Here is a challenge for the days ahead this week: Let’s go forth with a sense of God’s love for us, and seek to enjoy that love in a little fuller way each day.
Knowing God’s love compels us to love God and others. The Apostle John, who enjoyed the love of God and the Lord Jesus, wrote, “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). The Lord Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). Here we see love’s practical effect in John and the other disciples, and the same should be true of all who know the love of God. The Apostle John further states: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God” (1 John 4:7).
God’s desire is that the divine nature will be produced and nourished in every believer. But are we all conscious of the relative measure to which this is achieved in us?
“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when He had so said, He shewed unto them His hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you” (John 20:19-21).
The secret of peace is more than knowing that our sins are forgiven. It is having the Person and work of Christ before our souls, having our hearts engaged and occupied with the One who has done it all, and gazing by faith upon the marks of His accomplished work—those wounds in His hands feet, and side. This is true peace for the inner Christian life.
Everyone who has peace with God knows that his sins are gone forever, that he is standing in God’s eternal favor, and that the glory of God awaits him in the future. Happy is the person that lives in the enjoyment of the blessed knowledge of what the work of the Lord Jesus on the cross has accomplished for their eternal blessing.
“Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest” (Psalm 55:6).
“We spend our years as a tale that is told…and we fly away” (Psalm 90:9-10).
Where is everyone going? I am sitting at a café in the “A” gate concourse of the Saint Louis, Missouri airport. People are hurrying by on their way to or from their flight. Old and young alike are rushing on their way, I suppose, to many destinations near and far.
But where are they going? I don’t mean, where are they headed at the end of the present trip they are on, or which plane is to take them to which destination, but where are they going when they leave this world. Do they have their “ticket” for that final flight to heaven when the Lord comes? Are they ready to “meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17)?
Where are you going? The only ticket to heaven is the Lord Jesus Christ, through the work of Calvary, and His blood that washes sins away. I hope every reader has secured that ticket by receiving the Lord as their Savior. If you have, you are ready for that one-way flight to the Father’s House.
Our lives can be full of so much tragedy, hurt, heartbreak, and misery. Yet, even in the midst of all this trouble we can be rich and enjoy life. Some people have lost everything temporal in this life, but they have a real Friend, who is always with them. Of this Friend, the Lord Jesus, we read: “There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). And also, “He is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend” (Song of Solomon 5:16).
To be friendless in this life is to be poor indeed. Many can share accounts of friends who have failed us or let us down when the going got rough. But, in Jesus Christ we have a Friend who loves us no matter what we do and what happens. The poet and hymn-writer, Joseph Scriven, in 1885 wrote: “What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear.” Around 1863 James G. Small wrote, “I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! He loved me ere I knew Him; He drew me with the cords of love, and thus He bound me to Him.”
It is certainly wonderful to have an unfailing, unchanging Friend in Jesus. Enjoy His companionship today!
This gate suggests to us the thought of humility. Of the Lord as the perfect example we read, “He humbled Himself” (Philippians 2:5, 8) We also have several exhortations regarding humbling ourselves. Here are four of them:
“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4).
“And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up” (James 4:10).
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).
How watchful we need to be from day to day, in our service for Christ, that pride doesn’t become the motive for what we do. “What doth the Lord require of thee, but…to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8) We have nothing to boast in apart from what we are by the grace of God.
As we proceed through the book of Hebrews we continue to see the Lord Jesus seated at the right hand of God. Yesterday we mentioned two of the four times, and here are the other two occasions:
Thirdly, He is seated having offered Himself as the supreme sacrifice for sin. “But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 10:12).
Fourthly, He is seated as the object for faith. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
These and many other Scriptures indicate the need of having the person and work of Christ before us as our constant occupation and object. This is especially true in these “last days” when there is more and more to discourage and weary the saints. How gracious of our God to anticipate these “perilous times” and to give us a full resource for the path of faith.
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“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9).
The book of Hebrews opens up to us the heavens so that we can look up by faith and be occupied with the one that God would always occupy His people with—His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The above quote is perhaps a key verse to the book. Indeed, God has seated Him at His own right hand as brought before us four times in this epistle.
Firstly, He is seated as the one who has taken care of the question of sin. “Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3).
Secondly, He is seated as our Great High Priest, interceding for us. “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such a High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Hebrews 8:1).
Here is a quote from the well known evangelist, Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892):
“When going through affliction we are brave through the grace of God when we are faithful to His service. Then we believe that there is nothing in this world worth living for. When we think of the world to come, we gladly deny ourselves. But when the good times come, how difficult it is to think of the world to come. It is then that we sink in dishonourable lust and sin.”
Yes, whether in good time or bad times, we need to have the reality of what is ahead before our hearts. “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18). The preacher, John Wesley (1703-1791), when asked why he had given up so many earthly comforts to serve the Lord, replied, “There is another world.” Let’s not forget this truth as we start out on another week of planning and activity. It will keep everything we do in the proper perspective.
It is not possible for us to bring the Father true worship or to have fellowship with Him, if we are not filled with a profound impression of the preciousness of the person and sacrifice of Christ. Our heart must be filled with Him! Christ is the foundation of our blessed relationship with God. How can we enter the presence of God in spirit, without an enjoyment of the One who secured this place for us?
If the Lord is not constantly before our souls in all His preciousness, and if His loving-kindness fails to rejoice and refresh our hearts, then our worship will be a mere formality. We may be able to recount a whole list of truths fluently in our prayers, but that is of little value to God. He Himself finds His delight only in Christ and seeks souls who share His delight, so far as we are capable of doing so. That is worship! Singing hymns too, if we have lost sight of Christ, is at best pleasant to the ear, but not the expression of true worship. The Lord Jesus said, while sitting on the well at Sychar: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him” (John 4:23).
Two men met in the elevator of a big hotel, in which dogs were not allowed. One of the men was wearing hunting clothes.
“It looks like you are going hunting,” the other said.
“Oh yes,” replied the first proudly.
“Haven’t you got a dog?” was the next question.
“I have, and between you and me I have him here in the hotel. I won’t tell you what trick I used to get him in, but nobody has noticed yet. Do you hunt as well?”
“Oh no!” answered the other, “I am the hotel owner.” In embarrassment and shame the hunter lowered his eyes. He had given himself away.
Isn’t this precisely how many people act towards God? They ignore His Word and imagine that He doesn’t notice. Or assert that He doesn’t exist. But God is very much alive and the Bible declares, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). Thankfully the work of Christ is able to take care of every sin we have ever committed. He says: “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 10:17).