Christ and the Church: Part 1

 •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Fragments from Notes.
DOES the Head judge the members? (Whatever may be the incapability of the Church to take care of the members of Christ, I have seen that the feeblest soul is nourished and cherished, in the midst of all, by Christ Himself.) My feet may get soiled by my walk down here, and this ought not to be. Christ will wash them again and again, but He does not judge His members. I have been quickened and raised up together with Him, and that identifies me with heaven, and with the center of heaven itself.
as apprehended of Christ for this place in glory. But is the heart really occupied with the glory we shall have? As a stream of heavenly blessing in all my troubles, is it the thought of my soul, I am to be up there with the Son of God in the glory. He has apprehended me for this, and my citizenship is there?' Then amidst all the wretched short-comings of one's own heart, I may have present rest and peace in Him who cannot fail. If I have a consciousness of my fellowship in life with Christ up there (Col. 3:1-41If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1‑4)), there will be a throbbing of joy in my heart, flowing from communion with Him, sitting on the right hand of God, and from setting my mind on the things that are above, a communion which is to flow on forever and ever, and which I date back to the quickening in His grave, His life then flowing back to us (El). ii. 5-6).
If I love God I want to be holy, for He is holy. "Ye shall be holy, for I am holy." The desire for sanctification has thus no limit at all. The effect of God letting me know His plan of associating me with Himself hereafter is to associate me with Himself now.
And has that Christ who has brought piece-meal to you this wonderful love of God, as you were able to bear it, has He no jealousy over you, think you? What is your present state? Does He see your heart's affection linking itself round the God who has, by Him, associated you with Himself? Does He see the pulse of thought in you beating for God? You cannot hide yourself from Him. He, the good Shepherd, is leading and watching every individual sheep, and not a lock of -wool can be taken from one of them that He does not see. Does He, then, see welling through your minds unceasing thoughts of the glory awaiting you, your heart dwelling there, and your walk corresponding? Or is it like Jacob with you, halting on the thigh, because of the flesh needing crippling?
God has spread an expanse of glory all wrapt up Christ for us. He has told of, and described the golden city, and the light and the joy of all there, and He would have us occupied with Him who is the center of all, the center of His mind, even Christ. Are we following in His wake? Is His center ours, and the hope of Christ, the hope of His coming connected with our every thought and act 2 There may be failure, there may be something clinging to you that would drop off in the presence of Christ, but He will not let you off that hope. Is the future of your mind at all like His? A poor reflection it may be, but a real one, having its source from the center of God's mind, which is Christ.
Has it ever come into your mind what a thrill the delight of God in Christ must cause in heaven? And is it indeed true that we are accepted in the Beloved, and that God loves us as He loves Christ, because we are in Him, and He in us? What in you or me shall interfere with the delight of God in His Son? His delight in believers is not in themselves, but in connection with Christ and redemption. His blood has washed all sin away; my soul is saved, is in Him, one with Him, all my guilt and misery judged on the cross. Oh, it makes one feel very little, it sinks one into real insignificance as being nothing, but then Christ is everything. God looking on His Son with ever the same delight, seeing His members and loving them. Ah! yes, it is pure grace from first to last.
I cannot get anything like happiness without Him. How much happier a way of learning that our rest is not here is that thought, that nothing can make us happy till He comes. I may see what appears attractive down here, but looking up into heaven, I see Christ and feel that till He comes earth cannot be blessed. This world without Him is only a wilderness, no rest, for all earth's blessings, as well as heaven's, are shut up in Christ; all happiness and joy hid in the person of the Lord. It is all vanity, seeking rest whilst He is absent, filling our mouths with sand and gravel..
.. "I am the bright and morning Star." Does not God delight in seeing the Lord Jesus His people's hope? When the hour is come, God will give the word, and Christ will leave His throne to bring up His bride. " The bright and morning Star " is not.for God, it is the hope for the bride in the dark night. This title does not come in once in the Old Testament. There we find the Sun of Righteousness; but this bright and morning Star comes before, to usher in the day, a morning without clouds.
The Lord knows what the hearts of His people want here. It is Himself, His own blessed Person. Is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself looked for by us? It is not the glory, but Himself, that is put forth. " I am the bright and morning Star." And, oh, it is Himself that I want. What would glory be to me without my Lord?
Just observe the sort of glory here. What is the shining forth of this bright and morning Star, as to glory, compared with the shining forth of the Sun of Righteousness? Ah! but they who love Christ now, during the dark, dark night, know the sweetness of this title. All their heart's affections are bound up in His Person, it is that their love is set upon. How sweet to connect the hope of His coming, while in
the weariness of all this wilderness scene, with " I am the bright and morning Star; and the spirit and the bride say, Come." In 2 Cor. xi. 2 we get just the true idea of this bride, a people affianced to Christ. How that title of " bride " supposes all affection on the part of Christ. He looks down and sees one here and another there, who believe in Him, poor feeble things in themselves, but He has washed them in His blood. If the marriage of the bride, the Lamb's wife is to be (Rev. xix. 7), and I am part of that affianced body, where can creature merit, or title come in? He has done all (Eph. v. 25-27). What can He see in us but failure, but He has given us the Spirit, and made us one with Himself. He has the bride, a bride fit for God's own dwelling place. If you do not know the personal love of Christ for His bride, you cannot invite Him to come.
God did not stop when He had taken the bone out of Adam, but He builded the woman; so He not only calls and saves poor prodigals, but builds them a bride for His Son. The welcomed prodigal found he had all sorts of good things in the Father's house, so the bride may have all sorts of precious things, but she herself is for her Lord. Wonderful that Christ should have all glory, but the best part-a bride of poor prodigals, sanctified and cleansed at the cost of His own blood. What! I, a poor thing, a leaf in the wilderness, carried here and there, can I say, Come, Lord? If God has given me the Spirit and made me one with Christ, I can.
If He had shown me all the glory it would have had another effect on me altogether, but He brought the truth to bear on my heart. The Spirit of the living God brought, and is always bringing fresh tastes of the love of Christ to my heart. But, oh, how the Spirit is straightened in us, as He goes through the wilderness and finds so little answer in our hearts, and cannot get the waters to flow.
Do not speak of self, be it failure or circumstances. Satan would always try and put these between us and Christ. But do set everything in the light of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and if you were but one alone in the world, the Spirit is sufficient to enable you to say, " Come." " The Spirit and the bride say, Come." Not the bride only, nor the bride named first, but the Spirit, knowing all the affections in the heart of Christ, says, " Come." Oh, it is sweet to have Christ wanting you to say, " Come."
Have you known the sweetness, when in solitude, when none have been near, of the thought in your heart, hardly breathed in words, " Come, Lord, come." And shall the thought-I may be caught up now, at once, alarm? No. I am as sure of being His as Rebecca, led of Eliezer, was of being Isaac's. Yea, more sure, as led of the Spirit; and so are all believers who can say, Come. " The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come."
(To be continued.)