Gracious Words

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 10
I want you, beloved, to place yourselves with me, by faith, among the company of three thousand souls, described in Acts 2:41-4741Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2:41‑47)-the early believers on the day of Pentecost; and, again, In that of the five thousand men described in Acts 4:32-3732And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. 36And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, 37Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet. (Acts 4:32‑37); and to consider how far we are practically-what they were-so full of the Holy Spirit, and each heart so gone after the-Lord Jesus Christ into heaven, so conscious of Himself there on the throne (Himself our own and our blessing), as that, selfishness laid aside by us, we are-living down here as to Christ alone and for His people. If we have the same- 'objects of faith in the same Holy Spirit as they, and yet are not, like them in practice, should we not be-ashamed and humble ourselves before God. If in any measure we are selfish, or earthly minded, or lying under the power of the God of this world, does not confession become us?
Como again with me to the faithful assembly at Ephesus as it was when Paul wrote his letter to it. Can you, can I, so drop into all the blessedness of the one Spirit and one body, brought out in the mystery as they held it (it is our own as well as theirs), "quickened together with Christ," " raised up together". " and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus " (as Paul and they saw it) and not say, But then, how short, how very short is our walk, are our-lives, of what Paul (a man of like passions with ourselves) describes in Phil. 1:19-2119For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. 21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:19‑21) as his state in most trying circumstances; and. again in chapter 3:8-16. Alas! how few now-a-days "hold the Head." The freshness and beauty of Paul's life, even to the end, ever brings "the Head" before me the poor Ephesians afterward " left their first love" (Rev. 2:44Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (Revelation 2:4)); shine as they still might and did in their duties as being a candlestick.
And Is my life and yours, in body, soul, and spirit, such now, down here,.. as that if 1 Thess. 4:18-17 were to take place to-day, 'none of us would have a regret to be found as we are? Should we each say, " Oh, the grace that has prepared me individually for this, and that enables me now to say, ' I am awaiting Thee, my Lord, and am ready.'" To find nothing about one's self (save a mortal body), which can not at once find its place in the light! How blessed he of whom this is true!
But further. If I place myself with you in the presence of the Christ now in Heaven upon the throne (eternal Lover of my soul, as one given to Him before the foundation of the world)-of that Anointed-Wan that died for me on -Calvary(the only One who ever laid down His life for me,-and He the Man that is Jehovah's Fellow)-of Him who I patiently watches over me above and is, coming again to receive me and us to Himself, that where He is there we may be also-can I, can you, in the, light brightly down-shining, say, "Lord Thou knowest that I reckon my old self to be dead to sin and self-willed independence of God, and myself to be alive unto God through Jesus' Christ our Lord (Rom. 6), as having been crucified together with Him (verse 6), haying died together with Him (verses 2, 8, 5, 8), and been buried together with Him (verse 4); sin has no dominion over me; I live to God and God alone; all my members are devoted to Him and His service alone. And yet the power of the new nature goes far beyond this, and I am to live as one spirit' with and a member in particular of that body,' the glorified head of which is on God's throne in heaven (Eph. 2) Nothing to do down here save to serve the living and true God.
Brethren; myself a partaker of the benefit, may well write to yet; thus; and you, through grace, co-partners of these things, may well read anything calculated to help you to understand better the humble, unselfish path of lowly dependence and obedience hero below, which becomes 'those who are in Jesus 'Christ, partakers of the exceeding riches of God's grace by the Spirit. What were we in the first Adam, and what our prospect then? And the,flesh is in us still, and the world around us and Satan (God's enemy and ours) watching against us hourly 1 And have I, have you, overcome these things, and are we practically representing Christ down here as He represents us up there, anchor and forerunner fixed within the veil? If not, what deep repentance and humiliation become us.
G. V. W.
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