AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH September 26, 2010
A Presbyterian Church,
Following the Bible without Qualification,
the Lord Jesus Christ
EATING THE WORD IS FAR FROM, ABSURD!
Ezekiel 2-3, Mark 1:15, I Corinthians 12:13
We have been looking at the eating of the word of God, from the words of the prophet Ezekiel Chs. 2-3. In the process, we have focussed the ultimate and living word of God, Jesus Christ, who so far from disdaining propositions and verbal units, set His seal to the full to the most minute degree of all predicted by the Old Testament prophets. For His part, we saw, His works were categorical, unique, possible only from the power of God, and as He worked, He claimed the closest possible affinity with God as His Father, and eternity with and by Him.
There was to be an APPOINTED TIME, when as in Daniel 9, He would come, and this is calculable to 26 A.D., given some months, and for the ending of sacrificial authority, place and portent, some three and one half years later, as occurred after His ministry of about that length. Then the curtain to the Holy of Holies in the temple was rent asunder by invisible hands, and after the three days Christ so often stressed before resurrection, He entered the earth as raised from the dead, with no human intervention, and sent His Spirit, promised as in Luke 24, apparent as in Acts 2.
Let us consider it more graphically at this level. Thus just as He knew that the APPOINTED TIME, when things were brought to crisis, the KAIROS had come, so also Christ acted with unique and disturbing power, not to clamour but to heal, speak and proclaim, deeds and words married. Firstly, He made Himself ready in the temptation; then He ANNOUNCED the SET TIME had come. Thirdly, He demonstrated it in His power and vast healings which set the nation alight, as did His words and His dynamic in all to which He was sent, fulfilling all the specifications made for the Messiah in the Old Testament prophets (whom, amazingly, despite his rejection of Christ as Lord, Muhammad deems people sent from God! a real misled muddle in that prophet!).
Thus not only had the set time come, as Christ announced, but He SHOWED that it had done so in power, in sacrifice and in service. In declaring the kingdom of God was at hand, He was announcing the new epoch where the Gospel would indeed be preached to the poor (Isaiah 61). The scope remaining for the exhibition of God Almighty on earth, would now know no change, till judgment (cf. John 5:19ff., Acts 17:31): for it would be of Him, and from Him, set at nought though He was. HIS, as Daniel declared, is the Kingdom which does not fail or end (Daniel 7:25), unlike all the others; and to Him will all nations bow (Daniel 7:13-14).In this, it is categorically unlike all other empires and kingdoms.
He has come to save; He will come to judge (Acts 17:31). In the meantime, however, He must not be set at nought by any Christian, be he leader or other, nor must any congratulate what sets Him at nought, in this crucial feature, that it removes His authenticity, revokes His testimony, alters His word or makes a new 'Christ' who has nothing in history: one who issues from the mind of someone 600 or so years later, or from any other mind of today, a season abounding as Christ predicted, with false prophets (Matthew 24:24). Just as such errors are vast, so is any other meander from the SET TIME OF CHRIST. The kingdom is at hand, has no further events before it is consummated, is in His name, and HE has bought the pardon which brings one freely within it (Matthew 20:28). There is no other way in, on or out! (Acts 4:11-12), though all the world is seeking something synthetic, or false, untested, unproven, the word of man. Of all of this beware! (Acts 20:28-32).
THIS, the word of God, and not another, it must be chewed, meditated on and realised to the uttermost. It must be appreciated, for by Him, we who are His, LIVE. In the Communion, He, the living and eternal word of God, is symbolically eaten, taken intimately with one's person: He broken as bread, on sin's account, we with the broken heart.
OTHER WORKS FROM THE RESTLESS SEAS OF SEDITION
Whatever is bound to run this world is going to have travesty and not truth, with the sole exception of its Maker, since it is He who quite distinctly has stated His intention, when the preludes are done, and the freedoms are consummated, as in Psalm 2, 67, 68, 72, 82:8, 86:8-10, 96:10,13, 98:9, 110:6, 102:20-22, 145:12-13,21. His coming just rule with power in His own name, as Lord God and revealed Creator, in the Bible, is seen in Psalm 145:19-21, 98:9, 76:8-12, 72:12-15, 67:4, 45:5-7, 18:26-27,43-44, 9:8-10, 2:8-12. His compassionate rule to come is found in 22:25-27, 45:4, 72:13, 76:9, 82:4 and 8, 145:17-21, 102:20-22. His overwhelming power is securing is found in such places as Micah 7, Deuteronomy 32, II Thessalonians 1, Revelation 19, Habakkuk 3, Isaiah 59, 66 and Daniel 7.
Communism, Islam and Romanism have over history been a threesome of intimate similarity in the use of force where matters of faith are concerned (cf. *2 of Possess Your Possessions Vol. VI, Ch. 1,SMR pp. 911ff., 1032-1088H, 971-972, More Marvels ... Ch. 4, Divine Agenda Ch. 6). Each has possessed, controlled or manipulated much of Europe in its day; each claims hegemony for itself, and actively seeks it in this world, the most obvious ground of its operations and desire for control. None gives ground for such claims, or has right, whichever of the threesome is in view, nor has any what stands up to rationality: all however have taken much EARTHLY physical ground in its terms, only to yield in whole or part when the inordinate desire is limited by what counters it. Much of Islam is now back to the terrorist phase of yore. It is all one, one mounting, then another, in surges of aspiration to control mankind, whether with Roman law, sharia law or brute State law.
If you want history to be your horrid mentor, ignore it; if you despise the truth in Christ, find your new masters (Isaiah 26:13). If you want peace in truth and eternity, then walk with the One who rose from the dead and proved His power in prophecy and performance on this very earth. No one else has done anything like it. There is no competition. No head can successfully contravene it, but each heart must individually meet it, and find Christ. It is a matter of the heart, but the head cannot reasonably disagree.
Violence in matters of faith such as all three of these religions have widely practised, in terms of their universal rule aspirations - cf. *2 above, Ancient Words ... Ch. 14, SMR pp. 50ff., 62ff. - is close to the lowest level of man, and by many apparently deemed the richest ore for crushing. It is now, let us face it, this inordinate and very often religious violence which is being practised increasingly even in some democratic peoples in a different way. As to this, more humane in some elements, it is just as ghastly in effect! In such ways, tasking or toying with the minds of the young is not merely tiresome, but tragic; and with those somewhat older, it is pertinacious presumption. It is wrought by the very simple means of making some cultural clique the mode, the rule for education or orientation, then applying this to what it likes to remove, assaulting it legally or financially, by suppression of free speech. Fines, imprisonment, dismissal, all are freely used instead of freedom of speech.
Thus what has no logical ground, by legislative dragoons is enforced. Schools and colleges are a major field for this suppression, repression and indoctrination by taxation's funds. Universities become a site for secondary infection, professional loss the simple guide to conformity for the developing student or Lecturer. One has found this out personally, it is attested further in the Ben Stein disk, Expelled, and is rampant in many seminaries.
What of those younger ? Notwithstanding the turgid realities of the forceful three religions, there are other forms of vain philosophy, irrationally springing existence from nothing, the causeless chatter of matter from fairyland and the marvel of mind from mindless matter, the match of mind and creation from nowhere. A devilish kind of god can be added, to taste. The fact that millions of children even in democracies are being force-fed illusion must begin to rank among the greatest atrocities the world has ever known, and it occurs in places like Australia and the USA. The closure of the mind in many universities then becomes the path to the confused folly which is often prelude to fall and failure, as is happening increasingly in a way often masked by parallel follies in other nations, which may elect to use religion direct, as with Islam, to indoctrinate at the governmental level.
The embroilments of such forces simply secures irreparable damage from misled energies and triumphal substitutions of force, direct or indirect, for truth. Often the media glory in it. Fear may bow to it. Pugnacious parades may destroy for it. or threaten to eliminate a nation for it, as in the pronouncement from Iran.. It is as it was to be (Matthew 24:24, II Peter 2). It will end as it was foretold (Revelation 19). While there is much more in the finale of confrontation between God and man, than this, there is assuredly no less!
(cf. TMR Ch. 8,
FREEDOM, THE NATION, THE INTERNET AND THE NEXT GENERATION,
Government Papers Composite).
Is it any wonder that many formerly great nations are now in deep and murky trouble ? You cannot invent reality, and slave drive the minds of the young, inducing illusion, and expect peace. God is not mocked. As to those who have overtly used physical or parallel violence however to advance what they are pleased to call their 'faith' and done so in the stated interests of domination, that is in the domain of force and doctrine, irrelevant to faith.
Trying to invest the earth with some force-related dogma on world supremacy for some -ism, from false and unverified prophet or philosophy, desire, dynamic, is not only fated to doom (unless a short time to exhibit the depth of the folly be deemed 'success' before eternal damnation), but irrational. FAITH means trust, conviction, assurance so that one commits oneself from the heart and with the mind. Mindless doctrines cannot attain to it; force cannot substitute for it or engage it. It is as irrelevant as force in love. You MAY secure submission, but never love. So in faith: you may secure the movements of the tongue saying 'yes', but the heart is not subject to nut-crackers. You may perhaps in some cases, break it; but you cannot make it.
When it comes to the WORD, eat it, then, the word of God, ruminate, cogitate, meditate, ingest, digest and apply with joy. Realise the extraordinary privilege of being FREE to receive it, FREE to love it, called in love, so that you may be quiet in pace. There IS joy in truth and peace in it, not least because He who IS the truth, being God, knows what He has made as none else either does or could, and is love as He has so often declared, shown through His prophets and epitomised in the sacrificial love-gift of substitutionary atonement to bring man back to God FREELY, as many as come, in Jesus Christ.
THE BAPTISM OF THE SPIRIT - I Corinthians 12:13
Finally, let us realise that when Christ was once baptised, John the Baptist protested that it was he who should be baptised by Christ, not vice versa. However, the anointing of the priest was a solemn Old Testament practice (Numbers 8), and so it was done. The Holy Spirit like a dove anointed Him, while His Father spoke from heaven, identifying Him as His beloved Son. Indeed, in the transfiguration (Matthew 17), He was not only identified, but this was added from the Father: "HEAR HIM!"
In parallel, John the Baptist had indicated (Matthew 3:11) that though he baptised with water, the Messiah coming, would baptise with the Spirit. Thus is that confirming power and grace given.
It is God who does these things, not man. That is, the baptism that matters most is that noted in I Peter 3:21, that is the baptism which saves. It is no sprinkling externally with water (the form noted in Ezekiel 36:25, when Israel returns to the Lord and hence to the Gospel as in Galatians 1).It is not that; for it is not "the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
This is an inward washing making an inward cleanliness and a total cover for the soul and the spirit of man, through the realities of the atonement, and the power of the Lord in the heart of a person. Nor is this all. Thus the baptism of the Spirit of which John spoke, this was an advance total and ultimate on his own work of baptism for pardon from sin.
Thus of Christ, John the Baptist attested this: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world," (John 1:29). Here is the foundation, and through this comes the inward dynamic of salvation. What the power of God wrought on the cross, it applies in the Spirit (II Corinthians. 3:17-18). Thus the power of God, the surging fire of renewal and purging, brings home the enlivening thrust of the very presence of God. It is this which is that confirming power and grace given, like energy from bread, sent from the Father by the Son (John 15:26), and this spiritual baptism as in I Corinthians 12:13, BRINGS ONE INTO THE BODY of Christ. Water washes. Fire seals. Christ keeps (Ephesians 1:11, II Timothy 1:12, I John 5:11-12, Romans 8:29-30). Here is glory to God!
As with other baptism, this baptism of the spirit is a code for coming into the covenant, but this time, expressed with life-giving power in the name of Christ. It is never specified as repetitive, as shown above, merely being a ONCE for all thing like water baptism; and there is none who is a Christian, who does not have the Spirit of God (Romans 8:9). It seals what the Cross accomplished (Ephesians 1:1-11).
This acknowledged, however, and fanciful multiplications displaced, let us rejoice that as the word is food, so the Spirit brings water (John 4:14, 7:37ff.). Thus is our thirst quenched because of Christ, balm applied by the Spirit, grace given with power to act. EAT the word of God: the Spirit strengthens you with might in the inner person, to apply it, and encouraging you, brings love, joy and peace.
No less does the Lord bring faithfulness, which all Christians must highly esteem, as that of Peter and John (Acts 3-4), in confronting misled priests with their false doctrine, with the courage of lions. In this, they did not wound, but themselves were whipped. WHO then suffered! Christ does not authorise violence against others in His name: this is left to those who, lacking truth, use force instead. He DID authorise truth, the word of God being preached, the flock rescued from delusion and lupine intrusion. Let us then be faithful also.
Rejoice therefore in the Lord, being steadfast and immovable, full of faith and His Spirit, forgiving but not forgetting whose you are: in the truth. STAND and remain standing. Eat the word of God and live by it, in Him whose it is.