“But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.”Acts 15:11 KJV. When the question came before the apostles about Gentile believers needing to keep the law of Moses, Peter gave this divinely inspired answer. He made clear that no one is saved by religious observances. Neither Jew nor Gentile could be saved by keeping the Old Law. Our salvation is all by grace. This means that every soul must humble themselves to confess their unworthiness and their complete inability to become worthy. None of us can ever work or do enough good to earn salvation! It means that no one has any reason to boast in themselves. Pride is completely contrary to God’s grace. Everything that we are and every good thing we ever do is all because of His grace! But thank God, for the lowest and worst of sinners, this is a grace so rich and free, that even they can be saved to the uttermost! The songwriter says: “Dark is the stain that we cannot hide. What can avail to wash it away? Look!There is flowing a crimson tide, whiter than snow you may be today! Grace! Grace! Marvelous Grace!”
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: A good understanding have all they that do His commandments: His praise endureth for ever.” Psalm 111:10 KJV. This ‘good understanding’ the psalmist writes about that causes us to walk in obedience is spiritual understanding. The natural man cannot recognize the importance of obeying God’s commands because his nature has not been renewed by the Holy Spirt. But when we are born again we begin to understand that God not only asks our obedience, but He also has made a full provision for it. Through His work in our hearts we have a desire to do what He says. We understand that in spite of our weakness, His grace and strength are sufficient to help us to obey. We understand that all God requires of us, He makes the way so we can do it. How sad it is that so many in religion today lack this basic understanding and live in continual disobedience. If we are not living lives of obedience, let us be humble enough to confess, we need this spiritual understanding. And let us thank God, that all we need to do His commands, He will supply.
“And He said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” Ex 33:14. There are many today in religion who assume that God’s presence is always with them no matter how they live or what they do. But they confuse God’s omnipresence with His personal presence that is always with His children. God’s omnipresence describes that aspect of His nature in which He is everywhere at all times. But when God says here that His presence will go with us and He will give us rest, He is referring to His personal presence that is always with those who are walking in personal relationship with Him. And it is only His personal presence in our lives that can give us true rest in our souls. To have the assurance that God is with us personally brings peace in a way that nothing else can do. Knowing His presence is with us gives calm in the midst of the storm, and courage in fearful situations. In some ways, it is like the little child finding comfort as his father holds his hand. As long as he knows his father is close by, all is well. By God’s grace, let us live in such a way that God’s personal presence can always go with us.
“As the lily among thorns, so is My love among the daughters.”
Song of Solomon 2:2 KJV. In this verse Jesus is speaking to His church and to individual believers. He makes it clear that we are not yet taken out of the struggles of this world. We live in the midst of an ungodly world which is typified by the thorns. Though the lily and the thorn are profoundly different things, yet they grow together in the same conditions. The same rain falls on the lily as falls on the thorn. The same sun shines on the lily as does the thorn. But the difference lies in their nature. The lily grows in the midst of difficulty and hardship and becomes a thing of great beauty and possesses a sweet fragrance. But the thorn is ugly and hurtful. The lily gladdens the heart of those who pass by but the thorn causes people to turn away. And the great difference between a true Christian’s life and ungodly people is because of the new nature Christ has placed within us. It is His own divine nature. He fills us with His love so that our lives can demonstrate the beauty of Christ even in the worst of circumstances. Let us yield ourselves fully to His life within, and we will be as the lily among the thorns.
“Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching…” Luke 12:37 KJV. How important it should be for every child of God to be watching for the return of Jesus Christ. Many times Jesus said that He was coming again and it would be at a time least expected. So easily we get caught up in the things of this world and act as if we are going to be here forever. Most people assume that they will live a long life and make plans based on that assumption. But none of us know when Jesus will come! No one knows when the day is that He will come for them personally. This should encourage us all to be about our Father’s business. We should all be doing our utmost to help souls get ready for that day. But this watching is not about sitting passively and looking to the eastern skies. The watching Jesus talks about is being watchful of our relationship with Him. It is being watchful that we always maintain a right spirit and attitude towards our fellow man. We must watch so that the enemy of souls does not gain a foothold in our hearts or minds. And it is also watching for the souls that we love and care for. Let us be among those faithful souls, who our Lord finds watching.
“Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Luke 12:27 KJV. When Jesus directs our attention to the lillie’s here, He is not saying that we should sit passively and do nothing. His purpose in this is to help us understand that they grow because they are always looking up to their Creator. Every day they open themselves to the sunshine and rain that God provides for them. They are blooming because they are rooted in the soil where God placed them. So many times we tend to complicate spiritual life. We try to do a lot of different things and labor to be this or that. We run here and there thinking that a change of location will help things. But let us realize that the growth and beauty of spiritual life simply comes from daily lifting our hearts to our Heavenly Father and opening our our spirits to all that He so abundantly provides for us. And then we will bloom where we are planted. Lillie’s can grow even in the most difficult circumstances. And so it is with God’s children. As long as we abide in Christ and daily open our hearts to him, we can live a life that demonstrates the beauty of Christ wherever we are.
“When they were filled, He said unto His disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” John 6:12 KJV. This was immediately after the miraculous feeding of the 5000. With only 5 loaves and 2 small fishes Jesus had provided abundantly for all of those people. But now He demonstrates a very important spiritual principle. He tells the disciples to gather even the fragments so that nothing is lost. This is so much more than instruction about being frugal and not wasting our physical resources, which is important. But much more, this is Jesus’ attitude towards precious souls! And it should be ours as well. His desire is that none be lost but that all come to repentance. All around us are fragments of human lives that sin has brought heartache and ruin to. So many have broken off from society and the fellowship of God’s people. And we should understand, this is what sin does. It divides and fragments lives. It breaks up homes and relationships and even many churches. But Jesus says to us, “Go! And gather the fragments of humanity so that none are lost!” May God help us to heed His Words and become gatherers for His kingdom.
“He that is not with Me is against Me: and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth.” Luke 11:23 KJV. Jesus is making very clear in these words that there is no neutral position spiritually. There is no middle ground where we can be ‘good people’ but not devoted followers of Christ. The reality is, every life is either with Him or against Him. This means that the effect of our life is either helping souls be drawn to the Father or hindering them. Jesus came to save and gather precious souls for the glory of God. He came to gather His people into one unified body of believers. So if we are truly going to be with Jesus, then we will be gathering souls for the same purpose He did. We should realize that every choice we make to put other things ahead of Christ is a hindrance to souls coming to God. One of the greatest failures of modern religion is this very thing. We are in a time when most of religion condones a lifestyle of doing our own thing rather than putting the things of God first. But let us realize, that lifestyle puts us among those who are against Jesus Christ. Instead of living in ways that divide and scatter, let us be those who gather with Christ.
“That Thou givest them they gather: Thou openest Thine hand, they are filled with good.”Psalm 104:28 KJV. In this passage the psalmist is talking about the creatures God has made to inhabit the earth. He mentions how God provides for them so faithfully. And here, we see that when God gives, they go out and gather. In other words, they fulfill their creative purpose in responding to the instincts God has given them. And what a difference it would make if we also, would make the effort to gather of the marvelous and full provision our Heavenly Father has made for us! How much more we would be filled with His goodness if only we would gather more of the good things He has given us. Think of the tremendous spiritual blessings we have from God. He has given us the precious treasure of His Holy Word, and yet so little is gathered. He has given us the Gift of His Holy Spirit and yet we have not because we ask not. He has given us His love to be shed abroad in our hearts, but we content ourselves with so little. And most of all, God has given us the profound opportunity to know Him and enjoy a personal relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ! And yet, how little people gather of all that God gives! How little we avail ourselves of His precious spiritual gifts. Let us gather more of what our Gracious Father gives.
“But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them…” Luke 9:55-56 KJV. Jesus rebuked James and John because they still had a destructive spirit. They were very immature spiritually and were an early example of what is called ‘cancel culture’ in our day. Even they did not realize this kind of spirit had hold in them. This kind of spirit has been common throughout man’s history and is still very prevalent in our society and in much of the professing church today. We recognize it when people are ready to destroy relationships and reputations because someone doesn’t agree with them. They are ready to cut people off who will not conform to their ideas. But let us be very clear, this is a destructive spirit from the devil. It is not of God. And if at anytime this ungodly spirit touches our lives, we should cry out to God for deliverance! Thank God, Jesus did not come to destroy, but to save. By His grace, let us go and do likewise.