"For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."The LORD God is not impressed with numbers as man counts them. He is not into earthly power and popularity contests. Every Christian may rejoice in knowing His mercies extend to the smallest of numbers, thus you may put away notions of greatness as you have come to think of greatness. The LORD God is not impressed with your personal, individual, singular worship. He does not even refer to it here. Yes, He knows individual hearts and treats of individuals daily and richly, but His Word here pertains to two or three, not one. Self indulgence is inimical to Who God is and what He does. Besides, physical proximity is not the point. The Body of Christ is. No one is hereby enjoined to make an effort to bring about the presence of Christ Jesus. The gathering of which He speaks is a gathering which only His Holy Spirit induces and effects. You cannot by your own reason or strength be gathered in His Name. He must gather you and His Church, and He does. To be gathered in His Name does not require a special set of words or thoughts on the part of those who are gathered, but it requires the Word of the Lord to be preached and adminstered when and where it pleases Him. This may happen under circumstances not widely known or published, as it should be and often is. Agreement, gathering, and confessing the Truth always begins with the One who piecered the darkness of this fallen world and was pierced for our transgressions. It is He Who declares unquivocally that He dwells in the midst of those who fear His Name and call upon Him at all times and in all places.
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts . . .
No one invites this kind of scrutiny by The Most High God unless he has a conscience free from guilt.
These words are given among men to pray because The Most High God undertook to visit the sons of men with His everlasting mercy in Christ Jesus, adorning them with His righteousness so that they, too, share in His glory, a glory demonstrated not in pomp and power, but in suffering and humility.
But why invite the scrutiny? Why ask God to search the heart? Because the heart of God searches out those who are lost and condemned creatures, without help and without hope unless and until God Himself would take up their nature and be condemned to die for their sin.
Know from this that there is no sin in having anxious thoughts. Anxious thoughts are not hopeless thoughts. Anxious thoughts are the thoughts of God because He anxiously desires to bring poor sinners to Himself here and now. He is intent upon vindicating those who mourn and who walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
He does this in no other way than becoming true Man, born of the Virgin Mary so that He may be lifted up and exalted wearing the same bedraggled flesh than inhabits all the sons of Adam. Moreover, He has attached His benefits to His Word and Spirit so that all flesh under the sun may hear, know, and receive the forgiveness of sin and everlasting life.
All Christians, since they participate in the benefits obtained by Christ Jesus, the Creator of all and Redeemer of all, may pray these words with confidence, along with fear and trembling. They may also rejoice evermore, because they abide in the Shadow of the Almighty, namely Christ Jesus, Who has gone before them and lives, though once He was dead.
Christ Jesus does not suffer and die for Himself, but for those who are dead of their own accord. He lives for them, too, to bless them and take them to Himself after a short time of suffering in this world.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Therefore I will give thanks to You among the nations, O LORD, and I will sing praises to Your name.
The gist of Christianity is not, "Let go, and let God." It is "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." This does not sit well with the ears of men, because it demands something they cannot do by their own reason or strength.
The former notion of Christianity, "Let go, and let God," is a nice, easy way to comfort oneself with an idol. "Let go" of what? How are you going to do that? Yes, you may commit all things to another, but to whom are you letting them go, and why?
The latter, however, demands a crucifixion and an application of righteousness at Someone else's expense, namely He who was made in the likeness and image of true God and true Man, the Man Christ Jesus.
He, by His Word and Spirit as generated from eternity by the Father, penetrates like water coming down from the heavens, seeking and seeping all the way down to the depths of Sheol in order to save and restore those who would reject Him outright.
In doing so He arranges that His accomplishments may be brought to bear upon poor sinners in bodily form unto the resurrection of the dead. Therefore the hope of a Christian, and the gist of Christianity, is receiving and abiding in Christ by virtue of His grace and favor alone.
Repentance and the kingdom of heaven go together like body and blood, meat and drink. As with all of creation, these are brought into being and delivered by the grace of God in Christ Jesus alone.
As for God, His way is blameless;
The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.