Ye Are the Epistles of Christ

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Ye are the epistles of Christ, known and read of all men; not, ye ought to be, but you are. What is your moral responsibility? To be an unblotted epistle, and you will be that by gazing on Him, and reflecting Him back. If we come together in assembly in this spirit, there will never be any trouble. There would be different measures of attainment; but the Apostle says, If in anything we differ, and if you and I are both true to Christ, and feeding on Him, "God will reveal even this unto you."
The only thing that will enable us to trample self under foot, is to have Christ before us as the one absorbing Object of our hearts. All evils have resulted from self getting a place, and not Christ. The fullness of God ever waits on the empty vessel. The great point is to be the empty vessel. If I am full of myself, I must be turned upside down and emptied of self, and then I can expect to be filled with the oil—filled from His hand. It is one thing to talk of empty vessels, and another thing to be such; but we do not know what we have to go through before we are really empty vessels. We begin full of enthusiasm, but we grow very small in our own estimation.
The English word "tribulation" comes from a Latin word signifying threshing machine. You look smaller when you come out than when you went in; but there is more reality because the chaff is gone. In the opening of Romans 5, we have our standing, "justified by faith," etc. But in the following verses, mark the steps down into the threshing-machine: tribulation, patience, experience, etc. Every real servant has to take out his degree in the threshing machine. You may be in it sixty years; and you look very small when you come out, but it is better to be small and real, than to assume to be somebody when we are nothing. God will have moral reality. There is often a lot of mere sham among us—talking, writing, praying, and singing far beyond our real experience. All this is most dangerous. It hardens the heart, deadens the conscience, and lays us open to the wiles of the enemy.
There may be plenty of intercourse with saints, without a particle of communion. It is Himself we have to cultivate—personal communion with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. If you find half a dozen people together whose hearts are full of Christ, you find a home there, and you have the secret of the source and spring of the glow that was in the church in Philadelphia (Rev. 3); it is Philadelphia condition, and you can count on the Holy Spirit's power. Things done in affection for Christ have a special charm for His heart. The moment you take your eye off Him, and get occupied with works, down you go. "He hath made my mountain to stand strong." We sometimes get occupied with the mountain and forget the power that made it strong. We get occupied with meetings, perhaps, instead of with the One who made them happy, and so lose the happiness. In place of the strong mountain, trouble comes. Keep your eye on Him, and there will be joy and peace, and deep communion with Him, and thus we shall be unblotted epistles of Him.