Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Ark Of Salvation As Related By Spurgeon

The Ark Of Salvation As Related By Spurgeon

The following is Charles Spurgeon's telling of what his search for salvation was like, using a very neat and encouraging illustration to get his point across. Have you found your rest in the Ark of Salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ?

"I could not believe that it was possible that my sins could be forgiven. I do not know why, but I seemed to be the odd person in the world. When the catalogue was made out, it appeared to me that, for some reason, I must have been left out. If God had saved me, and not the world, I should have wondered indeed; but if He had saved all the world except me, that would have seemed to me to be but right. And now, being saved by grace, I cannot help saying, 'I am indeed a brand plucked out of the fire!' I believe that some of us who were kept by God a long while before we found Him, love Him better perhaps than we should have done if we had received Him directly; and we can preach better to others, we can speak more of His lovingkindness and tender mercy. John Bunyan could not have written as he did if he had not been dragged about by the devil for many years. I love that picture of dear old Christian. I know, when I first read The Pilgrim's Progress, and saw in it the woodcut of Christian carrying the burden on his back, I felt so interested in the poor fellow, that I thought I should jump with joy when, after he had carried his heavy load so long, he at last got rid of it; and that was how I felt when the burden of guilt, which I had borne so long, was for ever rolled away from my shoulders and my heart."

"I can recollect when, like the poor dove sent out by Noah from his hand, I flew over the wide expanse of waters, and hoped to find some place where I might rest my wearied wing. Up towards the North I flew; and my eye looked keenly through the mist and darkness, if perhaps it might find some floating substance on which my soul might rest its foot, but it found nothing. Again it turned its wing, and flapped it, but not so rapidly as before, across that deep water that knew no shore; but still there was no rest. The raven had found its resting-place upon a floating body, and was feeding itself upon the carrion of some drowned man's carcass; but my poor soul found no rest. I flew on; I fancied I saw a ship sailing out at sea; it was the ship of the law; and I thought I would put my feet on its canvas, or rest myself on its cordage for a time, and find some refuge. But, ah! it was an airy phantom, on which I could not rest; for my foot had no right to rest on the law; I had not kept it, and the soul that keepeth it not, must die. At last I saw the barque Christ Jesus, - that happy ark; and I thought I would fly thither; but my poor wing was weary, I could fly no further, and down I sank; but, as providence would have it, when my wings were flagging, and I was falling into the flood to be drowned, just below me was the roof of the ark, and I saw a hand put out from it, and One took hold of me, and said, 'I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore I have not delivered the soul of My turtle-dove unto the multitude of the wicked; come in, come in!' Then I found that I had in my mouth an olive leaf of peace with God, and peace with man, plucked off by Jesus' mighty power."

From C.H. Spurgeon's Autobiography, Volume One, pages 103-104.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Difference Between Character and Integrity

For the Love of the Family Ministries
Pastor Terry L. Coomer, General Director
Missionaries to America's Forgotten Field, The Family
Ministry of Hope Baptist Church
P.O. Box 94985
North Little Rock, Arkansas 72190
(501) 515-3296
For the Love of the Family Ministries

These articles may be copied in their entirety to help families to live for the Savior. They are not to be changed in any manner or sold. This header must be on all copies. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the author.

"The Difference Between Character and Integrity"

There has been a lot of talk about character recently in our country. Character has not been taught for a couple of generations. I recently happened to be in a public school and there were signs up all over the building saying “Character Counts.” There were also several other signs referring to different aspects of character.

One of my great concerns has been, why do so many children who grow up in independent-fundamental Baptist homes not end up serving God? The statistics are staggering and the grief, pain, and agony is great for the parents, children, pastors, churches, and others. Many pastors’ children do not end up living for God. Many leaders reluctantly say, “They chose not to live for God” with the look of pain and confusion. Folks, it goes a lot deeper than “they just chose not to live for God.” In the work that Kim and I have done through For the Love of the Family, I have stated one of the big reasons children choose not to live for the Lord is ungodly anger in the Christian home, Ephesians 4:31, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” Many Christians discipline their children in anger and expect God’s work to be done in their heart. The Bible is plain, that this will fail. “He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.” Proverbs 22:8. Where does ungodly anger come from? Pride. “Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.” Proverbs 21:24.

There is another aspect which greatly affects our lives and our children’s lives. That is the matter of integrity and character. These two words are used pretty much interchangeably in the Bible. However, there is a difference. Character is the foundation of trust. Character has been defined as one’s total personality. The Bible gives us several character traits. I have identified several different character traits the Bible teaches. The difference between integrity and character is that integrity is character in the heart. Folks that is one of the reasons that many children which grow up in a Christian home fail to live for the Lord.

The devil, “walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour,” I Peter 5:8. The devil is neither omniscient nor omnipresent, but he is a good judge of character. He will look at the character weaknesses in our lives to see where he can do his work, which is to “steal, kill, and destroy”, John 10:9-10. Folks, our character and integrity are our destiny. Every spiritual issue is a heart issue, we must “do the will of God from the heart”, Ephesians 6:6.

Many children grow up in a Christian home and they are taught to dress a certain way, act a certain way, say “yes sir” and “no sir”, etc. Those things are all well and good, but this outward show is in no way a guarantee that the child will grow up to live for and serve the Savior. The things mentioned above are areas of character, but we can train in character and the child still not live for God. The key is integrity. Many parents, who desperately want their children to live for God, have gone to great lengths to train in character. In the end the parents are greatly disappointed and disillusioned because their child has not lived for God after they have worked to try to get them to do so. Remember, integrity is character in the heart. Integrity must be held in the heart. Job 2:3, …”and still he holdeth fast his integrity.” Job 27:5-6, “God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. My righteousness I hold (did you notice who holds it) and will not let go: My heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.” Proverbs 11:3, “The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.” Psalm 26:1 “Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity.” Psalm 7:8, Psalm 41:12, Proverbs 19:1.

Folks, integrity is not just what people see, integrity is what you are. How can a person hold on to integrity? Only in the heart. If it is not in the heart, then your child will bend in any direction. Many good parents and leaders have missed the point. They believe that we must teach character, but there is a lack of understanding of what integrity is. I realize we have homes that are at different levels. You have homes where there is no character being taught. You also have homes where people are trying to teach some basic character and lastly you have homes that are strictly adhering to trying to teach character. Listen carefully; if character is not in the heart, it is always up for grabs! The devil knows this and is deceptive. Many of God’s people have missed the point. Notice that there is a promise from God on this matter of integrity. Proverbs 20:7, The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” So, the blessing of our children is tied to our integrity.

Our testimony is affected by our character and our integrity. What is the ultimate goal of our life Biblically? To glorify God, I Corinthians 6:19-20. If integrity is not in the heart we will never glorify God. God wants to change our life to glorify Him. When we get saved, we become a new creature in Christ, II Corinthians 5:17. Most of us, when we get saved, have come from a habit lifestyle that has been dictated by our old nature. “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts. And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Did you notice the put off and put on? Who is responsible to do that? We are. The big question is how do we do that? As a Christian, I am to find out from God’s word what He says about that area of character. I am to seek Biblical change in my life from the principles of God’s word. I am then to ask God to put that in my heart as a matter of character and integrity. I then ask God to keep this matter in my heart as a matter of godliness, character, and integrity. Remember, character is integrity in the heart.

Folks, we need to be putting on new habits that would accurately demonstrate the character and nature of God so He would be glorified. All of us have come from a habit life style built around flesh gratification and senses orientation. Behavior has to be changed God’s way, as a matter of the heart through the Holy Spirit’s work through God’s word. So, why do many children grow up in a Christian home and do not end up serving God? One of the reasons is a lack of integrity or a lack of teaching character and integrity by the parents. We fail to understand it is a matter of the heart. Many Christian parents desire for their children to live for the Savior. However, many of us are ill equipped to do the Biblical child training God has described in His word. Much of what our children will be is what we are. Who knows more about us than anyone else? Our husband, wives, and children. So many parents are so disappointed when they find out that their lack of putting off the old man has determined the destiny of their children. Remember character and integrity is our destiny. How many young ladies and been sorely disappointed and had their lives ruined because they marry a person who professes to be saved but has not integrity. Ten years down the road he takes off and she is left with a destroyed life. I have taught my daughters to be looking for certain aspects of character and integrity. Otherwise, get as far away from him or her as you possibly can.

We can tell people what we are, but what we are will always show up in the lives of our children. II Corinthians 7:1-3, Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4, Deuteronomy 6:5-7, 17.

What happens to children who grow up in a home with parents who lack in character and integrity or character and integrity were not taught in the home? Maybe parents tried to teach character, but failed to understand that character is integrity in the heart. The Bible tells us six things will happen in their lives. They are grievous things. As a pastor for many years, I have seen it many times. Also, in each instance it is very important to notice their sins will be against their parents! I do not know how many times I have heard, “I just do not understand why this child does what they do. We sent them to a Christian school, we home schooled them, we took them to church, we had family devotions, we prayed with them. I just do not understand.” Watch what the Bible says about them and what they will be:

1. Stubborn and rebellious, Deuteronomy 21:18-21, “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his mother, and that when they have chastened him will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; An they shall say unto he elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard, And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear and fear.”

2. Scorner, Proverbs 30:17, “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.”

3. Robbers, Proverbs 28:24-26, “Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer. He that is proud of heart stirreth up strife; but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat. He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool; but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.” Let me point out there are many ways for a child to rob his or her parents. Did you notice in the verse the child has no conscience about it? In our lives today, many children rob their parents by manipulation. They are only interested in what they want and did you notice here it is a matter of the heart? The devil is the destroyer and the child is his companion.

4. Smiters, Exodus 21:15, “And he that smiteth his father or his mother, shall surely be put to death.”

5. Cursers, Exodus 21:17, “And he that curseth his father, or his mother shall surely be put to death.” You may also see Leviticus 20:9.

6. Fornicator and Adulterer, I Corinthians 5:1, "It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.” You may also see I Corinthians 5:9, 11-13, 6:9-10, 18-20.

Integrity and character must be taught in the home and the Christian school. The failure to do so will create disastrous results. Again, it is important to point out these sins were against their parents, and God takes the matter extremely seriously. The grief that comes to a parent’s life because they have failed to teach their children character and integrity comes back through their children sinning grievously against the parents. The sadness is the parents rarely understand why the children are like they are.

The purpose of this article is to help those who are rearing their children right now. I have had many parents tell me after reading an article on For the Love of the Family, “I never knew that. I am so glad I heard that now, so I will not do more damage than I have already done.”

When we teach character, we have to understand that children and many adults outwardly conform. They have failed to understand that true character is called integrity and the place you hold it is in the heart. As a parent, are you asking “heart” questions of your children? As a husband, are you asking “heart” questions of your wife? As a wife, are you asking “heart” questions of your husband? The only way to deal with what is in the heart is to draw it out by asking questions. Start asking early because it can become a lot more serious issue to deal with later.

Many Christians go to church faithfully, hoping that that will be enough. When the home is not a place where true character and integrity are taught, the marriage and the children are headed to a disaster. Most Christians are going through the motions of their every day hectic busy life. They spend time working at the church or doing other religious good things, but fail in the issues of the heart (disaster).

Any Christian, who fails in the issues of the heart, is capable of doing all the sins of Galatians 5:19-21. The end result is deception and disaster, Galatians 6:7-8, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

You see folks, integrity and character are a matter of the heart. Integrity is character in the heart, Ephesians 6:6. Let me encourage you to go through your Bible and look for character traits that God wants you to develop in your life and the lives of your children. As an example, truthfulness, Ephesians 4:25, obedience, II Corinthians 10:5, self control, Galatians 5:24-25, discretion, Proverbs 22:3, dependability, Psalm 15:4, flexibility, Colossians 3:23 and endurance, Galatians 6:9 would be some examples. Remember, these not only have to be developed in your life, but put in your heart. Character and integrity are our destiny and the destiny of our children.

Terry L. Coomer is the Pastor of Elwood Bible Baptist Church, and the Director of For the Love of the Family Ministries. He has also served as the Publisher of the nation’s fastest growing daily newspaper. Pastor Coomer holds Family Conferences in the local church. To have a meeting at your church or other needs he may be contacted at (765) 552-1973, tlcoomer@juno.com, For the Love of the Family Ministries

Sunday, March 7, 2010

"Whosoever" Of John 3:16

The following is taken from Address Nine (pages 106-110) in Addresses On The Gospel Of John - by H.A. Ironside:

You remember the story of the little girl in Martin Luther's day, when the first edition of the Bible came out. She had a terrible fear of God. God had been presented in such a way that it filled her heart with dread when she thought of Him. She brooded over the awfulness of the character of God and of some day having to meet this angry Judge. But one day she came running to her mother, holding a scrap of paper in her hand. She cried out, "Mother! mother! I am not afraid of God any more." Her mother said, "Why are you not?" "Why, look, mother," she said, "this bit of paper I found in the print shop, and it is torn out of the Bible." It was so torn as to be almost illegible except about two lines. On the one line it said, "God so loved," and on the other line it said, "that He gave." "See, mother," she said, "that makes it all right." Her mother read it and said, "God so loved that He gave." "But," she said, "it does not say what He gave." "Oh, mother," exclaimed the child, "if He loved us enough to give anything, it is all right." Then the mother said, "But, let me tell you what He gave." She read, "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Then she told how we can have peace and eternal life through trusting Him.

Am I speaking to anyone today who dreads the thought of meeting God? Do you think of your sins and say with David of old, "I remembered God, and was troubled"? Let me call your attention to this word: The love of God has been manifest in Christ. If you will but come as a needy sinner He will wash your sins away. "But," you say, "how can I be sure that it is for me? I can understand how He can invite certain ones to trust Him. Their lives have been so much better than mine, but I cannot believe that this salvation is for me." Well, what else can you make from that word, "whosoever"? "God so loved... that He gave... that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." He could not find another more all-embracing word than that. It takes you in. It takes me in. You have many another "whosoever" in the Bible. There is a "whosoever" of judgment: "Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." "Whosoever" there includes all who did not come to God while He waited, in grace, to save. If they had recognized that they were included in the "Whosoever" of John 3:16, they would not be found in that of Rev. 20:15.

Somebody wrote me the other day and said, "A man has come to our community who is preaching a limited atonement. He says it is a wonderful truth that has been only recently revealed to him." Well, I could only write back that the term "limited atonement" has an uncanny sound to me. I do not read anything like that in my Bible. I read that "He... [tasted] death for every man." I read that "He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." I read that "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." And here I read that "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." I say to you, as I said to the writer of that letter, that there is enough value in the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ to save every member of the human race, if they would but repent and turn to God; and then if they were all saved, there still remains value enough to save the members of a million worlds like this, if they are lost in sin and needing a Saviour. Yes, the sacrifice of Christ is an infinite sacrifice. Do not let the enemy of your soul tell you there is no hope for you. Do not let him tell you you have sinned away your day of grace; that you have gone so far that God is no longer merciful. There is life abundant for you if you will but look up into the face of the One who died on Calvary's cross and trust Him for yourself. Let me repeat it again, "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

"Whosoever believeth." What is it to believe? It is to trust in Him; to confide in Him; to commit yourself and your affairs to Him. He is saying to you, poor needy sinner, "You cannot save yourself. All your efforts to redeem yourself can only end in failure, but I have given My Son to die for you. Trust in Him. Confide in Him!" "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish."

...To believe in Jesus [is] to commit [yourself] unto Jesus. Have you done that? Have you said,

"Jesus, I will trust Thee, trust Thee with my soul,
Weary, worn and helpless, Thou canst make me whole.
There is none in heaven, or on earth like Thee;
Thou hast died for sinners; therefore, Lord, for me."

New Translations and the Authorised Version

I suppose that the most popular of all the proposals at the present moment is to have a new translation of the Bible... The argument is that people are not reading the Bible any longer because they do not understand its language - particularly the archaic terms - what does your modern man... know about justification, sanctification, and all the Biblical terms? And so we are told the one thing that is necessary is to have a translation that Tom, Dick, and Harry will understand. I began to feel about six months ago that we had almost reached the stage in which the Authorised Version was being dismissed, to be thrown into the limbo of things forgotten, no longer of any value. Need I apologise for saying a word in favour of the Authorised Version in this gathering?...

It is a basic proposition laid down by the Protestant Reformers, that we must have a Bible "understanded by the people." That is common sense... We must never be obscurantists. We must never approach the Bible in a mere antiquarian spirit... but it does seem to me that there is a very grave danger incipient in so much of the argument that is being presented today for these new translations. There is a danger, I say, of our surrendering something that is vital and essential...

Take this argument that the modern man does not understand such terms as justification, sanctification, and so on. I want to ask you a question. When did an ordinary man ever understand those terms?... Did the colliers to whom John Wesley and George Whitfield preached in the 18th century understand? They had not even been to day school... they could not read, they could not write. Yet these were the terms that were used. This was the version that was used - the Authorised Version. The common people have never understood these terms... We are concerned here with something that is spiritual; something that does not belong to this world at all; which, as the apostle Paul reminds us, the princes of this world do not know. Human wisdom is of no value here - it is a spiritual truth. This is truth about God primarily, and because of that it is a mystery.

Yet we are told - it must be put in such simple terms and language that anybody taking it up and reading it is going to understand all about it. My friends, this is sheer nonsense. What we must do is to educate the masses of the people up to the Bible, not bring the Bible down to their level. One of the greatest troubles today is that everything is being brought down to the same level; everything is cheapened. The common man is made the standard of authority; he decides everything, and everything has to be brought down to him...

Are we to do that with the Word of God? I say No! What has happened in the past has been this. Ignorant, illiterate people, in this country and in foreign countries, coming into salvation have been educated up to the Book and have begun to understand it, to glory in it, and to praise God for it, and I say that we need to do the same in this present time. What we need is therefore, not to replace the Authorised Version... we need rather to reach and train people up to the standard and the language, the dignity and the glory of the old Authorised Version.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones - 1961

Wanted: Faithful Men

There is an incredible famine of faithfulness in these days. Many churches could take Proverbs 20:6 as their theme verse: Most men will proclaim every man his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find? Thank God that the Apostle Paul found one in Timothy. To that young preacher Paul issued the following command from the Holy Ghost: And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2).

Every God-called, Spirit-led pastor desires to commit the truth to faithful men. But, the sad fact is that there are few that qualify for the training! Many that profess Christ are unfaithful men - unfaithful to the Word, the work, the war, the worship of God, and some are even unfaithful to their wives. Here's a challenge, sir - BE A FAITHFUL MAN!

A faithful man is one who has first been REGENERATED. He has been born again of the Holy Spirit. What about you - was there a time when the Holy Ghost of God REPROVED you of your sinfulness, REBUKED you of your ungodliness, and you RESPONDED by REPENTING and RECEIVING the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? Only the saved man can qualify for this holy designation of faithful men.

He is also one who RECEIVES the Word of God. Too many are REJECTING, REWRITING, REARRANGING, RECONSTRUCTING, and REINVENTING the Word of God. But, faithful men will not go that route! The faithful man doesn'€™t get mad at the truth-telling preacher either. Like the Berean Christians of Acts 17:10,11 he RECEIVES the Word of God as it is preached, RESEARCHES the message with the Scriptures, and then REACHES a conclusion about what God's man has declared.

The faithful man allows his pastor to commit the truth to him! He is humble and takes time to be taught the Word and treasures it in his heart. He is not carried about by every wind of doctrine because he RETAINS the truth. In other words, he sticks with, stands for, and strives about the truth.

That last part of 2 Timothy 2:2 is where it really gets good. When a man is REGENERATED, RECEIVES the Word of God, and RETAINS it, he is at the place where he can be used of God to REPEAT it to others. He is able to teach others also. The work of God goes forward mightily as men develop into faithful men. Sinners are sought, the seed is sown, souls are saved, and saints are settled as faithful men continue the wonderful process of preaching the Word of God in the power of the Holy Ghost.

Sir, don't allow the famine of faithfulness to famish your family and assembly. Before God Almighty, and for His glory and honour, commit by His grace to be a faithful man from this day forward.

By Pastor Bobby Mitchell
Mid-Coast Baptist Church
Brunswick, Maine
(Used With Permission)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Love Of God

The following is taken from chapter 15 (Paul's Prayer for the Ephesians...) of The Epistle Of Paul The Apostle To The Ephesians by Oliver B. Greene:

- The origin of love is divine (1 John 4:8).
- Love has been from everlasting (Genesis 1:1, Psalm 90:1-2).
- The source of pure love is God (2 Corinthians 13:11).
- We love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
- Love is the evidence of saving faith in Jesus (1 John 4:16).
- Love is the royal badge of true discipleship (John 13:35).
- Love is the assurance that we have passed from death unto life (1 John 3:14).
- The love of God in our heart is unmerited (Colossians 1:12-14).
- The love of God is the most costly thing known to Heaven or earth (Ephesians 1:7).
- The love of God is free to all who will receive it (Romans 3:24-25).
- The love of God is universal in its offer (John 3:16).
- The love of God is unbounded in its work (Ephesians 2:4).
- The love of God is unbroken in its ministry (Romans 8:39).
- The love of God is great (Ephesians 2:4).
- The love of God is inconceivable (Ephesians 3:19).
- The love of God is unselfish (1 John 4:10).
- The love of God is forever unchanging (John 13:1).
- The love of God is inseparable (Romans 8:35-39).
- The love of God is everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3).
- The love of God is perfect (1 John 4:18).

Do not forget that all spiritual blessings are "in Christ," and to the believer Christ is better than the best, He is richer than the richest.

The Holy Spirit describes Him thus:
- The love of Christ is unknowable (Ephesians 3:19).
- The riches of Christ are unsearchable (Ephesians 3:8).
- The joy He gives is unspeakable (1 Peter 1:8).
- The ways of Christ are untrackable (Romans 11:33).
- The grace of the Lord Jesus is inexhaustible (2 Corinthians 9:8).
- The peace of Christ is unfathomable (Philippians 4:7).
- Jesus Christ Himself is unsurpassable (Exodus 15:11).

The Lord Jesus Christ is the mightiest among the holy. The Lord Jesus Christ is the holiest among the mighty. With His pierced hands He is able to lift empires out of the mire and the muck of lust and sin. He governs all ages, from the eternity behind us through the eternity that lies ahead.

I have already made the statement that if the ocean were a giant inkwell filled with ink, and if every stalk on earth were a quill, and every person on earth were a scribe as the beautiful song declares, it would still be impossible to write the love of GOD even though the sky were parchment and we had the vastness of the blue upon which to write! We could never describe the love of GOD. The love of GOD "passeth knowledge."

It is humanly impossible for the finite mind to comprehend the love of God.

Its breadth - "God so loved the world." Can you conceive of such love? Do you dare ask yourself what it would mean to love the whole wide world? How many folks do you love? Think it over. The breadth of God's love covers the whole wide world.

Its length - "God... gave His only begotten Son." God's love reached from the portals of glory to a stable in Bethlehem. God's love placed His only Son in the womb of the virgin Mary. He was born . . . He lived . . . God gave Him. God surrendered His Son into the hands of wicked sinners, and they nailed Him to a Cross. That, in some small way, points out the length of the love of God. Do you have a son? Do you have an only child? Would you surrender your child to die for wicked men?

Its depth - "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish." Oh, I know we say we love everybody . . . but do we? Do we really love everybody? It is easy to love the lovely. It is easy to love those who are always doing kind things for you and saying kind things about you - but God so loved that He gave His only Son, that whosoever . . . the lovely, the unlovely . . . might not perish. Christ died for the ungodly. God surrendered up Jesus when we were yet sinners.

Its height - "Everlasting life." The love of God reaches to the depth of sin and places that sinner in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. From the lowest depths to the highest height . . . only the love of God could work such a miracle!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Union And Communion - Chapter Two

I have taken the liberty to change all Scripture references to the King James Bible, instead of the Revised Version which this book quoted. Also, I have separated the paragraphs to match the book. A little easier to read that way.

Section II

Communion Broken - Restoration

Song Of Solomon 2:8-3:5

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

At the close of the first section we left the bride satisfied and at rest in the arms of her Beloved, who had charged the daughters of Jerusalem not to stir up nor awaken His love until she please. We might suppose that a union so complete, a satisfaction so full, would never be interrupted by failure on the part of the happy bride.

But, alas, the experience of most of us shows how easily communion with CHRIST may be broken, and how needful are the exhortations of our LORD to those who are indeed branches of the true Vine, and cleansed by the Word which He has spoken, to abide in Him. The failure is never on His side. "Lo, I am with you alway." But, alas, the bride often forgets the exhortation addressed to her in Ps. 45:-

Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear;
Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house;
So shall the King greatly desire thy beauty;
For He is thy Lord; and worship thou Him.

In this section the bride has drifted back from her position of blessing into a state of worldliness. Perhaps the very restfulness of her new-found joy made her feel too secure; perhaps she thought that, so far as she was concerned, there was no need for the exhortation, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." Or she may have thought that the love of the world was so thoroughly taken away that she might safely go back, and, by a little compromise on her part, she might win her friends to follow her LORD too.

Perhaps she scarcely thought at all: glad that she was saved and free, she forgot that the current - the course of this world - was against her; and insensibly glided, drifted back to that position out of which she was called, unaware all the time of backsliding. It is not necessary, when the current is against us, to turn the boat's head down the stream in order to drift; or for a runner in a race to turn back in order to miss the prize.

Ah, how often the enemy succeeds, by one device or another, in tempting the believer away from that position of entire consecration to CHRIST in which alone the fulness of His power and of His love can be experienced. We say the fulness of His power and of His love; for he may not have ceased to love his LORD.

In the passage before us the bride still loves Him truly, though not wholly; there is still a power in His Word which is not unfelt, though she no longer renders instant obedience. She little realizes how she is wronging her LORD, and how real is the wall of separation between them. To her, worldliness seems as but a little thing; she has not realized the solemn truth of many passages in the Word of GOD that speak in no measured terms of the folly, the danger, the sin of friendship with the world.

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the FATHER is not in him."

"Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with GOD? Whosoever therefore would be a friend of the world maketh himself an enemy of GOD."

2 Corinthians 6:14-15, 17-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

We have to take our choice: we cannot enjoy both the world and CHRIST. The bride had not learned this: she would fain enjoy both, with no thought of their incompatibility.

She observes with joy the approach of the Bridegroom.

Song of Solomon 2:8-9 The voice of my Beloved! behold, He cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My Beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, He standeth behind our wall, He looketh forth at the windows, shewing Himself through the lattice.

The heart of the bride leaps on hearing the voice of her Beloved, as He comes in search of her. He has crossed the hills; He draws near to her; He stands behind the wall; He even looks in at the windows; with tender and touching words He woos her to come forth to Him. He utters no reproach, and His loving entreaties sink deep in her memory.

Song of Solomon 2:10-13 My Beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, My love, My fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, My love, My fair one, and come away.

All nature is responsive to the return of the summer, wilt thou, My Bride, be irresponsive to My love?

Arise, My love, My fair one, and come away.

Can such pleading be in vain? Alas, it can, it was! In yet more touching words the Bridegroom continues:-

Song of Solomon 2:14 O My dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let Me see thy countenance, let Me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.

Wonderful thought! that GOD should desire fellowship with us; and that He whose love once made Him the Man of Sorrows may now be made the Man of Joys by the loving devotion of human hearts.

But strong as is His love, and His desire for His bride, He can come no further. Where she now is He can never come. But surely she will go forth to Him. Has He not a claim upon her? She feels and enjoys His love, will she let His desire count for nothing? For, let us notice, it is not here the bride longing in vain for her LORD, but the Bridegroom who is seeking for her. Alas that He should seek in vain!

Song of Solomon 2:15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

He continues. The enemies may be small, but the mischief done great. A little spray of blossom, so tiny as to be scarcely perceived, is easily spoiled, but thereby the fruitfulness of a whole branch may be for ever destroyed. And how numerous the little foxes are! Little compromises with the world; disobedience to the still small voice in little things; little indulgences of the flesh to the neglect of duty; little strokes of policy; doing evil in little things that good may come; and the beauty and the fruitfulness of the vine are sacrificed!

We have a sad illustration of the deceitfulness of sin in the response of the bride. Instead of bounding forth to meet Him, she first comforts her own heart by the remembrance of His faithfulness, and of her union with Him:-

Song of Solomon 2:16 My Beloved is mine, and I am His: He feedeth among the lilies.

My position is one of security, I have no need to be concerned about it. He is mine, and I am His; and nought can alter that relationship. I can find Him now at any time, He feedeth His flock among the lilies. While the sun of prosperity shines upon me I may safely enjoy myself here without Him. Should trial and darkness come He will be sure not to fail me.

Song of Solomon 2:17 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my Beloved, and be Thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.

Careless of His desire, she thus lightly dismisses Him, with the thought: A little later I may enjoy His love; and the grieved Bridegroom departs! Poor foolish bride! she will soon find that the things that once satisfied her can satisfy no longer; and that it is easier to turn a deaf ear to His tender call than to recall or find her absent LORD.

The day became cool, and the shadows did flee away; but He returned not. Then in the solemn night she discovered her mistake: It was dark, and she was alone. Retiring to rest she still hoped for His return - the lesson that worldliness is an absolute bar to full communion still unlearned.

By night on my bed I sought Him whom my soul loveth:
I sought Him, but I found Him not!

She waits and wearies: His absence becomes insupportable:-

Song of Solomon 3:2 I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek Him whom my soul loveth: I sought Him, but I found Him not.

How different her position from what it might have been! Instead of seeking Him alone, desolate and in the dark, she might have gone forth with Him in the sunshine, leaning upon His arm. She might have exchanged the partial view of her Beloved through the lattice, when she could no longer say "Nothing between," for the joy of His embrace, and His public confession of her as His chosen bride!

The watchmen that go about the city found me:
To whom I said, Saw ye Him whom my soul loveth?
It was but a little that I passed from them,
But I found Him whom my soul loveth:

She had already obeyed His command, "Arise, and come away." Fearless of reproach, she was seeking Him in the dark; and when she began to confess her LORD, she soon found Him and was restored to His favour:-

I held Him, and would not let Him go,
Until I had brought Him into my mother's house,
And into the chamber of her that conceived me.

Jerusalem above is the mother of us all. There it is that communion is enjoyed, not in worldly ways or self-willed indulgence.

Communion fully restored, the section closes, as did the first, with the loving charge of the Bridegroom that none should disturb His bride:-

I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem,
By the roes, and by the hinds of the field,

(By all that is loving and beautiful and constant)
That ye stir not up, nor awake my love,
Till He please.

May we all, while living down here, in the world, but not of it, find our home in the heavenly places to which we are seated together with CHRIST. Sent into the world to witness for our MASTER, may we ever be strangers there, ready to confess Him the true object of our soul's devotion.

Psalms 84:1-2 , 4, 10-12 How amiable are Thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house: they will be still praising Thee.
For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in Thee.

Union And Communion - Chapter Three

Back to Union And Communion - Introduction