”Tis the treasure I found in His love
That has made me a pilgrim below.”
”Tis the treasure I found in His love
”Tis the treasure I found in His love
That has made me a pilgrim below.”
There are various ways in which as saints we are tried, but through all circumstances our Father is threading our way, occupying Himself with us personally, our particular characters, etc., in order to develop and mature us spiritually. What we want is to realize that our Father loves us so much, we are of such value to Him as that He should take such pains to make us “partakers of His holiness….” We are apt not to believe the activity of his love. Some trouble comes upon us; our Father has been watching us individually for weeks, months, and years, watching us to bring this trouble which He sees is needed for our spiritual growth.
Everything that makes the condition of the heart better is good, and all is grounded on grace. Grace puts us in the Father’s presence, makes us partakers of His holiness; then He says, “looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace,” i.e., do not lose this entire confidence in My love. This is the present practical enjoyment of what the Father is for you. If you lose that, you fail. There is nothing that links up the heart with God but grace. “Sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under law, but under grace.”
Walk in the sanctuary of the Father’s presence. You are not come to the terrible mountain Sinai; but having come to the perfect grace of the Father in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, take care how you walk. Grace must be the character of our walk. This is true blessedness. There is no hindrance of evil by terror. The effect of the fire from Sinai was that they “entreated the word should not be spoken to them anymore.” Was that getting on with God? But we come to a different thing. We may speak of the law, but that is not where we are. Now we must be living witnesses of what we are, and where we are. We are come unto Mount Zion, which represents grace.
We are come “to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.” We are not come to the new covenant, but to Jesus the Mediator of it. I am in living union with Him who is the Mediator; that is a higher thing than if merely come to the covenant. He will make this new covenant with Israel on earth.
Having come to the Mediator, I am come to the prospect of all the blessedness for earth. It is sweet to know earth will have it, but ours is the far better part. We are to be witnesses of whence we are. We come from heaven. In spirit it is true now. What is true in spirit is more real and palpable than what we see. What is passing in our hearts and minds is more what we are really, than what our bodies are occupied in. The Lord Jesus was a carpenter (as really as any other carpenter), but that was not what He was. So with us, we are brought into all these things with our Father.
Then the thing is to be always a witness of the place to which He has called us in grace. We are come; then we have the Father dealing with us in respect of this place to which He has brought us. Do you say, This trial or that is enough to discourage me? But no; it is the Father who is bringing you into it, and He is with you in the place, dealing with you in grace and love, according to the place He has brought you into. In the midst of the company of heaven, each one is singled out—that is, ourselves. Surely this is enough to make us humble and restful.
1)”And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.” Deut. 8:2
2)” Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” Psalm 26:2
3)”And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.” John 6:6
4)”For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.” Ps. 66: 10
5)”And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blame-less.” 1 Tim. 3:10
6)”That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ..” 1 Peter 1:7
I am thinking about praying “in the Spirit” and how to
make sure that’s how prayer is done?
If we are abiding in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are filled with
the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit fills us with Christ
and His likeness…the fruit of the Spirit. This is as we think
on the Lord through the Word of God. If temptation comes
to entice us from this position, and we follow that temptation
and then sin, we grieve the Holy Spirit in our life. We feel this
loss of fellowship with God and lose our peace etc.
Our prayers are effective when we are abiding, focusing on the
Lord and not on self. It is resting and depending on Him
in everything. We need to drink from Him through His word
to be strengthened to keep resting. Our thinking is renewed
by this and we more and more have the Lord’s view on things
and consequently will pray from His will and not ours. This
is a growth process that is day by day, moment by moment.
“But ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the
Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God.” (Jude 20,21).
“Here we have prayer in the Spirit –in the wisdom and power of the Spirit.
In Jude everything is in ruins; apostasy, the history of which he traces
from the fall of the angels to the present, has set in. False professors,
a blot upon the Church, have crept in –the days of Enoch and of Noah
are repeated. In the midst of all this chaos, the saints are to stand firm.
Because of the love of many waxing cold, all the greater need for them
to keep themselves built up and established.
In this steadfastness there are four features—building themselves
up on their most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping
themselves in the love of God [abiding], and looking for the
coming of the Lord. Here prayer is a most important part, but
it is prayer in the Holy Spirit. There is all the reality which the Spirit
gives, as well as the intelligence and discernment which He affords
and there is the persistence. If there is to be stability, it must be in
the power of the Spirit of God. All else will fail—human strength
and human wisdom all falter here. But He who has this living link
with God perseveres unto the end.
In Jude stability was the prominent thought in view of abounding
evil. We reach another stage in Ephesians 6: 17,18: “And the sword
of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying always with all prayer
and supplication in the Spirit.” Here it is conflict. The entire passage
gives the familiar picture of the Christian engaged in conflict with
the hosts of evil. We wrestle not against flesh and blood. It is no
human adversary whom we are called to withstand, but Satan and
wicked spirits in heavenly places. These would rob us of the
enjoyment of our portion, either keeping us from taking possession
of it by faith or snatching it from our grasp after we had laid hold of it.
In this conflict there are various weapons of defense, and one of
offense, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word, or saying of God.
When mention of the word of God is made it is quickly followed by
prayer, for the two go together.
“They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections
and lusts” [Gal. 5:24]. A crucified thing is not to be bettered or
sanctified. We are, on the contrary, to abstain –hold off– from
fleshly lusts that war against the soul [1 Peter 2:11]. To strive against it
is but to repeat the hopeless struggle of the seventh of Romans. The
only remedy is the walk in the Spirit, with the flesh in its true place —
“no confidence in the flesh.”
But through carelessness we fail to “mortify the deeds of the body;”
we give room to the flesh, and even make provision for it to fulfill its
lust. As a result, the Holy Spirit is grieved. Mark, he is not grieved
away—that could never be; but He can no longer occupy us with
our Lord; He must occupy us with our failures. You will notice that
grieving the Spirit is connected particularly [Eph.4:30] with those
forms of fleshly indulgence most common among Christians —
malice, strife, bitterness, an unforgiving spirit. Ah, upon how many
has the sun gone down in this wrath! — their day of communion
exchanged for the night of a grieved Spirit. Other and grosser forms
of fleshly indulgence are specified, but any, even the slightest yielding
to that, grieves the Holy Spirit of God.
And what a mercy it is that this is the case. How many a child of God has
been brought to himself by the consciousness of having grieved the
Spirit. His peace is gone, his communion has ceased, he is miserable
until he judges the evil, confesses and forsakes it. Instead of going
on in carelessness, only to fall deeper and deeper into sin, he is
made to feel the seriousness of that which blocks the intercourse
between the Spirit and himself. We less realize how much we owe to the
patient faithfulness of that Holy One in showing by His grief where we
God keep us all from spiritual hardness. No, dear brethren, a walk in
the Spirit does not mean a grieving of the Spirit. Galatians 5: 16-25:
“This I say, then, walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the
flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the
flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot
[rather, may not] do the things that ye would….” Let the positive
things of Christ fill the heart; let the word of Christ dwell in us
richly, and we will have little room and less inclination for the
lusts of the flesh. May our gracious God lead us into the liberty
and joy of these things.”
For nearly a year after I left the Salvation Army and launched out in evangelistic work in fellowship with the Christians commonly known as “Brethren,” I lived in the San Francisco Bay region. One Lord’s Day afternoon as I was walking up Market Street, I saw a large group gathered at the corner of Market and Grant Avenue. When I heard the sound of music and singing, I realized in a moment that it was a meeting of my old Salvationist friends, and went over to enjoy it. They had a splendid brass band. There were perhaps sixty soldiers in all, who had formed a large circle round which some three or four hundred people were gathered.
I pushed my way through to the front of the crowd, and was almost immediately recognized by the little lassie captain who came over and asked me if I would not like to give a testimony. Of course I was pleased to do this, so when opportunity presented itself, at her suggestion I stepped into the ring and tried to give a gospel message based on my own personal experience of Christ’s saving grace.
While I was speaking, I noticed that a well- dressed man of medium build and intelligent countenance who was standing on the curb took a card from his pocket and wrote something on it. Just as I was concluding my talk, he stepped forward, politely lifted his hat, and handed me the card. On one side I read his name. I realized at once who he was, for I had seen his name in the public press and on placards as one who had been giving addresses for some months all up and down the West Coast from Vancouver to San Diego. He was an official representative of what was then called the I. W. W. Movement—that is, the “Industrial Workers of the World,” though opponents of its socialistic principles generally interpreted the mystic letters as standing for “I Won’t Work.” He held meetings among laboring men, seeking to incite them to class hatred and to organize with a view to overthrowing the capitalistic system.
Turning the card over, I read on the opposite side, as nearly as I can now remember, the following challenge: “Sir, I challenge you to debate with me the question ‘Agnosticism versus Christianity’ in the Academy of Science Hall next Sunday afternoon at four o’clock. I will pay all expenses—.”
I read the card aloud, and replied somewhat as follows: “I am very much interested in this challenge. Frankly, I am already announced for another meeting next Lord’s Day afternoon at three o’clock, but I think it will be possible for me to get through with that in time to reach the Academy of Science by four, or if necessary I could arrange to have another speaker substitute for me at the meeting already advertised. Therefore I will be glad to agree to this debate on the following conditions: namely, that in order to prove that Mr. … has something worth fighting for and worth debating about, he will promise to bring with him to the Hall next Sunday two people, whose qualifications I will give in a moment, as proof that agnosticism is of real value in changing human lives and building true character. First, he must promise to bring with him one man who was for years what we commonly call a ‘down-an outer,’ I am not particular as to the exact nature of the sins that had wrecked his life and made him an outcast from society— whether a drunkard, or a criminal of some kind, or a victim of any sensual appetite—but a man who for years was under the power of evil habits from which he could not deliver himself, but who on some occasion entered one of Mr….’s meetings and heard his glorification of agnosticism and his denunciations of the Bible and Christianity, and whose heart and mind as he listened to such an address were so deeply stirred that he went away from that meeting saying, ‘Henceforth, I too am an agnostic!’ and as a result of imbibing that particular philosophy he found that a new power had come into his life. The sins he once loved, now he hated, and righteousness and goodness were henceforth the ideals of his life. He is now an entirely new man, a credit to himself and an asset to society—all because he is an agnostic.
“Secondly, I would like Mr. to promise to bring with him one woman—and I think he may have more difficulty in finding the woman than the man— who was once a poor, wrecked, characterless outcast, the slave of evil passions, and the victim of man’s corrupt living.” As I spoke I was within perhaps a stone’s throw of San Francisco’s infamous Barbary Coast, where so many young lives have been shipwrecked ; and so I added, “Perhaps one who had lived for years in some evil resort on Pacific Street, or in some other nearby hell-hole, utterly lost, ruined and wretched because of her life of sin. But this woman also entered a hall where Mr. — was loudly proclaiming his agnosticism and ridiculing the message of the Holy Scriptures. As she listened, hope was born in her heart, and she said, ‘This is just what I need to deliver me from the slavery of sin!’ She followed the teaching until she became an intelligent agnostic or infidel. As a result, her whole being revolted against the degradation of the life she had been living. She fled from the den of iniquity where she had been held captive so long; and today, rehabilitated, she has won her way back to an honored position in society and is living a clean, virtuous, happy life—all because she is an agnostic.
“Now, Mr. ,” I exclaimed, “if you will promise to bring these two people with you as examples of what agnosticism will do, I will promise to meet you at the Hall at the hour appointed next Sunday, and I will bring with me at the very least one hundred men and women who for years lived in just such sinful degradation as I have tried to depict, but who have been gloriously saved through believing the message of the gospel which you ridicule. I will have these men and women with me on the platform as witnesses to the miraculous saving power of Jesus Christ, and as present-day proof of the truth of the Bible.”
Turning to the little Salvation Army captain, I said, “Captain, have you any who could go with me to such a meeting?” She exclaimed with enthusiasm, “We can give you forty at least, just from this one corps, and we will give you a brass band to lead the procession!”
“Fine!” I answered. “Now, Mr. , I will have no difficulty in picking up sixty others from various Missions, Gospel Halls, and evangelical churches of the city, and if you promise faithfully to bring two such exhibits as I have described, I will come marching in at the head of such a procession, with the band playing ‘Onward, Christian Soldiers,’ and I will be ready for the debate.”
I think Mr. had quite a sense of humor, for he smiled rather sardonically, waved his hand in a deprecating kind of way as much as to say, “Nothing doing! and edging through the crowd he left the scene, while that great crowd clapped the Salvation Army and the street-preacher to the echo, for they well knew that in all the annals of unbelief no one ever heard of a philosophy of negation, such as agnosticism, making bad men and women good, and they also knew that this is what Christianity has been doing all down through the centuries. Our gospel proves itself by what it accomplishes, as redeemed people from every walk of life, delivered from every type of sin, prove the regenerating and keeping power of the Christ of whom the Bible speaks.
“I am the light of the world: he that followeth
me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have
the light of life.” John 8:12
“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that
believeth in me, though he were [spiritually]
dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth
and believeth in me shall never die.”
“that through His name whosoever believeth
in Him shall receive remission of sins.”
“Christ died for our sins according to
the scriptures; And that He was buried,
and that he rose again the third day according
to the scriptures.” (this is the gospel)
1 Cor. 15:3-4
“For God so loved the world, that He gave
His only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth [committeth himself unto Him]
in Him should not perish, but have ever-
lasting life.” John 3:16
“For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God.” John 16:27
Our Lord Jesus Christ received these precious words from the Father who commanded Him to speak them for our comfort. (John 12: 49) They sweetly assure us of the Father’s love. We read of God’s love — “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3: 16. We read also of Christ’s love — “Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it” (Eph. 5: 25) and of the Father’s love,which is exercised toward those who, through grace, have been brought into relationship with Himself — “the Father Himself loveth you.”
The Father’s love has wrought for us in accomplishing redemption through the death of His Son, and in Him risen and ascended, according to His eternal purpose; thus giving us life in Christ, and bringing us into the relationship of children, as well as uniting us to Christ by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
The Father’s love has wrought in us in revealing His Son unto us. When our Lord said to Peter, “Whom say ye that I am?” and he replied, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus immediately said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 16: 15-17) Thus we see that every one who has apprehended the person of “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” has only done so because of a distinct revelation of the Father to him. Without this, whatever else we may have known, we should have been in darkness as to the person of the Son; concerning whom it is said, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5: 12). To apprehend the person of the Son of God is entirely beyond the scope of the natural man. He may have heard of His name and of His works, he may be acquainted with the external circumstances of His death on Calvary, and of the fact of His resurrection, and yet not know Him. Though to the natural eye Jesus was like another man, “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” yet Peter saw, by the revelation of the Father, that He was “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
The Father has also wrought in us in having drawn us to Christ as sinners to a Saviour. It is only by the working of the Father’s grace in our hearts that we have thus had to do with Him whom the Father sent. Unless the Father had specially wrought in us in this way, it is certain we should never have found our true place, as hell-deserving ones, at the feet of a gracious Saviour. It is well to have the sense of this fact constantly fresh in our souls; for Jesus said, “No man can come to Me,except the Father which hath sent Me draw Him;” and again, “No man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father.” (John 6:44, 65) Thus we see that the Father’s love has accomplished redemption for us, brought us into nearness to Himself, called us into the relationship of children given us the Spirit, revealed His Son to us, and drawn us to Him as our Saviour. How sweet to think of the various yet distinct actions of the Father’s love! Well might an inspired servant cry out, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us!”
How astonishing then is the fact that there are those on the earth who, though poor and feeble in their own eyes, sensible too of much failure, coldness, and forgetfulness of Him, are the constant objects of the Father’s love those on whom He ever looks with a Father’s watchful eye, and ministers unto with Fatherly care. He is the perfect Father. He knows the state of heart, as well as the need, peculiarities, and circumstances of each child; and withholds or gives, sends adversity or prosperity, as is most for our real good. He disciplines and chastens for our profit, that we may be in subjection to Him, and be partakers of His holiness. It is well that we should receive all from Him, for all is dealt out in infinite wisdom by the hand of perfect love; for:
“A father’s heart can never cause
His child a needless tear.”
He desires us to cast all our care upon Him, for He careth for us, to make all our requests known unto Him by prayer and supplication; and in this our Lord encouraged us by saying, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father, which is in heaven, give good things to them that ask Him?” (Matt. 7: 11)
But one of the children of God may inquire, “How much does the Father love me?” We are told that the Father loves us as He has loved Jesus. (John 17: 23) Our blessed Lord said to His disciples, “As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you.” His love to us then is the same as the Father’s love to Him; and elsewhere we find He prayed that by-and-by the world may know that the Father loves us as He has loved Him. Thus we find that the infinite, eternal, unchanging love of the Father to the Son is the measure of His love to us His children. This, too, will be manifested ere long in answer to His prayer, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word . . . 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 loved them as Thou hast loved Me.” (John 17: 20-23)
In perfect keeping with the activity of this infinite, eternal, unchanging love, the Father hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. (Eph. 1: 3) Thus we are always before His eye in all the nearness, acceptance, righteousness, and life of Christ, and blessed in Him with all spiritual blessings; and all this, and more, to be known now for our present enjoyment, and power for service and conflict. What a precious assurance for our poor hearts are these few words of our adorable Lord, “The Father Himself loveth you.” It is, indeed, a great secret for our souls when such words are received in faith, and we grasp them as infallible and settled for ever. We shall then be able to say in the hour of deepest sorrow and affliction:
“Although my cup seems filled with gall,
There’s something secret sweetens all.”
But why do we not enjoy the Father’s love more than we do? Because the Holy Spirit, which is given unto us, by whom the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, is grieved. When we walk obediently we abide in His love, and enjoy the presence of the Father and the Son. To be loved by the Father is a precious fact for every child of God; but to enjoy the Father’s love and presence is the privilege of those only who are walking obediently to His will. Jesus said, “If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14: 23) Let no believer imagine then that he will have the comfort of the Father’s love, if he is not walking in the truth according to the Father’s will. In the path of disobedience the Holy Spirit dwelling in us is grieved, and we are not in the place where the Father’s presence can be known. Our blessed Lord said to His own loved ones for their encouragement, “I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” (John 5: 10)
We are told here who are the objects of the Father’s love. They are those who have loved Jesus, and have believed that He came out from God. Not those who say this and that, but those who have the two grand cardinal points of vital Christianity — faith and love. They always go together when there is a divinely-wrought work in the soul, for faith worketh by love. Every true believer loves. He loves the Lord Jesus, and all that are His. He loves the brethren, the truth, the service of the Lord, and all that is in association with Him. The believer loves, and he who loves, believes. Without this love, whatever else he may boast of, he is as “a sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal.” Love is a vitally important point; for “if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.” (1 Cor. 16:22) We love, because we believe the love of God to us. “We love Him, because He first loved us.” We most certainly believe that Jesus came out from God; we have no doubt of it. We grasp the divine love that gave Him, and we cannot but love Jesus.
We believe and love. Oh, the preciousness of the Saviour’s words, “The Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.”
The more we ponder this precious subject, the more our hearts become melted, and our ways moulded, according to this elevated and eternal relationship. To be “children of God” now, while in mortal bodies, and in a world where sin reigns unto death, is indeed a glorious fact; and, because we are sons, to have the Holy Spirit sent into our hearts, crying, Abba Father, is love so rich, so free, and so abundant, as never could have entered into the heart of man to conceive. And yet, how true it is. Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost. Wondrous grace! All “to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” While looking then to our glorified Lord, we can say:
“Yea, in the fulness of His grace,
God put me in the children’s place,
Where I may gaze upon His face,
O Lamb of God, in Thee!
“Not half His love can I express;
Yet, Lord, with joy my lips confess
This blessed portion I possess,
O Lamb of God, in Thee!
“And when I in Thy likeness shine,
The glory and the praise be Thine,
That everlasting joy is mine,
O Lamb of God, in Thee!”