus Christ, let God’s word be true in our character. God wants us to keep His commandments because they are what will keep us. Christ said, “I know that His commandment is life everlasting,” and that is why He could say, “If a man keep My saying, He shall never see death.” John 12:50; 8:51. The work of Christ has changed into a sleep the death that came as the result of Adam’s transgression. “If a man keep My saying he shall never see death;” for he has within him the living Word. “He that doeth the word of God abideth forever.” He may fall asleep, but he will never see death. But those who do not keep God’s commandments will see death from which there is no wakening.

The Patience of the Saints.
“Here is the patience of the saints.” “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” Heb. 10:36. We have need of patience. “For yet a little while, and He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry.” Those that have been keeping His commandments and waiting for Him, have need of endurance, for there is yet a little while.
“The just shall live by faith.” There are three places in the New Testament where this scripture is used, and the emphasis used in each case is different. “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, the just shall live by faith” Rom. 1:17. There the emphasis is placed on being righteous.
“But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God it is evident; for, the just shall live by faith.” Gal. 3:11. There faith is emphasised.
, the just shall live by faith.” Gal. 3:11. There faith is emphasised. “Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Heb. 10:38. Here living is the leading thought. The keeping of the commandments has been going on, yet here is a time when Christ seems to delay. If we live by faith, we shall live through all the destruction about us. “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.” “The just shall live by faith.” “Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.” That is the promise of God to us, but He also says, “Ye have need of patience.” “Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” Job endured, although he could not see the reason for it. But in that trial of Job God was working out before the universe the fact that His love can keep a man when all temporal blessings are taken away.
In the 18th chapter of Luke we have the case of the widow and the unjust judge recorded as instruction for us, with reference to the delay of the coming of the Lord. This is the time above all others, just before the coming of the Lord, when we are not to faint. “And he spake a parable unto them, to this end, that men ought always to pray and not to faint; saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man. And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary [or opponent]. And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” To get rid of her he would vindicate her of her opponent at law. “And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.”

Distressing Times Ahead.

We are in the time of trouble foretold in God’s word. These distressing times we see about us are but the beginning of these things. “This know also, that in the last days perilous [or hard] times shall come.” 2 Tim. 3:1. Are we not seeing hard times, hard times financially and spiritually? And these times on which we have entered, though there may be times when they will brighten, will grow worse and worse. The slight revival financially in these colonies is not permanent. God has sent out His message to prepare a people for His coming, to gather out a people who will understand these things. Men’s hearts are already failing them for fear; they are saying, What do these things mean? “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” We shall see violence and murder. That is the devil’s work. We shall see in this world a situation such as the human mind has never conceived of; we shall see a situation that will strike terror into every heart that does not know Jesus Christ and the power of His salvation. We can see it coming.
In that day God’s people cry unto Him for deliverance; but He seems to put off the day of delivering them, because we shall have come to that time when the deliverance of God’s people means the death of their adversaries. The deliverance of God’s people from their foes can only be followed by the coming of the Lord Jesus and the destruction of their enemies. God is so slow to pour out His wrath upon those who have rejected Him, that He seems almost to have deserted His people. But God will “avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them.”
“But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified; for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said He unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before all these they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prison, being brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake.” Luke 21:9-12. Notice what they are brought up for. Because a man is hated, it does not follow that he is a Christian. He must be hated for “My name’s sake.” Because the world does not like a man, it does not follow that he is a Christian. It must dislike him for the same reason that it disliked Christ. Those that are Christians will be reviled because they are in harmony with Christ’s life and character. “And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it, therefore, in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls.” Verses 13-19. In your endurance acquire your lives. We are living just before the coming of the Lord. “For yet a little while, and He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry.” It is in our endurance that we acquire our lives. Before the coming of the Lord, there will be a people who will be fulfilling His will. Our place is to be one of them. Our place is to be one of those of whom the Lord can say, “Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”

November 2, 1895, Armadale Camp Meeting




The Word made Flesh

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” The Revised Version says, “The Word became flesh.”

The theme of redemption will be the science and the song of the eternal ages, and well may it occupy our minds during our short stay here. There is no portion of this great theme that makes such a demand upon our minds in order to appreciate it in any degree, as the subject we shall study to-night,-“The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.” Through Him all things became; now He Himself became. He who had all glory with the Father, now lays aside His glory and becomes flesh. He lays aside His divine mode of existence, and takes the human mode of existence, and God becomes manifest in the flesh. This truth is the very foundation of all truth.

A HELPFUL TRUTH

And Jesus Christ becoming flesh. God being manifest in the flesh, is one of the most helpful truths, one of the most instructive truths, the truth above all truths, which humanity ought to rejoice in.

I desire this evening to study this question for our personal, present benefit. Let us command our minds to the utmost, because to comprehend that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, demands all our mental powers. Let us consider, first, what kind of flesh; for this is the very foundation of this question as it relates to us personally. “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. For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it believed Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered, being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted.” Hebrews 2:14-18. That through death, being made subject to death, taking upon Him the flesh of sin, He might, by His dying, destroy him that had the power of death.

“Verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham.” The margin says, “He taketh not hold of angels, but of the seed of Abraham He taketh hold;” and one version reads, “He helps not angels.” We see the reason from the next verse: “Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest, in things pertaining to God.” “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.” Galatians 3:16. Now verily, He helps the seed of Abraham by Himself becoming the seed of Abraham. God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be revealed in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

So you see that what the Scripture states very plainly is that Jesus Christ had exactly the same flesh that we bear,—flesh of sin, flesh in which we sin, flesh, however, in which He did not sin, but He bore our sins in that flesh of sin. Do not set this point aside. No matter how you may have looked at it in the past, look at it now as it is in the word; and the more you look at it in that way, the more reason you will have to thank God that it is so.

ADAM’S SIN TYPICAL

What was the situation?—Adam had sinned, and Adam being the head of the human family, his sin was a typical sin. God made Adam in His own image, but by sin he lost that image. Then he begat sons and daughters, but he begat them in his image, not in God’s. And so we have descended in the line, but all after his image.

For four thousand years this went on, and then Jesus Christ came, of flesh, and in the flesh, born of a woman, made under the law; born of the Spirit, but in the flesh. And what flesh could He take but the flesh of the time? Not only that, but it was the very flesh He designed to take; because you see, the problem was to help man out of the difficulty into which he had fallen, and man is a free moral agent. He must be helped as a free moral agent. Christ’s work must be, not to destroy him, not to create a new race, but to re-create man, to restore in him the image of God. “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Hebrews 2:9.

AN UNDONE, HELPLESS RACE

God made man a little lower than the angels, but man fell much lower by his sin. Now he is far separated from God; but he is to be brought back again. Jesus Christ came for that work; and in order to do it, He came, not where man was before he fell, but where man was after he fell. This is the lesson of Jacob’s ladder. It rested on the earth where Jacob was, but the topmost round reached to heaven. When Christ comes to help man out of the pit, He does not come to the edge of the pit and look over, and say, Come up here, and I will help you back. If man could help himself up to the point from whence he has fallen, he could do all the rest. If he could help himself one step, he could help himself all the way; but it is because man is utterly ruined, weak, and wounded and broken to pieces, in fact, perfectly helpless, that Jesus Christ come right down where he is, and meets him there. He takes his flesh and He becomes a brother to him.Jesus Christ is a brother to us in the flesh: He was born into the family.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.” He had only one Son, and He gave Him away. And to whom did He give Him? “Unto us a child is born,

UNTO US A SON IS GIVEN.”

Isaiah 9:6. Sin has made a change even in heaven; for Jesus Christ, because of sin, has taken upon Himself humanity, and to-day He wears that humanity, and will through all eternity. Jesus Christ became the Son of man as well as the Son of God. He was born into our family. He did not come as an angelic being, but was born into the family, and grew up in it; He was a child, a youth, a young man, a man in the full prime of life, in our family. He is the Son of man, related to us, bearing the flesh that we bear.

Adam was the representative of the family; therefore his sin was a representative sin. When Jesus Christ came, He came to take the place in which Adam had failed. “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” 1 Corinthians 15:45. The second Adam is the man Christ Jesus, and He came down to unite the human family with the divine family. God is spoken of as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, came Himself to this part of the family, that He might win it back again, that there might be a

REUNITED FAMILY IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD

He came and took the flesh of sin that this family had brought upon itself by sin, and wrought out salvation for them, condemning sin in the flesh.

Adam failed in his place, and by the offence of one many were made sinners. Jesus Christ gave Himself, not only for us, but to us, uniting Himself to the family, in order that He might take the place of the first Adam, and as head of the family win back what was lost by the first Adam. The righteousness of Jesus Christ is a representative righteousness, just as the sin of Adam was a representative sin, and Jesus Christ, as the second Adam, gathered to Himself the whole family.

But since the first Adam took his place, there has been a change, and humanity is sinful humanity. The power of righteousness has been lost. To redeem man from the place unto which he had fallen, Jesus Christ comes, and takes the very flesh now borne by humanity; He comes in sinful flesh, and takes the case where Adam tried it and failed. He became, not a man, but He became flesh; He became human, and gathered all humanity unto Himself, embraced it in His own infinite mind, and stood as the representative of the whole human family.

Adam was tempted at the very first on the question of appetite. Christ came, and after a forty days’ fast the devil tempted Him to use His divine power to feed Himself. And notice, it was in sinful flesh that He was tempted, not the flesh in which Adam fell. This is wondrous truth, but I am wondrous glad that it is so. It follows at once that by birth, by being born into the same family, Jesus Christ is my brother in the flesh, “for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Hebrews 2:11. He has come into the family, identified Himself with the family, is both father of the family and brother of the family. As father of the family, He stands for the family. He came to redeem the family, condemning sin in the flesh, uniting divinity with flesh of sin. Jesus Christ made the connection between God and man, that the divine spirit might rest upon humanity. He made the way for humanity.

HE HATH BORNE OUR GRIEFS

And He came right near to us. He is not one step away from one of us. He “was made in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:7. He is now made in the likeness of man, and at the same time He holds His divinity; He is the divine Son of God. And so, by His divinity joining itself to humanity, He will restore man to the likeness of God. Jesus Christ, in taking the place of Adam, took our flesh. He took our place completely, in order that we might take His place. He took our place with all its consequences, and that meant death, in order that we might take His place with all its consequences, and that is life eternal. “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21. He was not a sinner; but He invited God to treat Him as if He were a sinner, in order that we, who were sinners, might be treated as if we were righteous. “Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:4. The sorrows that He bore were our sorrows, and it is actually true that He did so identify Himself with our human nature as to bear in Himself all the sorrows and all the griefs of all the human family. “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.” What was bruising to Him was healing to us, and He was bruised in order that we might be 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.” Isaiah 53:6. And then He died because on Him was laid the iniquity of us all. There was no sin in Him, but the sins of the whole world were laid on Him. Behold the Lamb of God, which beareth the sins of the whole world. “And He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2.

THE PRICE PAID FOR EVERY SOUL

I want your minds to grasp the truth, that, no matter whether a man repents or not, yet Christ has borne his griefs, his sins, his sorrows, and he is invited to lay them on Christ. If every sinner in this world should repent with all his soul, and turn to Christ, the price has been paid. Jesus did not wait for us to repent before He died for us. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Christ has died in behalf of every single soul here; He has borne their grief and carried their sorrow; He simply asks us to lay them on Him, and let Him bear them.

CHRIST OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS

Furthermore; every one of us was represented in Jesus Christ when the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. We were all there in Jesus Christ. We were all represented in Adam after the flesh; and when Christ came as the second Adam, He stepped into the place of the first Adam, and thus we are all represented in Him. He invites us to step into the spiritual family. He has formed this new family, of which He is the head. He is the new man. In Him we have the union of the divine and the human.

In that new family, every one of us is represented. “And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.” When Melchisedec went out to meet Abraham returning from the spoil, Abraham paid to him a tenth of all. Levi was still in the loins of his father Abraham; but inasmuch as he was a descendant of Abraham, what Abraham did, the Scripture says that Levi did in Abraham. Levi descended from Abraham according to the flesh. He had not been born when Abraham paid tithe; but in that Abraham paid tithe, he paid tithe also. It is exactly so in this spiritual family. What Christ did as head of this new family, we did in Him. He was our representative; He became flesh; He became we. He did not become simply a man, but He became flesh, and every one that should be born into His family was represented in Jesus Christ when He lived here in the flesh. You see, then, that all that Christ did, every one who connects himself with this family is given credit for as doing it in Christ. Christ was not a representative outside him, disconnected from him; but as Levi paid tithe in Abraham, every one who should afterwards be born into this spiritual family, did what Christ did.

THE NEW BIRTH

See what this means with reference to vicarious suffering. It was not that Jesus Christ came from outside, and simply stepped into our place as an outsider; but by joining Himself to us by birth, all humanity was brought together in the divine head, Jesus Christ. He suffered on the cross. Then it was the whole family in Jesus Christ that was crucified. “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead,” or as the Revised Version says, “All died.” 2 Corinthians 5:14. What we want in our experience is to enter into the fact that we did die in Him. But while it is true that Jesus Christ paid the whole price, bore every grief, was humanity itself, yet it is also true that no man receives benefit from that except he receives Christ, except he is born again. Only those who are twice born can enter into the kingdom of God. Those who are born in the flesh, must be born again, born of the Spirit, in order that what Jesus Christ did in the flesh, we may avail ourselves of, that we may really be in Him.

The work of Christ is to bestow the character of God on us; and in the meantime God looks upon Christ and His perfect character instead of upon our sinful character. The very moment that we empty ourselves, or let Christ empty us, of self, and believe on Jesus Christ and receive Him as our personal Saviour, God looks upon Him as indeed our personal representative. Then He does not see us and all our sin; He sees Christ.

OUR REPRESENTATIVE IN THE COURTS OF HEAVEN

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5. There is a man in heaven now,—the man Christ Jesus,—bearing our human nature; but it is no longer a flesh of sin; it is glorified. Having come here and lived in a flesh of sin, He died; and in that He died, He died unto sin; and in that He lives, He lives unto God. When He died, He freed Himself from the flesh of sin, and He was raised glorified. Jesus Christ came here as our representative, travelled the path back to heaven in the family, died unto sin, and was raised glorified. He lived as the Son of man, grew up as the Son of man, ascended as the Son of man, and to-day, Jesus Christ, our own representative, our own brother, the man Christ Jesus, is in heaven, living to make intercession for us.

He has been through every one of our experiences. Does not He know what the cross means? He went to heaven by the way of the cross, and He says, “Come.” That is what Christ has done by becoming flesh. Our human minds stand appalled before the problem. How shall we express in human language what was done for us, when “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us”? How shall we express what God has given to us? When He gave His Son, He gave the most precious gift of heaven, and He gave Him never to take Him back again. To all eternity the Son of man will bear in His body the marks that sin made; forever He will be Jesus Christ, our Saviour, our Elder Brother. That is what God has done for us in giving His Son to us.

CHRIST IDENTIFIED WITH US

This union of the divine and the human has brought Jesus Christ very near to us. There is not one too low down for Christ to be there with him. He identified Himself completely with this human family. In the judgment, when the rewards and punishments are meted out, He says, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these. My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” One version reads, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My little brothers, ye have done it unto Me.” Christ looks upon every one of the human family as His. When humanity suffers, He suffers. He is humanity, He has joined Himself to this family. He is our head; and when in any part of the body there is a throb of pain felt, the head feels that throb of pain. He has united Himself with us, thus uniting us with God; for we read in Matthew: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

UNITY IN CHRIST

Jesus Christ thus united Himself with the human family, that He might be with us by being in us, just as God was with Him by being in Him. The very purpose of His work was that He might be in us, and that, as He represented the Father, so the children, the Father, and the Elder Brother might be united in Him.

Let us see what His thought was in His last prayer: “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us.” “And the glory which Thou gavest Me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them as Thou hast loved Me. Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou lovedest Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee; but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me. And I have declared Thy name unto them, and will declare it.” And the last words of His prayer were: “That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:21-26. And as He was ascending, His parting words to His disciples were, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20. By being in us, He is with us alway, and that this might be possible, that He might be in us, He came and took our flesh.

This also is the way in which the holiness of Jesus works. He had a holiness that enabled him to come and dwell in sinful flesh, and glorify sinful flesh by His presence in it; and that is what He did, so that when He was raised from the dead, He was glorified. His purpose was that having purified sinful flesh by His indwelling presence, He might now come and purify sinful flesh in us, and glorify sinful flesh in us. He “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” Philippians 3:21. “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate, to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29.

THE ELECTION OF GRACE

Let me say that in this idea is bound up the whole question of predestination. There is a predestination; it is a predestination of character. There is an election; it is an election of character. Every one who believes on Jesus Christ is elected, and all the power of God is behind that election, that he shall bear the image of God. Bearing that image, he is predestinated to all eternity in Christ’s kingdom; but every one who does not bear the image of God is predestinated unto death. It is a predestination of God in Christ Jesus. Christ provides the character, and offers it to any one who will believe in Him.

THE HEART AND LIFE OF CHRISTIANITY

Let us enter into the experience that God has given Jesus Christ to us to dwell in our sinful flesh, to work out in our sinful flesh what He worked out when He was here. He came and lived here that we might through Him reflect the image of God. This is the very heart of Christianity. Anything contrary to it is not Christianity. “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.” 1 John 4:1-3. Now that cannot mean simply to acknowledge that Jesus Christ was here and lived in the flesh. The devils made that acknowledgment. They knew that Christ had come in the flesh. The faith that comes by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus Christ is come in my flesh; He dwells in my flesh; I have received Him.” That is the heart and life of Christianity.

The difficulty with the Christianity of today is that Christ does not dwell in the hearts of those professing His name. He is an outsider, one looked at from afar, as an example. But He is more than an example to us. He made known to us what God’s ideal of humanity is, and then He came and lived it out before us, that we might see what it is to be in the image of God. Then He died, and ascended to His Father, sending forth His Spirit, His own representative, to live in us, that the life which He lived in the flesh we may live over again. This is Christianity.

CHRIST MUST DWELL IN THE HEART

It is not enough to talk of Christ and of the beauty of His character. Christianity without Christ dwelling in the heart is not genuine Christianity. He only is a genuine Christian who has Christ dwelling in his heart, and we can live the life of Christ only by having Him dwelling in us. He wants us to lay hold upon the life and power of Christianity. Do not be satisfied with anything else. Heed no one who would lead you in any other path. “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” His power, His indwelling presence, that is Christianity. That is what we need to-day; and I am thankful that there are hearts that are longing for that experience, and who will recognise it when it comes. It does not make any difference what your name or denomination has been. Recognise Jesus Christ, and let Him dwell in you. By following where He leads, we shall know what Christian experience is, and what it is to dwell in the light of His presence. I tell you this is a wondrous truth. Human language cannot put more into human thought or language than is said in these words: “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.” This is our salvation.

The object in these remarks is not merely to establish a line of thought. It is to bring new life into our soul, and open up our ideas of the word of God and the gift of God, that we may be able to grasp His love for us. We need it. Nothing short of that will meet what we have to meet,—the world, the flesh, and the devil. But He that is for us is mightier than he that is against us. Let us have in our daily lives Jesus Christ, “the Word” that “became flesh.”

October 31, 1895




Sermons in Stone

Some poet has spoken of seeing sermons in stones, and this will be our study this morning­—­­to see “sermons in stones.

“Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall. The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him; but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel).” “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and precious, ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” Genesis 49:22-24; 1 Peter 2:4, 5. We shall see different cases, where, under one experience and another, one record and another, this thought of the “living stone” is brought out.

“Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek; to-morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and He sat thereon.” Exodus 17:8-12 The fact that Moses sat upon a stone means something more than simply that he had something to sit upon. It indicates that it was the God of Israel, “the stone of Israel,” who gave him the victory.

THE STONE IN THE HAND OF ISRAEL’S SHEPHERD BOY

We have, too, the case of David and Goliath. We need not take time to read how the Philistines had defeated the army of Israel, and how Goliath came out morning after morning to defy them. David, who was but a shepherd boy at this time, came down to visit his brethren. They rather despised him. “And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness?” 1 Samuel 17:28. David came from keeping the sheep. A shepherd is one who keeps his sheep, not loses them. Christ is the Good Shepherd.

David, after talking with Saul, obtained his consent to go out and fight Goliath, and “Saul armed David with his armour, and he put a helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.” He thought that if David was going to fight against Goliath, he would need armour. “And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine. And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him. And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied…. And it came to pass when the Philistine arose, and came, and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone.” 1 Samuel 17:38-50.

David went out in the name of the Lord, and Jesus went with him to give him the victory simply by a stone. It was not simply David’s power and accuracy that caused that stone to sink into the forehead of the Philistine. It was the power of the Lord, who was fighting the battle for him. That record is for us. We have battles to fight against the enemy of the Lord of hosts, and we prevail over him with a stone. David without armour, without implements of warfare, David going forth in the faith of the Lord of hosts, is the example for us. He prevailed with a stone. Jesus Christ, the living stone, is our strength and power for our battles with the enemy.

A BUILDING OF PREPARED STONES

In 1 Kings 6, we have a record of the building of Solomon’s temple. In the 7th verse is a description of the house: “And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither; so that there was neither hammer nor ax nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.” The stones of this temple were quarried out and hewn, and each stone fitted for its particular place in the temple, before they were brought together; and then when they were brought from the quarry, each stone fitted into its place. The building was put together, stone upon stone, and there was heard no sound of ax or hammer. “They prepared timbers and stones to build the house.” But all the preparing was done before they were fitted together.

“Ye also as lively stones, are built up—

A SPIRITUAL HOUSE,

a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Christ Jesus. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe He is precious; but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient.” 1 Peter 2:4-8. Christ is the living stone; and as soon as we come in contact with Him, we become living stones. Apart from Him, we are dead; but coming in contact with Him, we are built up a spiritual house for Him, “whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Hebrews 3:6); “Jesus Christ Himself, being the chief cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:20. “For ye are the temple of the living God.” 2 Corinthians 6:16. And the whole house, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. We are built together for an habitation of God. Each believer is a temple of God, and then the believers are built together, and that makes the church, which is the temple of the living God, He, by His Holy Spirit, taking up His dwelling place there.

We become living stones because He is a living stone, and we are built upon Him. Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid. “I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up.” He will gather again a people with which to build His church. He is at work now, preparing the stones for His temple. They are being quarried and hewn, each one to fill his place in the temple of God. When that temple is complete, the work will be done.

PREPARING THE STONES

In Hosea we have again brought to view the figure of preparation: “O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, What shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets.” The Lord takes us out of the quarry, rough unhewn stones. That is the beginning of our experience. Each individual is to be fitted for his particular place in the temple of God. And when the temple is fitted together, it will be without the sound of ax or hammer. That is done before. It is then that He says, “Come, ye blessed of My Father.” But we are not to wait till that time to prepare. The work of preparing these rough, unhewn stones must be done before. I once visited a cemetery in which was a very beautiful statue of a man standing by a chair. It was of heroic size; and the attendant called my attention to the fact that it was all carved out of one stone. The sculptor, when he started, saw an immense stone, but he also saw the man and the chair. As he looks, he loses sight of the rough edges, and sees instead a man of heroic size, standing there perfect. Everything else must be cut away, and he goes to work with his tools. He wants the world to see what he sees, and so he cuts away everything but the man and the chair.

God takes us, rough, unlikely-looking stones; but He sees in us an expression of His character, and He looks upon us, not as rough stones, but as what we may be. Even then He sees in us Jesus Christ. And so He goes to work to cut and to polish. What is He doing? Some would think that He was destroying the whole thing. But He has a place for that stone, and He wants it cut in a particular way. These are the hard experiences of life, when it seems as if Christ would pound us to pieces. But He will not spoil His stone. He knows exactly the place it is to fill in His temple, and He is cutting it so that it will fit. The Lord carries on His work of preparing, that a people may be prepared, each one to fit in his place in the heavenly temple, and each one becomes a living stone, because of his contact with Christ, the living stone. God will develop in each one just that phase of character that will fit the best in the place He wants filled. When He comes, He says, Let the work of preparation cease. “He that is unjust, let him he unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:11.

When we receive Jesus Christ, God sees in us that perfection of character which we may attain. He knows what He purposes to do with us. He gives us the character of Christ, and then looks upon that character and so “we are accepted in the Beloved.”He accepts us, not for what we are, but for what He purposes to make of us and for what Christ is. He will make of each one of us a stone for His temple. The Master-builder looks at the rough stone, and sees in it His model of perfection. He accepts us, not for what we are, but for what He is.

Let us turn to another line of thought. “And He gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” Exodus 31:18. In Exodus 34:28 we are told what was written there. You will remember that when Moses came down from the mount the first time, he found that the children of Israel had broken God’s commandments already, and were worshipping idols; and that when he saw them, he cast the two tables of stone down and broke them. Then God told him to prepare two more tables. You see in this the rewriting of the law. Man in the first place broke the law. God then wrote it on the tables of stone. After He had written it there to tell them in words what His character was, Jesus Christ came to interpret it in His life. Jesus Christ was the one who spoke the law on Sinai; and when He came, in human flesh, He sat upon another mount, and spoke the law over again. We have it in the sermon on the mount. It was the same law, the same Christ, the same principles, but He was opening it out. He not only opened it out in words, but He Himself was the law, the expression of God’s character. He tells us what God is, not only in His word, but by being that among us. He was God manifest in the flesh. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”

Then Christ is the stone, the stone of Israel. God wrote the law perfectly and completely in the first place on the tables of stone, and gave them to the people. Then He wrote that same law upon the Living Stone and gave it to the people. Thus, you will see, Christ is the living law. That was putting the law in stone the second time. Here, then we have the law in stone twice; on the tables of stone, written with the finger of God, and on the Living Stone, Christ, and presented to the people.

Let us consider for a moment—

THE LAW WRITTEN ON THE TABLES OF STONE

“Moreover the law entered that the offence might abound.” It came to give the knowledge of sin, and to condemn sin. “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.” Romans 5:20; 1 Corinthians 15:56. Sin is not taken into account where there is no law. Sin results in death. “Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” James 1:15. The law on the tables of stone, simply as the ten words of God, condemns to death. “Death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Then when we meet the law simply as God’s code, it means death to us. But God has put that same law upon living stone, and when we meet it written on the Living Stone, it means life to us; but it is still the same law. We must either meet the law upon the tables of stone, and be condemned and put to death by it, or we must meet it upon the Living Stone, and be made alive by it. But we must meet it. God does not ask us whether we want to or not. What we say makes no difference. But whether we are condemned or made alive by it, it is the law of God just the same. It is our attitude toward it that makes the difference. The law in Jesus Christ is—

THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE

He is the Living Stone, the Rock of Ages.

“And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” Matthew 21:44. One of two things must happen: We must fall on the stone, or the stone must fall on us. If we fall on the stone, we come down on top; we shall be broken, and He will heal us. If we fall the other way, the stone comes down on top, and it grinds us to powder. One of these experiences comes to every one. Shall we fall on the living stone, or shall it fall on us, and grind us to powder? We must meet the law of God out of Christ or in Christ. When we meet God out of Christ, He is a consuming fire; when we meet Him in Christ, He is our glory. We must be hidden in the Rock in order to see the glory of God without perishing. I beseech you to think most earnestly of this lesson. We must be brought face to face with the law of God. When the Spirit of God brings the law before our minds, and brings conviction, it is that we may be forgiven and cleansed.

GOD’S GREAT PURPOSE

Let me call your attention to another point. God’s purpose in history, in types, in shadows, in ceremonies, is to preach the gospel; and even in some of those thing that seem to us the most forbidding, God is still preaching the gospel. I doubt not that in the minds of many there has been a feeling that stoning to death was a terrible punishment, and how many look to it as a way of preaching the gospel? You remember that in the days of the theocracy of God, when His law was the law of the nation, any offence against it was punished by stoning. But in this method of punishing for breaking the national law, God was preaching the gospel. If you will make a study of this, and look up each of the ten commandments, you will find that the punishment for breaking it as a national law was stoning. And how was the gospel preached in this? God was teaching the people, in this form of punishment, that the law out of Christ would stone them to death. Just as these literal stones killed them, the law in dead stone would put them to death. He was even in this way teaching them of the Living Stone, the Stone of Israel, the law in life, and that is the gospel.

“And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If thou be the Son of God,—

COMMAND THAT THESE STONES BE MADE BREAD

Matthew 4:3 It seems as if God has put lessons for us even in the devil’s mouth. Some preach Christ through envy, but nevertheless Christ is preached. “If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Christ’s work on this earth was to change stones to bread, that the law which on the tables of stone condemns and kills should be changed in Him, the Living Stone, into the very bread of life. His work all through His career was to change stones into bread, put the law into the gospel, change death into life, and become the living life. He said, “I am the bread of life,” and at the same time He is the Stone of Israel. The law of God, lived by Christ, becomes life, and He says the commandment is life everlasting. So while Christ refused for His own benefit to change literal stones into bread, yet His whole life was spent in changing stones into bread to satisfy the longing of hungry souls. When we receive the law of God in Christ, it has power to make us like unto Himself.

A BUILDING ALL GLORIOUS WITHIN

This lesson of stones goes all through the Scripture. Suppose we take the lesson found in 1 Kings 6:14: “So Solomon built the house, and finished it.” Remember that this house was built of stone. From the outside, all that could be seen was stone; and you know that sometimes a stone building looks rather cold and uninviting. “So Solomon built the house, and finished it. And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the ceiling; and he covered them on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir. And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar; he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place. And the house, that is, the temple before it, was forty cubits long. And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen.”

“So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold.” From the outside it was building of stone, nothing but stone. But inside there was not a stone to be seen. Stand outside of Christ, look from without at the Christian life, and all you see is two tables of stone. It seems forbidding; but come inside. You need not take down the stone to do this. Come inside, and the building is aflame with gold. It is only those who stand outside who complain that it is a hard law which they have to keep. Come inside; there are no stones to be seen inside, and yet they are not taken away. By them the building stands. Suppose you take them away, what becomes of the rest of the building?—Down it falls. Takes away the law, and the gospel comes with it. You cannot keep the pure gold of the gospel apart from the law. Come inside. There you will see nothing but pure gold.

Another thought. Just as soon as you enter a building of gold, your image will be reflected everywhere. Christ would have us reflect His image in the temple of the living God.

All through the Scripture mention is made of walled cities, and these walls were made of stones. Jerusalem was—

A WALLED CITY

The wall was meant as a protection. But if a city is shut in with a wall, no matter how elaborate, if there is a flaw in it, the protection is gone. The enemy never attacks a walled city that has a breach in the wall anywhere except at the open place. You will find that this idea of the wall is made very prominent throughout the Scriptures. We will notice it in Nehemiah. He was sorry because the city of his fathers lay waste, and the wall was torn down; and he proposed to go up and rebuild the city and the wall. “But it came to pass,” he says in his record, “that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they make an end in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?” Nehemiah 4:1, 2. What do they think they are going to do? The stones are buried. Do these feeble Jews think that they are going to recover them? “Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall. Hear, O our God, for we are despised; and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity, and cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before Thee; for they have provoked Thee to anger before the builders. So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof; for the people had a mind to work.”

GOD’S WALL FOR HIS PEOPLE

We read in Mark that a certain man planted a vineyard and set a hedge about it. What was the hedge for?—Protection. The Lord brought up His vine out of Egypt, and set it anew, and built a hedge about it. That is the purpose of a wall-to protect and keep out the enemy; but the wall must be complete. God has built a wall for His people. The law is this protection, but in order to be a complete protection, it must be a complete wall.Our safety is in having a complete wall; but they have broken down the wall sadly. It is God’s purpose to have it built again. “Is not this the fast that I have chosen,” He says, “to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall by thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” Isaiah 58:6-14

A BREACH TO BE REPAIRED

There has been a breach made in the wall God would set about His people. It is to be repaired, and God’s people are to be hedged in with a perfect law, every commandment is to be restored. And “they shall be called, The repairer of the breach.” Every man builds over against his own house. Are you building over against your house in repairing the breach? If so, the wall will be built again, even in troublous times.

This is only a mere hint of what is contained in the Scripture about stones. God would have us keep His words in mind, that we may live in them, and that above all, and in all, and through all, we shall see Jesus Christ, the Stone of Israel, the Rock of Ages.

October 23 1895, 1895 Armadale Camp Meeting