AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH – October 26, 2008
A CONTINUATION OF THE ORIGINAL THRUST AND BASE OF THE
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF AUSTRALIA, ON CHANGELESS BIBLICAL LINES
JESUS CHRIST: THE FINAL ALIGNMENT
TILL THE END OF THE AGE,
CONSIGNMENT FOR EVER
Without doubt, it is an
interesting fact, and a useful one, that just as
gives the CONTENT and the CONTROL, the COMPANY and the POWER for the Gospel preaching AND TEACHING of the commandments of God, till the end of the Age, that Gospel of Christ in whom ALL are to be gathered in the end (Ephesians 1:10), with Him or from Him: so Revelation 22:18-20 has a parallel presentation! It helps the memory and the linkage becomes instructive!
WHAT and WITH WHOM one presents is the work
of Matthew's verses here,
who, before coming, made the world (Jesus 1:3) at the command of His Father;
who came that the world might be saved (John 3:17);
who paid for the privilege as prince of peace, of ransoming the redeemed
by His own blood (Acts 20:28) as Lord and God; and
presented the power in His own resurrection as the Son of God with authority
For what beats death, none need fear – except not to find Him!
WHAT is to be presented but the Gospel and the commandments, and what is to be avoided (very negative, like putting honey in your oil in the car, but very useful and to the point) but the addition to the THINGS given in the scriptures and the removal of the WORDS in the same; for as Paul points out to the Church in Thessalonica (2:13), they knew the word of God when they heard it (as in John 7:17, 10:4-5).
Indeed, they "welcomed it not as the word of men but as it is in truth, the word of God," and this, he continued "also effectively works in you who believe." That is, it not only LED THEM TO THE LORD, but it CONTINUES ITS WORK INSIDE THEM. It is like a prescription for medicine. First taking it, you find a new channel; continuing you have a continuing work which delivers. In this case however, the continuance is internal by the Spirit of God in those who BELIEVE and receive in truth, and not in consideration of gifts or results (John 4:14, 7:37).
You either trust God or not, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, equal with God, His definitive expression long forecast and then fulfilled, or you do not. IF you do not, ultimately nothing works for you; and if you do, the word works and the Spirit of God works just as He convicted you "of sin, of righteousness and judgment" at the outset (John 16:8-11). Why does He convict the world of sin ? It is because they do not believe in Him. But why of righteousness ? it is because He has returned to His Father who first sent Him, and is seen no more till He comes for His saints and in judgment on those who prefer darkness. Yet why does He convict of judgment ? It is because the ruler of this world is judged, and his ways are contrary to truth, peace and goodness.
But what does Christ direct in Matthew 28:18-20 ? He directs first to obedience, that great category in spiritual things which Balaam mocked by trying to act with his mouth but not with his heart, and then, worse still, letting his feet disobey. Similarly, Jonah for a brief but expensive moment, wavered from obedience, through fear.
ALL authority is given to Christ Jesus the Lord, and the Greek term includes the relevant power (like a statutory power) to get things done, as appointed. This being so, IN HIS LOVE AND LAW, whatever the contrary actions and contrariness of men, one is to act. In what way to act ? One is to preach the Gospel, and with the brethren, do this to ALL NATIONS, for the Lord does not return UNTIL this Gospel has been preached in all the world to all nations (Matthew 24:4). It is addressed TO the world and it must REACH the world.
What more ? One must also teach the commandments. Thus when the Uniting Church ignores the MORAL law in the field of sexuality and pastors, then it is not obeying but rebelling, and it is like a car that not only won't go, but slews off the road. Until it is back, it is out of action, and if it continues in this way, then it is a traffic hazard, acting contrary to design; and that, to pursue the imagery in this case, could be condemned for negligence by the police!
What if the case is like that of the Melbourne 'new religion' church, still at the time of writing, within the Uniting Church, one in which Jesus is reduced as by a telescope back to front, to an unknown peasant in type, one where various tid-bits of various religions are to be added according to taste, as in a cocktail ? Then this is falsifying the Gospel, and inherits with all such activists, the word of Galatians 1. What is that ? It says,
"I marvel that you are turning away from so soon
What is the result of a 'church' doing this ? "But even if we," the apostle is not above obedience, "or an angel from heaven" (as in the case of the Mormon's claim) "preach any other Gospel to you than that which we have preached to you"- here then is the case: what then ? Then, continues the apostle, "let him be accursed." There are no options for Matthew 28:18-20. You do it or you don't, you obey or you rebel, you conform to Christ or you innovate; and if the latter the cure of the correct prescription becomes the poison of the erratic substitute; and there is NO authority to vary or to substitute in the slightest degree, let alone as in Melbourne, grossly!
Yet this is the contrary to Christ’s command. What of the conformity to it? What if, being His, you DO these things that He both commends and commands? Then you have divine company instead of curse. Then, says Jesus Christ, Lord of all, "Lo, I am with you always."
Why is He with you ? Firstly, He is with those who so act because of the feat which He performed, its purpose and its potency, its gift and its divine grace. What was that feat ? It was the change. What was the change ? It was from having a world, like that before the universal flood, so filled with evil cant and chant and deeds and unbelief in its very Creator, that it invented other ideas and forces, and worshipped these, or turned in every sort of way SOMEWHERE, so long as it was evil, contrary to Him and contrary against His will. From this to what then was this change ? It was to having a world in which ANYONE at all in it could call on the name of the Lord and freely be received as a child of God, relieved of ruin, restored through repentance through faith into life eternal (as in Acts 11:18, I John 5:11ff.). Instead of rabbled rebellion came free absolution and a place as adopted children of God (Ephesians 1:4-14).
It is secondly a work in which the very means are holy. It is because of the features of Jesus Christ. What are these ? In short, it is that HIS own face was so ruined by cutting and buffeting and solemn mockery with caustic wit and ruinous clout that it was beyond the form of men (Isaiah 52:13ff.), and what He faced with that face was the impact not just of ruffians in high places, but of sin in inner places in the hearts of mankind.
HE took the blame and the shame, and loved us just the same; but He insists that we RECEIVE Him who He is in so acting, as God manifest in the flesh, as the fitting ransom, for NO MAN can redeem his brother (Psalm 49), but only God can redeem man, purge the divine accounts (Galatians 3, Hebrews 2, II Corinthians 5:17ff.), turn away divine wrath (Romans 3:23-27) and receive then His believing children graciously (cf. Hosea 14, Ephesians 2:1-12). Now for the second time, we are HIS workmanship! First we were formulated and formed, but then washed by His blood and renewed by His Spirit – RE-generated! (Col. 3:10, John 3, Titus 3:5ff.)
The SPIRITUAL features were the love, patience, mercy and acceptance of the ruin of others for Himself (Matthew 20:28), while retaining the power of resurrection; for it was simply not possible that death should retain God! (Acts 2:24). Thus His body was raised from the dead, with the customary divine precision, on the predicted third day (as in Matthew 17, I Corinthians 15). This He did despite the shame and to replace the sham.
This is why He is with us and how He did what we must proclaim. But when is He with us as we so act ? He is with us ALWAYS. Does this mean that at some unfortunate moment He forgets, right in the thick of the fray; for there are those who would kill (John 16:2) for this ? No, as with Stephen in his death by stoning (Acts 7), the very words of the man were enforced by the Spirit of God and his face shone like that of an angel, his spirit was intact, as he prayed that God might not lay this terrible sin of murder against them; and he exclaimed that he saw Jesus at the right hand of God, and asked Him to receive his spirit!
If you want the world, look elsewhere and you could try to negotiate with its prince, the devil and his minions; but don't say you were not warned, for they are in the service of one who was a liar from the first (John 8:44). Rather trust a wild bull than that! If you want to work for Christ in the world, then as a believer you find that He is with you ALWAYS. But do not forget to testify of Him, to live for Him, to walk with Him, to work with Him and to be altogether surrendered to Him (Luke 13, Galatians 5, Romans 12:1ff.).
For my part, I would lend my soul or surrender to NO MAN, for what is in man for one so to act, but I give it ONLY TO GOD. That is precisely, in view of Christ's feat and features, Himself the eternal word of God, equal with God, why I HAPPILY surrender to Him, and DESIRE to work both for and with Him, who is with me ALWAYS. No time lapse. To be sure, He may discipline (remember His words to and look at Peter - Matthew 16:23, Luke 22:61 and Hebrews 12), but what is that ? To be disciplined by God, as a child of God is like nectar; for its aim is therapeutic, its result is constructive and its motivation is love. What more could you ask! Moreover He KNOWS just what He is doing, as the designer and maker of man!
This is the case with us who so act in Him, as we go INTO ALL THE WORLD. I have had occasion to have to go, to serve Him, to ministries in 4 States in the USA, in various Provinces in Canada, both main islands of New Zealand and to several States in Australia; and I praise Him for the opportunities, which came simply because I stood for Him in terms of OBEDIENCE to His word in seminary, which in that lost institution I was then attending, meant exclusion, expulsion and slander. But the Lord picked me up and led me to complete training in the USA, to be vindicated at the Assembly in Sydney, and to return to the North American continent on various occasions to preach and teach, the Gospel and the commandments. HE made the world, so one does not get lost in it, when one is following Him.
WITH WHOM ?
Company is very important. Bad company corrupts or corrodes, and fellowship in or involvement with a 'church' which departs from His law or His lordship or His gospel is strictly forbidden. That we find in Romans 16:23, Isaiah 8:20, II Chronicles 16:8-9, 19:1, I Cor. 5-6, II Cor. 6:14ff., II Thessalonians 2-3, I Timothy 6:1ff., Proverbs 14:7, Numbers 16:1-34 - "Depart from the tents of these wicked men. Touch nothing of theirs ... ," Revelation 2:19-23, Ephesians 4:30-5-10, Galatians 1:6-9. Do you want what is cursed to be pastor and tell you how not to be cursed! ignoring the word of God ? Do you fight for the once for all delivered faith by co-operating with what has insidiously crept in (Jude), or let what adds to His word fondle the lambs, using teeth for food, instead of teats for teething! (cf. Acts 20:28-31).
Is a man to commune with those cursed, or help those who turn to the wickedness of adding to or subtracting from the word of God as in Revelation 22! (II Chronicles 14:19). Actually, be this far from you, for the heart and the feet go together, and both with Christ. But WHEN one DOES go with Him, then all power is His and His is the company one chooses, not that of betrayers; for what is it to be slack on the word and will of God ? It is when the same person or church still NAMES Christ, to be as a spy, a traitor, a quisling in World War II: in the country, and using its facilities while betraying it!
WITH WHAT ?|
With Christ you go, then, He being always with you; but it is with His authority and power which being His, goes with Him! This is abundantly sufficient (as in II Corinthians 4:2-6) for those who have like Paul renounced the hidden works of darkness and refuse to use the word of God deceitfully, but rather GO as directed with WHAT they are given, even that written word of God, WITHOUT more or less, without addition or subtraction (I Corinthians 3:4-6).
HOW LONG ?
This operates till the end of the Age. THEN He comes and acts directly with the same Gospel (Ephesians 1:10, Revelation 14:3); for God never changes (Malachi 3:6), His ways are ever the same and indeed everlasting (Habakkuk 3:6, Psalm 102:25-28); and He never fails (Zephaniah 3:5). To have a stake in Him, eternal life no less, IN this glorious being, we know that we should glory not at all EXCEPT IN THE CROSS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST (Galatians 6:14), by which this world is crucified to us (for what do you think of the crucifying power directed against Christ!) and we are crucified to it (are you allured to such a slayer!). Thus with all our hearts resting in Him, we work, with Him our hope, joy and expectation; and being in Him, we seek by His Spirit to act like it (Romans 8).
Even a Jonah was corrected and set back on the road; even a Peter was loved and being only looked at, repented; and both were godly people, blessed of the Lord. For nothing will separate those who are His - those who have received by faith His death in their stead, His risen life from the roused up corpse, created into life once more, those who are convicted and convinced, who receiving Him, are received into life, from His hand. Moreover, it is He who says (Rev. 2:25),
¨ “Hold fast what you have till I come!”
Let no man take it from you. Do not add or alter! From whom will nothing separate ? Nothing will separate His sheep from HIM! (Romans 8:31-39, John 10:9,27-28). They are HIS!
The end of the Age ... ? Important here is Luke 21:24-28. Jerusalem from 1967 has no more been trodden down by the Gentiles, a signal of the end of the Age being NEAR, an Age so far over 1900 years long since Jerusalem fell in 70 A.D.. To be sure, Israel allowed the Moslems to have special regard for and access to the Temple Mount in the place where the Mosque is, after 1967; but Jerusalem or any other city, is free when under a given rule, to make what provisions it will.
Of much interest then is the new situation where, on this very day, Sunday, October 26th., 3008, according at least to arrangements made and reported in Israel's Haaretz, Saturday October 25, 2008, and The Australian of the same date, EITHER a government is formed by Livni, PM designate, or a fresh election will be called. In this, it is estimated, it is likely Netanyahu would win, and his stand is evidently unequivocal on Jerusalem remaining entirely Israel's, not returning territory and not removing settlers, in broad outline.
Meanwhile, reports Haaretz, Shas, a small religious party requiring Jerusalem not to be up for barter, as one formulation expresses it, but to remain entirely of Israel, will NOT co-operate in a government with Livni with her Kadima Party without the assurance that Jerusalem is NOT up for distribution to outsiders in whole or in part! Shas cannot be bought, its Chairman is reported to have declared. Unless this position changes, or others agree to join Livni, with their party or parties, then it appears an election is assured. What in fact transpires is to be measured in this context, most essentially, in the eventuations regarding Jerusalem, with their vast significance!