AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH May 18, 2008
A CONTINUATION OF THE
ORIGINAL THRUST AND BASE OF THE
OF AUSTRALIA ON BIBLICAL LINES …
WHAT REMAINS IS THE LORD: BOTH NOW AND TO COME
- John 17 (1)
THE ENDURING PRINCIPLES OF THE LORD OVERARCHING TIME
I THE DIVINE ACTION John 17:1-2,4-6
Christ is praying, and the Cross is near. The divine power is ready to act so that the divine Son may glorify His Father as earth yields the basis for action, and only the supernatural God can now work. Authority to give eternal life amid all flesh, to those given to Him, to know God and Himself the Sent Saviour from heaven has been exercised, this work of testimony finished, the eternal glory of God the Word is now to be restored, as in heaven.
II CHRIST'S PREPARATION
AND HIS SAVING, CERTIFYING ACTION ACCOMPLISHED John 17:3-7
Just as we have been seeing how it will end in our concentration on Revelation 11, now we consider how it proceeds, before He comes, and what He did and what He provided so that our procedure now on this earth, is not problematic, but assured through His finished work and its donation to us.
First, for whom has He effectively acted ? Is it not for His own! How many were lost from those called to be with Him ? for many are called, but few are chosen. He lost but one, that man a devil as noted in John 6:70, known from early times, and shown often enough in his stealing from the bag (John 12:3). Here incidentally, you see at once one of the principles of the kingdom of heaven. It is not all about thrift and avoiding expenditure, making one's pile. Be prudent but don't be mesmerised by possessions.
The occasion of Judas' exposure came when Mary of Bethany, near the time of Christ's death on the Cross, duly foreseen, poured out a large amount of precious perfume on Him. For this she was criticised by Judas. TO THE POOR, he declared, this priceless gift should have been given, presumably so that sold, its proceeds could give them sustenance. NOT SO! said Christ. The poor are always with you, and "she has done this for the day of My burial."
In other words, socialism lacks heart and principle, is diffuse, has people as its topic, instead of site for its application, and even Christian socialism has all sorts of people in a Christian setting, ruling the roost in their needs. It does not have God ruling the souls and the minds and the affairs, but people as the interpreter, many unconverted.
Socialism has man managing, and his opinion rule; Christianity has God managing, and people - those served from, through, in and with Him, at His will and command. It has a centre, a pivot, an active Lord who brooks no dilution and has no aggregate control over Him, His authority or His will in this present world. The Church is sent on mission, by His commission, and however much it must be purged and delivered from devilish doctrines such as Peter predicted would flourish near the end of the Age (II Peter 2), it is totally dedicated to God. If it lags in eminent institutions as the tribulation mounts, it continues in consistency in the company of Christ, in small groups.
It does not yet lie 'dead in the streets' (Revelation 11:10ff.), though this now seems much nearer and is of course the prelude to COME UP HERE! as we saw, the call of the living Church to heaven, sudden, direct, decisive, leaving this vale of increased secular aggression and religious confusion. TILL that happens, it has work!
Ponder Judas a little more. There are values which come from the very nature of God, things without price which MUST NEVER be surrendered. Thus the will of God, which for Christ incarnate, is not an economic resultant or a social consequence, but is a divine directive, putting spiritual things above carnal, and truth above fiction, the feet of His people always shod with the Gospel of grace and peace. Of those who were believers, not deceivers (for HOW could Judas believe in Him whom he betrayed, or kiss Him in order to show them whom to arrest at night, while believing!), NONE was lost.
CHRIST'S DEFINITION OF DISCIPLES John 17:6-8.
WHO were these ? Christ defines them. They were those whom Christ Himself, given authority to bestow eternal life on those given to Him (John 17:2), had so granted. In other words (verse 3), they had come to KNOW God and Jesus Christ whom He had sent from eternity to time. Offered Him, they had closed with Him, given leave to negate, but instead CALLED to follow, they had come. Surrounded by temptations, they had stood firm; able to be weak, they had over time, not compromised. If falling at one moment, they were readily corrected - as was Peter in the challenges shown in Matthew 16, when he tried to dissuade Christ from the Cross!
Now that His work on earth was at its end, Christ sought that glory once more which He had forsaken for His task of salvation (Philippians 2), that He might return after the horror of the Cross and the triumph of the resurrection, to His place. For His people whom He had saved, He had this identification. He had manifested, shown, made known the name of God to them, His character, power and glory. They were those known by God from before time (Ephesians 1:4), to be saved, and they had been given to Him, the Christ.
These are they who
REALISE that all that the Father has given Christ is indeed divine, the will and word of God (v. 7).
They know His Deity and His purity. They, for all their slowness at times or error, HAVE KEPT the word of God, not thrown it out, not devalued it, but embraced it: it is HE who is their criterion and their centre for life.
More than this, as to
the WORDS of God they have been given, even those commanded from the Father for Christ to utter (as in John 12:48-50),
they HAVE RECEIVED them.
his has been no automatic action, but one from the heart BECAUSE
they have become absolutely convinced that Christ Jesus has come FROM God, and have BELIEVED that the Father sent Him (John 17:8).
Whatever this world does, and may do, irrespective of that: these are His people.
There is in them no question that He does not really know, or understand, or that His commandments are poetry for pondering, not commands for life, that His corrections are puny, for they realise that THIS is THEIR LIFE! Performance is integrity, error is pardonable, but the error of taking lightly what He is and says, this is soon tantamount to denial of truth and is no part of faith. Small wonder then that 24 elders as in Revelation 11, were so ecstatic, enthralled when the shaft of light showed to them that now the end of the action was coming like an express train, and the day of waiting was coming to its sunset. Remember their words ?
“The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
Such in the predictive fabric of Revelation, was their thrilled realisation.
The Christian realises that the kingdom of heaven is already in the midst of the Lord's people (Luke 17:20-21, 11:20), and that soon it will rule – though the ‘prince of this world’ clutters (John 14:30). The child of God does not dither or dally or delay. There is a life to be lived and it is in Christ that this is to be done. He does not try to MAKE Christ’s kingdom rule, knowing this evil world (I John 5:19, Galatians 1:4), but to be as salt in this world, reflecting Christ's light in its darkness: Christ will HIMSELF rule when He comes (Psalm 2, Acts 1:7ff., Isaiah 11, 59:20, Matthew 24, I Thessalonians 3:13).
Why be concerned at the kingdoms of this world ? Some seem to dwell in them and their economic developments, their engineering works, their share prices, their take-overs of companies or countries, their wars, their interests, their enslavements and grossness; but while we not are taken OUT of this world but left IN it, the world is never to be in our hearts. We are to use it to His glory, NOT to be used by it, deliver many in it, not dabble in its ways and works. THIS world will be burnt up WITH its evil works (II Peter 3:10).
To be saved by Christ to His service and side is worth more than anything and all that this world, His fallen creation, can offer.
Consider then that day when all those kingdoms, aborted in their own pollutions, become in the millenial glory following Christ's return, as in Psalm 2 and Isaiah 11, Revelation 11 and 20, the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. NOW
"the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea."
THESE are HIS people and then THIS will be no more a world of test but of fulfilment, and the battles Christ fought and won, not yielding to temptation, become foundational to the world of His glory.
IV THE DIVINE DISMISSAL - John 17:8.
Accordingly, Christ who knows the end and the beginning of all things, divinely dismisses this world. He will NOT EVEN PRAY for it!
Is this world one to pray for ?
Christ would not pray for this world. It has its little ways, and as to subjection to the Creator, the Redeemer, the God who indicts sin and explains salvation, that is NOT IN IT. Pray for a spiritual al Qaeda complex ? Not likely. Pray for its multiple explosions of no heart and arrogant presumption over mankind ? Hardly. Pray for this world in its multitudinous singularity of contempt for the living God as defined in the only testable way ever presented to man, the Bible in words written, the Lord Jesus as the Word living ? in its complacency and mutative idolatries! CHRIST pray for THAT ? Would a mother pray for a snake, while her infant lies on the floor!
Such is the uniform, persistent and consistent biblical depiction of this world and Jesus Christ's attitude to it, regarding prayer. He SO loved the world that He GAVE His SON in order that SOME would be saved from this world, for ALL the people in which, He sought (Colossians 1:19ff.). This He did with a love which is not frustrated in power by those who refuse Him, as foreknown before the world was, but which is perfected in restraint and individuality (cf. Predestination and Freewill).
When Britain as a Protestant Christian nation, putting the Bible in the new monarch's hands as the repository of wisdom, fought to push opium into China, it was obvious that the world in it was winning over its liaison with Jesus Christ! When it sought to find a homeland for Jews after World War I, it was showing a very different concern, one for helpfulness, seeking remedy for a vast, vicious persecution of that people.
As a 'Christian' nation however it was limited by the fact that where a majority of people in it were NOT Christians, where morals in these were not Christian, where ideals in them were NOT Christian, where the power of God for Christians therefore was not in the hearts and minds and plans of the majority, nor His wisdom, then the term ‘Christian nation’ would become hollow, as a description of the ways of that land, as it has done.
Indeed, this week, in a local paper, the Messenger, in Adelaide, one reads that around 4 million people in Britain are church-goers, about 1 million active Muslims, and that on current trends, in a few decades, there could be more Muslims at mosques or meeting places than Christians (at least seen to be) in Church in England! To THIS WORLD, the Church of Jesus Christ CANNOT be wedded. Its love of power or pomp or romp or self-will or parade evilly surpasses any spirituality with substitutes either slithery or rampant. Sedition ends in perdition (Luke 9:26, II Cor. 11, Jude).
IT is welded to confusion, deception and power. Indeed, to
take an example in a recent work,
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades, a well-established author (Robert Spencer) exhibits in highly commended scholarship, just now much violence is to be seen in both history and the Koran, and how much it has been used from the invasion of Mecca on. Christ ? HE did not INVADE Jerusalem, for that city crucified Him in His non-violent ways. NOTHING could be further apart than these two religions, one appealing to man to repent to the free gift of salvation, and the other appealing to works and war for its ends (John 18:36 cf. More Marvels ... Ch. 4, Divine Agenda ... Ch. 6).
Whether it be this or that option of flesh, it makes no difference; whether robes or robbery, swastikas, scimitars or sickles, or religious persecution, by the secular or the spiritually seduced, THIS WORLD is not the point. Christ's kingdom is NOT of this world: HE does not even pray for it. HOW MUCH LESS should the Christian LIVE for it! For the Christian, it is profoundly simple and simply profound: LIVE FOR HIM, for HE DIED FOR YOU (II Corinthians 5:15). Find Him, God, and never let Him go; indeed, if you DO find Him, you are as guaranteed to be kept by His power as to be persecuted for your life in Him! (I Peter 1:3ff., II Timothy 1:8ff., 3:12).
Take both guarantees very seriously indeed, and ACT on them!