Discipleship: April 2006

Table of Contents

1. Innocent Pleasures
2. Discipleship
3. Discipleship and Love
4. Discipleship in Service
5. Discipleship Links
6. Christian Discipleship
7. Evolution in 2006
8. Make Me Thy Fuel
9. Follow Me

Innocent Pleasures

Our natural tendency is to get pleasures for self. Innocent they may be, but they take the heart from God; they are spoiled by sin. People ask the harm of these things. The question is, What use are you making of them, and where is your heart? The moment there is a turning from the cross (death to everything), our Lord says, “Get thee behind Me,” for that is all He has.
J. N. Darby


A disciple is a learner and a follower. When the Lord chose the twelve disciples, it was that they might first be with Him and then that He might send them forth. In this issue we trace a little of the lessons we are to learn from the lives of Peter and John as they learned to be disciples, both in being with the Lord and when they were given their work to do for the Lord. We will see that a key factor in being a disciple is to be near the Lord in the enjoyment of His love for us.
In Luke 9 we get both the Lord’s side and man’s side of discipleship. One man whose heart is attracted to the Lord says, “Lord, I will follow Thee,” while the Lord commands another, “Follow Me.” Also, we must consider well the man who thought He could follow regardless of the cost, for he said, “Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest.”
This issue outlines some hindrances in us to being wholehearted disciples. It also shows us the essential need to learn our “death with Christ” in order to be able and willing to follow Him even unto death. Even as disciples we must learn, “Without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Discipleship and Love

Every true believer loves the Lord. Peter, speaking of the Lord to believers, can say, “Whom having not seen, ye love.” In the presence of the proud Pharisee, the Lord can say of the woman who kissed His feet, “She loved much.” Yet Scripture recognizes that love to the Lord may be found in very varied measures in different disciples on different occasions. The love of Mary of Bethany, who anointed the Lord with the “very precious ointment,” was surely greater than that of the indignant disciples who said, “To what purpose is this waste?” The love of Mary of Magdala, who “stood without at the sepulchre weeping,” exceeded, on that occasion, the love of the disciples who “went away again unto their own home.” While love to the Lord is very precious in His sight and to be cherished and desired by the believer, yet, it is clear, we cannot trust in a love that is so liable to change. The love that we alone can rest in must be the love that knows no change — the love that abides — the love of Christ for His own.
Our Love or His Love?
It is the realization and enjoyment of the love of Christ that awakens our love to Him. “We love Him,” says the Apostle, “because He first loved us.” Hence our love to Christ will be according to the measure in which we realize His love to us. Would we then love the Lord with more singleness of heart? Then let us not turn in upon our own hearts and think of our love to Him, but seek to delight our souls in His love to us.
The effect of the soul thus delighting itself in the love of Christ is blessedly set forth in connection with the Apostle John, in the closing scenes of the Lord’s life. In contrast, the same scenes depict the sorrowful effects of confidence in our love to the Lord, in the case of the Apostle Peter. Both disciples loved the Lord with a true and deep affection beyond that of most, for it led them to leave all and follow Him. One disciple, however, trusted in his love to the Lord, while the other rested in the Lord’s love to him.
With genuine love to the Lord Peter can say, “I am ready to go with Thee, both into prison, and to death,” and again, “Though all men shall be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended.” By words and deeds, he seems to say, “I am the man who loves the Lord.” In contrast to Peter, the Apostle John says, as it were, “I am the man whom the Lord loves.” In this wonderful love John delighted, and on this boundless love he rested.
Five Lessons in Discipleship
The first occasion on which John is called the disciple “whom Jesus loved” is in the upper room, as described in John 13. What a scene it is for the heart to contemplate! John is there delighting himself in the love of Christ, resting his head on the bosom of Jesus, as the disciple whom Jesus loved. Peter is there with real and ardent love for the Lord, but trusting in his own love to the Lord rather than resting in the Lord’s love to him. Peter was not near enough to the Lord to learn His mind; he must ask John to ask who the betrayer was. Thus we learn that nearness to the Lord and intimacy with the Lord are the happy portion of the one who is resting upon the Lord’s love.
The second occasion on which John is described as the disciple whom Jesus loved brings us to the cross. And what is the result? He becomes a vessel fit and meet for the Master’s use. The mother of Jesus is committed to his care. Resting in the Lord’s love fits for service.
On the resurrection morning the two disciples hasten to the tomb. Peter runs ahead at first, but in the end John goes ahead. We may learn that while the man of ardent nature may often take the lead in some spiritual enterprise, it is the man who is leaning on the love of the Lord that finally takes the lead.
Later at the sea of Tiberias energetic, impulsive Peter again takes the lead and goes back to his old occupation of fishing. When the morning came, “Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.” Having shown them the uselessness of effort without His direction, He shows how rich are the results when acting under His control. Immediately John perceives, “It is the Lord.” The disciple who is trusting in the Lord’s love is the one who has quick spiritual perception.
At the seashore we have the Lord’s tender dealings with Peter, the man that trusted in his own love. No longer is Peter telling the Lord in self-confidence what he is ready to do, but it is the Lord, in infinite grace, telling his restored disciple what He will enable him to do. You thought to glorify yourself above others by prison and death; now go forth to prison and death to glorify God. But what of John? “Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following.” The man who trusted in his own love and had broken down needed restoring grace and the exhortation, “Follow Me.” Not so the man who was resting in the love of the Lord, for he was “following.”
Remember These Results
Thus, in the disciple whom Jesus loved, we see set forth the blessed results that follow for those who rest in the love of the Lord. Such:
dwell in nearness to and intimacy with the Lord;
are ready to be used in the service of the Lord;
will make spiritual progress;
will have spiritual discernment; and
will follow close to the Lord.
If we can say little of our love to Him, we can safely boast of His love to us. It is the privilege of the youngest believer to say, “I am a disciple whom Jesus loves,” and the oldest and most advanced disciple can say nothing greater, for all blessing is found in His all-embracing love.
H. Smith, adapted from
The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved 

Discipleship in Service

In the two words, “Follow Me,” we have the path of the servant of Christ (John 21:19). The Lord had just given Peter the sweetest pledges of His love and confidence. He had, notwithstanding all past failure, entrusted him with the care of all that was dear to His loving heart in this world, even the lambs and sheep of His flock. He had said to him, “If you have affection for Me, feed My lambs, shepherd My sheep,” and now, in one brief but comprehensive utterance, He opens before him his proper path: “Follow Me.” This is enough. It includes all beside.
Distractions and Hindrances
If we want to follow Jesus, we must keep the eye continually upon Him; we must mark His footprints and walk in them. And when tempted like Peter to “turn about” to see what this one or that one has to do or how he does it, we may hear the correcting words, “What is that to thee? Follow thou Me.” This is to be our one grand and all-absorbing business. A thousand things may arise to distract and hinder. The devil will tempt us to look here and there, to look at this one and that one, to imagine we could do better here than there or there than here, to be occupied with and imitate the work of some fellow-servant. All this is met by those pointed words, “Follow Me.”
Following Others
There is an immense danger of following in the wake of others, of doing certain things because others do them, or doing things as others do them. All this has to be carefully guarded. It will be sure to come to nothing. What we really want is a broken will — the true spirit of a servant who waits on the Master to know His mind. Service does not consist in doing this or that or of running here and there; it is simply doing the Master’s will, whatever that may be. “They serve who stand and wait.” It is easier to be busy than to be quiet. When Peter was “young,” he went where he would, but when he got “old” he went where he would not. What a contrast between the young, restless, ardent, energetic Peter, going where he would, and the old, matured, subdued, experienced Peter going where he would not. What a mercy to have the will broken — to be able to say from the heart, “What Thou wilt, as Thou wilt, where Thou wilt, when Thou wilt.” “Not My will, but Thine, O Lord, be done.”
The Opinions of Men
“Follow Me.” Precious words! May they be engraved on our hearts, dear fellow-believer. Then we shall be steady in our course and effective in our service. We shall not be distracted or unsettled by the thoughts and opinions of men. It may be we will get very few to understand us or sympathize with us —few to approve or appreciate our work. It does not matter. The Master knows all about it. Let us only be sure of what He has told us to do, and do it. If a master tells one of his servants to go and do a certain thing or occupy a certain post, it is his business to go and do that thing or occupy that post, no matter what his fellow-servants may think. They may tell him he ought to be somewhere else or to do something else. A proper servant will not listen to them, for he knows his master’s mind and has to do his master’s work.
Would it were more thus with all the Lord’s servants! Would that we all knew more distinctly and carried out more decidedly the Master’s will respecting us. Peter had his path and John had his. James had his work, and Paul had his. So it was of old: The Gershonite had his work and the Merarite had his, and if one had interfered with the other, the work could not have been done. The tabernacle was carried forward or set up by each man doing his own proper work. Thus it is in this our day. God has varied workmen in His house and in His vineyard. He has quarrymen, stone-squarers, masons and decorators. Are all quarrymen? Surely not, but each has his work to do, and the building progresses by each one doing his own appointed work. Should a quarryman despise a decorator or a decorator look down with contempt upon a quarryman? Assuredly not. The Master wants them both, and whenever the one interferes with the other, as we so often do, the faithful correcting word falls on the ear, “What is that to thee? Follow thou Me.”
C. H. Mackintosh, adapted from Short Papers 

Discipleship Links

Breaking Links
“If any man serve Me, let him follow Me” (John 12:26). Service is not doing a great deal, but following the Master, and the world and halfhearted Christians do not like that. There is plenty of doing in the world, but “if any man serve Me, let him follow Me.”
At the end of Luke 9 the Lord shows how the links with this world are to be broken. One says, “Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest” (vs. 57), but Christ puts him to the test. You cannot go if you do not take up your lot with One who had not where to lay His head, for you may sooner go to the birds of the air for a nest or to the foxes for a hole than to the Son of Man for a home in this world. They were not now to come to Him as the One who had the promises, but to One whose portion was utter and entire rejection. Following Him could not be accompanied with ease and comfort here. He was to be delivered into the hands of men. At His birth we see the same thing. Everyone found room in the inn save He, but any who wanted to find Him whom angels celebrate must go to the manger!
Links to Death and Life
He says to another, “Follow me” (vs. 59). The first one wanted something with Christ, but when He says, “Follow me,” then immediately a difficulty is started, and it is when He calls a man that difficulties are felt. There was no sense of the difficulties of the one who said, “Lord, I will follow thee,” without His call. But this man who is called says, Let me first “go and bury my father.” He is going presently, but there is a link felt. Jesus says, “Let the dead bury their dead”; you must leave them to follow Me. You may be ready to say that the things of the earth have no power over you, but just try what it is to have them, and you will learn the extent of their power. A man may go to the length of his cord, but when he gets to the end he is checked. A father had the first claim in nature, and especially to a Jew, but Christ says, I am calling you out in the power of life, I am putting in My claim for the life I give you, and it breaks every bond here. It is a question of life in the midst of death. The word “first” (let me first “go and bury my father”) shows something put before Christ, as though the man said, There is something I put before Your calling. Death had come in, and this very plea told Christ they were all under death. It was quite a right thing for the man to bury his father, but if life has come in and the question is one of redemption, to be lost or saved, you must give yourself up to it. In the divine light which is in the cross, He saw all dead, and therefore He said, “Let the dead bury their dead.” The one thing to be done now is to follow Christ. The question is, Death in the world or life in Christ? Where are the affections?
Half-Linked to Christ
“Another also said, Lord, I will follow Thee; but let me first go bid them farewell which are at home at my house” (vs. 61). In the previous case it was just this: When my first affections are settled, then will I come and follow Thee. There is no good in that; the Lord says, “Let the dead bury their dead.” But this case shows that those at home were not left in heart. He felt he had to break with them, and yet his heart lingered. “No man  .  .  .  looking back is fit for the kingdom of God.” “Remember Lot’s wife.” “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” If Christ be not first and last, He will always be last, for faith is not in exercise.
Links to Affections and the Will
The question is whether we are walking as seeing what the cross tells us. The cross lifts the veil, showing the skeleton of the world, and when I see this sentence on all that is in the world, on self as well as what is outside, and our links of affection with it, I learn that all is to be given up, but there is Christ Himself and the love which is in Him to meet it. It will and must judge self, and it brings out the will too, for there is a great deal of will in all this shunning of the cross. People may speak of the claims of affection, yet it is not really and only family affection, but in the end what is felt is that which is connected with self. Natural affection there should be — indeed it is one of the signs of the last, evil days to be without it, but if you have power to judge yourselves, you will find that many an excuse you make has this secret at the end. So in affliction and bereavement, it is not only the affection that is touched, but the will. There is sweetness in the sorrow, so long as we realize Christ in it, and affection only is sorrowing. But if the will is touched, there is rebellion, resistance, struggling, and all this the Lord must judge, for a mass of flesh and self can never follow Christ. What a wonderful detail all this is! It is God going through our hearts entering into every corner and crevice. Why? Because of the constant, undeviating steadfastness of His love, and as a father loves his child when it is naughty, as well as when it is good, so our God takes pains, as it were, with us all, even when so bad.
The effect of all is not only to make us practically righteous, but happy — “imitators of God, as beloved children.” It is well, on the one hand, for us to judge ourselves and see what there is to detect in us, and, on the other, to see the fullness of His grace in Christ.
May the Lord give us to feel more and more that “the friendship with the world is enmity with God” and that the energy of the flesh cannot accomplish the work of God, so that we may learn to work from God, for God and with God.
J. N. Darby, selected and adapted from
Collected Writings, Vol. 25:103-105

Christian Discipleship

The disciples could, in a measure, follow the Lord in His earthly ministry, but when it came to following the Lord as He opened up what is the Christian pathway and heavenly blessings, none could go with Him, for that path was through death and resurrection. “Whither I go, thou canst not follow Me now; but thou shalt follow Me afterwards” (John 3:26). Peter thought he could and said, “Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thy sake” (vs. 37). He, the leader of the twelve disciples, while seeking to follow the Lord, denied Him, leaving us a lesson of failure as to discipleship. Later the Lord told Peter, “When thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not” (John 21:18).
When another volunteered to follow the Lord, He replied, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head” (Luke 9:58). Following the Lord at that time had become a path of rejection; it could not be done by volunteering. Nor was it a path suited for those still waiting to bury their dead (vs. 59) or for those controlled by the claims at home (vs. 61); all these claims needed to be surrendered in order to follow the Lord (vs. 61). Nevertheless, the power to follow the Lord is shown to us in the Word of God, but we must go beyond what is shown to us in the four Gospels to see it.
Power to Go Through Death
There is a picture of the inability of man to follow the Lord unto death in the distance that was to be maintained between the ark of Jehovah and the children of Israel when they went down through the River Jordan into the land of Canaan. They were not to come near the ark but to maintain about 2000 cubits from it. The power to go down into death is only possible for those who have a life beyond it. The Lord alone could go through the waters of death and rise again on the other side. We cannot do that, but afterwards we can follow in association with Him. This truth of being identified with Christ in His death is made known to us in the epistles, particularly in Colossians. “Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead” (Col. 2:12). “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1). Only as we realize our position as dead and risen with Christ can we, by the power of the Spirit in us, follow the Lord. Thus the exhortations follow in Colossians: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth.  .  .  .  Put off all these; anger, wrath, malice.  .  .  . Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering” (Col. 3:5-12).
Our Death With Him
It is not enough to know that Christ died for us; we also must realize that we died with Him. Just as the children of Israel must go through the Red Sea and the River Jordan before entering Canaan, so we must realize that Christ died for us (Red Sea) and we died with Him (Jordan). This is necessary before we are able to lay hold of heavenly things. As the Lord went down into death and rose again, the believer also died and rose with Him. The believer’s life is in Him there in glory, and this risen life is needed to walk the Christian path.
Again, this is pictured in the time of Joshua when He said concerning the ark, “Come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go; for ye have not passed this way heretofore” (Josh. 3:4). Had Peter understood the teaching of these words, he would not have tried to follow the Lord in his own strength. We can only follow the risen Lord in the power of the resurrection life we have in Christ. Until the Lord had died and risen again, it was not possible for anyone to pursue that path.
Peter was taught a lesson in this at the time of his restoration by the risen Lord. The Lord said to him, “Lovest thou Me? And he said unto Him, Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed My sheep” (John 21:17). And the Lord told him that feeding His sheep would be the proof of Peter’s love and discipleship.
To follow Him even to death Peter needed the Lord in resurrection. Before the cross he could not follow the Lord to death, but now the Lord tells him, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake He, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He saith unto him, Follow Me” (vss. 18-19).
Then at the close of the Gospel, when Peter says to Jesus, “Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou Me” (vss. 21-22). It is not for a disciple to be giving orders to others or occupied with what they are to do. Occupation with others does not motivate us to be good disciples. A disciple is to follow the Lord.
Christian Discipleship
The Apostle Paul would be the one chosen of God to show us the way of Christian discipleship. He, the chief of sinners, was to unfold the truth of the heavenly place where the Man Christ Jesus ascended and of our heavenly calling. This he did not only by doctrinal teaching, but also by practically living it. He wrote, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14). “His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Cor. 15:10). “I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles” (2 Cor. 11:5). He exceeded the other apostles. He followed the Lord more closely than the others. He really laid hold of the truth revealed to him. This enabled him to be such a good disciple.
The Secret of Discipleship
This is the secret to discipleship today. Let us look into heaven and know Christ as He is there, to see the path He walked to get there, and follow Him. That path involves feeling His rejection on earth, having the sentence of death in ourselves to all other claims, and willing surrender to Him.
There is no kingdom on earth for us; ours is a heavenly one. We must wait in patience for it to be manifested when He comes. There are temporal mercies needed along the way, which He provides according to His perfect understanding of our needs, but these earthly things are not our real portion. “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will My Father honor” (John 12:25-26).
D. C. Buchanan

Evolution in 2006

On December 20, 2005, U.S. District Judge John Jones ruled that it was unconstitutional for a high school in Pennsylvania to teach “intelligent design” as an alternative to evolution. Jones condemned as “breathtaking inanity” the policy of the school board which had attempted to cast doubt on the theory of evolution. Needless to say, the reactions of the public were mixed. One of the plaintiffs who had sued the school district over the matter said she was “ecstatic” about the judge’s ruling. She told the news media, “This is a victory for education, a victory for science and a victory for science education.” Another woman remarked that freedom of religion included the right of freedom from religion, and thus nothing to do with God should be taught in schools. On the other hand, Richard Thompson, one of the lawyers who represented the defendants, commented, “The founders of this country would be astonished at the thought that this simple curriculum change [was] in violation of the constitution that they drafted.”
Coinciding with all this is a Darwin exhibit that opened recently in the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and which will travel to Boston, Chicago and Toronto before ending up in London in 2009, the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth. The exhibit details the history and artifacts of his life and reveals something of the painful journey he made from moral certainty to doubt. It seems that two things strongly influenced Darwin’s thinking in his younger years. He was troubled by the problem of evil and how a benevolent God could permit so much suffering in the world. Then, when his beloved daughter Annie died at the age of ten (possibly from TB), he was driven into greater despair. In 1859 he published his well-known book, The Origin of Species, which appeared to undercut the very basis of Christianity. People grabbed onto his theory immediately, with the result that when he died in 1882, Darwin was buried with honor in Westminster Abbey.
An Old Idea
The fact is that Darwin was not the originator of the theory of evolution, for since the beginning of man’s existence he has tried to solve the riddle of life apart from God. Many theories have developed, including such things as the idea of the transmigration of the soul, which is found in most false religions. A fairly well-defined theory of evolution was propounded by Aristotle (who lived several centuries before Christ), and suggestions of such an idea are even found in Babylonic and Egyptian monuments. More recently a man named Jean Baptiste Lamarck published at least two books on the subject in the early 1800s, and thus he must be regarded as the real father of modern evolutionary teaching. Some years prior to this, Darwin’s grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, had also published material and must have greatly influenced his grandson. However, it was Darwin who brought all of this together, and at a time when people were ready for it. As someone once remarked, when the Lord is working, Satan is working too. When God raised up men like Luther and others to lead the way in the Reformation, Satan raised up a Shakespeare to occupy men’s minds and provide a distraction from Christian thought. When God raised up men like J. N. Darby and others to bring back the truth of the church, Satan raised up Darwin and others to turn men’s hearts away from it. Darwinism in England sought to destroy God’s glory as Creator, while the so-called “higher criticism” that began about the same time in Germany under men like Julius Wellhausen sought to destroy God’s glory as Redeemer.
Darwin was strongly opposed by Christians, starting out with Samuel Wilberforce in England who led an attack on him in 1860. Many are familiar with the so-called “monkey trial” of 1925 in Tennessee, where teacher John Scopes was tried for violating a state law banning the teaching of evolution in schools. However, in more recent years, some believers have tried to bring the Word of God and Darwinism together. Some have tried to argue that the Genesis record of creation is merely a general account and that God allowed His creation a certain amount of autonomy to develop on its own. Others have tried to solve the problem by saying that it is the role of the Bible to say, “Why did this happen,” while it is the role of science to ask, “How did this happen?” Strangely enough, the late Pope John Paul II said in 1996 that there was no essential conflict between Darwin’s theory and Catholicism.
The Nagging Conscience
It is true that the Word of God is meant to be God’s revelation of Himself to man, and thus it gives us what pertains to life and godliness. It is written to reach man’s heart and conscience, not to satisfy every curious question that he may ask. However, we must be clear that there can be no common ground between true Darwinism and the Word of God. Carried to its logical conclusion, Darwinism postulates the spontaneous appearance of life and a progression from one-celled animals up to man himself. The Word of God is sublime and clear: “In the beginning God” (Gen. 1:1). The real reason for evolutionary thought is ultimately man’s fond wish to avoid his responsibility to his Creator and the fact that one day he must answer to Him. If he can persuade himself that God does not exist, then he can get around the ever-present nagging of his conscience that he must stand before God someday. Because “they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind” (Rom. 1:28). As British biologist Richard Dawkins famously wrote, Darwinism “made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” This is why the teaching of intelligent design is so repugnant to the natural mind, and why a judge would rule against bringing it into a school curriculum. All of the ridiculous ideas and quantum leaps connected with evolution can be tolerated, but not the teaching that God exists.
Hebrews 11:3 says, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God,” and we must bear this in mind. It is not the fallacy or otherwise of the theory of evolution that reinforces our belief in God’s Word, but rather faith in the One who wrote that Word. God has given us a revelation from Himself that bears the marks of its own inspiration, and it does not need man to authenticate it. However, we can confidently say that the theory of evolution destroys itself. To any honest mind there are numerous barricades to its viability, any one of which is a hopeless hurdle that cannot be crossed. It is beyond the scope of this article to consider these in detail, but let us look at one “barricade” that goes all the way back to Darwin.
A Genetic Barricade
On his visit to the Galapagos islands in the years 1831-1836, Darwin was impressed with the variations in the beaks of the finches there. Each group had a unique beak tailored to its specific diet. Not only were their beaks different from one area to another, but they would vary over time, depending on various factors such as the amount of rainfall. Darwin called all of this “natural selection” and postulated that it could cause various mutations that would eventually result in the emergence of an entirely new species. Of course, natural selection is well recognized and happens all the time in the world. What the theory of evolution fails to state is that natural selection can get rid of genetic information, but it cannot create any. Gene pools have only a certain amount of information for any particular trait. Mutational change might cause the loss of a particular trait, but no creative evolutionary process exists to overcome the limit by adding a new one. In the case of the Galapagos finches, the genes for all of the different beak forms were obviously contained in their gene pool and could lead to adaptation by the various conditions under which they lived. But no Galapagos finch ever developed, for example, the hooked beak of a bird of prey, as that was not in their gene pool. Thus the various beak forms on the Galapagos finches have indeed probably come from a single ancestral population, but no one has been able to see a crossing over from one species to another.
Nothing New
In conclusion, we may say that the theory of evolution is really nothing new, but has been in men’s minds for thousands of years as he sought to eliminate God from his knowledge. It remained for a man like Darwin to step forward and pull it all together about 150 years ago. Sad to say, his ideas caught on like “wild fire,” as men sought to resist the bright testimony God was bringing out. May we be kept from any compromise on the truth of God as contained in His Word! There is not, nor has there ever been, any conflict between God’s Word and true knowledge, but Darwinism is Satan’s attempt to overthrow not only the Word of God, but God Himself. W. J. Prost

Make Me Thy Fuel

From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,
From fearing when I should aspire,
From faltering when I should climb higher,
From silken self, O Captain, free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee.
From subtle love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakenings,
Not thus are spirits fortified,
Not this way went the Crucified;
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
O Lamb of God, deliver me.
Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire;
Let me not sink to be a clod;
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.
Amy Carmichael

Follow Me

In Matthew 8 we have three cases, one of purposing to follow the Lord, one of drawing back from so doing, and one of genuine discipleship.
Previously great multitudes had followed the Lord, attracted by His teaching and miracles. Now, after the curious throng had been dispersed, the Lord deals with the truer ones. In order to be a real follower, one had to leave the multitude and seek the Person he wished to follow.
Purposing to Follow
In the first case we read, “A certain scribe came, and said unto Him, Master, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest” (Matt. 8:19). These are bold and confident words, but how does the Lord answer him? He neither rejects his offer nor accepts him at once as His follower. Rather, in words of infinite wisdom, He replies in words that suit the scribe’s case. He reminds him that “the foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head” (vs. 20). The Lord wants followers and lovingly invites souls to follow Him, but at the same time He tells them what such discipleship costs.
So it is today. Can we take our place with One like this? Do we see such beauty in Him that we willingly share His rejection? There is a time coming when He will be manifested in glory, but for now we must be content to be identified with One who has been disowned by this world.
Drawing Back
In the next case, one comes to Him who was evidently already a follower of the Lord, for the Scripture calls him “another of His disciples.” He makes what seems to be a reasonable proposal: “Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father” (vs. 21). Why then does the Lord answer him, “Follow Me; and let the dead bury their dead” (vs. 22)? It was as though the man had said, “Lord, let me wait until my father is dead — till all that connects me to the earth is gone — and then I will follow Thee.” But everything binding us to this poor earth has been severed by the death of the Saviour. We are called to show to others that we belong to heaven.
The world all around us is dead in trespasses and sins, according to Ephesians 2:1. We were once so ourselves, but through grace we have been given life. We should not seek a place among the dead. Let us not think that the Lord Jesus was advocating the neglect of one’s parents. No, for He spoke strongly against this bad practice in another place. It is right to take care of our responsibilities relative to the things of this life, but with this man the Lord sensed more than merely a care for his father. Rather, it was a link with the world, an excuse for not giving the Lord the first place in his life. It is this that we must guard against and deal with in our lives.
Genuine Discipleship
Finally, the Lord leads the way into a ship and His disciples follow Him. This is true discipleship, for we must follow a divine Person — Christ, not our own inclinations. In following Him into the ship, they took upon themselves all the consequences of being with Him. We know well what happened. A great tempest arose. The ship was covered with the waves, but the Lord was asleep! In alarm His disciples wake Him and cry, “Lord, save us: we perish” (vs. 25). Then He, the Son of God, arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
Faithfulness to Christ will involve stormy waves and strong winds. We must remember that although He seems to be asleep, He is in the same ship with us! We are not left alone, and if we were to sink, He would sink! What security His presence gives us!
We see in this chapter the Lord presented as an Object to be followed and as Son of Man, subject to every hostile circumstance. Further, we see Him as Son of God, superior to all circumstances. How blessed for us to know Him in each of these characters! We see a Person to whom every influence in this world is opposed, and at the same time, One who has complete control over every circumstance. He calls us to follow Him. How are we responding to His call? May He be able to say to us in that day, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:23).
E. V. G., adapted from
Things New and Old, Vol. 31