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Joshua 5:9 - 11

It is of all importance that if we know the Lord is not here, we should know the place where He is. In fact, we could not be truly attached to Him where He is not if we did not follow Him in heart to the place where He is. The place is heaven, which is our only place.

The point for us to consider next is how we enter into and enjoy the place where He is.

The great failure of the church was giving up Paul. Therefore it was said to Timothy, "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner". All in Asia did not give up evangelical truth, but they gave up Paul. Anything popular you may have, but not Paul; and why? Because it is heavenly.

If I look at men of God like Baxter, John Newton, Samuel Rutherford, Owen, or George Herbert, what do I find? Plenty of affection for Christ, but nothing heavenly.

I cannot believe you love the Person if you would not like to get to the place where He is.

I never saw a division yet in which the heavenly position was not given up by the malcontents.

It is of immense importance that we seek to understand the place.

Now in the passage in Joshua it is not that they were not over Jordan. They were over Jordan, and it is in Colossians 2:20 that you are over Jordan.

In Romans you get "dead to sin, dead with Christ": out of the man. But in Colossians you are out of the place where the man is.

When I get deliverance I am free from the man; the next step is, I am clear of the place where he is.

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Gilgal is the actual spot where all of man goes.

Many understand Marah who do not understand Gilgal.

Marah is that I refuse the thing that would draw me from the wilderness.

In Gilgal you drop it all. It is cut off and cannot be resumed.

It was said lately that the testimony is all about the Lord Jesus Christ; but I would add that the testimony is to a glorified Saviour. For in John 15:26 the Lord says, "whom I will send". This is not the same as in chapter 14: 16: "I will pray the Father, and he shall give", etc. In one place the Holy Spirit is spoken of as sent by the Father, in the other as sent by the Lord; and there are two distinct offices connected with the mission of the Holy Spirit in these two chapters, in chapter 14 to comfort them, and in chapter 15 testimony. Power and faith are always connected.

What gives power is, as we have in Jeremiah 4, "Return unto me". "He shall testify of me", the blessed Person who is gone up to the right hand of God. His body is on the earth, and that body was to be the expression or manifestation of that Man in the very scene of His rejection.

You do not get "testify" in John 14, but in John 16, "He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you". The effect will be as with the queen of Sheba; she said, as it were, I have lost Abyssinia, but I have gained the knowledge of all the glory of Solomon; "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage", Psalm 16:6.

You can be occupied with feelings of attachment for a person, and yet not be in concert with what that person has, because you are not in the place. That is "the old corn of the land". The children of Israel when they got over Jordan had the passover, and the

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day after they ate the old corn of the land. The passover was a type of the Lord's supper, in which I can say, I have reached the consummation of His accomplished work. I begin a new day, and I eat of the old corn of the land. When I come to Gilgal I find I am left in a place where the Lord is not, but I have the power of the Holy Spirit in the place where the Lord is not.

What has hindered souls from understanding the mystery is that they are not consciously on heavenly ground. You never can understand the mystery but on heavenly ground.

In Colossians 3 the apostle sought to educate the Colossians for this mystery.

No man gets clear of the intrusion of the flesh until he gets to Gilgal. I have seen a great many suffer from the Colossian intrusion; it may be loud singing or anything that brings the man to be a contributor to christianity. We ought to be able to say to every offer of the flesh, I do not want your learning, I do not want your sanctimoniousness; I want nothing but Christ, for I am complete in Him, and He is everything and in all - I am looking up.

You see a great many texts on the walls, but do you see that text, "Seek those things which are above"?

I never did look back that I did not become a spectacle to my fellows - like Lot's wife.

Take Stephen: he looked up, and he saw he had a Saviour in heaven.

You know very little about a person if you only know what he was and not what he is; and that is the difference between the manna and the old corn of the land.

In Colossians 1:4 they had not the mystery in faith. They might have nice meetings and the like - not forsaking the gospel. Demas, for example, did

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not go after infidelity, but the apostle says, "Demas hath forsaken me".

There is nothing a man so revolts from naturally as to see that this scene is gone.

But though this scene is gone for me, I am supported down here by supplies from the place where my Lord is gone.

You may have great capacity for enjoyment of this world, but you do not belong to it.

By the Holy Spirit I walk the path He has trodden up to the place where He is.

There are many who have for a moment tasted it; and I would ask, Had you your relatives, you property there? No; I had only the Lord. And were you happy without them? Perfectly so.

There are many in heart over Jordan who have never accepted it. Your acceptance of the new place necessitates dropping everything connected with the old place. Like a recruit brought to the barrack gate; he drops all the old, the civilian, to get the new.

The apostle said that when he was caught up into the third heaven he did not know whether he was in the body or out of the body. They say that a man in a balloon gradually loses, first the sense of feeling, then the sight of things below, then his hearing, and lastly, consciousness.

You do not get a right idea of sanctification until you come to this: Paul came down from the place where he did not know whether he was in the body, and now he will have a crippled body. The more I understand the exaltation, the more I shall be crippled here.

Once you separate the church from the gospel, I am prepared for any departure, human subsidy and carnal support of every kind.

In the letter the apostle writes to the Colossians he warns them that they had not the mystery in power. And nothing but the mystery in power can keep you.

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How often have I wished I were eloquent! And if I had been, I should have spoilt it.

I have no doubt Laodicea has come out of this; and as surely as you separate the church from the gospel you will get into that which is Laodicean.

How often an evangelist deplores the state of his converts! I say, Your converts are the pattern of yourself. No one ever understood the gospel thoroughly that did not understand the church.

The apostle prayed for the Colossians, for heaven. The gospel gives you the right to heaven; the church takes you up to heaven.

The Head was given up in Romanism.

Sardis is the source of Laodicea. It is the return to the gospel without returning to the church. Luther did not get Paul's gospel; therefore he did not get the church.

During the last sixty years the truth has been fading away in the kingdom of heaven, which has the word of God for its rule, but not the Spirit; while concurrently God has been recovering the truth in the church, His own assembly.

The Lord give you and me grace to keep it!

I never saw a brother who left the heavenly ground who did not become Babylonish, not Egyptian - for Egypt is the gross world, but Babylon is the refined, aesthetic world. I have watched them, for I have had to watch myself.

Laodicea is christian religion without Christ Himself. Do not give up the heavenly side! Do not give up Paul! Do not be "ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner"!

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Joshua 5:9 - 11

I believe that this truth of Joshua 5 is the most difficult stage in the history of a christian. It is important to understand that Israel was here over Jordan, but not yet in possession of Canaan. All the trouble about themselves is over. Now the question I would ask is, Do you know, and are you in the enjoyment of the new place? Are you in possession? I do not say, Do you know your title to the new place? Title and possession are not the same thing. If you are not sure of your title, you are legal. If you are sure of your title and do not possess, you are worldly, for something has come in instead. What are you set for? Are you bound for enjoying possession now in the place where you are blessed? The joys of the Father's house are not to be had anywhere but in the house.

In this chapter the people were out of Egypt and had reached Canaan; they had passed over Jordan. They had kept the passover, and got through the Red Sea; that is, in figure, Christ has died for you. Each heart can say, I am sure of that; but there are really four stages in the history of the christian. There are four aspects of the death of Christ. 1, The Passover. 2, The Red Sea (Christ died for me). 3, The brazen serpent. 4, Jordan (I died with Christ). The first stage is comparatively easy. It is more difficult as you get near to Canaan, because the enemy's opposition increases as you approach the land, and it culminates in greatest force when you get into the land. More than six hundred thousand men started out of Egypt. How many got into the land? Two! Why? Was there any lack of power to carry them in? No; the same power that gets me out carries me in.

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It is all one work; God brought Israel out that He might bring them in. In christendom thousands are saved who never enjoy possession. The thief on the cross knew Gilgal, though he did not know any wilderness experience. Everything was rolled off for him on the cross, where he learned the most wonderful expression of divine grace. There was no wilderness for him, he was brought through all the road at once. He had to travel the whole distance of man's depravity and distance from God in company with his Saviour. He knew Gilgal perfectly.

In Romans 6 we get "newness of life", and that implies newness of place. You must be of a new order, you cannot have the new place without the new order. You were of the man that was driven out of paradise; where are you now? How could a man driven out of paradise get into heaven? If you have a place with God, you cannot be of the order of man that was driven out. You are a new order of man, and you are fit for the new place. You have to get assured of the simple fact that you died with Him, and that you are in His life. In Romans we are "dead to sin", but in Colossians we have died out of the place, we are "dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world". "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God". What I want to exercise your hearts about is having to do with One who is out of this scene. Any believer who can say, I know what it is to be over Jordan, I am clear of this place through the death of Christ, must now "lay hold on eternal life". You are to enjoy life in the sphere that belongs to you.

But being clear of this place through the death of Christ is not possession, it is qualification for possession. In Joshua 5 the people are not in possession, but they are over Jordan; they have the twelve stones taken from the bed of the river. Gilgal is rolling off the old thing, you part company with the thing that cannot get in; that is what is meant by verse 9.

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Circumcision is parting company with the old thing, it could not take place in the wilderness. It is not Marah, dying to this and that; Gilgal is mortifying my members, for I have left the old place. I am risen with Christ. Gilgal is the manner of preparation for possession: "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth".

Now I want you to be exercised about possession. Is there to be no progress? The great lack amongst us is that so few are set for progress. At Gilgal you come to the place where no quarter is given to the old thing. Marah is different, I refuse something that I would like to have; but in Gilgal the old thing is rolled off; "put off the old". The failure of Israel was that they did not keep to Gilgal. We often speak of being blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ. How can you talk of your blessings if you are not in spirit in the place of blessing? I have no doubt that we have not known the separating and abounding nature of the enjoyment, the exuberance of the delight; as the apostle says, "Whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God", 2 Corinthians 5:13. If you are in a scene of unspeakable delight, are you sorry that you have put off the old? It is joy unspeakable and full of glory. What I want you to get hold of is this third stage, where there is "rolling off". There will never be a time here when there will not be something to renounce. The moment you stop renouncing you stop progressing. But your renunciation is not that of a monk or a nun, shutting yourself out of the way of the world; you have got into a new scene. It is more like a recruit brought to the barracks. He drops the civilian there and wears uniform. He is a metamorphosed person, nothing is left of the old. So with us. It is, "Not I, but Christ". We are of Christ's order, we belong to Him. We "have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him".

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The question I want to lay on every heart is, Am I at Gilgal? If not, why not? If you have not been at Gilgal, you certainly do not know what possession is, and you cannot talk of the place where your blessing is; you cannot get the joys of the Father's house anywhere but in the house. People fail to accept Gilgal. If Barnabas had been at Gilgal, he would not have had that difference with Paul; Acts 15:37. He would not part with his relation. Natural relationships hinder; there is great danger of being influenced by natural ties. I have rolled that off, if I have been at Gilgal. I am not influenced by them there, because I am in a new order of things.

If you turn to 2 Timothy 1, you find the trouble that is in the church to this day. All in Asia had turned away from Paul, not from the gospel, but from the heavenly side of truth. The heart that is true will not turn away; but how do you account for it that with all the light and knowledge we have we are not more characterised by entering into possession, having present power, and present consciousness of the mind of the Lord? That is the old corn of the land. The manna ceased, and then they get the old corn of the land. The manna is Christ as support, help, priesthood; the old corn of the land is power. It is the corn of the land in Philippians 3, "One thing I do". We cannot do without help, but help is not power. Power is that I am in Him and He in me.

I believe there are two reasons why we do not understand Gilgal. The first is that all turns upon heart for Christ. First love is gone, we do not feel His absence. The second reason is that we do not long for His company, to be where He is. These are, I believe, the two defects. You cannot be in possession unless you are over Jordan, nor can you have communion without union. A great deal of work that is done is not according to the Lord's mind, because it is not done in communion. How could you, if you

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do not know His mind, be according to His pleasure? In 2 Kings 2 Elijah is gone, and Elisha is very sensible of what this place would be without him. Elisha says, I cannot get on here without you unless I have a double portion of your spirit. So you will find that the Holy Spirit is the only One who can make up to you for the absence of Christ. He only can comfort you: "He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you". Why do we not look for the comfort of the Holy Spirit during Christ's absence? We do not enjoy possession, because we do not use the Holy Spirit.

Now turn to another passage, Matthew 14. Peter says, "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water". The blessing is to be got where He is, and the defect is that you are not longing to be where He is. It was affection that drew Peter to Him. In the ship he was in humanly secure circumstances, but Peter says, as it were, I would change my present circumstances, I would drop everything that would suit me humanly in order to be near You. "If it be thou, bid me come" - I would undertake the most perilous journey to be near You. People ask the Lord for guidance. If He told you to go by a most perilous way, would you go? People may be sure enough about getting to heaven, but they want to travel there by the easiest way possible. Peter says, I would like to be where You are, and the Lord says, "Come". Peter had the affection, but not the power. You have the power - why do you not go to Him? Because you have not the affection. If I have the affection to go to Him, I shall find out that I have the power. The Lord grant that we may find what a blessed thing it is to reach Him in spirit; if we understood Gilgal better we should know more what that blessedness is. May we each look to the Lord that our hearts may desire it.

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John 1:29 - 39

I need hardly say, beloved friends, that the gospel is the good tidings of God, and it is an important thing that He Himself announces the good tidings. It is not something that we propose to Him, but something which He proposes to us. The great thing for the soul to get hold of is that it originated with Him. He desired that the distance which existed between Himself and us should not continue.

The first thing is that man has offended against God, and the character of the offence is not merely bad conduct: it is will. Eve's was not what would be called bad conduct; but it is important for us to understand what sin is. "The soul that sinneth it shall die". That being must go. Could God allow a creature to set up a will against His own will? That is exactly where Eve was. She went against God's will. That is what made Saul the chief of sinners. His conduct was most exemplary, no one was a better man, "Touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless".

Man is sensible of the distance. In the opening of the history of the Bible, we have two men, Abel and Cain; and these two men, each in a different way, tried to remove the distance - the distance brought in by sin. The creature had a will contrary to God, and the creature must die. Why? Because it has a will; God cannot allow a thing to subsist which is contrary to Himself. The lost will be the everlasting testimony of God's power in destruction.

How do you remove the distance? Cain brings of the fruits of the earth; Abel offers the firstlings of the flock. The fat was the excellence of the offering

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in death. God had respect to Abel's offering. There was faith - nothing else would suit God. The lamb, not chargeable with the guilt, was bearing man's guilt, and at the time of death the preciousness of the thing comes out. But did that really fulfil what God said was necessary - that One should arise to bruise the serpent's head? That is where many souls have a feeble salvation. They are looking at Christ as the Lamb who died. That will not do. He had to meet the judgment - not merely die like a lamb, but bruise the serpent's head.

Now in the first chapter of John's gospel, what you have is this: John says, "Behold the Lamb of God". Faith says, I must have a victim to approach God. That is Abel's side; but what does John say? 'That is the Lamb of God'. Think how the Jewish mind was affected by that! Is God going to remove the distance from His own side? We had created the distance - we ought certainly to remove it. I must get a victim not chargeable with the offence, but I cannot get one to meet the judgment. He must meet the power of Satan. If you do not see that He has grappled with Satan, you have only touched the hem of the gospel. Can you understand a pious Jew hearing about God's Lamb? Has God a lamb? He wants one to remove the distance. See the answer - 'This is the Lamb of God'. God is going to take away the distance from His own side. "His arm brought salvation", Isaiah 59:16.

I do not know anything so reproachful to a creature in the universe as to say he is at a distance from his Creator. What would you think of a son who was not on terms with the best of fathers? It is the greatest stigma upon man that in spite of his attainments he is alien from God.

But now turn to God's side. A father has a very beautiful clock. He says to his children, Any one that breaks this clock shall leave my house. Well, one

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of them is refractory and through disobedience breaks it. 'You must go, or mend it'. He is miserable, he will do everything to mend it. But man is not miserable, he does not care to come back. The child says, I wish I could mend the clock. The next day he is a day older and a day worse. His heart is breaking to get back. That is what you see in the prodigal son, and that will be the terrible misery of the lost, 'I did not break my heart - I found out when it was too late that God was good'. But now the father says to the child, I do not like this distance to continue; I will mend the clock myself. He does it to his own satisfaction. This is a poor illustration, but still the thing of all others remains, God has removed the distance.

In hell sin will be gone; there will be no power to act, nothing but helpless agony. It is the "smoke of their torment".

Now let us see how God has done this. Read Exodus 24:8 - 11. That is a type, a shadow. If a shadow gives you a clear idea, the substance will give you a clearer one. If you turn to Matthew 27:51, you get the substance, "The veil of the temple was rent in twain". Jesus dies; He is the Lamb of God. God rends the veil from inside and says, I no longer dwell in clouds and thick darkness. I remember saying once to a poor woman, God is satisfied, and you ought to be. I never saw her again, but heard she had died the next day, saying, God is satisfied, and I am satisfied as well.

There is no door to heaven now - the veil is rent. Anyone who has faith to approach will find it so. It is like the dream of the old divine; he dreamt he came to a fine palace and was very well received at the door, so well that he went inside, where he was still better received; and from one apartment to another, till he was ushered into the presence of the sovereign, where he was received with acclamation. The nearer you get to God the better off you are.

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The Jews would say, We were all in apprehension when the high priest went in - never sure till he came out. But now God can be "just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus".

Turn to Luke 15, verse 20 - "And he arose, and came to his father". It was not only that when he came he was let in, but the person who was in the lead here was the father. Distance is gone from His side. That is the thing I want you to carry away tonight. I can go and take a poor prodigal in his rags and take him in my arms.

I will now tell you why He did it - it was love. There was necessity; the prodigal says, I know my father is good. I believe a man is converted when he says God is good. A man said to me lately, God is good if we could but trust Him. I believe that man was converted. You may say it is very little. But I say it is enough.

Necessity is bringing the prodigal to the father; love is bringing the father to the prodigal. God got glory at the most distant spot; He can therefore go to the most distant spot and announce His grace. I insist upon it; it is not the parable of the prodigal son, it is the parable of the father's feelings about the prodigal. What is the difference between love and goodness? Love can never cease working for its own delight. Goodness works to my necessity. In nine cases out of ten, believers never get beyond goodness. Your need is not the measure of His grace - it is His own heart. And what is that? I cannot tell you.

Turn to Luke 23:42. Here is an actual case. "Lord, remember me, when thou comest into thy kingdom". You come from the lowest, most degraded, most scandalous position that a Jew could occupy upon this earth, to the highest stage it is possible for man to be in - in company with the Lord Jesus Christ. He comes to the highest spot in one step.

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All the distance is gone from God's side, and therefore He can carry the thief straight to paradise.

I will now turn to our side very briefly. I get two things, not only sin gone, but the Holy Spirit come - I am brought, in a new power, into a new place. "They came... and abode with him". God has removed all the distance - He has thrown His house open, and sent the Holy Spirit to bring you into the enjoyment of it. Could you get anything to rival this? There is no such thing as a rival to the gospel. It is not simply that Christ is the sacrificial Lamb, and that you are left to get on as comfortably as you can. The gospel of the prodigal son was that he might have safety and happy circumstances. That is the gospel of ninety-nine out of a hundred. "Make me as one of thy hired servants". But what about the Father's heart? There is reluctance on man's side as well as distance. There is no reluctance on God's side. It is a wonderful thing that God delights in us. "Compel them to come in", not to be saved, but to come into the house. He brought the sheep, not to the pasture, but to the house, and called his neighbours together, saying, "Rejoice with me". I am glad to have it. Not a word about the sheep. You talk of sinners' interest in the gospel - do you ever hear of anyone talking of God's interest in the gospel? He is glad to have us in the joys of His own house. You come out in a new history in the world. You have a new place - you are a companion of the Lord.

I will finish with an illustration - one that I must invent, for I cannot find a parallel amongst men. We have often heard of a good man risking his life to save a fellow-creature, and I can picture a great man passing by and, seeing one of his fellow-men in danger of drowning, stopping his carriage in order to go and save him. That is goodness. There is an excellent man. But that does not tell the whole gospel. The rest, as I said, I must invent - The great

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man says to the man he saved from drowning, 'I am glad you are saved; now step up into my carriage; we will drive to my house, and I will share all I have with you'. You hear the gospel now; do you believe it? Are you in the enjoyment of the simple fact? Where do you dwell? "Come and see. They came... and abode with him". That is what He likes; the highest satisfaction He can have is that we should be at home with Himself. We can only look to God that He may bring two points definitely before each heart - firstly, that God has removed the distance from His own side. If you believe that, you say, I will approach Him. That is one thing. The next thing is, His love is so great He delights to have your company. It is not that you will feel yourself out of place there - you will be there in all the beauty of Christ.

The Lord grant that any soul in this room who may be burdened may simply understand the gospel - brought home to the delight of God. And to the believer I say, you have never enjoyed your Father's home and never gratified his heart if you have never 'gone home with Him'. The further you go, like the good man in the dream, the better you are off. The Lord, in His infinite goodness, cause His word to reach every soul in this room, for His name's sake.

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Exodus 14:26 - 31; Joshua 3:13

I suppose every one here knows that the Red Sea and the Jordan are both types of the death of Christ; different aspects and different effects, but they coalesce. But it is important for us to understand what the death of Christ has accomplished. The first thing is, He died for us; the second, we died with Him. There are two parts: the first is between God and the sinner, the second is between the sinner and God. Very often we begin with the second, and that accounts for a great deal of the unhappiness of souls - they have not begun right. You have never entered into the effects of Christ's death, consequently you are not enjoying what He has accomplished for you. I turn to Exodus 12:13, where I get the state of the mass of christians in this world. You are sheltered from judgment. You have never got to chapter 14 at all, because like Israel you are occupied with looking for escape from judgment. The man in Exodus 12 is like a man in a lifeboat - he is working for the shore. Thus Israel takes three days to get from the 12th to the 15th chapter - a type of the three days when Saul neither ate nor drank, learning the full effects of the death of Christ. I do not agree with what is sometimes said, that you remain in Egypt. Egypt is the scene of judgment. What a christian generally does is to go to Babylon - the refinement and luxury of this world.

I think nothing has done more harm to souls than pressing them that they had peace because they had shelter. Peace and shelter are quite different. Shelter is that I will not be lost. God sees the blood; but that is a very different thing from what you get by the death of Christ. Here you are sheltered from judgment

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- not at all happy in the Judge; but what you want is to get out of the place of judgment. Therefore they were to eat the passover in haste.

Now in these verses of chapter 14 you have the power of the enemy. Peace is when you have crushed the foe. You believe that Christ was the paschal Lamb - that His blood was more effectual than the blood of bulls and of goats. Quite right; but do you believe that that blessed One went down into death and broke the power of the enemy? He has abolished death. It is not simply that you are sheltered under the blood, which is true. There was the judgment of man; Satan was a murderer, he took life from us; therefore the promise in the garden was that of the woman's seed should arise One that should bruise the serpent's head. Can you meet Satan and say, You are broken? The remarkable thing about our Lord's life down here was that Satan knew Him. The very first time when He cast out an unclean spirit he says, You are the Son of God. The devils say, Do not send us into the abyss. It is all over with us. The Lord showed that as a Man He was able to deliver man from the power and thraldom of Satan. But that was not all. He entered into death - his stronghold, under the judgment of the power of darkness. Now turn for a moment to chapter 15, and you will see the effect. We are in a place where both the devil and the flesh are, and yet we are manifested as superior to both. This is the only place where you can show superiority. 'We triumph in Thy triumphs, Lord'. It is a great thing for the soul to get hold of the simple fact that it is all clear upwards. The power is broken - between God and me there is nothing.

The first words of the song of Exodus 15 mark it:

"The Lord... hath triumphed gloriously". Is that shelter? No, He has abolished death. "O death, where is thy sting?" Death is turned round now. There is nothing between God and you. You never

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get established till you enter simply into the assurance of this, that there is not a single disturbing element between God and you.

The Lord Jesus Christ has met the power of the enemy in death, broken his power, and risen out of death. I have peace because the enemy is crushed. Note this very remarkable expression, "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly".

With a person who has got peace, the first thing is exultation. When the women get the song it pervades society. Secondly, you desire to exalt God here on earth. The third mark is in verse 17 - "Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance" - the new place. The prodigal was kissed, but he was not in the new place. Man was turned out of the garden, and until he is in the new place he is not right with God.

Now in Joshua 3 I come to how to settle between myself and God. My place is in the Father's house. I am not there yet, but I have the joys of that place down here. I have no other real property. See Luke 16:12 - "Who shall give you that which is your own?" That is my own. I pass from everything here to the new place. Is it all clear between you and God? If it is, you are over Jordan; not by your efforts - it is Christ's work to get you over Jordan. If a poor sinner is to be saved from hell, you must propose him some place. What do you propose to the sinner? Heaven when he dies? No, heaven this minute. He gets a right to be out of one place and to be in another. Now, it is not a question of Satan, but of flesh. Turn to Romans 6:8 - "dead with Christ", and verse 11 - "alive unto God". You get here that you are dead. Do you believe you died with Him? You say, I lost my temper this morning; how could I say I was dead? I asked you, were you dead with Him? That is true whether you believe it or not. Then how can you account for it

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that I lost my temper? You were not walking in faith. You were inconsistent with what your faith is. You never have accepted the fact that you died with Him, and you know it is not a clear matter between you and God. The prodigal says, I am not fit. The other side was that the Father kissed him. The Father is quite clear to come to him, but he is not quite clear to go to the Father. He began right, but we do not often begin right. The first thing you ought to settle is, How does God stand with me? A person says, I believe that I have died. Do you never do anything inconsistent? I do, but it is because I am not walking in faith. Then I judge myself for inconsistency. I do not judge the work of Christ. You cannot touch that point. I am dead with Him, and that is a fact, however I act up to it - not only as in Romans 6, but "dead unto sin". I want the youngest believer here tonight to get hold of this - to get to his or her room and say, I am dead with Christ. I believe it, and yet I live so much after the flesh, I am inconsistent. I am right to be humbled, but I do not call in question what Christ has done. Read Colossians 2:20 - "dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world". Here you are over Jordan. I am out of every single thing that barred me out of heaven. If I accept Jordan there is not a single thing between me and God - every barrier is gone. I am quite sure there are hundreds who taste being over Jordan who have never accepted it. I have not to go through a single thing. There is no necessity for a prolonged death-bed if you really accept what Christ did. The rudiments are the ABC - I am out of the whole thing through His death. Why do you not thank God you are in heaven? Why do you not get to the other side of the pole? You are not so sure of the good side as that you are out of the bad side. Six hundred thousand men went out of Egypt, but only two got into the land. That is the other side of the

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pole. I am not like the children of Israel, because it is actually done for me. The power of Satan is broken; that is God's side of the story - thank Him for it. Now what is your side? The old thing you have here is gone in the cross. Elisha took his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. He takes up the mantle of Elijah; he has a new power, he goes into a new place in a new style. The thief on the cross was divested of everything in a second. It may take you or me forty years. Why? Because we do not believe. There is not a single thing in this world to bar you from heaven, because Christ has died. A soul says, I will give that up; it is of the flesh. I knew a man in business to whom I said, You are not in that place of the Lord. He said, I know it, I will give it up in three months. The next day his horse rolled over him - he had to give it up.

Another case was of a man who took off his ornaments and sent them to a jeweller to sell them, but a burglar stole them. Tell me the most vital spot in a man's history. As sure as life he will be touched in that spot yet.

I trust the Lord will make good to your souls the two points I desire to bring before you - not only that Christ died for you, but that the power of the enemy is broken, and there is no disturbing element between God and you. That is the peace of God. It is not simply that I am sheltered, but "the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more". I do not expect to wear the flesh out, to attenuate it. It was an old heresy that the less flesh you had the more spiritual you were!

What I have insisted on is that I have died with Christ. You must press upon your soul the divine verity. You are dead - you have no right to be active. You are dead with Christ, and you are reviving that thing that has died with Christ, and if you do not judge yourself it will be your scourge. A man may

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wear out his brains in making a fortune - God sends him brain-fever, or softening of the brain. If you judged yourself you would not be judged. I want you to judge yourself, not the sin - everyone judges that who has any conscience at all.

The Lord, in His infinite goodness, lead our hearts to understand the greatness of the place that He has gained, the completeness of the deliverance which He has effected - that we are out of the place of judgment and in a scene of unbounded bliss that belongs to us.

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Matthew 16:18

It is a sad fact, beloved friends, that the subjects that we are most familiar with are often the ones we are the most deeply ignorant about, and perhaps next to a person's salvation there is nothing more commonly in anyone's mouth than the church. We are leavened with the incorrect idea of what it is. What is the house of God? If I go to the most learned divine or to the most reputable author, I look for the word and find 'a congregation where the sacraments are duly administered and the gospel faithfully preached'. That is the definition abroad. Some say, It is a congregation of believers. There is no such definition in Scripture. That only ends in a 'believers' meeting'. The best way to set forth what is wrong is to set forth what is right. The first point is, what is the origin of this church? Some would say it was not a new structure, but I have divine authority for saying it is. I am quite aware the word "assembly" occurs in the Old Testament, and that in Acts 7 it speaks about the "church in the wilderness", but the little word 'my' never occurred before. I have positive authority as to the newness of the structure. What was the origin of it? It was in connection with Christ's own rejection here upon earth. Turn to Matthew 14:10, "And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison". There, up to chapter 16: 18, the Lord is educating His disciples for the new structure. I earnestly commend it to your study. Christ was rejected by His own on the earth, and now intimates that He will have a structure on the earth, and that all the powers of hell cannot prevail against it. I must refer to a passage of immense importance -

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2 Thessalonians 2:7: Who is He? The Spirit of God. But where is the Spirit of God? He forms the body. He is not in the body - He dwells in the house. In Acts He filled the whole house where they were sitting. That is what makes the congregation such a solemn place - it is the house of God. I do not believe that we have a sense of the solemnity proper to it. A churchman says, I respect the church. But you make it the walls, I make it the congregation - He filled the house where they were sitting. The Holy Spirit is dwelling here, and the flood of iniquity that is ready to course over this world is checked.

The next point is, what is the material of which it is formed? A child might answer, "living stones". Quite right. There is a great deal more in a living stone than is generally apprehended. When Peter made the confession, You are the Son of God, the Lord said, You are a stone, "and upon this rock" - Himself, outside everything, a new foundation - "I will build my assembly". Turn to 1 Peter 2:5 - "Yourselves also, as living stones", etc. It is of immense importance for a person to understand why he takes his place at the table. Because he is converted? There must be something more. You do not exactly know how you took your place there. You do not know what qualifies you, what really enables you to fill your place rightly, and therefore you are a very feeble article. You are not there in faith. I do not want intelligence; I want faith. It is faith that actually proves you are a living stone. Turn to Matthew 16:8 - 10 - "O ye of little faith", etc. The Lord was educating them. Is He talking about conversion? Conversion is what the Lord did for me, but when I look at a living stone it is my relationship to Him. Where is your faith? How many baskets took ye up? They were in the ship and had forgotten to take bread. Did the Lord give them bread? Not one bit. He throws them back upon what He is.

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That is what qualifies me. It is not because there is a nice preacher there, but because the Lord is there. It is not His assembly without Him. I do not call any assembly His assembly but where He is Himself. I may get all the members of Parliament together in this town - it would not be Parliament. "That thou mayest know how... to behave thyself in the house of God". People talk of going to the Lord's table, of going to break bread; but where do you hear people say, I am going to the house of God? I have to go through the week, too, with it, because it is the week of unleavened bread. It does not mean that you may know how to behave yourself in the meeting - it means all the week through.

Every truth confirms the foundation truth. Every man, as he advances in truth, has a better grasp of the gospel. It is what I could not explain to any builder, but nevertheless a divine truth, that every brick you put on the building adds a brick to the foundation.

The next point is that it is the "habitation of God through the Spirit", Ephesians 2:22. In Ephesians 2 you are taken from step to step until you are brought down here to the habitation of God. There must be more than conversion; people must be put into their place in the house. Paul does not say, I converted a lot of people at Corinth. He planted them - the word is used for 'a colony'. In Matthew 13 the net was brought to shore. To catch the fish? No - they sat down and selected. That is what is wanted - selection, putting in their place. I believe a deal of mischief has been done by getting people to the meetings. Get them to own Christ - His supremacy, His rights over His own house. Unless they get that they are rickety, they are unhappy, they do not understand what their true position is. Nine-tenths of the teaching is always dwelling on the benefits of the soul, not what they are there for, constituted to be an habitation of God upon the earth. The Old Testament

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people often put one to shame. "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord". What has christendom done? They have got up great buildings to make the thing conspicuous. When Christ was exalted at God's right hand the Holy Spirit came down here to maintain for Christ in the very place of His rejection - but not visibly. The moment you try to get up anything visibly, for man to see, you are going contrary to God. I know much feebleness in testimony has arisen from using human means, looking to the world for some countenance and some help in the preaching of the gospel. The more you adhere to the Holy Spirit the more power you will have. What happened to Paul at Philippi? A man asked him to go there and he met nothing but women at first. A woman proclaims him in a striking way as servant of the Most High God. It was an unclean spirit. He says, "Come out of her". The whole town rises up - mob, magistrates and lictors - and he is put into prison. The jailer was the man. God's power shook the place; it shook the jailer, and he was brought in.

The next point is not so easily explained, but I turn first to Hebrews 2:12. In the house of God is the sanctuary. In the Old Testament it was there the sanctuary was. See Psalm 73 - "until I went into the sanctuary". That is not your own house. I long "to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary". What the apostle is setting forth in Hebrews is that they had a better thing in christianity than they ever had under the Mosaic dispensation. They are going to heaven, but they are on earth. Hebrews answers to Numbers. The first day is the beginning of the week. The one who is not eligible for the Lord's table is not eligible for service in the house of God during the week. The danger is, we limit everything to the breaking of bread. That is the beginning - it is introductory. "In the midst

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of the assembly will I sing thy praises". We have Him now in the house.

Now I turn to Hebrews 3 - "Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession". He is both, and wherever the High Priest is we can find ourselves. See verse 6 - "Christ as a son over his own house". It is a wonderful thing to have the blessed Lord in the midst. Turn to chapter 8: 2 - "A minister of the sanctuary". I want you to apprehend that I have a much greater sanctuary than the Jews had. But you say, Cannot I have the presence of the Lord in my own room? Yes, but not in the same way as in the house. Every believer has entrance into the sanctuary without leaving this room. If he comes in he does so without a spot. There are three parts in Hebrews: firstly the High Priest to relieve me of my infirmities; secondly, I go with Him into the holy place; then I am strong, I am running a race. He is in the sanctuary in all the halo of divine glory. You say, I cannot see it. But I say, do you feel it? It will have a distinct effect upon you - ecstasy - I am lost. I have lost myself - a very good thing to lose. I am outside the greatest favour and the greatest sorrow - I am perfectly enchanted with the presence of the Lord. I quite admit you can enjoy the Lord in your own house; but the Lord can never be the same to you in your house as you would find Him in His house. The queen of Sheba did right - she went to Solomon's house. I address every ministering brother here: when you speak in the assembly and are really led of the Lord, the truth comes out in an expanse that astonishes you, that you never would have found in your own room. That is the apostolic pleasure of the Lord in making the truth known to the assembly.

A clergyman said to me once, 'What do you mean by the sanctuary?' I said, 'What do you mean by the communion table?' He knew no one but a

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priest was allowed inside at that communion table. We are all inside at the communion table now because we are all priests. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter". I am never out of the light. I am not always walking in it myself. I have a taste of heaven in the presence of the Lord, and that enables me to say, 'I will go on, I will race'.

The next thing I turn to is the organization, in 1 Corinthians 12:13. I have dwelt upon the building. There is no union connected with stones; but now I have that which is formed where the living members are all united one to the other and to one common Head. 1 Corinthians 12 alludes to the assembly in function. A stranger walks into this room and listens, and says after the meeting, You have got an organization. Yes, we have. Will you explain it? How did that man give out that hymn? or that brother pray, or give that address? The Head of the body is the Lord of the individual. You have no right to do anything in the assembly but under the direction of the Lord. If anyone does, you have a right to challenge him after the meeting. A brother will say, I gave out that hymn because it was on my heart. That is not a safe answer. A sister might have it on her heart. The hymn to give out is the one for the benefit of the assembly. Organization is like the wise woman in Proverbs - as long as she goes on vigorously the house is in beautiful order. All the activity is connected with the body.

I turn for a moment to responsibility in 1 Corinthians 5:7. I saw a brother walking badly; I could not remedy it. But you should find someone who could. If a mother has a sick child that she cannot cure, she will look for a doctor. We are bound not to let one bit of unruliness go on in the house of God. "Purge out therefore the old leaven".

In 1 Timothy 3:15 we have "the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth". I

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believe the assembly is where we should go to get the time of day. The church is the place to get the mind of the Lord. The only place where truth is is in the house. We ought to take to heart how very little we have set forth the truth that we know. How little have we tried to spread it abroad! What is the object of the house? To tell God's mind to the world. The gospel has been sounded abroad since my young days, but beyond that I see nothing. Christ's first coming - Christ's second coming; between these two things people know nothing. They have no idea of becoming acquainted with Him by the Spirit of God. But how do you help them? Do you ever convey a tract to them? or give them an opportunity of getting one?

May the Lord lead your hearts, not merely to listen attentively now, but to be exercised before Him, that you may know what it is to get to the house of God and that you may understand what a wonderful place it is upon the earth. The person who enjoys heaven most in spirit is the one who enjoys the house of God most, because it brings his heart into unison with it.

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Colossians 2:19

I desire to bring before you this evening, beloved friends, that part of the mystery which is the Head - that which all comes from; and here it speaks of the individual, not the whole church. There is one Head for all the saints on the face of the earth. The mere thought of it is a magnificent idea; but how much greater when we come to understand the privileges and responsibilities of it.

The apostle was writing on purpose to lead the Colossian saints into a knowledge of the Head. It was not that they did not know the theory. I have come to the conclusion that a great many saints understand the unity of the body, but do not understand what it is to have Christ as Head. People like the idea that we are all one. There is not the same opposition to that. If a person wants to have easy times, I say, do not touch the higher branches. The nearer you get to what is God's line, the more you will be opposed, but the more you will be maintained. You will have better times divinely, but worse times humanly.

The first thing I turn to is to look at the epistle itself. There was only one truth that could preserve the Colossians from an impending snare. I do not think that they had actually fallen, but they were in danger. Now every truth has a speciality. I mean, that special truth alone can correct that special failing, that moral malady. I do not think the Lord cured any two diseases in the same way. He put His hand upon one, touched another, and so on. People say, Oh, this or that truth is not important. That truth is important, because that truth alone can correct an error you are sure to fall into if you do not have it.

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The Colossians were in danger. The apostle now brings before them the only truth that would preserve them from the impending danger. I turn to chapter 1: 4 - "Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus", etc. It is very exemplary. Could it be said of us? It is not faith in God, but what the Lord presents in John 14, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as a Man in heaven. "For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven". That is the first thing. In the gospel you are connected with heaven. The difference between the gospel and the church is this in the gospel you get the title to heaven - Christ's death entitles me to it; in the church I am seated as a member of Christ's body in the heavenly places. I do not believe it is possible for any believer to be at rest as to his acceptance until he has found a place suited to God. The first question to Adam was, "Where art thou?" You that were driven out of the paradise of God, have you found a new place with God? Well, you say, what has all this to do with it? It has an immense deal to do with it. If you do not take heavenly ground you will not understand the Head. I could point to some very learned men who have not understood the Head, though they have written and spoken about Colossians. You cannot get hold of the Head in a poor scene like this. You must keep to "the hope which is laid up for you in heaven".

The first section runs down to the end of verse 14, to "the forgiveness of sins" - from the highest point to the lowest.

The next section is from verse 15 - "who is image of the invisible God" - to "in him all the fulness of the Godhead was pleased to dwell". Now I ask you to ponder it. Is that your Head? He is describing what the greatness of the Person is. Still you have not reached it yet.

The next section is from verse 20 to the end of the chapter. That is taken up with how it is all done.

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Heaven is the hope of the gospel; the coming of the Lord is the hope of the church. There are two ministries the ministry of the gospel, which is to everybody, and the ministry of the church, which is only to those who are called in. The one is unlimited, the other is limited. The two were combined in the apostle Paul. The Colossians understood the ministry of the gospel. A very young believer can understand the assembly. He may not understand the mystery, still he can understand the house of God. No doubt the Colossians were a very nice assembly, but they were not walking in faith.

Now I turn to chapter 2. The section there runs down to verse 10. There is a great conflict because there is great opposition. A man need not exert a great deal of power to kill a fly. The apostle says, "For I would have you know what combat I have for you... to the full knowledge of the mystery of God; in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge". Let a person talk about the advancement of man; I will show you an advancement you will not be able to compass. I speak of a christian, if he knew the mystery. A great many would say, What is the mystery? It is only the initiated who can understand the mystery.

But what is the danger? I turn to verse 8 - "Beware lest any man spoil you", etc. A man must first get restful about his soul before he can get into the Colossian snare. "Tradition of men" - that is Judaism; "the rudiments of the world" - philosophy. Now what is the simple object of all this? It is one of the most specious intrusions of the flesh that can be conceived. It worked out into popery. You say, We are very far from Romanism. There is nothing in the world you are so near. Timothy was at Ephesus when Paul wrote to him. He warned him of Romanism in 1 Timothy 4 and of radicalism in chapter 6. If there ever was a centre for the christian, it ought to have

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been Ephesus. Ephesus is the first in the history of downfalls. I do not think people are aware of the solemnity of the snare. I see it creep in amongst us. As soon are you are settled about your soul, then this snare is at your door. It is this the flesh proposes to help christianity. You hear it commonly said, 'God would like a little help. You cannot find fault with a little help'. How could I take help when I am complete? "Ye are complete in him". But would not science and education or religiousness help you? They would not. People even try to impose on others by the sanctity of their dress, or by sanctimonious looks. It is the most desperate snare. The Corinthians said, We are converted now; we will enjoy ourselves in the world. How shocking to every godly person! The Galatians thought they would improve the flesh by bringing in law. Oh, but you say, I would not do either the Corinthian or the Galatian. Take care of the Colossian. If I were eloquent and could say some fine-sounding things - that is Colossian. Have you never heard of revivalism and all the people singing very loud to make a great impression? I see the Colossian coming up very often. You want to help the Spirit of God. Paul, who was the most accomplished of men, when he came down from heaven, was a reduced man. Satan was delighted that he was allowed to cripple him. God says, I can make a poor stuttering worm of more effect than all your splendid speakers. We look for something sensational

- producing effect. I believe nothing has reduced us in power so much on this earth as the way we have tampered with the word, even in preaching the gospel. Nothing of the world that rejected Christ can support His cause.

But you have not got to the Head yet. At verse 11 a new clause begins, down to the end of the chapter. The last section ended with, "ye are complete in him". Now what about the old? The most absolute

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statement in all scripture, as far as I am aware, is here, that the old man is cut away in the cross, never to be resumed. I can understand a pious man copying out of the original and pausing - That could not mean that the old man is absolutely cut off - so he stuck in the word 'sins'. But it is "the body of the flesh". Upon the earth you are buried. For what purpose? There is no status for that man here. The only status you can have is in the resurrection. I compare it to a man who has emigrated with some friends, but he is rather doubtful about his friends. As soon as they reach the shore he turns round and says, We have reached our destination; now burn the ships, that no one may go back. You say, You are bringing me to a strange place. I say I am bringing you to a very grand place. See verse 20 - "dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world". You are over Jordan. The gospel puts me over Jordan, but I have another thing to learn - possession. I do not think you come to actual possession at all in Colossians. They (Israel) had not possession until after the overthrow of Jericho. We do not fight for possession - we fight to keep it. When a person has possession, I do not doubt that he knows what the shout is. I mean, a peculiar sense of enjoyment that this is my place. I believe Colossians 3 answers to Gilgal.

In chapter 3: 11 you touch the Head, but not until then. It is a wonderful thing to have lost my head and to get another Head. The way this truth was revived was this: a brother woke up one morning saying, Well, I have got a Head in heaven. He worked from that. If I have a Head there, other christians have one, and if there is only one Head there is only one body. I think we were better up in Ephesians formerly. If you looked at a brother's Bible you might be sure that Ephesians was well worked. You may be well up in Ephesians but not in Colossians. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek

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those things which are above, where Christ sitteth". Heaven is the point. It is not whether a thing is good or bad. Is it of the earth? There is no harm in a flower; but if you are occupied with it you are occupied with a thing that is earthly. Talk of your beautiful views and beautiful flowers - if you had your mind in heaven you would look at them and sigh, and say, My sin will cause all this to be burned. Paul never speaks of burning - he speaks of the new place. A captain of a ship says to the passengers, You must all go out of the ship. Then the lieutenant comes and says, Friends, you had better get to shore - the ship is on fire. That is Peter's side. The Captain advises you to go - Peter points out that the whole thing is on fire. He skips the millennium. I am transferred from earth to heaven. You stick to it. It is your new place. Until you get a new place you are an exile. You may be forgiven, but you are not a happy man, because you have not got a new place. "And your life is bid". I often think, if my life is in heaven, there must be a good bit of me there anyhow. "Mortify therefore your members" - you must drop everything of the old. It is actual mortification - no life in it. "Mortify ... your members" - that is will in every shape and form. Habits too - "put off all these". It is important for the soul to understand the difference between Marah and Gilgal. Marah is what you get in 1 Peter 4 - "Arm yourselves ... with the same mind". I would like to take that; I do not take it - that is Marah. Gilgal is that you have rolled the whole thing off, like Elisha when he took off his clothes and tore them into pieces. A country youth enlists in the army; he comes to the barracks gate. Yes, you can come in, but you will have to change your dress, your manner, your step, your life. You will be manufactured into a new article. He dropped the old thing and he put on the new thing. "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew... but Christ is all, and in all". The intellectual

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man, the religious man - all are gone. There is no man in that spot. The blind man in John 9 was in the solitude of darkness. Did you ever hear of the solitude of light? He was outside of every man. The religious circle, the domestic circle - he was outside of it all. At one time I could see nobody, and now nobody will see me. But Jesus found him in that place. Did you ever reach it, beloved friends? My impression is that it is the day after the passover. You touch the old corn of the land. When you are in the restfulness of the accomplished work of the Lord, then comes the practice that flows from a person who has found the Head. How simple and beautiful it would be to see, if we had the consciousness that we have reached a spot where there is no man to compete. Christ is everything. You are lost in the delight of it. People talk of division; do you think there would ever have been division if there had been faith in the Head? What is good for one company is good for every company. The Head settled it. The danger amongst us is that we should get into a republic. There never was anything so autocratic as the church of God. I have to consult Him.

The Lord grant that we may not merely listen attentively to this truth, but that in waiting before Him our hearts may learn something of the magnitude of it.

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1 Timothy 4

W.T. You said something last night about Romanism and radicalism. Would you mind going over it again?

J.B.S. 1 Timothy 4:1 - 8. Every one knows that is popery. It is a man exalting himself religiously. He proposes an abstinence which everyone could not take. "Forbidding to marry", etc. That was after all only followed by a few monks and nuns.

W.T. That would be part of the danger at Colosse?

J.B.S. Yes. They wanted the flesh to help on christianity. Here it broke out in what we know as Romanism now - a spurious sanctity. A man was more holy who did not marry and did not eat meat.

W.T. Is there any expression of this idea amongst us? I mean in our ways. You said we were much nearer Romanism than we thought.

J.B.S. We are always near it when we think we can by any means help christianity by the flesh. It ends in Laodicea. You carry on Christ's work without Christ. The moment a man tries to make an impression by human means he has got into Colossians. A man might be singing like a Colossian, looking to the flesh to raise the thing. I heard an organist in a chapel saying to the minister, I will gather the congregation and you will keep it. It is right for the flesh to be a servant, but that is a very different thing from being a contributor. A servant does what he is told, and nothing else. He is like a good telescope - by looking through it at an object I tell you exactly what the object is like. A bad telescope either takes from it or adds to it.

W.T. Then a proper servant would not give his master any counsel?

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J.B.S. Certainly not. If a man gives a verbal message he sometimes says to the servant, What are you going to say? Very often he will give you his own impression with it. That is a contributor. Nothing can serve Christ but the Spirit of God. In the end of John 15 He says,"He shall testify of me" - not they.

W.T. But it says they also.

J.B.S. Yes, but that is the former testimony on the earth. "He who now letteth will let" - not the church, but the Power in it. We have to learn it is all new. There was natural power before; there is not now, it is the Holy Spirit. People quote Daniel and Moses, but that is all gone. You might be the most stammering person that could be found, and you might be more used than the most eloquent man in the kingdom.

W.T. I do not quite understand what you mean by Moses and Daniel.

J.B.S. 'Put on thy sword', etc. They used natural power.

W.T. But the Spirit of God guided them in their prophecy?

J.B.S. There is no question that they spoke by the Spirit of God. The important thing for young christians to understand is that everything is new - newness of power, of life, of place, of interest. Oh, but, a man says, I have my family interests. You must make them all subservient to the new interest. It is the most incongruous thing that ever was that we are left on the earth where the Lord was rejected. You cannot account for it at all unless you understand it is all new. If you say, I will have a little of that and a little of myself, you will certainly come to grief.

W.T. Then the remedy for this is in the end of the chapter, continuing in the apostles' doctrine?

J.B.S. Yes, quite so. Nothing can be a greater difficulty to a man naturally than to say, You must

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give up this man you are in and get another. All the difficulties and heresies have sprung up from not being clear about that point. It is either Adam or Christ. You bring in religion and have a fine opportunity of making much of man by religion. It is all wrong - exalting the man, the first Adam, and refusing Christ. The moment you admit Christ absolutely, then you find your place in relation to Christ. You belong to Him - that is the new interest.

C.E. Would you please say that again?

J.B.S. I say, if you look at the cross, it is an incongruous thing that we are in a place where Christ has been rejected. Therefore we are entirely of a new order, although we are in the old order. "Love one another; as I have loved you". That is the new interest. Therefore the world will hate you. A man that wants to get smoothly through the world does not bother with the new interest. He keeps to his own line of things. The apostle says, "All seek their own". The real test is, what interest have you on earth? Very likely a man would say, My family, or something else. He would not be right, would he?

W.T. No, I do not suppose he would.

J.B.S. It is different from the Old Testament time. You are here like a wife in a house from which her husband has been sent away. He says, Stay here, but do not take any support from those who sent me away. You may say it was a great thing when Constantine countenanced the church. I say it was a terrible day for the church. I have one simple test for every denomination: what is your chief interest? One man will say, Preaching the gospel. It is a good work:

but if he comes from his Master he ought not to call it his chief interest. I say to a man, Do you know anything of the Lord's chief interest? No. Well, I cannot believe you are so in His favour, and have such evidences of His great support as you say, if you do not know what He is most interested about. "The

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secret of the Lord is with them that fear him". He likes to communicate His mind to a person who would value it.

W.T. "Piety .. . having promise of life, of the present one". What is that?

J.B.S. You are better off in every way. It is not a question of the world. You have deeper enjoyments now.

W.T. You would not apply that to a man getting a fortune?

J.B.S. No. I would not call that life. The more you walk with the Lord, the more you have the enjoyment of life.

W.T. We have everything swept away by this doctrine.

J.B.S. Yes, but you have "joy unspeakable and full of glory". I have no doubt that with a man who is following the Lord it is not a question of what the measure of his prosperity is. People think that there is gain with the accumulation of property. Very often there is no gain. There is a saying in the world, A man's mind is his kingdom.

W.T. We have everything new. The life that now is is not new?

J.B.S. No, but it is all from a new supply, connected with "giving thanks... for all things", not praying for the thing to be blest but thanking God for it.

W.T. Saying grace is all right instead of praying for a blessing?

J.B.S. I think thanking is the thing. God had put Himself upon that ground that I can speak to Him and He can speak to me. It is the new interest that throws you out of the old one. How much time have you spent this week thinking of Christ's chief interest? I have often challenged denominations with it. Give me on one sheet of notepaper your idea of the church and I will tell you where you are. Persons say, I am very much occupied in doing good works, preaching

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the gospel, holding meetings for the good of the poor. I do not object to any one, only you ought to have begun at the top. Where do you think I ought to begin? I was thinking of visiting at the infirmary or preaching in the country. The place to begin is the assembly. The Lord will come and act upon you, and give you light as to what you are to do. If we really understood the assembly better we should understand that it is there the Lord leads out souls.

J.H.S. It is not a question of speaking in the assembly before speaking outside?

J.B.S. Not at all. In Ephesians the first circle is "using diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace", not even a question of gifts. The three parables in Matthew 13:44 - 48 are inside. Four parables are public and three private. Any learned man could tell me about the first four, but only a spiritual man about the last three. They tell me what Christ's treasure is, and where it is. It is not in heaven; it is hid here on the earth. It is a wonderful link for our hearts to this world, though not connected with it.

W.T. Mark does not give those three. He says, "Unto them that are without all these things are done in parables" - not spoken.

J.B.S. What do you get from that?

W.T. You said a clever man might explain those given to the multitude. They are done - people can see principles at work, acted out.

J.B.S. Yes, any intelligent man might say, There was a great preaching in the town, hundreds converted. But he could not tell what was to be done with them, because he never was inside.

W.T. The vessels are inside?

J.B.S. Yes. It is not the mere catching; it is selecting. What are you? An evangelist. What is your chief interest? The church. I am dragging the net, putting the fish out, and every good one I am

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putting into a vessel. Why? Because Christ's interest is my chief interest. That is right. You are a first-rate evangelist. I have no hesitation in saying I feel this earth intolerable to be in unless I believe that Christ has an interest here which is not in heaven. I would not be three days in a man's house before finding out what his chief interest was. You may be like Joseph and his brethren - they lived for seventeen years on his bounty, and then they said, Peradventure he will hate us. That was not intimacy. Paul says to Timothy, Stick to two things; one is the doctrine, what Paul taught - the church; the other, the Scriptures. A man in the kingdom talks of the Bible, but never of the church or the Holy Spirit. If every one of us started on Monday morning, saying, I have got a new interest, paramount to every other, and I am going in for that, and I will make my fortune at it - how everything would be affected by that! I believe that is what calls out the hatred of the world. I like people that are no relations at all to myself. Look at John 15; the world is like fire and sea, trying to swamp this little company. Why? Because they are so devoted to each other. The world will hate you the moment you circumscribe yourself and say, These are the people for me. What relation are they? None at all. And yet you are devoted to them? Yes I am. You say it is narrow. It is narrow. All in Asia had turned away from Paul.

W.T. What is meant in John 17:14 - "I have given them thy word, and the world has hated them"?

J.B.S. The "word" is not the scripture, but the counsel of God. What has come out is Christ rejected on the earth, but His own are here. He looks upon them like an island in a violent sea. He says, The world will try to swamp you, but I will send the Holy Spirit, and they will not swamp you. In chapter 16 the world and the Holy Spirit take opposite sides. The world is in the dock and the Holy Spirit in the

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witness-box. Sometimes people would like to put a leg in each, but they cannot do it. If you want easy times, sleep, and the devil will sleep, too. If you become active, the devil will become active, too. Satan does not work upon a buffalo, or a lion; he works upon man, because he wants to disparage God by His best creature. Therefore Scripture is so definite - a man must see whether he has counted the cost. The Lord says, I must tell them the plain truth. They must build on the new ground; they must sit down and see if they have got the right stuff.

W.T. What is making it "put thy field in order"?

(Proverbs 24:27).

J.B.S. You plan it out - take counsel before you do it.

W.T. It is part of your education?

J.B.S. Yes. People think it means counting what it will cost to be a christian. Not at all. It is counting the material to build a tower.

E.B.G. What do you mean by a tower?

J.B.S. Something that will resist, stand like a rock in the sea, invulnerable, invincible. That is why they went round Jericho armed to the teeth, but did not strike a blow. But no one could strike them. That is Ephesians 6. The armour is aggressive.

E.B.G. Though we have little strength we may have a tower?

J.B.S. Quite so, and the point is that you have a little strength. "Thou .. . hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name". That is really what has given such distinctiveness to the truth that has come out of late years, that the Name of Christ was brought

in. You never met a Protestant that would not uphold the Bible.

E.B.G. The word was recovered at the start.

J.B.S. Yes, at the Reformation; but further on it was the Name.

E.B.G. Still, truth was recovered in a large measure,

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and then the Name was attacked. I mean in Bethesda.

J.B.S. Yes, quite so - the Name is where failure would come. That is the great argument in John 14, 15 and 16, the Name - for yourself, for service and for testimony.

E.B.G. "The name of the Lord is a strong tower".

J.B.S. Yes. It was in keeping with all this. "Where two or three are gathered together unto my name". There it is the power of the Name. It is "to" in Matthew, but "in" in Acts 3. Peter and John say, "Silver and gold have I none, but... in the name", etc. If I take His name I put Him forward - not myself.

E.B.G. You take it that in Philadelphia "thou hast a little power" is a commendation?

J.B.S. Yes - I like the word 'power'. There are two parts in the history of every christian. Every christian knows something of how Christ is related to him - but do you know how you are related to Christ? No person gets thoroughly established in the first unless he is up in the second. I want to be occupied with Christ's chief interest here on earth. It is a glorious mission. A man says, My chief interest is the success of a new patent I have in hand. Do you understand?

W.T. Yes, I should think so.

E.B.G. The success of a new power is a great thing.

W.T. Yes, the new power alone can carry it on.

E.B.G. What is the secret of our weakness in this?

J.B.S. The want of personal affection for the Lord. In John 20, John has light about the resurrection. Mary has no light, but she has personal affection for the Lord. She will not go till she finds Him. The consequence is that the Lord reveals to her what He did not reveal to any one else. If a woman brought in misery, to a woman was committed the greatest light. From that day to this the woman takes the lead in a

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place. The first time Paul came into Europe a woman received him.

W.T. Abraham was to listen to Sarah?

J.B.S. Yes. Isaac would have been a better man if he had listened to Rebecca.

E.B.G. It was well Job did not listen to his wife?

J.B.S. It was. It is a most wonderful thing, the new interest, connected with all the power of God. If I take up the publications, how few are really occupied with Christ's interest on the earth. They talk of it as if I must give myself entirely to the Lord. Not at all - Paul worked day and night - business was so good at Ephesus he supported himself and the poor. At Thessalonica he had not enough to make the two ends meet. It is not toil that does harm, but care. There is no more industrious person than a labourer, but he sleeps the whole night through without a single care in his head.

W.T. Will you keep the 'Voice' up to the mark?

J.B.S. I wish I could. You might try and help me. There is a beautiful thought at the end of Revelation - "The Spirit and the bride say, Come". They are found together. That is exactly where we ought to be, in company with the Holy Spirit. An almighty Power here on the earth is going a certain road - am I going with Him?

W.T. "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us".

J.B.S. Yes, how beautiful it is!

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John 13:31, 32

Any believer, if he were asked, would own that Jesus is in glory. But there is more than that stated here. It says, "Now is the Son of man glorified". Not the Son of God - that is in chapter 11 where Lazarus was raised. What is here is that the Son of man is glorified. Man is put in a position that he never occupied before. In the eye of God there are only two men now - either the lost man or the glorified man. In Romans the apostle, enumerating our blessings, says, "Whom he called .. . he also glorified". In His eye you are a glorified man. You say, I am not up to it. If you have not found it out you cannot be up to it.

The first thing I will do is to show you how God desires to connect His people with His glory. In keeping with Christ glorified, the Holy Spirit is on the earth. Do not think I am unkind when I say there is nothing as a rule known about it in christendom. Thank God, they know Christ crucified and Christ risen; but I am speaking of Christ glorified. They do not believe the Holy Spirit is down here. It is because you never saw Him exalted there. "The Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified" - not crucified. There is an apprehension that the Holy Spirit is here, but it is feeble, because you do not understand you have a glorified sphere. If you are feeble about His exaltation you are feeble about the correspondence. If He is elevated, the Holy Spirit is here. The power of God in the Person of the Holy Spirit has come down to dwell in the soul in a twofold way - "with you and ... in you".

Now turn to the Old Testament for a little - Exodus 40:34. God desired to connect His people with His glory. He came down in a cloud; every child might

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see it. It is a beautiful sight. I wish I could see it as plainly as that, a person here may say. You have a far finer sight. I turn to another portion, Isaiah 6. I find here the glory is preparing to go. At the sight of it the prophet - a true prophet of God - says, "I am undone". Not a link whatever with the Lord. Now turn to Ezekiel 1:26. In Isaiah the prophet was cleared, but he had no link with the glory. The light of it repelled him. In Ezekiel the glory is about to go. But what arrested his attention? The brightest spot - the spot of amber. What did he see? The appearance of a man. It was not merely a man allowed to get in there, but a Man sitting upon a throne. Man's wickedness was driving away the glory, and yet in the very brightest place in the glory there was a Man - a Man upon a throne.

Now we turn to the New Testament - Luke 2:9. I hope the Lord will conduct you along this beautiful road. It will have a wonderful effect upon you. The glory never came back from Ezekiel's time till this moment. Mark how it comes - announcing a Saviour. Now turn to Luke 3:22 - "And the Holy Spirit descended...". How far have we got now? The glory has come and announced the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. After thirty years of private life this blessed One is announced from the glory, anointed with the Holy Spirit in power, and in every detail of private life He was entirely pleasing to God. As a babe He never learned anything from man. It was all divinely beautiful. "I was cast upon thee from the womb".

Now look at Luke 9:29. I ask you to pay very marked attention to this passage, for here the glory salutes Him, invites Him. The fashion of His countenance became different. They saw His glory. The voice comes out of the excellent glory - "hear him". Turn to 2 Peter 1:16. The peculiarity of the Bible is that you can feel yourself one of the company.

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That is by the Spirit of God. "We .. . were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory". There it culminates. What follows? He is now the spotless One, entitled to glory, and from there He comes down to the lowest spot. I do not mean to say He comes down from the highest spot as God, but as a Man. "I love my master .. . I will not go out free". Now turn to John 12:24, and you will see what happens. He is alone - He is going to die. Christ never had brethren of His own order till He rose from the dead. It is not, as people say, from the cradle to the cross. You left out that blessed One's glory culminated on the mount of transfiguration, and that He came down from that wonderful elevation into death. Now, He says in chapter 13, the Son of man is glorified. People talk of Christ's death as the death of a lamb. It is the Holy One of God going to meet the judgment of man. He was made sin. If you were to get all the adjectives in the Bible together, you could not get any language to describe what it was to be made sin. Two things proved He was the Son of God; He knew the nature of the offence, and He knew what was in the heart of God towards the sinner. He removed the one and cleared the other. It was not you that He was thinking of - it was how He should maintain what was due to His Father. God can now come down to the lowest spot and say, I am glorified here. He is claimed now - raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. What is the course now? A very important thing is that when you have the Holy Spirit come down from a glorified Christ, if you follow the Holy Spirit you will go to a glorified Christ. I know the reluctance to accept that statement. You say, I never knew a glorified Christ. You have never followed the Spirit of God. Acts 7:55. Stephen, "being full of the Holy Spirit, having fixed his eyes on heaven .. . saw the glory of God, and Jesus...". He saw a Man in

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the glory, on the throne there. It is the first time heaven is opened on a man, and it is never closed from that day to this. The believer must go that way. The apostle sends him up the line, "where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God". The Jews were not one bit better in Stephen's day than in Ezekiel's day, and with the fulfilment of the Man in the glory they killed the man.

Now turn to Acts 9. I am coming to what very few believers believe in. Oh, you say, we do not doubt Acts 9! Don't you? I know it is seldom preached. It resolves the whole question. You get the very opposite side to what you get in Acts 7. In chapter 7 it is a saint on earth that finds he can go up all the shining way to where Jesus is in glory. In chapter 9 the Saviour in glory can come down all the shining way to the very lowest spot and to the very worst man that ever was on the earth. How? That is the whole point. Because God was glorified in that spot. 2 Corinthians 4:3 is a very important verse, because it explains why everyone is not saved. It is the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. That made Isaiah tremble. Now that light is the very one that comes down to the lowest spot, not to repel the sinner, but to invite him to the top. The figure is that the light shines out, say, from a mansion upon a very dark mountain where there is a terrible precipice. You are on the verge of it. Satan is placing a screen before you that you may fall. You follow the light, and it leads to the mansion. You are well received at the gate - as in the dream of the divine - better still inside, and ushered into the presence of the sovereign with acclamation. Why? Because you have come to where He came from. The light has come down from the glorified Man to the poor lost man to conduct him up to the very spot where the glorified Man is. Now I turn to 2 Corinthians 3. People when they cannot believe a thing say, Show me the effects. You

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say you do not believe in electricity; let me try the machine on you. I want to show you the effects of a glorified Christ. You do not believe that God can come in His infinite purity to the lowest spot and conduct a poor wretched sinner from there to the top. It is not like the prodigal son; it is that the light turns him. Everything that is inconsistent with God the light shows. Then love confers. Light is the measure of what is removed - love is the measure of what is conferred. In 2 Corinthians 3:8 I get the effects, the ministration of the Spirit. I have another thing, I want to look to the Lord to press upon your hearts it is a righteousness from the glory. Not that you are cleared: you are justified. It is the excess (Romans 5:18 - 20). "Where sin abounded, grace has overabounded". What the excess is connected with is sin. I have got the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. How could you get divine righteousness imputed? It is the very opposite to Exodus 20. A landlord might say to a tenant, You owe me so much rent, but instead of asking you for it I am going to give you something. In Exodus 20 there was a legal demand; but now you get the ministration of righteousness from the glory. The way I get it is that I have the life of the Person who cleared me. It is the robe that is brought out and put upon the prodigal. No doubt the Lord is our righteousness, but it is how you get it. The old thing is removed, and I have now the life of Christ. That man who was driven out of the paradise of God could not go into the Father's house. He is now divested of the old thing, clad in all that is new and beautiful, and he comes in. You are at home there. Everything is consistent with God, fit for the glory. I turn to the last verse of 2 Corinthians 3 for the effect - beholding the Lord's glory - but would first like to refer to Exodus 33:18. Moses said, "I beseech thee, show me thy glory". I think there is a very vague idea of what glory is. People say

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it is a place of light - of moral light. It is the effulgence of what God is in His nature, all expressed. Read verse 19. Not a word about love. The glory is not out yet. "I will make all my goodness pass before thee", but now God's nature has come out. He could not show love till righteousness came out. We have now got the full circle - not a brilliant wanting to this wonderful display. The glory is the expression of the divine satisfaction according to all its attributes, resting on a Man. Look at Him - crowned with glory and honour. What is the effect? 2 Corinthians 3:18. Do you say it is too high - it could not be? Altitude never discouraged anybody - it encourages. When you begin to get indifferent you get discouraged. "Changed into the same image" is moral correspondence with the glory. Nothing can satisfy the love of God but that you must be in keeping with His own Son. As Jesus is at God's right hand, so you are, sitting on that form. That peculiar love has not reached your heart yet, else you would say, It could not put me in a lower place than He has put His own Son. A man says, The sun is not up yet, we cannot see. When the love is up you will see it. It is not knowledge; when it comes it tells its own wonderful tale. I cannot conceive anything of the kind - brought into moral conformity with the glory! A brother is full of love - he is all one-sided. Here is another - he is all righteousness. He is one-sided. If he were in the glory he would be balanced. The glory balances. I only give you one example, Philippians 4:6. "Be careful for nothing...". If you have to do with the Lord, you will be brought into moral correspondence with Him. It is not angels that are sent to teach us. Very often I think a thing is very nice, but when I go to the Lord about it, I do not get much countenance. I go again, three, four, five times - I get no countenance at all. You are to submit everything to that wonderful test, the glory. Will it suit the glory? If

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you are of the glory you are transformed, metamorphosed, turned into a new thing, as a caterpillar is metamorphosed into a butterfly. What do you do with your cares? I go to God about them, tell them out; sometimes I feel very much relieved, and quite acquiesce in the divine will. My child is ill, or my cow is sick, but I am subject to His will. Well, that is very nice, but that is not what that verse says. I am not trying to lord it over you. I have to ask myself, do I know this verse? I think I have touched the hem of it at times. It is a wonderful thing to say, I have got the peace of God. What a wonderful person you would be! Exactly; you went to God and were brought into moral correspondence. You must first accept, then admire, then adopt. When you come to admire you are pretty safe. Do not merely go through some servant - get to Himself. Well, what did you get? Did your child improve, or your cow get better? No. What had you got? Scripture tells me - moral correspondence with Himself, the most overwhelming sense a creature could get into - not acquiescence, but divine tranquillity.

The Lord grant that every one of us may understand a little better what it is to have a glorified sphere - a Saviour in glory, and that glory our hope. Can anything be more wonderful than to think, I am not only let inside the door, but God has done what the highest potentate in this world could not do. He could not make you of his own glory. Here we are transferred into the same glory - similarity, not equality - by the Spirit.

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Ephesians 5:31, 32

You will see presently, I hope, beloved friends, the most wonderful thing that ever was on the earth, which existed before the world was; and now it is displayed for a moment on the earth - at least the fact is disclosed - that is, Christ and the church. I trust it will occupy every soul in this room - the wonderful nature of the thing He is connected with. It was God's great thought before the foundation of the world that it should be God's centre for ever. It is no wonder we should know so little about it - we are so little interested in it. A person is generally more interested in his appearance or in his success. There are five worlds: the first is dress, the second, a house, the third, beautiful gardens, the fourth, a country place, and the fifth - and worst of all - your intellect. Every one of us has one of these 'worlds'. You have a circle of interest. The whole of a natural man's life is taken up with one of two thoughts, either to be an object of consideration or to have an object of consideration. It is wonderful the small idols that people have - a bird, a dog, something that gives you an object of consideration. But it is vain to turn to the things that divert us. Look at this passage I have read. It is quoted from Genesis. The woman was called Ishshah because she was taken out of Ish. I believe it is the most perfect type of Christ and the church in the Old Testament. Everything was very good, but it was not good for man to be alone. There was not found for Adam an helpmate. The word translated 'helpmate' really means 'something over against' - a counterpart. Now the apostle, commenting upon the type, says, "This mystery is great, but I speak as to Christ, and as to the assembly". In the

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most perfect state of things here, it was not 'answerable' for man to be alone. When everything is in confusion, and God's Son has been rejected from the scene - that is the time for the divulging of this great secret, the antitype. The type comes out when everything is beautiful, and the antitype when everything is disturbed. The very opposite of the garden of Eden is the time when God discloses the wonderful secret of Christ's body - the mystery. Before I go on I must notice another thing in connection with types, a very touching thing for us - how the bride was given. Brides are given in Scripture to console the bridegroom in the day of his rejection, of his sorrow. Rebecca was given to Isaac to console him for the death of his mother. That was a type of the death of Israel. You can see how it answers to the Lord; He has lost Israel, and we are to take the place of Israel, to console Him here on the earth. What a thought - to be able to console Him in the place of His sorrow! I look at Joseph, an outcast in Egypt; he gets a wife, and is consoled in the land of his rejection. Moses in Midian gets a wife to console him when he is expatriated. For the sake of his people he is forty years in the wilderness, and is acquainted with it before he takes the people of Israel one step through it. I only add David; in the day of his rejection he gets Abigail. Satan has done all he could to remove the idea of the church, and there never was a church publicly on the earth since the days of Romanism. What is a dissenter doing? He is trying to construct a church. What is Protestantism? Reformation. What are you reforming - the church? Then you are not in it. What must we do? Go back to the beginning. A man is a priest in Rome; he turns Protestant, he is a clergyman - no other change whatever. Let a clergyman turn a Romanist, he becomes a layman. The ordination of Rome is valid, that of Protestantism is not. The argument of a Romanist is, How can you have a visible

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church without a visible Head? I admit the argument. I say it is a mystery, and if I have the mystery I understand the Head. But how can a man be the vicar of Christ? The Holy Spirit is the vicar. Romanism never sets up an antichrist - it calls the Pope the vicar of Christ. When you come to the Reformation, in Sardis, the church was not got back at all - it was the gospel. What gave the character was what you get in Philadelphia, the Name - that brings in the new thing.

This is a digression, in order to impress upon you the importance of what the church is. Nothing shows so much where we are as our indifference to the church. Where is your interest for that which is dearer to Christ than the apple of His eye?

Now I will turn to Matthew 13:44 and trace out how this wonderful thing came into existence. Now I suppose not one of you will deny that Christ was rejected from this world. Many of our christian brethren in system get out of the difficulty by saying, The gentiles did not reject Him, it was the Jews. This is simply incorrect, because it was actually the Romans that crucified Him. God gave the Jews a law - by that law they killed His Son. God gave the Romans power - they used it against Him. Now I come to the question, how are you here? As an individual? It is a very solemn consideration for you. Going to heaven when you die? Nothing would distress a pious saint more than to believe that he was in the place where Christ was rejected. Talk of honour, distinction, given to me? They did not give it to my Lord. You will get all the good you can from Him, but you have no heart for Him! The only answer to the question how are you here, is, I belong to Him. That is right. I am Ishshah. That is one of the most important solutions you have in Scripture. It is a problem. I am a bit of Him; I am standing here for Him, maintained by the Holy Spirit, and my grand characteristic here, the one commanding thought

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that animates me night and day, is how I am to stand for my Lord in the scene of His rejection. I do not want, I would not accept a bit of succour from this poor world. The church is the real patron of the world, if we understood it. We are to pray for them. It is like Jacob blessing Pharaoh. We are between God and the world. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in the woman of worth. 'Oh, but', you say, 'I might forfeit my interests in life!' You will advance them. "Them that honour me I will honour".

In Acts 9:4 I get the secret divulged for the first time. "Why persecutest thou me?" It is not in connection with His rejection on earth, but in glory. Now comes the fitting moment to disclose this great mystery, when Saul of Tarsus was violently persecuting the saints. He says "me". He discloses for the first time that the saints are Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12. "So also is the Christ" - the Head and the body. Romanism insists that there is one unbroken, indivisible body on the earth, and therefore all the members of the Catholic church, all over the world, are to say their prayers in Latin. They must have the one voice, the one language. Why I refer to that is that when Christ was rejected from the earth, the truth which Romanism imitates came out - the one indivisible body all over the earth. I cannot show it to you. You cannot understand a mystery till you are in it. Satan worked upon man so that Christ should be driven out of this world where He was in humiliation. Nothing could be more gentle, beautiful and gracious than He, yet He was cast out bodily. Then He is offered from glory to the Jews - only to them, and they killed the man that offered Him. Now, when the rejection is completed, both from humiliation and from glory, the secret comes out that Christ's body is on the earth. Nothing could be a more signal defeat to Satan than that. You say, But is not the fulness

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to come? Yes, that means the whole complement, but I go beyond the Roman Catholics and say that the whole body is on earth. The woman in Proverbs illustrates the body, the house is "the House". When the wise woman was in good health she kept the house in good order. The body has got out of order - the house is out of order.

Now I turn to Ephesians. The first section in the first chapter ends at verse 14. It is occupied with the individual. What it shows is that the individual is of such equality or degree that he is fit to be united. It is not that union makes equality; but when you are of that equality you are fit to be united. Union goes beyond position, but it does not give you degree. You are of the same stock before you are united. Eve was fit to be Adam's companion. There is nothing at all about union in Hebrews; there it is "partakers", companions. You are accepted in the Beloved. If you were not fit to be a companion, what a sad thing it would be to be united! I have thought it was union raised us. We were raised by birth. I have said sometimes, Christ would not be complete without His body, but I muttered to myself, He is complete without anything. What was I blundering about? I was blundering about the idea that you were adding something to Him! Why, we derive everything from Him! and as the consummation of it all we are united to Him.

The next section runs down to the end of the chapter. I only read verse 19. There you learn the power of the Spirit of God bringing you into union. You know the bird when you see the feathers. Would to God we were exhibiting the beauty of the heavenly Man on the earth, you one feather and I another, till we set forth the perfection of the heavenly Man in the spot where He was rejected! If it is beautiful in conception, how much more in reality! Nothing could exasperate Satan like that. If you want to have easy times, never attempt it, but then you will never

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understand the joy of the heavenly position. Satan says, You sleep and I will sleep, that is a bargain. He knows how to buy you. Every man has his price, and well Satan knows it. There is not an honest man in this room that does not know that at some time or other he has been bought by Satan. I know it well, to my cost. God in mercy showed me that he caught me.

I have now got what Peter wished to have. Like Peter, we have to learn it. He saw Jesus walking on the water, above the power of it. He left the ship. Why should he leave what was made for the water and place himself in such a predicament? He wants to get near the Saviour. Peter had not the power; we have. Why do we not go? Because we have not the affection. Take it home, beloved friends. Do you know the way the parent bird gets the young one to fly? It gets over it a few feet, and the little one shakes itself and discovers that it has the power. What led it to look for it? Affection for the parent. What is the lack in every soul? Affection for your Lord.

The second chapter of Ephesians is the vocation. You begin in heaven and you come down to the habitation of God upon the earth.

Chapter 3 contains two great points, in verses 8 and 9. The apostle is sensible of the magnitude of the mystery. He is going to make all men to see the administration of the mystery. How little do we do it! You say, We preach the gospel. I quite admit souls want it. Paul's preaching is the "proclamation". What could be more magnificent here - a full-blown rose upon the earth! You are Christ's, united to Him in heaven, and down here on the earth to exhibit in heavenly fragrance the beauty of His exaltation, even in the details of your family.

There is another thing in verse 10 - "To the intent that now unto the principalities...". The angels are not looking round at the glory up there; they are

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looking to see us. We have no idea of the wonderful network of machinery by which Christ is carrying on His work here. I know a good many christians; I am perfectly surprised at the wonderful way of God's dealings with them. I know two brothers who live together and are very united. One suffers from the moral defection of his children, another from the health of his family. It is not the question of the good you do to people, but whether you bring the Lord before your heart in dealing with people about different things. Now here we see what you are to do - "that the Christ may dwell ... in your hearts". Read verse 20. You learn the power towards you in the first chapter; now you learn the power in you. Power for how much? For anything. Oh, that must have been in the early times! The Holy Spirit is not a bit shortened.

I now give you another section, chapters 4, 5 and 6, down to verse 10. Read it over in private. When you have read it you will begin with the church and come down to the slave. Everything is touched with the beautiful heavenly colour. It is the finest field of practice you ever saw. You say it is very exclusive. For instance it tells the man that stole to steal no more but to work. You could hardly make weapons of war, or a fancy-ball dress or fancy-shoes. They are not good. You say, it would limit me in my business. I am talking of a heavenly man. The larger the candle the greater the light. Romans does not touch the family at all. I turn to Ephesians 6:4 - "Ye fathers, provoke not your children ... but bring them up in the nurture...". It is generally the mothers who do it. The fathers say, We have no time, we have to attend to our business. I am not a lawyer, to tell you how to evade the word of God. My business is to lay down the law. The word "bring up" (same as "nourisheth and cherisheth") is only used twice in the New Testament. What the Lord does to the

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church you are to do to your children. Why is not the mother addressed? She will do it without being told. Scripture is not a book of information - it is a revelation. It does not tell young men not to wear ornaments - only young women. I only say this to show you that to get the heavenly colour you must begin above. You cannot improvise the heavenly thing - you must be born. A man cannot be a Frenchman who never was in France. His accent soon betrays him.

There is only one more point - I turn to verse

10. You will have to encounter the direst opposition. The whole force of Satan, of the ruler of the power of this world, is against you. It is not even Og, king of Bashan; that was this side of Jordan, but now it is the seven-fold power of Satan. To be able to stand, there is nothing but putting on the whole armour. It is practical. I think it is no use lecturing about this. It is no use for a man to put on armour unless he is in the face of the foe, and he is not in the face of the foe unless he is contending for something. Satan is against your expressing the beauties of the exalted Man in the scene of His rejection. What have you to do? Only one simple rule I can give you - be invulnerable, you are invincible. Stand like a buttress, like a tower. If you are a wife or a child in a worldly family, what must you do? Be everything you can in the way of a servant. Never assert a right - your rights are not here. I am superior, but when I have to do with you I take the place of an inferior. Will you go an errand? Yes. Will you join us in this game? No. My enjoyments are of quite another order. I am invulnerable; if I descend to your level I am done. I am above you as to enjoyments, I am below you as to service - never on a level with you. Perhaps they will say you must not go to any meetings. You may curtail my liberty but you cannot govern my conscience. Do not blame them. You are done if you do.

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One more word on verse 18. He is praying to God for all saints and for the testimony. At our prayer-meetings I hear a great deal prayed about the gospel, but very little about the church. I do not object - perhaps I pray for the gospel as much as anybody in a way, but you should do it and not leave the other undone. The very same light that converted you at the first is the very same light that has made you go a step. I believe the first step of the christian course is the easiest step of it all. You are drowning - going into perdition - thank God I have got deliverance. You have made a wonderful step in a day or two. Now you will see how slowly you get on....

The Lord grant that our hearts may be more set upon what Christ's heart is set upon - not merely to be a spectator, or pleading something I have an interest in, but that I am part of it myself.

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Philippians 3:20, 21

The first thing, beloved friends, to have simply before us is the coming of the Lord. It is the great event that is before us; we are looking for no other. Jesus had said of John, "If ... he tarry till I come...". When the book of Revelation was given to John that was fulfilled, because everything then was ready for Him to come; and therefore you have at the end of the book, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come". All is ready. John was to tarry until everything was ready for Christ to come. To give you an illustration - all the trees were planted, they have grown much, but there are no additional trees. After the church is taken away all the great events in the opening of Revelation 5 take place. A great many have the Lord's coming before them as an historical event; but I insist upon it that there is no great event before that occurs. I turn to 2 Thessalonians 2:1 - "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him...". We are gathered together to His name here on earth, but we are looking for the day when we shall be gathered to Him. I ask a man of intelligence, What event are you looking for in the history of the world? I am looking for a time of great prosperity. They expect a great future yet in the commercial world. True, but that will be subsequent to the church being taken away; then it comes out in Babylon. The event we have to look for is the coming of the Lord, as the Lord said in John 14, "I will come again". That is the first thing, the event. That is prior to any formation of kingdoms, changes upon the earth, etc. If it does not come in my time I am out of it; but still I am looking for it. I have tried to show on previous

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occasions that between the first coming of the Lord, which every believer owns, and the second, there is that wonderful time - the Holy Spirit come down and the church formed. Now you come to the hope of the church - looking for His coming.

Now I turn to the verse I have read. What is your preparation for it? You could not in any sort of way be looking for Him but you must be shaping yourself. The wise virgins trimmed their lamps and went forth. They took a very distinct path here, because they were led by their expectations to come and meet Him. What marks the church at the close is that it is not only saying "Come", but it is interested about everything that concerns Him. "Let him that heareth ... let him that is athirst ... whosoever will". I press this, because I have heard people speak of the Lord's coming as if it was an event that would settle everything; but if it is an event that I am looking for, I am preparing for it. There seems such a want of sensibility in speaking about it - looking for it and not looking for myself to be prepared in relation to that event. Are you really, honestly ready for it? Have you shaped yourself in relation to Him? I would not ask an ordinary friend to my house if I was in unsuited circumstances. Take Mary and Martha at Bethany; if they had been told, The Lord is coming today, would they not have put everything straight? Now this verse describes what expresses that. Our polity is in heaven. It is the experience of a heavenly man. In Ephesians there is nothing at all about the coming of the Lord, because you are in association with Him where He is. Philippians is a heavenly man on the earth. I say, what do you feel? I had great enjoyment with Him there; I know what it is to have association with Him now; but when I am down here, I feel, I wish He would come. I want to get rid of everything that is unsuited to Him, to enjoy Him thoroughly. I shall be like Him. That is a man who is prepared

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for the Lord's coming. What do you want now? The Lord to come. I feel that down here I have this body of humiliation - I am not like Him; and you will not see Him till you are like Him. See 1 Corinthians 15:23 - "Every man in his own order ...".

I think we may say that no one has got a glorified body but the Lord. You speak of Moses and Elijah - it is Christ the first-fruits. He must have the pre-eminence. As soon as He rises from the throne and descends from heaven with a shout, every saint will be liberated from the body. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 refers very distinctly to the church, because they - the Old Testament saints - without us cannot be made perfect. They are the children of the bridechamber, the guests. The second point then is that you are prepared. The real preparation is that I am enjoying Him in heaven - our conversation is in heaven, looking for Him, to be like Him. See 1 John 3:2 - "Now are we children of God...". We have got as far as to "be like him". That is the third thing, to think of the prospect! You get beautiful illustrations of it in the Old Testament. "She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework". Nothing gratifies affection so much as to be like its object. It is said that imitation is the greatest flattery. A child imitates its father because it loves him. I cannot conceive anything more gratifying to the heart when I think of the Lord - I shall be like Him. Would you like anything more? I pass on to another - "We shall see him". I do not believe anyone has seen the Lord yet, not even Paul in the third heaven. Someone made it very clear to me once by saying, If I were in a room with no light in it you could not see me. Here is a very different thing - we shall see Him as He is. Nothing satisfies affection like sight. Peter takes that ground - "Whom having not seen, ye love...". It is the wonderful climax - we shall see Him. What a prospect for the heart! As one has said, one does not like to turn away from it.

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Now I turn to Revelation 19:7. Now comes the marriage of the Lamb. I think we can safely say it is in the Father's house, and it takes place consequent upon the rival being destroyed. The marriage is properly the declaration of union. See what a moment it is! Heaven is delighted at the destruction of the rival. We have the marriage of the Lamb before the Lord appears to the earth. The interval is, I think, three-and-a-half years. The apostate thing will be hated by the ten kings, they will burn her with fire, and then the bride will come out. Look at man's elevation - how he is caught by some new discovery. Men are now raving about the phonograph. A sermon was lent me the other day called 'The power of God' - and what do you think the 'power of God' was? - Electricity! "I sit a queen, and I am not a widow". That is the elevation of man. In 1 Timothy 4 you have man's elevation; in chapter 6 "godliness... is great gain".

Now that the rival is gone, it calls forth a burst of delight; consequent upon that, the marriage of the Lamb takes place. Those who are His body on the earth are declared indissolubly united with Himself. The marriage ceremony was formerly performed before a select company of witnesses; the bride was declared to be the wife. A person that understands something of the nature of the union now, really longs for that day when he will be completely suited to Him. Another thing concurrent with this is, "His wife hath made herself ready". You look at the church about to accompany Christ to earth, about to take her place there in company with Him who is coming to reign in righteousness. We will be the expositors of grace, but we come to reign with Christ in righteousness. Hence it says, "his wife hath made herself ready". It is what you get in 2 Corinthians 5, the judgment-seat passed. Every person will take his place in relation to Christ, in coming to reign with Him, according as

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he has acted righteously on the earth. If you have done fifty acts of righteousness and I have done twenty-five, you will take a place that I will not have. That will be the great value of passing the judgment-seat. It is not to find out how defective I have been; it is to explain everything historically by the Spirit of God - 'that is what you have been'. Like two columns; one is your defectiveness, the other, the grace of God running down by the side of it. "It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation". "His wife hath made herself ready" to come to the Lord. I have come to the fulness of the prospect. Even a natural prospect has an effect on you, but you cannot think what a moral effect a divine prospect will have.

There is one thing more I will dwell upon a little, in Revelation 21. You may think for a moment it has nothing to do with the Lord's coming, but it is important for us now to understand, here on the earth, what our future will be in relation to the Lord. I believe the Lord's prayer in John 17 is fulfilled in this chapter. We have looked at our present; I now turn to our future. Everything made ours; I shall be arrayed in white linen and take my place in company with Him on the earth. See verse 9 - "And there came unto me one of the seven angels", etc. He had shown him Babylon, and now he shows him the bride, the Lamb's wife, coming to administer with Christ upon the earth. There are seven traits belonging to the city and every assembly now; if you find its defect, that defect is lacking in one of these traits: I believe it has a most inspiring effect upon a person when he thinks, what is the future? The world shall see that we are one; every desire He had in His heart will be fulfilled; the Head will move every part of the body.

The first trait is in chapter 21: 11 - it comes down "shining". Well, every one of us knows that that ought to characterise the church. Everything is

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broken up except the heart; if you have got heart you are the bride. John begins the Revelation by showing the utter failure of the church as on the earth, but ends the Revelation by showing how the heart has not gone away. The remnant has three great marks: (1) it makes no pretension among men - it assumes nothing; (2) it is true to God's thought; (3) it is deeply interested in all that concerns the Lord's people on the earth. If you take Jacob as a type of the remnant, he is an old man, leaning on a stick - no pretension about him! I am a complete stranger; Rachel has died and I have not a single thing in this poor world, but am I thinking of anything? Yes, I am blessing the sons of Joseph - occupied in the interest of others. I am as confident that the resources of God are upon the earth to maintain the interests of Christ, as that they were here in the palmiest days of christianity. I am like the man with the colours - when they were in danger he tore them from the staff and thrust them into his breast, saying, You will take me before you take them. What are you doing? You are not a recluse; are you doing all you can to animate your fellows? The first thing then is light; the second (next verse) "walls". Walls have a double purpose: they are protective, and they are exclusive. I never knew a man even in natural life that was worth much unless he was exclusive. A namby-pamby person is nobody. Where do you get that stated? In verse 27.

The third thing (same verse) is "gates", pearls. There is entrance for everybody - the twelve tribes of Israel. It is all a figure, of course; some people are so occupied with that that they keep to the figure. I have heard of a man calculating how much it would take to build the city. A city is used as a figure to describe this wonderful company. To give you an illustration, you have all seen a review - all the red coats on one side of the hill, and the black coats here and there mixing with them. The red coats we may

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call the church and the black coats the Old Testament saints. They see it, but are not of it.

The fourth thing (verse 21) is the street of gold - divine righteousness. That ought to mark the assembly of God here on earth.

The fifth (verse 22) "no temple" - no shrine, nothing to conceal.

The sixth (verse 23) no sun - no artificial light is required.

The seventh (chapter 22: 1) "a river of water of life". These things are all future; I only bring them before you to complete the picture. As I was saying the other day to a brother who told me he was fond of pictures - if you only had that picture before your heart!

What are you looking for - some distinction here? No; for the greatest event that will affect everything - I am looking for the coming of the Lord. Then we have the preparation, "His wife hath made herself ready". We should be found down here upon the earth according to the heavenly perfection of the New Jerusalem - not the final state, but what we shall be here during the millennium.

I end with looking to the Lord that your hearts may be drawn to Himself. This is a subject you can pray about; it opens out a field of immense scope. It is not calculating what effect it will have upon me. Be occupied with it, and let it produce its own effect. I shall not only be like Him, and see Him, but be everlastingly united to Him, finding my place with Him in righteousness. Wondrous satisfaction!

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Hebrews 12:1, 2

Anyone who has carefully read the epistle to the Hebrews will remark that Christ is connected with the throne in three different ways. Turn to chapter 1 it is in the end of verse 3 we read, "when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high". Here sins are purged. Another phase is opened out in chapter 8: 1:

"We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens". Then we have the third phase in the scripture that I have read. I have read this that we may see what is our peculiar course here on earth; it is a race! What a character it gives us! What a style to be running a race! Looking out unto Jesus!

Now I will trace how we come to it. It is a race to heaven, no matter what the difficulties are. In Ephesians you are in heaven, but here you are racers, and you are racing to heaven. Plenty of difficulties along the road, but I am "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of ... faith". He gives us the power to carry on the race. In chapter 4: 11 it says, "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief". Now I have to start here; I am out of Egypt, now where am I going? It is this which determines a great deal more than we think. The "rest" is future, of course. He was warning those Hebrew saints; they were Jews, and he was warning them not to get frightened at the difficulties. We are like them often; we are out of Egypt, but many of us have got as far as Og, king of Bashan, and Sihon, king of the Amorites. What stops you? The apostle warns them of the day of temptation in the wilderness. I would not believe a man who

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said he did not like a nice prospect and a nice place on the earth; but we are going on, and we get three great experiences along the way. The first is infirmity. Infirmity is not sin. You might be too poor, or you might be too rich, and either would be a pressure. An infirmity may lead to a sin. Sarah was afraid, and she laughed; then she told a lie. Fear or timidity is weakness, infirmity; telling a lie is sin. So we read, "whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement". If you are afraid you are overcome. Infirmity is weakness, and a man is weak when he cannot rise over a thing; a great contrast to a man who is a racer - he leaps over all the obstacles. It is trying, not trial. The first great hindrance is your circumstances; the second is your health. Ill-health is a terrible pressure; you are like a ship waterlogged. The third is sorrow; and this is the worst of all. Now I want to point out to you how you are to go on in the infirmities. We are going on to heaven, and we first are met with infirmities. What will help me in them? We have both the word and the sympathy of the Lord. Every believer is addressed by the word, but very few enjoy the sympathy. The word penetrates the motives, and I am found out. The point is actually to press you to get on the right road. There may be a hundred roads, and ninety-nine are wrong. The Lord uses the word to bring me on to the right one. The word has done its work when it puts me on the right road, the road to heaven. The Lord has gone that one road, and He will help me along that road. Every believer has a sense that the Lord has spoken to him. But does he mind His words? If Peter had minded the words of the Lord he would not have gone into danger.

Next to the word is the sympathy of the Lord, and I find in Canticles the bride coming from the wilderness, leaning on the arm of her Beloved. I have a wonderful thing on the road; I have the company of the Lord,

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and His sympathy! He is out of the weakness of man, and right up from the top He can look down and say, I went along the same path and I never diverged from it. Now turn to John 11 for an example of sympathy. Here we have two sisters, both suffering from the same cause - the death of their brother. How differently He deals with each! Martha gets no sympathy. She gets instruction, and in a way passes Him over to Mary. And see Mary! You find the Lord walking beside her, and she can say, Here is a heart that cares for me, and if I have lost a brother, I have someone greater than a brother. She gets the sense of grace in His company. The grace is how I bear the trial, the mercy is the relief. If I take the storm easily as He did, that is the grace; when He rebukes the wind, that is mercy. When Paul was in prison, then he had the grace, and grace made him sing in the prison; but it was the mercy that let him out. I have not only mercy in my infirmities, but having sympathy I am supported, and I turn to the Supporter. I am not occupied with the trouble, but with the Person who got me out of it. Turn to John 12

"Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus". She is occupied now with the Supporter. I am out of my infirmity now, and I am in the company of the One who got me out of it. But that is not all. I come to how I am occupied with Him, and I turn you to Hebrews 8:2 and 10: 19. Now this is an entirely new experience. It is not getting relief from infirmity, but it is being in the company of the One who relieved me. The great thought of the Lord in getting you out of pressure is that you may be in company with Him. I am out of my infirmity, and now I am found in company with Him. Mary of Bethany was in company with the Lord. I get a fuller thing in Hebrews. The great point there is companionship. "Thy God has anointed thee with oil of gladness above thy

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companions". Nothing can have the same satisfaction for a heart here on earth as the company of the Lord. You would then not be soured by infirmity and trials; you would be mellowed by them. You would feel you were so helped by Him that you would be more attracted to Him than ever.

There are three great stages in a christian's history, Hebrews is the second. The first is before Hebrews; it is what Jonathan knew of David. He has cleared the ground, Goliath is gone, and the One who cleared the ground occupies the ground. That is the first stage. I know that my Saviour has completely removed all the darkness, He has abolished death; now every cloud is gone! "Jonathan loved him as his own soul". You cannot have a divine acquisition without a result. Your face will shine, it must come out. Jonathan stripped himself, and look what a sight it was! He takes off his royal habiliments and puts them on a shepherd-boy, and says he is entitled to them! He is like the woman in Luke 7; she went home, and then she says, I will give the very best thing I have to make much of Him at my own expense. Next I find that blessed One is indispensable to me every step of the way. That blessed One I love now for Himself, not only for His work. Now I am like Ruth, I am so attached to Him I cannot do without Him. "Whither thou goest, I will go". Now in this new stage it is not giving your property, but it is giving yourself. Peter gave up his ship and followed Him, for company is better than property. Company with Himself! The Lord would rather have us follow Him than anything, therefore He says to Peter, 'Follow Me'. Now, how do I begin to follow Him? I have been borne over my infirmity by Him, and I have found that my heart is only bound the more to Him as He came down to me in my infirmity, so I am now with Him in the brightest spot, the holiest of all. Like Aaron's sons in a common fragrance, He has helped me out of my

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trouble to be in company with Himself. I press this, because I feel a great many are praying to the Lord to get out of the pressure, and the only object in getting out of it should be that you may be more in company with the One who brought you out. You are now so attached to Him that you cannot do without Him. You cannot understand the third stage unless you know the second. The third is union, and if you do not enjoy His company, you cannot enjoy union. In Canticles you get the reciprocity of affection, in spite of fickleness of the bride, which shows what we are. Nothing can give me a greater idea of the blessedness of heaven than the company of the Lord. You get the taste of heaven then. You are in company with the Minister of the sanctuary. The Lord lead us to see what a wonderful thing it is to be entranced with His company! We read in the Psalms, "To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary". And again in Corinthians, "Whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God". It is being in an ecstasy! How different our meetings would be if I felt, I am coming here to be entranced in His presence. I am not thinking of myself, but I am delighted in His company. If you do not get to this you will never understand what union is. Mary Magdalene says, as it were, I will never stir till I get hold of Him. John was intelligent, but he went home! Some have said that a woman brought in the first trouble, and a woman got the highest privilege ever given, and was the bearer of the most wonderful truth. The Lord said, as it were, I will reward you, Mary

I found He was the One who could stretch out His hand to me in the darkness, and now He is indispensable to me. "Whither thou goest, I will go". Turn now to chapter 12 I. There are two things that mark a person in a race. You are running, and you are going to the same point where Jesus is! You have tasted of the spot where He is. Now for the race. Where are

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you racing to? To heaven, and the One who has drawn my heart up to Himself is there. But how did you reach to this? It is beautiful when you look into it. I have tasted of heaven in the sanctuary, and the man who has had a taste of heaven likes nothing so well as the race to get there! It is not contending with infirmities, but with difficulties, and you will find plenty of them, and it is for this Hebrews 11 comes in. It is misunderstood at times, it is spoken of as examples of faith, but I think it is the traits of faith. It is like one telling me what faith can do. The Lord is the author, the source of it; He starts with telling us that without faith it is impossible to please Him. He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him out. I have got an idea of His nature, and He will reward me if I seek Him out, if I choose Him. What marked Enoch was that he pleased God, and I can conceive of nothing higher than to be pleasing to Him. Supposing I know a great man who could do all I want - will I go to him? No, I will go to God. I count upon Him because He is the rewarder of those who seek Him out.

In Luke 11 you learn to pray; you have no back door, and you are not going to anyone else but the One who can help you. "Lay aside every weight". One hindrance is outside you, the other inside you. A man says, I am fond of music, or politics. Does it help me on the race? No! Then I lay it down. Sin is what works in you, and there is opposition. You will find plenty of it, but you must be well mounted to ride over the difficulties. It is like a steeplechase, and you must be well mounted. You have the author and finisher of faith, and He has gone to the top. May the Lord interest you with His company, and in His own house. I have His power to help me on the road as I go along; Israel left the wilderness and went on to Canaan, and in between comes the epistle to the Hebrews. You are not in

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heaven, but you are going on to get possession of it. The Holy Spirit is down here, and you are highly favoured. You must be captivated by Him. He is not One who will not attend to your small matters. No, He comes down to the smallest thing, and helps me out that I may be in company with Him, and now I shrink from anything that would hinder my communion with Him. People say in christendom, 'When will you get acquainted with the Lord? When He comes?' No, I am acquainted with Him now, and having got the taste of heaven, then I come out in a new way to face every obstruction between me and heaven, and the only thing I dread is myself; therefore I have to lay aside every weight and sin which doth so easily beset. I do not doubt the power. The Lord grant that we may be as attached to Him as Peter was (Matthew 14). He left the ship, the safe place, and went to the most perilous place, the water, to go to Him. Peter had not the power, but we have, only we have not the affection. What I want to present to you is that it is no trouble to do a thing for the person I love. "If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned". We all know what this is. May the effect of our meditation this evening be to attract our hearts more to our blessed Lord, for His name's sake! Amen.

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Acts 7:55 - 60

It is hardly possible, beloved friends, to describe the importance of this scripture - this opening out of a new era - a new start, if you like. No one can understand where he is at the present moment as a christian who does not understand this scripture. That may seem a bold statement, but I think you will find it so. It is the first time that heaven is opened on a man. I do not mean opened to the Lord, or upon Elijah going up into heaven; but the point is, the heavens are opened; everything is changed, there is a new centre as well as a new start. Jerusalem was the seat of government; now the centre is the right hand of God. Christianity is going to be developed; the earthly thing is over and a new thing altogether comes in.

I will divide the subject into three parts: the first is, the preparation of the servant; the second, the testimony; the third, what the servant suffers.

It is a great thing for every one to get hold of the fact that is introduced here. Stephen was offering them the Lord to come from heaven, and they refused Him. One thing after another they had refused, until he comes to the peroration, the summing up, and he says, "Ye do always resist the Holy Spirit". That is the testimony of the Holy Spirit touching the nation. There is now no forgiveness for the nation, though there is for the individual.

Now if I do not understand the beginning, I cannot understand what follows. If you do not begin right, you cannot be right. Many a christian has to go back and begin right. If a man were on the line to Edinburgh instead of to London, he must go back and get on the right line.

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You will find in the history of the Lord's ways that He always prepares the servant himself for what he is to accomplish. The apostle could say, "What ye have ... heard, and seen in me, do", and "As ye have us for an ensample". I look at a man who is explaining a thing to me - have you got it yourself? Yes, I have learnt for myself what I am explaining to you. Otherwise you are recommending a thing which has no moral effect upon yourself. That is what so often makes the teaching ineffectual. A child heard a doctor recommending that he should not take sugar, so he watched the doctor and saw him take sugar. The child did not think much of that recommendation. You find throughout the Old Testament that the Lord passes the servant through the thing in which he is to be effectual in ministry. He gets the good effect of it himself before he presents it to others. Before a stone is thrown at Stephen, God introduces him to heaven; "he... looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus". The Holy Spirit conducts him to it as his rightful portion. That brings us back to the gospel. Here is the great point, to understand what has been effected for me by the death of Christ. Not only I am cleared of judgment, but I am entitled to a new place. The prodigal was not only kissed, but he was brought into the new place. It has been familiarly said that Adam was a gardener, and that he was turned out of his place because of misconduct. Now I take that as an illustration; supposing the gardener was forgiven: I meet him and say, Well, has your master forgiven you for the way in which you have acted? Yes, he has. Has he given you a new place? Oh, no, he has not forgiven me so far as to reinstate me. Now that is where many a soul is, and that soul is never at rest. And he has never pleased his Father yet. That is the reason why there is so little addressing the Father when you pray: you are at home with the Saviour, but not with the Father.

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Suppose I meet the gardener again. How is it now? Oh, I am perfectly forgiven now! Why so? He has given me a better place than I had before. I am in favour now - not only forgiven. That is the new place - an unexpected place. A great deal of the uncertainty of souls is because they have not found their new place. This is what Stephen is introduced into. One thing more. When the Lord is about to leave His disciples, what does He present to them? He says, "I go to prepare you a place". A great many people think He is preparing it now. It is prepared - "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise". But you say, I am not in that place yet. No, but the Lord sends the Holy Spirit, the power of God from heaven, to dwell in my heart down here, to be the cheer of my heart whilst away from that place. It is an immense thing to understand that the new line is opened. It is beautifully expressed in the hymn:

'And see! the Spirit's power
Has ope'd the heav'nly door,
Has brought me to that favoured hour
When toil shall all be o'er'. (Hymn 74)

If you say, I do not know that is my place, you have not pleased your Father yet - you have not accepted the place that will alone satisfy His heart for you.

I turn to another point that touches church ground. In the gospel it does not say that I can reach the place even in spirit, but says so in connection with the church.

The apostle says in Colossians, "Seek the things which are above, where the Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God". Stephen got a sense that he had found the place - he is over Jordan. The moment you reach Christ you are over Jordan. "If therefore ye have been raised with the Christ"; in the previous chapter we are dead with him. Now I am risen; I am where

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He is, and I am to seek the things where He is. Stephen is prepared. One word more before I leave this subject. It is a very great thing for the soul to be waiting upon God, so as to understand that He is preparing it. He is preparing every one for what is coming. That is Psalm 23, "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures". What for? To see the vastness of the resources. "He leadeth me beside the still waters". The same principle is beautifully exemplified in the case of Elijah. The Lord is going to send him somewhere. He gives him a breakfast. He falls asleep; he is awakened, and gets another breakfast. God prepares him for what is coming. You say, I feel very happy in the Lord, and how great the Lord is. The Lord makes the provision for you before the demand. If you are really walking with the Lord, you will not trouble yourself about what is coming. Many a man has failed in different straits. Why? Because he had not gone out provisioned.

Stephen reached that spot in spirit before he was actually there. He reached the other side. He saw the glory of God; he sees within the veil, and he has not the least fear - he is quite at home.

Now for the testimony. This may be expressed in a few words - there is a Man in heaven. The new thing is inaugurated. The testimony had failed in man's hands, and in connection with the Jews, and now it is going to start from heaven. Stephen turns round and says, "I see ... the Son of man", not the Son of God. That was really the fulfilment of Ezekiel's vision; when the glory was leaving the earth on account of man's wickedness, in the brightest spot of the glory of God there was the figure of a Man.

But I will say a little more as to what the testimony is; I will show you how it is developed. Stephen is the first witness of it. The meaning of the word 'martyr' is 'witness', and the word 'witness' refers to testimony. What is he testifying? "I see...

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the Son of man standing on the right hand of God". They would not have it.

Now I turn you to Ephesians 3:9, "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery", to show how the thing is developed. Here it is the introduction, a new centre for man. In Matthew 22:44 the word in Psalm 110 is used by our Lord:

"Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool". The right hand of God is now the new seat of government. If you want to understand that better, look at the scriptures where the words "right hand" occur.

I trust you are interested in the history of Stephen, because it is of immense importance. He is a pattern man. The testimony is, 'There is a Man in heaven'. How is this developed? We are members of the body of Christ. This truth has not come out, but the Holy Spirit has come down and connects the believer with Christ in heaven.

The apostle says, "To make all men see". What? The exemplification of the heavenly Man upon the earth. It is not merely a justified man going on to glory, doing his business along the road, but I am here to be descriptive of the Man there, not of the man here. As I am characterised by Him there, I am descriptive of Him here. That is the testimony. It would be a bare statement merely to say there is a Man in heaven, and you might not be able to make any expression of that Man; but when you understand Ephesians 3:9 you understand that it is that all men should see the beauty of the heavenly Man down here on the earth. I do not know anything more magnificent; it is like the plumage of a beautiful bird - a bird of paradise, if you like.

Saul says, I was by when Your first martyr was killed. He was the very man whom God used to fill up the testimony of Stephen.

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I want you all to understand what your portion is. There is nothing between me and that bright spot where my Saviour is. The Holy Spirit can conduct me up to it - He 'has ope'd the heavenly door' - that is your own portion. Having got your own portion, what now? Now we are to be the expression of the Man in heaven. If you are characterised by Him where He is, you will be descriptive of Him where He is not. The wonderful testimony is, there is a glorified Man in heaven, and I am, through divine grace, called to be descriptive of His exaltation in the very spot where He was the rejected Man. There is one thing that marks the man that is heavenly - he is occupied with the interests of Christ here. If you were in heaven for five minutes, it is the interest of Christ that would occupy you, and not your own. The most striking mark of the heavenly man is that man is occupied with Christ's interest here on the earth. What is your place? Heaven is my place. If that is your place, you are occupied with Him there and with His interest here. The moment you understand what He is to you, the question is, What am I to Him? Suppose every saint on the face of the earth tonight were to say, Well, I have to do with Him, what would be the effect? All would set forth the heavenly Man on earth, and it would be one grand whole, every man in his place. It would be a beautiful exemplification of the exalted Man in the place where He was rejected.

You may say we are greatly fallen. The real defect is that we have not grasped the beginning - you have not got your own side of the story. If you had got hold of the fact that you have a place in heaven - crossed the border, at home in that bright place where Christ is, the necessary mark would be that you would be descriptive of Him here.

Everything now comes from this new centre; it is the seat of power. You are to look at everything from that point.

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The prodigal son only went in. Now Stephen comes out. The mark of the heavenly man on earth is that he is occupied with the church. It cannot be otherwise. You say, I am occupied with the salvation of souls. Quite right, but you will not lose that if you are occupied with the other. A great many are occupied with the salvation of souls who are not thinking at all of Christ's interests. You should look for the salvation of souls, and that this should be for Christ's service here on earth, like a recruiting officer, recruiting for his corps. I am always glad to hear of a death-bed conversion, but I would rather the person stayed down here to be a witness for the Lord upon the earth. Suppose the company here tonight were to say, I have found my portion in Christ outside this scene, and I am going to be descriptive, according to the measure I am called to, in my walk here on earth, of that Man in heaven. There is a great dignity about it; where He was ill-treated, that is the very place in which I would like to magnify Him.

Nothing encourages one more than to hear of a young man saying, I will give up everything to follow the Lord, to be for Him, but I will only say that if you give up your business for the Lord and do not work as hard in the Lord's service as you did in your own business, you will come to grief. We are born to labour. I do not advocate a man giving up his business, but I do advocate a man making Christ's interest paramount to his business.

Now I come to the third part - what does the man go through? Stephen is here confronted by all the Jewish magnates of the religion of man.

It is a bad general who underrates his foe. It is a great thing to form a right estimate of your enemies. 'Forewarned is forearmed'. Stephen is here before all the religious dignitaries of the day. What does he go through? If you turn to Psalm 22 you will get a description of it. The sufferings there are put, not in

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their historical order, but in their moral order. Stephen is learning that he is above the things for which Christ suffered. The first suffering is, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Christ was alone in that; Stephen enjoys the effect of it. The second, "a reproach of men, and despised of the people". Stephen suffers but is superior to it. The great and wonderful fact comes out that when you know the power that carries you over Jordan, you know the power that enables you to face every opposition here. "Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you", Joshua 3:10. The meaning of that statement is that when I know the power of Christ to carry me over to the place where He is, I know the power that can quell every foe that is against me down here. The believer is practically superior to everything that is against him.

We like to stand well with people - to be popular. "A reproach of men, and despised of the people". That does not mean merely wicked people, but religious people. The religious element is what is to be dreaded.

But Stephen is superior to it all. The bulls of Bashan - the Jewish Sanhedrin, that great court - they gaped upon him - what had Stephen found? 'I triumph in thy triumphs, Lord'. He does not yield an inch - not a feather is stirred. What a wonderful thing in a man like yourself! What about the bulls of Bashan? Superior! Brought down into the dust of death; no weakness equal to that. Superior! What a wonderful thing to be so sustained! If you visit people in suffering they tell you: 'Thank God, I can really bear up quite wonderfully'. Stephen is so superior to the thing that he is not talking about himself at all; he is thinking of Christ's work. "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit". Satan thought he had done when he had got rid of the first witness, but Paul came in to ratify what had been inaugurated by Stephen.

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It is not that Stephen was not in suffering, but he was so supported that he kneels down and prays for his enemies. He overcomes evil with good.

I trust the Lord has awakened your heart to understand the great thing that is to be apprehended before Him - even that we are each of us to be descriptive of the heavenly Man here on earth. You will find the power that carried you up to heaven will enable you to be superior to the combined forces against you here. Some people will say, That is a splendid impossibility. I want you to leave out the 'im', and say, It is a splendid possibility; we can all follow in Stephen's steps; if we cannot be Stephens, we might at least be little Stephens.

The Lord alone can make His own word effectual, and therefore I would ask you, dear friends, to join me in praying that He may make it so.

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Colossians 3:1 - 11

In verse 11 you have reached a point where there is neither the religious man - that is, the Jew - nor the learned man - that is, the Greek - "Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all". Well, the only question is, Did you ever get there? He is the Head, you have to get to Him. People think it a very easy thing to say Christ is your Head, but you have to travel a bit before you find it. If Christ is my Head, I could not have a head of my own. You could not think differently. You might have difference in service, but we could not think differently if we had but the one Head. That is one of His dignities, "head of the body, the church". The question is whether you know it. The Colossians were very nice christians. You see it in chapter 1: 4; very nearly the same words are used there as to the Ephesians; but then Paul says in verse 5, I cease not to pray for you, according to "the hope ... laid up for you in heaven". If I do not keep you on heavenly ground, I can make no hand of you.

A man thinks he can contribute to Christ. It is a very different snare from the Corinthian. The Corinthian thinks, I am a christian, I can do just as I like - a sort of antinomianism. The Galatians, on the contrary, were legal; they thought they would correct flesh by law. The Colossian error is the most subtle error. People say, Would not the Lord like a little help? That is a Colossian. It is to contribute to Christ, it is that I could help Christ by my religion or by my learning, that is the way. They will not accept any less than a pious man. In the Church of England he must say the Holy Spirit has called him; it is a very subtle thing; that ended in Romanism. You were

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not to eat meat, and you were not to marry. It was only to produce something pleasing to God. The flesh is gone altogether. God can use my body; He is not going to use my will, and no dictation of mine will He accept. Man thinks to be eloquent, he will thunder away; he gives out a hymn; in a hundred and fifty ways it comes in, genuflection, religious attitudes, and the like. It is not that I do not like to see a man devoted to God, but the moment you think you are adding to God by your religiousness you are in the Colossian snare. The apostle finds that that is the great thing, that nothing but the truth of the mystery will preserve them from this religiousness. The full knowledge of what Christ is will cure the Colossian; the cross will cure the Galatian. The Corinthian and the Galatian failed in understanding the gospel, but the Colossian does not understand the mystery in power. Therefore the apostle begins in chapter 2 and tells them what great conflict he has for them, that they should understand the mystery. Nothing could preserve them from this snare but the mystery. I have often felt I would like to be eloquent that I might assist the word, but a contributor is not a servant. A servant is one who does what his master tells him; not like Martha, officious. You may say, Well, I saw it was there, ready to my hand. If you were a servant you would wait for direction. I might see a man in a train and think it was a good opportunity to speak to him. I do not think I could until I looked to the Lord for direction. I do not think opportunity is the ground for action, but God's will; you ought to be always ready.

The mystery is that all the saints in the whole world have but the one Head. It is not like man and wife with two heads; there is but one Head for all saints. Recognition is one thing, reality is another. If you and I had but one head we could not think differently. Every christian has not reached the Head.

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You must get Him first, and then you hold the Head. 'Holding' is by power. "Vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head". I think almost every one of us understands the unity of the body; we are all united by one Spirit in one body, but who understands that we have only one Head? They may assent to it as a truth. If I hold the Head, and you hold the Head, there is only one Head between us. That is what the apostle is instructing them in here.

In chapter 2 he states what is the danger, and what Christ is as the Head. The point is that you are to keep Christ only. If you have Christ only you would not want the flesh. Your body is a servant. The snare is that I suggest something; but I must not suggest anything. Of course there must be communion with the Head. You cannot understand Ephesians thoroughly without Colossians; still I think it came in to correct. Just as Corinthians and Galatians correct as to the gospel, so I think Colossians is a corrective for the church. If a man had the gospel correctly he would be neither Corinthian nor Galatian. If a man had the church properly he would not fall into the snare the Colossians are warned against. The point is, the apostle wants them to understand what the mystery is. "In which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge".

It is a wonderful thing to get the mystery. He begins, "lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.... As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality

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and power". There you arrive at this fact, that you do not want anything outside of Him! Suppose a man said he could help the gospel by science. I do not want it, I do not want to go outside of Christ. All christendom has gone outside. Everything they do is outside Christ. The danger is, we try and get outside. If you use sentimental music you have gone outside the Head. Take verse 11: "In whom also ye are circumcised". Now you get two things; one is circumcision - the cross, the other is baptism. You first get, "Ye are complete in him". Well, I do not want any addition to Christ. If I am complete in Him that will do. Then you get rid of the other. The whole thing is swept away. The old man is swept away. And you can see how the word 'sins' is brought in; very likely a monk, copying by hand, put in 'sins' in the margin, because he would say, If I am swept away altogether, what is the use of my monkery?

The whole thing is gone in the cross. Then baptism is, you are a buried man. You have no status. Some of the earlier christians would not baptise a healthy child - they thought they would give him a chance in the world. They understood he was cut off from position here if he was baptised. Do you understand it? Is not a buried man cut off? God has no claim on a buried man. God has disposed of the flesh. It is completely swept away. Then in baptism you have lost your status in the flesh. You do not believe everything is swept away in the cross. It is most absolute, the severing of the thing, never to be revived. It is cut off; the body of the flesh is swept away in the cross. But not only so, you are buried with Him in baptism. You did not put yourself there - no man could bury himself. I suppose someone buried you in the death of Christ.

First, you are complete in Him; that is verse 10. It reminds me of the man who emigrated with some

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friends. Well now, he says, we have got to the right place, and lest any of you should wish to go back we will burn the ships. Therefore it says in verse 20, "If ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world". There is nothing people know so imperfectly as the death of Christ. The cords that bound our hearts to earth are loosened by His death. If you accept His death, you find there is not a single thing between you and heaven, no more than there is sin between you and heaven. We are dead with him from the rudiments of the world. What are the rudiments? The very smallest thing you could get up, the ABC, as it were. As to baptism, someone put you there, dipped you in the water. You are cut off, you have put on Christ. Even your child you either connect with Adam or with Christ. "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". God will raise you from the dead. Therefore in chapter 3, "If ye then be risen with Christ". The point is to show you are completely cut off from the world. There is the vital thing. In baptism your status is God's. God does not address a man that is buried. A monk copying this scripture would say, What is the good of my religion if that is true? There is nothing so seductive as religiousness. I do not object to a man weeping at a gospel preaching himself, but I do object to his weeping in order to make me weep; he might as well have a harmonium. There are three intrusions of the flesh. You would use your mind, your body in some way, to subserve the interests of Christ. The gospel got you out of the Corinthian snare and the Galatian snare, but it is the mystery will get you out of the Colossian error. Where is the man that would be made a minister of the gospel if he had not two things, learning and religion? He thinks by these things to contribute to Christ. Why should I not give my position and everything? How

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should a man that is baptised give his position? He has not got any!

In chapter 3 there is no single thing between you and heaven. I do not think it is practice; it is practical. I will rise out of all these things, where there is no man but JESUS, neither the religious man, nor the learned man, neither Greek nor Jew, "neither Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all, and in all". Now you have got hold of the Head. You get there by Christ's life if you only answer to what belongs to you. You are not there in Romans, but you are looking up to get there. In Gilgal they had to be circumcised. The fact is, everything is gone from us in the cross. I accept it. I leave it all behind. Like a man going up in a balloon, he loses sight of everything. Then he loses sight of himself, for in the long run he is unconscious - he is a gone man. The illustration fails me, for I cannot give him another life. In Colossians 3 I am entering now on a wonderful life; I have dropped all that is of the world. I am entering now where Christ is everything, and in all.

He never was baptised as you are. He was baptised to take His place with the godly remnant. Baptism in its simple meaning is, I am done with the old order, I am entering on a new one. He was baptised with John's baptism; you do not call that your baptism.

You only get one word that alludes to the Head in 1 @Corinthians 12. Many rejoice to think we are all one body, and some go so far as to say we are one body in heaven, but that is not correct, we are one body on earth. We cannot have difference of judgment if we have one Head. Difference of knowledge we may have and of occupation. The same judgment you have in Peterborough about a case you would have in Australia. So if you arrive at a judgment here it is binding on the whole church of God. You will find if you study things that people have very little idea of

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one Head. The Holy Spirit always acts for Christ. He forms the body, He dwells in the house. In Gilgal the whole order of Egypt is rolled off. I drop it all off as it occurs. Marah is, I drop the thing as it arises. If I see an apple on the table that is not my own and I would like to take it, and I do not take it, I have drunk death, the sin is stopped anyway. Is it right for you to wish for an apple that is not your own? No, it is sin. But then you do not take it, you suffer in the flesh, you have ceased from sin, you would like to take it. Gilgal is, you have rolled off the whole thing, body and bone. Someone said to me, Why do you not bring in Paul? People would think they could not get it unless they were like Paul. It is too great an illustration. The thing is, I have left every single thing behind me, both lust and habits. I am on new ground, where none of these things enter. No one is to be found here but that one Man. That is my home. I have reached heaven.

I doubt if you get in Colossians the corn of the land at all. The first-fruits are very simple, but people do not know it. I see a great many texts about, but not often, "Seek the things which are above". There is a time in the history of every devoted soul when he raises the question, Where is the Lord? I walk about the world, I hear what is going on, but where is He?

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It is important to note to whom the epistle is written. The Hebrews had not gone back, but were in danger of doing so, and this "word of exhortation" (chapter 13: 22) is written to encourage them to continue. The apostle begins by showing how God had spoken in these last days in the person of the Son as formerly by the prophets, the stream of communication being continued thus to the people of God. In this sense we have continuity as well as contrast. In the main it is contrast, showing how much better off the people of God were now than of old.

We never get out of the wilderness in the Hebrews, hence we get the tabernacle, but not the temple referred to. The tabernacle is connected with the wilderness, the temple with the kingdom.

The writer s name does not appear. Scripture is adduced to prove every point - thus the author's name was not needed. Christ is the Apostle. The point is to establish what is the word of God.

A scripture proof of the truth of christianity was the object. It was not merely a new revelation, but a continuation of the communications from God (verse 2).

Why to the Hebrews, and not to Israelites?

'Hebrews' refers to what they were naturally - their origin (Genesis 14:13) - 'Israelites' to what they were made in grace (Genesis 32:28).

A striking internal proof that Paul wrote the epistle is that directly he gets Rahab the harlot into blessing in the land, he stops - time fails him (chapter 11: 31).

We never get union in Hebrews, but we get companionship, like the consecrated company with Aaron. Here the consecrated company enter the holiest with One greater than Aaron. "Anointed thee with oil of gladness above thy companions".

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In chapter 1: 3 our sins are gone, and in the epistle we are seen as the congregation of God.

In His dignity He sat down, having by Himself purged our sins. In chapter 2 we see Him as a Man, as kinsman, relieving us of judgment; and in order that He might do so, since the children were partakers of flesh and blood, "he also, in like manner, took part in the same".

Having found out where Christ is, and where our position is, we are seen here (that is, on earth) as running on to Him there. We are not seen united, but as a consecrated company going into the holiest with the High Priest, all being according to the divine order, as in Leviticus 8, where we have three points:

(1) Body washed with pure water.

(2) Heart sprinkled from an evil conscience.

(3) Hands filled with consecrations which are waved before the Lord, and then eaten. The third is not in Hebrews, where you get the right to approach; it does not go on to communion. They (the priestly family) are in company with Him, and feeding on Him inside. The point is that we are companions of a heavenly Christ - everything to us as it is to Him - sharing with Him in the holy of holies - not the holy place. He is heir of all things as Son of God. The universe was made in order that it might be filled with mediatorial glory.

The tabernacle was a figure of the universe. The Son has passed through the heavens, and is seated in the highest place of dignity - the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Christendom has made the laity the camp, and the clergy the tabernacle.)

Chapter 2: 12 quotes from Psalm 22:22, "I will declare thy name unto my brethren". In Psalm 22 we see Christ first in death, and then as risen out of it.

"Spoken to us in the person of the Son" is characteristic of the communications. This communication is not limited to His life on earth. The tendency was

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to go back to the earth, and the Hebrews are warned that if they did so they would lose sight of these relationships, that is, companionship with a heavenly Christ. Christendom generally has gone back to the earth.

In chapter 3 we find the Apostle as well as the High Priest. As Apostle He came from God, as High Priest He goes to God, and we are seen not only in the company of the High Priest, but also listening to the Apostle. There is a present ministry of "the Apostle". "I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it".

Ministry in the assembly is from Christ apostolically. In John 17 He says, "The words which thou hast given me I have given them". This is in His apostolic character. In the assembly we are viewed as on heavenly ground, and thus entirely dependent upon the Lord to open out to us there what heavenly things are. There are two kinds of apostolic communications - one in connection with the pathway in the wilderness (Exodus 29:42); the other in connection with what is inside - God speaking from the mercy-seat (Numbers 7:89). The point was that they now belonged to the inside and not to the outside. We have to do with the priest inside - Israel with the priest outside.

"All of one". One what? One everything.

Christ never had brethren on earth after His own type, His own order, until resurrection. in Matthew 12:48 - 50 "brethren" is used morally. The Lord owned what was of God in Israel.

The word forms the link in Matthew's gospel ("Whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in the heavens", etc.). Nature and life form it in John's gospel.

In Hebrews God reveals Himself as One whom it "became" in bringing "many sons to glory, to make perfect the leader of their salvation through sufferings".

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In Leviticus 16 we see two companies - Israel and Aaron's house. It is a wonderful thought! I belong to the inside company. Everything depends on where the priest is. "My brethren", chapter 2: 12, was accomplished historically to the remnant in John 20. "Brethren" in Psalm 22:22 applied to the Jews at the time, but it brought them on to new ground. (See John 20.) They were Jews when He appeared to them, but He put them on ground which could not be limited to Jews. "The great congregation" of Psalm 22 is Israel in the kingdom. "I will declare thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the assembly will I sing thy praises". In the assembly we ought to catch the leading of the Lord in His praises to the Father; we should be like the strings of a harp, ready for His finger at any moment - I do not know whether He will touch me, but I am ready. The three mighty men came down to David (2 Samuel 23:13), and coming thus near him, learned his mind, and were ready to do his pleasure. "I will declare thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the assembly will I sing thy praises". In the sense of relationship we worship the Father. John 4 goes beyond Hebrews 10. In the former it is worship; in the latter it is only title to enter.

In John 20 it is Father and God. 'Father' is grace usually; 'God' responsibility. In Hebrews it is a people on earth - Christ speaking to a people on earth. In Romans it is a man personally on earth. In Hebrews a man on his way to heaven. 'God' is used in a sense relatively in Hebrews 2. "It became him... in bringing many sons to glory", etc.

The three quotations, Hebrews 2:12, 13, seem to refer to three positions in which we are viewed.

  1. "I will declare thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the assembly will I sing thy praises" - our association with Him now.
  2. "I will trust in him" - our dependence upon God during our wilderness journey.
  3. "Behold, I and the children which God has given me" - This last shows how, when Christ had not the nation, God gave Him children.

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In Isaiah 8:17, 18 we find Jehovah hiding His face from Israel, but giving Messiah a people - children. All these quotations are made to prove that we belong to the same company, and yet His place is ever kept - "Behold, I and the children", etc. When the Lord said to Mary, "Go to my brethren", they took no advantage of it, for when He appears before Thomas He is addressed as "My Lord and my God".

"Death has been swallowed up in victory" is still future, though we are already in the victory. "Thanks to God, who gives us the victory by our Lord Jesus Christ". Death will be destroyed absolutely when every believer is taken out of it. Resurrection is the end of death. "He also, in like manner, took part in the same", that is, flesh and blood, and by death brought to an end that condition for the glory of God. Death is the end of a condition, the end of a state in which I am; thus, much more than mere separation of soul and body. Satan presented in the wilderness that which would captivate a man, in the garden of Gethsemane that which would appal a man.

"Perfect" (chapter 2: 10) has always to do with Christ taking His place as a Man in glory. Suffering of death - atonement. Sin having come in, suffering came in too - through all this Christ had to pass, and having got to the other side, He is seen in glory, made perfect (a soldier passing through all the war to the highest post, to generalship). In chapter 5 "the days of his flesh" and "being made perfect" are contrasted. He learned obedience - not He learned to obey, or to be obedient. The very perfections of Christ added to His sufferings when tempted, His perfect sensibilities shrinking from the very proposal of independence. He knew all the weakness of man - what man had to go through. In the temptation in the wilderness in

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Luke's gospel, Satan suggests independence that he should do the thing needed by His own means. You will always notice that if you yield to the first temptation, independency of God, you will go on secondly to get a slice of the world, and then, falling under the third, seek to get God to authenticate your position by giving results in service, etc. During the forty days, it was not human nature suffering from hunger, but holy nature suffering from Satan's suggestions. Satan, baffled in the wilderness, comes back in Gethsemane in a new way. If you will not drink the king's wine (Daniel 1) he will throw you into the fire (Daniel 3). Peter's suggestion was not in the way of direct temptation (Matthew 16:22, 23). During the Lord's ministry Satan knew that He was his master - a Man was his master.

The sympathy of Christ will extend to the remnant by and by. Christ suffered otherwise than in atonement, suffering on account of Israel's treatment of Him as Messiah. The man who has the greatest sense of Christ has the greatest sense of Satan. He will disturb wherever he can.

I never saw a wrong key struck in a meeting, but that all who were in a wrong state would drop into the same key, until the power of God came in and stopped it.

The "new man" suffers as Christ did. "Arm yourselves with the same mind" (1 Peter 4) - that is like Marah. I see an apple that is not mine, which I would like to have. I say, 'No! that is sin'. I leave it, I suffer in the flesh. Priesthood has reference to a people in relationship with God.


We are partakers of the heavenly calling here, not seen in heavenly places as Ephesians 2. In Hebrews we are viewed as going on to heaven. "Consider the

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Apostle and High Priest of our profession" is the rallying point. He puts them into their position and then warns them.

Heavenly calling commences, in a way, with Abraham, but really with christians. It implies a heavenly people on earth. "But now they desire a better ... that is, an heavenly". Abraham looked for, and will be in, the heavenly city, though he is not part of the building. He left Babylon for a walk of faith. Babylon was independence of God, Babylon is our snare now. Heavenly calling is not the same as church calling, but is the calling, in this day, of the individuals who compose the church.

The difference between the earth and the world is that the former is an actual place, the world is an organisation, a moral thing. Earthly is in contrast to heavenly, as places. We never give up our place here till we get a better place. This heavenly calling is brought in by divine commission. How can we escape if we refuse the heavenly thing?

"Calling" in Ephesians 4 is in view of a people in heaven. "Calling" in Hebrews 3 is in view of a people on earth. In Hebrews we have a continuation of God's people on earth. The place of the priest determines the character of the blessing. In Israel the priest comes out to bless. In Hebrews we have boldness to enter the holiest. Difference of priesthood (Aaronic or Melchizedek) determines the character, or rather the different character of blessing. Melchizedek priesthood - the priest comes out; in Hebrews we go

in. It is ever important to notice the place from which God speaks. If from the earth, it is chiefly in connection with earthly things; if from heaven, heavenly things. The communications here come from heaven. The place where the mischief was done is the place where it must be set right - "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself", 2 Corinthians 5:19.

Here, Christ is seen as Son over God's house, whatever

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that house may be and however wide its extent. He was greater than Moses. His sonship gives Him the place of pre-eminence. The important point to the Hebrews was that the Son Himself was the Apostle. In verse 7 he turns to exhortation and shows them what their forefathers were. They were not going on; like the slothful man who says, "There is a lion without". How could he know it? If you go on you will find it is not there. We must go on. It is a race to heaven.

The "provocation" was when they refused the testimony of the spies. Israel did not go on because of difficulties, but there are not two roads; hence the difficulties must be faced. Weakness is spoken of at the end of chapter 4 as we might plead weakness, but we have a great High Priest, etc. The unbelieving spies saw the difficulties, but did not bring God in; they did not deny the richness of the land, but regarded the difficulties in their own strength.

A dead and risen man is the only one who could fight the inhabitants of the land. Israel despised the pleasant land. The battle of the provocation must be fought. Are you set for heaven? Then, if you have not fought that battle, you will have to do so; you cannot get out of a thing without going through it. In Hebrews we are set for heaven, but we generally turn back; directly we move the enemy moves. The boast of hope (verse 6) is what they had at the Red Sea (Exodus 15).

"If indeed we hold the beginning of the assurance firm to the end" (verse 14). Israel's song was one of confidence (Exodus 15). In Leviticus 26:13 we find, "I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you walk upright", that is, with boldness. This word 'upright' is the same as that translated 'confidence' in Hebrews 3:6.

In chapter 4, "Lest ... any one of you might seem to have failed of it" is being discouraged, not equal to

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it. We must labour to enter into that rest. Every person turning back begins with discontent, not satisfied with the things we have, lusting for the things of Egypt; hence the exhortation in chapter 13, "Be content with such things as ye have". Discontent is the outcome of unbelief. Directly I let the idea of want occur, I am in danger. This is the meaning of departing from the living God.

We must not think we get any help in our infirmities unless we are on our way to heaven, pressing forward on the road. The word here is for direction more than for correction. (Compare verses 2, 6, 12, 13.) If for direction, then for detection. We can have no sense of Christ's priesthood in our path, unless it is a path of obedience. There may be ninety-nine roads, but really only one to heaven, and that is the road the Lord went.

There are three classes of infirmities - our circumstances, health, bereavements. The first two can be mended, the third cannot. If we are going on to heaven, the Lord comes in.

The word detects me, thus - say I am vexed, what is it? Myself? My vanity? or for the Lord? The word rakes me fore and aft, so to speak. If it be for the Lord, He says, 'I know what that is', and He helps me. The Lord conducts the people by His own path; out of that path, we are out of the sympathy of the Priest. The word is like a sign-post at cross-roads. It points the road to heaven, and thus keeps us off wrong roads. His word is to sustain our confidence in the path. Light discovers where I am, and what I am, and yet I keep with Him who is light, because of His heart. Seeming to come short is failing of faith in His promise.

The wilderness is the place of responsibility and

Testing - properly speaking it is not a place, but only a

bridge to cross over to another place (Exodus 15, 16, and a

part of 17 give the wilderness of grace), and is not a part

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of God's counsels. We break down because our conscience is not kept up to our faith. The Spirit of God never leads us beyond our conscience. We are responsible to be what He has called us to be.

Are you consciously up to what you know? Do you say, No? Are you feeling it? I am. And what are you doing? I am praying about it. That is right, God will help you. Difficulties are not infirmities. "By my God have I leaped over a wall".

In christendom the question asked is, What is your creed? The great point is to keep your conscience up to your creed, the word of God. "A good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck", 1 Timothy 1:19.

Abraham had to go back to the place where his altar was first set up; he broke with his conscience when he went down into Egypt. He was away fifteen years, and those who study prophecy say that those fifteen years do not count in the 490. If we have the word of God we must obey. Dependence and obedience must go together.

In chapter 3: 18, we read, "To whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to those who had not hearkened to the word?" It is not a question here of faith, but of obedience, "the obedience of faith" (Romans 1). But I cannot obey unless I believe. We have the traits of faith in chapter 11. As an auctioneer praises a horse - he can go over this and that, and you say, 'I would like to have that horse'. Well, here is faith, and the traits of it are referred to. They were to go on, they were not to build houses in the wilderness.

Numbers 14Murmuring. If I am over Jordan, I am a dead man. In 1 Corinthians 10 we get the moral order instead of the historical order. Idolatry, fornication, tempting (Numbers 21), and murmuring (Numbers 14). Murmuring put last in the list to show it was all over with them.

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Murmuring is apostasy. I am an apostate if the word is given up. If a living soul is not in exercise, it is in sin. There is no neutral ground - an evil heart of unbelief, if there is not faith. The Lord does not help us out of our infirmities (see 2 Corinthians 12:7); but it is important to see how He helps us in them. It is a great thing to see where the High Priest is. He has gone through the heavens, that is the height to which He has gone, and He is taking us in spirit to the height where He is. A man throwing a rope to a drowning man from a little boat can only bring him to the height at which he is; if thrown from a man-of-war he is brought higher. He helps us on the road to the place where He is. He is there separated from sinners by the very fact that He is made higher than the heavens. He brings us into companionship with Himself where He is. His priesthood is to help me along the path which He has trodden. In John 11 the Lord is with Mary of Bethany. In John 12 Mary is with the Lord.

As regards weaknesses, the Lord takes us morally out of them. He gives Paul the sense of His own grace, and so makes him superior to his weakness. There is not a single miracle recorded in the gospel narrative which the Lord is not performing now morally.

In the last verse of chapter 4, grace comes first, because it is a throne of grace we approach; mercy afterwards. Mercy comes in after we get grace slighted and the law broken (Exodus 34). When we look to the Lord in our circumstances for grace, He says, I will now come in, and let you out. Paul and Silas are singing in prison - a passer-by might say, They are having good times in there; then the Lord takes them out. His mercy endureth for ever. Grace is the principle on which God acts. Grace sustains; mercy delivers from the trial. Grace is what is done inside me; mercy outside me. Grace is according to the measure of God's heart, mercy according to the

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measure of man's need. Mercy, the depths from which we are brought; grace, the heights to which we are brought. Paul had grace in respect of the thorn, but if it had been mercy, it would have been removed. Mercy meets misery. The throne of grace is in contrast with the throne of law. In Psalm 105 we have grace; in Psalm 106 mercy, meeting all ways of contrariety. Psalm 107 is succour in distress. Mercy in the Old Testament is more the thought of loving-kindness. The church in Christ does not need mercy. Mercy is more towards individuals. See Timothy.

In chapter 3 and to the end of verse 13 of chapter 4, we get the Apostle; from verse 14, the High Priest. In chapters 1 and 2 we have the personal dignity of the One who is "Apostle".

Is not apostleship the central idea of high priesthood, as in Malachi, "The priest's lips should keep knowledge", etc.?

In chapters 3 and 4 the word is used because they were not in a condition for the priesthood. The priesthood gives you the lift. In chapter 1 sins are put away. I have a High Priest in Him who put them away. The new High Priest would not consist with the old order of things. He must bring in a new order of things. In the old order there were many offerings; in the new, one only. In chapter 5 the argument is working up to His being called. He did not take it up of His own will. The priesthood is not efficacious unless we are in obedience to the Apostle.

A man keeping the word of God must take a heavenly path, and in that path he has the sympathy of Christ. The sword here (chapter 4: 12) is not to judge, not to cut me for going wrong, but the most powerful weapon to keep me from going wrong. Instead of the priest coming out to bless, as in Judaism, they were to go in for blessing. There is no barrier now. God has removed every hindrance, and now it

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is for me to go in. The teachers of christendom have practically stitched up the veil which God rent.

The rent veil in the gospels is God coming out, but the rent veil in the Hebrews is our going in.

In the gospel the sinner is met. Here, it is the saint. Exodus is God's approach to man; Leviticus, man's approach to God, but the offerings were for those already in relationship. The passover was, strictly speaking, the only offering for the sinner. The day of atonement is wider in aspect than the passover. We get mainly, the passover, the day of atonement, and the brazen serpent.

Numbers 21 gives the judgment of sin in the flesh, the first man gone; then God can say, "Assemble the people, and I will give them water".

In Leviticus 10 man is seen as irretrievably bad. In Leviticus 11 to 15 God's holiness is seen. In Leviticus 16 all is over, and God comes out in a new way.

Hebrews 5:12. Declension had come in, they were dull of hearing, they had become such as had need of milk. Infancy is the condition of soul under ordinances. Verse 13: the man has not a proper idea of what God's righteousness is. From verse 11 of chapter 5 to the end of chapter 6 is a parenthesis, showing the condition of those addressed. In chapter 5, verses 5 and 6, Christ is presented in two different ways. In verse 5, Christ on earth - "I have today begotten thee". In verse 6 He is exalted at God's right hand, and the danger was that the people were connecting themselves with Him as in verse 5 instead of as in verse 6. Chapter 5, verse 12, "the beginning of the oracles of God" is in connection with Christ in His Messianic character; "going on to perfection" is Christ in glory. In chapter 6, verse 1: "The beginning of the Christ" refers to Christ on earth, and does not go beyond what they had as Jews. In chapter 5, verse 8, He learned obedience. In verse 9, "all them that obey him". In verse 13, we have the result of being

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ignorant of the righteousness of God (the word of righteousness). If we do not understand God's righteousness we cannot judge right and wrong. God's righteousness is the standard of all. Coming into divine righteousness you become the servant of righteousness.


The great subject of the epistle now comes before us - approach to God.

In chapters 3 and 4 they were turning back because they were unequal to the task, and then the Lord presents Himself as able to support, so that infirmities were not to hinder them. Thus the greatness of the Priest was brought before us. (See chapter 7: 26.) "For such a high priest became us", separated from sinners, gone to heaven, He is out of the whole thing. I am not out of it, but He is. In John 20 He goes up, and places us in association with Him where He is, "I ascend to my Father and your Father", etc. Here, He comes down to where we are - "In the midst of the assembly", etc. They were put into association, not union. Here we are in association, and He comes into the midst of His gathered people. I want Him to sustain me on the earth, and to maintain me in the presence of God. We have a great Priest over the house of God. I want the lesser before I can go on to the greater.

In chapter 4 are infirmities to be lifted out of; here it is the whole thing. In chapter 4 He is a Priest for me; in chapter 10 He is a Priest for God. In chapter 4 a Priest to sustain me here; in chapter 10 a Priest gone inside. There is a danger of our being content with the lesser without going on to the greater. In chapter 2 He is able to succour; in chapter 4 able to sympathise; in chapter 7 able to save completely. Able to succour

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is in order that we may meet Amalek. Able to succour (chapter 2) suggests His shoulder; able to sympathise (chapter 4) His heart. The two combine in chapter 7 - able to save completely.

We get the glory of His Person in chapter 1. We get the glory of His priesthood in chapters 3, 4, 7, 8. We get the glory of His work in chapters 9 and 10. Chapter 8, verses 1 and 2, presents the position Christ is now actually in, "sat down on the right hand of the throne of the greatness in the heavens; minister of the holy places". In chapter 1 He sat down personally; in chapter 8 He sat down as a priest.

In this epistle we find He has sat down as to:-

(1) The glory of His Person (chapter I: 3). (2) The perfection of His priesthood (chapter 8: 1). (3) The perfection of His work (chapter 10: 12). (4) Perfect as to the race (chapter 12: 2). Sitting down in chapter 8 is the effectuation of the priesthood for us. (See the difference between the priesthood in chapters 4 and 8.) In chapter 4 He comes, as it were, into the wilderness to us. In chapter 8 He is set down, because He has gone up to the highest point. It is here that the work was done, but as Priest He has gone to the highest point, and the priesthood is exercised from such a height. In company with Him we are to share now in all the moral value of this at the present moment. It is not only that He supports me, but I am in the company of the Supporter in the holiest. Having stated this point, that we are in company with Him (chapter 8), we see in chapters 9 and 10 how He cleared the ground.

Chapter 8 shows us how we find Him as Priest in the holiest of all. Chapters 9 and 10 show how He has brought it about, that we can come in. Under the law one could not go in with an infirmity. Now, what Aaron could not do for his sons, Christ does. I am in the sense of infirmity, but am not only supported by Him, but I am in the company of the

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Supporter. He is not only a Priest for me, but a Priest to God.

In Leviticus 21, those of Aaron's seed who had a blemish were permitted to eat the bread of God, but could not go in, and so now there are people who say what a bright meeting they had, but it is questionable whether they were in the sense of the Lord's presence. We may get the sense of relief, etc., without being in the presence; that answers to going inside the veil. Have I a sorrow? The Lord bears me over the sorrow, and thus I pass from having a Priest for myself to having a Priest to God. I have "grace". (chapter 4). Am I compassed with trials and greatly depressed? I am, by Him, brought above it; not made superior to it, but I have a sense of the wondrous way He can console; and thus freed, I am in company with the Minister of the holy places. My sorrow is thus in abeyance. I am taken out of the sense of my infirmity and in with the One who has delivered me from it, where He does not occupy me with my things, but with His. Knowing Him thus, we have not so much the expulsive power of a new affection, but the expulsive power of a new Person. If a physician could give his patient one minute's perfect health, he would have a taste of what perfect health is; so, if only for one minute I have the sense of His presence, I know what it is.


There is no testament, if the testator has not died. Death must come in - that order must go. A testament is of no force whilst the testator lives. A living Messiah was of no avail. God could not have anything to do with the people on any other ground than death. Death comes in - all is now clear. Covenant in Scripture is what declares the thing absolutely. 'Now I will make another covenant with them, I will write

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the law in their hearts' (chapter 8: 10). A covenant, similar to a will, depends upon God and upon death too. They had no right to accept the first covenant. The first covenant was established by blood. It was impossible for God to enter into covenant with man except on the ground of death - death was upon man.

Verses 16 and 17 are a parenthesis, verse 18 resuming the thread. Under the blood of the testament they bound themselves to obey. It was death to them if they were disobedient, yet, as a shadow, the blood of the covenant contained the germ of blessing, what it was to God Himself; it met His eye. God would provide the 'death'. It was important for a Jew to know and understand that we are not brought on to new ground but by the death of the testator. On the ground of blood, Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel saw God, and did eat and drink; Exodus 24:9 - 11.

Purgation of sins is the point - a purged conscience is consequent upon this. In order that we might get a place in heavenly places, Christ died, and concurrent with this the veil was rent. Everything was now done, and God could come in and rend the veil on His own side. The purifying of heavenly things here (chapter 9: 23) is that we might get in. The tabernacle was looked at as defiled because of the state of the children of Israel. God could not open heaven in Exodus 24 without blood, and apart from death we could not enter. The heavenly things were typified by the tabernacle. "He shall make atonement for the sanctuary, to cleanse it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel", Leviticus 16:16. Has our sin reached to heaven? Undoubtedly it has: "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned" (Psalm 51:4); then there is the casting out of Satan also. The heavens therefore needed purification with better sacrifices.

Now we are to be found in association with Christ in this place (heaven). It is all moral now, not we going

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up to heaven, but He coming down to us. We do not go into heaven as a natural place at all here; but all the spiritual atmosphere of heaven comes to us. He brings it by coming into our midst. The "heavenly things" are the things connected with the service and worship of God.

In Romans we find a man personally on earth. In Hebrews we find a man on his way to heaven. In Colossians the point is a Head in heaven. In Ephesians the point is that we are members of Him who is our Head - union.

Of old the blood was sprinkled on the mercy-seat, and on the things in the tabernacle; and then there was the scapegoat (Leviticus 16). So in Hebrews 9 we get the three things

the mercy-seat in verse 12,

the things sprinkled in verse 23,

and lastly, the scapegoat in verse 28.

The point in the Hebrews is that it is approach in the house of God. I consider the house to be the sphere where the Holy Spirit is. Thus we find in this epistle if a man left this place it was all over with him.


In chapter 9 we have the perfection of the work; in chapter 10, the perfection of the worshippers. It is in accordance with the perfection of the work that just a touch is given showing how all things will be brought into blessing. All things are purified, all needed, and now all is clear for us to go in. Reconciliation is moral. Purification has to do with defilement. Reconciliation has to do with enmity. All the baptised are in the house (in christendom), but the great point here is that we are in company with Him. We have to do with heavenly things in company with the Lord, and the way is made clear right up to God.

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The danger signal is down; we can go in. Christianity is a faith system; purification has already come for faith. Christ has gone into heavenly places, and I am in association with Him who is there.

In Ephesians we are seen seated in heavenly places. In Hebrews we have the right to go in; but it does not say that we go in. It is thus very elementary, not going so far as John 4, worshipping the Father. It is not a company worshipping, but having a right to go in. Morally, we are in, because we are in the Lord's presence. The presence of the Lord makes the 'place of worship'. In the assembly we are distinctly on heavenly ground.

"Unless I wash thee, thou hast not part with me"; only in the assembly it is more a collective thing. When the sanctuary is referred to, we must bring in the collective thing. The one enjoying the Lord's presence is morally, in. There is a great difference between having the Lord in my own room, and having Him in the assembly. In our own room we learn what the Lord is to us in our circumstances. In the assembly we learn what the church is to Him. In the assembly we learn His mind, His interests. It was there the Holy Spirit said, "Separate me now Barnabas and Saul for the work". His interests are paramount. A man gets his gift in the assembly, as Timothy did, "by the laying on of hands".

"Through the veil" and "into the holy of holies", in chapter 10 are moral expressions. The heavenly things are brought down into the midst of us. We are not fit for Christ's presence in the assembly, unless we are fit for the unclouded presence of God. Christ's presence is the sanctuary. In chapter 9 He has gone into heaven itself. In chapter 10 the figure is changed into the "holy of holies". His presence makes this - and then I say, I am always in His presence. I may not be in the enjoyment of it, but I am there, and if I am in His presence I am in the holiest of all, morally.

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He brings us into the moral nature of the new place by His coming into our midst. If in His presence, in the assembly, we are outside the world and all that is connected with it.

The book of Acts is one of transition. Morally we have more amongst us than Israel had visibly. The Lord brings to us all the holy things of God. These Hebrews had never taken up their position. Hebrews is individual. "Assembling of ourselves together" is not so much the thought of the house as the synagogue - the house in a synagogue character. Assembling in Greek is a cognate word to synagogue. The house in Hebrews is not seen in its scope, which is, "there is neither Greek nor Jew". We could not have the assembly simply on the same ground as Acts 2 now that all the truth has come out. We have lost the idea of the holiness of God's house. The slightest disturbance in a church would, years ago, have been rebuked by a churchman. Have we got spiritually among us what Israel had visibly? I long to see "thy glory, as I have beheld thee in the sanctuary", Psalm. 63:2.

In Hebrews faith carries you on in the race, you are not yet in heaven. Matthew 18:20, "Gathered together unto my name", took the place of the tabernacle. The tabernacle first, and afterwards the temple, was where the Lord put His name. He has gone into heaven, and comes into the midst where two or three are gathered together unto His name. The Lord comes to us. In Ephesians we are set where He is; in Hebrews He comes to where we are. By and by we go to be with Him bodily; meanwhile He comes to us. We draw nigh as a consecrated company, "sprinkled as to our hearts from a wicked conscience". We do not go into heaven to worship in Ephesians, because we are looked at as seated there "in Christ". The presence of Christ here makes it, morally, heaven. We could not have the house of God in heaven. It is set up on the earth. If the Lord be present you must

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be on heavenly ground to enjoy His presence. He is Lord of glory, and can be in ten thousand places at the same time. Morally, if Christ comes in He leaves nothing behind Him. We are in His house. He leaves nothing behind. He brings us to the Father. People say that He is only there by His Spirit, because they will not allow the majesty of the truth. When we come to remember the Lord, we are, as it were, in company with Him, looking upon Him on the earth in death. If His presence is not true to us here, we are not so well off as Israel.

Christ is in heaven - that is locality - but when He comes in, heavenly things are brought to us here. The assembly is on heavenly ground. The locality must be settled by where the people are. We must leave the wilderness to go into the sanctuary. There was not a pin of the sanctuary that was not heavenly. The rent veil is His flesh - His perfect flesh, rent that I might go in. Then nothing of my flesh can be allowed in.

In Ephesians I am elevated to where He is. In 2 Corinthians 3 I behold Him there, to become like Him. In Hebrews He is in the midst of the consecrated company. I enjoy the Lord of glory in His own circle. It is a heavenly Christ, and therefore must be on heavenly ground. There is title on our side; ministry on His side. There is danger of dropping down to a Romanist level and going to the Lord's supper in order to get a new sense of what the Lord has done for me. We are set distinctly on the ground of His death. Thus the feast is eucharistic as well as one of remembrance. He appears in the presence of God for us. He secures everything for us. He will come out for us by and by. Meanwhile He comes into our midst. The veil was rent on earth. The assembly is heavenly. He leads the praises in the midst. There is positive infidelity as to the Lord's presence in the midst.

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Ques. What is the difference between Great Priest and High Priest? - The High Priest was when there was more than one. Now there is only one, the "Great Priest", and the Spirit of God uses that word to give Him the pre-eminence. I am always in the house, but the house is not always in function. When two or three are gathered together to His name, they get all the advantages of the house of God. They are in the house and get all the advantages of it. Only when gathered are they in function as an assembly. Gathering is an integral idea of the church.

Mr. D. has said that we ought to know when the Lord comes into our midst and when He goes out. For my part, I often feel that I know when He goes out, but cannot tell so easily when He comes in. When we leave the assembly we go back to our individuality, we are no longer in function. The fifth chapter of Revelation does not apply to our worship at all. If the Lord is in the midst, I communicate with Him and He with me by the Spirit. I there gather His mind for the present moment.

The thing is to ascertain the Lord's pleasure, whether in giving out a hymn or anything else. You must take no kind of purpose with you into the assembly. You might go in with something on your mind, and get it turned round about when there. You must be free from it. The breaking of bread is not in heaven, but it is on heavenly ground. I am in the Lord's presence, but we must get into the moral idea. A covenant has the same force as a disposition made by God Himself, which you have to accept; a testament is more in the shape of a will. The priesthood in chapter 4 is in respect of our weakness - here in chapter 10 it is more in connection with our worship.

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Now it is exhortation to run the race, and how to run it. Chapter 11 is a parenthesis. In chapter 6 the sin is refusing the Holy Spirit; in chapter 10 the sin is refusing the blood of Christ, and insulting the Spirit of grace (verse 29). We are brought to the highest point in chapter 10, and now the great point is the need of patience whilst running on to heaven.

Chapter 11 is introduced to show us the quality of faith. It is the stream of power in God's people continued. Faith has antecedents. Faith is not a new thing. There is a stream of faith, and it is that which always marks the man who comes to God. He has faith. It is not here (chapter 11) examples of faith nor the definition of faith, but the traits of faith. If Abel had been in Noah's place, he would have acted as Noah did. There is a certain gradation in it. As soon as Rahab the harlot is mentioned it stops. Faith has always been the principle animating the people of God. Faith has always lived in view of the world to come - of the invisible. It apprehended that God would have a world, and therefore it refused the present world. Each of these traits of faith looked on to the future. Faith counts on God, not on a promise only, but on God, "seeing him who is invisible", and as a necessary consequence it will not be satisfied with anything that comes short of Him. In Hebrews they had not got to what was invisible, and they were going back from faith. The writer, in Hebrews, ignores the period of law and puts them in the line of the patriarchs. The wilderness is left out in chapter 11, because it was unbelief. When sin comes in, sight will no longer do. Individual faith came in after the fall.

Everything around Adam indicated favour; he was the very opposite to the prodigal starving. He had to

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believe God's word, but he had not to believe that 'God is' - there was nothing to call it in question. Eve desired to act for herself in independence of God. Adam, with everything to appeal to sight, etc., of the goodness of God, acted against God.

Satan sought, as he always does, to weaken God's word. Adam was not deceived, but took his place voluntarily with Eve (1 Timothy 2:14). I do not think that Abel had a word at all, but the truth was apprehended by him, for he had to do with God; it was not a question of obeying a revelation. Abel was sensible of a distance, and in practice says, I dare not approach God in any other way than by death; and whilst Cain takes his own way and offers the fruit of a cursed earth, Abel says, as it were, The distance cannot be removed but by a victim bearing the judgment. When a man feels that he has to do with God, he recognises that he cannot have to do with Him according to sight. Plenty of people have faith in a word, but have not faith in the Person. If we had faith in God, we should believe everything He says. It is not a question of testimony, it is God, the word of God. A testimony would be a public thing. In the case of Noah, it was more a communication from God. Faith in God is the point here - warned of God, offered to God, etc. The soul is connected with God. He is, and He is a rewarder of those who seek Him out.

Do we believe what He says, what He does, and that He is?

If we believe that He is, we have it all. Once a revelation is given to me, I am bound to receive it, otherwise I lose the blessing. It is of immense importance to say, My faith is in God; as a woman once said, If God had said that Jonah had swallowed the whale, I would have believed it. No matter what the circumstances, faith rises above all. If my eye is on the Lord, I am carried all the way to where He is; my eye is not on any particular passage, but on Him.

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Others may have some traits of faith, but it is all exemplified in the Lord.

Two things come in, "Laying aside every weight" - that is outside, "And sin which so easily entangles us", that is inside, the nature. It does not mean any particular sin, but sin in nature. The weight is something perhaps that people say there is no harm in, but the question is: Does it interfere with your race? Yes, it does. Well, then, lay it aside. Walking in the power of Christ it is laid aside. "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood" is striving against sin. As you proceed you find the power of Christ to help you. In chapter 12 we have suffering for righteousness' sake, but it is all turned to our benefit, so that we are partakers of His holiness; the discipline is to help us to partake of it. Christ surmounted everything and has reached the top (chapter 12: 2).

The simplicity of faith is that it counts upon God. It is said that a horse will never face a fence he cannot go over if left to himself. I say, if I have faith, I can go over. "By my God have I leaped over a wall", Psalm 18:29. According to the old order of dealing, a gap was made for you, but now you have to surmount it. He "set him on his own beast".

Christ, after being the example, becomes the object to me. The chastening is all to help you to put away the sin. You have not gone the whole way yet - not yet resisted unto blood. Resisting unto blood refers to martyrdom - that one would rather die than sin. It was not Gethsemane in our Lord's case, but the cross. A pilgrim is a man who is going somewhere. A stranger is a man who is away from his home. We are not to be like tourists, looking for the best accommodation. The world would not have Him. It was a wonderful thing for a Jew, whose prosperity had been in the world. Now, the signs of prosperity were just the opposite; it was adversity or affliction - a mark of affection. God's grace is that He does not

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remove the stone before the wheel until the wheel comes up to the stone. You will always have your evening before the morning.

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Do you say you have got some truth today? Well, you will have a good pummelling before you get it, for you must go through it before it is yours practically and in power. Discipline in this chapter is not so much for naughtiness, but to help you on in faith - that you may be partakers of His holiness. In 1 @Corinthians 11 it is for failure. Chastening is in correction, prevention, and in order that we may bring forth more fruit; we are put through pressure in order to learn God's pleasure, for I must either learn with God or with the devil.

There are times when a man is walking loosely, and the Lord may say, Let him alone, as you might put a horse to grass; but as soon as that man turns round let him look out. What tried Job was that God did not interfere for him when he was right. At last he was brought to own, I deserve nothing, and then God manifests His goodness. In the same way, with the Syrophenician woman, directly she says, I deserve nothing, Christ gives her her desire. The word restores, it is the real power for restoration. There is retribution for carelessness outside of all this. If I go out without my hat and catch cold, I deserve it. We must remember that the character of the discipline here is not restorative but progressive - helping us on the road.

There is a great deal of discipline that no one sees at all; and I think, when it is seen, that it is more for open failure, like Lot's. In chapter 12 it is God's side; the highest point is in verse 22 - what we come to, what is before us at the present moment. For faith, they are all there (verses 22 - 24).

Mount Zion, the centre of the earth; it is the principle of grace, in contrast with Sinai. Before

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mount Moriah was established (the temple), when the public testimony was gone, the ark was in mount Zion. It is remarkable what a place mount Zion has in the Psalms. A profane person is one who has given up the grace of God for this world.

What is the thing before us here? It is the whole thing, as it is at this moment. There are seven different things - the 'ands' make the difference. The earthly city is the city of the Great King. The heavenly Jerusalem is the city of the living God. The innumerable company of angels - the general assembly, the church of the first-born ("ones", it should be). It was, so to speak, the church of the levites - they were taken in the place of the first-born. We are all firstborn, we are on that ground. The levites were taken in the place of the first-born. We are the church of the first-born characteristically - the church of the levites. Here, it is all of a priestly order. The levites were a gift to Aaron and his sons. Our outside service is levitical; inside, it is priestly. There are two aspects in which we are viewed here - one in connection with government, and the other as near His heart.

Why are they presented in two aspects?

Because you must have the seat of government. The object of His heart comes out in the church of the first-born. The city does not exactly belong to heaven, though it is heavenly, it comes out of heaven. We never leave our place in heaven. I think everybody will be on equal terms in heaven. Heaven is the Father's house. The difference will be in the kingdom. The church of the first-born means the church, the body of Christ.

There is a touch of the apostle Paul's hand here. He would not leave the description of the church in respect of kingdom glory alone, but puts it in its proper heavenly glory. He is writing to Jews, and we must remember this, hence we have - "registered in

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heaven". This is our place. 'First-born' brings in our priestly as well as our levitical place; that it is "registered in heaven" is the great point.

"The spirits of just men made perfect". We are coming down now. This is on the down line. The church is high up, alone, at the end of the up line. "Jesus, mediator" is in respect of all. "The blood of sprinkling" is the basis of all blessing, whether it be heavenly or earthly.

"And to God, judge of all".

Why is He spoken of here as Judge?

Because He is, as such, in relation to everything. What we are connected with is the great idea, it is grace. Everything has to satisfy God's eye. It is not so much judgment here as discrimination. "Our God is a consuming fire" - Israel's God and our God. This must be taken in reference to verse 28. Although there is no more offering for sin, is God going to gloss over sin, and if you do not judge your sin, it will become your scourge. It is the holy character of God in His righteous judgment. If we have an altar we must remember we are where the fire is. Supposing a man uses his brain too much; he cuts a rod to beat himself, and perhaps has softening of the brain. We have not a sufficient sense of having an altar.


In chapter 12 it is what we are to God's eye; in chapter 13 what we are to man's eye.

If a person said, What sort of people are you? I should point to this chapter 13 as descriptive. If he said, How are you religiously? I should say, Outside the camp. Nothing can be more solemn and exacting than bearing the reproach of Christ - the reproach of a Man upon the cross. The camp is anything that is carried on with military precision - an earthly order of

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human arrangements. Judaism was the camp - that was the character of the thing, and christendom is on that principle. There is no room for the Spirit; it sets up a priesthood between man and God, an order of things suiting man on the earth. The camp is defiled. I must be outside. It is not only outside the camp, but where the carcase was burnt, when sin was judged. The people who have the privilege of approach to God must be dead to the world. We have the highest place with God; we have the lowest place with man.

Chapters 10 and 13, if separated, are like a pair of scissors with the pin out, no good to cut with. If a man does not apprehend the heavenly, he will not take his place as dead to the world. The altar is the actual nature of the approach. I do not think that it is a particular antitype; the idea is our approach to God, it is Christ. It is where the consecrated company went in to eat the carcase of the offering with which they were consecrated. The altar is not for a sinner. It is the altar of burnt-offering, the place of acceptance and sacrifice.

In churches, the laity have no business inside the altar rails; only the clergyman is allowed there. We have no business, so to speak, outside the rails. All priests inside, we have a better altar. The Romanist puts the 'real presence' into the bread and wine, the wrong place, and keeps us out of the very place where we should always be. An altar, as such, is not for sinners, as such, the great idea being approach to God. If you want to know of a man's expression to people outside, it would be to know what is his way of approach to God.

Take Psalm 84"Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be constantly praising thee. Selah". (Inside.) That is the extent of that man's altar. What would that man do here amongst men (outside)? "Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee - they

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in whose heart are the highways. Passing through the valley of Baca, they make it a well-spring; yea, the early rain covereth it with blessings. They go from strength to strength: each one will appear before God in Zion" (verses 5 - 7). Here we have the outside, and it is indicative of what is inside, so, if you want to exalt a man's expression here, he must get a better idea of worship, what is inside. He cannot be higher to men than he is to God. A man cannot preach beyond his prayers - he cannot be morally higher than his prayers. It is the altar first, and then outside the camp.

We ought to be characterised by offering to God the sacrifice of praise. It is communion here, but you must walk in self-judgment. There is the fire, it was kept continually burning on the altar. Where the altar is, the fire is; it was not for judgment but testing. It is here not so much the eating of the sacrifice, but the offering, which is to be the characteristic of a christian (verse 15). Israel could not take the place of dead to the world, but we can, and we can feed upon the sacrifice within, which Israel could not.

The man who praises God in verse 15, does he do anything else?

Yes, he does good; he is a holy priest, and a royal priest. In one hand he has something for God; in the other, something for man; but he denies himself. Partaker of the altar means partaker of the character of the altar. We take the place of death to the world (verse 10) because Christ died.

In verse 15 we are worshipping inside; in verse 13 we bear His reproach outside.

Is verse 8 of this chapter connected with verse 12 of chapter 1?

Yes, a beautiful connection. In chapter 1 we have proof after proof of the glories of His Person now. The last chapter connects the name of His humiliation with that same One - the golden thread that runs through the epistle!

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Paul was a prisoner when he wrote the epistle. Everything was over as to any hope of Israel, the people of promise.

Was the truth contained in this epistle first made known in it?

Truth may be communicated long before it is made known to others. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul refers to revelations "fourteen years ago", and so here, in writing to the Ephesians, he may have received the truth long before. We need to have a sense of being "in Christ" before we can talk of a "man in Christ".

What is the difference between being "in Christ" and "a man in Christ"?

One is that I am consciously there, the other is more an abstract thought, what the man is. The first six verses are abstract. It is as much for one as the other. Up to verse 14, we have the individual blessing, the individuality of our relationships, but we are all one in it. Union, in itself, does not give us anything save position. (See after remarks.) Verse 3 is common to all. It is the key of the epistle.

When union is referred to, it is the truth of the body which is referred to. Sarah was of the same kindred as Abraham, so that her union with him did not give her higher kindred, but raised her into a new position. I am a son of God, and accepted in the Beloved, and you cannot get more than that. If I were not in relationship as son, I could not be united to Him.

We have brought before us in Ephesians what is of a new order. The first fourteen verses show what grace has done for you. God's counsel connects itself with our being after an entirely new order. It was a thing in the mind of God. We have unity (as in

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John) where we have not union. Ephesians brings before us an entirely new thing, not connected with dispensations - before the foundation of the world. Dispensations are connected with the world. This is apart from, and outside all dispensations (verse 3). Kingdom blessings are dispensational, "prepared ... from the world's foundation", Matthew 25:34. We enjoy the blessing while in this world, but as to its nature, it is entirely outside of this world. We see the wisdom of God in establishing the soul in the individual blessing before He goes on to the corporate thing. We are chosen in Him.

Predestination is always to something, predestinated to a position before Him. We were chosen in a past eternity, but being chosen were predestinated to sonship - the full display of this position of "adoption... to himself" in the future. We cannot understand union unless we know that we are sons to Himself. If I am not fit to be Christ's companion, I am not fit to be united to Him, and could have no pleasure with Him in such union, nor He with me. It is life and nature here. There is no higher relationship than that of son to Himself. I do not gain relationship by union, but I gain position. In the new Jerusalem it is the consort of One who sits on the throne; but in Ephesians 5 you are brought to Himself, being there as if there never had been sin or a world.

Unless a soul is at rest, he is not prepared for the counsel of God in the first fourteen verses. Verse 4 is meeting the necessity of the nature of God; verse 5 is the glorification of His affections. "Holy and blameless" in chapter 5: 27 is the same as in chapter 1, "holy and blameless". He gives us a nature suiting us for the relationship. We could not have the relationship if we had not the nature.

Union is by the Holy Spirit, and it is a wonderful thing to know it, to know that I am actually united to a Christ in glory. There is nothing given to us here

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on earth, beyond the gift of the Holy Spirit. Stephen had the Holy Spirit, and was in the reality of union, though the truth as to it was not revealed. In the beginning of Acts they illustrated it before it was actually revealed. Many have the instinct of relationship, and by the Holy Spirit cry, "Abba, Father", before having intelligence. It is of importance that we should know our heavenly relationships, in order that we may enjoy union. I am united before I know it, but scripture does not suppose me walking without enjoyment.

Union is more position, we are already brought into relationship as sons. I am similar to Him on the same footing (Hebrews), and if you do not understand what it is to be in companionship with Christ, you will never understand what it is to be united to Him. A wife gets a different position, but she may have been of the same rank previously. Union comes out in Acts 9:4, 5, "Why persecutest thou me?" In Acts 8:33 the life of Christ is taken from the earth; then I leave it, too. Satan thought he had got rid of Him, but in chapter 9 He is found in His members. It was a terribly signal defeat for Satan!

Satan is ever opposed to the truth of the "one body". Satan has his counterfeit of it, Rome. So long as the sheep lies still the dog lies still, but when the sheep moves, the dog moves; so with Satan and the church. In Acts 16, the apostle will not receive support from man. The devil offers to placard him, but the servant of God refuses. "The powers that be" may vouchsafe protection, but this is very different from placing reliance on them. The Holy Spirit is the only power on earth for testimony.

As regards warfare in Ephesians, we do not want the armour unless we are on the battlefield, and that is against wickedness in the heavenlies. In Romans we have the armour of light, but that is different. The root of all difficulties has been the giving up the truth

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of the presence of the Holy Spirit, and this is so amongst ourselves individually, though it may be nominally owned. The church, having lost the sense of this power, went to the world for power. I think the church first lost the knowledge of the forgiveness of sins, and then, consequently, the knowledge of the seal, the Holy Spirit.

In chapter 1: 10 the counsel of God is made known to us as to the glory of Christ; the universe is to be headed up in Him. The "administration of the fulness of times" is an administration preparatory to the eternal state.

There is the heavenly man and the earthly man, and Christ, Head over all. The new Jerusalem will be in the eternal state as well as in the millennial. In the millennium the church will be set in the administration of grace. The Old Testament saints are in the city, but do not compose the city. The pious Jew will turn to the new Jerusalem to learn what Christ's grace is in the church. It is like a review - there are red coats and black coats, but the red coats are the army; the black coats are there, but they are not the army. The new Jerusalem is the city for which Abraham looked. In the millennium, the new Jerusalem is Christ's agency in administration.

Peter, in his second epistle, skips the millennium and goes to the end, speaking only of the eternal state. He would not give the Jew an inch to stand on here. The millennium is, as it were, the antechamber to the eternal state. The reconciliation of all things in Colossians is governmental, under Christ; it begins with the millennium but leads to the eternal state. The Father's kingdom is the heavenly side of the millennium; the kingdom of the Son of man is the earthly side. "The mystery of his will" is the widest of all expressions, wider than the term 'mystery' when applied to the church simply. God restored the truth of the mystery by bringing before one of His

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servants what he expressed in the words, 'I have a Head in heaven, I am united to Him; so then are others'. "Being enlightened in the eyes of your heart" is a qualifying condition for knowing.

Chapter 1 is prayer for knowledge - conscious knowledge; chapter 3 is prayer for enjoyment. To know the power that is toward you is in chapter 1, with the objective presentation of Christ. Subjective enjoyment is in chapter 3 - the Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith. There are two distinct things - what is true for me, and true in me. The man who understands union could not say that the corporate thing is over. What is presented to us objectively becomes the power of life in us. Knowledge, in Ephesians 1:17 and 18, is a divine gift. Objective knowledge, without having a state corresponding, is mischievous. Peter had revelation without state (Matthew 16). Peter's state could not be ours now, not as christian state. It would never do to bring christianity down to people's practical condition.


We are here taken up from the lowest point to the very highest. No word is introduced as to our conversion.

What is the meaning of, "He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit"? (1 Corinthians 6:17.)

1 Corinthians 6:17 is responsibility. Here it is the power which wrought in Christ, His Spirit who dwells in us. In Ephesians 1:20 Christ has been raised from among the dead; in chapter 2: 1, "and you". It is not how it is done, but the fact that it is done that is presented. Quickened has reference to the state we were in - dead in sins. We are quickened together with Christ. Raised up together, is Jew and gentile; verse 2 is gentile, verse 3 is Jew.

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Verse 5, quickened together with Christ. Verse 6, raised together, Jew and gentile. Quickening here puts us into the same life condition as Christ. It is the work of God seen in its entirety - God doing His work in one stroke. We are looked at here as quickened when Christ was quickened, and we found it out when we were converted. Quickening introduces into a new state. There is no future resurrection mentioned in the epistle - all is included in the statement here. Jew and gentile could not be together in any dispensation on earth. It is God's side of it here.

Time must not be brought in, for the fact alone is stated. Thus it is like the man child in Revelation 12. We should not dissociate the life from Christ where He is, nor our relationship. Relationship is the gift of sovereign grace, and we have the life of Christ given in order that we may enjoy it. Looked at as quickened with Christ, everything connected with the life down here is ignored. (See previous remarks.)

We are sons, and it is thus that we understand that we are united to the Christ, the Son of God. He makes us sons first. Old Testament saints were not called sons (see Galatians 4); the relationship is a privilege and is not the result of new birth, though you must be born again to be in it. We are brought into the wonderful position of sons.

How vast the magnitude of this relationship!

In Galatians 4 we have not only the spirit of sonship, but the Spirit of His Son. Raised up together and seated in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus - the place is the prominent part here. We are set there by Himself. There is no place for Jordan here; in Colossians Jordan comes in. It is God, taking you up, dead in trespasses and sins, and putting you in the heavenlies, a new creation out of the moral chaos.

Here the prominent idea is "heavenly places". Christ was here, moving about in a moral chaos, in power of life outside of it. Here we are seen united

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to Him in the new place, and after the new order, although we are actually in the old place where He was. The whole of chapter 2 brings out our vocation.

There are seven points here: (1) The new place (verse 6). God never needs to justify His own work; here it is new creation. It is a great thing to see the two lines which are defined in Scripture - God's line and our line. The difference is between the actual state and the faith state; one is true as you put your foot on it, the other is God's side. He takes us up dead in sins, and we are quickened and seated in Christ; that is God's line. Our line is, that faith should take God's line. "Raised us up together" is standing. "Raised with Christ" is power. Joshua (chapters 3 - 5) is not Ephesians, it is more Colossians. Ephesians 6 is Joshua. I am in the land, not fighting to get possession, but to keep it. In Colossians you reach Gilgal; you are over Jordan but not in heaven. I recognise that all that belongs to me as of the old man is rolled off at the cross. A great many have deliverance, but have not learned circumcision.

Circumcision is leaving the whole man behind, so that there remains none. Marah is dropping a sin; Gilgal, dropping the man. By grace you are saved, you had no title at all (chapter 2: 5).

(2) New creation (verse 10).

It is the nature of the thing rather than membership. We have part in this new thing, and it is now morally displayed. You do not get the idea of the "new man" unless you look at it collectively. It is true of each individual, but collective in idea. Christ is all (Colossians 3:11). I am outside of every man but Himself. It will be seen in display by and by, morally now.

(3) The new man (verse 15).

Here it is "to form ... in himself". In verse 10 it is the material, "created in Christ Jesus"; in verse 15 it is result, "one new man". In the "one body" the

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idea is more what is for God; the new man is more for display. We lose distinctions as a heavenly people. The difference between the new creation and the new man is that one is for a new sphere, and the other a new order. New creation (verse 10) is for good works. In the first creation all was very good, but there were no good works. Adam fell immediately. In Genesis you get the creation first and then the man; now you get the new man first. New creation takes in all. New man is included in "form ... in himself". I get part in the new man by new creation, new creation power. The new man is the first part of the new creation. We are in the old creation, but we are to set forth the new man in this place morally, though it will be actually set forth in the future. It will be displayed in the glory complete.

(4) One body (verse 16).

It is only the whole body that could set forth Christ. No individual could set forth Christ. The new man is Christ. The body is the complement of Christ - the body of which He is the Head. In Colossians the new man is Christ in us; in Ephesians, the new man is created after God.

"Christ is all" objectively, and "in all" subjectively (Colossians 3:11).

In 1 Corinthians 12 we have the body in function. Here it is the simple fact of a body. "The Christ" includes all. The one body here (verse 16) is the character of the thing, and does not go so far as 1 Corinthians 12.

(5) Access to the Father (verse 18). By one Spirit we reach the Father.

(6) The holy temple (verse 21). The shrine where God dwells - to which all the building is growing. The temple is for communion, the city for administration.

(7) Habitation of God (verse 22). Actually builded together now.

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Chapter 3 is a parenthesis.

The prayer is for that which brings us ability to carry out our vocation. Elisha could say, All I want to do is to set forth Elijah, nothing of Elisha, and the power that took the man above was to carry on the man down here. In verse 9, Paul wanted it to be seen, and would like all to see it. The administration can be seen. It is by "the surpassing greatness of his power" - the mighty power coming in (chapter 1: 19).

Angels see it. It is the angels' lesson-book. They see the administration now. Paul would like men to see it. The apostle in his prayer in chapter 1 is leading you up to association with Christ, that you may know the power that elevates you to that position. He makes me first acquainted with the power that puts me in that position, and I can thereby predicate the power (chapter 3) that will enable me to come forth in the power which I have learned for myself, into the administration of the mystery. In verse 17 the point is that Christ might dwell in the heart, domicile there, have a home in it. This is individual.

"In your hearts" is every believer's heart. I am able (verse 18) to survey the position, and turn back to something I know, the love of Christ. Now, you know God's power that lifted you out of everything here, and in that power you are enabled to face everything (chapter 6). The power that raised me up works in me. We find the principle in Joshua 3, "Hereby shall ye know that the living God is in your midst". This is, I believe, the first time "living God" is mentioned. The seven nations represent man's complete power. The prayer commences with power and glory, and ends with it. Christ gets His place in our hearts first, as the fruit of the power. The inner man (verse 16) is in contrast with the outer man. I am the same person as before. I shall know by the Spirit,

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and not by natural memory, when I have my glorified body.

Are we looking for divine power to mortify the old man, that we may come out in the power of the new? There is a great difference between the discipline to help us and the discipline to correct us; the latter is generally before men. You have power now to face your vocation.


The opening of the chapter is what it is about:

"Walk worthy of the calling wherewith ye have been called".

We have come to the field of practice. The interesting point is that we begin with the church as the first circle of interest. If we are effective in that circle we shall be effective in every other circle, but if defective, we shall be defective in every circle. The distinction between God's calling in chapter 1 and our vocation in chapter 4 is that the first is what we are going on to, the second, what we are to answer to. God's calling in chapter 1 is to be "before him in love". That is His calling. His calling is your full calling, and in result is future.

Chapter 4 is what you are to be here, and is connected with chapter 2. The first point is to endeavour to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace". We all form one body, one corpus. There is only one unity in my frame, in my corpus - the unity of my spirit, and all must conserve that unity. Here it is the Spirit's unity, and we are to endeavour to maintain it. All members of the one body are alive; but, so far as the manifestation of this unity is concerned in the church, it is like a person suffering from paralysis - the members refuse to act in accordance with the head. Life is not union. It is the Spirit of God that brings into union. I want my hand to write,

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but instead of writing it goes the wrong way; it is not that there is not life, for it is alive, but it does not act in accordance with the head; if it were a member of my body, I should do my utmost to get it restored.

Do we so act towards others as to endeavour to get them into their proper place?

The unity of the Spirit is the realisation of our relationship to Christ and to one another, "using diligence to keep", etc. The unity was formed on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended; there were two fillings, of the house and of each person. The church is the habitation of God through the Spirit. It is the circle in which the unity of the Spirit is to be kept. The same Spirit who effects union has a unity. If I were on a desert island I should be in the unity of the Spirit; but if another joins me we should express it.

What is the difference between the unity of the Spirit and the unity of the body of Christ?

The unity of the Spirit is the thing to be carried out down here, and the only power one has to walk in it is the power of the Spirit. If we allow the flesh to work we are out of it, we are out of health.

The Spirit of God does not lead into opposite ways; we cannot agree to differ. In John 17 we have unity, but not union. The Lord prays for the expression of it. It will be fulfilled in the new Jerusalem. It is every member going on in correspondence with all the others by the Spirit. If we take in the fact of our own body and one spirit in it, we can understand what the unity of the Spirit means.

In verse 2 we are in the presence of God, and therefore we are lowly - lowliness being in respect of God, and meekness with regard to one another. The unity of the Spirit is a practical thing, and therefore we can touch it. The unity of the Spirit may be described as an abstract idea; it is there to be kept. It must not be limited to ecclesiastical unity; we might be right

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ecclesiastically and yet not keep the unity of the Spirit. The practical difficulty is in realisation. The unity of the body cannot be touched. Everything on earth is against it.

There are seven unities in these verses one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism (that is more outside), one God and Father. We should be practically expressing these on the earth. Jew and gentile are formed into one.

National prejudices crop up and the unity of the Spirit is broken. It has not been kept, but it is there to be kept. I need to be walking in the power of the Spirit to maintain the unity of the Spirit. The defect of everybody begins above - at the higher circle. If I am defective in my actions as a member of the body of Christ, I shall be defective as a father, a husband, etc. If the unity of the Spirit be maintained, I shall be right in the lower circles and in the upper. In Romans you get a man personally; there is not a single relationship spoken of; nothing relative, but what he is. In Hebrews it is the same, except that we have love of the brethren. When we come to Colossians, we find the relative duties, although in a lower way than in Ephesians, because there we are not looked upon as in heaven. A man full of the Spirit would make the best husband - he would be unselfish. The better we are as churchmen, the better we are in our relationships. It makes a wonderful alteration in a man's house when he knows that all that is his belongs to God. It colours everything.

The gifts are given to produce, in verse 13, a state of things on the earth which is perfectly incomprehensible to the natural man. This verse is not future. It is a standard for here - "until we all arrive", etc. We do not want gifts in heaven.

Verse 14 shows it cannot be future. It must not be relegated to the future. The gifts are given to bring this state about. It is individual - we arrive at it one

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by one. There is the standard, "the full-grown man", and the provision for arriving at the standard. See Colossians 1:28. The apostle desires to present every man perfect - he could not have a lower standard. The perfect man is individual. I do not think that a person learns anything of Christ without the dislodgment of what is in himself.

As regards gifts, it is not merely a question of salvation, but God has to fit the vessel - the will must be broken. Jonah had to go into the fish's belly and into the depths of the sea for this purpose. All ministry is given superior to every adverse power - no power can interfere with your gift. Gifts are from the top. Christ is above all adverse power. He has surmounted all actually. Our commission is from heaven, and we have to report to the place whence we get our commission. The evangelist works down here - in the slums perhaps - but makes his report to the place whence he obtained his commission. The gift is given superior to all here. In ministry, we have a Christ to present who fills all things.

The gift is effectual in liberating me from all that which Christ has overcome. There is many a man who has a gift, but he has not realised that he has received it from above. There may be a field with plenty of coal in it, but through too much bearing - rocks, etc. - the coal cannot be reached; the obstruction must be removed. The place where we were snubbed most is the place where we get distinct countenance. If there were more devotedness, more gift would be manifested.

J.N.D. said that God never gave a man anything to do, but that he was unhappy till he did it. The power of God displaces that which is contrary to Him, so that He may fill you with the power which belongs to Him. I am to get space for Christ in the sphere of opposition, and to begin at myself. Arriving at the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of

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God - they should go together. We may be in unity - without being at the same level.

The perfecting of the saints individually is the great point here in verse 13. The other two points I cannot say much about - a man may interpret Scripture, but one can only be effective according to the effect the word has upon himself. I would not speak on a passage I have not been in. The end in view, the great object of ministry, is the perfecting of the saints. The work of the ministry and the edifying of the body of Christ are subsidiary.

Scripture does not contemplate a long period - until we all come. They are first perfected, and then put into place. In the professing church the gifts are put into wrong places, like a housemaid might put candles in wrong rooms. An evangelist is made a pastor. A pastor is made a missionary. A man is not effective in ministry save to the extent of its effect upon himself. The man who was the greatest evangelist was the greatest churchman - Paul. The pastor, etc., is himself the gift; he receives his gift from the Lord. The object of the evangelist is not only that people may be saved, but brought to Christ. He has his gift from Christ, but starts from the assembly and returns to the assembly. After drawing in his net, he has to sit down and select. Natural ability is not a gift. J.N.D. said that what makes a man an evangelist is intense love for souls. Sometimes a person may have a gift which seems quite opposed to his natural ability; one of the most effective evangelists I know could not say much.

In Ephesians, the man is characterised by the gift. God took away Paul's power of utterance, but not his capacity, so that it might be seen what God's power was. The one who has not natural gift is often the one whom the Lord chooses. In Matthew 25 the talents were given according to several ability.

The saints of God are suffering from lack of development

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of gift. Verse 14 is a contrast to verse 13. Instability is the characteristic of a babe. It is a state we have been in, but we are to be so no more. We have not kept up the standard enough before people as to what God's mind is as regards us. People say they have got this or got that; but the point is not only what I have got, but what I am, according to the word of God. Paul could say to Timothy, "thou hast been thoroughly acquainted with my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings".

We should never see a wrong thing done in the assembly without doing what we can to put it right. The laws of war, as set out in Numbers 31:26 - 30, were that half the spoil should go to those who sat at home. If 1,000 head of cattle were taken, 500 would go to those who remained at home; but out of those, one in every fifty would go to the levites, but from the 500 belonging to those who went to battle, only one would be given, and that to the priest. In the first case it would be in connection with service to man; in the other, communion. The evangelist would get the higher blessing - service in communion brings joy to God - the assembly gets the increase. The impression on the mind under ministry when in a right state is, 'O Lord, show me Thy mind and give me grace to follow it'.

I ought to be exercised by the truth. Verse 21 - the Lord was the truth down here on earth - it is a Person. When I cease to be morally what I am positionally, truth is gone. (A man converted through A.P.C. remarked after his preaching, I'll follow him home - I wonder if he'll have a good supper. He peeped through the window; but, instead of sitting down to supper, he saw him kneel down in prayer. The man was persuaded of his reality.)

Some, perhaps, are afraid of being intimate lest they should be found out.

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Ministry is to rear up from babyhood. It is the fault of the ministry if saints are still children. Verses 22 - 24 are abstract, what is true in Christ; but we are to carry it out, we come into it and must keep it up. In Colossians it is more practice, Christ subjectively. In Ephesians it is what is of God coming out: "which according to God is created", etc. (verse 24). In Colossians a new spiritual condition is entered upon. I am going into it. Here, in Ephesians, we are coming from it. It is the pretension of the flesh that makes the difficulty. The devil does not tempt a dog or a buffalo, but he tempts a man. In the dog there is no rival to Christ - nothing for Satan to work upon.

The flesh is not an easy thing to get rid of; as has been said, it is not an easy thing to die. It is true of us here as "in Christ", and we are to come out in a new character. In Colossians it is more the practical side - suitability to the Head; a brand-new man in Colossians, a new kind of man as well in Ephesians. In verses 25 and 26 the practical part comes out. The "old man" is what I was as characterised by the flesh. The "new man" is what I am as characterised by Christ and the Spirit. My "old man" is put off before God, so that I can come out morally new. We are connected with the old creation by the body; with the new, by the Spirit.


As seen yesterday, first there is the church circle, then the home circle. In this chapter we come to the opposition outside.

Why do we get relative duties referred to in Ephesians and Colossians, and not in Romans?

Because, having to do with Christ as Head, we must have to do with all the ordinances of God. In Romans and Hebrews there are no relative duties;

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but here you touch the Head - hence relative duties. Our home circle is not strictly wilderness, because it is under divine order - under the Lord.

I do not go to Adam to learn my duties, but to the Lord. The relative circle is a sphere, it is not, properly, testing which took place in the wilderness. You get it referred to in Peter, but only as far as wives - not children. The Lord has been rejected from the earth, but does He rule in my house? I have read of Zacchaeus in Luke 19 in connection with Luke 15. In one scripture He comes to my house; in the other, I go to His house. Thus the home circle is not, properly, testing. What characterises the wilderness is testing, but it ought to be a pleasure to me to carry out the relationships referred to.

Romans is what you are on the earth - in the wilderness. All is individual. In our relative duties we have the Lord with us. He is rejected all round, but not in my house. 'If you want to see what the church should be, come into my house'; that is what a bishop should say. You are in the sphere where He is rejected in Romans, so that, although not a citizen, you are a subject. I ought to be a good subject, a good neighbour, and looking for the Lord.

It is well to remember what the characteristic of a christian household is.

In Romans 12 it is not relative, it is what you are. Be "kindly affectioned towards one another" is my feeling to another; it is all personal. In Hebrews it is the religious man. What are you? I am here for God.

When we come to the Head, we must come out in everything according to God. The Head is the source of everything, as in Colossians: "In which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge". It is not headship as sovereignty merely. Nothing would give us a better idea of the unity of the Spirit than the recollection that we have but one Head. In

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chapter 4 we have a fine field of practice, but when we come to chapter 6 we find what an amazing opposition there is against us. It is like a tree coming out in the spring, until a terrible frost and east wind come. It is said that a fruit tree has three classes of roots - the tap root, which keeps the tree steady; the root from which the branches receive their nourishment; and the fruit roots, or fibres. The first must not be touched; the second must be pruned - God prunes them; the third must be well supplied with nourishment.

People may read about the armour in this chapter very much like those who go to the Tower of London to see the old armour. What beautiful armour, they say. Yes, but have you ever been into battle with it? We do not want this kind of armour unless we are in the land.

If we treat our family as being ourselves on heavenly ground, we shall want the armour. The proof of a good father comes out when he has a bad son. You meet the opposition in the old sphere. Michal stood faithful to David in a crisis, but in the day of prosperity she reviled him. Satan uses all our relationships to oppose. He will not let your family have a heavenly colour. You may get on with them when they are young; but wait till they grow up - what then? We feel it then, if we have not brought them up to it.

The things done in Ephesians are done in heavenly power. The character of the love is, "Husbands, love your own wives, even as the Christ also loved the assembly". The more we lose sight of the opposition, the more we lose sight of the power above it. You are going the right road, and Satan tempts you to give it up, to turn aside from it; and for this purpose he uses his wiles and artifices. If you move on the heavenly road, something will surely come in your way to hinder and nullify. Satan sees everything going on, and does all he can to circumvent us. He is God's foe, and therefore

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opposes us. Satan could not believe in the existence of a good thing - this is proved by his temptations of our Lord; he thinks that everybody is of the same order as himself; he is opposed to Christ - God manifest in the flesh; he cannot understand goodness.

A bad man could not believe in a good man, he could not understand him. Satan wants to dishonour God by that which is the great consummation of God's power. We are actually the members of an exalted Christ, and we are to be in this place, where He was rejected, for Him, the exalted One; hence, Satan opposes. Directly we attempt to take up our duties in heavenly power, he will oppose; allow them to remain simply on the old ground, and he will let you alone. He cannot prevent God's people from being brought out of Egypt, but he will prevent their going on if he can. As Pharaoh he is gone, but not as Amalek. He does not object so much to a millennial gospel being preached, because it leaves man and his interests on the earth; but the question is, Are people saved for the earth? The elect must be brought in, but where are they put? They (that is, evangelists) cannot sit down and select them, if they do not know where to put them. Satan knows the gospel must be preached, but he seeks to qualify it. At Philippi he wanted to help in it, that he might hinder; he will fall in with our work if we will let him, if not, he will fall out with it. We must go on with the right thing and overcome the wrong by the power of Christ. Satan did not count upon the praises of Paul and Silas in the gaol. We ought to out-preach and out-pray him.

Satan will let you alone if the gospel you preach does not take people out of the world. The armour is not for the gifted only, but for every saint. The great point is that it is against the devil. At Jericho, Israel was armed and had rams' horns.

What would you say to a wife or a child in a worldly

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family? - If I have on the armour, I am invulnerable. I do not join in their amusements, but I am ready to serve. You may restrict my liberty, but not control my conscience. Everybody may have the truth, but it is not everybody who keeps it. It is first defensive and then offensive. The sword is actually to smite. The loins girt about with the truth puts you into activity. In oriental countries the servants off duty ungird themselves, but if the master should appear, they hasten to put their girdles on, as it would be a shame for them to be seen ungirded. There are plenty who have the truth, who never gird themselves about with it; knowing the truth as revealing everything, so that a man is morally ordered by it, not our holding the truth, but the truth holding us. You have every part of the armour really, but the thing is to take it up. In the first three parts of the armour, your conscience is at work.

They might have said to Peter, You have denied the Lord. Yes; but I am not doing it now. Then, he had the breastplate of righteousness. I need the breastplate of righteousness; practical righteousness. I saw you out of temper. Yes; but I have judged it. Many are knocked overboard because they have not the breastplate. We see in Samson's case how wonderfully he was up again. The moment he recovered divine power, he gets up and uses it. Truth - loins girt. Righteousness - breastplate. Peace - feet shod. Someone who did not lose his temper remarked, I kept the shoes of peace; it is not a new thing, it is there, but you have to walk in it. It is not preaching. This armour is for use against Satan. The only way you can meet this unrelenting foe is in this panoply. The point is to be in the reality of these things, to be practically formed in the peace I am in before God; taking up the armour in faith. It is not doing anything here, it is what you are - your state; what I am, not what I do. The great point is that we should learn to

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walk in peace, and it relates to every one, not only to preachers.

The Lord said to His disciples, "I give my peace to you" - what the Lord walked in down here - walking in the gospel of peace in every emergency, and in reference to opposition here. We should learn to walk in peace in order to give effect to what we say or do. "The preparation" is the walking in the reality of the gospel, going on in it. War is the object, but my state is peace. When we are out of communion, the first thing that we expose ourselves in is that we lose our temper, get ruffled; and thus we are hindered from the enjoyment of the heavenly peace. We must have all the panoply, we cannot have one part and not the other, we must put on the whole, it is all in one piece. "He takes away his panoply in which he trusted". In Romans we are told, "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly". Satan's approach is met by the "shield of faith"; and although invulnerable and invincible, there is nothing we are more liable to than for Satan to upset our faith; we fail in the sense of what Christ is. As I have often said, the man who has the deepest sense of Christ's power is most conscious of Satan's; he becomes conscious that there is a power against him, as he is here for Christ. "The surpassing greatness of his power", is toward us (chapter 1). "Strengthened with power by his Spirit" is the power in us (chapter 3). "The might of his strength" in chapter 6, is from us.

The words used in chapter 1: 19, are, in the original, the same as those used in chapter 6: 10. I am using the power I have got from the Lord now against Satan - you see it beautifully in the case of Stephen. We have confidence in the Lord that He will bring down all the power of evil. The power of evil is brought down to faith, as seen in the walls of Jericho. "Be of good courage: I have overcome the

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world". I do not think that anyone gets rooted and grounded in faith until he is well tested about it. The enemy is powerless whilst there is confidence in God, but you are conscious of his fiery darts. The shield of faith is the only thing that can quench them. Paul had more courage in 2 Timothy than ever. Truth, righteousness and peace come first, because if anything is wanting in these, faith is not in activity. If we have confidence in God, our hearts condemn us not. God does not carry us by His Spirit beyond our conscience. You are everything to God in Christ, but you demonstrate Christ as you conscientiously accept what God has given you in Christ. When a man's progress is hindered, his conscience has been untouched, and he must go back to the point of departure.

All God's dealings are in reference to the point of departure. In Hosea, God takes Israel back in a similar way. In this chapter I am maintaining, practically, my heavenly ground - come out from heaven to describe the heavenly man on earth; and nothing could exasperate Satan more than this, to see the heavenly man perpetuated in thousands. A man's conscience is his measure. It is a man who is dead, who is able to withstand any opponent. A dead man can do wonderful things. If Satan had not a bit of flesh to oppose, we should be in the power of God, and he would soon lose the day.

Samson came before Samuel, but Samuel surpassed him, for he was in confessed weakness, and found in prayer - "far be it from me that I should sin against Jehovah in ceasing to pray for you". There is nothing like this for power; our power is dependence upon God - 'praying always'.

In Thessalonians we get the attack of Amalek. In

1 Corinthians we get Balaam. In Ephesians, the seven nations are to be resisted - the complete power of evil, spiritual wickedness in the world. In Romans,

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the armour is christian grace rather. Mr. Wigram used to say that Romans was parade armour. Prayer is not part of the armour, but condition of soul rather. Prayer is unto God; armour is for Satan. We do not seek the enemy, but we are attacked and must defend, in order to make way.

I could not wield a sword in defence without being aggressive. We get the Lord using it against Satan, when tempted by him. The sword of the Spirit is the testimony of God. Satan rushes against us, assails us; prayer is calling upon God, calling Him to remembrance. Israel going round Jericho with rams' horns corresponds to verse 18. In contrast to them, we do not fight for territory - it is our own - but we have to fight for the enjoyment of it, the practical realisation of possession.

If I am not in the end of chapter 3, I cannot be in chapter 6. It is not simply title, we are in possession. We have to remember that we are in the One who has gone up above all adverse power, above everything. The Philistines originally came up from Egypt, and were in the land with Israel. Israel was like a man besieged in his own house. Sometimes we see a man who knows heavenly truth besieged in his own house, besieged by the Philistines, and a very pitiable sight it is; like a bird with a broken wing, he could fly, and he knows it, but now he cannot - like the Israelites, so overpowered by adverse forces that they cannot even sharpen their tools. The only place I have is over Jordan.

"The helmet of salvation" fully furnishes you; your head is erect, you have the victory assured before you go into battle. As Paul says, "I know that this shall turn out for me to salvation". The whole thing is settled. We must remember that the prayer was to end in the mystery of the gospel being made known. This is not the gospel, but the mystery. Someone might say, Paul is dead, and we cannot pray for that

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now. That is the reason we should pray for this all the more. There should be more prayer that the truth as to this mystery should be brought out. People say that it does not apply now; but it does, all the more. If the general of an army and his chief officers were slain, and you were only a subordinate officer, what would you say? I am only a subaltern, I cannot take the general's place, but I am going to carry on the fight, anyhow.

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Genesis 21:9 - 12; Galatians 4:28, 31

The Galatians had received the gospel, and they had also received the Holy Spirit, but had gone back. "Ye ran well; who has stopped you?" (Galatians 5:7). "Having begun in Spirit, are ye going to be made perfect in flesh?" (chapter 3: 3). This is applicable to many in this day. The first thing we have to see tonight is, What is christianity? Many do not apprehend christianity. Christianity is so peculiar, it is not merely having to do with the people of God. In the word we read again and again of the people of God, that is, a people turned by divine power to God. Christianity is that we are in the place where Christ has been rejected. The Saviour is not here. He has been rejected, as Psalm 110 sets forth - "Sit at my right hand", etc. I am in the place where the Lord is not. The question may arise, How is it possible that we should be on earth where He is not? We have to do with the man that rejected Christ. There are two things that mark christianity. I am not talking merely of believers, or of saints, but of christianity. First, I am morally apart from the man here; secondly, I am morally apart from the place where he is. I say morally, for I do not own the connection. I belong to the Lord Jesus in another place, and that place is heaven. I did belong to the man here, the man that rejected Christ. I am morally apart from the man, and the place where that man is. The earth is not my home, I am a stranger here; christianity is not merely forgiveness of sins. The way we limit the truth spoils it. Christianity is, Christ is gone to the right hand of God, and He has left His own on the earth where He is not: we are therefore morally apart from the man, and the place where that man is; first we are saved,

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then justified. In Romans 5 I am clear of all guilt, the question as to my sins settled; but how can I be clear, morally apart from the man here? I need deliverance. I get justification, then deliverance, then liberty. Deliverance is being clear of the thing that did the sin, not merely clear of sin, but clear of the thing that did it. The saints failed, but the very failure led to the writing of the different epistles. The Corinthians did not seek to put aside the old man. The Galatians were trying to mend the old man, to improve the flesh. "Having begun in Spirit, are ye going to be made perfect in flesh?" (Galatians 3:3).

The illustration is used of a farmer, heavily in debt, and in arrears with his rent. One comes in and pays his debt, settles all for him, but what is to be done with the farm? He is cleared so far, but soon the rent-day will come again, and he will be unable to meet it. What is to be done? Well, if the landlord would come in and say, 'You are no longer a tenant at all, but a son', it would alter the whole case. He is in a new position now, and as a son has power to act in the new relationship in which he is called. The landlord says he is no longer a tenant at all. He is in a new place altogether. In christianity it is more than forgiveness, I am out of all I was in before, and am in an entirely new order altogether. After justification in Romans 5 comes deliverance in chapter 6. What is deliverance? Deliverance is that all of me, all of the first man, is gone at the cross. I am cleared of all against me, because I believe in Him who died there. Now I am reckoning myself dead indeed unto sin, etc. (Romans 6:11). In Exodus 15 we get practical deliverance - verse 13, I am cleared of sin, all the sins are gone. Rent and arrears all paid up and settled; but deliverance is that I really accept Christ's death. Our old man is crucified with Him (Romans 6), gone in Christ's death; and what we have to do is to appropriate that death. How? It is gone there, and it is my

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privilege to say, I died there. If so, how can I continue in it? The Galatians tried to improve the flesh. Oh, you say, I have a bad temper and I must try to improve it. But that is not reckoning it to be gone in Christ's death. Marah sets forth the waters of death. The tree is the cross of Christ, Christ's death for me.

I am now placed on a new footing altogether. The farmer is no longer a tenant, but a son, and in such a case the farmer would be uncommonly glad to have the new footing, and to be in the new relationship; but we are not like this, we have rather a liking for the old relationship still. Pray about deliverance.

Though it may not be laid hold of by all tonight, yet pray about it. The flesh does not like it, it is not good to the flesh. If I am dead I shall not think about it. If I have actually died, I should not mind it; but I am dead with Christ, and I so reckon (Romans 6:11). "I am crucified with Christ, and no longer live, I, but Christ lives in me", Galatians 2:20. The more you get the liberty, the more you shrink from all that you have been delivered from. That which you are most delivered from, you shrink from the most. You will keep away from it, and be most careful not to stir it up in any way. "I am crucified with Christ, and no longer live, I, but Christ lives in me". This is not so much the expulsive power of the new life, but the expulsive power of the new Person. "Christ lives in me". The Galatians were trying to put the flesh under law, that they might correct it. The apostle now refers to Isaac and Ishmael (chapter 4). He says in chapter 4: 19, "My children, of whom I again travail in birth until Christ shall have been formed in you". Would you rather have Christ formed in you, or improved flesh? This is the question. He is to have the rule over everything in you. Are you willing for this? Not merely a rule of life, or a principle of life, but a Person ruling there in your heart, not myself but another Person. "Christ lives

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in me". When Isaac was weaned (Genesis 21:8), Abraham was very glad to have him as heir of all his house. He made a great feast the day Isaac was weaned. There was joy in all the house. Christ is the heir. I mean, He is the one who is entitled to everything. Is He to have the right place? It was a festive day the day Isaac was weaned, and not one of the 318 servants in the house but was glad to acknowledge his rights as heir. Can you acknowledge Christ as the One who has the right to rule in your heart? If you do acknowledge Him, you will soon find out what does not acknowledge Him. Out of the 318 servants not one objected, but a child of fourteen years, who had been brought up in the house, and knew all about it - religiously brought up, if you like. It is an awful thing to discover that religious flesh will not have Christ. It is not Romans 8 here. That was flesh not competent to keep the law, but here it is religious flesh, and the religious flesh that hates Christ. If you want to have real enjoyment you must own this. The more religious the flesh is, the less liking it has for Christ, for it reviles Christ. Sarah saw Ishmael mocking and said, "Cast out this handmaid and her son", etc., and was quite right in saying it. The flesh does not like it though. This is just where the holiness by faith people are. They are having Christ to improve the flesh. Paul may have had a quick temper. No doubt he had, but he did not get the quick temper made into a good temper, but he got a good one. He could beseech the Corinthians in chapter 10 "by the meekness and gentleness of the Christ". The old man was not improved, but he got a new. The coronation day must come. By this I mean that the day will come when I own the right of Christ to rule in my heart. No one has any right to dictate to me or to rule me but Christ alone. He alone rules and has His place there. He lives in me. If we want to understand the greatness of it all we learn

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that the Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith (Ephesians 3). But here it is He lives in me. When Isaac gets his right place in the house and it is acknowledged, then Ishmael must go out. Abraham did not like it, it is true, and neither do we, but it must be so. It is true we have two natures, but am I to own both? No. One must go out. One must be master. You have only to acknowledge His right, and the moment you do, you must cast out the one that disputes His rights. "I am crucified with Christ". The old then is gone in the cross. "Far be it from me to boast save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world", Galatians 6:14. I am outside the whole thing now. But someone may say, Ishmael, though cast out of the house, knows the way in perfectly well. He has lived there these fourteen years. If Christ and His rights are acknowledged, then everything else is to be treated as an intruder. He knows the house so well, though, that if you put him out of the door he will come in through the window. Yes, but there is a greater power than Ishmael inside the house now. I must own that there is a greater power in me than the flesh. "Stand fast therefore, and be not held again in a yoke of bondage", Galatians 5:1. Christ must have the house all to Himself. He will not share it with another. If Christ is actually enthroned in my heart, and He has the best place there, then everything is given up to Him. Now keep the intruder out. We never get deliverance unless we own that Christ has the right to be there, and then the intruder must go out (Galatians 5:17). I know we are subject to an intruder, but here we have the power to keep him out. "The flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these things are opposed one to the other, that ye should not do those things which ye desire". The power within us is the greater. We are to walk in the Spirit, and live in the Spirit. The flesh

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is in us, but it is no friend to you, and the Spirit is the power that brings in Christ. Why should we do wrong? We have a greater power now, and should not do it. Live in the Spirit; and so in chapter 6 we get sowing to the Spirit. If ye sow, ye shall also reap. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace" - these are inside; then longsuffering, etc. (chapter 5: 22). How many there are in these days who know the truth, yet depart from it! The apostle Peter says, "Arm yourselves with the same mind". I should be continually bearing about in my body the dying of the Lord Jesus. If actually dead all the trouble would be over, but meanwhile I am bearing about in my body His dying. If Christ has His place in the heart, we shall resent any intrusions. We shall treat all the things that come as intruders; and now we have the greater power within, let us live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit.

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1 Samuel 7:3 - 13

It is very helpful to see that this was the time of the last of the judges, and the last judge. That period of time very much typifies this present time. They had no king and were entirely under the rule of God up till now but after various failures, the last man came. His power is prayer, he comes by prayer. He was the one sent in answer to prayer (see 1 Samuel 1:11). It is very evident that prayer is very little understood, for Eli thought that Hannah was drunken (verse 13). Her prayer was answered, and she called his name Samuel, saying, "Because I have asked him of Jehovah". Samuel comes forward at the very time when the children of Israel were oppressed by their enemies the Philistines. Now the Philistines were not their natural enemies. These were the seven nations in the land, but the Philistines were not the natural inhabitants of the land. They originally came up from Egypt, and they settled in the best part of the land. Here we find they oppressed the children of Israel so that they were not able even to sharpen their tools. They were captives in their own house, worse than prisoners, for they were shut up in their own place. The only resource for them is prayer. There is nothing which gives a greater idea of dependence than praying. I have no confidence in self, and no dependence on self but in another, all help must come from elsewhere, that is prayer. Prayer looks off to another. We must look at the subject of prayer first. The greater sense we have of the grace of God, the more we pray. It is not the man that goes on and sees a lot of beautiful truth, and merely admires it all that is the prayerful man, but the one that gets the truth, and says, 'Nothing but the power of God could do this for me'. This

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is the man that is found praying. "For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee at a time when thou mayest be found", Psalm 32:6. The more a man is really enlightened in the things of God, and the greater sense of the treasure he has, the more he will pray. It is like a man carrying treasure to the bank, he will be continually seeing if it is safe. So we go on in dependence upon God. The greater the treasure, the more prayer.

Turn now to Luke 11:1. The disciples did not know what it was to pray. Well, I ask you here tonight, do you know? Have you learnt to pray yet? No doubt you have said prayers and spoken to God, and have done that which people call praying, but have you learnt to pray yet? What is prayer? I am taught here what prayer is. This is the way you have the prayer. We get in this chapter 11 the first mark of the new company. They are listening to His word and praying. In the chapter before we see that Israel could not help anyone. There was the poor man among the thieves, robbed, and left half-dead. The priest comes that way and passes on. There is no help from him. Then comes the levite - none from him. They both passed by on the other side. The good Samaritan comes in now, and looks after him. Israel proved helpless, and then Christ comes in. In chapter 11, then, we have the first prayer of the new company in verse 5. "Who among you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight and say to him, Friend, let me have three loaves". There are four marks of prayer here. First I know a Friend who has what I want. The knowledge of this always makes a man pray. "Behold, he is praying" was said of Saul of Tarsus to Ananias. The first thing you get is a sense that you have a Friend. He has what I want, and what is more, I cannot do without it, and I have nowhere else to go that I can get it. The last is the most important of all. I have nowhere else to

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get it. (1) I have a Friend. (2) He has what I want. (3) I cannot do without it. (4) I have nowhere else to get it. The last is the most difficult of all. If I am in a strait about a thing, I pray. I ask God to help me, and I think, Well, if that does not succeed I have another string to my bow, I'll have another try with someone else. This is not praying, not real prayer. I cannot do without it, and I will not go away until I get it. For instance, you pray that your children might be converted. You cannot go to anyone else for that, you must go to God, and He must do it. I have a Friend, He has what I want, I cannot do without it, and have nowhere else to get it. I am shut up to God now. It is a good thing when a christian has no back door to get out of. When Hezekiah was sick he prayed unto the Lord, and he got the answer before he got the cure. He had the word of God, and then he got the cure (Isaiah 38). That is the way we learn to pray, to have the sense of how God is moved by you. Some say that God knows all beforehand and has it all settled before you ask Him, but I do not see the thought in Scripture. He is waiting to be gracious. God is moved by prayer. Wonderful thought! If we knew Him better, we should be more confident in what we pray for. This just describes what prayer should be in general. Now turn to Philippians 4:6. "Be careful about nothing; but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God". This is individual prayer. It is not only to tell Him the great things, but the little things as well. Tell Him everything. I may tell a friend everything, but he gives me no relief; not so with God. I can tell all out, but no one will relieve me but God alone. If I am looking round and saying, If I don't get it in this way I will get it in another, looking off for some kind friend to come in and help, that is not prayer, that is trusting in Providence. Providence will not

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do for a guide. In Acts 27 the south wind blew softly. They thought it was Providence, and so all right, but soon the great wind arose, and then it was all over. Tell it all out to God, and "the peace of God ... shall guard your hearts and your thoughts" (verse 7), He gives me His own state. He does not remove the difficulty, whatever it may be. The child is still sick. It is like a man looking to God about his sick cow; it is no better the first week, and the second it never was worse; but, says he, there is such a change come over me, there is such a change in me, I cannot explain it, I cannot understand it, it is past all understanding. We ask many things, and cry to God for many things, but the prayers are not always answered, and although they are not always answered there is a wonderful gain in coming into His presence. It is said that a sovereign of a neighbouring country always made a practice of allowing anyone to present their petitions and requests to himself. The person so presenting the petition, though one of the poorest in the land, had the feeling, the satisfaction, he gave that right into his own hand, and he knew it. He went away with that feeling, but he could not get the state of that sovereign. He could not give him that. Yet we have, "the peace of God, which surpasses every understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts by Christ Jesus". The weakest and feeblest believer has the privilege of coming and presenting, and also of giving out in the grandest style possible. This is all individual prayer (Philippians 4:6, 7).

Now we turn to 1 John 5:14. "This is the boldness which we have towards him, that if we ask him anything according to his will he hears us". I do not think we sufficiently look for it. If you have had a prayer meeting for a sick person, you would know something of what it is to have faith in the Lord that He would hear and answer it. I remember some years ago some five or six of us came together to pray to the

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Lord for a sick brother. The first week he was no better, the week after that he was worse than ever. A brother came along and said, What a nice sort of state that meeting must be in! You are all praying for that brother, and now he is worse than ever. I said, I think I have a little faith about it. One brother prayed that he might be raised up to preach again. Three or four weeks after that he was preaching. If we do His will He hears us. We are not enough in the habit of praying for one another. If we pray for another much, we get the impress of what that brother is to the Lord. And again you not only help that person, but you help yourself, you gain in coming into His presence. What characterises prayer in the assembly is 'we know' and 'have confidence in Him'. There is one thing more we must look at in this connection - 1 John 3:20 - 22. This is in reference to verse 17 - "Whoso may have the world's substance", etc. The first christian virtue is that which is commonly called charity. If I am not doing that which is spoken of in verse 17, how can I do greater? So love is spoken of in 1 Corinthians 13. If I am not doing that how can I do greater? If you do not act according to the love of God, how can you look for that love to act for you? Supposing you say, I have done all that can be done, like the woman in Luke 21 who "cast in all the living which she had". Well, God says, I am delighted with that. If our hearts condemn us not, then we have confidence. If our heart condemn us, then we are not walking in love. Every believer has the privilege of carrying out verse 17. If not doing it, he is not walking in love, and how dwelleth the love of God in him? Take for instance the man in the gospels - Matthew 18:32, "I forgave thee all that debt ... shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-bondman, as I also had compassion on thee". So much was done to you, and you did it not to another. Turn back for a little to

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1 Samuel 7. The first thing to know in this distressful time is separation. To be separate from all false worship. "Put away the strange gods and the Ashtoreths". There must be separation. You may separate from the systems around if you like, but that is not all. They did "put away ... and served Jehovah only" (verse 4). And Samuel said, "Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray Jehovah for you" (verse 5). I will pray. Now they were separate and there was confidence. Samuel says, "I will pray". Prayer is always the preface to blessing. Blessing is ushered in by prayer. Here is the revival at the very lowest point of all. The last time, and the last of the judges, and now the revival comes out (verse 6). "They ... drew water, and poured it out before Jehovah, and fasted on that day". They not only said, by the action of pouring out the water, 'See how small and insufficient we are in ourselves', but they prayed and fasted. They had no other resource but God. There is no other resource for me. Fasting does not mean merely abstinence from food, but from all kinds of human means. Prayer is the expression of dependence on God, and fasting that there is no resource for me in anything here or of man. They said, "We have sinned". Now comes the test; as our friend for whom we prayed got worse after the prayer meeting, so our faith was tested. There is no faith without its being tested. Abraham was told to look up to the sky and count the stars, and that his seed should be like the stars. He believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. He believed and he got the son. Forty years afterwards his faith is tested. Now give up your son. Do you believe still? Yes. Paul quotes the first part as to the stars, so should his seed be; but James quotes the last part and says, "The scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness", chapter 2: 23. Faith is tested. Give him up, though all comes through him. Yes. When

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Israel prayed, the Philistines heard of it, and then came trouble. They say, What is all this assembling together for? What does it mean? When Israel cried unto God they seemed in worse trouble than before. So it was with Moses and Israel. They said, We are worse off now than we were before you came to us. Now we are more cruelly oppressed than ever, for we have to make bricks without straw (verse 8), they said to Samuel, "Cease not to cry to Jehovah our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines". This is the way, no back door and no way of escape. I know God is my Friend. He has what I want, I cannot do without it and can go nowhere else to get it, and am not looking anywhere else for it. This is real prayer. In verse 9 Samuel took a sucking lamb and offered it up for a burnt-offering wholly unto the Lord - all the sweet savour of Christ to God. I am thus in Christ's acceptance before God in all the sweet savour of the burnt-offering. I pray for that which is pleasing to God and according to His mind. "If we ask him anything according to his will he hears us", 1 John 5:14. In the assembly I pray for that which is pleasing to Him and for His interests. In private I go to Him for myself more (Philippians 4:6, 7). The Lord heard them; what a wonderful thing to be able to say as I walk about in this world amongst men, God hears me, and I know that He has heard me. God hears you! says one. What did you do for it? I only cry for it. I cried to Him and He heard me. What a wonderful thing! The last characteristic of the heavenly company is given in Matthew 18:1 - 3. It is that of a little child. What does the little child do? It only cries. There are two marks here - first, I cry; second, I give up everything. The two marks are thus dependence and surrender. The highest traits of the new family on earth are these two.

The Lord thundered, He answered their prayer in a

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way they did not expect. He thundered upon the Philistines, and discomfited them, and they were smitten before Israel. Thus He often comes in and answers prayer. He has often answered you in a way you did not expect. Pray, and then watch, is the way. We should not be watching for the answer, but be like the watchman who sits up all night on the look-out to see what God will do. Did they think that God would thunder on the Philistines and answer their cry in that way? No, indeed. Did Peter expect that God would send an angel to open the prison doors for him? No, he did not expect it. Did Paul and Silas expect the earthquake to loose their chains? No. The more faith you have, the more He will test your faith and surprise you in the way He works. He thundered, there was nothing to be seen by the Philistines. Then Israel pursued, and smote them, and set up the stone, Eben-ezer saying, "Hitherto Jehovah has helped us". That stone was the Lord Jesus Christ! We need not set up the stone now, for we have one.

The Lord keep us in His presence, that nothing may surprise us, and that we may continually say, "Hitherto Jehovah has helped us". - Eben-ezer.

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Matthew 14:26 - 29; Colossians 2:10, 11; Colossians 3:1 - 11

When one has learned what Christ has effected for us on this earth, and is living in the enjoyment of what He has accomplished, enjoying the fulness of it now, and can say, "As he is, so are we in this world", having learned what it is to be on resurrection ground; the first great question is, 'Where is He?' Having learned the greatness of His love, that question must arise. I would be very glad if that little word 'where' was written on every one of your hearts here tonight. That was the word on Mary Magdalene's heart - "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him". I do not doubt that all of you, being well taught in the Scriptures, could answer as to where He is, but have you gone through it in your heart, being first settled in that peace that you - can "joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation"? Romans does not go further, except where it speaks of counsel (chapter 8), where it says, "Whom he justified, them he also glorified"; but having peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, that question comes, 'Where is He?' - because I have to do with a Person now, and I want to know where He is. Someone will answer, 'Oh! He is in heaven'. Yes; and now I have another question to ask you:

'Would you like to join Him?' That is question number 2; that is the difficulty; that is where we are all more or less at a standstill. One feels how little one has the affection that would make us long to join Him. Then question number 3: 'Have you the power to join Him?' I do not think anyone finds out that they have the power until they have the longing desire to go. What I desire to see is the doctrine

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wrought by the Spirit of God in the soul; many a one knows the doctrine that he is united to Christ who does not know in his soul what union with Christ is. You must have the desire to join Him before you find out that you have the power. But how can you join Him? He is in heaven - you are on earth; it is not like Rebekah going from one place to another, you cannot join Christ unless you have crossed Jordan. Many a one thinks that Jordan is his death-bed. It is not; it is that I have died with Christ, I have left what belongs to material life, to enter upon a new order of life. As another has expressed it, 'I am in an out-of-the-world condition of things'. If I have real affection for Him, I am ready to join Him.

In the gospel of John you get that the Father's house is your home, and you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. In one sense you could not get higher than being a son in the Father's house; in the church you are united to Christ, but would you like to join Him where He is? If you are attached to Him you would. Few understand what love is; there is a great deal of talk about it. What do you call love? Is it when one seeks to please you in everything, anticipating your wants and wishes? God's love has one thought about me - to make me suited to Himself. I have a way of testing love; love takes an interest in me; it is not what one gives me - that might be mere benevolence - but what I find very rare is one taking a divine interest in me. Are you looking for the affection of christians? You will not get it, because you are going the wrong way for it; you are seeking to make yourself an object of consideration. I say to a parent, Seek the interests of that child, and you are sure to win his heart. If you take an interest in a person you are sure to pray for that person (that is the proof of it); it is easy to do what you could for him, but the point is, you take an interest in him. Christ loved the church. His love has one thought or purpose

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about me - that I should be like Him, suitable to Him, morally conformed to His image now. He would like me to be with Him and suitable to Him. Peter left all to have His company, and so the hymn says:

'Whose love is as great as His power,
And knows neither measure nor end'. (Hymn 23)

If you are really attached to the Lord you will want to join Him. I do not think you get the power in Colossians that you get in Ephesians. The first sense of union you get in Colossians 1:18: "And he is the head of the body, the church".

Turn now to Matthew 14:28 for an illustration of one who wanted to join Him. Peter saw the Lord walking on the water. The Lord here is educating the disciples for the assembly - He is taking the place of supremacy. When I come into the assembly I come into a place where the Lord is supreme, not occupied with this or that gifted brother, but into the presence of the Lord of glory. The thing that marks me is, I am going to meet the Lord, to listen to Him - the greater than Moses, the greater than Aaron. He is supreme; see Him in the storm, in the most trying circumstances, superior to it all in divine tranquillity. He is above it all, above the winds and waves (Satan's power), and the vessel is tossed on the sea; He is not in the ship, and Peter would like to join Him. Have you considered the circumstances? Peter was in the ship, and outside were the raging elements, the winds and waves, and he said, "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water". Some of the old commentators say that the water was solidified; if so, how could Peter sink? It illustrates an out-of-the-world condition of things. Have you that affection for Him which would join Him outside everything here? He next finds that to join Him he must leave the ship - that which suits the natural man - and he takes his place on the water, which is detrimental to

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man; man had no place there. One was Jordan, the other was Gilgal. Leaving the ship was Jordan; leaving everything that would suit natural life to pass into another order of things, that was Gilgal.

Now the apostle is trying to get the Colossians to know the mystery; they were a nice company of saints, but they had not learned the mystery. Some tell us that we must go back to what the assembly was in Acts 2. I need not tell you that is wrong. Many a pious man is in the dispensation of the Lord's prayer; he may love God truly and yet not take resurrection ground. No doubt Jacob wanted to get back to the times of Noah. The lack is, you are not in the dispensation God has set up. His interests, all the resources of God, are there; it is like being in the trade winds. Now I come back again to this interesting company, the Colossians. The apostle was afraid they would be carried away by ritualism or rationalism, that is, as though mind and body could contribute to Christ. He says, "I would have you know what combat I have for you ... that their hearts may be encouraged, being united together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the full knowledge of the mystery of God; in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge". They had received the gospel, and the apostle could speak of their faith in Christ Jesus and love which they had to all the saints, but they had not got the mystery. It is not what you get in Ephesians; there it is union of Jew and gentile, of twain making one new man; but in Colossians 1:18, "He is the head of the body, the assembly; who is the beginning, firstborn from among the dead, that he might have the first place in all things". That is the first sense I get of union. I am united to Him, but what is the good of being anything if I do not know it? You cannot be descriptive of it until you are it; then it comes out as a part of your being. It was not that

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the apostle had this conflict because they had fallen into the snare, but to prevent them doing so: "lest any man should beguile you with enticing words", and "lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit".

Two things are necessary to be known to understand the mystery: the first is in Colossians 2:10, and the second in Colossians 2:11; and then "risen with Christ" in chapter 3. "And ye are complete in him; who is the head of all principality and authority" (Colossians 2:10). If you really understand this, if your affections are true to Him, you would not tolerate any addition to Christ; everything you want is there, and you are complete in Him. It is not that He has removed everything, but you are complete in Him. That is a wonderful thing. And the apostle says, "Meditate upon these things". People listen and read, and I know not what else, and do not meditate on these things.

Then verse 11: "In whom also ye have been circumcised with circumcision not done by hand, in the putting off of the body of the flesh, in the circumcision of the Christ". The whole thing of the old order is swept away; it is not merely as Paul puts it in Romans 6"Knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with him". Here you are cut off; it is no longer a part of yourself. In our version it is "putting off the body of the sins of the flesh". You can understand a pious copyist putting in the word 'sins', not being able to take in the whole idea, "putting off of the body of the flesh". 'If that is true', he might say, 'all my religiousness is not worth a farthing, all my abstinence and my devotedness are no use'. It is the whole thing gone in the cross.

In verse 10 I am complete in Christ; in verse 11 the body of the flesh is gone, gone in the circumcision of Christ, that is Gilgal. I would press upon you these two things: one is that you are complete in Christ;

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the other is that everything is cut off in the circumcision of Christ. If you really are complete in Christ, you do not go outside of Christ for anything; it is not only that He is chief, but He is everything: that is the doctrine, and if you are cut off in the cross, then you are a dead man. If you do not get these two points you cannot understand the mystery. Now comes out the question, Are you risen? If you tell me that you have a true desire to join the Lord you will rejoice that you are risen with Him. How could I be dead with Him and not risen with Him? If I have real affection for Him I shall want to have made true in me what is true of me. I shall want to join Him in spirit now, I would like to join Him now. In the gospel you get to Him when you die, but in the church you are now brought to the place where He is, because you are united to Him.

'And see! the Spirit's power
Has ope'd the heavenly door,
Has brought me to that favoured hour
When toil shall all be o'er'. (Hymn 74)

I can join Him now and enter into the fact that He is my Head.

"If therefore ye have been raised with the Christ, seek the things which are above". You are in His life, you are outside yourself. You have now come on to new ground, you get to the Person, you enter on His life; you must learn the great reality of being outside all else with Him. Anyone who has heard of ascents in a balloon will understand how one loses the senses of hearing, feeling, etc. - that is an illustration of it; but the failure in that illustration is that you have lost the old ones and have not got the new. In the life of Christ I am outside all the old senses, but I have got the new. Many a christian I know has the desire to be over Jordan, but has not really accepted it. I ask the devoted soul, Do you want anything but the Lord?

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and he may reply truly that he does not; but that same person the next day may lose some earthly thing - a canary, or a little dog - and make a great to-do about it. He has not accepted Jordan. If he had he would not be surprised at anything here. I want to know where He is. The disciples in John 1 said, "Master, where dwellest thou?" and He said, "Come and see". "They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day". Once you get the word 'where' in your heart you have a great thing. You then seek the things that are above; you set your minds on things above, not on things on the earth.

Now I find the contrast between heaven and earth. I cannot put them together. James is very severe and says, "earthly, sensual, devilish". "When the Christ is manifested who is our life, then shall ye also be manifested with him in glory". We have life in the One who is on the new ground. "Put to death therefore your members which are upon the earth". I come now to Gilgal. That is what I call practice, it is difficult to explain; nothing is so difficult as to explain a road to a man who has never been on it. Here the road is Gilgal - that is, there is no quarter given to the flesh. I can compare it to nothing better than to Elisha rending his clothes when he saw Elijah taken up. In Romans we get, "Make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof"; that is Marah. But what we get here is, put it off, both lusts and habits; all is to go in one sweep; it is done for me - gone in the circumcision of Christ. I am now carrying out in myself what has been practically effected for me in the cross. I am not trying to do it myself. I have known some pious people make a great failure, measuring everything by their own moral death. The actual measure is Christ's death; it is not, 'How far have I advanced?' - it is all done for you; but the point is, how far are you carrying it out? It is not

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merely being saved here, but I want to join the One who has saved me - my heart is set upon joining Him. I have to get to the One in whom I am complete, and I am glad to be clear of everything else.

Now I must turn to chapter 3: 10. You are outside it all, where there is no place at all for men. You have put on the new man; you are on new ground; and now when you come to verse 11, "there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is everything, and in all". There is no man of any kind at all - no man here but Jesus. I learn that He is my source and my Head. I derive everything from Him. He is the One to direct, legislate, counsel and dictate to me. He is the Head to the individual - it is not collective, it is singular number - He is my Head as well as yours. What He leads me to do is in correspondence to what He leads you to do - there is no clashing. It is a wonderful thing. The great favour to us is, it is like telling us the road we must travel. The question is, where are our hearts? Are you so attached to the Lord that you would like Him to be in that wonderful place to you as Head? "In which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge". If I knew Him as my Head I would turn to Him for everything. What do you say? Christ is my Head? Then that necessarily implies I have lost my own. It is a very difficult thing to explain to one who does not know it. I know what an amazing thing it would be for one to say, 'I got that from the Head; it is not credit to myself; I got it from having His direction'. If you are led by Him to give out a hymn, every spiritual person present would know that it came from the Head. I do trust every one here will understand it; some are well-informed, but I do not think they have the slightest taste of the blessedness of it.

The great lack amongst us is attachment of heart to Christ. There are three questions for our hearts:

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(1) Where is He?

(2) Would you like to join Him?

(3) Have you the power to join Him?

Peter had not the power. The great advantage Peter had over us was his affection for Christ; that is the great lack with us. It is a beautiful fact that when parent birds want to teach the young ones to fly, they cannot tell them they have wings, but they go about a foot above them, and the young birds, having the affection, find out they have the power, and they come. There is not a christian here tonight who, if he but had the affection, would not find that he has the power to join Christ where He is.

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Hebrews 4

I desire to make a few remarks on the priesthood. The object of the book of Hebrews is to detach the Jewish converts from the earth, so to present Christ to their hearts that they may be drawn away from the earth to the place where Christ is, and so effectually that you find at the end of the book they are running a race to where Christ is (chapter 12: 1).

The book opens with a fact of the deepest importance to us. The question of sins is settled (chapter 1: 3). "Having made by himself the purification of sins, set himself down on the right hand of the greatness on high". Sins do not belong to the assembly of God. To introduce sins into the assembly of God is to introduce what has been put away. If the question of sins is not settled with you, you are not ready for the Priest. There is the earthly saint and the heavenly saint. The earthly saint wants the priest on earth, but the heavenly saint knows that his Priest is in heaven, at the right hand of God. When you take earthly ground, you are wanting Christ to bless you on the earth. In the Jewish economy the people knew no assurance, no blessing, till the priest came out of the tabernacle. (See Leviticus 9:23.) But we do not wait for that; we have received the Holy Spirit to tell us of heavenly things. The tendency of us all is to the earth - the portion of the earthly saint. The apostle's work here is to turn their hearts away from the earth. The heavenly Priest is for heavenly blessing.

The question of sins having been settled, as I have said, in chapter 1, another thing comes out in chapter 2: 14 - "that through death he might annul him who has the might of death, that is, the devil". It is not only that sins are purged, but the power of Satan, and

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all that his power could effect, is annulled in death. Here is the fulfilment of what was promised in the garden of Eden, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. The power of the enemy is completely broken - gone. All our enemies are sunk like lead in the mighty waters. You do not learn the benefit of the priesthood until you know this. The priesthood is to relieve you of your infirmity, and then, relieved of your infirmity, you find yourself in company with Him. You have boldness to enter the holiest without a spot, in company with the One who has sat down there. Here we have Paul's side of John 13. In John 13 it is failure, defilement. If there is even a shade of reserve between you and the Lord, there is no communion; it is broken. I speak solemnly. Many a one who is clear of his sins has never known intimacy with the Lord. No one can know what it is to have his feet washed unless he has known intimacy with Christ. Feet-washing is to remove what breaks in upon the intimacy. You cannot lose what you have never known.

I would say a word on the nature of the intimacy, and how it is vouchsafed. In John 10:14, 15 I find the character of it. "I know those that are mine, and am known of those that are mine, as the Father knows me and I know the Father". It is the same character of intimacy that exists between the Father and the Son. How great it is! How Peter felt its greatness when the Lord said, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me". There cannot be communion without intimacy. You cannot be in the new place to which the Lord was going, if you are in any way defiled by things here, until your feet are washed.

How is this intimacy produced? First, the sins are gone. Second, the priesthood. "No more offering for sin". How can you offer for the thing that is done with? But you may say, I commit sin. Yes; and woe betide you if you do not judge yourself. But it is

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not judging your sins, but judging yourself. That is a different thing. Your sin was judged in the cross, and nowhere else. But if you return to it you have to judge yourself. "If we judged ourselves, so were we not judged. But being judged, we are disciplined of the Lord", etc. Infirmities are not sins. The Lord as Priest makes intercession now. He has purged away our sins. Here the apostle is warning the saints to beware of an evil heart of unbelief like their fathers, who would not go up and possess the land. It was the day of provocation. I would warn you all against the day of provocation. The tendency of our hearts is to stop short, to refuse to go up, to say, No, I am not able. Therefore he says, "Let us therefore use diligence to enter into that rest, that no one may fall after the same example of not hearkening to the word".

I have taken my ticket for heaven, but here I am encompassed with infirmity. Well, there are two helps on the road, the word and the priesthood. The word is to direct you if you are on the road to heaven, and to detect you if you are not. The Lord will not help you if you are on the road to pleasure. It is only on the road to heaven that He can sympathise with you. The word is the finger-post. Look! Which way is it pointing? If you are going on the wrong road the word finds you out, you are not directed by it. "The word of God is living and operative, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and penetrating to the division of soul and spirit, both of joints and marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart".

The second help is the Priest. "Having therefore a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast the confession. For we have not a high priest not able to sympathise with our infirmities, but tempted in all things in like manner, sin apart". In all our afflictions He was afflicted, and He has passed through all, and is now

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higher than the heavens. He would support us in our infirmities in order that we should be borne above them.

There are three great classes of trial. First, the pressure of circumstances; there may be pressure from being either too rich or too poor. Second, ill-health; that is like a ship waterlogged. Third - the greatest of all, because it cannot be mended - bereavement. We find an example of this in John 11. There the Lord is walking beside Mary in her bereavement. It is a most affecting moment. She is made acquainted with Him. The friend you make in sorrow is much more to you than the friend you make in joy. The friend you make in sorrow remains. I learn the Lord in such a way in sorrow that He is indispensable to me; and although He is in heaven it is thence I receive from Him, and my heart follows Him to the place where He is. The support He renders to me draws me to Himself away and apart from everything here. Mary had made an acquaintance with the Lord in her sorrow which she would never forget. She had known His sympathy. Which are you looking for, sympathy or compassion? People call compassion sympathy. If some great providence makes a way for me out of my trouble, and I get relieved from it, that is compassion, not sympathy. The Lord has great compassion for us in our sorrows and weakness. His compassions fail not. But when He sympathises with us, it is to support us under the pressure, as He Himself was supported. Very often there is no relief from the pressure until we have learned His support, His grace. The Lord does not come down to you to remove the trial, but to bear you into the superiority in which He walked when here. He Himself is your support in your pressure. When He was in the storm He was asleep. Well, when you are in some terrible storm, the Lord would teach you how He was supported in a storm. He comes down not to remove

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your trial, but to bring you up to Himself. It is wonderful to get support from the One who is higher than the heavens. The support comes down from heaven. If you were sinking in the water, and a rope was thrown to you from a small boat, you would be supported to that level; but if the rope came from a great ship you would be quite out of danger. The higher you are borne the safer you would be. The Lord would conduct you to the highest place, to heaven itself, where He is. He comes down to you to the very lowest place, but it is to bear you up to the very highest place or position. But this you can never understand until you have once been in it.

Now turn to John 12. "Mary therefore, having taken a pound of ointment of pure nard of great price, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair, and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment". In another gospel we read, "And having broken the alabaster flask, she poured it out upon his head". She was relieved because Lazarus had been raised from death; but that is not enough for her. Now she is heart-stricken because of Him who had relieved her. His death is at hand. He was her support when Lazarus was dead; He was known to her as a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother. If He dies, she feels that everything attractive here has gone; the golden bowl is broken. It is as if she said, If you go, my sun has gone down at noonday. The Lord is pleased with her testimony. There was a heart in this world true to Him. Hence He said, "Wheresoever these glad tidings may be preached in the whole world, what this woman has done shall be also spoken of for a memorial of her". For sympathy and comfort, we require a Person who can enter into all our pressure, and not only console us, His company in it, but raise us up out of the pressure into association with Himself, who is "become higher than the heavens"! Who is your Comforter? One who was

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in all your trials. But He is out of all now, and not only does He solace you by coming down to you, but He Himself is so made known to you that you are in company with Him. It is a Person we are brought to who knows everything and is everything to us. In the garden of Eden it was things, but in the new creation it is a Person - the Son of God.

You see Him when He rose from the dead in the midst of His own. You are of the consecrated company. You are at home with Him in the holiest of all, the scene of divine blessing, and there you learn that you have through Him access by one Spirit unto the Father. Thus your heart is buoyed up, and borne above everything to Himself where He is. You run the race.

May the Lord grant that each of our hearts may have more personal acquaintance with Himself, so that we may not only turn to Him to support and to comfort us, but that our hearts may know the unique solace of being in company with Himself, who comforts and supports us, for His name's sake.

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Romans 5:1, 2; Ephesians 1:3 - 6; Ephesians 5:1 - 21

The standing is God's free gift to me. It is what He has done for the believer, or what He has given him.

The state is the divine consequence in me through the Spirit, in accordance with the standing. The light is His grace; the consequence is that I have light; that is my state. Practice is that I act in keeping with the state which has been conferred on me by the Spirit in accordance with the standing.

Now let us see how, in every case, grace, that is free gift, received by faith, confers a state, and then follows practice in keeping with the state.

The light of the gospel of the glory of Christ shines, and God opens the eyes to receive it. That is pure grace. The state of the sinner is changed. Like the thief on the cross, or like Saul of Tarsus, he fears God, and the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom; his state is changed; he believes, the grace is apprehended. The state is quite new; there is repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Then follows practice; he prays.

Now suppose a sinner heard of the grace of God, and contented himself with saying, as many have done, I admit it is true, I believe it; as a blind man might say, I believe the sun shines; and yet there is no change of state, no alteration. There is not really faith - a divine work, or he would have had as a consequence of the grace, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

He says he believes, but is as before; in fact contenting himself with being a nominal believer. The mighty work of God in the soul is altogether unknown; there is no state in keeping with the grace professedly accepted, but there is a practical denial of the greatness and blessing of the grace, because there

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is no consequence from it, any more than from a dream.

Now the truth is that when grace is received there is a divine work in the soul; a fear of God at first, and then comes relief when there is faith in Christ, "Whom God has set forth a mercy-seat, through faith in his blood ... in respect of the passing by the sins, ..". Romans 3:25. There is then the consequence of grace in the soul, there is the sense of forgiveness. And when we believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, then we are justified. There is no freedom from the judgment of death and the power of the enemy before justification. "It is God that justifieth"; and "being justified by faith, we have peace with God", an entirely new state, which we could not have if we were not justified, but being justified by the grace of God, we have consequent thereon the new and blessed state of peace. I could not have the state of peace if I had not received the grace that Christ was delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification. If there were not the grace, the free gift, there would not be the state that is attached to the recipient of it. The grace would be of no use to me if it did not confer a state. If I am not in peace, a new state, I am not justified. I either have the form of godliness without the power thereof, or I am still seeking peace.

It is clearly impossible that so great a work of God - namely, turning a soul from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God - could be without, as a consequence, a remarkable and singular change of state; and this state has two parts one is, how God is known through Christ; the other, our place in Christ before Him. The former with reference to our being justified, we read of in Romans 5:1 - 11 the other in Romans 8.

Now it is vain for a man to say he is justified, and at the same time to admit that neither is God known

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to him through the work of Christ, nor does he know his place in Christ before God. It is all God's work; the grace is His. He has provided the blessing, and He - blessed be His name! - knows it will affect me as He had appointed; so that, if the blessing is not known, the grace is not apprehended. It is only

"a name that thou livest, and art dead".

It is evident that the practice follows, as in Romans. How could I please God in my walk and ways before He was made known to me through the work of Christ, and before I knew my place in Christ before Him? Simply impossible. I do not say that many believers do not try to do good works, and to please Him in their walk and ways; but it is evident that it must be, however sincere, without any personal and intelligent direction from Himself.

Now, if the consequence or blessing is so marked in the reception of the gospel, which is altogether outside and apart from me, through the work of Christ, and only made known to me in absolute grace, how much more so will it be as we learn our association with Christ, and also our relationship to Him. I do not doubt that in the reception of each there is the state with two parts: one, as we have seen, how God is known; and secondly, our place in Christ before Him. If I know association with Christ, the Minister of the holy places, who is not ashamed to call us brethren, I have boldness to enter the holiest of all through the blood of Jesus. God is known to me as the One whom I can approach in His own unclouded light and unsullied purity.

Thus He is known to me, and if He is not thus known to me, I do not know association with Christ, I have not apprehended the grace conferred on me, even that I am in company with Him, as were the sons of Aaron in company with Aaron. I have not boldness to enter the holiest, nor do I know the other part of the state, how I myself personally can draw

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near with a true heart and in full assurance of faith. Assuredly if I am not in this state, I have neither the heart nor the power to enter on the race to run on to where He is. We find the same, and even more distinctly, if we turn to Colossians. The Colossians had received the gospel, and the apostle commends them for their faith in Christ Jesus and love to all the saints. For these the apostle had a great conflict that they might enter on the state which the knowledge of the mystery would confer on them, the knowledge of Christ as Head of the body. First their standing:

"Ye are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and authority". Secondly, as to themselves, "In whom also ye have been circumcised with circumcision not done by hand, in the putting off of the body of the flesh". The state is described in chapter 3: 1 - 11, where, as risen with Christ, you enter on a state completely unknown before. "Ye have died, and your life is hid with the Christ in God". You enter on moral circumcision, virtually accepting what has been effected for you in the circumcision of Christ, the putting off of the body of the flesh; and there is that new state where Christ is everything and in all. Then follows the practice which becomes such a state, both in the assembly and in the domestic circle.

Lastly, in Ephesians we find the same truth and in the same order confirmed and expanded. We have, in chapter 1, God's calling; His purpose and will that we should be individually in nature and life suited to Him, "holy and blameless before him in love", together with the adoption through Jesus Christ to Himself; and accepted in the Beloved, we are united to Him who is Head over all things to the church. This is the grace, His free favour which belongs to every believer. But mark the blessing from this immense favour - God's calling. It is not merely a great elevation, a position, without conferring any sensible benefit or gain on me. Nay, on the contrary,

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in chapter 3, I learn the state I am in because of His calling. We get first how God is known to us in Christ. Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, and rooted and founded in love we can survey the expanse of glory; and secondly, knowing the love of Christ that passeth knowledge, we are filled unto all the fulness of God. What a state! Then follow chapters 4 to 6, practice of the highest order. The state of power in which we are placed in association with Christ in heaven enables us to be here for Him in every relation, both in the assembly and in our home circle, while, at the same time, to withstand all the power of the enemy.

The more we study this subject the more we shall be interested in it, and also be judged by it. That is light which does make manifest. In this day, when knowledge is assumed to be faith, it is of all importance to own that the grace of God, as it is received, has a peculiar and singular blessing or consequence by the Spirit in keeping with itself. The first epistle of John was written, not that the believers should have eternal life, but that they should know that they have it: not the grace, the gift merely, but the blessing of the gift. It is said, "Receive not the grace of God in vain".

Each gift has its own distinct blessing. No grace or gift can produce the gain which is derived from another gift.

The sunlight and the air are natural free gifts, but the sun, however powerful in itself, or however fully appreciated, could not produce the same blessing which the air does; neither could air produce what the sun does. Each is distinct and peculiar, or in keeping with its nature. This explains much of the condition of each of us. We may think we have entered into the grace of the Ephesians, but in very deed, however we may know it in theory, our state proves that we have only, in a small degree, entered into the grace in Romans. There cannot be the state without

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apprehending in faith the standing, or the grace. The defect, though it is seen in the state, is traceable

to an imperfect apprehension of the standing, and in order to rectify the state we must be assured of the standing. The one who is occupied with his state in order to correct it, is self-occupied; on the other hand, when one is exclusively occupied with the standing, he is heady and high-minded. The standing and the state go together.

The Lord give us to see that it is by the grace of God we are what we are, so that positive results may flow from the state consequent on His grace, and we may be able to add, "His grace ... has not been vain; but I have laboured more abundantly than they all, but not I, but the grace of God which was with me".

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Genesis 24:1 - 9, 42 - 67; Ephesians 1:19, 20

I have read this passage in Genesis in order that we might be interested in God's chief interest on the earth. It is that which is the least spoken about; it was kept secret from the foundation of the world, but is now made known - Christ's body here on the earth. Truth corrects error; we must present the right to expose the wrong, that is a principle which runs through Scripture. What are you on the earth for? I put this simple question to each one. If you know that you are saved and brought into favour with God, what are you here for? Every man is governed by his aim; the point is, what do you aim at? Your aim characterises you. The man who has a definite aim before him and sticks to it is the one who succeeds. Now not only have you a Saviour in glory but you are united to Him, your individuality is merged, you have lost your own interests, you are one of the company who form the body of Christ. What then is the true care of every believer on this earth? Surely the interests of the One to whom he is united. You are an object to God.

This chapter in Genesis is a type of what every believer is here for, and the first thing I notice is that the servant is sworn that he should not bring a Canaanite to be wife to his master's son. She must be of the same kindred and stock. The wonder is that we are of His kindred and stock, as we read in Hebrews, "Both he that sanctifies and those sanctified are all of one" (one piece if you like); "for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren". The definite point before me is that I am here to know union with Christ, but until I am established in grace I could not take it in. When you have learnt that you

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are of His stock, what do you expect? Is the great paramount thought of your heart, morning, noon and night, 'I am united to Christ'? You may have the right thought and yet not be practically in it. You must know that you are united before you get the benefit. The great point in union is that you have lost your individuality. Christ's interests now become your interests. If we are not awakened to a thing, we shall never reach it. The great hindrance practically is that we do not take the journey.

Rebecca was in for union, and he conducts her all along the road, and she leaves herself entirely in his hands. There can be no union until the place is reached where the person is; so Ephesians puts you in heaven. It is not enough to say we know that we are united to Christ, there must be the conscious knowledge. Do you think Rebecca would have been satisfied if she had not got to Isaac? The difficulty is to leave the present place and go to where Christ is. Rebecca takes the journey. Peter left the ship to join the Lord on the water; he really liked to go, and that is the point. Affection for Christ is wanted; like young birds in a nest, seeing the parent birds fly up they want to join them, and then find they have the power to fly. In Colossians you are in the life of Another. We are of the same family as Christ; He is not of us but we are of Him. To be united to Him there must be no moral disparity. It is written of Eve, "This shall be called Woman, because this was taken out of a man". What comes out practically from having the life of Christ is the grace of Christ, as we read in Colossians 3, "bowels of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another". Rebecca was gracious. She said, "Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also". When her kindred is ascertained, the servant declares his mission. Her family make no objection, but they say, Stay ten days at least. Now if you do not do the

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thing at the moment, you will never do it so well. The transaction was an important one, but Rebecca says, "I will go". There must be prompt decision. So it must be with us. It is not enough to know as a mere truth that you are united. You must go the road to enjoy it. The reason saints have so little power is that they do not practically know union. At Ephesus they had lost the sense of it (Revelation 2) and decline set

in. As another has said, If you are not absorbed with heavenly things, you have lost your first love. Stephen had the blessing of union before union was declared. The question is, if you could go to the place where the Person you love is, would you go? There must be promptness of action as with Rebecca, "I will go". That is where we fail, and hence the weakness. I believe if I had God's purpose for me here on earth more before me, I would be wonderfully sustained. Peter saw the Lord in a peculiar place; it looked hopeless, but he liked to join Him; decision is the thing. If I have God's purpose before me I am sustained. Daniel's eye was on Jerusalem; it was in ruins, but God's thought was there, and he looks towards it. Nothing makes me so sad as to take up publication after publication, and yet never to see as I search through them a word about the church. Christ's treasure is here, not in heaven; it is hid in the field, but it is here, and that reconciles me immensely to all the contrarieties of this world.

Well, the first thing is decision; the next is continuance; Rebecca goes the whole road. You will have to leave the place where you are and go on until you reach the place where Isaac is. There your individuality is merged, Rebecca takes a veil and covers herself. It may be said, Have you no interest in your family? Yes, but I have a greater interest; like the wise woman in Proverbs, her interest is that her husband should be known in the gates. Many a happy marriage is spoilt through lack of interest on

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the wife's part in her husband's interests; it is not that there is not affection, but she has a separate interest. The failure in the gospel is often that the man who goes out to preach does not go out from the assembly. The disciples were to start with loving one another. The first mark of doing this is that I wash your feet, but privately, not publicly as they do in christendom on Easter Monday. We ought to be known as those who would die for the saints.

Now Rebecca has lost herself, she becomes the wife of Isaac, and he is comforted after his mother's death. We find in the Old Testament that wives were often given to God's people in the time of sorrow and loneliness, as in the case of Moses and Joseph. What a wonderful thought that I could be a comfort to the Lord! One's heart is saddened that hardly anyone speaks of the church. Do you say people are not up to it? Then wake them up to it. For the power I turn to Ephesians; it works from death, the very lowest place, and takes you on to the highest, where Christ is at God's own right hand in the heavenly places.

I have not been touching the results of union, but the affection that likes union. Look at the character of the power, it takes you up from judgment and puts you where Christ is. There is no lack in power, but the lack is in affection. The one thing christians seem to reject more than another is to take a heavenly position. I believe many are over Jordan in spirit, happy in their souls, who would not like to see the ship sink. Do you lose by accepting the heavenly position? No, you come back to every relationship here the better. It is remarkable under the law how little is said about domestic life, but in Ephesians, where you are taken into the highest spot, you touch everything with God. It is more than Colossians where you are unworldly, but there is a difference between being unworldly and heavenly. You are not

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capable of fulfilling earthly relationships without heavenly power. The power that worked towards you is the same that works in you and from you, and the prominent thing is that by it I am carried to another place - from the lowest point to the very highest, where the Lord is. There is amazing reluctance on our part to follow. Many would like to be with Christ very much if He would stay here. We want to be like Ruth, "Whither thou goest I will go". That is the mark of a true heart, to go to the place where the object of affection is.

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Genesis 2:21 - 24; Acts 7:55

Do you realise God's purpose for you - that you should be a member of the body of Christ? "Now God has set the members, each one of them in the body, according as it has pleased him", 1 Corinthians 12:18. He has set each in the body; but it is only as you realise it that you become a witness for Christ. All His members derive from Him. This is the meaning of Ephesians 5:29, "No one has ever hated his own flesh", etc. We are of Christ - a part of Him. Affecting thought! The distinction between the gospel and the church is that the gospel sets you absolutely free from the man under judgment; and the church is His body, of which each is a member. You are absolutely united to the One who delivered you from the judgment; you are of His order - a wholly new order. All derive from Him. God built a woman of the bone of the man, "and brought her to Man", Genesis 2:21 - 23. Eve was of the same nature as Adam. You are united to Christ the moment you receive the Spirit, but do you know the reality and value of that union? The sense of it is gladness to the heart. It is ours for ever. The profound blessedness of the eternal state will be that there is unbroken intercourse between the Lord and us. Abraham's steward, in seeking a bride for Isaac, was sworn that she should be of kindred birth. It is the work now of the Spirit of God to conduct each of Christ's brethren to Christ where He is. Then there is the sense of union. I believe Stephen was the first who had the sense of union, but he did not know the doctrine of it. He was conducted by the Spirit of God to Christ in glory before he left this earth. In your prayers have you the sense of union? There is nothing equal to it. It

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was the joy of Stephen's heart as he was led by the Spirit up to Christ. But still more: it was joy to the Lord's heart. It is a wonderful moment when you know that you are united to Christ. Doubtless the Lord rejoiced in Stephen being brought to Him more than in Stephen dying for Him. Dying for Him was the testimony - the result of the union.

Christians are marked by what they know. A man who knows forgiveness of sins is occupied with the Saviour. The mark of the one who realises his union with Christ is Ephesians 3:14. Christ dwells in his heart by faith. Christ's interests are his. His individuality is merged; he is altogether occupied with Christ's interests, or as John, who gives the essence of things, writes, "that ye love one another". You survey His inheritance; you know His love which passeth knowledge. His power is in you. You know that you are a part of Him up there. Stephen was there equipped with His power. In Psalm 22 Christ triumphs over all that was against Him; and Stephen triumphs in Christ's power, he prays for his enemies. Such a thing was never seen on earth before. It is the testimony of a man who is united to Christ in glory.

As to the Lord's coming, be assured that the more we realise our union with Him, the more truly shall we say to Him, 'Come'. In John 14, the disciples missed Him; and if I know that I belong to Him, that I am a member of His body, I shall miss Him here. I am absolutely freed from the man under judgment, and absolutely united to the Man who freed me. If you have the sense of union, you will testify of Him while here, and you will say, 'Come', in the deep joy of knowing that you are united to Him. It is the bride only who can truly, in conjunction with the Spirit, say, 'Come'.

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Hebrews 10:1 - 22

I desire in these addresses, if the Lord permit, to bring before you the blessings which are peculiar to christianity. I beg you to bear in mind the words I use, 'peculiar to christianity', that christians only enjoy those blessings, and that they are connected with Christ's exaltation to the right hand of God. I dare say some here may not quite understand what I mean by peculiar to christians; I mean peculiar to the saints of this present period during the rejection of Christ. I suppose there is no one here who will not admit that Christ has been rejected on the earth. Apparently, as to the two disciples journeying to Emmaus, His going away shattered all their hopes of blessing here; so much so that they said, "Thou sojournest alone in Jerusalem, and dost not know what has taken place in it in these days?" All was over. It is a terrible thing that God's Son was refused here; hence you read in Psalm 110, as the Lord quotes it in Matthew 22, "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool". He is called away for a certain time. Now what occurs in that interval? It is of the deepest importance that you should bear in mind that He has been called away, but instead of thinking, like the two disciples, that all is over, new blessings come out from Christ in His exaltation; a new company is found on the earth.

I desire to describe the blessings which have come out, and I begin with entrance into the holiest; though I must remark that the varied blessings are so interwoven that you cannot put them in succession. Still, I think it is a main point for the young believer to get hold of the fact that there is a class of blessings which

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are connected with Christ's exaltation at the right hand of God, in addition to all that He accomplished on the earth, and that it is into this class of blessings that you are brought.

I refer first briefly to Leviticus 16. There are plainly two classes there; there was the high priest and his house, and there was the congregation. The high priest and his house typifies Christ and the saints of this present time. The confusion of christendom arises from trying to mingle the two classes, and to bring in the congregation as if that part of the type was fulfilled. The congregation was not blessed till the priest came out; and the Priest has not come out yet. He has gone into heaven itself, gone in for His house; "Whose house are we", thank God! You see this is connected with the fact of His exaltation.

I submit that in Leviticus 16 there is a great difference between the scapegoat and the high priest gone within the veil. Now that is exactly the difference between the christian blessing, and the blessing of the congregation in the millennial day. But many christians do not get in their souls beyond the latter blessing. The scapegoat carried away the people's sins into the land of forgetfulness. The people of God on the earth, where all their sins were committed, had this wonderful assurance in their souls - all our sins are carried into the land of forgetfulness. But when the High Priest went into the holiest, it was not a question of sins at all, it was the contrast to sins - the holiness of God. If you apprehend this one sentence, I think you will understand my aim. I maintain that in the holiest there is no thought of sin at all, because it is the holiness of God's presence. It is a wonderful grace to be assured that in the place where all our sins were committed, they are completely removed into the land of forgetfulness; but then you are in the place where they occurred. But when you enter the holiest of all there is no sin there; it is the contrast -

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the holiness of God's presence. You get the idea where the apostle says, "righteousness unto holiness". Now many are justified by faith, but they do not know entrance into the holiest. We have sung, 'His presence is our home'. There is not a shade there, not a spot. You can never understand the holiest until you are in it.

I now turn to the scripture I read, to show you that we have the right to enter the holiest; this you get in verse 19, "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus". Christ is there, and we have now the antitype of Leviticus 16; the High Priest has gone in, and we are His companions who share with Him in that place. I shall prove this, and show you that it is our right.

The first thing in the opening of this chapter is that "the worshippers once purged" shall have "no more conscience of sins"; it does not say 'consciousness', but 'conscience'; nothing can be stronger. In Hebrews 1 we read, "When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down"; here (chapter 10) it is definitely in connection with His exaltation. Verses 11 - 13 say, "Every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, [or continually] sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting [or waiting] till his enemies be made his footstool". (See Psalm 110 to which I have referred.) The fact of His sitting down there proved that all was done; "there is no more offering for sin". I dare say some will say, We commit sins; I will come to that presently. But there are two things which it is necessary to see. First, that it is God whom you have offended; and secondly, that it is God Himself who has reconciled you to Himself. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself"; He has effected the reconciliation. I refer to this passage to prove that His sitting down is proof positive that sins are

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gone. I do not want to occupy you with sins. I know some quote Revelation 1 and Revelation 5; but in those scriptures the reference is to the earth, and not to the holiest. You may ask, Do you object to the recalling that sins have been put away? I say that if you are in the place where the sins have been put away, as in the millennial day, then there will be a continual recalling of the fact; but you have a right to enter the holiest, where there could not be a sin, and this is of the deepest importance. I believe (I speak advisedly), that if you do not understand the wonderful place of nearness into which you are brought, even that you have the right of entrance into the holiest, you will never understand the blessings which are peculiar to a christian. If I look at the Corinthians or the Galatians, where did their failure begin? They were not dead to sin. I believe no one advances till he has learned to be dead to sin. But this is not my subject now.

It is wonderful grace that in the place where we are, sins are carried into the land of forgetfulness, but we have the right of entrance into the holiest; the difference is, one is negative, and the other positive: one is that sins are gone; but the other is that you enter the sphere of holiness where there never was a spot; you draw near with your heart purged from an evil conscience and your body washed with pure water. You may say, Do we not get soiled? I am coming to that presently. As I said before, you must see two things - that man has offended God, and God Himself has removed the offence: it has been, for every believer, removed from His eye for ever in the sacrifice of His own Son, "that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus".

Take a history of a soul. Many a convert has got relief in his conscience from his sins, because of faith in the blood of Jesus Christ; that is, he does not see further than Romans 3, he has faith in the work of

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Christ, but he has not come in faith to Christ. He is like the woman who touched the hem of Christ's garment, assured of His work but not yet acquainted with Himself.

Turn now to the end of Romans 4; there we read that He "was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification". I believe Romans 3 answers to Exodus 12, and Romans 4 answers to Exodus 14 - the Red Sea; you not only know that you have shelter, because God sees the blood, which is true, but you believe that God has raised Christ from the dead. This is a wonderful moment for the soul. You see a man out of death - God raised Him from the dead. "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved". The first eleven verses of Romans 5 describe your state; I do not say your standing, justification is your standing; those eleven verses unfold the terms on which God is with you. The prodigal son could say, when his father kissed him, I now know something of my father's feelings towards me. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God", the conclusion is (verse 11), "We are making our boast in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom now we have received [not the atonement, but] the reconciliation"; that is, you are brought to God on the terms which He Himself has effected. You have not to make terms with your Father, but He has made terms with the believer in Jesus, and it is on His own terms you meet Him, on the terms of affection and intercourse which He has effected for you through Christ. We were estranged from God, He has reconciled us unto Himself; we created the distance, and God has removed it. He was the first relieved.

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I now turn to Romans 8, though I cannot go into it fully. Here I may remark that the Holy Spirit coming down from a glorified Christ to dwell in the believer is another blessing peculiar to a christian. No saints of whom we read in Scripture will be equally favoured. They will have the Holy Spirit on them, but not in them; the distinction is an important one. Hence when Peter quotes Joel to show that the Holy Spirit will be poured out on all flesh, he adds the present blessing, "Having therefore been exalted by the right hand of God, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which ye behold and hear". The Holy Spirit was to remain with them and to be in them according to John 14. We read in Romans 8, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus", and then (verse 2), "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death". You are justified, and you know the terms on which God can meet you. Thank God! That we saw in chapter 5. But here it is the blessed state in which you are before Him in Christ; the Spirit is in you, and you have liberty. "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh", that is, sin has been condemned, not only is there no more remembrance of sins, but sin has been condemned. At the close of Hebrews 9 we read that He hath appeared "to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself", and He "was once offered to bear the sins of many".

I trust you apprehend this twofold state; that you are justified, and that sin has been condemned in the cross of Christ. Still, the entrance into the holiest is not yet; you are ready for it. It has been well said that Romans rather describes Exodus, that is, escape, deliverance, redemption; and Hebrews describes

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Leviticus, which is approach. This is most important, because I think many are satisfied with the knowledge of justification who do not know approach. The blessed God looks for approach. We see in the case of the ten lepers (Luke 17), they were all cleansed, and nine went to ritualism according to Leviticus 14, to work up to approach; only one came directly to the Lord (I believe he is a sample for us), "and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks". This was approach.

I now turn to Hebrews, to present the way we approach. We are through grace Christ's companions. He is not ashamed to call us brethren. He has gone within the veil, a priest after the order of Melchisedec. There is a remarkable difference between the present and the millennial day. In the latter the high priest comes out and blesses the people. Hence in christendom a clergyman cannot pronounce the blessing until he is priested, on the ground that a priest only could pronounce the blessing. It is all a mistake; the High Priest has not come out yet. The blood was carried in, that the high priest might come out and bless the people. It is quite true Christ has gone in, but He has not come out yet. We know Christ will bless the people when He comes out; but now we are to know Him where He is within the veil. In Hebrews you do not get beyond the right of entrance into the holiest; you do not get to Ephesian ground.

Now in Hebrews 2:11 we read: "He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren". In chapter 3 we read we are His house - "Whose house are we". We are the consecrated company; I refer to Leviticus 8, the consecration of Aaron's sons. We, as Christ's house, are identified with Him. Aaron and his sons went in, in a common fragrance; they were filled with what he was, it was a common filling; and that was the consecration. People speak of

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consecration as what they give the Lord. The consecration, or the filling of the hands, is from the Lord. We are His "companions", we are "all of one", we are His "brethren". As in John 12, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit"; that is, many grains; we are altogether a new order. We are not of the stock of Israel, but of quite a new one. May the youngest in this room ponder it for himself or herself. We are justified; "our old man is crucified with him", we are His companions in the fragrance of Himself; but more, we are of His own order.

The Lord give you to understand that you are of this consecrated company, that is, that you are of His house. And the consecration took place (which is important to bear in mind) after all the offerings, which typified Christ's work, were offered; then followed the consecration; and as the consecrated ones, they accompanied the high priest into the holy places. If the veil were removed, they would have the right of entrance into the holiest.

Now I pass on to chapter 10, which I read, and here I find in verse 19: "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high (or great) priest over the house of God; let us draw near". It does not speak as it does in Ephesians of what occurs there; all you get here is the right to go in. There is not a shade of sin there. I press on you earnestly, that if you are dwelling on the great fact that your sins are gone, which is true and most blessed, you are connected with the earth where they were committed; hence many christians refer to their sins being gone, in order to revive the assurance of the grace; but they have not left the earth, they have not boldness to enter the holiest.

Our hymns suit souls in a variety of state, and to

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choose one is often a test of your spirituality. It is plain to any one who considers it, that if your place is on the earth, you will speak of sins being removed; but if you are in the holiest, you will be occupied with the order of things there.

First, you must apprehend God's grace in its fulness, and then we may consider for a little the objection, 'But when we fail, we lose it'. Certainly, when we fail we lose the enjoyment of it; but first be assured of enjoying it, before you speak of losing it. Do you know that you have the right to enter into the holiest, where there is no spot, and all through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the infinite satisfaction and glory of the blessed God? Now, you say, I may lose the sense of it: that I do not at all deny; but I say, first you must have it. God does not send angels to teach us; He sends teachers who are just as feeble and just as liable to fall as anybody else; and therefore it is only by the grace of God that one is kept or restored.

Now I turn for a moment to speak of failure. You have lost your true place; you find that practically you are not walking in the Spirit. What is to be done? Well, beloved friends, the first thing I must press is, that if you fail and do not judge yourself - discern yourself is the more correct expression - you will be judged of the Lord; you are chastened of the Lord that you should not be condemned with the world. "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep". It is important to bear in mind that God has judged your flesh in the cross, and He never revives it; but when we revive it and do not discern it before Him, He chastens us: that is discipline. There are two classes of discipline: one is to correct you when you are wrong, and the other is to help you when you are doing rightly. When any sin is on your conscience, confess it. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse

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us from all unrighteousness". And I believe, if you are truly exercised, you will have the sense by the Spirit of God that Christ bore the judgment of God for that gratification of the flesh to which you have yielded, according to the type of the ashes in the running water in Numbers 19. This is true exercise, and you are cleansed; you are brought back, or restored, to the place you lost. The Advocate is with the Father; He restores to communion. If any one has enjoyed being in the holiest where there is not a spot, and has lost it, when you are restored you are restored to what was lost, and not to anything less. The priests were consecrated only once. You are not newly consecrated, you return to your consecration, you come back to what you are; but not without exercise.

There is one point more I would like to say a word on. It is as to losing communion; I think sometimes we are not sensitive enough about it; and it is connected with the holiest. It is a remark of much value, that Peter's conscience was relieved in John 20, but his heart was not until chapter 21. Many christians walk with a clear conscience who have not yet known intimacy with Christ. If you are not acquainted with Him, you cannot be conscious of a break in it. You may be like Peter, with your conscience relieved, and happy affections restored, but the root of the failure not touched, as in John 21, when the Lord said to him, "Lovest thou me more than these?" The root of his failure was that he was seeking to be prominent above all the disciples for loving the Lord. The very quality for which you think you are creditable is the one in which you will fail most, and then you will be humbled; here the washing of the feet applies. As has been said, and very truly, advocacy is always going on; but when your feet are washed you are conscious of it.

I have said this to show you how you are restored

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to communion, but the great point I had before me is the holiness of the place to which we are brought - the holiest.

Oh what a great thing if every one in this room had that sense; not only, I am on this earth where all my sins are gone into the land of forgetfulness, but, I have got to a new place where there is no sin at all; and what occupies me there is the wonderful perfection of the blessed Lord, by faith and in spirit in association with Himself, where there is no shade of sin, no question of sin, but of holiness, where everything is in keeping with God's mind! We do not go in alone, we have "a great priest" over the house of God.

I have no doubt at all that if you once had the sense that it was not a question of sin being gone, but of your being brought into a scene of unclouded light, where all is according to God - the holiest, where the cherubim of glory rested on the mercy-seat, of which the antitype is Christ in glory, your heart would be more and more set on enjoying this great blessing.

The Lord lead each of you to apprehend the great portion of every believer. May you say, I know the desire of my Father's heart for me, and I look to Him that I may be up to His desire. Is there one in this room who would not say, I should like to be up to His desire? - not only to receive the Father's kiss, but to share in the joys of the Father's house - blessed be His name! - in heart assured that we have "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh".

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1 Corinthians 2:11

The subject I have already commenced and desire to continue is, the blessings peculiar to the christian. We find that these blessings date from the time when the Lord had gone away, and was exalted to God's right hand; then blessings of a new character were vouchsafed to His own on this earth, where He had been rejected. On the former evening I was dwelling on the difference between being assured that our sins, where they were committed, have been carried into the land of forgetfulness - a very great thing to know - and the knowledge that we also have the right of entrance into the holiest. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh".

This evening I desire to bring before you the gift of the Holy Spirit.

As I mentioned the last evening, these blessings are so interwoven that it is not possible to put them in succession; still we have to learn them. Now we have received the Spirit of God, and nothing can be plainer than the verse I have read. "What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God". This is very definite. Now I desire to trace the Spirit's work.

I begin with the fact that the Holy Spirit came down when Christ was glorified, as we read in John 14, to remain "with you", and to be "in you". No other company except the church will be favoured in the same way. Peter in Acts 2 quotes Joel's prophecy in

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order to prove that the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon all flesh; and then he makes an addition, that Christ being exalted to God's right hand, and "having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which ye behold and hear". That is an addition to Joel's prophecy, and is the blessing peculiar to christians; as Paul in Ephesians 1 writes, "In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise". I believe this is the first sense you have of a link with Christ personally.

I must refer to several scriptures, and I trust you will be able to take a note of them. The work of the Spirit is divided into two parts in John's gospel, and I think it is a great help to see this; the Holy Spirit is given for your benefit, and also for Christ's service. Now there is a danger of confounding these. Turn to John 4:14 - "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well [or rather, a fountain] of water springing up into everlasting life". Plainly this is in yourself. It is entirely new, and a contrast to John 2, where the wine was out, while this marvellous gift is to be in you. There is a new power in you, and that power the Spirit of God. You could not know the things of God unless by the Spirit of God. Everything you know of God, you know by the Spirit of God; and you never lose that knowledge. You may lose something you had heard, or a conception of your own mind, but you will never lose anything the Spirit of God has imparted; it is yours; and that is properly your true state. You start with this fact, that all the will of God for you has been finished by Christ; you do not know it all, but it is all done. The Spirit of God gives you conscious knowledge of His work, and all you learn by the Spirit of God remains. If you are under a cloud, you lose your enjoyment of this grace, but when the cloud is

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gone, you are sure to come back to where you were. If a babe in Christ falls and is restored, he is restored to a babe. If a father in Christ falls, he is restored to a father. The Spirit's work remains; it is not of the flesh, hence it is your true state.

For the first part of the Spirit's work, I turn to Romans 5:1 - 11. I believe the first great thing that a believer learns by the Spirit of God is the terms on which God can be with him. You have offended against God. The mistake often is that souls are not set on ascertaining how God, whom they have offended, stands towards them. Their conscience, or how they can be relieved, is before them. Now the first 11 verses of Romans 5 set forth how God is towards you; that is, if I may use a familiar phrase, the terms of affection on which He is, so that "we also joy [or boast] in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement [or reconciliation]". The prodigal son could say, I never expected that my father would be on such loving terms with me. I was trying to be on terms with him, but I find he is on terms with me. The Spirit leads you into the joy of this great acceptance.

I must add to this Romans 8. It is the saying of another, that as chapter 5: 1 - 11 sets forth how God meets you, so chapter 8 sets forth how you are in Christ before Him. The Spirit effects it. Verse 2 says, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death". If you would understand the greatness of the gift in John 4:14, you must study Romans 8. You will find there four parts of the work of the Spirit. First, "If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live". Marvellous grace! The second is the greatness of your relationship: "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God". The third is that, though you are in a groaning creation, you are "waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption

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of our body". And the fourth, "We know not what we should pray for as we ought", but you have the Spirit of God dwelling in you; He is your friend, so acquainted with your concerns that "he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God".

I trust I have given you some idea of the first work of the Spirit. I merely add that if you do not know this work you will not advance to any other. The Corinthians and the Galatians failed here; they were not dead to sin; though they had the Spirit, they did not know His first work, as detailed in Romans 5 and 8. It is most blessed that the Spirit of God first settles questions about yourself, for you have not rest of heart until they are settled; hence many are looking for holiness by faith, or perfectionism, simply because they are not in the power of the Spirit. When you walk in the Spirit you are superior to the flesh.

For the next work, I turn to John 7:37 - 39: "In the last, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried saying, If any one thirst, let him come to me, and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this he said concerning the Spirit, which they that believed on him were about to receive; for the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified". I know it is often thought that this refers to serving others; but I think the meaning is that your blessing is so full that it overflows. On the last day of the feast of tabernacles, as they were celebrating how God had made the earth to minister to them, the Lord challenged them, when He said, "If any one thirst, let him come to me, and drink". I can do infinitely better for him. The state of those here is a contrast to chapter 4; there we see a woman in the most deplorable condition, and the grace of God will set her up in a most blessed way. Here man is surrounded with every earthly blessing, and the Lord

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says, I can do more for you. "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water". You may say, What is it? It is the Spirit making known to us the resources which are in Christ personally. "I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste". I believe the fatted calf is a figure of it. It is individually known. The man in John 9 had it when "he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him".

The next work of the Spirit I find in Hebrews. It is this, that if you have learnt something of the resources which are in Christ, you are soon aware that He who is so much to you is not here. I hope to go into this blessed subject fully another time, if the Lord permit me. I refer to the priesthood of Christ: He can sympathise with you in the greatest weakness, because of sorrow and pressure here, and He also would maintain you in the brightest spot in the presence of God. The effect is that you are drawn away from earth to a Person who is not here, you are attached to Christ in another place; hence I consider it a distinct progress in the Spirit's work. I am pointing out, as far as I see, the order in which the Spirit of God works in the believer.

There is one thing of deep importance that I cannot fully explain; it is, that every christian in his behaviour, in his body, discloses the measure of the Spirit's work in him. I will give you three examples. The first is in Romans 12"that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice.... Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind". Surely that is your body, your personal appearance? I do not mean merely dress; I mean your whole bearing. The second is, not merely that you are not conformed to this world, but that you are transformed into the same image (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is a great advance. And again, running the race set before us, looking out unto Jesus, encountering every obstacle

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on the way, is still more (Hebrews 12). Your personal way and course indicate the measure of the Spirit's power in you.

The next work of the Spirit is to lead you to be here for Christ. He was here for you; the Spirit first makes this known to you, then He leads you to be here for Him. The Lord in John 13 and 14, knowing that He came from God and went to God, prepares His disciples to be here for Him in His absence. It is in the assembly you learn your calling and duty: you are to have part with Him outside and above everything here. He has gone to the Father. He is supreme, and as you are led by the Spirit, you please Him in your service. To this end the Spirit of God was to bring all things to their remembrance whatsoever He had said to them. There were two periods in the Lord's life on earth; there were thirty years of private life, and three years of public life. It is to the three years of public life the Lord alludes here. You will find the importance of it. In the thirty years of His private life He set forth what a Man was to the eye of God, so that at the close the Father announces, "Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased". But in the three years of His ministry He was setting forth what the Father was to man - quite different - and hence, at the close of this period, when on the holy mount, the voice came, "This is my beloved Son: hear him", as you read in the gospel narrative. It is in the assembly that we get our mission, as we learn from John 20, which is the assembly in pattern: "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you". The work of the Spirit, in order to fit us for service, is enunciated in chapter 14, and it is only as this work is known that you are qualified for service; you receive considerably for yourselves in order to be of use to others.

The next work of the Spirit is in John 15. You have come out here to be as the branches of Christ;

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you must abide in Him, and He in you. As far as I see, this is the knowledge of Christ as Head, and as deriving from Him you bear much fruit. As you abide in Him and He in you, you set forth the blessedness of God's heart to man, and this is true service.

The next work I do not find easy to explain, because the less we know of a truth the less we can explain it. In John 15:26 we come to another action of the Holy Spirit: "When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me". I ask you to bear in mind the difference between the Spirit's work in chapter 14 and His work in chapter 15. I am trying to show you the great position in which you are set on the earth. In chapter 14 you are prepared for service. But in chapter 15 you bear fruit, you are His branches, His servants. Here in chapter 15: 26 the Holy Spirit is sent from Christ in heaven for a special purpose: "he shall testify of me". It was not merely to testify for Me, it is to "testify of me". I cannot conceive anything greater than this - that the Holy Spirit should enable you to stand forth here in testimony of Christ in heaven, as well as to bear fruit. You are both a servant and a witness. I see many serving who are not witnessing. A witness testifies of a Man whom the world would not have - the heavenly Man. Here doubtless we enter on the epistle to the Ephesians; you must be a heavenly man before you can testify of Christ in heaven. No one else could do it. I cannot dwell on this, but I trust you see that the Spirit leads you to testify of the heavenly Man on the earth. Though this will expose you to all the opposition of Satan, yet you will be personally, in the armour of God and in the power of His might, able to withstand all Satan's wiles; you will come out in a new character. As I have said, your manner of life always indicates the measure in which the Spirit of God works in

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you. It is a solemn fact that if you are a witness, that is, descriptive of the heavenly Man, you cannot seek nor maintain a position in the world. The Spirit first demonstrates that the world is in sin, because they believe not on Christ; of righteousness, because He has gone to the Father; and finally of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

I must add a little on John 17. The Spirit, according to it, enables us to be here as belonging to the Father, kept by Him and learning of Him in such unity and sanctification that the world should believe that He had sent Christ; and eventually that the world should know, not only that Christ was sent, but that we are loved by the Father as Christ is loved. The more we are led by the Spirit, the better we shall apprehend the great place to which we are called here during the absence of Christ.

In conclusion I would call your attention very briefly to a subject very often overlooked. It is, that as we suffer with Christ we shall reign with Him. I have already stated that your body indicates the measure of the Spirit's work in you, it characterises you. Everything you do, "the deeds of the body", will affect your position with the Lord when He comes to reign. Hence the Spirit leads you to look for the coming of the Lord: "The Spirit and the bride say, Come". People speak of going to heaven; I would add, Are you waiting for His Son from heaven? Every believer without doubt will go to heaven; but it is as you suffer, or endure with Him, that you shall reign with Him. The harder your life is here for Christ, the better will be your place with Christ in the kingdom. If you have an easy life here, you will have a very small place in the kingdom. And therefore if you are walking in the Spirit, He is sure to lead you; it is not a question of how much you do, but how the Spirit leads you to be here for Christ; not so much what you do, but that you endure.

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I think many, with very little ostentation, are well-pleasing unto the Lord, like a star which you see in a dark night, or like Mary sitting at His feet, hearing His word; she was doing nothing apparently, while Martha was very busy; yet Mary had chosen the good part, she was seeking her Lord's mind. And if you are led by the Spirit, it will be with you as it was with Mary; when she did act, she quite surpassed Martha. In order to complete the subject of the leading of the Spirit, you must learn that He is conducting you here in view of the kingdom. James and John asked for the chief places; the Lord answered, "It shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father". I fear that there is too much indifference about the kingdom generally. Are you thinking that Christ will reign here? In the epistles I find the kingdom much referred to. Saints were thinking of the Lord coming to reign, to take His place here; hence "the day of the Lord", or the appearing of the Lord, is kept prominently before them.

I need not add more. I trust it may interest the youngest believer in this room, and be a stay and cheer to his heart to know that the Spirit of God has been given to him: "in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise". Most blessed! God's greatest gift to us! He could not give anything greater.

Beloved friends, if the Lord has been pleased to bring this subject in any measure of interest before you, may He also grant that you may discover the wonderful nature of the blessedness into which you are brought, as sealed by the Spirit of God, for His name's sake.

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Hebrews 7:11 - 17

Our subject this evening is, our Priest is in heaven. I must press upon you, beloved friends, that you will not comprehend the subjects which I am bringing before you unless you realise that Christ has been rejected here, and that the christian's blessings are consequent on His exaltation to God's right hand. In Matthew 22 there is a quotation from Psalm 110

"The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand". I want you to apprehend the gravity of this fact, that the Son of God has been rejected in the world, the scene where we are. The world was never so guilty, for God was never so fully revealed; and He was never so absolutely refused: "Now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father": "they have no cloke for their sin". If you do not apprehend the gravity of His rejection, you cannot take in, you cannot seize, the greatness of the blessings which have come out from God, consequent on Christ's exaltation to His right hand. The mass of christians think of Christ as He was on the earth, and they speak of Him as Jesus; but Jesus is not on the earth; He once was. The pious sometimes speak of Him as King; He is not yet King, He was refused here.

The subject this evening is, that our Priest is in heaven; and the greater the subject the more it is perverted in christendom. It is not intentional, but the attempt to explain the word of God by the human mind has perverted it. The unfailing mark of a human interpretation of the word of God is that God's side is omitted, the human mind cannot take it in. In christendom they have a priest or a minister between them and God. The human mind has the word of God as to the fact that there is a priest for the

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christian, but it has perverted it by placing the priest on man's side. Nothing can be a greater perversion than the attempt to set up a priest on the earth. Among the more enlightened christians a clergyman cannot pronounce the blessing unless he is priested. Their priesthood is not of Christ, for if He were on earth, He would not be a priest. You have a Priest, but He is a Priest only in heaven; this must be accepted. You may ask, Must I be in heaven to know my Priest? You are not looked at as in heaven in the book of Hebrews; you are running to heaven, and your Priest is there and is not here. If you say, I do not understand it, you should be troubled at your state, that you are satisfied to be here without knowing Christ as your Priest. The first thing to see is that consequent on Christ's rejection, He is our Priest in heaven. Though apparently the sun had gone down at noonday and there was no more hope, yet then God, in the boundlessness of His goodness, made known entirely new blessings, as we read, "Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings".

The first point is that your Priest is not here; He is in heaven. If you do not accept this, you will not understand nor enjoy the blessing connected with this truth.

The book of Hebrews opens in an important way: God, having spoken by the prophets, now speaks by the Son. It is divine. In chapter 2 we read, "As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same". And in connection with this I will turn to verses 11 and 12. "For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee". Now you see that we are His brethren. We read in John 12, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone:

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but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit", or 'many grains', that is, a new order of man springs from Him. Adam was the earthly order. Christ is the heavenly order; hence, "Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren". The apostle is writing to Hebrews, who naturally would have said, Christ is of our stock: but no, we are His brethren, "all of one". It is of immense blessing to apprehend this. Through grace you are brethren of Christ. Christ had no brethren before His death. True, we read of His brethren in the gospel, brethren according to the flesh. But He was alone - a beautiful, peculiar, unique Man in the sight of God. He had no fellow until He rose; when He died He removed that which was in the way, and now He is not ashamed to call us brethren; we are really of Him. You must start in the assurance of this grace. The tendency of the Hebrews, from education and Jewish feelings, was to settle down on the earth; hence the great object of the book is so to attract them to the Lord where He is, that they might be drawn away from the earth. I do not believe any one is drawn away from the earth unless he is attracted by a Person who is not here. It is plain that if your heart is taken up with a person who has gone to another place, you are drawn away from the place where you are to where he is. 'Love enchants the spot where the loved one dwells'. Christ has gone away, but you are His brethren; He is not ashamed to call us brethren - "whosoever is born of God sinneth not". I believe you get immense comfort from the fact that you are His brethren. In chapter 3, we read, "Holy brethren". Turn now to chapter 3: 6: "But Christ as a son over his own house;" - that is, God's house - "whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end". It is not only that we are His brethren, but we are His house, made partakers

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of Christ (verse 14). 'Partakers' is the same word as 'fellows' - really companions. We are His house, "if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end"; that is, if you do not deviate from your true place.

Turn now to the end of chapter 4, that you may apprehend the great blessing of a Priest in heaven. The Hebrews had not turned back, but they were in danger of being like their forefathers; not going to heaven, just as their forefathers had refused to go up to the land on the plea that they were not able to do so. Caleb tried to still the people in his day, and said, "If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land". Hence, in chapter 4 we read, "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief". The "rest" was really the rest of God. Now come out two great helps. The word of God is one, and Christ the Priest in heaven is the other. Of the latter we read: "Haying therefore a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast the confession. For we have not a high priest not able to sympathise with our infirmities, but tempted in all things in like manner, sin apart. Let us approach therefore with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and find grace for seasonable help". Now bear in mind that you are His brethren and His house - His companions. In Leviticus 16 we read that Aaron offered a bullock for himself and his house. So far the type has been fulfilled; the remainder, as to the congregation, has not been fulfilled as yet, because the Priest has not come out to bless the people. (See chapter 9: 23.) The subject is your infirmities, not your sins; weakness from any cause; the pressure of circumstances, or illness, or - the greatest of all - bereavement: still it is pressure; you are weak, and ready to droop under it. As I have said, there are two helps. First, the word of God exposes

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where you are, reveals your motives, whether you are making your weakness an excuse not to go on - engrossed with the pressure instead of with the rest of God. You are very ill, or sorrowful, or bereaved, or greatly oppressed by circumstances; now the word discloses all: "All things are naked and laid bare to his eyes with whom we have to do". Then follows in verse 14: "Having therefore a great high priest" - mark the language - "who has passed through the heavens", - as Aaron passed through the holy places - "Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast the confession. For we have not a high priest not able to sympathise with our infirmities, but tempted in all things in like manner, sin apart". Do not give up. Our Priest in heaven sympathises with us. He is outside of everything here, He has gone through every pressure. His sympathy is not the same kind of help that you read of in the Psalms, when God made a way in the sea, and the like, by His mighty hand; but here it is that you have a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ; you are brethren to Him, you are His house, and He was in the circumstances that we are in, and He knows what they are, and He sympathises with us in them; He bears us company in the pressure. Take the case of a person in bereavement: no pressure - severe illness or great pain - is equal to the agony of bereavement; there can be no alleviation of the blank, for no one can repair the blank but the one who has caused it. Now the marvellous grace is, though it be little understood, that the Lord uses the blank as the opportunity for making Himself known in the tenderest way. As you see with Mary, in John 11, He walked with her, and impressed her with the assurance, as He wept beside her, that if she had lost a brother she had found "a friend that sticketh closer than a brother" in Himself, that she had really gained. You may think it impossible; but the Lord is so much to you that you are borne up and drawn to Him. The word

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'support' will not fully express it; He who is made higher than the heavens bears you company.

The sense of His nearness as One above it all, but having passed through it, endears Him to you in a peculiar way. It is not that He removes the pressure, but He so supports you that you are so raised above it by His sympathy that instead of drooping under the pressure, you come boldly to the throne of grace. But I would press on you, and I trust the Lord will lead you to apprehend, that whatever the pressure is, the Lord would come to you and be such a solace and support to you, that He would be more endeared to you than ever before. When He relieves you, things are easier for you here, but when He bears you above the pressure, you will never forget it; He Himself becomes indispensable to you. This in a measure I dare say Ruth found in Naomi - a solace to her in the hour of her sorrow. The Lord can come close beside us in our sorrow, and share with us in it, and so lift us above the pressure to the height of Himself. May we all better understand His sympathy. Every one can speak of a mercy. But can you speak of being lifted above the pressure in company with the Lord who sympathises with you? You must bear in mind that the great object of the book of Hebrews is to make the Lord, who is not here, so dear to your heart that you will be drawn away from this place to Him, who has so endeared Himself to you that He is indispensable.

I turn now to chapter 10: 19 - 22: "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water". The High Priest in chapter 4 comes down to your lowest point, under the deepest pressure,

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"in all points tempted like as we are", so that He is able to sympathise with you, to bind you to Himself. Now you are in company with Him, you are of His house. In the type, Aaron offered a bullock for himself and his house. We are, through grace, the consecrated company, and all can enter in a common fragrance into the holiest where He Himself is. In the holiest there was the golden censer, the ark of the covenant, and the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy-seat. If I were speaking to a gentile, I should speak of the Lord's glory, of which the holiest was a type. Now you can draw near and be maintained by our great Priest in the brightest spot. You have the right to enter into the holiest in company with Himself.

In the close of chapter 10 you have the effect on you when your heart is drawn to a Person who is not here, but is in another place. You will long to get to the place where He is; as the Lord is endeared to you, so is the place where He is. Hence the Lord said to His disciples, "Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know". The Lord counted on their knowing. Is your heart attracted to the Lord? Where is He? In heaven. Then are you going on to heaven? Or are you trying to be comfortable on the earth, the place where He is not? Then be assured that you are not much drawn to Him. At the same time I quite admit a certain amount of comfort is necessary. I think a person is distracted when he is uncomfortable; but that is a different thing; the point is, Who is paramount with you? "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also". Where is He? You can say, He is my Saviour. Yes, but I want you to be able to say, He is the One that meets me in the lowest condition in which I can be found; in my weakest moment He comes to me, when no other hand or heart could come near me, and assures me of the interest He takes in me, and so draws me to Himself that I am

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lifted out of it to have company with Himself. And I do not believe He lifts you out of it for anything else but to have company with Himself. If you know Christ in His priestly service, you are so drawn to Him that you can say, "We are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul". And then you are set on leaving this place for the place where Christ is. It is not dying, it is simply as with Israel, they had to journey through the wilderness in order to possess the land, and through faith in God they could surmount every difficulty; so you are in faith to surmount every difficulty until you are with Christ where He is. Hence you read in chapter 12: 1, 2, "Let us also therefore, having so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, laying aside every weight, and sin which so easily entangles us, run with endurance the race that lies before us, looking stedfastly on Jesus the leader and completer of faith: who, in view of the joy lying before him, endured the cross, having despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God". It is a simple question: Are you set for Christ where He is? Would to God I had been more set for it! I should have had a happier course; one is very easily turned aside by something here; but if your heart is really fixed on Him, then nothing could divert you. I may illustrate my meaning by a dog's fidelity in following its master; all the wit of your head would not divert the dog from following; you might beat it, or tempt it, but nothing would induce it to swerve. The right idea of following we get in the words of Ruth, "Whither thou goest, I will go".

Now you will encounter difficulties; and you cannot surmount difficulties but by faith, and therefore you are looking off unto Jesus the author and finisher of faith; He has gone the road, and you are His brethren through divine grace, and He gives you of His grace, and you are looking out to where He is; you are

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running to Him. You have to lay aside every weight and the sin which does so easily beset you, because you are set for Him in another place; you have to contend with difficulties, and therefore you need patience; that is, you endure, you do not give in; for when your heart is truly drawn to Him, nothing will suit you nor satisfy you but Himself where He is.

In chapter 12 the importance of discipline is described. As I understand, the discipline here is not for failure, but to help you, even that you might be partakers of His holiness. Stephen's suffering in testimony, God turns to good account for him, even to remove everything which would separate him from the Lord. As we read in 2 Corinthians 4, "We which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake". There is a very great difference between discipline to help you and discipline to correct you. Jacob at Shechem was disciplined to correct him; he suffers greatly from the Shechemites. But he goes to Bethel - a very bright day; Rebekah's nurse dies, and the place is called Allon-bachuth, the oak of weeping. This was discipline to help him; to clear away every thing unsuited to his bright position.

I turn for a little to chapter 12: 18, "Ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched", etc. You are not come to God in that way; you now have the right of entrance into His presence. Verses 22 - 24 go on: "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel". It begins at the chief place on the earth, mount Sion; there will be a day when God will rule in mount Sion: "The LORD shall send the rod

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of thy strength out of Zion". "And unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" (the word 'and' distinguishes one part from another), and to the innumerable company of angels, the general assembly, and then to the highest thing of all, the church of the first-born, whose names are registered in heaven. The church of the first-born would be understood by the Jews better than by us, because the Levites were taken in place of the first-born of Israel. Then you descend until you come to the great fact here - "The blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel". I trust you see the greatness of your position. You are racing on to Christ in heaven; you have been drawn away from many an association here, interesting to man naturally, but you have come to something infinitely greater. Not only are you, once sinners, brought to God, but you have come to an immense range of present blessings.

In conclusion, one word on chapter 13. Here your true appearance on the earth is described in the simplest way. The first point is, "Let brotherly love continue". You may think that is easy, but you will find this requires most grace; you can love saints who are going on well, but when they are in error and wilful, then we find how little we love them. Next, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers"; hospitality to christians, I suppose. And then, "Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them"; then the domestic circle, "Marriage is honourable in all". Then comes a very important mark, which often a christian lacks, and we all know how ready we are to fail as to it: "Be content with such things as ye have". Who is content with such things as he has? A man in the world is nobody if he is not set on acquiring. "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my

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helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me". If you suffer from the pressure of circumstances, the Lord is your helper. A man might be in want for the Lord's sake, though few are up to that; yet, if a man like Paul or John suffer for the Lord, be assured that they do not lose by it, they receive "manifold more" because of the Lord's nearness to them. There is a universality about a person that no combination of circumstances can equal. In the garden of Eden it was things which were given; now it is a Person. And little as I know of it, I know this, that Christ can make up for the loss of everything; hence you are inside the veil on christian ground, and you are outside the camp bearing Christ's reproach, unknown here. By Him you "offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually". "But to do good and to communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased" - praising God and doing good.

I need not add more, but I trust each heart here may be more drawn to the Lord where He is, and thus more drawn from the earth where He is not, for His name's sake.

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Philippians 3:20

The word "conversation" in this verse is more correctly 'citizenship'; our polity, our citizenship, is in heaven. If you simply accept the fact that you are a citizen of another country, then you are not a citizen of this country. Nothing can be more definite than that if you belong to another country, you do not belong to this one. This is the great point. I will go through the subject in order, but the first thing to accept is, that the earth is not our place, but that heaven is our place. You may say we are not in heaven yet; still, it is our country, and therefore this is not our country. I quite admit we are subjects here, but subjects and citizens are quite different; we are subjects, but we are not citizens; we are bound to obey the powers that be, but our citizenship is in heaven. I believe it is of immense importance to apprehend the fact, and I do not think any one can form a just idea of the alteration it would effect in him. Practically, there is nothing that a man abhors more than to be displaced from the earth. The earth suits the natural man.

Now, firstly, the earth could not be your place, because Christ was rejected here, and He has been called to the right hand of God. "The light of the world" has gone away, and if you seek the light you will find that it is in another place, and that you cannot find it here.

The subject I am pressing is, that your blessings do not come from the earth. It is true that immense blessing has been effected for you here. Christ died for you here; but if you look for the blessings peculiarly christian, they do not come from this place, but from Him who is exalted to God's right hand. And hence there are many christians, who, though true and

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devoted, do not enjoy the blessings peculiarly their own. They do not seek them where they are, and they cannot find them anywhere else. They come from heaven. I remember the immense effect it had on me when I first heard the truth that heaven was my place and not the earth. I press, then, on you, that the earth could not be your place, because Christ has been rejected from it; and I think any heart true to the Lord would say, I thank God that the place where Christ was refused is not my place, and that the place where He is accepted is my place. I do not say that you are in heaven, but, as I was showing you last evening, if your heart is drawn to Christ in the place where He is, the effect is that you are running to that place: heaven is the hope of the gospel.

I turn next to our Lord's words in John 14"I go to prepare a place for you". Some commentators think He is now preparing it. No; your place was prepared when He went there. This is a corroboration of what I have said, that the earth could not be your place, seeing that there is a place prepared for you in the Father's house. When you realise that you have a place in heaven, it has the effect, though you never were there, of drawing you to the Lord who has gone to that place; and if your hearts were true to Him, no other place could fully please you. The Lord counts on this when He says, "Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know". Can we all say we know the way? Like Thomas, we have to say at first: "We know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" If your heart is simply fixed on Christ, you will soon find the way. Surely deep affection would soon find out where He is. This was the distress of Mary Magdalene: "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him". The Lord then tells where He would be. Evidently it is one of the rewards connected with service: "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and

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where I am, there shall also my servant be". And ordinarily, if an affectionate wife knew her husband had gone to Australia, and that she was to follow him, all her thoughts would be about Australia; she would not go into a shop or anywhere but she would think of the things that would suit Australia. The place would be before her because her husband was there.

Again, if you do not accept heaven as your place, you will not enjoy the blessings peculiar to you as a christian. I turn to Luke 14:15. A pious man said, "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God"; no doubt with reference to the millennial day. The Lord replied, as much as to say, There is something before that - "A certain man made a great supper". Now, beloved friends, the first question is where the great supper is. The supper is in the house, and not in the land. Israel, man naturally, would like to find it on the earth. Many christians - alas! I have done it myself - look for blessings in the wrong place. One buys a piece of land. There is no sin in a piece of land, but it is a gain in the wrong place. The first thought of every man, even of the working man, is to purchase enough ground to build a house on, and he thinks that it is a mark of God's favour when he succeeds. You cannot do without a house, I admit; but you are seeking possessions here in the wrong place. Are you not often drawn away from the Lord by something here? You are looking for blessings, advantages, in the place where Christ was rejected! Hence the servant was told to go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come into the house - not the land. Some quote this passage and say, Come to Christ. Of course, if any one does not come to Christ, he could not come into the house, to the feast, but the feast is the celebration of grace. It has been remarked that you get the feast in chapter 14, and the guest in chapter 15. But where is the feast? It is in the house. In the passage, "When he hath found it" [the sheep],

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"he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home" is correctly "being come to the house". Naturally you would have brought a sheep to the pasture. Now you find the home for the prodigal is the Father's house. I do not mean to say that this is the same as in John 14, but I insist that you have a home in the Father's house. Your home is not on the earth; you ought to rejoice that you have such a home. We have to learn how little we really enjoy our home. You may say, We are not at home yet. But we have home comforts, though we are still here. They come to us by the Spirit of God, but they come from our home. The desire of the Father's heart for us is that we should share the joys of His own house. You cannot know these joys unless you look for them in the place where they are. You probably are like many who are looking for advantages on the earth. The fact is that every advantage you obtain here, though it be a comfort for the moment, will be a cause of sorrow some day when it fades away; whereas the blessings which come from your home, through grace, only add to your joy more and more.

I would that each one could walk through this world with the sense, My Lord was refused here, but I am not downcast, because, though He chooses to leave me here, my home is where He is. Without this assurance you lose your proper blessings, the blessings peculiar to christians. Most christians dwell on the fact that they are forgiven their sins, they have the satisfaction that they are christians, and they look for proofs of God's favour all day long, and this mercy and the other, they say, is a mark of His favour. No doubt His mercies are "new every morning" but there is much more. The greatest mark of God's favour is a fuller revelation of His mind; if you were to be given Europe it would not be equal to the favour of a better acquaintance with the One who has done everything for you. Any day that you see more of

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Him in His own greatness and preciousness, then you are most highly favoured.

Again, Scripture says, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also". It is plain that if you have not your treasure in heaven, your heart cannot be there. You must know that the treasure is there first; otherwise, though you may speak of being pilgrims and strangers, yet you really are not so. If you were in Turkey, you would not try to be a pilgrim and a stranger, because you are one there, you are not at home, you are travelling through. I hope to come presently to our calling and service here. I am trying first to establish your individual portion, and the blessings which you miss if you do not see that heaven is your place. "The forerunner is for us entered"; He has gone in, and now we lose if we do not know Him where He is.

Now bear in mind the fact that the Lord has gone away, and that He is at the right hand of God, but that we are here, and yet that our place and our home is where He is; hence we come to the grave question, What is your calling and service here? I have spoken on a former occasion on being sealed by the Spirit, "In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise". The Holy Spirit has come down from heaven, and now you are connected with Christ in the place where He is. Your heart is bound to a Person in another place. If your heart is really bound to Him, you are necessarily apart from the earth. This is the great test; because the earth suits man, "The earth hath he given to the children of men". And it is here that failure begins. The Corinthians had the Spirit of God, He had come down from heaven; but Christ in heaven was not paramount to them, they were led away and swayed by their natural minds, and not by the Lord. Their heart would have been in heaven had their treasure been there.

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The Galatians, on the other hand, were seeking to improve the first man. I quite see that you might be clear of those two failures, but I want you to lay hold of the fact that one who has the Spirit of God, as the Corinthians and the Galatians had, may not have Christ as the paramount object. With every one walking in the Spirit, Christ is paramount; and you learn from the way the apostle corrects both the Corinthians and the Galatians, where the lack was. He corrects the Corinthians by presenting Christ in glory outside of everything here. The effect was that the flesh was in abeyance; it could not be in the glory of God. If Christ is paramount with you, your heart is fixed on Him. Christ in glory supersedes the man here; there is no place for him there. On the contrary, you are transformed into the same image, and practically the effect is that you would be "always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus". It is important to see that not only does the Holy Spirit dwell in you, but that Christ is in His true place when you are walking in the Spirit. In like manner, with the Galatians, the apostle sets Isaac in his right place, and then Ishmael must go out; that is, the man under the law must be cast out. If you are occupied with the man born after the flesh, you are sanctioning the Ishmael who persecutes Christ. You belong to Christ in heaven, and the Spirit of God has come to you from Him in heaven, and as you walk in the Spirit, Christ is paramount, and you are in this world for Him. I have not come to your service yet, I am speaking of your gain personally when you receive the Spirit. I fear there are many who do not walk in the Spirit, hence they rejoice only in their salvation; they have not the power to act here for Christ. But when you are walking in the Spirit, His normal action in you is to lead you to heaven. "Being full of the Holy Spirit" he "fixed his eyes on heaven". If you meditate for a moment you will see that it must be so.

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I often say to myself, If the Holy Spirit can come down to me in all the contrariety of things here, would not it be more natural to Him to lead me to the place where everything suits Himself? No doubt it would; and that is, as I may say, the new line.

Now I would direct your attention to your service here for Christ. I must begin by saying that no one can serve Christ here who is not in concert with Him in heaven. I shrink from distressing any of you; but I am sure that if any one is not in concert with Christ in heaven, in His place, in His exaltation, he cannot be for Christ in this place, the scene of His rejection; he could not know His mind, nor how to act for Him. Hence, in John 13, when the Lord announces that He is going away, He first washes the disciples' feet. While He was here with them, they were in the closest intimacy with Him; leaning on His breast at supper, and the like; now He rises from supper, and washes their feet. This means that every soil must be removed; there must be no shade of distance, but fitness for Him in His own sphere. It is not merely that you are to have a good conscience; but you are to have communion with Him. You cannot have communion with Christ if you have not acquaintance with Him. If there be not acquaintance, there could not be a break in it. You may be at rest about your sins and walking with a clear conscience, but to be in communion is much more. Communion is being in concert with Him. He had come to your side of things, but communion is your being in concert with Him in His things. Ask yourself, How much do I know of Christ's present interests? How much am I in communion with Him? First, every soil has been removed; there is not any break between you and Him. You may find, as has been said of Peter, that the conscience is relieved before the heart is restored. Many have not been intimate enough with the Lord to feel a cloud, a shade of reserve between Him and

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them. Like the bride in Song of Songs 5, there is, not any known sin, but a cloud, a sense of reserve. Peter had his conscience relieved in John 20, but he was not restored until chapter 21. Though he was attached to the Lord, he was not in communion with Him. Affection in itself is not communion; but when communion has been known, the heart is not satisfied until there is a return to communion.

I turn now to Colossians. We find there the hindrances to the servant of Christ in this day. The Colossians were evidently a nice company; they had faith in Christ, and they had love to all the saints; but they were exposed to a grievous snare. I do not think that we are exempt from it. I have already referred to the Corinthians and the Galatians, but the snare here is much more subtle. The Colossian snare is that a man can use his natural ability and his religiousness to contribute to Christ's service. I assure you it is a great snare. It is not to improve yourself like the Galatian, or to please yourself like the Corinthian, but it is that you use your learning or your natural ability to make your ministry for Christ effectual. How often a servant of Christ expects that his language will produce an effect! I do not believe eloquence will have a divine effect. I have sometimes tried myself, I must own, to be eloquent, but I have found that I lost power instead of gaining it. Your faith is not to stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. If you expect by your ability to be divinely effectual, you have fallen into the snare the Colossians are warned of - that is, the natural mind. Neither human philosophy nor sanctimoniousness - religious culture - will help on Christ's work. There is only one divine way of being preserved from this snare, and that is by knowing Christ as your Head.

The apostle is greatly pressed that the Colossians should know this mystery: "I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at

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Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment [full knowledge] of the mystery of God" (Colossians 2:1, 2) - the knowledge of Christ as Head. Where is Christ? He is in heaven. It is a wonderful fact that you can know the glorified Man in heaven as your Head, that He is not only your Head, but the Head of every christian, though I grieve to say every christian does not know that He is his Head. If you do not know Him as Head, though He is your Head, you do not reap the benefit of this great fact.

You must be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world before you can, as risen with Him, seek the things above where Christ sitteth. I hope you will keep definitely before you the importance of knowing Christ where He is. You cannot know Him as Head, but as risen with Him where there is no human voice. I look to the Lord that your hearts might be arrested by the great blessedness of knowing that Christ in heaven is your Head. My subject is that heaven is your place; hence I repeat that you must seek Him where He is, or you cannot know Him as your Head. I wish to convince you of the greatness of knowing the Christ in heaven as your Head; hence the word is, "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead" - or "have died". I am pressing on you the greatness of your place.

Finally, it is plain enough that we are united to Christ in heaven, and this corroborates all I have been saying. In order to realise union with Christ, you must be led to Him in heaven. I do not mean bodily, but by the Spirit. As you read in Ephesians 1:19, you must have conscious knowledge of "the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe". It is by the Spirit we are united, though I do not say every one knows it. I have no doubt Stephen knew the

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gain of union, though union was not then revealed. Union with Christ could not be known except in the place where He is. Rebekah had to be conducted all the way through the wilderness in company with the steward (which figuratively is the Holy Spirit), to the spot where Isaac was. And if you are not led by the Spirit of God to Christ where He is, you do not realise union with Him, although through grace, you can say, 'We are members of His body'. "But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him", yet you cannot comprehend union except by the power of the Spirit; and unless you know union you cannot understand the blessings connected with it. For instance, you could not understand the prayer in Ephesians 3. It is a prayer that all the advantages which you acquire by union should be made known to you. The Lord lead each of you to apprehend the immense blessing which is yours because of your union with Christ in heaven; the greatness of your position, that now your individuality is merged, for Christ's interests are your interests, He dwells in your hearts by faith, His things are disclosed to you; and better than all, "to know the love of the Christ which surpasses knowledge; that ye may be filled even to all the fulness of God".

Reverting for a moment to service, you see from Colossians that unless you know the Head you cannot be preserved from ritualism and rationalism. Nothing can preserve us but the knowledge of Christ as Head; and in order to be descriptive of Him here, you must be heavenly, and you cannot be, except by union with Him, the heavenly Man, and then you can come forth in heavenly grace in all the details of your daily life. You have gained immensely. A slave would gain by his master being heavenly, for he would be a better master. It is a great principle that the nearer you are to God, the better will you behave in every duty appointed by God.

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I need not add more. The Lord lead each of you to understand (the youngest can begin) that heaven is your place, and that your peculiar blessings come from that place.

The Lord grant, beloved friends, that each of us may be so assured in heart that the place where Christ was rejected is not our place, but that the place where He is accepted is our place, that we seek to be acceptable to Him in this place, and in order to be so, we cleave to Him where He is.

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Matthew 13:18 - 48

I have been endeavouring to bring before you the blessings peculiar to the christian. What we have in this scripture is that though Christ has been rejected here, yet His rule is still on the earth. It is not the rule of the King; that you must bear in mind, but the rule of the word of God. Hence you get in the first parable that the sower sowed the seed, the word of the kingdom; there were four different kinds of soil, but only one brought forth fruit to perfection. Next, there are six similitudes of the kingdom of heaven (the first parable, that of the sower, is not called a similitude); three of them are public, and three are private. Three describe the word of God as appropriated by man, with the most painful result, and this is the only way to account for the state of things in christendom. Man has interpreted the word of God to exalt himself. Nothing can be plainer than that the man who appropriates most from the word of God while retaining the natural man has a preponderating influence with men. Peter can receive great light, and yet be so human in his feelings that the Lord calls him Satan. It has been said, and it is a lamentable statement, that it is not the world which has spoiled christianity, but it is christianity which has spoiled the world, because man has been made pretentious and preposterous by the light of it. What could be worse than to assume to be a christian when one is not? To be so self-deceived that one appropriates to himself the greatest position in which God has set a man?

I will now refer to the first three similitudes. The first is that of the wheat and the tares; the wheat was of God; and the bad seed sown by the devil were mere

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professors, assuming to be equal with the wheat, the work of God. The servants wanted to root up the tares, but they are in the field, that is the world - not in the church. In christendom the field is supposed to be the church, and that the real and the professors are mixed up in the congregation. It is sad to find some real saints thus mixed up with worldly professors. The second similitude is the monstrous position christendom obtains in the world. A little grain of mustard seed becomes a great tree, and the fowls of the air lodge in it; so powerful and extended is the system formed by man's interpretation of the word of God, that even the powers of the world seek for the countenance of the hierarchy. This is the present state; but eventually the beast, which is the Latin power, will carry the harlot, the apostate church, a system reared up by man's interpretation of the word of God. The third similitude is the leaven hid in three measures of meal. There is not a pure sentiment in man's religion (though the word of God be quoted) you cannot rely on it. I do not say that you cannot rely on man's words, but I say that the human idea, however based on the word of God, is not to be trusted. I do not know a single doctrine of theology which is fully according to the mind of God. This appears to be a strong statement, but you will find it is correct, because man's mind has reduced the word of God to its own level. And the unfailing mark of human interpretation in any statement is that God is not paramount in it. It is a human sentiment, though doubtless there is a measure of truth in it. If I adduce the gospel in christendom, it is that if you believe, you will be saved and go to heaven; not one word as to God's part in that gospel, it is a human appropriation of it. I fully admit that souls are blessed, but they seldom or never are brought to God. I am trying to point out the nature of the rival (if I may use the expression) that we have to contend with.

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Any learned man in christendom could discern the first three similitudes; he could understand them. But in verse 36 the Lord sends away the crowd and goes into the house; and when His disciples come to Him, He explains about the tares and the wheat, and tells them of three other similitudes.

We now come to the greatest blessing peculiar to christians during our Lord's rejection; we are His, sustained here for Himself, now at the right hand of God. These three similitudes set forth how the word of God effects that which is according to the heart of Christ on earth. First, He sets forth that His treasure is here, where His rule is by the word of God. The treasure was not only hid in the field, but He hid it. The church is His treasure, where His heart is set. it is not visible to the world. Next, "the pearl" expresses the beauty of the church in His eye. The third is the net, and now is set forth the work of the fishermen, who know Christ's estimate of the church. They separate the good fishes from the bad ones; they put the good into vessels. Here many a laborious servant has failed through ignorance of his Lord's mind; he did not separate the good from the bad; he did not see the importance of separation in order to suit the Lord. "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing".

I desire now to draw your attention to the assembly, the circle of Christ's interest on the earth. I could not bring before you a subject of greater importance. He has been rejected, and I have been presenting to you, in the previous addresses, the varied blessings which come to us from Him as exalted to the right hand of God; and now we come to the assembly, which is exclusively His, and for Him on the earth. As yet, He has nothing else on this earth; as He says, "I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me". Now as shut in with the Lord, apart from the

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crowd, we should learn the assembly as it is to Him. The subject ought to arrest each of you. We are in a world where our Lord was refused; and now there is only one circle which is exclusively His. I am not speaking of His purposes or thoughts or counsels about things, but of the circle that belongs to Him, as He Himself calls it in Matthew 16, "My assembly". It was consequent on His rejection by the Jews that He revealed the assembly. His own would not receive Him, but the assembly is His own building, and all the powers of hell cannot prevail against it. The Lord grant that each one of you may leave this room with a deeper sense of Christ's interest in the assembly.

There are two aspects of the assembly: one is the house, the other is the body, and I will try to explain the difference presently. I often say to myself, Well, there is one thing to solace me in this evil world, and that is that Christ's treasure is here and not in heaven; it is hid in the field, but the heart in concert with Christ knows that it is here, and that it is His object. It is marvellous that Christ's treasure is in the very place of His rejection; He purchased the field, He sold all that He had; as has been said, all that He was entitled to as Messiah He gave up for the church; the church is His treasure.

Christ's desire for the church on the earth, I briefly refer to. In John 13 to 17 you get it detailed. You are first in seclusion with the Lord (chapters 13 and 14). Next you are fruit bearing (chapter 15); next you are witnesses of Christ in heaven (chapter 16). Finally in chapter 17, as has been said, He first presents us as Himself in the presence of the Father, and then presents us as Himself in the presence of the world. I believe it will be fulfilled in the new Jerusalem in Revelation 21. John presents the house in its fulness, and Paul the body. These are the two aspects of the assembly.

I turn now to speak of our introduction into these

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things. If you desire to be taught of God in the matter you find instruction as to it in Matthew 14. In this chapter, the Lord accepts that He is rejected because John the baptist was beheaded, as we read in verse 10. Hence, being rejected by Israel, the Lord enters on new ground. In order to join Him, you must come to Him on this new ground. He has taken new ground. He walks on the water. It is interesting to know that Matthew 14 and John 6 occurred at the same time. You have both the divine side and the practical side. The first step, and one of deep interest, is to be of the assembly. Of course you must first be converted; but being so you are to be of His assembly; you must be of Him to join Him there; you cannot get there of yourself. Like Peter you leave the ship, all that suits man naturally, and you join Him; you come to this "living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious"; and you are built

in. The Lord, in Matthew 8, in the storm, was superior to it; but now (chapter 14) He is walking on the sea, He is supreme, He is the Son of God with power; He is above all the power of evil. This is His new place. When by faith you join Him there, you are in the presence of the Son of God - Son over God's house.

The first pattern of the assembly you get in John 20; the Lord comes into their midst and says, "Peace be unto you". No believer can come in unless he has peace; he could not meet the risen Christ unless every disturbing element had been removed. And besides pronouncing peace, He breathes on them, saying, "Receive the Holy Spirit". They are now on altogether new ground; He was with them, though they did not know much. This is a pattern; there He was in the midst; and also, you see here the state necessary for every one in company with the risen Christ. Hence, in the epistle to the Hebrews, where the saints are looked at as the congregation of God,

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Christ, as Son, speaks even with relation to us in our infirmities: "Having therefore a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast the confession". Beloved friends, the real defect is that souls are more occupied with Christ on the cross, as the sacrifice for sin, than as the glorified Man at the right hand of God - "the Son of God with power ... by the resurrection from the dead".

I ask you to give the Lord His place - the One "disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious". Having come to Him, you, "as living stones, are being built up", etc. Many, I fear, do not enter into the deep reality of, "In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit". Take the case of a young christian; according to John 20, when he comes into the assembly, he comes to the One who has accomplished peace, who has risen from the dead, out of all our ruin and misery, and is now in the glory of God. If you begin incorrectly, you will suffer much loss and delay until you retrace your steps and begin rightly. "That which is crooked cannot be made straight". How many are still suffering from this!

I would dwell upon the momentous blessedness of the assembly. A godly man in Psalm 73 went into the sanctuary of God. The effect on him was wonderful; you have much more. Our great priest is "a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man". In the tabernacle there was only a cloud of glory, but you have Christ in glory; you come to the Son of God, crowned with glory and honour in the holiest of all, of which He Himself is the antitype. I desire to present to you a great attraction. If a godly Israelite, puzzled by the state of things here, could, in the sanctuary of his day, receive such wonderful help and light, how much more should you find in the presence of Christ,

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on whom all the glory of God rests. If this were accepted in faith, how blessed our meetings would be! Little as one may know of it, it is an immense comfort to the heart to pass from all the difficulties and sorrows here, and find a spot where the Lord is present in His own power, where He rules, though He is not reigning yet on the earth. The world has refused Him, but He is Son over God's house; there His interests are known; there He makes known His mind, and gives gifts for the edifying of the body.

I am dwelling long upon this, because, if your beginning is faulty, there can be no divine progress until you are set right.

The first thought is, like Peter, to join Christ, apart from this world, outside of all that man is constructing with his interpretation of the word of God, where Christ is supreme, and where the Spirit unfolds the word of God.

Now I would present to you briefly the church as it is to Christ. You begin with the assembly as God's house on the earth. That came first in order according to Acts 2 the Holy Spirit filled all the house where they were sitting, and filled each one of them. That is the assembly in the house aspect; there is nothing yet about the body. I do not find in the Acts any mention of an assembly knowing the mystery. Many pious men now believe that the Spirit of God is with us, and they look to be led by Him; and yet, as it was at Corinth, they do not know the mystery. Where the mystery is not known, the most devoted servant may be led more by his own state at the time than by the Spirit in the assembly: as it is termed, 'I have it on my heart'. It might be on your heart for yourself, as a hymn or a scripture would be on the heart of a sister; but that would be no authority to give it to the assembly. The more Christ is before the servant, the more he will edify the assembly, and give what is so essential - "meat in due season".

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I turn now to Colossians 3. The Colossians were a faithful company; they had faith in Christ Jesus, and love to all the saints, but they did not know the mystery. Now if you have accepted that in coming to Christ in the assembly, you come to Him outside of the world which refused Him, you will be prepared for another step, even that you come from Him. You not only come to Him, the "living stone", but as members of His body you come from Him. The Colossians, as I have said, did not know the mystery, hence the apostle tells them that he had great conflict for them. There would not be a great conflict if there had not been a great opposition. As far as I know, I do not think there is much knowledge of Christ as Head, which is the part of the mystery referred to here.

The Colossians were an exemplary company, but they did not know Christ as Head. I must not speak beyond my measure, but I believe the consciousness of Christ as Head cannot be surpassed - even that you have parted with your own head, and hence you are "dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world", and are risen with Him: "Ye are dead [or have died], and your life is hid with Christ in God". And what then? When you accept the circumcision effected in Christ, you are where no human voice is heard, where "there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all". Now you know Him as Head. Many can say Christ is chiefest, but can you say He is everything? You must be outside of every human voice in order to know Him as everything. Blessed indeed is the moment when you are assured that He dictates to you outside and apart from all of the old man - that He is now consciously your Head. The effects will follow: "bowels of mercies, kindness", etc. There are many christians who would not accept the pope or the sovereign as the head of the church, and assert that they own Christ only as the Head, who

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I fear regard Him so merely in the sense of the head of a family. According to Scripture, "Holding the Head" is individual; you have parted with your own head, and you hold another Head common to all christians; be they five hundred or five million, each has the same Head; but alas! all are not "holding the Head". If there were an assembly where each one was holding the Head, every ministration then, be it hymn, prayer, or teaching, would be done under the dictation of Christ. Most blessed truth! You do not apprehend Christ's rights in the church until you know Him as Head.

Finally, when we are in conscious union with Christ we enter into His interest in the church, and it is then only that we can know Himself in His fulness. In Ephesians 1:19 you have conscious knowledge of the power that wrought in Christ; by the Spirit's power you rise to the place where Christ is. Now union with Him is known, and you are here in the power of the heavenly Man. You cannot be in heavenly power but by union with Christ in heaven. The fact is that every believer is united by the Spirit to Christ: "Now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him"; but every one does not know that he is united, and is not in the power of it. If the knowledge of the Head was made known to the assembly in Acts 2, they would have gained immensely: every one ordered by the Head. Now add to that the knowledge of union with Christ, and that assembly will be here in heavenly power; every one not only has the Spirit of God, but is in heavenly power, because united to Christ in heaven. You come out in the power and grace of the heavenly Man in every ordinance of God. Under the law there was no direction about the family, except about children obeying their parents; but for a heavenly man there is direction as to his own house as well as the house of God.

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If we were walking in divine consciousness of Christ's supremacy in the assembly in the world where He has been refused, how emboldened and encouraged we should be to do His pleasure. You can see in Revelation 21 that we shall be the new Jerusalem, a most blessed prospect; and every assembly now is called to have the same traits. Though we are in such feebleness, yet we are called to this great position; and the day will come, as we read, that "the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it", where Christ - blessed be His name! now rules in all the might of His word.

May the Lord grant that each of us may have a deeper and more comprehensive idea of what the church is to Him, and be able to apprehend the greatness of His power and interest in it, for His name's sake.

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Luke 10:38 - 42; 11: 1 - 13

My desire this evening is to point out to you the traits of the new company on the earth during the absence of Christ. I have endeavoured to present to you the blessings peculiar to the christian, and which come to us from Christ in exaltation: not merely all that He effected on earth, but those blessings which are consequent on His exaltation to the right hand of God. I desire now to conclude this evening and the following, if the Lord permit, with the traits of the new company on the earth during Christ's absence. If your hearts simply accepted the fact that Christ was rejected here, surely it must be of deep interest to you to know how to be for Him in the place where He was rejected. We have seen that His treasure is hid in the field; but now I would draw your attention to your "manner of life" here as awaiting His coming and kingdom.

There are two parts: first, our manner of life as He is our object; and secondly, what our portion is as awaiting His kingdom. The characteristic of those who really look for the Lord is that they are looking out for Him to reign; hence the closing character of the church is, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come". You get it in the parable of the wise virgins; the kingdom of heaven is likened unto ten virgins. The cry was, "Behold, the bridegroom", and they went forth to meet him. I have remarked before that you get very little in the epistles about going to heaven. Christians, as a rule, talk about going to heaven; and there is no doubt that we shall all go to heaven - the youngest believer. But you do find a great deal in the epistles about the kingdom; we overlook the kingdom too much; we overlook how we shall be on this earth

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for Christ eventually. The way you are now indicates the way you will be then; many do not think so, but if you suffer with Him you will reign with Him. If you endure now, you will be honoured by and by; but if you have an easy time now, you will have a small place in the kingdom. It is not that you will not go to heaven and be in all the blessedness there; but I am dwelling on the place we shall have with the Lord when He reigns. We can understand how James and John wished to sit one on His right hand and the other on His left; the Lord replies, "It shall be given to them for whom it is prepared". Still, that was a right wish; I should like to be with Him in His kingdom, and to be for Him here. In the description of the new Jerusalem, we read, "His servants shall serve him".

The first trait of the new company is the word of God and prayer: these are to mark them. But I must premise, because it is of great importance that we have to be free from all the religious element. The legal element, and anything that recognises man, is a great obstruction. Anything that gives man a place really hinders your true position, because if man has rejected Christ - and he has - it is plain that that man can have no place. Talk not of cultivating man, and getting beautiful ideas from him, and all that sort of thing! If man rejected Christ, no good can come from him; all must be of the Spirit of God.

The first thing you get in the scripture I have read is the difference between Mary and Martha. Mary sat at His feet and appeared to be doing nothing, but she was hearing His word. It is a great comfort at times to think that there are many unobserved, unostentatious people who are really nearer the Lord than the most busy people, because the latter are thinking of doing; and, as has been said, there is more or less of the legal character about their doings. Martha was thinking of her work. Mary sat at His feet and heard His word. That is the first part of the

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first trait; you are here to hear His word, you are to learn and study His mind. It is not merely knowing a great deal of Scripture; many know much who do not know His mind. The Lord says, "Why do ye not know my speech? Because ye cannot hear my word". It has been said, and it is a very good remark to bear in mind, that you know a man's meaning by his words, but you must know God's mind before you can understand His words; and nothing can give you that but the Spirit of God. Mary sat at His feet hearing His word, learning what would please Him. I see this defect in natural life: people think others must like what they like; it is themselves they have studied, and they act from what would please themselves, instead of studying a person so as to know what would please him. What would please the Lord ought to be the great thought with me; if I am in a place where the Lord has been rejected, the very first thing I should like to know is what would please Him.

The second part of the first trait is prayer. Here (Luke 11:1 - 13) the Lord gives them a prayer to suit their then condition, and there are very instructive elements in it. They could acknowledge that God was their Father; they could take that ground because they had seen Him in Christ, and they also looked for the kingdom. But it was a prayer suitable to the time when the work of the cross had not yet been accomplished, sins had not yet been put away; but I need not dwell upon this. Then the Lord goes on to explain what prayer is. He says, "Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet

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because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth". Here you learn how to pray. The way is set forth here - that you know your friend has the thing you want, and that you do not look for it elsewhere. I believe that is an immense thing. It is sometimes the case with us all that we pray to the Lord about a certain thing, and yet we have a reserve in our minds that if one plan does not succeed we will turn to another. That is not prayer; prayer is that I know He has it, and that I want it, and I know that if I do not get it from Him I cannot get it elsewhere; that is, I am actually shut up to God. And you will find that is what the Lord continually does; He shuts you up to Himself. For an individual the way of prayer is ordinarily what we get in Philippians 4 you make known all your requests; you may not get the answer, but you get what is a great deal better, the peace of God; though you did not pray for it you get it because you are near God. The Lord here (Luke 11) announces that "every one that asketh receiveth"; and He winds up by saying, "How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" The Holy Spirit had not come yet, but that was the highest thing they could get. These - the word and prayer - are the first trait.

Now I read a verse or two further in chapter 11 to show you the second trait. Verse 33 reads: "No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light" - it is really 'brightness'. This is a

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wonderful statement; your body is to be a body of light. The Lord was the Light of the world, and He has gone out of it; now the point is that if your eye is single, your object is that Light. It is on the same principle that if you walk in the Spirit you will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. A person is walking in the Spirit when Christ is the paramount object to him. It is not a question of having this thing or the other thing before him, it might be a good work or the like, but he has an object, and that object is the Lord Himself. Then the eye is single, and the effect is that the body is light; luminous is really the idea, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give its glare, its brightness. It is a wonderful thing, if you think of it for a moment, that in the place where my Lord was rejected I am to come out in the light of my Lord. The Light has gone out of this world now; He has gone, but in the very place whence the Light has gone, I look to Him, He is my object; and as the light takes possession of me, there is no part dark. If you had no part dark, and were completely under the rule of the light, your body would express it; I do not mean merely your dress, I mean the whole of your bearing. It is what is morally contrary to the darkness; people could say, That person is moving differently from everybody else here; he is separate from all the darkness around. It is very hard to explain, but it is a moral influence, and I have no doubt that many a one has the sense at times that there is a moral influence about another, so that you would not like to say anything to offend in that person's presence; you would feel it was unsuitable, his very presence checks it. What a wonderful relief to your heart to think that though the Lord has gone away, and you are here in the world where He was rejected, yet He says that if your eye is single you will be a body of light, you will not be in concert with the darkness around, but in complete antagonism, or rather contrariety to it. Light is a

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reflection of Himself here upon the earth. The moon has no light of itself, but if the earth does not come between it and the sun, it is a full moon. If you have nothing between you and Him, you will come out as light. That ought to be an immense consolation to you.

I turn now to the hindrances; the hindrances must be removed, and therefore I must know the nature of the conflict which precedes a body of light. The Lord says (chapter 11: 21), "When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils". The first thing you have to learn is that Satan has been turned out, and Christ has full possession; He is the 'stronger', in fact He has abolished Satan's power in that sense; He went into death that He might destroy him that had the power of death - a wonderful thing! Satan had power over man's body, but he has been expelled. Further on I may be able to show you that even his power as to infirmity is gone; the woman (chapter 13) is loosed from infirmity. But now I am dwelling on the fact that the actual power of possession is gone, and therefore we read in another place that your body is the Lord's: "Do ye not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?" Satan's power is gone; that is one thing. The other is what you get in verse 27: "And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it". As has been remarked, it is not miracles, it is the word of God now; the word of God is the real power of the kingdom of God; the King is not here, but the power of the word is here. You might say of man's mind, That is a beautiful

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sentiment, with very deep feeling. Yes, but it is not the word of God. It is very hard, beloved friends, to eliminate the human sentiment; nothing is practically so difficult: the finest sentiment that ever came out of the human mind does not suit the Spirit of God; spiritual things are only conveyed by spiritual means. I have alluded to it already in connection with Colossians, that the snare there was that they thought they could contribute to Christ's service by human ability and religiousness.

The Lord now adds, No sign shall be given to this generation but the sign of the prophet Jonas. Jonas and Solomon combined to set forth Christ in a twofold aspect; one, Christ in suffering, and the other, Christ in glory; as Peter puts it, "The sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow". He is the One who has lain in the grave, as typified by Jonah, and He is the true Solomon. Then, He says, no man lights a lamp but he sets it upon a lamp-stand, an open place, that all that come in may see the light; and then if your eye is single your body is full of light. I trust what I have said may lead you to study this interesting scripture, and get more out of it than I can convey to you.

Having set forth this wonderful statement, that your body is to be light, we come to the difficulties of the way: "As he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him". Here is the first thing you have to contend with. Many a pious person can say, I desire to have Christ as my simple object, to have my whole body full of light; but now comes out the snare of Pharisaism, and that is, to make an external appearance. That was the case here, and there is an imitation of light in christendom in this day. There never was a great reality yet without an imitation, and the only way to correct an imitation is to present the reality.

The great instruction here is that you must be on your guard, or the religious element about you will

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baffle you; and therefore the Lord exposes the Pharisees in a very scathing way, because they were seeking to make clean the outside of the cup and platter, while their inward part was full of ravening and wickedness. The Lord, on the other hand, would set the light inside. What is the practical effect? Your body will be indicative of the condition within. I have referred to it on a former occasion; and it is important to remember that the body is always indicative of the measure of the Spirit's work in you. It is not effort, but the Spirit's work.

Now I turn to chapter 12 in order to set forth the characteristics of the body of light. The first great characteristic is that you do not fear them that kill the body. "But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows". The moment I fear God, I find out the wonderful care He has for me; what I could not number myself He numbers: "The very hairs of your head are all numbered". I want to keep definitely before you that if you are here where He is not, and glad to be here for Him a body of light, your first great characteristic as a body of light is that you do not fear them that kill the body. You see it in Stephen, and you see it in the apostle Paul. I have no doubt that if a person were thoroughly with the Lord, it would be easier to suffer for Him as a martyr than to endure a lingering illness. What a beautiful position a christian may be found in on this earth where the Lord was rejected! He seeks nothing from the earth, but he gets, while on the earth, from his Lord who is not here. Then the Lord adds that He will reward you in the kingdom:

"Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall

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the Son of man also confess before the angels of God".

I just refer to verse 13, because there you get again the nature of the conflict; it will disclose to you the Jewish element. A man wanted the Lord to speak to his brother to divide the inheritance with him; he was looking for something on the earth, and the Lord gave him an example of a man who so prospered in earthly things, that he had to pull down his barns and build greater; but God said to him, "This night thy soul shall be required of thee". That only comes in as a check; and then we get the next characteristic in verses 22 - 32. Here the Lord, after saying to His disciples, "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on", directs their attention to the ravens, how God feedeth them, and to the lilies, how they grow, and how God clothes the grass of the field, and adds:

"And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom". As I have said, the first great characteristic is not to fear them that kill the body. If Christ were simply my object, I should not fear them that kill the body. That is what is outside of me; and the second characteristic is inside; instead of taking thought what I should eat, or what I should drink, or being of doubtful mind, I say, My Father knoweth that I have need of these things, and it is His good pleasure to give me the kingdom; and therefore the principle is, "Seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you".

Then verse 35 brings in the exhortation connected with it: "Let your loins be girded about" - that is

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that you are ready for service, "and your lights burning" - that is, your candles, "the light of the body is the eye"; your loins girt and your lights burning, "and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding" - that is, you are waiting for Him to come here. And what will happen? Verse 37 tells you: "Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching", etc.; they are serving Him now, and He will serve them then. Peter wants to know whether the parable is spoken to them or to all. "And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath". It has been said there are two things here, the expectation of the Lord, and service. I desire to press much that if you were looking for the Lord, and really expecting Him to come (and that is the meaning of watching) you would be occupied with Christ's household. He is not speaking here of the church dispensationally, but of His household. Matthew 24:45, 46 will make it plainer: "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing". That shows you that the characteristic of a servant watching for the Lord to come back is that he is looking after the interests of His household, giving them their meat in due season. In that sense it is brought out very distinctly at the close of Revelation, where we read, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come". Then is added, "Let him that heareth say, Come", you are not occupied with yourself, there is another range, another circle of things that you are occupied with - the circle of His interests. "Let him that

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heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely". I believe it is of deep importance to understand that you are not only watching, with your loins girt and your lights burning, but you are taking care of the Lord's interests. The force of the word 'watch' is that you are keeping awake. Watchmen used to walk about at night, and tell the hours of night; so one that is watching is wide awake, looking for the Lord to come; and not only so, but he proves it; he is not looking out of the window to see if there is any appearance in the sky of His coming. No, he is so assured that the Lord is coming that he is taking care of those who belong to Him. See how Paul speaks to Timothy of the Lord's appearing, and His kingdom. And John says, "That ... we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming". He does not say, 'That you may not be ashamed', but "we" - that he may not be ashamed of his work; and in another epistle we read, "But that we receive a full reward", and again, "They watch for your souls, as they that must give account". We shall all have to give an account. How little we have served! You may say, Do you mean that only one person is to do it? I think if you are set for it, you will be glad of every one who contributes to it; if you contribute, you are seeking to support it, as the apostle speaks of the women who laboured with him in the gospel; they were not preaching, but they were aiding, helping on spiritually, and thus contributing to the service of the apostle.

I need not dwell upon how judgment comes upon those who are not prepared (Luke 12:45, 46), because I desire to bring before you the place of privilege to which we are called; but I will say a word or two on chapter 13. You understand, I trust, that you are to be here a body of light; that is your true place here. In chapter 13 there is an important warning - you are

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not to seek to be anything on the earth; the chapter closes with, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets ... your house is left unto you desolate". What you get in this chapter is the kingdom of God upon earth, how man has used the word of God; that is in verse 18: "Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened". The word of God by the human mind has produced this. The more a man adopts the word of God with his human mind, the more influence has he with men, because he suits men; and the huge system of christendom is the result. You are not to be that; the fig tree, the Jew (verse 6), has failed, but do not seek to be a mustard tree. What then? There are two characteristics that are to mark you; one is that of the woman who was eighteen years bound and who is loosed from her infirmity; and the other is that the only path for you is to enter in at the strait gate. It is really conversion: "Strive to enter in at the strait gate", and you cannot seek any distinction or any acknowledgment from the world. The thing that had acknowledgment, that had a place, was Jerusalem, and the Lord says to it, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together" - but it is all over. What has brought about the state of things in christendom is the word of God appropriated by man's intellect. And we see it, alas! very often even among christians, the truth appropriated with the carnal mind; and instead of helping the truth, the very truth they have only makes them of the mustard tree. It is not pleasant to dwell upon the unhappy side

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of things, but it is very blessed for us to see the beautiful path that is set before us.

The Lord grant that each one of us may understand what are the traits that belong to those who really care for the Lord in His absence. And what are we to do? Are we to do any great thing? If your eye is single your body will be full of light. Many christians are taken up with their doings, and this thing or the other comes out, and not the Lord. It is true that Christ is at the bottom of the heart of every christian; but the great thing is that He should be at the top, should have the whole; and then your whole bearing would be characteristic of Him.

The Lord grant that you may see what a wonderful path of privilege it is to be found here upon the earth for the Lord in the place where He was rejected, so that you may be looking for His return, and as you look for His return be a body of light, and be serving His household, giving them "their portion of meat in due season", looking after the interests of your Lord.

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Luke 14:15 - 35

On the previous evening I took part of these interesting chapters, from the end of chapter 10 to nearly the end of chapter 13, setting forth the characteristics of the new company on the earth during the absence of Christ. I suppose no subject could be more interesting to one to whom the Lord is dear, than what really characterises the new company on the earth. In the previous chapters we had the first part, that is, how we are for Him here, waiting for His coming. Now the other part is our portion here, as belonging to His kingdom. I can only give you a mere outline, but I trust you may be so interested in the outline that you will study the chapters for yourselves.

I have said the first part is how we are here waiting and watching for the Lord to come. Now we come to the second part, which is how we are placed here ourselves. It is of deep moment to understand that if you are really for the Lord in the time of His rejection, instead of losing, you gain immensely. I think a great many true christians do not really understand it, and therefore they have not got the blessings peculiar to the path; it is in the path you get the blessings.

This chapter opens with the Lord curing the man with dropsy on the sabbath day; He there shows the character of His grace, really to the Jew, and no doubt He set forth there what He will do to the Jew eventually. We must bear in mind that blessing was first offered to the Jew; and when the Jew refuses the offer of blessing, then it is offered to the gentile; that is the order all through Luke. Then the Lord marked how they sought the chief seats (verse 7), and He said, No, take the lowest place, "For whosoever exalteth himself

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shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted". Then He adds to His host, the one who had invited Him, "When thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind", not those who can recompense thee. That is what He did Himself. That is the opening of the chapter. Then one of the company, no doubt a pious Jew, who was moved by what the Lord had set forth, said, "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God". Mind, it is "the kingdom of God" that is set before us - how we are here in the place of Christ's rejection, and how we are blessed in this place, and how we are looking for the kingdom. The Lord in answer to this remark announces that there is to be a great feast before the kingdom. "A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: and sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready". You have the feast in this chapter, and the guest in the next (chapter 15); but it is important to know where the supper is; the supper is in the house. He sends out the invitation, first to the Jew. That is always the order in Luke. The servant is sent to say "to them that were bidden" - that is the Jew - "Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse". One said he had bought a bit of land; there is nothing wrong in a bit of land, or in five yoke of oxen, or in a wife, but their hearts were holden by these things. They preferred them to the feast. That is uncommonly like ourselves; more or less we have looked for our blessings in the wrong place, the place of Christ's rejection. Success in the place where Christ was rejected is no mark of God's favour; I assure you it is very hard to convince us of that. It is not that a man may not do his work and do it well; but to become eminent as a man in the place where Christ is rejected is not of God. They all refused the invitation to the supper, and then he sent his servant out into the streets (that

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is still to the Jew), and then into the highways and hedges (that is where we come in), to "compel them to come in, that my house may be filled". That is not to come to Christ, as is often said. Of course, if they did not come to Christ they could not come into the house; but the point here is to come into the house. Even in the next chapter, when the shepherd finds the sheep he "cometh home" to the house; ordinarily he would have brought it to the pasture; but it was not only of the sheep he was thinking, but of the joy that he himself had in finding the sheep; he brought it to the house, and called the neighbours and friends together to rejoice with him because he had found his sheep which was lost. I am speaking of the guest now, but the point is that the feast was in the house, and the guests were to be brought into the house: "Compel them to come in, that my house may be filled".

One word more before I turn to the next chapter. What is to be the character of the persons who have this peculiar blessing? Verse 26 tells us: they must hate their own life. Nothing that belongs to that life commends you to God; you have your duties, but you fulfil them on another principle, and therefore, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple". And then the Lord gives two figures to set forth what He was teaching - a tower and an army. A tower signifies defence, and an army conflict; you are to protect yourselves like a tower, and you are to count the cost. Now the cost is generally thought to mean what you would lose by it, what you would expend; but I believe the simple meaning is that nothing will stand but Christ, anything of your own material will perish; and therefore He closes up by saying, "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple". You may think the terms hard, but if you understood

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better the wonderful nature of the blessing which you are brought to, blessing in His own house, you would not think them hard. We have the blessing that belongs to the house now; we have not left the earth, but we have the blessing on the earth, though not from the earth. The mistake is in looking for blessing from the earth; if you look for blessing, there is the greatest blessing for you, "joy unspeakable and full of glory", as Peter says; but where does that come from? Not from the earth. I am speaking of the blessing that is given to us while we are waiting for the kingdom. Do you think all the earthly possessions that ever were can equal it? Most of us know something of earthly possessions, and the man that has most is the man that knows best how unsatisfying they are. Prospects are much more attractive to a man than possessions, because he thinks there is something in the distance which, if he possessed, would make him happy; but when he possesses it, he finds that happiness is not in it.

With reference to the last two verses of the chapter, Israel was properly the 'salt', but the salt had lost his savour, and wherewith could it be seasoned?

In chapter 15 we have, as I have said, the guest, but it is the delight of the finder that is set forth. The object of the parables is not the joy of the found one, but of the finder. There is the shepherd, and the woman with the light; it was no action on the part of the sheep that brought it back, and no action of the silver piece. The shepherd found the sheep, and the light shone on the silver piece. Finally the work of grace is set forth in the prodigal son, who is an example of us all naturally, alienated from God. He is turned to God, and is brought back, counting upon the goodness of God; there was nothing in himself to count on, but he counted on the goodness of his father. And this is the work of conversion - the first step; you turn to God, believing that there is goodness in Him;

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but you have nothing to say for yourself. What he finds is that the father receives him in the most tender way, "fell upon his neck, and covered him with kisses". You get in the three parables the whole work of grace.

If the shepherd had not gone out the father could not have met the prodigal. God would not have been able to come out, according to all His righteousness, and embrace a poor prodigal in his rags; and if the light had not shined into the prodigal, he would never have turned towards the father. So you have all the Persons of the Godhead at work in the blessing of a soul; and the prodigal is brought into it; the father says to the servant, "Bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat and be merry.... And they began to be merry". Just think of that, the happiness in God's presence; and that is what the prodigal is brought into. In heaven? No; it is in the place where Christ was rejected that this joy is known. It is known on earth, though it is not from the earth. People may say, But I have not got that joy. Why? Because you are looking for something from the earth. The great importance of chapter 14 is to expose to us the disturbing element, that which would lead you to look for blessing in the wrong place, to look for some blessing in this world. The first thought of a man, if he can manage it, is to get a plot of land to build a house on. It is not anything really wrong, but it shows where the heart goes. You do not belong to the place where your Lord is rejected, and you are to look to another place - the place where He is accepted, for your joys. "They began to be merry". The elder brother (figuratively the Jew), says, "Thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends". He is angry, not because his brother is forgiven, but because his brother is feasted; "Thou hast killed for him the fatted calf". What the legal man objects to is the wonderful position in which grace sets us. I have often asked myself what is the measure

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of the grace? No one can tell, because it is not the need which is the measure of the grace, but God's heart that is the measure; He has removed everything to His entire satisfaction in the cross of Christ, so that He can now do His heart's pleasure in taking this poor prodigal and conducting him into all the blessing of His own presence, and that not by and by, but now. This is not what you get in John 14, where the Lord says, "In my Father's house are many mansions.... I go to prepare a place for you". Here the believer has got a home now in the Father's house. Would that every believer knew and enjoyed it! But if you do know it, you must learn and accept that the man that refused Christ here must be in abeyance, otherwise you cannot be His disciple. Therefore the Lord says, "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple". You may say, I should be a nonentity. No, you would not be a nonentity, you would be Christ's servant; your body is the Lord's, and He would order it according to His pleasure. We should be taken care of a great deal better, for when we think we are taking care of ourselves we are very often pleasing ourselves, and when we are pleasing ourselves we are doing damage to ourselves; whereas if we were following the Lord He would take care of us.

I turn now to chapter 16, where we have the parable of the steward. The Jew failed in being steward, and was to be steward no longer. No one is steward now in Christ's rejection; it is all Christ's property, and the point is that you are to make friends of "the mammon of unrighteousness". "The mammon of unrighteousness" does not mean the mammon of dishonesty, but it means that you have no divine right to it; that is the great point. You may say, I have it in my possession, and I got it from my father, or, I got it by my industry. Well, I do not deny that, but still it is the mammon of unrighteousness; because the

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owner of all has been refused here, and therefore what you are to do with it is to make friends of it; that is, to use it in view of the future. A person might say, Am I not at liberty to spend it on myself? If you do you get the present good of it, but if you make friends of it, they will receive you, or rather, as it should be, you are received into everlasting habitations. "Make to yourselves friends with the mammon of unrighteousness, that when it fails ye may be received into the eternal tabernacles". The idea is to use it in view of the kingdom, or, as Peter says, "the day of visitation".

Here we read "the lord commended the unjust steward", not for his unrighteousness in taking his master's property, but the instruction the Lord means to convey is that if you use the property entrusted to you in view of the future, as the unjust steward did, He will approve you. The Lord says, 'It is all My property, and if you use My money in that way I will approve you'. They were looking at the present advantage of riches; but the point is that the Lord connects it with the future; therefore the chapter finishes up with the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Which was the best off in the end, the poor man or the rich man? "Thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things", but what is their place in the future? You see, beloved friends, you must take into account that you are in a place where the Lord is rejected; the Lord takes an interest in every one of us, whether poor or rich; but what He is showing here is that earthly goods are His property, and the way He would like you to use them. It is not that He would like you to neglect yourself and be ascetic, but the real good of the possessions is that you can make friends for the future; that is, that as you spend for the Lord and for the benefit of others what is properly His, but entrusted to you for the time being, it will be for your

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advantage in the kingdom. Therefore it is said, "laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come"; that refers to earthly possessions. Some think it is an easy thing, but I believe it is a very difficult thing: "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much ... if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?" "Your own" is heavenly things. I believe we have to own how little we have regarded what is called earthly means as really belonging to the Lord, so that we seek His approval whether we spend it on ourselves or on others. It is not merely a question whether you can afford it, but whether He approves of it.

Now we come to chapter 17, and here the Lord brings before us another test. He says, "It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come". In such a scene as this is we necessarily find it difficult to get on; we are baffled by the things about us here, therefore the Lord says in verse 3, "Take heed to yourselves: if thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith". They as Jews knew what it was to look for their rights, but it was entirely a new lesson that they were to forgive a man that had trespassed against them seven times in a day if he repented. (There is a good bit of the legal element in us all.) Therefore the apostles say to the Lord, "Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree" - (the wild fig tree, that sets forth the Jewish order of things) - "Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you". Then He tells them

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that whatever they do they have only done their duty, and in what follows He gives them an example.

As He was going on there met Him ten lepers, who besought Him that He would heal them. "And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God". They were all cleansed, but there was only one man who came to Christ. You may say, Did not the Lord desire them to go to the priest? Yes! but when they were cleansed they ought to have understood the presence of God. The nine who went on were like the mass of christians now, healed, but seeking by ordinances, or in one way or another, to learn approach to God. Practically, these nine lepers turned to Leviticus 14 in order to find approach; but one man went direct to the Lord, and found approach. Any one who has found approach will understand the great difference. This man found approach to Christ! What a moment! This is literally what a soul finds when sealed by the Holy Spirit:

"In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise". He "fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks". And that is plainly approach; he has to do with the Lord Himself. No one is in the happiness of all sin being removed, until he has found approach. Many have found escape who have not found the blessedness of approach - of going to Himself. In this chapter we find what is the true place for us here upon the earth, because it shows that we are in a world of difficulties, and we have to help one another, and show grace to one another; and as we learn this, we have to break with all the legal order of things; we are outside of it all, but outside it, we find approach to the Lord. No language of mine could convey to you the nature of the enjoyment that that man had when he was at Jesus' feet. In figure

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he had parted company with himself, but he was in the company of the Lord: it is a moment of inexpressible joy, a moment that could never be forgotten; he became acquainted with the Lord.

The subject of the kingdom comes in at the end of this chapter, but I do not dwell upon it because it relates to the judgment that is to come; the Jewish remnant is referred to and the judgment; "One shall be taken, and the other left".

In prospect of the kingdom there is great instruction for us in seeing the characteristics of those who belong to the kingdom. If you turn to chapter 18 you will see that the first characteristic is that a person has nothing to say for himself. "He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others". Two men went up to the temple to pray; the one had nothing to say for himself - that is the first characteristic; he says, "God be merciful to me a sinner". Then, following on that, in verse 15, "They brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God". Now, beloved friends, it is of deep importance that we should see the characteristics of those who belong to the kingdom. The Lord says of little children, "of such is the kingdom of God", because what characterises a little child is that it has no antecedents, nothing that it can fall back upon; it clings, and it cries. There is something extremely touching in the way a soul truly rests on God. There is dependence and confidence. I have no dependence in myself; I may not even know what to ask Him; but just like a child I cling and I cry, and I know that He understands. An infant has three or four different cries, and a mother understands the meaning of each cry. But I want to press on you the wonderful

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dependence and confidence that such a soul has, and that is the first great characteristic of being in the kingdom of God. Any of you who have been truly exercised will corroborate what I say, that often the time you have found the deepest blessing was when you did not even know what to say, but all you could do was to cling; you knew that He had what you wanted, and you were shut in to Him; you could not perhaps explain it to yourself, but you were really cast upon Him. "Of such is the kingdom of God".

That is not all. Now (verse 18) comes a certain ruler, saying, "Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up". The Lord only asked him five commandments - those which relate to man; the four commandments that relate to God were not mentioned, nor did He name the tenth commandment, which relates to the secret motive of the heart - "Thou shalt not covet". Clearly he was an admirable young man. In Mark's gospel, which gives the servant character of the Lord, we read: "Jesus beholding him loved him"; but He tells him that he lacks one thing, according to the Lord's requirement in chapter 14, and that was, to forsake all that he had. "Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me". Follow Me, the rejected One; but he could not follow Him, he was too much interested in his possessions. Beloved friends, what a picture it is of many a christian, who is too much interested in his possessions here to follow the Lord. The characteristic of the one who is

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waiting for the kingdom is that he follows Christ in His rejection.

I trust the Lord will give light to every one of us to see that it is a beautiful path; it is indeed a path outside this world, but what wonderful blessings and wonderful interests we find with the Lord in that path! "And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich". Why was he sorrowful? He would like to follow if he could follow and still keep what he had. Many christians would like to follow, but they do not, because they think if they take that path they will have to lose earthly things, like this young man. He would have been very much pleased if the Lord had said, You may keep all you have and come with Me: but no, it was to part with all he had and come with Him. "When Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly [it should be translated 'difficultly' ] shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!" It is not a question of the riches themselves, but of the riches holding him. "It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God"; that is, a man that is well satisfied with his possessions here. "And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?" It was strange to the Jews to hear this; but you must bear in mind that the Jewish element is the thing that hampers us; we may think we are free of it, but we are not. "And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God".

Now in the next verse we get Peter's boast, "Lo, we have left all, and followed thee". We read in chapter 5 how they forsook all and followed Him; it was not in the day of their poverty that they followed Him. And that is what I like to see - a man breaking with things here to follow the Lord, not when he can find nothing else, but when he is in his brightest day naturally. It was when their ships were full of fish that they brought their ships to land, "forsook all,

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and followed him". We can understand how the crowd around would say, What fools they are! they have got a great blessing from heaven, for this great take of fish was a miracle, and what did they do? They brought their ships to land and forsook all, and followed a poor man! Do you think they lost by it, beloved friends? No, they had His company. While He was here upon earth it was a wonderful time to them, little as they understood it, and they must have felt when He went like unfledged birds that fall out of the nest; they were scattered. Peter says, "We have left all, and followed thee". And the Lord's reply is important for us to bear in mind: "Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting". There is nothing that you have parted with for the kingdom of God's sake that you do not receive manifold more for in this present time; I do not say you get it in natural things, I think it is a mistake to say so. Peter might have said, I never made by it, but he would not, he dare not say so, for he had got manifold more in the company of the Lord, and the company of the Lord is compensation for the greatest losses and the greatest sacrifices that ever were made by man upon this earth. I have seen men sorry for the sacrifices they had made, sorry that they had parted with their fortune or profession or business or whatever it was, and I have seen the Lord give it back to them, but it was not for their spiritual prosperity. Here the Lord says they shall receive "manifold more in this present time"; and what did they receive? HIMSELF! I trust many in this room will say, Well, Himself, His own company is better than anything we could lose in this world; that can more than make up for any surrender or any loss on this earth.

I need not add more; I desire that every one in this

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room may be really moved in heart to be here for the Lord in this scene of His rejection. I trust that we are glad to be of His new company, not expecting anything from the place where our Lord was rejected, but daily receiving joys unspeakable, joys in this place, though not from this place; and thus we shall prove that as we follow the Lord we are not losing, for we have deeper acquaintance with Himself. And therefore, as Paul says, "If we suffer" (endure), "we shall also reign with him". We are looking for the day of His appearing: we "love his appearing".

The Lord grant that each of us may be more distinctly for Him as we walk on the earth, in this place of His rejection, for His name's sake.

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Matthew 27:50; Luke 15:17 to end

You cannot understand the gospel if you do not understand what is the matter with you. I believe the great lack of souls is that they do not know the nature of their distance from God. If that is not removed there is no true happiness; therefore it is a very important point to know the nature of the weight and of the distance which sin has created between God and man. What is the nature of the distance? All admit that there is a distance. Even heathen admit it. Cain admitted it. As eldest born he recognised that there is a distance between God and man; but Cain's mistake was that he did not know the nature of the distance. That is where many a religious man is today. He is trying to make terms with God in order to remove the distance. But, beloved friends, he effects nothing but his own confusion, because he does not know the nature of the distance. Such an one is like a physician trying to cure a disease that he does not know. If I know what was the matter with me, and I know that it is removed, I am at peace. But this is the great lack. Now Abel says, I will show you the right way. He sets forth that there must be a victim, not chargeable with your offence, bearing the judgment of your offence, and, at the time of bearing it, having a personal excellency. The end could not have been obtained without death. Many have received the gospel as far as that Christ died; but they are not in liberty. They are saved, but have not peace. I desire to keep very distinctly before you the nature of the distance. If you turn to Genesis 3 you find there that when God's voice was heard in the garden, Adam hid himself, and as soon as God came near him he was

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conscious that he had lost his body in the sight of God; that is, that he was naked. Adam tried to hide himself among the trees of the garden. God said, "Who told thee that thou art naked?" I believe that is the first sense of the soul near to God - fear. As the thief said, "Dost thou too not fear God?" Why did he fear? Man has the sense that he is under the judgment of God. "I feared, because I am naked; and I hid myself". "Who told thee that thou art naked?" The devil did not. Nearness to God made him sensible of it, and then he tried to hide himself among the trees of the garden. Man likes to conceal himself from God amidst the glories of this world. The judgment is, "In the day that thou eatest of it thou shalt certainly die". That man in whom sin is must go in death. It is not enough that another should die for sin, there must be also resurrection from the dead. I trust that you understand the nature of the distance.

Now I come to the fact that you could not remove God's judgment yourself. It is impossible for a man to save himself. Ah! you say, now you put me in a corner. I am very glad of it. Is there no door open for you? Yes, mercy. Mercy is your only door. I do not know whether you remember that there were four lepers at the siege of Samaria, and they said, If we stay here we shall die here, and if we go into the city we shall die there. Is there no door then open for these wretched men? Yes, there is - mercy. Mercy from their enemies. Let us go to the Syrians, they say. "If they save us alive, we shall live; and if they put us to death, we shall but die". Only mercy is open. They trusted to mercy, and what did they find? When they came to the camp of the Syrians no one was there. The Syrians had left their tents and their horses and asses in the camp, and fled for their life. The lepers ate and drank and made a fortune, and then became evangelists. They went back to the

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city and told what they had found. Mercy is the door for you the moment you see that your distance is irretrievable, for I need not go into works of supererogation in Romanism, doing good works to make up for bad ones. Generally a man will own himself to be a sinner, but he is not aware that death is on him, that he has lost his body in the sight of God. Hence we read in 2 Corinthians 5, "If indeed being also clothed we shall not be found naked", that is, without a body. That is the judgment of God-"the wages of sin is death". It is not made a question of bad works. Some pious people think that Christ's righteousness can be a set-off for their unrighteousness. You have not met the judgment of God there. You must be found before God in another Man, and not in the one who offended God. It is plain that death is the judgment of God on man. "The wrath of God" abides on the unbeliever. It is on him.

Next I come to the fact that you cannot save yourself, but God tells you in His word that His own arm hath brought salvation. How has it come? "God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him may not perish, but have life eternal". He came to do the will of God, He says, "Thou hast prepared me a body", and "I have food to eat which ye do not know". "My food is that I should do the will of him that has sent me, and that I should finish his work". Now I come to most marvellous grace; that is, that God, the One who was offended, is the One who removes the offence from His own side. He is offended by many s sin. Your body must go in judgment. You have lost it as it is for ever It is consistent with the holiness of God that you should lose it. The creature who sets up his own will against God cannot continue now in grace. God undertakes to remove the distance. In John 1:29 we read, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world". Do you think a pious Jew

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would understand that? He would not see that God could require a Lamb, appropriate the Lamb; he would be himself thinking of his salvation, but not of the One who was offended. The One who was offended is the One first relieved, to His own infinite satisfaction and glory. You have offended against God, and God Himself (for you could not have removed the distance), God in His most marvellous grace Himself removes it. I sometimes explain it by the example of a child who has broken a clock. He has to go to his room, and stay there till the clock is mended. He stays there for weeks. At last the father says, 'He frets so much, I will mend it myself'. See the effect on the child. If he has any sense he is deeply touched with the father's love, and also with respect to the removal of the offence. If the father mends it himself he cannot find fault with the way it is done. God has provided a Lamb Himself, and He has removed the distance Himself.

Now I turn to Matthew 27:50, and what do you get there? "Jesus, having again cried with a loud voice, gave up the ghost". "Since therefore the children partake of blood and flesh, he also, in like manner, took part in the same, that through death he might annul him who has the might of death, that is, the devil". As we read in Genesis 3 the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head. Christ dies. He has borne the judgment. "The cup which the Father has given me, shall I not drink it?" He cried "with a loud voice". His strength was unimpaired. It was not that He was worn out. He gave up His life of Himself. What was the effect? "The veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom". The distance is gone from God's side. God has found the Man who was typified by the golden ark in the holiest. Nothing could be more marvellous. The offence is gone from God's eye in Christ. He had found a Man who could remove it, and hence we

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read, "Christ indeed has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God". The testimony is that the distance on God's side is gone, and He can "be just, and justify him that is of the faith of Jesus". How wonderful grace is, that God can come forth, the distance having been removed, and embrace the returning prodigal. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself". Now I turn you to Luke 15, which I also read, and you see how the One who was offended receives the offender. Nothing can be plainer. If I read a gospel sermon, I am told how a man finds relief. I say, and insist on it, that the One offended has been first relieved. The God whom sin hath offended has been relieved. The offence has been removed from His side by Christ. As He says, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him". When did He say it? When Judas had gone out; when man was at his worst. Man then, as Judas, was at his worst, and "now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him". Where? In the most distant spot - in death. As another has said, and truly, 'God was indebted to a Man for glory, but that Man was His own Son'. "If God be glorified in him, God also shall glorify him in himself, and shall glorify him immediately".

Now I want you to understand what grace is. It is wonderful that when the sinner turns, God is for him. He has been relieved of all the offence, and He can receive him joyfully. Is it to put him back to the place he had before the fall, a man in innocency in the garden of Eden? No; but something infinitely higher. People say the need is the measure of the grace. It is not true. The grace is infinitely beyond the need. The greatness of the grace roused the jealousy of the elder brother. "To me hast thou never given a kid that I might make merry with my friends", but your son, who has spent all you gave him in riotous living, you welcomed to the highest festivity.

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He did not begrudge that his brother should be forgiven, but that he should be feasted in this great way. The fatted calf was kept for the chosen guest. The guest had come, and that guest was the prodigal son. Many do not believe it, but here it is. Because God's heart has been relieved, and now He can satisfy His breast, because the Man who removed the judgment at the same time glorified Him. I will not add much more, but I just turn to Luke 15. There are three parables in the chapter. One was the shepherd. If Christ had not died God could not have come out in righteousness to receive the prodigal, and the prodigal could not have turned to God. The light works in his soul, and he comes to himself. He is led to go and see what he can get from his father. "The goodness of God" leads him to repentance. It is important to bear in mind that he goes the contrary road to his mother Eve. She said in fact, I can do better for myself than God says. She took of the tree, and did eat it. She walked in independence. Now this poor prodigal son, when brought to the lowest point, is reduced to a state of misery. Everyone is in a state of misery before he is converted. I know it, because I was there myself. Saul of Tarsus, who thought that he was the pink of everything good, had to fall to the ground.

Now it is here where the sinner is. The prodigal comes to himself. He says, "I will rise up and go to my father". He believes that there is good in his father. There is good in God; and, believe me, it will be terrible misery to the lost when they find out for the first time that there is goodness in God. "Make me as one of thy hired servants", was the prodigal's gospel. Now he comes, and what is his surprise when his father falls upon his neck and covers him with kisses! Most unexpectedly, the prodigal found his father was on the best of terms with him. How could he be so? If you turn to Matthew 27 you will understand how God can "be just, and justify

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him that is of the faith of Jesus". "Christ indeed has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God". Here we get the feelings of the Father, the joy of the finder. How little we take in the fact that God has removed the distance by His Son, and that there is delight of heart in God in receiving the returning sinner. Christ said, "My food is that I should do the will of him that has sent me, and that I should finish his work". God has an interest in the gospel. Hence our need is not the measure of His grace. God's heart is the measure of it. The prodigal knows that he is not fit for his father. The father replies, I will make you fit. The moment the best robe was on him he was fit, and he went in. The father says, "It was right to make merry and rejoice, because this thy brother was dead and has come to life again, and was lost and has been found". I do not dwell on it. The Lord alone can fix it in your heart.

If I speak to one thoughtless person here tonight, I ask you, When you are brought to God what will you find? You will find that God has to His own infinite and entire satisfaction removed all that was against you in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, and He will never revive it, because man under judgment has been judicially terminated there, and He delights to receive you returning to Him. You are brought back to share in the festivities of the Father's house. The one fact I desire to lay upon every heart in this room tonight is, that God can "be just, and justify him that is of the faith of Jesus"; that is, that He has removed the distance on His own side. He has removed in the cross the man under judgment, and now He has the Man who bore the judgment risen from the dead. There is only one passage more - Luke 23:43 - that I will say a word about. The thief goes into paradise from the most degraded position in which a man could be found in this world. "To-day

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shalt thou be with me in paradise". Not a paradise of man, but the paradise of God - in the same nearness as Christ - in company with Him. If you look at Matthew 27 there is the point. The door to God Himself is thrown open. And now the thief by divine grace goes in with the Son of God into the paradise of God. Nothing can be more marvellous.

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Revelation 2:1 - 7; 22: 16, 17

I desire, beloved friends, before the Lord to set forth the manner and measure of restoration. I see many young servants before me; I address myself to them. I cite three examples in the Old Testament of the nature and measure of restoration. I see that we are never restored to the outward distinction we have lost, but we are restored to God and with a fuller expression of His favour than we had before. For myself, I do not expect any great unfolding of truth to come out, but I do expect restoration of affection to Christ, and I think I see it. That was the point of departure, and we have always to go back to that. As the Nazarite, we have to begin again. Every exercised soul knows where he slipped, and that he has to go back there and begin again.

But for John 21 we should never have known what was the point of departure in Peter's soul. The Lord knew it - he is restored to God. Now John takes up the most enlightened church, the one most in the ministry of Paul; they were very correct - much to praise them for - but they had left their first love. Now they must remember from whence they are fallen, repent and do the first works. Historically it is the first phase of the church, the first failure, and it goes down to the present time. The candlestick is not restored, but there is restoration to God. All in Asia turned away from Paul - that is, from Paul's testimony - and when you wane from heavenly things you are waning in personal love to Christ. You say, Is it the place? I say it is the Person in the place.

In Hebrews I learn that the One who sympathises with me is the One I am brought into company with, and He is in the holiest of all. I am so attached to the

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Person who is there that I am running to Him, outside everything here. He is coming, but I am not going to wait till He comes; I want to be with Him now. This makes me a witness. How far shall I go on this road? To death - "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood", etc. In Ezra 3 we get the divine principles of how it is effected - what characterises real restoration. They came as one man to Jerusalem. Remember from whence you are fallen - nothing so marked of late years as the little sense souls have of the fall we have made. Some get out of it by being happy in their souls; but I say we are chargeable for every failure of the church - for every stain on the company. They set up the altar, they kept the feast of tabernacles - they began aright, they did the first works; but I turn to Ezra 4 to see how they failed. Their would-be friends became their opposers. Opposition became too strong. Am I not liable to do the same? They suspended the work for sixteen years. Haggai 1 tells them they are losing a great deal - dwelling in their ceiled houses, and the Lord's house lying waste - earning wages to put into a bag with holes. They began to build. "From this day will I bless you". Now they are brought into favour - the cloud of glory had departed, but they were restored to God, and Haggai 2:18, 19 gives the measure of that restoration - that is my point.

In Exodus 32:20 the people had fallen into idolatry. The apostle uses it as a warning to the Corinthians. He says nothing about an idol. They sat down to eat and rose up to play like christians enjoying themselves where Christ is rejected. What is the mode of recovery? Moses took the calf, ground it to powder and made the children of Israel drink of it. You have to drink the bitter water; then verses 25 - 27 go on:

"Slay every man his brother", etc. Terrible exclusiveness, terrible separation! The house of Levi did it. We have not only to remember but to repent. God

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comes in to judge. Now see how God deals with them on restored ground (chapter 33). We are looking for gifts, for distinction among men. We get restoration to God, but we never lose the stain of our departure among men. "The sword shall never depart from thine house". In 1 Samuel 7 what is the position of the people? In the land, but oppressed by the Philistines. What can be done? Is there no restoration? To God there is - all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord. "Put away the strange gods ... from among you", etc. In the Old Testament you get the divine principles. When we come to the church we see the manner of the restoration. Abraham had to go back to the spot where he had the altar at the beginning.

If I turn now to the New Testament, Matthew 25 gives the point of departure of the church - they all slumbered and slept. It is the kingdom on earth described in Matthew 13. The three parables learned inside are not known at all in christendom; the other four are plain to every student. One is the treasure hid in the field, in this world, and I may say for myself that nothing has ever given me such encouragement as the fact that the Lord has His treasure in this world. Second, the pearl of great price. Third, the net. Those who brought the net to shore were those who put the good into vessels. This is the work of the evangelist, but it is connected with the other two. Now the kingdom of heaven shall become like this (chapter 25). If you really loved Him, you would like Him to come back.

Let us see where the failure began. The church lost personal affection for Christ, they all slumbered - no activity, taking rest (see Song of Sol. 3), and a soul has never written his own history if he does not know how he has looked for a bit of rest in this world where his Lord is rejected. The Thessalonians turned to God to wait for His Son from heaven, and this before the truth of the rapture was unfolded. Failure is

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marked by loss of personal affection for Christ, that which marked the expectation of His coming. The Ephesians were brought by the Spirit to realise their union with Christ in heaven, like Rebekah brought to the country where Isaac was. What should we think of Rebekah if she had wanted to return to her own country? That is what the church has done - lost affection for her Lord and forgotten the place where He is. There is no mention of the Lord's coming in Ephesians, because you are in His company. No one is really desiring the Lord to come if he does not know and enjoy Him now as being united to Him as heavenly men on earth. "Our conversation is in heaven", from whence we are looking for Him. It is not enough to say the Spirit's power has opened the heavenly door. You want to say, 'has brought me to that favoured hour'. (Hymn 74)

In Ephesians 3 you get the character of the provision for those knowing Christ in heaven. If you have that, what do you feel here? I want His company. He is coming to change my vile body, to give me one like unto His own glorious body. If you dwell on this with the Lord, He will open it out to you far better than I can. If I want His company down here, I find it in His assembly. But how did restoration begin? The cry went forth, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh". All that were affected by it came out to meet Him. In my younger days the gospel did not go beyond justification by faith. Acceptance was a new word. I well remember when it was first used. It is not a theological word at all. In this way the revival of the gospel and the church came together.

The beautiful characteristic of a true remnant is that it becomes most exemplary in the very thing where it had failed. A dear man of God once said to me there were two marks of a brother who was going on - he was a praying man, and Ephesians was the best worn book in his Bible. Now some give up

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Ephesian truth who once knew better. I feel like the old bishop who on seeing one taken to the scaffold said, 'There goes John Bradford but for the grace of God'. We are just as ready for failure as any in the church of God, and we are made sensible of our position as connected with an order of things which we have all helped on, and this is the first step to thorough restoration. We get a beautiful remnant character in Anna. She departed not from the temple. When the Babe was brought in she knew Him. She understood what all the learned doctors could not see. If you are devoted to God's interests, it is wonderful how He will help you. There has been an effort to have the gospel without the church. But the man who understands the church best is the one who understands the gospel best. The man who had most to do with the church was the greatest evangelist that ever was! He knows best what is in Christ's heart, he is looking for the silver piece, but he knows where to put it! The lost sheep is brought to the house, not sent back to the field.

I desire to awaken in your souls an interest in what concerns the Lord. I commend for your study 2 Timothy. The apostle is brought down to the lowest point, but the Lord stood by him; he is characteristically a Philadelphian. You cannot get lower than one person. Let 2 Timothy be your handbook - "the things that thou hast heard of me ... commit thou to faithful men...". We get instruction and very great encouragement for every simple heart, but I greatly desire before the Lord that souls should be impressed with the gravity of our position.

In Revelation 1 I see how the Lord looks at the state of things in the church. It is not for us to expose the errors of christendom so much as to seek to get souls near the Lord. His eyes are as a flame of fire. If you are connected with evil you cannot bear that. It was the first thing that arrested myself as a divinity

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student. "Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned". What marks the remnant is having to do with Him who is holy and true, who has the key of David. All rewards are connected with the earth. But we cannot plume ourselves as though we were the testimony. There was an effort of this sort at Plymouth, but we never shall recover our position with men; we do with God - marvellous grace that it is so! But I look for more separation. You have a little power, you are not one with nothing in you - you are not going to die, you have kept My word; and in John I get that love is perfected in you if you have kept My word - not denied My name, in a new way connected with Himself. Now you are returning to what should always have characterised us; we have no other name, and now the coming is before us as the morning star to the remnant.

Now there is a company who can say, 'Come' to the Lord - this is bridal character, not alone expecting Him, but characteristically and personally in union with Him - knowing the kind of relationship of the members to the Head, and as such saying, 'Come' - beautiful close amid all the ruin. I do look for it - a company here to meet the Lord. All who are alive shall be caught up to meet Him in the air. What marked the company was that when the bridegroom was coming they all arose and trimmed their lamps, came out in distinct Holy Spirit power on the earth. Here it is what we are to the Lord Himself. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come". In company with the Spirit she invites the Lord to come (Revelation 22:17). The blessing goes round still, through the evangelists, if you like, but what a close!

When we have seen the right thing, how do you account for our departure from it? I think we have not been susceptible to the failure - have not remembered from whence we had fallen, hence we are not restored to the point of departure. The defect in

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nearly every christian is that, like Jacob, we have limited God to ourselves. Many never get beyond Christ for me - like Jacob's altar, El-Elohe-Israel. You say, what am I to do? I cannot tell what affection would do, I see it always does something unprecedented and suited to the occasion. Mary sat at Jesus' feet, and the Lord values greatly her sitting beside Him, getting with Himself; and as to service, Mary did great service when the time for service came. The Lord delights in ministry to Himself. In Luke 12 two things characterise the body of light; waiting and watching; you must have both. I understand watching to be wide awake, taking care of the things which belong to Christ. Affection is ready to do whatever is the pleasure of the Person who is the object of affection. He invites you to have company with Him. He values a heart devoted to Him. If we realised more the defection of the church, we would take it more to heart. As soon as a soul becomes connected with Christ it becomes exemplary where the defect was, strong in the very point which was the weakest.

The Lord can touch every heart and awaken a sense of our departure, that we may do the first works - not expecting acknowledgment on the earth, but as attached in heart to Himself, inviting Him to come, as those who are occupied with everything that concerns Him here; and the nearer we are to Him, the more we learn how He does expect us to be occupied with His interests till He comes. May we be so more and more for His name's sake!

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Genesis 3:8 - 11, 15; Luke 23:39 - 43

The first question God put to Adam is the question that every soul has to answer, "Where art thou?" There are three great facts: there is the fall, there is the Saviour, and there is the new place with God. If you are raised out of the fall, you are raised to new ground. These three are very plain - the fall, the Saviour (or the salvation - how it has been effected), and where you are now as saved. The fall is where man is naturally. The Saviour effects your salvation; and being saved, your new place is with God.

In Genesis paradise is lost; in Luke 23 paradise is given. That you, who have lost one by sin, should get another so much greater is the marvel of divine grace, for it is not the one you lost that you get back, but you are given through grace one which is infinitely greater. It is very difficult to explain grace. All can understand the Lord when He said, "The one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty"; that is, the grace which each would require to be forgiven. All in a way understand the grace which forgives sins; but do you understand God's measure of grace - the grace which would set you in an infinitely better place than you had lost? I could not give you the measure of it; it can only be measured by the love of the One who effected your salvation. Thus much merely as a preface.

I believe the great lack in souls, even in those who are converted, is that they do not see the extent of the fall. And if you do not see the extent of the fall, you certainly cannot see the measure to which you are raised out of it. If a man fell ten feet and was raised only five feet, he would not, if he knew that he had fallen ten feet, be satisfied with being raised five feet.

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The extent of the fall is the first subject I shall dwell on; secondly, the Saviour, how you can be saved; and thirdly, your new place with God.

Now I turn to Genesis 3, to present as clearly as I can the extent of the fall. The fall is "death by sin". Adam is to lose the condition he was in; not only is he a sinner, but he is to lose the condition he was in. And consequently Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Adam, instead of being at ease in God's presence, as he was before, said, "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself". I desire that the youngest here should understand the extent of the fall. It is explained when Adam says, "I was afraid, because I was naked". God said, "Who told thee that thou wast naked?" He had lost his body in the sight of God. Satan had said, "Ye shall not surely die". To man's eye he had not died: but the fact is that the moment Adam transgressed, that moment he had a conscience, he was sensible of sin by committing it, and he was under the penalty of it, which is death. Death is the judgment of God; he had lost his body in the sight of God. Hence the first sense any soul has of God is fear; it could not be otherwise. "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid ... and I hid myself". Why? "Because I was naked". I refer any one desiring to understand the subject better (it is not necessary to go into it now) to 2 Corinthians 5, where the apostle writes: "If our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven" - that is, to get a new body - "if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked". That is that we should not be found as Adam was in the sight of God. Every unconverted man goes about the world

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afraid of God; he avails himself of the trees of the garden, earthly greatness, to hide himself from the presence of God. You must accept that your body is under the judgment of God. Through grace you will receive another body, as the apostle says, "a building of God, an house not made with hands". Here grace, the salvation of God, begins. All the work of man could not remove the judgment. Hence we read in another place, "For since by man came death" - one would naturally add, 'so by man came life' - no; but "by man came also the resurrection of the dead". Some think of doing works in order to make reparation for their sins, and some think that the righteousness of Christ can be a set-off for their unrighteousness. You are a sinner, and you are under the judgment of God: "The wages of sin is death". The man who has sinned must die, that man could not be retained. Hence the scripture, "This corruptible must put on incorruption". We read, "Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel"; and, "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins". I desire to press that every man on the face of this earth is under the judgment of God, unless it has been removed: it is not merely that he is a sinner, but he is under the judgment of God, and that body where sin is must go in judgment. If you have to undergo the judgment, you are lost. This is the first point.

The next great fact is - The Saviour, one born of a woman, was to bruise the serpent's head. "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel". "I will put enmity between thee" - that is the serpent - "and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he" - it ought to be - "he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Genesis 3:15); that is, the

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Saviour would go into death. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil", Hebrews 2:14. In Genesis 3:15 it is not your sins, but the nature of the judgment on you, and the only way of deliverance from the fall.

If you apprehend the extent of the fall, then you will have some idea of the work of the Saviour, how great it must be.

I see the history of man on the earth, opening with two men, Cain and Abel. Cain, like every man of sense, perceives that there is a distance between God and man, and he desires to remove the distance. He is what you might call a man of good human aspirations; but he thought that by the fruits of the earth he could restore relations with God. He did not understand the nature of the distance; he was altogether in darkness as to it. And here many really pious are defective; they do not understand the nature of the distance. Now, Abel in his offering corrects Cain; he offers of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof, a victim not chargeable with his offence bearing the judgment of it, and, at the time of bearing the judgment of it, having a personal excellency. That was Abel's offering; he got the fat through death; he could not have got it if the lamb had not been killed. But there was no resurrection there; and I refer to this on purpose, because many people find a measure of relief as to their sins from seeing that Christ died for them; but you are not justified until you see Him risen from the dead. All through the Old Testament salvation was not accomplished, and could not be accomplished until Christ rose: and when He rose, He had not only borne the judgment on man, but He Himself had risen out of it, and hence He originated, that is, He is the Head of, a new race.

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As we read, "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive", and, "Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead". He rose out of death; He was "declared to be the Son of God with power ... by the resurrection from the dead". But He had gone into it, and had borne the judgment; He was not only "delivered for our offences", but he "was raised again for our justification".

Now I turn to Luke 23 in order that you may see the new place into which the Saviour introduces the believer. Here the Lord is between two malefactors, and one rails on Him and says, "If thou be Christ, save thyself and us". We have two men again; not only two men in the beginning of the world, but two men in the beginning of christianity. Now these two men are two sample men, illustrating the two lines that are in the world. One of them cannot see anything in Christ, and yet one is locally as near to Christ as the other; he could see Christ only with the natural mind, and the natural mind cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God; hence he says, "If thou be Christ, save thyself and us". Now look at the other; he is as much degraded as his fellow; but see how grace works in him; the light of God enters his soul. Light is wonderful! It was evidently very sudden, for in another gospel we read that he also was reviling. Beloved friends, light is very sudden; it is instantaneous; thank God, it is divine. Look at the light which shone out of heaven on Saul of Tarsus. That is the beginning of the work of grace. There are two parts of grace: one, the work which Christ has accomplished; the other, that the sinner's eyes are opened, and he is turned from darkness to light. This is the marvel of His grace, not only that He has removed everything against the sinner, but that He leads the sinner to know it; as we read in Luke 14, "Compel them to come in". He compels by His

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light shining into the soul; hence, "if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them", 2 Corinthians 4. It is a light "above the brightness of the sun"; it shines out of heaven. The world does not see it, but the soul who receives it is converted, turned to God; he is converted by the power of God; God sends His word, and His light shines into the soul. What a moment! No one is converted otherwise. Then you fear God. You are consciously under the judgment of God; you could not get near God without fear, as Adam said, "I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself". Every unconverted man tries to conceal himself from God by something of the world.

Now it is interesting to note how "the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God?" He has received light, and he finds himself in the presence of God; "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom". I like to see it in a child. It is a good sign when the fear of God is before your eyes. It is often, alas! like the Pharisees in John 8; when the light shone, they went out one by one. Sometimes if a man is touched at a gospel preaching he will not come again for a while, though if God's light has entered he will come again. The Pharisees "went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last". The woman, the sinner, remained where the light was; she was blessed.

Mark the words of the enlightened thief, "Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?" Note the word "condemnation", because death is the termination of the man. Look now at this sinner, a child of Adam, how he is made acquainted with grace. He is not only turned out of paradise, but he is suffering death for breaking the law; he is

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thoroughly ruined, and as far as God was revealed, there was no hope for him; he must die "without mercy"; but he finds mercy, because the Saviour has come. He sees "the just for the unjust". "This man hath done nothing amiss". He has received light, and he sees himself in the light of God, as Adam had done. But he sees also the Saviour; and now he prays, he has confidence in the Saviour, and says, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom". He was a Jew; he had been educated, no doubt, in the Jewish expectation of a Messiah and of His reign on the earth. He knew that he was in the presence of the King, and hence he says, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom".

Now mark the answer from the Saviour. "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise". That is the paradise of God. It is the same place that Paul refers to in 2 Corinthians 12:4. Poets tell of paradise lost and paradise regained. It is not true; man is never restored to a state of innocence. Here a man is dying; he has not got a new body yet, but he is to go in company with the Lord that day to the very highest place. I trust you see the perfection of His salvation. If you want to know the perfection of God's salvation, you see it here; a man under the judgment of God and naked in His sight, but who has been so completely freed from that judgment that he is to get another body, a glorious body, and in the meantime he is fit to be in the very highest place with God - "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise". The statement is so marvellous that many a commentator would have put a stop after "Today", as postponing it to a future time. But I press that the word "Today" sets forth the greatness of the salvation. A man would rejoice to be restored to the good position which he had lost by sin, but the believer receives infinitely more; it is divine, spiritual; "the first man is of the earth, earthy"; the Saviour, the second Man, is "out of

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heaven", and His blessings are all of a new, heavenly order.

Look at the prodigal son. In Luke 15 the gospel in his mind is, "I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, ... make me as one of thy hired servants"; the most he expected was good quarters downstairs. But the grace of God was far beyond his thoughts, even that having turned to God, he should be given the best place. The only way we can apprehend the greatness of this grace is by recognising the greatness of the Person who has effected this salvation for us. I think but few apprehend how great the blessing must be to be saved by the Son of God. God's Son has come out of heaven, and has borne the judgment on man, and every one believing on Him shares with Him all that He has obtained. He gained glory, and He will share that glory; "The glory which thou gavest me I have given them". He "suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God". He who believes shall be in company with Christ in the brightest sphere. You may marvel at it, and I admit the human mind cannot take it in. The fall was terrible, and man is lost in the sight of God, as we read of the prodigal son, "This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found". Man is lost, but now God has come forth in His grace, and His own Son has borne the judgment that lay upon man, and the believer is not only freed of everything according to the glory of God, but he has part with Christ, he is in His company, and he will have a glorious body like unto His glorious body. The fatted calf, in the father's house (Luke 15), sets forth the present blessing of the believer - he has a nearer place with God now than man had before the fall, because of the greatness of the Saviour. Man fell, and his fall was irretrievable; man must go in judgment; the man under judgment has gone in judgment in the cross; but Christ has risen from the dead and become

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the first-fruits of them that slept; "Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming". There is a new order altogether; as we read in John 12, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit" - a new order of man every way, with "life and incorruptibility".

I need not add more. I only repeat these three facts: first, the fall, and the extent of it; next, the Saviour - He has come, and He Himself has effected deliverance from the fall; and thirdly, your new place with God - not only raised up from the fall, but given such a marvellous place with God that we read, "As he is, so are we in this world". It is so great that it is difficult to apprehend. If the word was, 'As He is, so shall we be in heaven', we might understand it; but when God's love is known, we know that "As he is, so are we in this world" in His eye.

May the Lord, in His infinite goodness, keep this before your souls, and lead you to understand the greatness of His salvation. The marvel is that any one knowing this wonderful salvation - the wonderful new place to which he is brought, as the Lord said to the disciples, "Come and see", and they went and abode with Him - the marvel is that one's heart is not more affected by it. Were it not for the working of the flesh, we should ever be in "joy unspeakable and full of glory".

I now ask you to join me in looking to the Lord to make His word a blessing to every one in this room, for His name's sake.

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Genesis 3:24; Matthew 27:50, 51

The first sense of an awakened soul is the holiness of God, and rightly so. Some go on as if they were insensible of it. You see the inexorable nature of it in the first verse I have read. The man was driven out of the garden of Eden, and not only driven out, but God placed "Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way", so that he should not get back. Sin is abhorrent to the holy God; this is the first sense the sinner has of God: hence he shrinks from God. "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die"; the body must go in judgment. If you have a true sense of the holiness of God, you are conscious that the man under the judgment of God can not face God. Hence the first truth to insist on is God's holiness. When God on mount Sinai gave the law to Israel, it was a ministration of death. "And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more.... And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake". The nearer God comes the more distressed man is. This sense of God's holiness I greatly desire that you should have. If this sense were deeper in each of our souls, we should better understand grace. Sin has caused the greatest distance between God and man; grace has brought the believer in Christ into the greatest nearness to Him. You must be conscious of the greatness of the distance; if you do not understand the greatness of the distance, you will never understand the greatness of the grace. Many do not understand the greatness of the grace, because they do not understand the greatness of the distance.

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In Genesis 3:24 we see God could not allow man to return to the garden of Eden; and, as we have seen, when God drew near to Israel with a demand, the reflection of His glory in Moses' face made the people afraid to come nigh him. They could not bear the sight of the glory. It gave them a sense of God's holiness. You are awakened when you have a sense of God's holiness, you may be some time awakened before you are relieved; still you are awakened when you have a sense of God - that He is a holy God. This is really light; that is light which doth make manifest. But "men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil"; they do not want the light. Any one here who has come from darkness, and has been brought to God, will admit that there was a time when he did not like to hear about God; he felt it would spoil his pleasure, interfere with his own pursuits. It was not that you were occupied with something very bad, but you were alienated from God, and you did not want to return to Him.

The first thing, then, is the holiness of God. It is necessary for the soul to have a sense of the holiness of God, that God cannot bear sin; it is not merely sins, but that where sin is, it must be set aside in judgment. Hence in the type (Leviticus 6:30) we read, "No sin-offering, whereof any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of the congregation to reconcile withal in the holy place, shall be eaten: it shall be burnt in the fire". It was burnt without the camp. The blood was carried in, which showed that death had taken place, but the carcase was burnt without the camp; it must be removed from God's eye in judgment. I am trying to impress you with a sense of the holiness of God.

Next, I come to man's side; he is alienated from God by wicked works. So complete is the departure that there is no fear of God before his eyes. You speak to an unconverted man about God, and instead

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of being pleased he will avoid you the next time he meets you, though you were trying to lead him into the greatest blessing. If you had spoken to him about a fortune in this world, how eagerly he would have listened; but because you have told him the gospel, how God can "be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus", he will avoid you unless God has worked in his soul. Thank God, He does work; but I am speaking of man naturally. "The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not". Our blessed Lord was "the light of the world", and even the Pharisees, though they had brought to Him a transgressor, could not endure the light of His presence when it probed them, but they "went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last". They would not stay in the light; the transgressor stayed and obtained the good of the light. Man's entire unwillingness to do with God is the second obstacle. You cannot give credit to a man for conversion - turning to God. The holiness of God is inexorable, and man's mind is enmity against God.

The next thing is, that there must be a complete removal of the man under judgment; this the sin-offering under the law typified. I hope you apprehend, first, the holiness of God, that He cannot behold iniquity, that the tree as well as the fruit must go; and the next thing I want you to accept is that man naturally hates the light. Hence my third point is that the man under the judgment of God must go in judgment. You will be much helped when you see this. Of course a man must be converted before he can accept it; but it is of the deepest importance. We read, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up".

Now I turn to the New Testament to set before you the grace of God. The One who removes the distance between God and man must be altogether according to God's satisfaction. The distance is the penalty

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of death, but this cannot be removed unless the judgment has been borne. No amount of good works could remove it, nor the imputation of righteousness:

the man under judgment must be removed in judgment from the eye of the holy God, and a Man who fully pleased God has been raised up from death, the judgment on man. This is my fourth point. Now God Himself has done it; God laid help upon One that is mighty: His own arm brought salvation: and so we read in Scripture that our blessed Lord said, "Lo, I come ... to do thy will, O God". Now see the One who comes, One born of a woman, born under the law; He comes and He removes the judgment, He bears in His own Person the judgment which rested upon man. But before He removed the judgment from the eye of God, He was in private life the One of whom God could testify, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased"; and in His public service on the earth: "This is my beloved Son: hear him".

We read in Matthew 27:50: "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost". He is dead; the perfect One, the holy One of God is dead. "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again". He laid it down, "the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God". See now the greatness of God's grace. You see, I trust, that sin is a terrible thing; that man who sinned must go in judgment: man, the child of Adam, could not bear the judgment, he could not rise out of it; hence it must be borne by One able to rise out of it. As we read, "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead". Again, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil". Here (Matthew 27:50) He dies; it is the fulfilment

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of Psalm 22. He takes the sinner's place - He who knew no sin; He is the victim not chargeable with man's offence, bearing the judgment of the offence, and at the time of bearing it proving His personal excellency. The fat was obtained through death. You see this blessed One has come and given Himself; He was the sacrifice for sins; He dies, and as we read in another place: "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him". Do you take in that wonderful statement? The Son of God was glorified in raising Lazarus; but "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him". Under the sinner's judgment, at the most distant spot, drinking the bitter cup, He unswervingly maintained everything due to God. I remember saying many years ago to a dear man of God, It was a wonderful thing that the Lord was thinking of us at that moment. His reply was, He was not thinking of you at all, He was thinking of God. Much of the feeble sense of salvation in souls arises from the fact that they are exclusively occupied with their own relief, instead of inquiring whether God, whom they have offended, has been relieved. Have you settled with God? is the first question. Is your conscience settled? will come afterwards.

In Exodus 12 and Romans 3 you see how God, who has been offended, is relieved of the offence. He has found One who has removed all the judgment that lay upon man, and not only so, but who glorified Him in the removal of it; the Son has come and became Man, and He died to bear the judgment that rested on man. God now testifies of His complete satisfaction. "The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom", from the inside. The testimony is that the distance between God and man has been removed on God's side. Man is at a distance from God, but God through Christ has removed the distance from His own side, and now He

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can be "just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus". Do you give Him credit for removing the distance from His own side? Thank God, I trust that there are many in this room who can speak of the blessedness of the day when the light shone into their souls that God had removed the distance, and that from His own side it had been removed to His satisfaction and glory by His own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence there is an approach to God which before could not be known, the greatest nearness. The veil of the temple was rent; most significant to a Jew. I dare say a pious Jew, when he heard what had happened would say, Something very great must have happened, so that God could rend the veil and throw open the holiest.

It is plain that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself", and hence it is an immense relief to the soul of the sinner to lay hold of the fact that God, the One who was offended, is the One who was first relieved. If you do not know this in your soul, you have not settled peace; the One who was offended by the sin of man was relieved of the offence by a Man - the Lord Jesus Christ; and now God can be "just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus". I ask each of you, Do you prefer Christ to Adam? Adam sinned and incurred the judgment; the Lord Jesus Christ has borne the judgment to God's perfect satisfaction. And God now asks you to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and to give Him credit for His grace.

Now that the veil is rent from the top to the bottom, what is disclosed? The ark of the covenant was in the holiest. The golden box, of which the lid was the mercy-seat, with the cherubim of glory overshadowing it, was the type of Christ. Hence, the moment He died the veil was rent from the top to the bottom. God can testify that He has found a Man entirely to His satisfaction on whom all His glory can rest. In

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2 Corinthians 3 we read of the contrast between law and grace; the law was a demand for righteousness, grace is the ministration of righteousness. Do you understand the difference? If you were in debt, and the creditor said, I do not ask you to pay the debt, I will not only forgive it, but I will give to you, you would understand him. That is the grace of God; He is not now demanding righteousness, but He is giving. Why? Because a Man has glorified God; and therefore He can rend the veil and declare that the distance has been removed on His side, and "all that believe are justified from all things". This is marvellous; but thank God it is true. Why? Because Christ has finished the work which was given Him to do. God has been glorified by a Man. Hence I ask you to turn away from the man who brought you under judgment and distance from God, and to believe on Him who "once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God".

I would now briefly recapitulate. First, I dwelt on the holiness of God; next, on man's utter unwillingness to draw near to God, hating the light, so that of himself he would never turn to God; thirdly, that there must be complete removal of the man that sinned, the man in whom sin is. Root and branch must go in judgment, so that it is true of every believer that "our old man is crucified with him" - crucifixion is the judicial termination of the man; and the Man who removed the distance has glorified God, and has been "raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father". He glorified God, and the testimony now is, as we read in Matthew 27, God rends the veil, He has thrown open all on His side. I do not say that every one enters in, but I say the veil is rent, the door of heaven is thrown open. God is the first relieved, to His endless satisfaction.

And now I ask you to contemplate the blessing you will receive if you accept the grace of God. But before

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I speak of the blessing which God in His grace confers, I would ask you, Will you accept it? I have tried to trace your history as a sinner; I trust I have shown you that, in the only way in which salvation could be effected, it has been effected; I have shown you that because of the work of Christ, God has rent the veil. The way into the holiest is open. There is a ministration of righteousness now from the glory of God, from the very highest point. The nearer you are to the Lord's glory the more assured you are. The glory resting on Christ is the expression of God's satisfaction according to all His attributes; the nearer you are to the fountain, the greater the sense of your acceptance. Many are in darkness because they are not near; they are enlightened, but if they were near they would be established. When you are reconciled to God, you find that instead of being at the greatest distance, you are now in the greatest nearness; you know the wonderful nature of your acceptance; you find that "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound". Many have no idea of the abounding. They can speak of the forgiveness of sins; but if you commit fifty sins and are forgiven fifty, there is no abounding there, no excess. "Grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord". You are brought into the happiest association with the Father, unto the home of His heart. The prodigal son wandered away, and had spent all that he had; then by the light of grace he came to himself and returned to his father, and to his great surprise he found his father met him on the best of terms, he "fell upon his neck, and covered him with kisses". How could this be? Because the shepherd had gone out to "seek and to save that which was lost". All the offence had been removed; God had been relieved; all that offended had been removed from the eye of God in judgment,

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and now His heart can come out in all its mighty volume and embrace the returning son.

It is marvellous, and yet there is more. The nearer you are to the Father the happier you are. You come in now in all the beauty of Christ. "And they began to be merry". Contrast this with the "Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life", when Adam was driven out of the garden. The holiness of God could not suffer him to be there, and man's own estrangement from God would also forbid it. Hence the man under the judgment of God must be removed in judgment. This has been accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ, to God's infinite satisfaction; and now the invitation is, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth"; and as in the case of the brazen serpent, he that looked upon it lived. If you believe even a little of the grace which I have been presenting to you, you will look - you will look away from Adam, and look to the Lord Jesus Christ; you will give God credit for the immensity of His grace, and then you will find that not only has all the offence been removed, but that God has been so fully glorified that the nearer you come to Him, the more you are assured of His love. Many a one does not get this assurance till his deathbed, until he is passing away from all else and is going straight to God.

I need not add more, but I cannot conclude without expressing how wonderful is the work which God has wrought. On man's part there was no drawing of heart to Him, "for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God"; but God now, in the greatness of His grace, says to the servant (this shows you the love which is behind the grace), "Compel them to come in". I do not expect anything from man, and I would not work upon any man's feelings, because I do not believe there is any good in him. But I desire that you should apprehend the grace of God. There

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is no door for the sinner but in the mercy of God. We read, "that he might have mercy upon all". I will give you an illustration. The four lepers in the siege of Samaria said, "If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill is, we shall but die", 2 Kings 7:4. They looked for mercy, and they found mercy. You speak of casting yourself upon the mercy of God, but have you really done so? I trust no one will leave this room with indifference, and in his heart say, I will go on a little while longer with man. I will turn my back on the grace of God, on the good tidings which have come from God. Man is a sinner at the greatest distance from God, under the judgment of death. God sent His Son, who became a Man, and bore this judgment that was on man. "He died unto sin once", and so glorified God in the most distant spot, that He was "raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father", and now God can, to the delight of His heart, bring "many sons unto glory" - "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ". Inconceivable, indeed, is the greatness of this revelation! This is the excess. Is there one in this room who will refuse the offer of God's grace? God has permitted His grace to be sounded in your ears. Will you turn a deaf ear to it? Let all who have received it join in praying that God will cause His grace to shine into every soul in this room, for His name's sake.

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Genesis 6:5 - 8, 12 - 14; Genesis 7:11, 12; Genesis 8:13, 14, 20 - 22;

John 10:11, 14, 15

Everyone, as a rule, knows that there is a distance between God and man. I have dwelt on this on a former occasion. The great defect in many is that they do not know the nature of the distance, one which they are unable to remove. I desire to bring before you this evening three parts in the gospel. First, the nature of God's judgment upon man; secondly, how it has been removed; and, thirdly, the new position on the earth of the saved. They are so simple that the youngest can understand them. It is of the deepest importance that you should clearly know the nature of the pressure or weight on you; if you do not, you do not know what must be removed; if any of the weight remains, you will be still oppressed, and you cannot enjoy the unclouded blessing which belongs to the one who knows that, through the grace of God, all has been removed. The judgment on man is here simply told: "The end of all flesh is come before me". I know it is not pleasant to the natural man to hear the Lord's words, "The end of all flesh is come before me". Man had been on the earth 1,500 years when the deluge came, and "the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence". Man was getting a day older, and a day worse, and therefore "it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth", and He said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth".

It is not only that your sins must be atoned for, but there must be the ending of the flesh in judgment. This is God's judgment on man; and you cannot apprehend the grace of God if you do not see the nature of the weight on you. I want you to understand

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the gravity of man's position before God. In Genesis 2 we read, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die". Death is the termination of man in the flesh; the judgment in the flood was the sample of it. "And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth". That is the judgment resting on every man; you must first accept that the man in the flesh must go in judgment. It is not possible that another can bear the judgment on you, in order that you may retain man in the flesh. Many make this mistake, even true believers; they suppose that as the judgment has been borne by Christ, therefore they can retain the man under judgment. No; the Lord Jesus Christ bore the judgment of death on the cross, and He rose from the dead. "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead". The believer is clear of the man under judgment, and now he is of the Man who bore the judgment. "As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" - "This mortal must put on immortality". But the nature of the weight is plain enough, so that each of you must come to this - I am ruined; and in the spirit of the leper, you should put your hand on your mouth, your mouth in the dust, and cry, "Unclean, unclean!"

I want to make it clear to you that if the judgment on you be borne by another, you cannot retain the man which has gone in judgment on the cross. A great many are trying to improve the first man. How can you improve a being which must go in judgment? And though it goes in judgment in Another, yet you cannot retain it, because it would be morally incongruous to retain the man for whom Christ bore the judgment. We could not appear before Him. Hence

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the apostle could say of himself, "I am crucified with Christ". I am trying to make plain to every one here the nature of the judgment on man. I know well how little people in general accept it. The weight on man is not seen, and few can believe that all that is so beautiful in man is of the "old things" that "have passed away".

Now we have seen, I trust, the nature of the judgment, which is the first subject. We now come to the second - how you can be saved, how the judgment has been borne. God in His grace saves Noah and his house. Here His grace is displayed; He shows that He can save, and how He does it. The ark figuratively sets forth the death of Christ. There was a moment upon the earth when no flesh could be seen; it was either drowned in the water or covered by the ark. The covering, the atonement, is God's way of saving the soul. It was a type; only a few, eight souls, were saved by water.

Now the import of this type is that they were exposed to the water, the judgment, and they were saved out of it. We read in Genesis 7:11, "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up", and in chapter 8: 13, "And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry". Of course, we are looking at the type at present, how those exposed to the judgment can be saved, for there is no other way in which they could be saved. The Lord possibly refers to it when He says, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me". There was no way of being saved but by the ark, which typified the death of Christ. Noah and his house were a type of the saved company. This type (it is most

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important) shows that the first man is under the judgment of God, hence that man must go in judgment; and if that man is saved, he must be saved by another bearing his judgment; he does not retain the man under judgment. In the type the saved are covered in the ark, not seen. Hence we read, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us", that is, you are baptised unto the death of Christ; and if this be truly maintained, you cannot seek position nor recognition among men. It is by the death of Christ that you can be saved, but you must appropriate His death (John 6:53). Noah and his house were a year and ten days in the ark; that is, they were every day in the year in every kind of circumstance which a whole year expresses, and at the end of that time they entered on a new history on the earth. They come out of the ark near the spot where they went into it. They went into the ark, because they were under the judgment of God. A word to every one in this room: Have you gone in? You are under the judgment of God. You cannot get out of it but by appropriating the death of Christ, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood". If you appropriate Christ's death, then you pass "out of death into life"; you enter upon a new position on the earth. Here they were in the ark a year and ten days, which figuratively sets forth man's history in the flesh. (We read that the prophet was in the widow's house a whole year.) Now they are out of the judgment; the judgment has been borne. They were covered in the ark, figuratively the atonement. The man that was under the judgment of God is no longer to claim recognition among men; you are saved from the judgment by Christ's death, and baptised unto His death; you enter on a new history here; you shall never come into judgment.

Now we come to the third part. This we get in Genesis 8:20, 21 - "And Noah builded an altar unto

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the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done". I am keeping to the type still; it is important to understand the type, because it is a shadow of the reality. Noah and his house are out of the judgment, and because of the burnt-offering now offered up, they are in the favour of God.

Now I turn to John 10, to set forth the gospel in its fulness, as accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ. I read two verses of John 10, one is, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep". That is very definite; no one ever heard before of a shepherd dying for his sheep; a shepherd ordinarily cares for his sheep. If the shepherd has to die for the sheep, it is evident that nothing less would save them; it was not said that He did good works for them, or that His righteousness would be a set-off for their unrighteousness; no, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep".

Now I must explain how the type has been fulfilled. I would draw your attention to the blind man in John 9. There is a blind man, he is a typical case. If there is any one in this room that has light, you were once blind. I will give you the history of grace. The Lord begins the work, it is the Lord who anoints his eyes, and it is the Lord who sends him to wash in the pool of Siloam. "He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing"; he has received his sight. I compare this to your eyes being opened to see things as God sees them. At conversion light has come from God. The difference between the two thieves was that one had light, saw the Saviour; and the other had only natural intellect. In the light I see things as

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God sees them; as the Lord said, "I am the light of the world". Well, this man received light; his neighbours were the first arrested, they could not understand the source whence the light came; they did not doubt the fact that he had received his sight, but they did not see that it came from God. The neighbours brought him to the Pharisees, and they said, "This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day". Then they called his parents, and his parents said, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: but by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him". They feared the Jews, who had agreed already that if any man did confess that He was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Eventually, when reviled by the Jews, he said to them, "If this man were not of God, he could do nothing". They retorted, "Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out". I would press on you that he is now outside of everything religiously good among men. First he was blind, and could not see any man; but when he sees, having received light from God, he is outside of man. This is where grace puts you. As a man you are under judgment; when the light of God works you will find yourself outside of every man - even the religiously reputable. You may think this too hard, but otherwise you do not understand what it is to be clear. There would be more happiness among christians if they saw the nature of the distance to be removed, and then saw that it was removed. The man once blind is outside of all that he revered religiously among men; but he is now in the solitude of light. O what a place - the solitude of light! I want you to estimate the moral greatness which the light of God's grace conferred on this man. I wish you could really enter into what his position is now that he has light and he begins to see everything as

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God sees it. May you realise his singular blessed position. Now, at verse 35 we read, "Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?" He does not say 'the Son of man' some commentators would read, 'the Son of man'; no, "the Son of God". Do you comprehend? Because if you do, you will be much interested. And he answered and said, "Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?" It was not simply that the work had been wrought in his soul, but he had learnt that the light of God's grace puts one outside everything of man. I press this because, until you understand it, you will never understand the unique position which belongs at the present moment to every one who has been relieved of the judgment of God. I am speaking to believers now, and I say, Do you know that all of the man under judgment, the best of him, has been so completely removed, that you are outside of all, and that outside of all you are bound in heart to Another, your Saviour, the Son of God? He said, Lord, who is He? I believe that is a blessed solitude. I have no doubt that it is because souls have never been in this solitude that they have not found the unexampled, the incomparable position in which a believer is placed at such a moment. "Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him" - the last time he met Him he was blind; now he sees Him - "Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee". Now, beloved friends, bear in mind where this man who was blind is; he is clear of the darkness, and knows a new and unparalleled place when "he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him"; his heart absorbed in delight with an object, the Son of God - outside of every man, and in seclusion with Himself.

I have read part of John 10 in order to point out

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the two great traits of the good Shepherd. Many understand the one who do not understand the other. The one is, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep". He died for them; Christ gave Himself a ransom for many. He gave up the life to which sin could be attached. You could not be saved by Him, and keep the life on account of which Christ died. Here there is confusion in souls. If there were true apprehension of the work of Christ, that He so bore the judgment on man that all the man who had offended against God has been removed to God's infinite satisfaction, and that He who saved you from death is now your life, there would be a wonderful testimony to the grace of God. You could say, It is not merely that I shall be greatly blessed by and by, but I am unspeakably so now, in the place where once I was under the judgment of God.

The second trait of the good Shepherd we read in verses 14, 15: "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep". "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep". You are brought into the greatest intimacy with the Saviour; though you are cast out by the religious man, you receive infinitely more in acquaintance with Christ, the Son of God. The correct reading is, "As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father". It is almost too much to say, because it may seem so incomprehensible, that the same kind of acquaintance is to subsist between Christ and the believer as between the Father and the Son. I can understand an earnest soul saying, Well, if that is true, I should not mind being excluded from every man. We often sing:

'I have found a Friend in Jesus;'

but this is incomparably more: you can say joyfully, "I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste".

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I trust I have made it plain to you that, in the place where the judgment of God was upon you, you are set free from the judgment, and also that you are set up in the greatest blessing. You have seen this fulfilled in the man who was blind.

I desire much to press on you that, if any of the pressure from sin remains, your soul will be under a cloud. I have no doubt that this is the cause of the little happiness some believers have; they are not quite clear of the man under the judgment of God. The apostle can say for himself, "I am crucified with Christ", not that he should retain the old man, but in order that, being free from the man under judgment, he should be here under the control of Christ, Christ being in him. Hence the apostle can say, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world".

I need not add more. I trust I have said enough to make it plain to you, and I will recapitulate concisely the three points I have spoken on. First, the weight or judgment on man, the nature of that judgment. It is senseless a man proposing to discharge a debt of which he knows neither the nature nor the amount. But, thank God, the Lord Jesus Christ knew exactly all that lay upon us; and He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. He says, "I will discharge it;" "I come to do thy will, O God". "Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me". "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all". Secondly, how you are saved. You are saved by appropriating in faith Christ's death, figuratively set forth in the ark. Noah and his house went into the ark and they were saved; they were a year and ten days in the ark, signifying that in the circumstances of every day here, they were under the cover of Christ's death, excluded from man as he is, but shut in to

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Christ. You are saved out of the judgment, because Christ has borne it; and as you appropriate His death you are practically free from the man under judgment. Now, thirdly, you enter on a new history - you are in the favour of God. The man who was blind entered on a new history; he is not only clear of all the darkness, but he has now the most intimate acquaintance with the blessed Saviour. There could not be any greater favour or a happier position. Now this is yours; you are clear of all that was against you in the sight of God, and you are in incomparable nearness and intimacy with Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

I trust that you have not only listened attentively to the three parts of this great subject, but that you will study them before the Lord.

May the blessed God, in His infinite mercy, grant that each one of you may be able to say, I know the weight which was upon me, and I know that it has been completely removed, and that I am now in unclouded happiness with the blessed One who accomplished this great work, for His name's sake.

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Exodus 14:15 - 31; 15: 1; Acts 9:1 - 18

We have a very interesting type of the work of grace, "the salvation of the LORD", as it is called, in the way Israel was delivered out of Egypt. The judgment of God had fallen upon Egypt, so that "there was not a house where there was not one dead" - a terrible night of judgment; and as we find in chapter 12, the children of Israel were told to kill a lamb, every man according to his family, and to sprinkle the blood upon the lintel and the doorposts - figuratively the blood of Christ; and God said, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you". They were inside, and the blood was outside on the lintel and the doorposts, and the judgment passed over them; they were safe from the judgment.

One can be thankful that there are many who believe that the blood of Christ is before the eye of God; it is a good beginning, a good start, but not all. It is an immense gain to believe that the blood of Christ is before the eye of God, and that because of that blood-shedding, He passes by. A familiar phrase quite conveys it: 'I know I shall not be lost'. That is all; you cannot go further. So with Israel; they were inside, and they were safe from the judgment, but they were not happy. They were very like a drowning man, rescued by a lifeboat, but still in the storm, on the rough sea - figuratively not out of the place of judgment. The gospel is that not only are you passed over, but that you are delivered from the judgment.

The man in the lifeboat is still occupied with his safety, he is not yet delivered from all danger; the nearer to drowning, the more he longs to be where drowning is not possible; he longs for the shore, and

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the moment he reaches it he is delivered, he is saved. When the children of Israel were in Egypt, though they were inside feeding on the paschal lamb, they were not happy, for you find that they had to leave Egypt, with their loins girt and their shoes on their feet and their staff in their hand; they were to leave the place of judgment, for they were not clear of the power of the Egyptians (the flesh), nor of the power of Pharaoh (Satan), by which they were oppressed; they were not yet delivered. It is true they were sheltered; the word 'shelter' implies that the oppressor has not been removed. They were sheltered from the Judge, but they were not resting in the favour of God; they were not assured that every disturbing element between God and themselves had been removed; they could not have peace while the enemy was still in power. Hence we find they were in terrible fear; Pharaoh and his army were behind them. Jehovah now said to Moses, "Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward". This is a very interesting moment in the history of a soul. Do you believe that the blood is before the eye of God? Then you are sheltered; it is the right way to begin, but you cannot have peace until you see the offender removed in judgment, and the power of the oppressor broken; then you can sing the first verse of the song - "I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea". A little further down it is said of their enemies, "They sank as lead in the mighty waters". All that had incurred the judgment is gone in judgment. Israel was involved in the judgment on Egypt by being there, and hence they must pass through the night of judgment before they could be free from it. Of course, it is a type: they could not be saved from the judgment but by another bearing it. The passover prefigured the death of Christ. Many have the deep consolation that God's eye rests on the blood of Christ; they call it assurance,

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and I admit that it is assurance, but it is not peace: nor are they consciously in the favour of God. They do not yet see, by the light of God, that all has been removed which caused the judgment. Hence God said to Moses, "Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward". They were now to see the salvation of God. Mark how they were brought into peace, into complete deliverance from the judgment. It is not only, as in Romans 3, "Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood", but you have to believe that God "hath raised him from the dead". Hence God tells Moses to stretch forth his hand over the sea and divide it. The sea was figuratively death, and there was a way made through it, a way through the judgment; Pharaoh and all his host, chariots and all, were to be consumed, and Israel by divine light walked this new way; but Pharaoh and all his host perished.

There are two things of great importance to bear in mind: one is, that God made the way through the sea; and the other is, that the light which showed the way was God's light. Christ has made the way through death - the judgment of God. He died; He has borne the judgment, and He has been "raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father". I want you to accept that the Israelites did walk this new path through the sea; and every one who walked it knew that he had found the way out of it; as in John 5:24, he had "passed out of death into life". Every one is involved in the judgment. You cannot get out of it except through the death and resurrection of Christ. He has opened a way out of death, He is "declared to be the Son of God with power ... by the resurrection from the dead". There is no one who with the eye of faith beholds the Lord risen, but sees there is a Man who has come out of all that was against me; He was raised out from among the dead. "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt

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believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved". Think for a moment, it is very simple; one Man has risen out from among the dead, and He has broken all the power of Satan. Satan tried to terrify Him in the garden of Gethsemane, so that He said, "This is your hour, and the power of darkness". He went down into death, and bore the sinner's judgment; He so glorified God that He "was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father". I am speaking now of the antitype; but the type shows us the beautiful way all was done. There were two things of deepest interest: one, that the way was made through the sea; and the other, that the light from God showed them the way. They saw the sea on the right hand and on the left - the judgment which they incurred - but they were saved out of it, while Pharaoh and all his host were drowned in the Red Sea. "The Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever". It is a type that both Satan, and the flesh which Satan can act on, are gone in judgment. I can understand a simple soul saying, Well, if I could see that, and know that all against me was gone in judgment in the eye of God, I should be perfectly happy. It is not merely that the blood of Christ was offered, but that He went under the judgment, that He broke the power of the devil, and judicially terminated the man under judgment; as we read in Hebrews 2 (mark the words), "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil". I ask every one in this room, Do you really believe the power of the devil is broken, and that Christ has abolished death? It is not the power of death only, but that "he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage". All the

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saints before were subject to bondage, because death had never been annulled.

It is of great importance that you should understand the type. Israel went into the sea, figuratively the judgment of God, and they found that there was a way made for them through it. "The waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left". They walked through the sea, and when the morning appeared they were saved, and the waters covered their enemies. The death of Christ is the judgment of this world; as the Lord said, "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out". All Israel walked through the Red Sea; they did not only hear of it, but they walked every step of the way; they appropriated practically for themselves the work which was done for them. Step by step they appropriated the salvation of God; and where they were saved, their enemies were swallowed up. Hence the song in Exodus 15"I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea". The power of the devil is destroyed. Though the devil is still here, his power as Pharaoh is gone for the believer. Christ has abolished death. I do not say that you have by faith laid hold of this great fact. You may believe in the blood of Christ before the eye of God, but you may not have seen by faith that all which was under judgment has been set aside in judgment. Israel was implicated in the judgment because of the Egyptians, and now they are gone in judgment, while Israel was led safely through by the Lord. Hence it is no work of their own, but they sing, "The LORD ... hath triumphed gloriously".

So far is the type. Now I turn to Acts 9. This is the first account of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus; he, in the most relentless way, was persecuting the church of God worse than ever. But "as he journeyed ... suddenly there shined round about him a light

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from heaven". The light has come from God; that is His first work in the soul. As I have already said, there are two things; there is the way of escape, and there is the light to see it; there is a way out of death through the death and resurrection of Christ, and there is the light out of heaven to show the way. The light is the first thing; you cannot see at all if you have not the light, and the light comes from God. As the apostle says, "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them". The light has shone on this man; he had thought himself a very exemplary man, though he was unrelentingly persecuting the church of God. He even forced some of the christians to blaspheme; while in the eyes of the religious world he was most commendable, and as to himself he "lived in all good conscience". I call a man a monster who is opposing God in the most daring way, and at the same time getting credit from men for being religious. Saul had gone outside Palestine on his terrible mission, and was journeying to Damascus, when suddenly the light shone out of heaven. Though so religious he could not bear it, he fell to the ground; though he had lived in all good conscience unto this day, when the light of God reached him he fell to the ground. The work of God has begun; Saul cries, "Who art thou, Lord?" He has a sense that he has to do with God - a sense which always awakens fear. "And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks". How terrible that moment must have been to him! Full of self-righteousness, he was the chief of sinners, as he afterwards owned. I do not consider that an exaggeration. No one surpassed him in his opposition to Christ. It is important to bear in mind that a man of unblemished conduct may be the greatest opponent

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to the truth. Now he is subdued: "And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" - he is not off legal ground yet. "And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus". He has received divine light, the light of God has shone into his soul, and he has heard the voice of Jesus; but he is not rescued yet, he has not peace.

Now read verse 9, which describes how he found salvation: "And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink". What was he doing? Then the work of grace was effected in his soul. Many have faith in the blood of Christ, are assured of its virtue in the eye of God, and yet are much distressed by Satan and by the flesh. You are not clear of them if you do not see that Christ has made a way through death by His death and resurrection, and that you cannot be clear until you have appropriated His death, the antitype of walking through the Red Sea. In deep seclusion, apart from every one, like Saul of Tarsus here, when for three days he did neither eat nor drink, you have so believed in the work of Christ on the cross that you have walked through the Red Sea; you have seen the way for you out of death through the death and resurrection of Christ. What a wonderful relief to Israel when they had reached the other side! We can understand that Saul during those three days did neither eat nor drink. He is learning that by the death of Christ he is cleared of all against him in the sight of God. The light has come to him from the glory of God, and he has heard the voice of Jesus in the glory, and now he sees that there is a way for him unto Christ in glory, through His death. To the

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satisfaction of his soul, he appropriates by faith the death of Christ as the only way "out of death into life". Then he prays; he has come to God. "For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee". Then Ananias is sent to him. The Lord's commendation is, "Behold, he prayeth".

He has to do with God, he prays. The prodigal son says, "I will arise and go to my father". That is confidence. Presumption is acting from my own feelings; confidence is acting because of the feelings which another has for me. You see the same with the thief on the cross: "Lord, remember me"; he began by prayer. Great was his confidence in the Lord. Now Saul prays; he has turned to God, he has confidence in Him; the judgment is over, the morning has appeared; and now Ananias is sent, and says to him, "Saul, brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus that appeared to thee in the way in which thou camest, that thou mightest see, and be filled with the Holy Spirit". That is, he is to enter on an entirely new history here. I do not dwell upon this, but I press that the wonderful fact was now known to Saul that all under the judgment of God had gone in judgment; he had learned that the old man was crucified with Christ; he had walked through the sea - literally, he had travelled through Christ's death to the other side of death. "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you". Now he can say, The Lord hath triumphed gloriously.

Saul is now outside of judgment, and no one who dwells on it but will see the great advance there is from the light coming to him and his hearing the voice of the Saviour, and his present position - saved for glory, and the Holy Spirit filling him. I trust you see that all under judgment has been removed in judgment in the death of Christ; for though Satan is still here, he is never again as Pharaoh to the believer in Jesus; and though the Egyptians are here - that is,

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the flesh is here - yet Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the sea shore. So should you see our old man crucified with Christ. If Israel attempted to revive an Egyptian dead on the shore it would be unaccountable. Christians are more so when they revive the flesh which was set aside in the cross. You should rejoice that our old man is crucified with Christ. But no one will be free from the old man till he is glad that he has gone in the cross; and you never can know that he has gone till you travel through faith in Christ's death out of the place of judgment. If you do not accept the death of Christ as the salvation of God, the wrath of God abides on you. But on the other hand, the Lord grant you may be deeply interested in His grace - even that not only is the blood before the eye of God for you who believe, but that the man under the judgment of God has been judicially ended in the death of Christ, and that, as He is risen out of death, you have to do with Him risen and glorified. The effect upon you is that not only are your eyes opened to see things in this world in a new way, but you are filled with the Holy Spirit; you enter on a new and blessed history on the earth. You begin your new history with a song; you have come to God - "The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation". Like Saul of Tarsus you are in a new and wondrous position on the earth; you have a Saviour in glory, and the Holy Spirit in you.

May your hearts be bowed in faith with thanksgiving, for His name's sake.

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Exodus 3:7, 8; Luke 15:11 - 32

I have been pressing on previous occasions the judgment on man which had to be removed. The judgment on man is, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die". The man under judgment must be removed in judgment. There is a judicial termination of man in the cross of Christ.

Now I desire to set forth, the judgment being removed, the greatness of God's gift and reception. If you do not see that all of the man who has offended against God has been removed in judgment - alas! this is where many converted souls are - you cannot enjoy His gift and reception. Until you see every atom of the old man removed from the eye of God, you are occupied with yourself; the distance between Him and you has not been fully removed. Our old man is crucified with Christ. It is not "our old man is dead" - no, crucified. Crucifixion was the judicial end. Hence, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus". Christ was delivered for our offences and raised for our justification. You cannot enjoy the favour of God until you believe that every element of disturbance between Him and you has been removed by Christ; then you are justified by Him, and then you have entrance into this favour wherein we stand.

Now when you are brought from everything contrary to God, you begin to apprehend that you are brought to God. Many desire to enjoy the favour of God, but they do not, because they do not see the judicial removal of man in the cross. If man has been judicially removed from God's eye, he could not be revived on God's side. It is immense blessing when you believe that all this has been effected for you. You have peace

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when you are justified, and you are justified when you believe that God has raised Christ from the dead.

Now I turn to set forth the greatness of the favour into which we are brought. I have read those verses in Exodus because they give you a good idea of the purpose of God. He saw the affliction of His people who were in Egypt, and He said to Moses, "I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land". If you stop there, much would be effected for them. They would be free from the oppressor when they had walked through the Red Sea; they were then delivered from Pharaoh and the Egyptians - surely a very great deliverance. But that is only a part of the purpose of God; and bear in mind that it is not some great blessing which will be given hereafter, but which is given at once; you will be delivered out of your misery at the present moment, and you will be received into the greatest favour the same moment. The grace of God has two parts: one is to bring you out of your misery, and the other is to set you up in a new condition in the spot where your misery was. I mean at this moment, not merely when you go to heaven; of course all will be complete then, there will be no interruption to your blessing then. If you were not set up in a new condition, Israel would be better off than you are, because they were to be brought out of the place of oppression, and brought into "a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey". It was not merely to get them out of one, but to bring them into another. Is it only judicial, only inexorable hatred of sin? That is one side of it, but when that has been met, there is unbounded love. It is a great thing to understand the heart of God. All that is contrary to the holiness of God must be removed before the heart of God can be disclosed. When Christ died, then the veil was rent - God could declare Himself.

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In Luke 15 you will see this explained. In Exodus Israel was to be brought out of one place into an infinitely better place. If I were addressing a young man, full of aspirations in this world, I should say, I offer you infinitely more than all you seek here, and at this moment. You have to learn that it is not merely a future blessing, but a present one. Hence we read, "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound". There are christians who could not explain this passage; they know that their sins are forgiven, but they do not understand that "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound". The much more abounding is unknown in the righteous government of the world; when a man commits an offence, he incurs the penalty of the law; and when the penalty is paid he is set free. If in prison for a debt, and a friend pays his debt, he is discharged; his debt was paid through grace, but there is no abounding there. It is, of course, a great thing to be free of debt. But there is not only forgiveness with God; God has laid help on One that is mighty; His own arm hath brought salvation to Him. In John 4 Christ says to the woman of Samaria, "If thou knewest the gift of God". God has come out in quite a new way, so that "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound". The man saved by grace is infinitely better off than man was before he had sinned. I am pressing the wonderful greatness of the love of God, so that He can say, 'All in you contrary to Me has been removed, to My infinite satisfaction, in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ; and now My heart is at liberty to do as I please for you'. This is the gospel of the blessed God, and therefore your new state bears no comparison with the old. There is no comparison between Canaan and Egypt. You read in Deuteronomy 11 of the contrast between them. In Egypt there was no rain, but when the overflow of the river came, they had to conduct the water to the roots of the trees. "For the land, whither thou goest

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in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs". But the land of Canaan is "a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven: a land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year". The land to which Israel were going was infinitely superior to the land they were brought out of. That is a type of the magnitude of God's grace.

In Luke 15 we get three parables. In the first, the shepherd goes after a lost sheep until he finds it, and when he finds it he lays it on his own shoulders rejoicing, and brings it "to the house" (the right reading), and calls his neighbours together to rejoice with him - it is the joy of the finder. If that little sentence is wrought in your soul by the Spirit of God, it will be for much blessing. We think of our joy in our salvation, but did you think of the joy of the Finder? "Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost".

The second is the woman with a lighted candle sweeping the house diligently (properly the work of an evangelist) for the lost piece till she finds it, and the light rests upon the piece; and then when she has found it, she puts it along with the other nine. One is the shepherd, who seeks and finds; the other is the light by which the soul is turned to God.

In the third, there were two sons, and the father divided his living between them; one remained as usual with him, but the other went into a far country, and wasted his goods with riotous living. This is a picture of man naturally. The temptation to man in the garden of Eden was that he could do better for himself by doing his own will. Hence every one, sooner or later, be it from bad health or some other cause, comes to the end of his resources; like the

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prodigal, "he began to be in want". It is a terrible moment when death stares you in the face. The prodigal made several attempts to retrieve his position, but they were ineffectual. He "joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him". It is in this state of need and desperation that the light arrests him; as the scripture describes it, "when he came to himself". The goodness of his father awakens confidence in him: he says, "I will arise and go to my father"; he can say nothing for himself, but "the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance". It is a faithful description of the sinner reduced to the lowest point, like the thief on the cross; still more markedly Saul of Tarsus.

The unspeakable misery of the lost will be when they wake up to the fact that there is goodness in God, and that they never turned to Him. Is there any one in this room who has not turned to God? No one turns to God until he is brought to the lowest point; while any other hope remains, man will not turn to God. Hence the word to the servant, "Compel them to come in". It is not enough for the blessed God to announce, "All things are now ready", but He compels you to come in. Anyone here who has turned to God knows that, like the Philippian jailor, he was reduced to the lowest point before he turned to God. You were like the four lepers at the siege of Samaria; they said, If we stay here we die, and if we go into the city we die there; the only one door open to us is the mercy of our enemies, but they trusted mercy and they were not disappointed. A beautiful type. God favoured them, because they trusted in mercy. I may say to each one here, Have you trusted in the mercy of God? The prodigal says, "I will arise and go to my father". This is the history of every converted soul. You have not anything to say for yourself, not one word. But

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you count on His goodness. "I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants". That is the prodigal's gospel. And, alas! many truly converted have no better gospel than just to get within the door of heaven. At any rate the work of grace has begun, he has left the far country - all the fruit of the shepherd's work.

As I have already said, the moment Christ died God rent the veil, the distance between God and man has been removed by a Man - a Man who finished the work God gave Him to do, the One in whom He is well pleased. The question is, Do you turn away from the man who ruined you, and do you believe in the Man who wrought out your salvation? "The just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God".

Next the prodigal "arose, and came to his father". Now we have the father's side. People are constantly telling me of their feelings about God. I want you to know His feelings about you. Believe me, it will make a wonderful difference if you learn His feelings about you. He came to his father, because he had no one else to count on, he could not say anything for himself, he could only count on his father. Now while he was yet a great way off his father saw him. And what did he do? It is too much to describe. He "ran, and fell upon his neck, and covered him with kisses". Is there any one who can describe the greatness of that act? No one. The father ran. Yes, he says, as it were, I take a greater interest in the prodigal's conversion than the prodigal himself. This would deeply touch any one who believed it. The gospel is often spoken of as if the prodigal only had an interest in it; but the Father has an interest in the gospel, and therefore our blessed Lord says in John 4, "I have meat to eat that ye know not of.... My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work". Christ

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worked from God to the sinner; from the highest to the lowest. Put yourself in the place of the prodigal, and what would your feeling be? It would be, How much my father cares for me! he has nothing against me; he is on the best of terms with me. Of course the prodigal was so surprised at the graciousness of his father's reception that he could not say all he had intended, but as has often been remarked, he only says, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son". And the father said, "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him", etc.

Now mark, the first impression the prodigal got on coming to his father was the tenderness of his love. I lay great stress on this, because the lack in many is that they do not believe it. Here is verified, "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself"; and hence when known, "We also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation" - not "the atonement". God Himself has effected it, and therefore He can greet the returning prodigal in the most loving way. The prodigal at the same time has a deeper sense of unfitness; that is repentance. "But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet" - that is, he is made meet, "accepted in the beloved".

The prodigal is given an infinitely higher position than the one he had lost. Because God has been glorified by Christ in the work He has done, God can now do more for us than if we had never sinned at all; He can satisfy His heart, so that "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound". The moment the prodigal was fit for his father's house he was in it. The word now is, "Bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry". The meaning is that the believer shares in heavenly festivity. You may admit that Canaan is superior to Egypt, but here

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you share in the joys of heaven. Do you think there are no joys with God? Do you think man only has joys? Inconceivably great is the believer's reception; but the joys of God are immense: "In thy presence is fulness of joy". "And they began to be merry". May we apprehend the nature and greatness of the reception vouchsafed to the returning son, even to share in the joys of the Father's house, and that his home is there; for though no one here has gone to heaven, yet every one who has tasted of the Father's reception has the joys of his heavenly home along the road. May the Lord lay this on your heart.

The greatest festivity is accorded to every returning wanderer. The elder brother, who was self-righteous, traduces his own brother, because he was received by his father in such a loving and remarkable way. You may wonder and say, Why should the prodigal's position be better because of grace than if he never needed grace? Simply because it is grace, and that grace has come by the Son, who has glorified God when man had dishonoured Him, so that He is now at liberty to open out all His heart, and do all His pleasure for those who are brought to Him by His Son. The answer is, "It was meet that we should make merry and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found".

I desire that it may remain in your heart that your need is not the measure of God's grace; but that the measure of His grace is His own heart. Do you know the measure of it? "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us". It is a very simple statement. May you lay hold of this, that not your need, but His heart, is the measure of His grace. This utterly confounded the elder brother. The believer is altogether a debtor to grace; all has been effected for him by the blessed God, so that there is nothing which could be done for him which is not done.

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The Lord grant that each one here may be led to do as the prodigal son had done. Do not make light of it. He began by thinking of his father; that is the beginning: but how great was the end! I could understand the prodigal standing up at the end, after the feast, and saying to his father, How blessed you are to have blessed me so much!

The Lord grant that your eyes may be opened to the completeness of God's salvation, and the blessedness of the reception which He vouchsafes to each returning one, for His name's sake.

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1 Kings 17:8 - 24; John 4:7 - 15

I desire to bring before you this evening the greatness of the blessing vouchsafed to the believer in Christ on the earth; the greatness of the gift of God, I do not say from the earth, but on the earth. It is not merely that all that which was against you has been removed in the cross, that Christ "hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God", but it is the blessing you receive on coming to God. If it were better known, or rather enjoyed, there would be a wonderful testimony to the grace, even apart from preaching; great would be the testimony of the one who really knew the gift of God - his present portion on the earth, not one which he is expecting, but one which he is enjoying; as our Lord said to the woman of Samaria, "If thou knewest the gift of God", or God as a giver. I read about the widow of Sarepta, because the Lord alludes to this case in Luke 4when He was rejected by the Jews, He refers to the gentile widow and to the gentile leper. The tale told us here is very interesting. There was a great famine in the land, and Elijah was sent by the Lord to be sustained by a widow in Sarepta. When he came to the city, he saw a woman gathering sticks, and he asked her for a little water. As she was going to fetch it, he asked her to bring him a morsel of bread, and she said she had not any, she had only a little oil in a cruse and a little meal in a barrel, and she was gathering a couple of sticks, that she might bake a cake, eat it, and die. Can you conceive anything more deplorable? It is a true picture of the natural man; he is looking for present enjoyment, but beyond the present he knows nothing. She is deliberately bent on enjoying her last meal; after that, death - she had no more.

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Is there any one here who is bent on some present enjoyment? Supposing you get it, what next? It may be your last, and then death. Now Elijah announces to her, "The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house did eat many days"; in the margin of your Bible it is "a full year". A full year figuratively embraces all the circumstances of every period of your life. At the end of it her son dies - there is death in the house; and the widow said to Elijah, who had been in her house for a full year, "Art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed.... And he stretched himself upon the child three times" - he identified himself with death (typifying how Christ entered into our death), and the child revived. "And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth". She sees that death has been overcome, for the prophet had identified himself with it.

In the opening of John's gospel you find that Christ was to effect two great works: one, "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world"; and the other, "he it is who baptises with the Holy Spirit". It is important to connect them together. In the one He removes all that is contrary to God, and in the other He fits us for all that is according to God. On previous evenings I have dwelt on how He removes all that is contrary to God; I desire now to dwell on the greatness of His gift. It is of the last importance that

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you should understand that all that was against you has been removed in the cross - all in the believer contrary to God has been carried into the land of forgetfulness: "their sins and iniquities will I remember no more". But great as this grace is, yet there is more. He has done the greatest work for you, and He has given you the greatest gift. In John 4 the Lord is opening out the gift of grace. I do not confine it to chapter 4 it extends to chapter 7. Here in chapter 4 this woman of Samaria comes to the well at an hour of the day when the others would not be there. She sought isolation, she had no reputation, she was desolate. The Lord is sitting on the well, and when she comes He accosts her, and is ready to receive a service from her. "Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink". The one who gives is greater than the receiver, but He in His grace puts Himself in the position of a receiver.

The woman of Samaria cannot understand His grace, but says, "How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water". His asking her for a drink might have inspired her with confidence to ask Him. If you ask me to do anything for you, you embolden me to ask you to do something for me. If she had asked of Him, He would have given her living water.

I believe the true way for a sinner to begin is to say, I have offended God, and I want to know how the offence can be removed. By the grace of God it is removed. Christ has died, the just for the unjust; He has glorified God in bearing the judgment on man, so that God can be "just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus". As I have already stated, He is "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the

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world". All contrary to God has been removed from His side in the death of Christ, to His infinite satisfaction and glory. Man does not know the nature of his offence, the grievousness of sin in the sight of God. We know sin is very grievous, but we do not know God's estimate of it. No one but His own Son knew the measure of our distance, and He has removed it. Now the Lord is showing in this chapter the greatness of His grace; it is the gift He is setting forth, and this woman is a sample case. Here is a woman, He knows all about her, and before she acknowledges Him, or believes on Him, He tells her of the wonderful new condition in which He can set her up in Samaria at that moment.

In verse 14 the Lord tells her, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst" (the word for "never" is the strongest word that can be used; it means, neither here nor hereafter); "but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life". That is, death has been removed, and you are brought into life in the Spirit of God. The widow of Sarepta saw death overcome; but the believer has a divine fountain within him springing up into eternal life. The woman was attracted by this great gift; she could not be otherwise. I would say to any one much attracted by the things of the world, I can tell you of a present benefit, far superior to the brightest gain in this world. If you could acquire the brightest and greatest benefit here, you must part with it some day, and however great it was you would like to add to it, you could not be satisfied. But here you are told that the gift of grace is so great that you shall never have a sense of deficiency; you will be in the region of satisfied desire, because it shall be in you; it is not from anything outside of you: "the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life". I believe the more you read and the more you

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meditate on this passage, the more its greatness will open out to you. I am sure every believer here would own how little he lives up to his privileges. But if you do not start here, you have not started at the beginning of the gift of grace. The woman is attracted, and I think nothing would attract a person more than to hear that you could put him in the way of being in that state of satisfied desire while here on the earth, so that he did not want an addition. I know you may say that it is impossible to be so in our natural state. I am not speaking of our natural state. I admit that the most intelligent man on the face of the earth would say, 'The offer is splendid, but it is impossible, because it is contrary to all human experience'. But I ask myself, and I ask you, Do you believe it? Then if you have received this gift, live in it, seek the good of it.

If you look for natural additions, you are carried away with them; you do not know the greatness of God's gift, for it is inexhaustible, it could not be otherwise; and in fact, the more you know of it the greater you find it to be. You shall never thirst. You must first accept the word of God. You may not understand it, yet you are bound to accept it. Hence the woman was right when she said, "From whence then hast thou that living water?" She was conscious that it would suit her. There is no one who would not own its greatness.

This chapter is the contrast to John 2. There the Lord goes to a marriage feast, the happiest human circle, where man concentrates all his ability to make it a brilliant time; what happens? The wine ran out! Man's brightest day comes to an end. Every one knows that the brightest day ends, and very often in sorrow and disappointment. This is man in his natural state. Moreover the most valued favour on this earth, whatever it be, is overcast with the fear that you might lose it. A philosopher has described a mother dropping a tear on her babe as she gazed on it, fearing she might

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lose it. And it is a well-known fact that men who possess earthly advantages to the greatest extent are unhappy because of the fear of death, when all would be lost.

It is the natural man who is before us in chapter 2, both in relation to man and in relation to God, but the contrast is here; the new state is declared. The Lord is setting forth the grace of God, the greatness of His gift. If He had spoken to the woman of the law, she would have been familiar with the subject. Here the Lord speaks of God giving, the very opposite of demanding. God is come out in a new way. Law is a righteous demand; grace comes to give to the undeserving. "If thou knewest the gift of God". No one could have apprehended the greatness of the gift, that it should be in him, not like the wine, outside of himself; and that instead of running out, it should be "in him a fountain of water, springing up into eternal life".

Next, let us look at the nature of the gift; it is the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is given to every believer in Christ, "In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise". Therefore the apostle says to the Corinthians, "Do ye not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God; and ye are not your own?" We do not dwell sufficiently on the simple fact that we have received the Holy Spirit. If you have not received the Holy Spirit, you have not believed on Christ personally. In that sense you have not come to Him. I do not say you have not faith in His work; but as in the case of the ten lepers (Luke 17) all were cleansed, but nine of them went to ritualism to find approach to God. Many converted are here. Only one of the lepers came direct to Christ; he had now a living link with Him; this in pattern is sealing by the Holy Spirit. Not only has Christ saved you, but you are of Him. "If any man have not the

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Spirit of Christ, he is none of his". I press on you that it is His gift. "Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" The great point for you is, do you believe in the greatness of God's grace? His word is that you are to be set up, not in some future day, but now where you are, in the best and greatest way; "a fountain of water, springing up into eternal life". As to this woman, she had sought happiness in the world, and now she is degraded. The Lord reveals Himself to her in her desolation, and proposes to her not merely that she should be clear of all her offences - that is true - but that she should be set up in an inconceivably blessed way in the place of her degradation. No language can convey the greatness of this grace. If our faith were more abiding, we should understand it better. I would press on you how infinitely greater the grace here is than that vouchsafed to the widow of Sarepta. She rejoiced greatly to see death overcome, and in Luke 4, she is referred to as a type of those who will receive Christ when rejected by the Jew; the gentile widow would be glad to receive Him. But inconceivably greater is the grace that there is in you a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. As you read in John 1, "he it is who baptises with the Holy Spirit".

Now I add a word to those who have tasted this gift of God. The only way to increase your enjoyment of Him is to be in continued deference to Him. If you live in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit. If there was a room in your house where you would have untold joys, but because of your business you could not be always in that room, yet whenever you had a spare moment, I am sure you would go there. Well, how much more should you walk in the Spirit, so that you should never thirst, for there is in you a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. You may have business and many duties, but the more thoroughly you do your

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duty, like a horse in a mill, the more constantly you will be revived and invigorated by the Spirit in you who fills your cup. You have not to go outside yourself. You sometimes hear it said, Such an one is not a man of resources. A christian is a man of resources; he "shall never thirst"; he is in a region of satisfied desire.

I could not exaggerate this grace. It is surely marvellous that God has not only effected the greatest work, the work of our salvation, but He has given you the greatest gift which you are to enjoy now on earth. If we were more cast upon the Lord as indispensable to us, we should receive more. You should ever be able to say, "Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over". We are very often counting up our mercies, the different ways God deals with us, and we say, Well, we are happy. There is a great deal more for us. "Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased".

The Lord grant in His infinite goodness that every heart may be impressed with the sense of His wonderful grace, so that in this poor world a man may know that he possesses divine resources in himself, and therefore be able practically to say, Never less alone than when alone. I do not want any one to be a recluse or an ascetic, but I want you to apprehend the immensity of the gift which you have received, as well as to know the greatness of the work of salvation. In fact the order in John's gospel is, first the gift of grace, and then, from chapter 8, the work of grace. When we think of ourselves, we begin with the work; but when we look at God, He presents first the greatness of His gift. Have you resources? They are not outside of you, but you have to appreciate them, you have to draw from them; if you have a fountain of water you have to drink of it; and it is as you drink of the water that you shall never thirst. The Spirit assures you

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that you are outside of all the ruin and the misery here, and that your resources are in the Lord Himself; as has been said, it is like water which rises to its own level, it comes from Christ and rises to Him. The Lord grant that each of you may be more acquainted - great is your gain as you are acquainted - with the gift of God, for His name's sake.

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Genesis 50:15 - 21; Luke 5:1 - 11

There are two parts of the gospel - it is very plain; I have gone over it before. First, what you are brought from; and secondly, what you are brought to. If you are not brought from the distance of sin, that is, if everything has not been removed which is contrary to God, you could not be brought to God: "Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God". You must know that everything has been removed before you can understand the perfection of God's grace. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them". Everything has been removed from God's side to His infinite satisfaction and glory, and now He can unfold the full purpose of His grace. Until you enter on this ground to which you are brought, you are never restfully assured that you have been brought from the old ground. I desire to fix this last upon your heart. The prodigal son was not quite sure that he was free of the far country till he was in the father's house; then it was not what he was brought from that occupied him, but what he was brought to. The new ground assures you that you are clear of all against you on the old ground.

I read the verses in Genesis 50, in order to show that many are in a sense acquainted with the work of Christ who are not assured of His love; they are not brought to Himself. They have learnt the work which He wrought for them; and this I get in type in Genesis 50. Here Joseph's brethren, who had been living for seventeen years (as far as I can count) on the service of Joseph, do not know his love; doubtless they would say, There is no one like Joseph, just as a great many

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christians in the present day say, There is no one like Jesus. But do you know His love? Do you know His feelings about you? You may say, I know the proof of His love. Ah! that shows me you do not know His love, because when you do know His love you will not dwell on the proofs of it. Our blessed Lord rested in the Father's love, and not in any proof of it. He knew the love, He lived in it. Now this is the lack in christians, they are not assured of the love of Christ. Here are Joseph's brethren, after living for seventeen years on the service of Joseph. Their father dies; they are thrown, as it were, into close quarters with Joseph, and now they have to judge themselves, which they ought to have done long ago; they have to own how bad they were. Mark their language, they said, "Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father". They are not clear with Joseph yet; after an interval of seventeen years - a long time - they now come and own their trespass. Here you find two things come out at the same moment: one, the sense of their guilt; and the other, the assurance of Joseph's love for them. It is a wonderful moment when in your soul you know that Christ loves you, though you are utterly unworthy of it. Joseph's answer to this sorrowful confession was, "Joseph wept when they spake unto him". He intimated by this, After seventeen long years, is that all you know about me? This is often the case with believers; they are not acquainted with the love of Christ - though they are acquainted with His work, and are enjoying the benefit of it - until some great visitation occurs, when they are brought to the end of

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themselves, sometimes in one way and sometimes in another, and they are thrown alone with the Lord.

I have referred to this in speaking of Saul of Tarsus; he had seen the light out of heaven, and had heard the voice, but he was three days "and neither did eat nor drink"; he was engrossed with the Lord, he was learning the way out of his distance from God, and he found it in the death of Christ; he did get out of it, for he prayed. Some say, 'But we pray'. Yes, I know you pray, but it is to be kept in fresh remembrance of Christ's work and not of Himself. Joseph's brethren never knew the heart of their brother; they knew that he was their brother, and that there never was a better one; but still, though they could say this, they did not know the love which Joseph had for them. And so it is with many - they do not know the love of Christ. You may know His work, all He did for you, and not know the love in His heart to render you the greatest service; but you will never be restful until you do. When you do, you are disclosed to yourself in your true colour, while Christ in His grace and love is assured to you. And when His love is perfected to you, it is more than you can comprehend. It "passeth knowledge". Our translators did not catch the right idea in 1 John 4:17: "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world". This means that the love of God is expressed and made known to you; a ray of His own feeling about you and the brightness of it has entered your soul and has so affected you that you have "boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world". God has but one standard - His own Son; as He is up there in the glory, so are you now in this world. You may say it is too great; but that is the meaning of the scripture. When God's love shines perfectly into your soul, you have this sense of boldness in the day of judgment; consequently we read,

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"perfect love casteth out fear"; and nothing casts out fear but love. His work does not; but you have no fear when you know He loves you.

Now let us see how this is effected. I turn to Luke 5, where you will see it brought out very plainly in the case of Peter. This incident is given only in Luke; it is very interesting, because it records how the apostle of the circumcision was a debtor to grace. Peter was the contrast to Saul of Tarsus; he was doing everything right at the time. The Lord had previously called him, though it is not mentioned here. The Lord uses Peter's ship for preaching. And doubtless there is many a pious man at the present day who would open his house for preaching the gospel, and who, though he rejoices in the work of Christ for his salvation, is not assured of His love; he is not without fear. When I was young it was a question usually asked of the young christian, Are you without fear? "Fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love", that is, he is not assured of God's love for him. Many speak of their own feelings. Your feelings cannot be happy until the love of God is shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us. Look at the prodigal son; he counted on his father's goodness, he had none of his own; he is surprised that his father should fall on his neck and cover him with kisses; he could not account for it, but he was assured of his father's love for him. Surely that is a wonderful moment! If there is any one in this room who has never experienced it, I ask you, Would it not be a wonderful moment to be assured of God's love for you? Would you not walk about this world in a new way, and would you not say over and over again - and the oftener you said it the better - God has love in His heart for me? The prodigal did not know this at first; he only counted on his father's goodness; still it was a good beginning: "The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance";

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but he discovered when he came to his father that he loved him.

Here is Peter giving the Lord the use of his ship to preach from, just as you may see a pious man in the present day ready to use his property for the Lord's service. Peter, in a sense, is most devoted, he is exemplary; you cannot but be attracted by him. If you saw a fisherman now giving up his boat for the Lord's work, you would say, How devoted he is! Well, that man, like each of us, has to learn grace. The Lord uses Peter's ship, and then proposes to him to let down his net for a draught. Peter gives his own judgment, that they had toiled all the night and taken nothing, but "Nevertheless", he adds, "at thy word I will let down the net" - he was subject to the Lord. He was very exemplary; not only was his conduct excellent, but he was subject to the word of the Lord, and he let down the net for a draught. "And... they enclosed a great multitude of fishes". If you understand fishermen, you know they are full of delight when they have a great take of fishes. But not so with Peter. "When Simon Peter saw" - (the word 'it' is not there; it appears to refer to the ships beginning to sink, but it is not that exactly) - "When Simon Peter saw, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord".

Now here was a man who had everything that a Jew could desire. He had the two things which a Jew valued - one, that his conduct was exemplary, and the other, that he was a recipient of divine favour in a miraculous way; he was in the favour of heaven. And yet that man falls down at that instant - you cannot account for it - and says, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord". It was not that he was doing wrong, but he felt that he was not fit for Christ. It is very much like what you get with Joseph's brethren; they are sensible of the enormity of their guilt and their treatment of Joseph. The

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remnant will go through it in the latter days. And it is what we all have to learn, the enormity of our sin. Here is a man who was giving his time and means for the work of the Lord, and was a recipient of favour from heaven in the most miraculous manner, and yet that man falls down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me"; not, as another has said, that he wished Him to leave him, but he felt that he was not fit for Him. The Lord had previously called him, and given him the name Peter, but now he is made conscious that he is not fit for Christ, that he is in the presence of God. Now I put it to every soul in this room, Have you been in the presence of the Son of God? I believe many a true christian has never had the sense of being in His presence, so in His presence that he knows that man as he is in God's sight is condemned. Peter was relieved when the Lord said to him, "Fear not". Have you ever heard these words? I daresay I am addressing many in this room who can say, I know well the wonderful work Christ wrought for my salvation, and that by His grace all is cleared away, so that I am free from all the ruin and misery under which I lay. Quite right; but do you know Him? Do you know what it is to be so near Him that you know His love for you? Because if you know how He feels for you, if you know His love for you, you know that He would render you any service. It is important to bear in mind that service can be rendered at any distance. From heaven God can render you a service here; but you can never know His love till you are near Him, never! The prodigal son never knew the love till his father fell on his neck, and covered him with kisses; then he had the sense, Oh! he cares for me. That was a wonderful moment to him! Hence though he had to own, I am not meet, yet he did not ask for anything. Peter here is entirely a debtor to grace; as a Jew he was exemplary, his conduct unimpeachable, and he, an object of divine favour, might have been satisfied;

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but no, he has been in the presence of God, and he knows that he is unfit for Him, he had no place there. He cries out, "I am a sinful man, O Lord". Then the Lord said to him, "Fear not".

Now, I ask you, What did he get? Because the chief subject I have before me is not merely all that you are brought from, but all that you are brought to. What did Peter get? If I were to speak for an hour I could not explain all he got; he had come to Christ and he is assured of His love. If I have the love of a person, I share in all that person is. "Perfect love casteth out fear". It is a great thing to know Christ personally. Joseph is a type; he said to his brethren, "Fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones". Christ has done for us the greatest work. In that sense He has proved the greatness of His love: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends". But that is not all; the love of God is shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit which is given unto me, and I know Christ personally. Peter now knows the One whom he had followed; he knows that Christ loves him, and this he will never lose. Although afterwards he denied Him, he never lost the assurance that Christ loved him. Once you know it, you never lose it. When you are near Him you enjoy it. You must be near Him to know His love, and you cannot know it without being apart from the man for whom Christ suffered; the flesh cannot intrude into His presence. When the apostle corrects the Corinthians, he presents to them the glory of the Lord, nothing of themselves could enter there; flesh must be excluded, and the effect of it practically is that you are "always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus". You now know that the carnal mind is an interruption, but you would not have known this unless you had known the presence of the Lord. It is here the lack is in those who are seeking after holiness. How can you seek for

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holiness till you know what it is? When you do know it in the presence of Christ, then you will be glad to bear about in your body the dying of Jesus, that all which interrupts it should be removed.

In John 4 the Lord tells the woman of Samaria, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life". This you enjoy by the Spirit dwelling in you. In order to have this great gift you must come to Christ the Giver. Mark the change now made known. To Adam a garden was given, and everything in it - a tree of life in the midst of the garden; and there he was set, subject to God's word. But now it is a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. Mary Magdalene, in a garden, said to the gardener, "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him". Very ignorant, I admit, but her heart was set on a Person. Hence the Lord reveals Himself to her; He does not give her anything on the earth, but He said to her, "Go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father". It is a great thing to know Christ personally, so that you can sit down under His shadow with great delight. There is a universality about a person that no combination of circumstances can supply; we all know that no combination of circumstances can make up for the loss of a near relative; things cannot equal a person.

The more you know of Christ the more you will find that "He satisfieth the longing soul"; and when you know Him as your Head outside of every human voice, then He will be everything to you. Many christians can say, Christ is chiefest. Yes; but can you say, He is everything? This is a wonderful reality - a Person who is everything to you. His love passeth knowledge. It has been said that the greater the mind, the greater the affection. I hope you see the blessing to which you are brought, not to an earthly

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property, but to Christ Himself! In conclusion, I refer to Luke 18:28 "Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all and followed thee". This was about three years since the occurrence in chapter 5, when Peter left all and followed Christ. Now mark the Lord's answer, "And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting". You may ask, What is this manifold more? I answer, The company of Christ.

Peter was three years with the Lord. I put it to any one who has never thought of it before, Would you not like to get what Peter got? For three years he was in the company of Christ; all that time under His wing, under His influence. Surely that was better than fish, or any earthly blessing. We read, "When they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him". Doubtless their neighbours said, Did you ever see such foolish men? They have received a great favour from heaven, and they have left all to follow a poor man! "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God". Do you think Peter and his companions had any loss? People speak of the loss which you sustain when you break away from your friends, and from gain in this world to follow Christ. Loss? Instead of loss, "manifold more in this present time". Some imagine it is something of the same kind as that which you have surrendered. No, it is Christ Himself. Peter could not say that he had not gained. He knew well that he had received "manifold more in this present time". Never was any promise more verified; it is not only the work of salvation, but that you know the heart and interest of His blessed self; how He thinks of you, how He seeks to attach you to Himself, and to connect you with His own interests, so that the more your

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heart understands His love, the more you are convinced that if the whole world were given up for Him, He is manifold better than it.

The Lord grant that every heart here tonight may be moved, not only to see that you are brought from all the misery and ruin under which you lay, but also that you are brought to Christ Himself. It is not only that, like Jonathan, you have found David, but you have found the Son of God.

The Lord grant that each heart here may be awakened to see the wonderful nature of the grace of God, that you are brought from the deepest, darkest condition into the brightest enjoyment on earth. I am not speaking of the joys in heaven, but of the joys here. Hence, as I have already quoted, when His love in its perfection enters you, you not only have "boldness in the day of judgment", but "as he is, so are we" - in heaven? No; but "as he is, so are we in this world". Thus you are in the sight of God. Surely then you can 'come into His presence with a song'! Amen.

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Romans 5:1 - 11; Romans 8:1 - 13; John 4:14

J.B.S. We are not in the flesh but in the Spirit; that is the great thing to start with. The two things cannot be mixed. We are born of the Spirit and sealed with the Spirit: every bit of growth in the soul is by the Spirit of God, and no one is beyond the measure of the Spirit's work in him. We may read and know a great deal, but we are never beyond what the Holy Spirit has effected in us.

Ques. Does not all belong to every christian?

J.B.S. It is all his, but he may not have got it. Everything is true to us, but we have only as much as the Spirit has wrought in us.

A very important point for evangelists is the special revelation they present to the new-born soul. There is a great distinction between learning the work of Christ and learning Christ as a Person. At the first, forgiveness was preached through the exalted Man. "Through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins". A great many souls are detained in Romans 3, because they do not see that God has raised Christ from among the dead. We may learn from the types that the blood was upon the mercy-seat before it was on the person; the oil was put on the blood.

Ques. Would you say any forgiven person had not the Spirit?

J.B.S. You begin with the work. In Ephesians we read, "In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed". There is faith in the Person and in His word.

Ques. When is acquaintance with the Lord first made?

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J.B.S. The first positive link with Christ personally is in receiving the Spirit of Christ.

Ques. Do you make any difference between the link formed and the acquaintance?

J.B.S. I think there could not be. First, Saul of Tarsus was turned to God, and in three days he was cleared. I do not doubt he learned in a most wonderful way the value of Christ's work for him during those three remarkable days, but it is on the visit of Ananias that he receives his sight and is filled with the Holy Spirit, and the bond with Christ personally is thus formed. I think it is important to see that the bond is formed with the Person.

Ques. Is it not clear that we must not connect the sealing of the Spirit (having the types in view) with the Passover, but with the Red Sea?

J.B.S. Yes, "The Lord ... hath triumphed", etc., shows you that.

Ques. Is there not a contrast between the work of the Spirit as presented in Romans 5 and in chapter 8?

J.B.S. I understand the first eleven verses of Romans 5 to describe the terms on which God can be with you; chapter 8, the way in which you can be before Him. The prodigal got the first before he entered upon the second.

Ques. How can you enter into the terms on which God is with you?

J.B.S. You have to learn the fact that you are brought on to new ground with God; that is seen in chapter 5. Chapters 6 and 7 come in as a sort of treatise, taking up the questions of deliverance from sin and law, otherwise the apostle would have gone on to chapter 8. In the history of the soul, one has the first eleven verses of chapter 5 before chapter 8, and when you have got chapter 8 you go back to chapter 5; you cannot get higher than chapter 5.

Ques. But you enter into chapter 5 in a different way from what you did before?

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J.B.S. Yes. A great many souls are thinking how they stand with God, instead of thinking how God stands with them.

Romans 5 is the prodigal reconciled, but not yet in the Father's house. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us". There is the sense of how God stands towards us, and how everything is removed from His eye, before we know in the soul that everything is removed from our eye. Ask all in this room, Do you believe all is gone from the eye of God? Yes. Is all gone from your own eye? Ah! that is another matter. When the prodigal comes to the father his thoughts were all about what he had done and what he was. In chapter 5 the Spirit is acting on God's side. His love was towards us, but it could not be in us but by the Spirit.

It is a great point to see that the Spirit is acting on God's side in verse 5.

The gift of the Son is the proof of God's love for us. The Spirit diffuses His love in our hearts.

Importing our side into chapter 5 makes it difficult. The father was on as good terms with the prodigal outside as he was when he was brought into the house. Heaven is the proper sphere of God's love, but it is revealed to us in this world.

Ques. Would you say the love is apprehended by the Spirit?

J.B.S. Now you bring in the Spirit on our side; you must have it first on God's side. God's love is shed abroad by the Spirit. Our translators could not catch the idea in John's epistle; they said "Herein is our love made perfect", instead of "love... with us".

Ques. Would it be true of every christian that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit?

J.B.S. Yes, no one else would be a christian; he would not be on christian ground; but they do not see that the christian's portion is the most wonderful

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that can be conceived; his portion is in the love of God. In John's first epistle we have the verse, "And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us", etc.; this and the context show how the love of God is connected with us all through our path here, first in our state as sinners, then in our christian course right on to the end.

Ques. Do not the first eleven verses of Romans 5 give us the terms on which we are with God - "We boast in God"?

J.B.S. No, the terms on which He is with us. We are boasting in God because of what He is to us. I understand chapter 5 as illustrating the prodigal outside the house, and chapter 8 as his being inside. The soul wants to take in the two great things, i.e., everything gone from God's eye, and everything gone from my own eye.

There are four great things in Romans 8 into which the Spirit of God conducts us. First, liberty - the mortification of the deeds of the body; second, the place of sonship; thirdly, though in a groaning creation, we wait for the redemption of the body; fourthly, He helps our infirmities and makes intercession for us, because we know not what to pray for as we ought. The last verse of the chapter - nothing "shall be able to separate us from the love of God", etc. - takes us back to chapter 5.

The actual history is that all that was against me has gone from the eye of God in the cross, judicially so, and consequently cannot be revived; the status in the flesh could never be revived. If you are trying to correct the flesh you are not walking in the Spirit. I remember I used to think that if I read the Bible diligently I should keep from sin; but it is the Spirit alone who can keep me - "If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live". The greatest mortification a man can have is to be taken no notice of, that is the way of the Spirit's dealing.

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He engages you with Christ and excludes the flesh. In the end of Romans 5 you have changed your man. Many read their Bibles as a pious Jew would; they say, 'I must act up to this, or that'. It is true there is a certain kind of piety with this, but it is not the way of a soul walking in the Spirit, it is manifestly a legal state.

People try what is called self-control, but if we were walking in the Spirit, He would control us. Walking in the Spirit is simply that Christ is the One before me; if you have Him kept before you by the Spirit you are sure to go on well.

A christian is formed by the place in which God has set him; the grace of God has set him in the love of God which is shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Spirit, and he is formed by the place he is in. What Christ was in human life among men here was the outcome of the place in which He was with the Father.

Ques. "Keep yourselves in the love of God" - does that come in here?

J.B.S. Yes, but the Spirit of God does it; you could not be in it but by the Spirit. I do not think any christian will advance unless he has learned Romans 8; you must first know what "dead to sin" is; but that depends upon your having learned by the Spirit that you are dead with Christ.

Ques. Do you not think many dwell on Romans 7 with no desire to get out of it?

J.B.S. A great many people like Romans 7 because they are experimentally there in their souls. A further reason is that it suits man on the earth. There are many converts who are not in the good of the gospel, that is, that whilst we are here on the earth, we have a part and portion that is not of the earth. If Christ were here, earth would be the place for us; but as He is rejected we must share in His acceptance in the place where He is.

There is another thing, the revelation of the fact

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that you can be in that place; but we do well to bear in mind that we should never have been in the heavenly scene, had He not as Man entered it first. It is of great value to see how the Spirit of God links us with Christ where He is.

If you do not know what "dead to sin" is, you could not take an interest in the things of Christ; you must be settled first, then service. The thought of "dead to sin" is taken up as a question of position which belongs to every christian, but all are not practically dead to sin. Saints are not in it, so the resurrection of Christ is held as a doctrine by those who have never accepted death.

It is a great help to see that man is gone judicially, and consequently never to be revived. If I do revive it, I come under chastening here "for the destruction of the flesh". God judges us in present circumstances, for there is no more offering for sin.

Now as to chapter 8. If you are walking in the Spirit you would necessarily see as God sees. Pious people say, If I am dead with Christ one minute, I could be two. The first part of the sentence is right, the last wrong; they leave out "with Christ". You are not dead one minute unless you are dead with Christ; if I part company with Him one minute I am not dead. In Romans 6 you are dead with Christ; then in Colossians you are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world. That is to seek the new place where Christ is, and I have to do with the new man in this way. Anyone can understand that a christian must part from the man here to have part with the Man there. We have to see that the old would not suit the new at all. When it comes to a question of the flesh, ease, or enjoyment, we should judge the way in which it is a hindrance to us, to our getting on in the new place. It is not a question of maintaining propriety on earth at all; the question is, Is it a hindrance?

We cannot insist too much that the truth of death

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with Christ is experimental, a thing to be daily realised. Paul learned the way out of all that he was through the death of Christ, and he could say, "I am crucified with Christ". It is gone never to be revived, and not simply dead, but crucified, a judicial termination.

Ques. "I am crucified with Christ" - is that standing?

J.B.S. No, Paul says "I"; it is experimental, the result is that I really enjoy the Lord and find the flesh an intrusion. In Galatians 4 we learn that the educated, well taught, religiously brought up man does not like Christ. It is a most painful experience to learn that man in his best estate will not have Christ; like the young man in the gospel.

It is a moment of glad experience when you can say of the man who does not like Christ; he must go. It is the coronation day; Christ has got His place. But, you say, he may come back; well, walk in the Spirit and he cannot come back; the Spirit will not let him.

Ques. What is the "first-fruits of the Spirit"?

J.B.S. The first thing that grew, the first bit of ripe fruit.

Ques. How does it apply to the Spirit?

J.B.S. Because we have Him in a way nobody else ever will.

Ques. Is it not in connection with the earth, and by and by to be poured out on all flesh?

J.B.S. Yes, but we have the first-fruits, that is the chief. It is in connection with the earth.

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John 7:37 - 39; Hebrews 4:11 - 16

J.B.S. John 4 presents in a most striking way what is personal. A woman in the most deplorable condition is to be set up in the most magnificent style conceivable in the very place of her wretchedness; that is expressed in the Lord's words, "shall never thirst"; you find the detail of the Spirit's action in Romans 8, but we get it here, so to speak, all in a lump.

In John 4 you get the darkest circumstances; in John 7 the brightest. It is the last day of the feast; they were celebrating the fact that God had made man His object on the earth, and that is what many christians would like. What we see here is that the Holy Spirit would surpass everything that was ever on the earth. "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink". It is not merely what I require as a poor sinner or what flows out in service, but the great point is the immense resource which I have found in Christ; the flowing out proves what has flowed in. It is a wonderful thing that I am set in this world to be a giver. I am capacitated to impart because of the overflowing bounty of God. It is a great thing to have received so much from God that you can share it with others without loss to yourself. I ought so to be in the power of the heavenly portion God has given me that I could go to the richest man in the country and say, Do you ever thirst? I know you do! but I can tell you of something which, if it were only yours, would place you for ever out of the reach of thirst.

It is right to connect this subject with priesthood, because, unless satisfaction is yours, you are not really free to be His servant.

The tendency of the Hebrews was to go back religiously to earth: the writer seeks to preserve them

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from this by presenting to them a Person in heaven who is everything to them. Only let that Person be everything to you, and your heart will be sure to be drawn from the place where He is not.

Ques. Do you mean everything to meet your need?

J.B.S. Yes, but not merely that, He is my resource.

Ques. How do you connect that He is my resource with John 7?

J.B.S. By the Spirit - "If any man thirst let him come unto me, and drink". I am not seeking anything from this scene, but I am seeking all from Him; it comes from the glory where He is, and it is the normal action of the Holy Spirit to turn my heart to Him where He is.

Hebrews begins by the presentation of Him as the purger of our sins. In chapter 2 we are His brethren, and in chapter 3 we are God's house, the companions of Christ. Then he shows there is a tendency not to go on, to get discouraged like their fathers.

Well, it is obviously not a question of sins, for they are gone, but of infirmities, pressure of circumstances, bad health, and greatest of all, bereavement. The question is, then, how will He meet you? He does not remove the circumstances, but He sympathises with you in them. Sympathy is a wonderful thing to a person under pressure.

Many people mistake the favour of Jehovah for the sympathy of Christ, but the two things are altogether different. I will give you an illustration - By the favour of Jehovah, Abraham overcame the kings, but on his return from the slaughter he met the priest, who brought forth bread and wine and blessed him. In the presence of such an expression of sympathy Abraham can readily decline every offer of the king of Sodom. That is the difference between help and sympathy.

In the case of Mary of Bethany, Christ comes to one weighed down by the pressure of her sorrow, and

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makes Himself known to her, so that she acquires such a knowledge of Him that He becomes dearer to her than even Lazarus was; that is the acquisition. The effect of sympathy is that I find out my resource.

I do not think the Lord ever sympathises with anybody simply to relieve them, but in order that they should bear Him company; that is the idea of Hebrews. They accompany Him into the brightest spot, into the holiest - from the lowest conceivable spot to the highest conceivable spot, the presence of God.

Ques. By the Spirit?

J.B.S. Yes, it could not be in any other way. The Lord comes to you in your sorrow; anyone can have a friend in joy, but it is a wonderful thing to have a friend in sorrow. Take the case of Mary of Bethany. People feel they must turn to the Lord in their sorrow, and are thankful that He enables them to bear up well; but that is not sympathy. In sympathy the Lord makes us sensible that He has been through all the sorrow here; none can feel the pressure of things here as He felt it, and whilst He does not change my circumstances, He lifts me to Himself from the place where I am to the place where He is; and though the pressure is not removed I get an acquisition in a deeper knowledge of Himself, and thus He makes Himself indispensable to me. I do not believe anyone's heart is drawn out of this world until he has learned the priesthood; if you are attached to a Person not here you will very soon think little of this place.

Ques. Are you not trenching a little on headship?

J.B.S. No, I am not, there I derive from Him; He Himself is before me here.

Ques. Do we not come a little bit close to it when we come to the Person?

J.B.S. The Head is indispensable to me for service;

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the Priest is indispensable to me personally. I could not get on in this poor world without Him.

Ques. But are we not getting on to the church?

J.B.S. I am preparing you for it; I am going on to it.

Ques. Do you contrast John 7 with priesthood?

J.B.S. No, but priesthood is the opening out of John 7. In John 7 we come to Him, but in priesthood He comes to us.

Ques. What is the action of the Spirit in priesthood?

J.B.S. The Spirit leads me to Christ. He is my only bond with Christ; His sympathy draws me to Him, but it is to the side of One who has passed out of the sorrow. I believe Mary learned it in John 11, hence she comes out in chapter 12 to break the alabaster box and anoint Him for His burial. The alabaster box in Luke 7 was for a living Christ; this, for His burial; hence the Lord says, "Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her"; and I do not think it is enough preached. He could produce such love in a sinner that she could give up all for Him. Priesthood has nothing at all to do with sins; it has to do with infirmities. It is to prevent from sin if you like. You find all your resources in Christ, and you appreciate Him the more. You find such attractions in Christ that you would not care to settle in this place. The more I am drawn away to Christ the less I want to please myself here. My heart is drawn away to Him in glory. Like Ruth - "Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go", etc.

In the exercise of priesthood the heart is drawn away by the Priest. In Hebrews 10 you go into the holiest with Him. In chapter 12 you are running a race to Him; instead of settling down here, you are off to heaven where He is.

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A very important principle is stated in Luke 11. If you have no part dark your whole body will be full of light. Your body is always indicative of your spiritual state, and the measure of the Spirit's work in you. In Romans your body is to be the exponent of the will of God.

If we pass through trial without the sympathy of Christ we get no good from it; self-occupation is increased.

It is well to see that it is not pressure nor sorrow of itself that softens, but really the sympathy of Christ.

If the Lord is pleased to snap some natural link very dear to me, I am drawn more to Himself by His priestly service, and instead of mourning over the snapping of the natural link, I get more than I lost, I get an acquisition, so that He is more endeared to me than ever. It is not that I am indifferent to the sorrow; the one who knows most of sorrow feels it most. So the Lord, being rejected and having to taste death here, had a keener sense of the ruin of man than any other. See Him as He weeps over Jerusalem: when He was with Mary He was "moved in spirit". Whatever you lose on earth it is more than made up in Christ. It is in His priestly service that you find this. Supposing you have lost your property, by the Priest you are carried above it; you have lost here, but you have a greater gain.

Ques. But that is more than priesthood?

J.B.S. I think you get it in priesthood. You really come to find out what is in Him, how boundless it is. In John 7 there was much earthly gain in the feast of tabernacles, but there was that which was infinitely greater. See how Job's friends misunderstood him; they looked upon all his afflictions as proof that he had done something wrong. The truth is, the more a man advances in the things of God, the more God strips him of natural things. The apostle says, "we which live are alway delivered unto death for

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Jesus' sake", but that only brings out the preciousness of Christ. Think how Paul and John ended their days! The apostles passed out of the world in obscurity to man's eye. Paul in the midday of his career was a distinguished man, but in the end had to say, "all men forsook me". People often say that the church is in ruin, which is true, but I say I am not looking at the ruin but at the treasure. It is a great comfort to me that the treasure is hid. Show it me, they say; I cannot, it is hid. It is a hid treasure, that is what it is to Christ.

In Hebrews 10 we have a great Priest over the house of God; that directs us to what He is at the other side of death. No one can touch the truth of the church if he does not take resurrection ground.

Ques. What do you mean by taking resurrection ground?

J.B.S. You must reach Christ where He is. Take John 20; you are on resurrection ground there, and had we the affections of the apostles we could not be content without being in spirit where the Lord is. In Hebrews 10 we have boldness to enter the holiest, where there can be no question of sins at all. No one could explain what "the holiest" is; no one could understand it unless he was there.

Ques. Would you say we have the right to enter in because He has gone in first?

J.B.S. He never left it; it is an entire mistake to think otherwise. When He died He opened the way for us to enter in. In a sense He is the holiest.

Ques. What is the antitype of it?

J.B.S. Beholding the Lord's glory. In Hebrews you get the great idea of the place; there was nothing in the holiest but the ark of the covenant and the golden censer.

Ques. Is not Christ said to enter the holiest in chapter 9: 12?

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J.B.S. Yes, but that is in connection with His work; it is with regard to His people. He never left it, but it goes on further and says He entered "into heaven itself".

Ques. Why is it "heaven" in chapter 9 and "the holiest" in chapter 10?

J.B.S. Heaven is the place: the holiest the moral value of the place. I have not entered heaven itself; He has, but I have a right to the place; the holiest is moral: you do not go to heaven for the house of God. He comes into the midst in all the moral value of the place. We must see what is true as to Himself, and what is true for us. On His own side He was always there; on my side He was not - He is gone in as the Forerunner, that is in relation to us. The holiest is heaven in moral character. It is the actual condition of the place, and the effect of it is the race (chapter 12).

Now it is difficulties, not infirmities; so you need faith and patience, and you find He has gone all the way; the one who runs well has his heart fixed on Him in heaven, and the discipline of God helps him. Then, "ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel". The idea is of a man come of age; he has come to a point where new things are before him.

I am first drawn away from earth by a Person who is indispensable to me; I am brought by Him from the very lowest spot to the very highest, to find myself in a circle of unspeakable brightness, beholding the Lord's glory; and the effect is that, instead of trying to settle down here, my whole object will be to reach Him, and in faith I overcome the difficulties on

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the way to Him in heaven. Now I am in the life of faith. Chapter 13 is what your appearance on earth is, "content with such things as ye have". Inside the veil and outside the camp, praising God and doing good to men.

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Matthew 14:22 - 31; 1 Peter 2:1 - 5

J.B.S. We have been considering our side - what Christ is for us; now we come to His side - how we are to be for Him. Every christian knows something of what Christ is for us; but the practical difficulty is, how to be for Him. These scriptures show that we are first to go to Him. He came into the world to our side to relieve us of all our misery, and bring us into the boundless joy of the Father's house. Everyone is delighted to hear of Christ in the vessel (Matthew 8:24), that is our side; but here (Matthew 14) He is not in the vessel, but walking on the water; supreme above all the power of evil here. The point is, will you join Him? For that you must be attached to Him. Peter, in leaving the ship to join Him, discloses the reality of his affection for the Lord; he leaves a position suited and natural to man, and representatively sets forth the christian moved by faith and love to leave all for the company of Christ. The first great thing is to see where He is. I do not now mean in heaven, but above all the power of evil here. He is supreme as the risen Man on this earth. You must take one step at a time. John 6 and Matthew 14 happen at the same time. The Lord says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you". You cannot have it but through His death; therefore "many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him"; they would not take that path.

Ques. How can you see the Lord risen out of the ruin, and not look at Him in heaven?

J.B.S. It is an out-of-the-world condition of things; you must be above all the evil of this place first. Practically people are pretty clear about heaven

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and earth, but not about the middle place; that is out of the world, and that is the first great step. In 1 Peter 2 Christ is the living stone, disallowed indeed of men, counted worthless. "To whom coming". Are you ready to take that step? It is very much against flesh and blood. He has a spot on this earth where He is supreme and is known there as such, as Son over God's house, as the risen One, the Son of God with power.

Ques. On earth?

J.B.S. Yes, He had not left the earth when He walked on the water, or Peter either. Peter left the ship, and as still on the earth, knew Christ as supreme above all the power of evil. Matthew 14 and 15 are education for the assembly; chapter 14 is His supremacy above every power here; chapter 15 is that He is able to relieve us in the lowest condition here because of Satan.

Ques. The supremacy really comes out in resurrection?

J.B.S. Yes, of course. In the out-of-the-world condition of things, everything of man is a hindrance. You could not retain anything of man; that is the great moral power of resurrection on the soul. John 20 presents to us a beautiful pattern of this. The first thing the Lord pronounces is "peace", every disturbing element gone. Who would like to introduce the subject of their sins or their needs there! It corresponds with chapters 13 and 14; the disciples are shut in with Him, and He washes their feet to keep them fit for this new ground. If you are not in intimacy with Him, you will not feel the need of having your feet washed.

There was nothing but Christ before Peter in the step he took when he left the ship and walked on the water to go to Jesus. It was not a question of place, but to join the Lord. You have the pattern in John 20. They had heard the Lord had risen, and they were

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waiting to see Him. He had said, "I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice".

Ques. Is it faith in His word - "if it be thou, bid me come"?

J.B.S. It is not that way with us now because we have the power to come. Peter had not the power, but he had the affection; that is the difference between Peter and us. What we want is affection.

Ques. Would you say that every one coming into the assembly should know Christ as the Son of the living God?

J.B.S. You must know who He is. I do not see how you can be in your right place if you do not give Christ His place. The whole point is the Lord's place. The important thing that comes out in chapter 16 is, "I will build", etc. - 'I will have a structure on this earth which no power can remove'. It is to be maintained on earth. If you admit that Christ has a place on earth, how can you be without the desire to join Him? The practical obstacle is the lack of recognition that Christ has a place on this earth.

Ques. Would you say everyone having the Holy Spirit has the power, and everyone that has affection would say, I must join the Lord on this new ground?

J.B.S. Certainly, I do not ask for intelligence, but simply affection; we have the power.

Ques. In Matthew 14 you do not get as far as the assembly?

J.B.S. No, it is first spoken of in chapter 16; chapter 14 is to show how you can enter on the new ground. You have a pattern of the Lord supreme in resurrection above all the power of evil here, and how He would by His Spirit conduct you to Himself. What we are tracing is the leading of the Spirit of God; our hearts are drawn to the Lord to be where He is.

Ques. Do you mean to go to heaven?

J.B.S. No, resurrection ground on this earth; it is

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outside of man. It is here John 6 comes in, you must travel to it through Christ's death. Nothing but what is of Christ could be on that ground. Look at the order in 1 Peter 2"To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men ... ye also, as lively (living) stones" - you become one.

Ques. I thought we were living stones when we come?

J.B.S. "To whom coming", you must first come.

Ques. I thought you came to be built up?

J.B.S. Quite so; but you are recognised as a living stone by coming to the Living Stone.

Ques. I thought we were recognised as living stones?

J.B.S. You first taste "that the Lord is gracious". "To whom coming" is another step; "disallowed indeed of men" - you pass outside man, that is before you are built up. You are built in first, then you are built up. "Ye also, as lively (living) stones, are built up". You are of the same material as Christ, you are of Him, He does not build of other material.

Ques. Is not everybody a living stone who has tasted that the Lord is gracious?

J.B.S. I do not think that is the order in Peter. "If so be ye have tasted" first; then "to whom coming"; you come to the One who is counted by men as worthless; you come into vital contact with the Living Stone.

Many sincere people have left a religious system because of the evil; but separating myself from evil is one thing, being drawn to the Lord where He is, is another. Whatever God has established on the earth He does not give up, though men give it a new form. Here, it is a "spiritual house", it is the house of God.

Ques. Is the spiritual house spoken of here the progressive building which will ultimately be the new Jerusalem?

J.B.S. No, it is a question of present privilege here.

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Ques. Would it be in the place of what they had lost?

J.B.S. Yes, they had lost the material and got the spiritual, therefore it must be for the present.

It is an immense thing in the history of the soul to step into Christ's place here on earth, an entirely new thing, and everything outside of man.

Ques. In the very place where He is disallowed of men?

J.B.S. Yes, not recognised by man for a moment. It is here in keeping with the parables in Matthew 13; after having set forth the first three the Lord sent away the multitudes and "went into the house" (verse 36). The disciples follow Him apart from man, and He points out to them in the last three parables what His real interests were here. There is nothing so little known as what His interests are. People are looking for something or talking of the ruin. If you are inside you are not occupied with the ruin, but with His interests. The business of the evangelist is to separate the good from the bad.

My impression is this, and it makes me very anxious on the subject - if you do not take the first step you will not go on; if you do not get to the company where He is, you will never know the mystery.

Ques. The first step is coming to Him as unto a Living Stone?

J.B.S. Yes, and the difficulty of seizing it arises on account of the confusion of christendom; it must be taken in a sort of abstract way. Everyone must be individual in the step, and there is nothing for you to see. "Disallowed indeed of men" is the real difficulty. You cannot limit the truth of the spiritual house to those who have taken the step, still if they have not they are not in the enjoyment of their privileges. The fact is that some do not really take the ground of the house of God - the spiritual house.

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Ques. I suppose it is that there is no idea that there is such a thing, or that Christ has such a place on earth.

J.B.S. That is what I mean; you have to seize the truth in a sort of abstract way. It does not take many to form the house; there were not many at the first. I think if a person has not got the truth he adopts a material idea. The difficulty is that it is impossible for anyone to enter into it except spiritually.

Well, it is an immense thing to know that the One who has been rejected as worthless by man has a place on this earth where He is supreme, and where I can be in His company.

I think we must understand the assembly in Acts 2, before we can understand the mystery. Our subject is the leading of the Spirit in our souls.

Ques. Which way would you say Paul learned it?

J.B.S. No doubt it was revealed to him at first, though he was not in the power of it till afterwards. He was to be "a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee".

Now we come to Acts 2. They were so filled with the Spirit that they were entirely governed by the Spirit. They were led of the Spirit. The mystery was not revealed.

I am come to Christ's place, God's house, and am now in the power of the Spirit. As the Spirit really leads me, He leads me in reference to the Lord. With the soul full of the Spirit everything of self is in abeyance.

Ques. What is the practical difference between the way of acting in Acts 2 and as governed by the Head?

J.B.S. I should say anyone who knows Christ as Head, and is in communion with Him as such, would act according to His dictation. I do not think, until you know the Head, you could act beyond Acts 2 - filled with the Spirit.

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Ques. You could not get better direction than by the Spirit, could you?

J.B.S. No, if you were absolutely under Him, but from the Head you get distinct dictation.

Ques. If full of the Holy Spirit you could not get more?

J.B.S. Still the Spirit's help in opening the Scriptures is a different thing from dictation from the Head. I think when it is from the Head He may propose a subject to you of which you know little, but it is His pleasure and you obey.

Ques. You mean in the assembly?

J.B.S. Of course; it is a different thing altogether.

Ques. Some insist that we cannot go beyond Acts 2?

J.B.S. A great many have no idea of the Head at all, but of being moved by the Spirit of God. In Acts 2 they did not act themselves, the Spirit of God moved them, perhaps beyond their intelligence.

Ques. Did not the Spirit of God exclude the man?

J.B.S. I quite admit it; still it is different from dictation from the Head.

Ques. Does the Spirit of God refer us to the Head?

J.B.S. The Head directs. I have no bond to Christ but the Spirit. The great thing is to understand first what Acts 2 is.

Ques. Do you mean in Acts 2 a person may have the sense that the Spirit will help him to do it?

J.B.S. Yes, and I may speak on Scripture as impressed by the Spirit, but I think dictation from the Head is quite different. I do not think we are as a rule beyond Acts 2; the question is, are we up to it? They were a company all filled with the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God led them.

A man in the assembly might speak with tongues in the power of the Spirit of God without direction from the Head. 1 Corinthians 14 gives the idea of the power of the Spirit without the knowledge of the Head. I do not think the Corinthians understood the mystery.

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In John 13 and 14 we have the Lord preparing the disciples for the field of service; if you do not understand the Lord inside, you cannot be rightly for Him outside. It is a great thing to see these chapters in connection with the assembly.

Ques. Is Acts 13 an illustration of it - they ministered to the Lord and fasted?

J.B.S. Yes, everything in the assembly comes from Christ. Gifts are given in the assembly. A saint finds out his mission there.

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Colossians 3:1 - 17

J.B.S. We were looking a little this morning at the assembly according to Acts 2, when the mystery had not been revealed, as to what characterised the meeting where there was no knowledge of the mystery.

One could hardly say we could go back to that, though in our day there are a great many who do not know anything beyond it. They do not know Christ as Head, but they desire to be led by the Spirit, and look for Him to help them to give utterance to some word brought before them in the assembly. I think it is important to see the difference between being led of the Spirit and the knowledge of the Head, acting in communion with Christ as such.

Ques. Whilst it is plain we come to the Head in this scripture, is it not more in connection with the circle of christian fellowship?

J.B.S. Yes, that is true, but still He is Head of every believer.

The first thing to understand is that the Colossians were a well-ordered assembly, but they were not really in the truth of the Head; they did not know the mystery, and the apostle had great conflict for them that they might know it. A great snare was impending, the notion that man could serve Christ by his religiousness or his learning, and so the flesh become a contributor. What the apostle shows is that if you hold the Head you would not seek anything from another source. In chapter 2 you find two great things: the first is, "Ye are complete in him", and the second is that the body of the flesh has been entirely removed, cut off in the circumcision of the Christ - that man has been entirely put out of court. Now what we have

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to learn is that He is Head, each one has lost his own head and has another. Each one has the same Head. Some think of Christ as the head of a family, but that is not it at all. When you have the Head introduced you have the thought of the new man brought in. Chapter 3 begins with the fact that you have accepted circumcision; you have done with the old man and have a new source of supply. The best illustration I know is the case of Elisha, who took hold of his own clothes and rent them in two pieces, and then he takes up the mantle of Elijah. Circumcision is the soul accepting the death of Christ. It is not that I am trying to do something, I am merely accepting what is done. Crucifixion is the judicial ending of the man; circumcision, that he is entirely cut off, outside altogether. You will never understand the Head until you arrive at the spot where there is no human voice, "neither Greek nor Jew".

Romans 6 gives only "dead to sin". In Colossians 2 you are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world; not gone to heaven, but outside the world as risen with Christ; therefore you do not want the first man to help, nor what applies to that man. Many rely upon the language they use when dwelling on the things of God to produce an effect.

Ques. Do we derive individually from the Head?

J.B.S. Yes, but unless you drop your own head you will not have His; you must drop your own first, as Elisha rent his clothes; the proof of power is that the obstruction is removed. You must give up your own to get the new, that is the early part of the chapter, "But now ye also put off all these... and have put on the new man... where there is neither Greek nor Jew... but Christ is all, and in all". Christ is everything. You have come to a spot outside everything of the first man, and found Christ everything.

Ques. Do you mean there must be a practical removal of what hinders, in order to enjoy the Head?

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J.B.S. Yes, you must accept in faith what has been done for you; the conscience must go along with the truth. The truth is a dead letter unless conscience is in exercise.

Ques. "Let the peace of Christ preside in your hearts, to which also ye have been called in one body". Is that union?

J.B.S. No, not exactly union; we have not the doctrine of union here, though you will not understand union without this. To understand union you must go to the place where Christ is. It is more a question of life than of union; you have life, then union, then you know the power of the Spirit of God. You have life and nature here, or you could not live in this out-of-the-world place; here we are practically over Jordan. Here it is a question of what the Head is, as another has said, as the source of supply.

The truth taught in Colossians was to meet a work of Satan which was impending, but which is simply christendom today.

You have the Head, that is the great point in Colossians. In John 15 I am to abide in Him, but that is not union. John brings out the moral effect of the divine fact, but if you have not the moral effect it soon appears that you have not the divine fact. Fruit-bearing is the evidence of vitality. If you abide in Him the habits of the new man come out. In John 15 you come out really setting forth Christ; so the Lord says, "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit: so shall ye be my disciples".

I could not get christian sensibilities anywhere else but from the Head. You come out in a new fashion. Once, perhaps, one of the roughest and rudest, you come out in an entirely new way. It only confirms what we were saying yesterday, that your body becomes indicative of the measure of the Spirit's work in you. Look at a man, once rough; now he has "bowels of mercies, kindness", etc.; people would say, What a

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changed man! Why? because he has changed his head; he now expresses the sensibilities of the Head. If I am "holding the Head" - if I am in the power of Colossian truth, I am suitable to all His people. I come out in a different way to all that belongs to Him; that is the christian circle, and that is what we get in Colossians. "Holding the Head" is confined to the christian circle; a man does not bring it into his business, though I think he would be a different man in his business.

Ques. Some have said it is a corporate line of things that belongs to all?

J.B.S. That brings the body in too much; that does not seem to me to be the thought. If they used the words 'christian circle' it would be a great deal better than corporate; corporate gives the idea of the body which is not the idea here. It is holding the Head that introduces the christian circle. I do not think a person gets into it till he holds the Head; he does not get the qualities to fit him for it. The Colossians were a very nice company; their faith in the Lord was great, and they had love to all saints, but I do not think they knew what became them in relation to the christian circle.

I think we must allow that we do not like a path that puts us outside everything, and where we have to do with Christ as the sole dictator of what we should do.

Ques. You would refer to the Head in everything?

J.B.S. I would not use the word 'refer'; as Head He directs. In the assembly it is not merely referring to the Spirit of God that we should have in view, but what I should look for is that I may really be under the direction of the Head; He may direct me to some scripture that I may feel I know but little about; but if He directs me I shall be enabled to open it out in such a manner as will be manifestly suitable to the state of the assembly at the time.

Ques. You mean that is the direction of the Head?

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J.B.S. Yes.

Ques. How are you to get rid of your own head?

J.B.S. You have died with Christ and you are risen with Christ; you are outside it all. To accept this in faith is the first step towards holding the Head. It is a great and blessed thing for faith to lay hold of, that I am in living connection with the Head, and that He, in His deep interest in His saints, can direct His servant to minister that which is adapted to them at the moment.

There is a difference between "Lord" and "Head"; the former is evidently in connection with His authority; the latter is to give character - everything is to have its character from the Head.

Ques. He gives character to what is presented in the assembly?

J.B.S. I am speaking now of the christian circle and not of the assembly; but if we are not right in the assembly we are not right outside it. Suppose Colossians 3 were carried out, there would be a company here upon earth, the whole character of which was determined by the Head. The virtues of the Head would be produced in the company.

The secret of it all is in the expression "Christ is all, and in all"; very few have come to this point. You see nothing else whatever - that is the entire point. Perhaps one can say, He is "the chiefest among ten thousand", etc., but that is not only so, "He is everything".

It is manifest that no one has got hold of the truth of the Head unless he knows that Christ is everything, and that is what the natural man does not like; but the more the soul is attached to the Lord, the more it will delight in that seclusion.

Ques. "Christ is all, and in all", then, belongs to all?

J.B.S. Yes, but we have to learn it. A great many of us have skipped, gone to Ephesians before we had

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learned Colossians, and we have to go back to Colossians to learn it.

Ques. In chapter 1: 18 he says, "And he is the head of the body, the church".

J.B.S. Yes, that is God's appointment. It is a point of great moment; you do not come to union till you come to Ephesians.

Ques. Is not union found in Colossians?

J.B.S. No.

Ques. Can you have the body without union?

J.B.S. We are all members of His body and have His nature; we come from Him and do not bring anything to Him. If the truth of the body is touched upon as in Romans 16, it is not expounded, because it is not the subject taught there; so also in Colossians we are all members of His body, but the question is to know how we derive from Him. There is nothing more striking than the fact that under the law there were no regulations given in connection with the family.

Ques. "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus" - that would include your business and everything, would it not?

J.B.S. You would be a different man in your business if holding the Head, because you belong to the new order of things; but in that verse you pass from the "Head" to the "Lord". The moment the apostle comes to relative duties we have the Lord brought in.

Ques. Would not the relative duties come under the direction of the Head?

J.B.S. No, under the Lord.

Ques. What is comprised in the christian circle?

J.B.S. Every christian. I think it shows the connection between the family circle and the christian circle. We are not sent back to Adam to learn how to behave. It is remarkable how we are led on as to the work of the Spirit in the soul; we do not begin at the top, but He will lead you to the top. You will never

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get beyond the Spirit's work in you. He will never deviate; we deviate but He never does. In Colossians 2:19 we have "not holding the Head", etc.; what follows is that all vitality is by holding the Head. He is the Head of each individual, and belongs as much to the youngest babe as to the oldest father; but we have to learn it. There is no idea of organisation in Colossians, but directly you bring in the body you have an organism.

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Ephesians 1:15 - 23; 3: 14 - 21

J.B.S. The work of the Spirit of God in giving us the knowledge of union is a subject of the greatest importance and interest. I think we must bear in mind that it is the Spirit's work we are tracing, as to His course and dealing with us in our souls. Nothing can be more injurious to a teacher than to speak of things which he himself has not been led into by the Spirit. In coming to union we reach the highest thing the apostle treats of. In chapter 1: 19 he prays that the saints might know that the same power which wrought in Christ has wrought in them. Jew and gentile have been raised up together, and we get the good of it when we come to know it by faith. One great result of being united to Christ is that I can be a witness of Him; if I am not in the power of union with Him I cannot be a witness of Him. I am to be descriptive of the glorified Man in heaven; but no one could possibly be descriptive of Him here, unless he was in the power of union with Him there.

Ques. I thought Colossians made you descriptive of Christ?

J.B.S. Colossians gives you character, not power. In Ephesians you have power, not simply character.

Ques. "Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power" (Colossians 1:11) - what is that?

J.B.S. That is power coming downwards, a very great contrast to Ephesians 3, where it is in connection with going up. You must be with Him where He is to realise union; fitness is not union. Rebecca was fit for Isaac before she was brought to him, but she was brought to him - that is Ephesians. It has all been effected for me, it was not when I found it had been

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done that it was effected - that is the great point. I could not be in the power of the heavenly Man on earth, apart from union with Him. In chapter 2 we have the calling of the heavenly man. First, he is in heavenly places (verse 6); second, a new creation (verse 10); third, one new man (verse 15); fourth, one body (verse 16); fifth, access by one Spirit to the Father (verse 18); sixth, growing to a holy temple (verse 21); seventh, a habitation of God through the Spirit (verse 22).

Ques. What is the difference between servant and witness?

J.B.S. You could not witness of Christ if you did not know Him where He is. You get it in John 16; the Holy Spirit is to come down from a glorified Christ, and He is to testify of Him, not for Him; it is much easier to testify for Him than of Him. The Spirit brings demonstration to the world of sin, therefore as a witness you must be outside of it. I do not believe that a man holding or seeking a position in this world is a witness; I do not say he is not a servant. I might be born in a good earthly position, but I should not be seeking to maintain my position, because I want to be descriptive of the Man whom the world would not have, and I must be a witness against it. Witness is connected with intimacy. How can I witness of Him if I do not know Him? I can serve Him if I know His grace; but as a witness I have to testify of Christ, the heavenly Man to whom I am united.

Ques. How can we be descriptive of Him?

J.B.S. Because you belong to Him; every member of my body is descriptive of me.

Ques. All are united?

J.B.S. Yes, but all have not conscious knowledge of it. We all admit as a matter of doctrine that we are united to Him, but the point is, how far does that go practically? If I know it, then practically I should be a changed man, but I shall be so only as far as the Spirit has made the truth good in me. The very fact

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of union involves a new being by the Spirit. Union does not take in what I am as a responsible man on earth; as united I am outside that. People talk about union as though we were united to Christ as men upon earth; a person the other day said we were united, body, soul and spirit! I do not think anyone can know union until he goes to the place where Christ is. The result of it is that you are outside the man here, but at the same time you are Christ-like in your relative duties because they are of God.

Ques. What is the gain from union?

J.B.S. A distinct gain from union comes out in chapter 3 - Christ dwelling in the heart by faith; the One to whom I am united is the One who takes possession of my heart.

Ques. What about the power?

J.B.S. It is the power that brings me up; not when I know it - it was effected long ago, though I may not have known it till now. It is of great importance to see that there is a moment when the soul reaches it; the Spirit brings you to that point, and when you come to it you never lose it; you may get cloudy, but you never lose it - you never lose anything that the Spirit works in you. The apostle prays for the Ephesians, that they may know "the exceeding greatness of his power", for if you know that, you know union. This is an actual thing received, just as I receive the Spirit, whereby I cry, "Abba, Father". The enlightenment is that we may understand the counsel - that He "may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him"; you are not enlightened till you get that.

Ques. And you will not get that till you pray for it?

J.B.S. The apostle prays for it; you seek it. I do not think you could conceive anything so marvellous as union. I am really a member of that blessed One, and the effect upon me is that I have a new class of interests.

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Ques. The Christ "dwelling in your hearts by faith". What is that?

J.B.S. That is really "the Christ", all that concerns Him. There is another thing. If you are not in conscious union with Christ, you will never be able to face all the power that is against Him. As soon as you come out as a heavenly man you have the whole power of Satan against you; that is the time you want the armour. What is the use of talking about armour to a man sitting comfortably at home? He does not want it; armour is for a soldier, for a man going into battle. Do not talk of armour until you are going into battle. Prayer is for God, armour is for Satan. When you come into conflict you come out from God. In chapter 3 we see the gain from union. "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man" (you see it is the Spirit's work); "that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height" - the range of everything, finishing up with knowing "the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge". Does anyone ask what is the good of union? Why, nothing can surpass it; but it is not until you are in it that you can know what it is. Then comes, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us". Now the power works in you, not towards you as in chapter 1.

Ques. What kind of power is it?

J.B.S. Beyond all we can ask or think. It is not the power in God, but in you; and it is to come out in display, as in chapters 4 and 6.

Ques. What is the inner man?

J.B.S. Not the outer man, but what God forms. God has begun the work; it is really what has been built by Himself - spiritual in contrast with natural.

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Ques. Is it at all identical with the soul and spirit of a man?

J.B.S. No, God breathed into man and he became a living soul, but he has been alienated from God. When conversion takes place he is turned to God, but it is God's work; hence the beginning of conversion is always fear; "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom". What should be preached is present judgment - the wrath of God is on you; begin with what man is in the sight of God. God said to Adam, "Who told thee that thou wast naked?" Preach present judgment, and then future judgment will not be left out. The Corinthians thought they would never see the body again; they had no idea that the body was to be the actual exponent of the measure of the grace received, and that as you behave in that body, so you will be found in relation to Christ in the kingdom. You are to receive the things done in your body, and as each one has "the righteousnesses", so he comes out to reign with Christ on earth. The righteous will reign on earth; through grace we are in heaven.

Ques. In preaching the gospel you would not leave out guilt?

J.B.S. Certainly not, nor the judgment of God. People make their conscience the arbiter of everything. It is God whom you have offended, and the question is, how do you stand with Him?

We have not touched yet upon the close of the epistle - the conflict. In chapter 6 you confront the whole force of the enemy. Therefore "be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might" - it is the very same word you get in chapter 1; there the power is towards you, in chapter 3 it is in you, in chapter 6 it is from you.

Ques. Is there any ground for confining the last two verses of chapter 3 to the millennium?

J.B.S. It runs on to the new Jerusalem, and that

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is connected in Revelation 21 with the eternal state before it is connected with the millennial state. That chapter opens with the eternal state; that is often made a difficulty, commencing with the eternal state and passing on to the millennial.

I do not think you could show the new Jerusalem except in the eternal state; the millennial state is administrative. God does not wait till everything is completed to set forth His masterpiece; hence the last thing is set forth first. A man in chapter 6, really knowing that he is united to Christ, and that consequently Christ's interests are his, would now find that he has to encounter the whole power of Satan, because there is nothing Satan is so opposed to as the heavenly man. God has exalted to heaven the very Man whom man and Satan rejected here.

Another thing: as soon as the rapture takes place Satan will have to leave heaven, according to Revelation 12. Really Satan has morally fallen from heaven; we find the Lord views it so in Luke 10 - "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven". That is the marvellous thing in chapter 6; you are stronger than Satan. It is in keeping with John 16 - "the prince of this world is judged"; judgment is on the world, so let us have no part in that world. There is no righteousness here. If you are not detached from the world you cannot be a witness; a true witness does not seek the world's recognition; he would shrink from it.

Ques. "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly"?

J.B.S. That is Romans.

Ques. Would a soul have the conflict of Ephesians 6 if not consciously in union?

J.B.S. Certainly not. You put on the armour of light in Romans, but here you must have the armour of God. Satan knows his man; put your foot down in the right direction and he will find you out.

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Ques. What is the object of Satan's opposition in Ephesians 6?

J.B.S. It is against the heavenly man; he cannot bear a bit of blue; he wants to keep you out of heaven. He has lost his place there, and you have a place there, and he will keep you out if he can. You have to stand against "the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places". It is a religious character of opposition, not so much what is worldly. It is something that comes to baulk you.

Ques. The devil is cast out of heaven when the saints are caught up?

J.B.S. Quite so, that is Revelation 12.

Ques. How is it that all saints are not brought into the consciousness of union?

J.B.S. They do not want it, do not wish for it.

Ques. Why is it we do not go on?

J.B.S. You do not seek it, you prefer something else. If you want to be a witness you must not take position in the world.

Ques. But suppose we would rather be one?

J.B.S. Then you must part with the other, and that is where discipline comes in to help you. I daresay Jacob might have kept Rebecca's nurse if he had not gone to Bethel. Now, God says, you must part with her; and they buried her under the oak of weeping.

The Lord never removes the stone before the wheel till you come up to it; the heart says, I should like to go on; the Lord says, Then I will remove the stone.

The Lord would be casting pearls before swine if He gave it before you wish for it. If you desire it you seek it; you stand daily at His gates.

If I am really set before the Lord to desire anything of Himself, He is sure to give it me. I do not know how it will come, but it will be sure to come. "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after".

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Matthew 25:1 - 10; Revelation 22:16, 17

J.B.S. In connection with the subject of the Lord's return, I think it is very much lost sight of that it is because of what is due to Him that we should wish Him to come back, not merely for the blessedness that will be ours when we go to Him. When the heart is true to Him, and knows what it is to be united to Him, it is so identified with His interest that it longs for the moment when He shall enter into possession of all that so rightly belongs to Him here.

The interpretation of the word of God by the human mind always reduces it to man's level; you get man's side only, God's side is left out. How often we get a human interpretation of the gospel; so that the highest thought presented is that of our going to heaven; all about us, God's part in it is not seen.

The church is like the wife of an absent king who has been refused his right place, and she is waiting here until he comes back; she is thinking not merely of her enjoyment in the prospect, but of his enjoyment. The great lack in souls is that all they look for is for Christ to think of them; thank God He does think of us; but He expects us to think of Him.

At the breakdown of the church in Thyatira the hope then given was "the morning star". There was to be no restoration of the church, but He was to come to reign.

Ques. Do you connect the morning star with the kingdom?

J.B.S. No, with His coming; but it is not merely the grace that would be brought unto me that I am thinking of, but that in the place where He has been refused He is coming to reign. The Thessalonians were waiting for God's Son from heaven; it was not

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their going to heaven that they were waiting for; what they looked for was the Lord to come and reign. See 2 Timothy 4 - "unto all them also that love his appearing". They were looking for Christ to come back to reign where He was rejected; and we should look for Him to come to reign; "the Spirit and the bride say, Come". Christ is for earth as well as for heaven: He is the "root and offspring of David" as well as the "bright and morning star". In the Revelation you get the introduction of Christ again into this scene; the morning star is the harbinger of another day.

In John 21 the Lord says of John, "If I will that he tarry till I come". He had, as regards revelation, come when the book of Revelation was given; everything was out; there was no more to be brought out till the Lord came. The church has failed as a witness here, and Christ comes in as "the faithful and true witness".

In Matthew 25 we read, "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which... went forth to meet the bridegroom"; it was to the place of meeting they were going. The Bridegroom there is evidently in relation to the earth. It does not take away the comforting side, but it brings you into concert with His side. It is of Him you are thinking.

People are in trouble, and they look forward to the Lord's coming as relief from it; but the true condition is to be watching and waiting for Him.

The proof of watching is that you are giving the household meat in due season, looking after His people. Loving His appearing would be the right motive. John says, "that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming", 1 John 2:28. Further on he says, "that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward", 2 John 8.

If your heart is set on Christ you will be set on His

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getting His right place here, for there is nothing right here, nor will be, till Christ gets His right place. The heart true to Him and knowing union with Him is identified with His interests and knows that in this world He has not His place.

The wife is still in the place where He has been refused; she feels His absence and says, I wish He were back, not for my sake only, but for His. There will be no righteousness here till He comes back.

I think we have lost the importance of the Lord's coming by making it a means of escape from the troubles here; we have lost the sense of what an awful thing it is for His rights to be set aside. How could we take distinction from the world! We should say, You refuse our Lord; the loss of that sense in saints is a great lack.

Ques. What does that mean, "ye do show the Lord's death till he come"?

J.B.S. We announce His death. It is not the remembrance of our benefit. There is nothing about sins in the holiest; we could not refer to sins in the holiest. The Corinthians were not announcing His death.

Ques. Some read Revelation 1 and 5 as authority for speaking of sins at the Lord's supper?

J.B.S. That is because they are looking at their own side. In those chapters the saints are rejoicing because the Lord is about to come and reign on the earth where all the sins are put away. That is not our place in the holiest of all.

Sins are carried into the land of forgetfulness for Israel. It is a very important thing that in the place where they are committed they are removed.

As to showing His death till He come - there is to be no exhibition of anything in this world but His death until He comes back. You expect nothing and you accept nothing from this place. Look at the Corinthians; they would reign as kings without Him!

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Ques. Is there responsibility in coming to the Supper?

J.B.S. The Supper is communion and the table responsibility.

Ques. Why do you get the table in 1 Corinthians 10 where communion is spoken of?

J.B.S. Communion there is identification with His death; you are identified with His death. That is the true place of the church. We want nothing of this world; our only place in it is to be identified with His death.

Ques. Still you may read Revelation 5 as a scripture that brings out the glory of His Person?

J.B.S. But you have not the worship of the church there. There should be no reference to sins at the Lord's supper. How could you bring sins into the holiest? You have "boldness to enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus"; it is the same blood that saved your soul that opens the door to the holiest.

Ques. But does the reference to sin necessitate the bringing sin into the holiest?

J.B.S. What is the object in referring to it?

Ques. The benefit you have received, but giving thanks to Him for it - "This is my blood, that of the new covenant, that shed for many for remission of sins".

J.B.S. That only intensifies His death.

Ques. Do we not look back to Him bearing our sins?

J.B.S. The simple question is, Where are you? Are you in the holiest of all? If not you are not morally on the ground of the church at all, but on individual ground. You see in the revelation of the Lord's supper to Paul how it is opened up in connection with the truth of the church. It gives the foundation of the relation of Christ to the church and the church to Christ, and our relation to one another. If you individualise by the recollection of sins, it is

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falsified, it is all your side; you have lost His side, lost the real thought of the Supper and reduced it to a means of grace.

Ques. 'Oh, Lord, what Thee tormented,
Was our sins' heavy load' -

there you look at what the cross was to Him?

J.B.S. Yes, but people seek relief from it. If you are not already relieved, you cannot have remembrance of Him, for you are thinking of yourself, not of Him, and you cannot have two ideas before you at the same time.

I do not think we take up the Lord's supper from Luke 22; we should go to 1 Corinthians 11; you could not, properly speaking, take the Lord's supper from the gospels. Drinking it new in my Father's kingdom does not apply to us.

Ques. Is not the new song in Revelation 5 in the Father's house?

J.B.S. I think as far as I have examined that chapter it is all for earth; there is neither the Father's name nor the Father's house in it.

I am sure it is a mercy we have had the subject before us; nothing is more humbling among brethren than the character of the hymns sometimes sung at the Lord's supper. It is a sad indication of their state.

The fact is, they do not understand the truth of the church. If you are in John 20 you must be in peace; if not, you are going back to the door by which you entered; you leave all sins at the very start. If we think of our sins we individualise ourselves completely; such an one is out of the truth of the church. I am very glad this has come out, for I think we are not clear about it.

Ques. Is there any such thing as corporate sins?

J.B.S. Certainly not. The assembly may have failed, and we should humble ourselves; but if we are occupied with this at the Lord's supper we are not remembering Him. A person truly remembering the

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Lord's death would accept nothing from the world where Christ died; that would be the moral effect.

Ques. You would not wish to lessen the sense in souls, even in the church, that this is the basis upon which the faith of the saints rests, the death of the Lord Jesus? You would make a distinction between singing hymns connected with the institution of the Lord's supper, and the fact of the ground of redemption; the question of the body given and the blood shed as the foundation of faith?

J.B.S. Quite so, if you take it as the basis; but not if the reference is by a person wanting relief. If you want to intensify it I have no objection: only keep it separate.

Ques. One thinks of the Lord's death as because of what we were?

J.B.S. Still it is His death, what it was to Him, not to me - "This do in remembrance of me". We apprehend it as the expression of His love; we remember Him.

Ques. It is the communion of His body and of His blood?

J.B.S. That is the responsible side. We are identified with His death. I believe the more I am remembering His death here, the more I should like to come out into this world and say with Ruth, "Where thou diest, will I die"; that is 1 Corinthians 10.

Ques. Why does the cup come first in chapter 10?

J.B.S. Because of the responsibility; you could not be under the responsibility if not partakers of the cup. To return to Revelation - "The Spirit and the bride say, Come". What marks the bride is that she is expecting the Bridegroom, consequently everything is looked after. A person who is waiting and watching does not go to sleep, but he is looking after the interests of the One he is expecting; he is giving His people meat in due season; he would like Him to see everything cared for in His absence. Some, who talk of His

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coming, lose sight of His household; you must take care of His household. It is a great point gained when you see there is a household to look after. It is the characteristic of the servant to see that the Lord's people get their meat; care for the household is the test.

Ques. Is that why the apostle says in Acts 20, "Feed the church of God"?

J.B.S. Of course. There he is only speaking to the overseers. So the Lord says to Peter, "Feed my sheep". We can easily judge if we love Him. The servant who is watching gives the meat in due season; he prays to be enabled to bring out truth suitable to the time. It is not the chapter you know best that yields the best food; the one you know least may be the very one to bring forward.

It is a very important point, the household, because there is a tendency sometimes to think no work whatever is going on unless you get a number of people converted or brought out of system; whereas there is a great work connected with the household. Sometimes a man loses heart, and does not care to stay and feed a few sheep. He would stay if he loved the sheep.

It has been said, If you want to have easy times, preach the gospel; if you want to have your heart broken, serve the church. There is not a text in the Bible which so tests me as, "love one another, as I have loved you". A person really waiting for the Lord is seeking His interest, and recognises that He has a household.

Rem. It is true that one often hears the expression, There is nothing going on here.

J.B.S. Send such an one to Matthew 13. When you go inside apart from the multitude (verse 36) you find that Christ has a hidden treasure. It is an immense comfort to me that His treasure is here. You know it because you have been inside with the Lord. The Lord sent away the multitude before He opened

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out to His disciples the last three similitudes. His treasure is not in heaven, it is here. I have said that if the Lord had not a treasure on this earth the sooner I was out of it the better. When a brother gives out a hymn inviting the Lord to come, I ask, Is he wonderfully devoted to the flock?

His treasure is "his household" alluded to in Matthew 24:45. In Matthew 13 it is the "pearl of great price" and the "treasure hid in a field".

The simple principle connected with the kingdom is, "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him"; it is in connection with righteousness. Our place in heaven is altogether connected with grace.