AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH ... February 22, 2009
A CONTINUATION OF THE THRUST
OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF AUSTRALIA ON BIBLICAL LINES …
FILLING of the WILLING, THE FIT OF THE PIT :
THE DELIGHTFUL NEED FOR ELEVATION
MAN’S TIRESOME MASTERY BY MYTHS
In vain have the nations calibrated their myths. They have made of man a model, of this world a harbour for enemy shipping seizing the land for themselves, ignoring God, or worse, reconstructing their Maker as if in some beauty parlour, for face-lifts, leg-waxings, or often, half-leg waxing as they mix it up, synthesise with the minds made for them, the mind which made them, in an inordinate contrivance of pride and folly for which the current world scene is increasingly a fitting parody of their pomp, and disclosure of their pretensions.
With great precision, they seek to occupy space, despite the divine apportionment otherwise (cf. Psalm 115:16); to occupy the DNA not merely for therapy where in some thousands of years (TMR Ch. 7, Section E), they have suffered amidst the curse and the slather of sin, but for reconstruction of who knows what bionic modeling, or with what results, proud, uplifted, unconcerned; to occupy themselves with immoral fiddlings, unproductive self-indulgences, saying to Nothing, YOU are our mother, or to the created and controlled Nature, now almost obsessively, YOU have brought us forth, though it is neither seen, nor found to be operative
Its machines, its dreams, they teem, till in writhing fragments, they lick the dust, not merely in the hackneyed sense (derived incidentally from the Bible, Micah 7:17), but with venom, as if to find in it the ground of their hopes, in the very midst of their desolations. All things are to be controlled, if not by mentally invasive drugs, since psycho-therapy (cf. SMR Ch. 4) has fared but ill, having lost in all secular cases the very ground for the removal of guilt and the presentation of the joy for which life is made, then by political correctness, with morals made in hell, or fashioned from philosophies, the very pride of irrationality and the very stuff of fraud (cf. SMR Ch. 3). When man makes a fool of himself, he does not make a fool of God, who has both predicted and shown the end of these follies (Romans 1:17ff., II Timothy 3, 4:2-4, I Timothy 4, II Peter 2, II Thessalonians 2).
In England, they have a number of rather quaint buildings called follies, which were erected by some original, or historical force, and now appear so strange, as if a power that moved were not fully sensible of the greater scope of things. So it is with man, his follies, his architectures for the soul of man, his forcible implementations of the same, his dreamy dealings and his mechanised exploitations of the same, his picturesque imaginings and his ground-out implementations, these leave the field of history with decaying relics, the testimony of the sad decline of the race. It imagines it rises; it succeeds in falling. It plans bright future, it produces disasters. It gets more power; it ruins more with it.
The mere contrivances excite wonder, and doubtless the cry, as predicted, will be to worship the beast which made the image before which they prostrate themselves (Revelation 13:11ff.). In Russia and in China already, the one as USSR past, the other passing (cf. I Corinthians 7:31), this is not merely de rigueur, in fact if not yet in form, but a requisition of political force, with secret police, or sometimes as in Tiananmen, not so secret, ensuring as far as it may, the proper prostration, even to the death. It is Rome again, with its ‘divine’ but incredible seeming Emperors, requiring worship. The spirit has not changed. The result is not to be different.
From such unromantic romancing, man needs deliverance. Preoccupied often with his methods of implementing what is nugatory, nubilous and evanescent, niggardly with liberty but lavish in nebulosity, man marches like lemmings to the sea, without seeming to consider that he is not there equipped to swim.
The waters he needs are within, those of the Spirit of God (John 4:14,7:37), available not through meditation on yourself or your world, but a faith in the Creator, an adoption of His never failing testimony to man; for He has not left Himself without a witness, so that being adopted as a child of God, through HIS plan of salvation, as starkly obvious as is the sin of man, in Jesus Christ, the singular sinless exhibit and exemplar in human form of deity Himself, man might cease autonomy, and find peace (Isaiah 57:17-20, Ephesians 2:14-21).
WHAT is so remarkable about an autonomy, in any case, so puny, so impotent, calibrated myths to pre-occupy himself with vanity, mere dreams with machines to change them, but not himself!
Dreams can be sweet, or nightmares. It is better not to live by them.
Machines can be useful, for implementing sound understanding. It is better not to abide by their sanctions. Man is gifted with much ability ; it is better not to deify it. Deity came as man, not to uplift the mind of man to insane pretensions, before he dies, each one, in his place; but to lift up the heart and life of man, for that eternity which is in his heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11), but which being lost, is the very indictment of his soul. Man needs to be found, not impounded by philosophy, imprisoned by politics, or captured by his captivation with biology (cf. The gods of naturalism have no go!). When he has lost his fatal fascination for himself, then he may and must look for the Lord (Acts 4:11-12, Ephesians 1:10).
As it is written (Isaiah 45:9-10),
“Woe unto him that strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashions it, What are you making ? or shall handiwork say, He has no hands? Woe unto him who says to his father, What are you begetting? or to the woman, What have you brought forth?”
Yet the answer is indelibly clear, as in Isaiah 45:21-26:
“Tell and bring forth your case;
Yes, let them take counsel together.
Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time?
Have not I the LORD? And there is no God else beside me,
A just God and a Saviour; There is none beside me.
“Look to me, and be ye saved, all
the ends of the earth: for I am God,
and there is none else. I have sworn by myself,
the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return,
That to me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
“Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to Him shall men come; and all that are incensed against Him shall be ashamed. In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” (Bold added.)
There is a dream which never vanishes, but augments. There is a rock which never splits to dust, but looms in majestic magnificence. There is a door which never disintegrates, but proves strong beyond death.
Listen to Jeremiah 23 (NASB). We start with verse 1, proceeding next to verse 5 and verse 6.
"Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture, says the LORD.”
“Behold, the days are coming, says the
when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch.
And He shall reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land, and Israel shall dwell securely. In his days Judah shall be saved …”
This is the name they give him: ‘The LORD our righteousness’.
He says this:
“ ‘The prophet who has a dream, let him tell his dream, and he who has My word,
let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat ?’ says the Lord.
‘Is not my word like fire,’ says the LORD, ‘like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces ?" –
“a hammer that shatters rock” is the NASB rendering.
The leading edge of these futile dreams, these miasmic meanderings, these lying philosophic intrusions into the very word of God, yes which can with astute arrogance even be delivered in HIS NAME! – it is to mislead the people (Jeremiah 23:27,32). There is no question of integrity where truth is defiled, and the name of its Giver is put, as with some dishonest artistic forger, on the paltry canvas of the dishonourable artist who steals another name, for his own exhibit.
The word of GOD MAKES HISTORY. As to that, it follows like a pet lamb. He can foretell an event, and then ‘repay’ the human resource used to accomplish it, like an employer (Ezekiel 29:18-21), as in the case of Nebuchadnezzar. He can ANNOUNCE a coming king who will deliver His people freely, by name, before he is born (cf. Isaiah 44:24-45:3), as with Cyrus; and as man’s comprehensive Creator (Isaiah 45:12,18), as that of the Universe, He speaks a decision, only to have it done, and this is the criterion inexorable (Isaiah 44:25-26, Jeremiah 37:10!). He frustrates the babble of the flatterers with their incompetent dreams, and confirms the words of the prophets. As Isaiah says, so it comes to pass, for this is always the case with the word of God, since after all, He IS God.
THE FINAL TEST TRIUMPHANT: IN HUMILITY
AWESOME, IN POWER OVERWHELMING
When the test came, that almighty test, in this, that the Almighty unleashed His own Son in the human form, to run the race against the cruelty of man, to cover the sin of his submergence, even allowing the death of His own Christ, indeed requiring it as an atonement, a payment, a ransom, ground of release, actuation for liberty, cancellation of curse (Galatians 3, Romans 3, Matthew 20): then He fulfilled what He had said, even in magnificent exposure to what was ruinous (cf. Philippians 2).
Even in the vulnerable fragility of flesh (Romans 8:1-3, 9:1-5), He came, even in humble circumstances (Isaiah 53:2), performing as man in the power of God, yet not without the burdens of humanity - sin apart (I Peter 2:22ff.), what was needed.
He did it perfectly, and no one failure, even for the One, the Messiah in the very name of God exhibiting His nature and power, was permitted to occur (cf. Christ, the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 8, Repent or Perish Ch. 2).
He did not lie; He did not flinch, nor did He compromise. He neither became arrogant in power, not weak in submission, was never servile, never selfish, never at a loss, never swayed by success, never arrogant in triumph, always available, always resourceful, always pitiful, but never inveigled by craft, whether satanic directly or indirectly, by human guile or subtlety (Luke 11:53-54).
Raising the dead as a supplement to healing vast multitudes of incurables and others in one voracious mass of need (Luke 4:40), He took care to be raised Himself, so that He could be tested also in this (John 20, Luke 24 cf. SMR Ch. 6, The Magnificence of the Messiah), the indestructible God at work for devastated man.
Not only so, but HE HAD TO DO THIS SORT OF THING or else be exposable as mere flimsy pretence Himself (cf. Isaiah 29, 35, 52-55). Truth is what it is, and does what it is. It is not difficult to be true, when you ARE the truth (John 14:6), under ANY circumstances; for indeed, the truth is under nothing, but over all. Christ IS the truth, as well as the way and the life (John 14:6). Indeed, the ravishing trilogy of reality in one (Isaiah 48:16, Matthew 28:18-20, II Corinthians 13:14), is the need for all, the deliverance for any one (Matthew 11:28-30), both in word, and experimental fact: for those who trust Him and not themselves, their carnal mentors or current culture.
He even died on the date foretold (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), and leaving nothing to man’s mesmerism for false dreams, He continued to teach after this, even committing His disciples to the power of His Holy Spirit (cf. Luke 24:49), and His Church to His own programs, based on Himself, deity: for He is Himself is the ONLY ROCK which by His own word, He ever recognizes and repeatedly relays, in spiritual things as in life (Psalm 62:1-3, II Samuel 32:21-22, Matthew 23:8-10 cf. SMR pp. 98-99). These things we have seen in detail often before, and now merely review together. If you have any other Rock, then beware, for to be rocked when placed such confidence in what is proscribed, not prescribed, prohibited, to be uninhibited in the demeaning of deity and the elevation of anything else where His place is unique and divine, this is precisely to the point!
Nor did His Church fail, however depleted, assailed, deceived from time to time; nor did it fail to be invaded as He also forecast (Matthew 24:24); nor was there any lack of false prophets after Him, as He likewise forecast, even false christs. Nor did the race evolve, but merely degraded itself, being filled with its own conceits and fancies, and alien to God, as He predicted (cf. Ephesians 4:17-19). The only thing that has developed, other than knowledge accumulating over time, is sin. It scoffs as in the crucifixion, blind to the plan of salvation so long before announced, it mocks as foretold in II Peter 3, sallies as in II Timothy 4, rallies as in Matthew 24:24, consummates its littleness as in Romans 1:17 to the end, rampages as in Genesis 19, and is altogether a development of the devil, allied to flesh, vitiating this world, stopping at nothing, and even worshipping that at will.
But it is not so with God, who has provided for its demise, ransomed for its payment and risen for its cancellation in open derogation of its power through the force of love working to meet law, and a Lord whom nothing can touch, since He made all, and forestalls, foreknows and controls the licence, libido, vitiation and viciousness till its day done, it is an everlasting folly exposed and ended.
It is God who remains. He has spoken and created, and spoken to His creation and acted.
NOTHING needs revision. NOTHING fails to happen. NOTHING is left in disarray. The disease of sin is met: analysed, dealt with, its cure by personal sacrifice of Christ made potent and available, FREELY. This being the need, it is a great relief and wonder, though it was most costly to secure so that man, one by one, might be immersed in immortality (I Corinthians 15:42ff.).
"So also is the resurrection of the dead.
"The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.
"It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory.
It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.
It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
"There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.'
"However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.
The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust;
and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly.
And as we have borne the image of the man of dust,
we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.
It proceeds later:
"For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' "
O Death, where is your sting?
Hell, where is your victory! asks Paul.
It has none. It is then done.
That is the provision and that is the consummation in resurrection, where everlasting life, the very life which has neither chains nor code, but is God's own life (cf. I John 1:1-4), enabling that part of creation that is ransomed to realise a companionship so close that it sees with the light of Christ which illuminates all (Revelation 21-22).
Meanwhile, there proceeds
the all too natural progress into regress for this our race,
outside Christ, being immersed not in immortality but in immorality
as if it were the ocean for children at the sea; and this too was forecast.
Indeed, it has happened with a vehemence and a vigour which astonishes many, but even this evil energy was forecast likewise (Matthew 24:11-14). The thesis is salvation, but the antithesis is damnation, devilishly propagandised as something other, attractive and self-fulfilling.
The SCHEDULE meanwhile is for the GOSPEL to grip the earth (Matthew 28:18ff.), and though rejected by the many, to encircle the globe: when the job is done, the Lord will return. Let us who belong to Christ Jesus the Lord, forward that job with the zeal of sincerity, of integrity. God is patient and very particular, so that every particle of His word is fulfilled, is being fulfilled or is soon to be fulfilled (cf. Matthew 5:17-20). Blessed are those who know this; more yet, those who are seeing it, for great is the liberality of the Lord.
Jerusalem was to be destroyed (Luke 19:42ff.), and it was; but the Jews had to return (Luke 21:24) and re-possess it after a long time (Hosea 3:1-5), which they did. This was to mark the approaching end of the Age, the time of the Gentiles having been long, but not for ever. It does. All the other signals march in order, precisely as appointed for the tapestry of this end time, the composite tartan which is its inheritable and now inherited program (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Chs. 8-9).
A time appalling is in the making, for the patience of God with evil though long, is never to be confused with participation. Evil has an end, and its end is appalling (cf. Matthew 24:21-22, Daniel 12:1), unexampled, exemplary. Even now it hastens, and its testimony increases as the world flurries and worries in the midst of corruptions incredible but to the eye of faith, in their depth and dynamic.
Nothing withers in the divine vision; nothing falters in the divine words. There IS no calibration for God, and it is He alone who should be worshipped. There IS no machining for His vision; for truth yields neither to flattery or battery of arms. It stands, when all else falls. It is a privilege to be a servant of the truth, as is this preacher - with all who are the Lord’s, delighted so to be. Trust Him!
This gift of life eternal and its function, has the dignity of truth, but it has the loveliness of the personal as well, for God has shown Himself not only personal, but capable: having made man in His own image, to man believing, to His own - He grants fellowship. What delight is in this, what privilege in such compassion, what more than ecstatic relish, for the whole mind and heart and strength can walk with Him, and He infuses it with His own vigour and life (cf. John 14:18-19). When your Teacher is God, what do you lack ?
When your God is love, what is the need ? “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” – and in faith, you do not! His purpose is enthralling, His provisions enabling, His grace sufficient, His kindness His own.
When you FIND that God is
love, what spiritual satiety that would be,
except for this, that one knows no limit to the affinity for His creature
and of His ransomed soul for Him
(cf. Psalm 71:15, Matthew 12:30, Luke 14:27ff., Ephesians 3:17-19).
Consider the last:
"that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory,
to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend with all the saints
what is the width and length and depth and height -
to know the love of Christ
which passes knowledge;
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."
Let us then forever give thanks, and lusty praise to the Lord! Ponder in this, Psalms 100, 40 and Philippians 4:6 and rejoice.
Believing in Him is faith; what one believes from His word is THE FAITH; and how one lives is BY FAITH, and walking as in that delicious estate, is on the path provided for the children of light (John 12:36, Ephesians 5:8).
What is the good of darkness, then, or the dismal light of dreary dreams. Alas, if such darkness as these relay be in you, HOW GREAT IS THAT DARKNESS! (cf. Luke 11:33-36, Matthew 6:23).