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Of Searches for Churches
Defilements and Destinies
Avoid the evil, the idols, the extrapolations of human psychology and find the One who made the system. What then ? You are pardoned ? in the name of Christ ? because of His death for sin (Colossians 1:22), through faith in Him as God’s gift, who in supreme love left heaven in order to bring some out of earth to heaven ? and this by a divinely planned sacrifice, so that the eternal word of God, becoming flesh, lived amongst us, and became the bridge to heaven ? giving His life as a ransom for sin ? and in HIM, is your trust (cf. Psalm 2, Acts 2:37ff.). To all this, it may be that you reply in the affirmative.
In such a world, at such a time, you do well. But do you go to the church of the living God against which the very gates of hell’s strategic plannings, weapons and ruses cannot prevail ? Do you choose wisely ? It is not a spiritual supermarket for your pleasure, but a team for your labours. The following reply to an enquirer will provide you with some of the considerations, first to examine yourself to ensure you are IN THE FAITH, and second to FIND through faith, and the direction of the Lord and His word, the church where He is being honoured, and His word magnified and trusted, so that you may find the local body of which you are to be a part (cf. Hebrews 10:25).
Alas, and great is
the grief of it, just as Paul predicted to the Ephesian elders, so is the case:
wolves have come in to steal the flock, not believing in Christ, but in their
own ideas. They may come equipped with that name, that of Jesus, stolen for
their purposes, while they steal the flock. In practice, they may often be
found adding their thoughts or those of some body falsely called ‘church’, to
the word of God. In what then do they believe as they ‘create’ the Saviour (cf. II Peter 2, II Corinthians 11) ?
In Peter’s terms, many will be believing in an income from a ‘faith’ work, which is in fact a faithless meander into the myths of the Age, whether biological, cultural, national, philosophic, religious or some amalgam (Acts 20:25-32). They may be geared to seduce, if it were possible, the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-31).
Notice Paul’s words of warning:
“And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among
which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the
“Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
To this, add II Peter 2:1, II Timothy 3:1-5, I Timothy 4:1ff., and tremble.
In what way, ‘tremble’ ? In this, that “the fear of the Lord is CLEAN” (Psalm 19), and you do not need to be anxious if you are cleansed in this way. It is not that fear replaces love, indeed perfect love casts out fear, craven, cowardly reticence, but it does not remove the cleansing operation of the holy and reverential fear of the God whom we love. It is rather like fire. Fire is good, comforting, warming, and empowering for many things, and can be gentle or fierce as the need is; but unwise is he who through love of it, takes it for granted and does not adhere to a splendid carefulness as the fire rages on the grate, in view of his love of it!
Our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29), and it is well that He is, for it is not only a token of His holy infinitude of love, tenderness and the purity essential for that, but a way for the dealing with the massive waste ‘problem’. Therefore, with love of His grace, with conviction about His wisdom, armed with faith in Him, and equipped with the promises such as that of James 1:5-7, SEEK WISDOM in your difficulties, whether in finding a church for your worship, one which is sound, alive and true, or a career for your talent, or the service which first of all the Lord wants of you.
As I write, doing the work of an author in the Ministry of Christ, I am conscious that at THIS TIME, this is the will of God for me. Assuredly, long ago I should have stopped, if my conviction after earnest prayer and meditation were otherwise. The mere fact that it would NOT AT ALL be MY choice, is irrelevant. If it serves Him, it is enough. I serve Him; He is Master, and it is to me, a privilege without equal, to know how I can best serve Him, out of love, knowing that when one loves God and truly sets one’s heart to keep His commandments, it is then that the love of the brethren is fulfilled (I John 5:2).
This being in His word, is taken like the rest of it, in trust. It is not enough that reason requires faith in it; for this does not PRODUCE the faith. It may stir, stimulate, help, resolve: but it is not the same as faith. One must therefore believe in Him; and it is then that He empowers and enables, as He graciously does in this work, or whatever is His biblical will, and personal desire for ANY of His servants.
In seeking the will of God in ANYTHING, it is enormously important to be willing to do that WILL in EVERYTHING! So Colossians 1:9-16 speaks so clearly:
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”
As with us all, it is necessary to know the name and address of the one concerned, and to find that one where he or she dwells. With God, the address is heaven, name of entry and belonging is Jesus Christ, the street address is the Bible, the enquiry gate is the Cross, the entry is the bodily resurrection of Him who by His supreme power was able even to surmount that, on our behalf vicariously, for all who believe (Romans 4:25-5:1, 10:9).
Apply elsewhere, or trying to establish other spiritual territories to which to do, seek elsewhere, and it is free: it is just that there is nothing there.
Now follows something like the letter sent in response to an enquiry with which some may empathise, to a point, and so profit in the grace and mercy of Christ.
It is good that you appear drawn to Jesus Christ, and sense something of the wonder in Him. Faith only can complete that. Reason should be pondered in the areas shown, if you want to be faithful in that; and I leave that to you. I proceed on that basis of demonstration, and the rest is on such a plateau, as first explained to you. The structure of reason precedent to discussion, as noted, is there and will be assumed as presented. No other solution there is to be found that fits the mix.
Yet we must be clear: reason may trumpet to the uttermost, proof be sure: but the faith is not required by it. That, faith, it is a personal matter. I remember well one young Malaysian who said that he was convinced of Christ, but the COST was too great!
As to the Church problem you encounter, I can understand. I can sympathise, and can offer a step for you to ponder. At times it can be a cost, especially in times of international decline, when one may have to suffer for the truth rather markedly; but then, for what is it a cost ? If it is for Him, so be it. A creation of God – doubly, as a person and as a new person (II Cor. 5:17ff.), I find no cost too great. What is to great for life!
On the other hand, though one appreciates the difficulties you may indeed find with many churches, we must be determined and decisive. It must be in a church which meets HIS specifications both in doctrine and in willingness to follow His commandments. It does not have to be nearly perfect; it does have to seek for this, and to abide by what is written. Like a child –and if it is of His children, we could expect this sensitivity – it is to be willing to be led by Him who gave both His word, the Bible, and His Son the Redeemer. Finding such a body ? This is not as easy as it was; but it is possible.
I myself has been persecuted several times, to the loss of very much; but when I am persecuted, it is that I have to stand for what God has said – after all, He knows His own mind better than they do – and demonstrate for any and for all that the Bible is the sole authorised, written declaration of God to mankind (cf. SMR, Acme, Alpha and Omega – Jesus Christ Ch. 8, Repent or Perish Chs. 2, 7 et al.). Some will try to remake, remodel a Jesus for their own will, whom caprice, desire would mould, to let them off the hook ethically, morally, or in some other way, so that God can be bent to their purpose; or for some other alien motivational thrust. That is merely irrational: if you want to follow the Christ, so be it; but to USE HIS NAME for the product of your own mind, is neither wise nor true.
You might as well make “Karl Marx” to be the owner of 5 Cadillacs, just so that you could follow THAT sort of a Marx. There is however no famed philosopher Marx of that sort. What they are, is what they have shown themselves to be. As Gladstone, British PM, is reputed to have said, IF you want to found a new religion, fine, only make sure you rise after three days.
view of the persecutions suffered, the scribes and their fellows met, it would be
possible for me to say, AH! So that this
is this so famous
It may be hard to be patient with people, until one considers three things,
Ø The first is this: Maybe they find me not the best in this and that to which I may not be sufficiently sensitive. Therefore let me ensure that I do not judge them on a different basis from that on which I judge myself.
Ø The second thing is this: BUT can I precisely judge myself ? (I Corinthians 4:1-5). It is easy to be sensitive to the things which are so placed in one’s life, and NOT TO NOTICE some of the other things which other people may notice, just as it is easy for enemies because of the GOSPEL (cf. Philippians 3:17-19) to magnify or even invent grounds of criticism.
Ø Hence David asks GOD TO CHECK HIM OUT (Psalm 139:22-24). However he well knew WHO GOD WAS, His word and His commands, His presence and His power, His guidance and His grace. He was not walking in the dark! (Psalm 27:1ff.). He did not seek this work of God upon His spirit, as a gesture. It was a functional matter! God means business with His children. Thus David made the request: “Search me and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts, and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
That is most wise. The Holy Spirit, said Christ, will convict of sin (our own), righteousness (that of Christ who gave Himself the perfect sacrifice to cover sin in the interests of love and mercy, and meet justice in the interests of truth – Hebrews 9:12-28), and judgment (that coming to mankind who rejects mercy where God places it, who considers himself above it all, when this is not the case). When one is checked out, there is much to do! This exercise of David’s was not in order to be saved, for if one has put one’s life’s faith in Christ as Saviour and Lord according to His word, without ANYTHING ELSE (NOT Christ plus my ideas, or someone else’s), then one is already saved. David foresaw and in great detail PREDICTED the Messiah, and so his heart already trusted in Him.
For him, then, this would be a work of sanctification, to become more like God in character. It is in a way more like asking the mechanic not only to fix what you tell him, but what he may find when he carefully checks your car out! At 74 I still find much to do, needing to be done in the spiritual premises, and am glad to have life with which to do it!
Ø The third thing ? It is that one must ensure that WHERE one is finding the ‘church’ of Jesus Christ, is where God defines it. If one joins the Liberal Party, for example, all that SAYS it is that party, is not in the same condition. Some body may have the historical AUTHENTICITY (that is, in now being what it claims, it is not just some claim about ITS past) that makes it the party you actually have in mind. Other bodies may simply use the name, on purpose or even otherwise, in order to make some point of their own, and in fact they may have nothing whatsoever to do with what YOU have in mind; and hence are irrelevant to your seeking, and either intentionally or unintentionally misleading.
Hence you would need to find a church which, like many, to start with, actually SAYS it is concerned to believe in God according to His word, His Christ, His declared salvation, unchanged and unchangeable (Galatians 1), not according to some other criterion, or criteria (cf. The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 7).
‘God’ WITHOUT a SON, without a WORD sent incarnate to die for sin, is not the God of the Bible. Some god sending somebody NOT to die as a ransom for judgment, to grant fellowship with God by His own gift and eternal life by GRACE without works, is another club, church, body. It has nothing to do with Christ, since HE made it clear firstly, that unless you believe that He is the Messiah, you shall die in your sin (John 8:24), and secondly, that He is the only way to His Father (John 14:6), for the good and sufficient reason that He only has been sent to expose and constitute the salvation of God, according to the millennia or so of prophecies (Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17). As Isaiah 48:16 with 52-53 and Psalm 2, 45 shows, He was sent, being in the form of God, for the purposes of God, as God in human form, to fulfil His great mission of redemption.
Again, it would not need to be a church which followed what Christ abhorred, its own nose (Mark 7:7-9), under the descriptive title of ‘tradition’, one that binds its own will and falls foul of the Biblical word of Christ, “one is your Master, even Christ, and all of you are brethren” (Matthew 23:8). If God speaks, what has man to say! Nor do you need those who are their own authorities (I Peter 5:3-4). This is forbidden. The church is the candlestick, not the light: it shines by reflection (Revelation 1:12).
ELIJAH and JOB
It is BECAUSE God speaks that man needs to follow, even if as in the case of Elijah, it seemed almost as if no one else were there. In fact, at that time, God advised Elijah that there were still 7000 who had not bowed the knee to ‘Baal’, the then current so brilliant theological errantcy. Whatever the human company, Elijah knew God. He was in the beautiful company of people like Job. “Though He slay me,” said Job, “yet shall I trust Him!”
In that case, the test was on, so that the Satan was given opportunity to PROVE by his own evil thoughts, if he could, that Job was a self-righteous, or a self-satisfied, or worse, a scheming theological hedonist, just in it for what he could get out of it. If then calamity struck ? would he then be still reliant on, and a worshipper of the true and living God ? To the test: then check it out, came the permission; but not with his life. Satan could attack, but the life of the subject was not to be taken. It was a living test, not an assignment with a corpse. Later, when Job had been, while at first under test, a perfect example, Satan sought more: Would not a man be content with his health ? Just touch that and see where you get with your sincere man of God.
Job’s health was then attacked. When that happened, and Job was given the added test of ‘comforting’ friends who assumed that his plight was a function of his sin, and allowed him the ‘grace’ of their tongues, Job had tremors, It was not easy, to be sure, under that test, but the tried man of God came out with Job 19:23-29, still sung at Christmas season in the Messiah of Handel, This, it is one of the most burningly purified declarations of faith in the Lord, the Redeemer, that you could find; yes and Job was confident, indeed flamingly, blazingly confident in the midst of his trials (and they literally were just that), that His very own Redeemer, God Himself, was the One whom Job would see with his own eyes, when at last He came to stand upon the earth, and this, even though temporarily death could dismiss his then current body! “Whom I shall see for Myself, and not another”.
Yes, tests are definitely on, and it is wise, as in any exam, to recognise them for what they are.
If you believe in the Lord, then you accept them and seek the best way of handling them, again as in any other exam, whether it be a question of others, in churches, or on the other hand, of sanctity in one’s own life. You do this by faith and the result may be humbling, impoverishing, bearing with misunderstandings: but the result is rewarding and enriching, when spiritual purity is the goal in God. What really does it matter ? So long as God is with one, it does not matter if all hell is of a contrary motivation. It has its destiny; I have mine. I am sad for those addicted to its ways, and seek with all my heart to deliver them; but in the end, it is only the Lord who can reach them, and His is not a dictatorial role.
After all, if you do not believe, what is the point of seeking the fruits of faith, before it exists ? The absence of God as your friend, helper and strengthener is rather like that of an engine: you have a car, no engine, and wonder what is wrong with this car sort of thing! When you have an engine, you go places and find things.
CHRISTIANS are tested, and it is good (I Peter 1:6-7), and comparative ‘heaviness’, says Peter, may come ‘for a season’ so that the purity of your faith may be tested, indeed that refinement occur. Motives need simplification, love needs its singleness of heart. Vision needs to be unclouded. One of the tests MAY relate to a church, and if so, one has to be willing to correct, and to be corrected, and to be certain NOT TO BE where the Bible does not have its place as the word of God, subject to nothing; just as one needs to be a man of God, subject to none else. With the brethren, of course, one must be willing and ready for the fellowship of function in Christ, like any other team; but not to be taken for a ride into some other …society, for its own convenience, anomalously retaining the name of a church.
TESTING and CHURCHES
Further, Paul made it clear that any OTHER Gospel than what had then been preached is merely a false intrusion. It is in fact plagiarism. Why USE the term “Gospel” in a context where its famous and historical basis in Christ is in view, and mean something else ? For deliberate confusion ?
So you have first to find yourself a believer IN JESUS CHRIST, not someone who would redraft him according to some criteria, before you are likely to find any church which does the same with the prescribed platform of Christ. Even in a bank, you have a prescribed platform, with your name, address, signature and record. It is not especially horrible to answer to that. When God is concerned, it is not a word for fun any more than your name or mine is this: it is a signal of a personal being, who is what He is, and is not available for re-draft any more than are you, or am I!
opposite to that, it is intensely horrible. Paul specialises on that topic in
II Corinthians 10-11, on those who make themselves their own criterion for drafting God, instead of following His. It is
as if a bank decided that someone of your name, or my own, should now have some
designated address in
Let us hear the prophet in 8:11-13:
Ø “Because Ephraim has made many altars for sin,
They have become for him altars for sinning.
I have written for him the great things of My law,
But they were considered a strange thing.
For the sacrifices of My offerings they sacrifice flesh and eat it,
But the Lord does not accept them.
Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.”
The bold print is added to bring home the point in view for us here.
They were AUTHORISED to make an altar; but they made many. They were authorised to worship the God who is there; they added the ones who are not there (cf. Deuteronomy 32:16-19). They had names for their gods to which they gave worship, and one name, that of Baal, simply meant ‘Lord’, just to make the confusion more confounding.
They used the thing meant for intimacy, for alienation. The very ALTAR for sacrifice, became a place for other gods, other words, other desires, or even confusing verbal duplication; and God was made into what they would do to a prostitute: merely an object for use along with the other paramours. Ezekiel 16 pursues that theme, as does Hosea in the very structure of the book!
It was hideous, and still is, when men use the term ‘Lord’ or ‘God’ to impose their wishes for the identity of the Almighty. He can be changed not at all. He has said all He intends (Revelation 22 makes it clear that the very THINGS given are complete, with no more, none at all). He has done all He plans in redemption; it is finished (Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 1:10ff., Hebrews 9:12). He does not plan to come in another body as some other person; or to entertain man with antics for his taste, as if He were some kind of vaudeville. It is there. If you leave it, you leave God, and your own destiny is then, like a sunset, perhaps colourful, but destined for that darkness which PREFERS darkness to light (cf. John -19,36).
God is not mocked, is merciful, and is Himself. This, it is not very hard when you consider it.
Again, notice this in the cited Hosea passages, that “I have written for him the great things of My law.” Here God exhibits the fact that man does not manufacture God’s law. Man naturally responds to the word of the One who wrote his own DNA, and gave him spirit; but it is not his law. When man opens his thoughts, it is his law; when God opens His thoughts, it is His law. We do not become so confused among each other; there is no excuse for doing so when God is concerned!
Man may want to expand or limit it in some way, and very frequently does just this, either with false prophets or simply in his own mind or heart. The man I mentioned who thought he was just about sinless, found that he would take perhaps a little of this religion, a little of that, and making up for his own pleasure his own standards, would then assess himself. You could do that in mathematics too! and get 100% and be useless at it (cf. Deliverance from Disorientation Chs. 8 and 10).
That is Paul’s point about measuring themselves BY themselves, and SO not being wise! (II Corinthians 10:12). So it is partly right to have absolute standards for assessing religion, and partly wrong if you make them up yourself, either by original design, or by selection processes on what is around, or simply appeals. In fact, as noted, our standards in many Western countries are not a little affected by the immense Biblical provisions in law, in religion, in morals, which have for so long, from so many hands and in so many dynamics influenced our perception. When however we select from this, and make our own preferred definitions of assessment, we merely elevate ourselves into the criterion of religious truth, manifestly impossible, as we are examples constructed by another. Logic is to be met, since God gave us minds; but we learn with them, from what He has done and what He has said: we do not impose. There is but one God.
On the other hand, when we SAY we believe in God, who gave His Son, Jesus Christ to manifest Himself, His power over death and disease, His pardon and His way, it is equally astray to act as if the GREAT THINGS of the law, mercy and justice, were not just that – great! Mercy ? but whose. Given by us ? No, by Him. On our standards ? no, whoever heard of an imposed mercy! By His. The profound simplicity of this should not be permitted to obscure the feints of many who want to seem good, but are wickedly corrupt, imposing their own words on those of God’s, ignoring the great things while swallowing camels (Matthew 23:24). These are “blind guides”, said Christ.
There is, let us be frank, not only much subtlety abroad, but it is predicted (cf. Matthew 24:24). Christ put it strongly of the time (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5) when His return draws near.
SO great would be the insidious redrafting and craft, that IF IT WERE POSSIBLE even His chosen people would be tricked by it, as the time of His return drew near. That is precisely what He declared (Matthew 24). Thus, God being God, there is nothing He cannot do, and faith in Christ being faith in the effectual working of God according to His plan, program and person, HIS people CANNOT be so deceived. They WOULD be deceived, without Him; but then, without Him, the very world itself would not exist. It is so very important not only to THINK but to REALISE and act on the realisation, that God is alive and available in Christ, and it is necessary to ASK for what is needed for godly living, and of course, EXPECT to get it.
It is, after all, for His people who trust in Him, a promise (II Peter 1:4). When faith arrives in one’s heart, one finds that the promises work; which is not so surprising, since the matter is this, “faith which works by love” (Galatians 5:6, with Hebrews 11:6). Love is the greatest; but without faith, you see here, you miss the bus entirely. You are then not where this great phenomenon occurs. If love is the way faith works, then without faith, there is no working of it. Without God who is love, you do not have love; without faith, you do not have God (Hebrews 11:6).
If those in view are His, and if, like Sampson, they begin to go astray, then at the end, they are set straight (as he was, when he did in fact at last finish his appointed task with flying colours – but what sadness he might have avoided if he had kept to the will of God from the first!). Sometimes, they merely think they are His, HOPING but not believing. In that case, the end may bring them to the faith which first they wrongly professed. Then action.
Churches too, as you see so very clearly in Revelation 2-3, may follow some such lines. One therefore has first to believe in God, since it is about Him altogether. When one does so, then the shameless shambles of false churches, prophets and philosophies, merging, like hills distantly on the disappearing horizon, can be seen as when one is overhead in a helicopter. The Lord enables both the finding and the participation.
OTHER Jesus creations, of man, not the gift of God from eternity, these were flourishing even in Paul’s own day (II Corinthians 10:12-11:15). They USED His name shamelessly for their own unimpressive, unverified, unpredicted SHAM! It is to be more awful now than then, and it is (cf. News 121, 122).
It does of course matter who God is. If I wrote to Lawrence, and did not really mind which of 500 I thought I was writing to him, I would be less than personal, dutiful and responsible. We do not have such qualities in a vacuum. They are derivative, and capable of considerable oversight, as when men often exploit others for their own gain, and ignore them. Yet they know well enough that they are there.
It does matter who is who. There may be someone of your name who is absurdly rich, absurdly immoral, amazingly delightful, of great fame, of great infamy. There would be many. Hence it MATTERS exceedingly much that I write to the ONE WHOM I KNOW, not generally to anyone bearing this name, as if NOTHING MATTERED!
Is God the God of the destroyer, who blows up people and seeks to run this world ? On the contrary, the Destroyer is one of the Biblical names for Satan, the adversary. Did Jesus seek to run this world ? On the contrary, He said “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here. “ Asked if He were then a King, by Pilate, the judge, He replied: “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I cam into this world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
Interestingly He said a parallel thing, as seen in John 7:17: “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.”
IN ADDRESSING GOD, USE THE RIGHT ADDRESS
Like you and me, Lawrence, He is what He is. He is not something diverse, divergent, manipulable, conditioned by the thought of this or that person. If anyone wants to make some religious puppet and call it god or some similar name (as some political regimes, for convenience may want to do), then that is part of the scheme and schema of this world. It is not admirable, being merely manipulation. However if anyone wants to make a Christ of his own, then that is far worse. It is to court confusion and to latch onto the trailer of the truck ahead, which has its own performance characteristics.
What then is God ? He is a Spirit, eternal, just and loving, with His own will and ways, whose goodness never fails, whose compassion reaches the zenith of coming in the very format which He created in His own image, to undo the mess man made of freedom ? How did man do so ? by using it to abuse, not to fulfil the wonder which the Almighty had planted in him. To use what I have drawn concisely from the Bible, on p. 479 of SMR:
Is that almighty, omniscient, compassionate, independent, immaterial Being whose justice is never compromised, who gives love its name, mercy its source and fatherhood its basis; to the Church its centre and sovereign, to sin its answer, and to wickedness in His time, its results; who takes no pleasure, however, in the death of the wicked, and does not lightly afflict the children of men; of whom, to whom and through whom are all things; in whom is no iniquity or shadow of turning, who changes not; alpha and omega, the beginning and the end of all creation, Creator ex nihilo, by Himself; alone eternal, King beyond all dominion. He is triune: one in Being, consisting in, but not of, three Persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all of one nature, but distinct.
This is a Biblical summary of some substance. There so happens to be NOTHING validatable, verifiable, satisfactory to scientific method, illustrated in life (Christ), persistent over millennia (the fact-verifiable prophets), meeting the demands of logic in existence, except this. Men may make vapid gods: that is one of the results of their being in His image, and having such powers of creation. It is abuse of power, and it is potentially deadly, as are many other abuses. It is however a facility which, however great the presumption, arrogance and absurdity of the process, has one great limit. They do not succeed. They make mere mockeries, puppets to their power and fulfillments of their desire or their fear. You might as well try to make a play by having it in your mind. The drama has to be STAGED and to SHOW itself for what it is.
Thus it matters INFINITELY who God is; and it matters INFINITELY in whom one believes,
v convenient or (for the sense of clamant duty), inconvenient abstractions,
v or the active and attested God of glory, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.
WHEN one has believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone among men is without sin (Romans 5:12, I Peter 2:22ff.), with the very power of God and whose words to this day rule history, then, and then only can one hope to find a church, for example, which follows Him. Oh to be sure, HE MAY in what is called His prevenient grace (that is His affair), allow you to find one; but would you recognise it ? You see while it is true that LOVE is paramount, and what vilifies or defiles it is not of God, and indeed that God is love (which is logically not the same proposition as this, that love is God*1), it is equally true that this is a Christian position. It is one which is DEFINED in and by Christ and the prophets in entire accord, over the millennia, into and beyond the milieu of the cross, as into the triumph resurrection and the coming Return. That is what love is like; there is the work of its original.
Some SAY they love a girl, when they love their own pleasure in her company. Others regard her with joy and delight, and have the richest joy in making life pleasant for her, and helping her to join in a partnership which is beautiful in its grace and eloquent in its sincerity. The word ‘love’ is capable of almost any distortion. Thus, ‘harm’ might by some school-boys be seen in ANY discipline; whereas in fact, without it they might fatally harm themselves! It is necessary in any attempt to define love, to be frank and clear. Does it mean mere indulgence ? Does it mean ensuring that what protects is in place before it is too late ?
Indeed, is it seen in a world where ANYTHING can happen, and so divorced from God at the outset, a mere act of rebellion using a code word, as a flag ? (cf. Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Chs. 9, 13). Or is it seen in a world where GOD is the AUTHOR and the CODE giver and the MORAL resource, giving that the design called ‘man’ its gospel needs, not in order to delete his spirit, but to enable its beautiful and intimate co-existence with Himself, and the true path to its meaning ?
When one is consistent, and adopts this, then one begins to realise that the love of God in the Bible is no more amorphous than is yours or my own. It is particular, personal and with Him at least, realistic. Love is not interested in making indulgence to be its god, any more than violence or vileness. God does not interest Himself in creating God-makers because, first of all, it is impossible. The ONE who was always there, cannot now be put there.
WE have to find what He declares in His word, just as our bodies relate to what He has put in the DNA (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7, Little Things Ch. 5). We can no more invent His words or criteria or priorities, than we can for each other; and indeed, infinitely less! You or I can imagine what some person is like, but that is what it is, unless we have their curriculum vitae, or better, their voice and word, or best of all, meet them and discourse with them, and walk with them and perceive them in motion, action and even in deliberation.
What is SO marvellous is this, that if there is anything fully kind, it is found in Him; if there is any impenetrably pure pity, it is from His source, if any holiness, without pollution, it is in Him, if any wisdom to redeem a foul and fallen race (as it is in all, in this, that it does not start with Him, but with itself), then it is in Him.
HIS love is not to indulge our impenitent desires, but
v to enable our coming home to our Source, the Architect, the Strategist, the Creator, the Inventor, the Author of Integrity in Jesus Christ (whom He embodied to display it and enact what it REQUIRED), The Speaker of Life into existence, the Redeemer and Salvation,
v in giving us access.
It is exceedingly wonderful that He does, this being the nature of love which engenders man and his deliverance (Colossians 1:19ff.); and of course, He likewise gives access
v to the clearly displayed WORD OF GOD, the Bible, on show for nearly three and one half millennia from its earlier works, to the present. It is not a ticket for the illicit; it is a mercy for malady, and a stimulus to function, all in faith, all for Him who is called Lord, not for something to do!
At all times since the Fall, as when Christ came, it has been a matter of action, of word, of speech, of history, and leading, of God as Lord and Saviour (cf. John 3:11, Acts 4:19-20). There we can rove, look and see. His love is like this: we are not what we could and should be, and He is not prepared just to blast us (like putting a second rate plan in our own waste paper bins in our offices), since we are not mere paper! (though many seem to act like it, being written on by every foul and foolish philosophy as if it were a duty!).
He has become man to show, exhibit and construct the pathway back, filled with
justice (Romans 3:25-26, Galatians 3:1-10), requiring therefore redemption,
providing the same since no mere man, only His incarnate Word was sufficient
(Psalm 49:7,15). In this excursion to man. In this, God was exacting in
suffering, indicative of limitless power, but neither dictatorial nor loose. He
is what He is. He mourned for
We come to Him AS HE IS or we deal with myths, illusions (cf. Secular Myth and Sacred Truth). There is an end to sin, and it is what you would expect when those who engage in it, refusing repentance, dismiss the plan of God, and want to enter heaven by some other door (as denounced in John 10:1ff.). God will not suffer eternity to become a mess because some want to play God without having the power, purity or resources, yes or the truth! (SMR Ch. 3). There is no other. God is what He is, says what He means. Do you blame the government if the orphanage has only one door ? Only if there is congestion. There is none here!
There is nothing absolute but God (cf. SMR 99-100, Ch. 3), nor can anything be known truly except in Him, whose is the perspective, the purpose and the power; but His absoluteness DEMANDS love without which there is neither meaning nor merit, place or power of any kind (I Corinthians 13). He has nothing to gain, everything to give, except being GOD, for you cannot exist from eternity, starting now! (cf. AAA Ch. 8). Many want to over-ride that; but there is but One who knows all and everyone, utterly. He gives. However the love is from Him, and to HIM and to ONE ANOTHER, and it is as defined by Him. It is rather like a good home. Your mother loves you ? very good, then she tells you to keep your hands out of the cookie jar between meals. You CANNOT (or will not) believe that any loving mother could be so cruel (sic) ? Yet she is being just that: loving and NOT cruel!
A good caning may occasion HARM to your (possibly inflated) self-respect, but it may be balm to your life. Discipline should not be to break the will, but to help to heart to consider, when it is foolish. The ‘good’ is not the pain but the perception. Of course an utterly rebellious child may then harbour a grudge and seek to kill his parents. Many seek to kill God (they DID kill Christ; but they did not prevail, since that was part of the STATED program (see Joyful Jottings 25), as was the resurrection.
Many seek now to remove God no less than did these scheming priests and politicians of a former era. Their counterparts have not departed! They may do it directly as did some in the USSR in 1917, telling Him to go with bag and baggage (though one notices that later, in the 1990s they seemed content to be helped by a nation still exhibiting masses of worshippers of the God of the Bible); they may do it implicitly, or even withholding thought about it, through some kind of theological repression.
Whichever way they go, in this they do not succeed. Some then decide to become atheists, because they cannot make God after their own image; INSIST on their own ways, and hence verbally dispense with God. However, they do not alter anything, except their own destiny, which they are here shown to be shaping. Proverbs 1*2 is a marvellous goad to thought here! It deserves the most meticulous and thoughtful pondering, as does Proverbs 8, not least the end of it (cf. Proverbs 8).
If a person wants himself as criterion, quality control and judge, then he is at once occupying a position which he does not have. He is the quality RECEIVER, not the quality imbuer. What perhaps makes so many so willing to act as if reality depending on them, their thoughts and feelings is this: that in fact we ARE so made that our wills have significance, even when our decisions may be against the truth, and by default make us personally insignificant (biblically, like chaff which the wind blows away, though this is not the destiny, merely the phase of dispersion – Psalm 1). This brings on for many, the power lust, the irrational grasp to be, if not in word, then in effect, gods! God is with magnificent irony, unimpressed (Psalm 82!).
It is just such a spirit which led the rulers of this world to rebel against the Lord and His anointed as we find in Psalm 2, which is the birth of this present world, in its severity; for it lives by one who is NOT the prince of peace; and so as to peace, it does not get it (John 14:30). God indicated millennia ago, that there would be an international development in the LACK OF PEACE which would not merely be exceedingly intensive, but potentially terminal for man on this earth. Only His own return would prevent systematic annihilation! (Revelation 6, Matthew 24:21-22). Men’s hearts accordingly would faint with fear, and there would in the nations, be “distress… with perplexity” (Luke -25). So it goes; but it is not gone yet, though the ACTIONS and the FEELINGS go as recorded so deliberately by the Lord, so long in advance.
However since the members of our race DO have significance, even if only to consign themselves away from the truth, it can grow into what is virtually a fetish, as if reality were just waiting on man, to be given permission to exist. Man’s choices do NOTHING to invent God; only relating to the prevention of His truth from entering his soul. As to that, mercifully, His choices are what count, and whilst in his blindness (to the goodness of God as it IS), man is incapable of coming in his own will and strength (I Corinthians 2:14, Romans 9:16, John 1:12-13), yet God (by grace you are saved, as Paul interpolates in Ephesians 2:1-10, before affirming it categorically in the same place) is able to find His own.
With the amplitude that His own astonishing liberality, He neither dictates nor breaks His product man, in order to secure him; but He does find us out beyond our own control (Romans 9:16, John 1:12, Acts 11:18), so that spiritual birth, the midwifery department of the divine mercy, is wrought from above : you do not know where the wind comes from, said Christ (John 3). A broken and a contrite heart, however, are of great value in the sight of God, BECAUSE this is the PROPER response to the pathology in the heart of mankind (Isaiah 6:2, 57:15, Psalm 51:6-10,17). Test ? It is God who tests (Psalm 11), however wise in terms of His word our tests of what is not God, might be! (I John 4:1ff.).
God then has not abdicated because some seek to erect him in their own desires (Acme, Alpha and Omega - Jesus Christ Ch. 8). HE IS far more loving than anyone has ever suggested in philosophy for anyone or anything; and it is small wonder as the prophet Isaiah predicted in foretelling the death of Christ in its meaning and some of its data, that “kings shall shut their mouths at Him; for what had not been told them, they shall see, and what they had not heard, they shall consider” (Isaiah 52:15). He has indeed “sprinkled” many nations as there predicted, the blood (the attestation and evidence of His being poured out to death as a sacrifice for sin, available but not applicable without faith in Him, as is the case with a check – not cleared till presented) being that of His redemption (Ephesians 1:6-7).
are few nations where this has not occurred for many. This is as it was
indicated it would be; and it is. Nothing can abort, corrode or corrupt God. We
are HIS invention; hence His word stands, like Nelson in
God declares His will, and if a personal death, wrought in the form of a man, in the interests of bringing back individual people to Himself is not loving enough (see the passion of it in prophecy in Ezekiel 34, Isaiah 50), if a personal severity of experience in which the infinite God, placing Himself in human form, experienced the blackness of sin in a perfect life not touched by it, for others: if this is not loving enough, then love is better dead! It would then become a word which forsakes its integrity. But it is not dead. It is just that this is its address, a personal, not some socialised pretension for love, ignorant and foolish, arrogant or intrusive.
Not that: love that is intimate and fit for man, because it was there when He was made. Indeed, some merely imagined ‘love’ in comparison with this, would seem dead on arrival for any who look elsewhere.
to the problem of church: If YOU do not believe, then on Christ’s own authority,
you cannot SEE the kingdom of heaven or enter it. It would then be difficult
for you to find what you cannot see (John 3). Even if you could, Christ further
declares, there, that unless you are regenerated by God, you cannot enter the
In the end, you either believe in the divine testimony of Christ or you believe Him mad or worse (as in SMR Ch. 6), if thought is to occur at all. However, to make Him a madman whose words have endured beyond those of all others, coming into effect millennia after their pronouncement, and not only were in conformity to what had been given before in predicting HIS coming, but were fulfilled with power in the face of all opposition, including that of His enemies who were forewarned what they would do to Him and how useless it would be, indeed that it was all part of the divine plan: this is a form of irrationality so profound as to merit no attention. If this is anyone’s attitude to Him (on due reflection), then so be it. It would trash reason, and so not enter into its domain.
However, mercifully, your references to Him do not suggest such an approach: indeed, they seem far from it.
It is necessary then to follow HIM, since He is what has been provided. It is far more necessary when His integrity is His place, and His place is that of Saviour, and GOD is quite clear that NO saviour from sin is available but HIMSELF, who came to do it as only He can!
VOIDING REALITY MAKES UNAVOIDABLE CALAMITY
Christs, like plastic cars, are two a penny; it is only Jesus the Christ who actually runs. If then it is not the actual Christ, whatever you want, it is not what is there; and it cannot equal what is there. If, on the other hand, you do believe, then you CAN seek to find what is true to Christ and His written word, the objective testimony to which He refers with such utter authority (cf. Matthew 5:17-19 and SMR Appendix D). FIRST YOU YOURSELF must be true to Him, by receiving Him as He is, Saviour, and in Him finding the very word of God.
That is the indispensable preliminary to seeking fellowship with His people: to have fellowship with HIMSELF, intimacy of relation to His word (His mouth is not torn off) and so to have His Spirit (Romans 8:9).
Many frauds are the order of the day. Many ‘churches’ as in the case of those seeking to take over the church at Corinth (II Corinthians 11), buffet, demand, put in their own traditions, and it is not only the Romanist who does so! However, to take an illustration: The circumstance that most dogs do not suit a person, and he does not admire them, this has nothing to do with those delightful creatures (such as my own old dog) whose tenderness of affection, thoughtfulness of disposition, loyalty of heart and friendliness of spirit are their own commendation. There are such. You have to look for them! Such is the position today, as forecast (II Peter 1, II Tim. 3, I Tim. 4, Matthew 24:24).
This having been said, however, let us proceed to the more particular. Yes, you will need patience with others: I even need to have patience with myself! But, if thus placed in the Lord, you will find: for everyone who seeks, finds.
Let us take a case that you mention. Yes many both now and in Christ’s day seem to love putting their traditions, their thoughts, their ways, their culture, above the word of God. The dogma, for example, of mere tradition is hopeless: it is denounced by Christ (Mark 7:7) as apt to void the word of God. God Himself, however, whose existence and competence is the primary consideration, has things to say: you can call them the word of God, or dogma, or doctrine or what you like. This will in no degree alter their standing. If, however, I were to call my father’s words, when 10 years of age, ‘dogma’, for example, when told that I must mow the buffalo lawn, that would be discourteous if not rebellious. Doctrine perhaps, but ‘dogma’ has a negative flavour. The lawn, incidentally, still has to be done.
The term is APT FOR use, as perhaps you intend, of mere human mouthings; but of the word of God another designation is needed: doctrine. Christ’s integrity is doctrine. Love’s paramount position is doctrine.
it dogmatic to say that your name is
If however I were to dogmatise about your age or nation, gaining this or that impression, this would doubtless be both foolish and intrusive for anyone who had a different view. This is indeed to be found in many bodies called churches, and according to the Bible, these are to increase greatly as the time for the return of Christ approaches (Matthew 24:24, II Peter 1, II Timothy 3, I Timothy 4, Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 8). Is it surprising then that they do exhibit themselves, and may even be rather hard to avoid, or that you are having problems finding one, especially since you do not, on your own testimony as I understand it, yet believe!
As we saw, it is a virtual miracle when the people of God are themselves not deceived by all the artful substitutes for salvation, yes and for Jesus the Christ and for truth! It is just so; as it was prophesied, so it is fulfilled. Nevertheless, it brings a problem which in some cases, it becomes clear, ONLY GOD can solve. I am perfectly happy with that. If I had a multimillionaire brother who underwrote my work (there is no such underwriting!), would I be concerned if milk rose to $5 per litre ? Not personally! How much less with God as my heavenly Father, not just by creation, but by redemption, not just in generation, but in regeneration. My God is able (cf. II Timothy ).
It is even good and heartening to see Him provide what one needs, whether in discipline or in provisions.
If the aim is to like Him, to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, difficulty is as for athletes, something you overcome as you grow. Here, the result is assured (cf. II Peter 1, I Thessalonians ), so that one would feel niggardly indeed if complaining of that! Besides, what HE does, it is good. I like improvements.
What it says, under the MOST difficult circumstances, one finds, as one APPEALS to God, is what happens. The result is not necessarily as one would have thought (Ephesians ), but if godliness is concerned, it will cover the case (II Peter 1:3-4). It is even in one aspect, rather like fun, and certainly stimulating spiritually, to find when the problem seems frankly IMPOSSIBLE, what one’s Heavenly Father will do, when the name of one’s Saviour, Christ, is produced. It is practical and actual, like a laboratory experiment; and as it is preceded by faith, so faith grows as it flows. This, it is striking, stirring, stimulating, and occasion for praise which is no mere form, but an expression of the lilt of one’s delighted heart.
the church situation does of course bring a LONG ANNOUNCED personal problem
with it. What
however is the good of being alive is you cannot be challenged! This problem is – WHERE DO I FIND a sound church ? You do indeed do well to seek to see something of Christ in it, for how is He Lord and “in your midst” if His love and word are freely denied! My first point has been this, that you need to have your own eyes opened BY Christ THROUGH faith in Him, before you can see. As one Anglican Bishop friend of mine said, the time may come when churches in houses will be necessary. It is so. You must trust in Christ without strings or requirements. Then you can act, and seek action from Him.
is the nature of trust. I find Him trustworthy in bothering to work on me, to
make me more like Him (even if it hurts! so what, so does athletic training),
even if false brethren forsake both Christ and truth, and falsely attack me. So
what once more ? Was not Christ crucified by ostensibly religious people?
(These murderers did not however include the 11 out of 12 faithful apostles,
nor thousands who later followed in
What is the good of life if it is a mere exercise in self-seeking comfort! Or in personal predilections. That is like using a Jaguar car for ploughing a field, or for making a swift descent from an aircraft. YOU CAN DO IT, but it is rather idiotic, don’t you think ?
PRAYER OF FAITH
PRAYER by FAITH is then the way. WHEN you believe in HIM, then you seek HIS leading (Proverbs 3:4-5, Psalm 23:2, 32:8-9, Romans 8:14 and many examples in Acts and Samuel, for instance). Of course, within that, there is another personal matter. You cannot hope to prevail in prayer with God, in any ordinary way, unless you are WILLING to do His will. This too is personal. For my part, there is nothing more delightful than this, to find it and know it and THEREFORE do it. His power is there; His presence is there, His grace is there, and above all, HE is there! The friendship of God is above rubies, and would not be traded for all of this world as a present, or the universe, or the greatest of roles, posts or histories! It is incomparable (cf. James ).
have been to NZ and
But mere personal satisfaction, as if I were the criterion, I called the shots, the universe were my idea and so on, that is in the last resort, not only false to my mind, but intensively horrible!
Is that what I want ? Not at all: what I want is to please God, do His will and be true to Christ. In view of His love for mankind, I desire for Him to be helpful to others as He enables me and directs. So I get what I wan; but only when HE is the chief One that I want! (Luke 14). The books that I write: it would never have occurred to me to write anything remotely like this in scope; but this is what He has led me to do, and it seems that hundreds of thousands of people visit, and so be it. That is the way at this time He has desired me to serve Him. Because of LOVE TO HIM, and sheer delight that God is what He is and not the author of jihad, of laxity or of cruelty, of sin or its augmenter, but is the most manifest expression of the love that we all like, but often do not well enough express, and this is the most personal manner: because of this, it is a privilege if need be, even to suffer for Him (as in Acts 5:41). Pain is never beautiful; but its point and purpose may be!
Please ponder these things, ponder Christ, ponder the first matter, and be where you are going. Only then will you find the way. It starts with a Person, who requires purity of heart (and cleanses to this end, not once but as required), poverty of spirit (and can act again as required, by no means always as one would expect), peaceableness (but not in acquiescing to lies or fraud, but in bearing PERSONAL insult and the like without acrimony or war); faithfulness, even under fire; who gives Himself to our redemption and utterly requires that we be clear about it, we either do or do not leave all to follow HIM. God is not the church, the state or the guru. He is God. If He is not given the place that is His, then NOTHING to the point can ever happen, no entry to His kingdom arrives (just as in John 3). The living God is not the hyped up god of desire. Like an army, He is not the thought, but the actuality. ALL abstractions are useless unless and until they find the fact!
Unless, He cried, you forsake all that you have, you CANNOT be My disciple (Luke 14). How otherwise ? Can I be a good electrician if I keep my own special ideas that there is really no need to attend to all the miles of wire, that surely 90% or so of the connections is enough ? Of course not: NOTHING would or could work! For me, GOD is my sufficiency, and nothing else is even interesting; Christ is my Saviour and nothing else will ever be (Ephesians ) the deliverance that is accorded. Why worry ? Nothing touches Him: He stands alone, objectively, redemptively, prophetically, in power and in purity.
If you have a holiday house with a beach frontage, why are you mourning ? I have not created God, but He has created me. You do not join, properly, a church, because it is the next thing to finding God; but because, WHEN you have found God, this is the next thing. When the head is over your shoulder, your shoulder needs the other shoulder, to make a body with two, and so on. Rest assured, if you believe in Him, you may say to this mountain (in the way of godliness – I Peter 1:3ff.), be moved into the sea (not just somewhere near), and have it done (Mark ).
You do not move mountains for fun; but when there is no other way, and one is in your GOD GIVEN and biblical way, then you do well to have it moved. In the end, when you love God, know Him, are pardoned and empowered by Him (wrought by the Spirit of God in terms of the Gospel, in the name of Jesus Christ), you are shown the way He wishes you to take, following Him who is both immutable and alive (SMR Ch. 1), and what is needed for this, is supplied. That is very sure, in experiment, in empirical reality, in biblical promise. Without faith, however, you are an airplane in the sky, without fuel, withholding trust in the refueling plane, nearby. It is unwise; but it is an option. It is however crucial that if you do this, you do not blame the God of creation, of redemption, of love so great that He even did this, to provide that!
I cannot criticise God, but He can criticise Me. This is so both in principle and in practice (cf. Pain, Evil, Suffering). I am not a god-maker, by my own preference; HE is the man-maker, by His. What I find is pure, holy, works, is true, just and honourable, incomparable, without rational competitor to ANY degree. SO be it. He is revealed, He has come and He is soon to return (Answers to Questions Ch. 5). SINCE He is glorious above all others, then my delight knows no bounds. Put up with anything ? The best is bettered in Him! The President of the universe is also its Creator and I am replete in Him (cf. Isaiah 61:10), rejoicing to be wrapped in His salvation, rapt with wonder and very ready to be corrected by Him.
THAT ? It is an honour and a privilege that He cares. As He says, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (I Peter 5:7).
I find and have found Him so utterly trustworthy (incredibly imaginative), so utterly unwilling to tolerate foolishness, yet to tender in His operations, so thrilling in His wisdom, so amazing in His explanations of all things, so true in every point in His own word, that they could crucify me in St Paul’s and it would not matter so very much. I KNOW that many false churches are to arise. So be it. That is the way they go. God does not dictate; but He DOES HUMILIATE the wise guys who know all the answers, but never have them work! He even tells man HOW and WHEN He will do this and that, such as kill Christ (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), or seek to kill off Christianity by endless, disingenuous substitutes where will can seek to amalgamate the God who loved with the gods men makes, and even presume to use His name, since their own works are so unimpressive! As it is stated, so it is equated: history is as He said.
Churches ? Sometimes one meets such love and kindness, such as I remember in some periods of my youth, that it is truly beautiful; and sometimes, one finds such hostility and arrogance, as in my own experience, when a “church” sought to rebury Christ and ignore His resurrection and sought to “starve me out” and the like, that it is grievous. But then ? if they reject the risen Christ, on the word of God they know nothing of God! (Romans 10:9). This has no slightest relationship to Christianity, except as Bible-defined apostasy. SO be it. That is what they chose to become. That is how they chose to act. It fits.
God is judge, not I; but this one CAN judge, that where the word of God is despised, we OUGHT to leave them (after seeking their good, as I did, even in response to evil – Romans is quite clear). There remain many lovely people and fellowships, but it is not as easy as it might have been in the nineteenth century, to find them. Orthodoxy as in Christ’s day, is often an oppressive substitute for truth, rather as you indicated in your letter: indeed, all kinds of OPINIONS may be brought, not from the Bible*4, but from the heart of man, even sometimes for convenience, it seems. Orthodoxy is not what one worships. It is Christ.
However on the other hand, Christ being worshipped according to His word, is NOT some “OTHER JESUS” (II Corinthians 11), who did not die on the Cross for sin, did not rise and is not the ONLY MASTER (Matthew 23:8-10). The objective word remains, as does God, as does the Gospel, promulgated in detail up to one millennium before Christ came, together with specifications about what Israel would do with it, what God would do with Israel, and what the Gentiles would do with it.
The Bible, in the Psalms, says words like this: With the pure, You will show Yourself pure, but to the devious You will show Yourself difficult (Psalm 18). You know that with students. The bright-eyed youngsters whose desire to learn and understand is written on his face, is hard to resist in being helpful, HOWEVER slow he or she may be! The arrogant is always unprepossessing, and the artful, in a child, is especially difficult to love. Yet one has to seek to do so. Love bears all things, says Paul; but it does not dabble where it is wisely forbidden by God! It knows when NO is the answer; and does not, just as any ordinary doctor does not, keep interfering when the desire for doom is placarded on some rebel. For all that, God being GOD, He is able to find the most unusual, the most unexpected person, and bring that one to Him, when all seems long forgotten and hopeless. With God, NOTHING shall be called impossible.
Thank you for writing once more.
“Love” in the minds of many is a chameleon, which adapts to their will, wishes or desires. Thus I LOVE YOU from a husband may mean, I selflessly seek your best life, or I selfishly like having you about and seek to continue this for my own sake and so on. (See Deliverance from Disorientation Ch. 9, AAA Ch. 9, SMR pp. 582ff..)
Naturally, when God declares He is love, it is not without definitive meaning. Indeed, if we do not believe in an absolute, then it is absolutely impossible to tell ANY truth, because it is not there: only reaction and response. Thus you cannot in that case logically declare that there is no absolute truth. It is excluded by your own presupposition.
If, on the other hand, we DO believe in absolute truth because we believe in God, and leave it nebulous in our minds, or trenchantly voluble in our words, hanging on nothing, then the case is still lacking.
Ø Unless we KNOW this God, then our own cultural, educational, ideational, idealistic or voluntaristic, autonomous or deterministic concepts may knowingly or not, influence our thought, and there is no way the connection can be assured, without the work of GOD HIMSELF, any more than having fuel siphoned from a supply tanker aircraft is of any use if it is simply poured out, without respect to the necessity of a proper connection so that not diffused spray, but actual pure petrol is transferred.
Ø Naturally, it disperses, and for the crucial task in hand, simply does not work. This is in the most monumental possible contrast to the beauty of harmony in the divinely accorded truth found in the Biblical picture, survey, perspective and domain. (Cf. SMR Ch. 5.)
To gain the actual truth, you need the actual God to actually speak with His own mind, so that as with you or me, there is a divulgement of purpose and an index to character. It needs, for mankind, to be beyond the merely subjective: testable, verifiable, equipped with the dignity and majesty, the understanding and the precision which is apt for the Most High, as a distinction to evacuate all comparison (just as God claims in Isaiah 41, 43, 48, Isaiah 34, 8:20, Matthew 5:17-19, I Corinthians 2:9ff., I Peter 1 and 2 and so on cf. SMR Appendix D). Apart from all this, the basic need is simply that it be HIS. In His word, as we see in Appendix D, He supplies criteria at His own volition; and they are eminently reasonable, as befits the God who made man and his mind and spirit, together.
To be sure, much may be found from His works and infinity, but when it comes to His willingness or otherwise to deal with man, the WAY in which He will deal, His plans and purposes, not to mention His attitude to pardon and its effecting, thought is no more use than is the “decision” on the part of a wife, as to what her husband must do, should she choose to forgive him adultery. What reason can and does do (SMR) is to show where this divulgement assuredly is found. That however is still not enough for effect.
It has to be used. EVEN IF a medical team finds the correct antibiotic for some disease, and even if it be published, and indeed even if it be available, all this is totally pointless FOR ONE PATIENT on one single ground. He fails to take it.
The truth must be received (John 1:12 is so clear on this), and Jesus is not a suggestion box, but the divine declaration (Hebrews 1) which shows the power, the purity, the prophecy, the validity, the verifiability that is required: meets all tests, and then adds to that! (cf. Biblical Blessings Appendix IV, Christ, the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 8).
In fact, also, and empirically, the Lord is best found when one is simply looking to Him as invisible (Hebrews 11), who came as visible (cf. It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls … Ch. 9); and in this objective sense not only is result found, but the subjective follows. It is like smelling flowers: if you think you are smelling a magazine, you probably are! When you address real and verified flowers with expectation, the combination of reality of expectation, ground for expectation and reality of object works with beauty and truth. Like the waves, it is then not doubted, for they roll with power and wonder, and their results appear, the more so if you are actually surfing on them. You do however need to go to the … ocean to find them, not to something spelt the same way.
From Proverbs 1:20ff., one reads these words.
Ø Wisdom calls aloud outside;
o She raises her voice in the open squares.
Ø She cries out in the chief concourses,
o At the openings of the gates in the city
o She speaks her words:
Ø “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
o For scorners delight in their scorning,
o And fools hate knowledge.
Ø Turn at my rebuke;
o Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
o I will make my words known to you.
Ø Because I have called and you refused,
o I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,
Ø Because you disdained all my counsel,
o And would have none of my rebuke,
Ø I also will laugh at your calamity;
o I will mock when your terror comes,
Ø When your terror comes like a storm,
o And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
o When distress and anguish come upon you.
Ø “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
o They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
Ø Because they hated knowledge
o And did not choose the fear of the Lord,
Ø They would have none of my counsel
o And despised my every rebuke.
Ø Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way,
o And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
Ø For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
o And the complacency of fools will destroy them;
Ø But whoever listens to me will dwell safely,
o And will be secure, without fear of evil.”
One recalls a medical specialist – to whom I gave a copy of the CD-ROM of my written works, telling me that “they” had nearly put him off all religion, those priests who came around abusing him, apparently seeking to ‘dun’ him for money. The seedy seething methods of creating a false glory are unattractive indeed; but to whom more than to Christ. Just READ MATTHEW 23 and get an idea. Then read Luke 11:47ff.. Yes the wolves abound; but you do not need to follow their trails, nor are you wise even to consider associating with them (Romans ), or attributing to Jesus their hunger for lambs. Churches which just say this or that out of their own guttural inwards, deep voices of the religious putsch, these are to be avoided; and with them, the disgust which they evoke. They have always tended to exist; to grow as leavens and groups within Judaism and elsewhere; and now they are buzzing like bees about the carcass. The carcass however is dead. The people of Christ live.
Keep away from the dead, who are not yet interred (cf. Matthew 23:27-28, Luke 11:44). They reek of tradition, of autonomy and of self-will, often seeking just to fulfil themselves or their ‘church’, instead of abiding in the living Christ, by faith, with the power that relates, the patience that results and the joy which is natural in the ‘family’.
While you ponder the Bible, you may find some help from our sermon sheet, and parallel parts. The former is to be found at the site. Other places include the site 2 and TMR 2 and Youth 1 and Youth 4, though the last two are for much more than youth.