|Vol. 7, No. 1, Jan. - Feb. 1978
||EDITOR: Mr. Harry Foster
O COME, LET US WORSHIP
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God,
which is your spiritual worship." (Romans 12:1)
IN recent times there has been widespread exercise and concern about
worship. Right across the Christian community worship has become an "in"
subject, but if we begin to examine the matter we must do so in the light
of the one fundamental question: "What saith the Scripture?" We must never
move away from the Bible. If we are to have balance, sanity and blessing,
then we need to base both our beliefs and our conduct not on the teaching
of men, of any particular men or any particular party in the Church, but
entirely on the plain teaching of the Word of God.
Once when I was in Salzburg I heard the story of two coach drivers who
were discussing their parties. "Whom do you have?" asked one, only to be
told that they were a bunch of religious people from England. "Really," asked
the first man, "and what do they believe?" The answer came crisply back from
his companion: "Anything I tell them!" This sounds foolish but alas, it
can be true that there are some Christians who believe anything they are
told if the teller seems to have an air of authority about him. The Bible
is our only true guide. We need to imitate the Bereans who, even though they
were addressed by apostles, searched the scriptures daily, to see "whether
these things were so". We must receive what we find in God's Word: we must
reject all that finds no confirmation in that Word.
In Romans 12:1 & 2 we can find four distinguishing marks of true
1. It is Grateful
The word "therefore", which we might easily ignore, is really the key
to the whole verse. This was not the beginning of Paul's argument, nor was
he speaking in the abstract. We can only begin to get a proper grasp of this
verse if we study all the preceding eleven chapters of the letter. The appeal
has to be seen in the context of all that which comes before it. It is not
possible here to give even a summary of those chapters but we can perhaps
remind ourselves of the main headlines:
i. "All have sinned" (3:23)
Every man in the world is lost, alienated from the living God. Not only
are the Gentiles sinners (a point readily accepted by the Jews), but all
men, both Jews and Gentiles, within the law or apart from the law, are proved
to be offenders. Man is without escape. No efforts of his can justify him
or enable him to bring pleasure to God. Left to his own devices, man is utterly
incapable of repairing the breach between himself and his God, or of establishing
any proper relationship with God.
ii. "But God ..." (5:8)
So far the talk has been about man, man as a Jew, man as a sinner, man
lost and hopeless. Now, however, a new factor comes into view. It is God's
love, demonstrated or placarded before us by the fact that Christ died on
man's behalf. This is the central point of the letter; everything previous
has been leading up to this and everything subsequent stems from this: "Christ
died for sinners".
iii. "Of God that have mercy" (9:16)
Man's salvation is entirely a matter of divine initiative. It does not
depend on man's will or exertions, but upon God's mercy. Every Christian
in the world is a man or woman saved as a direct result of free will -- God's
iv. "Without repentance" (11:29)
God's gifts and call are irrevocable. Having given His word, having granted
salvation, having poured out His mercy, God will never change His mind and
withdraw them. He never has second thoughts about the salvation of anyone
of His children.
How can we sum up all this? The best way is to use Paul's phrase: "the
mercies of God". This, then, is where worship must begin. Surely no Christian
should ever need to be dragged to a place of worship or -- more significantly
-- to a life of worship. He should be drawn to worship by the mighty love
of God, crystallised in the cross of Calvary. Dr. A. Alexander of Princeton
[1/2] University, after a long lifetime devoted to
the study of theology, systematic, dogmatic and the rest, stated in his last
days: "All of my theology is now reduced to this one narrow compass: Christ
Jesus came into the world to save sinners".
I can understand this. May I add a personal word? After twenty years
of Christian life and service, bringing some real highlights of experience,
one stands out above them all. I can remember (can I ever forget?) a day when
I came out of the city of Jerusalem by the Damascus Gate, turned right and
then left and on into the bus station. I lifted my eyes to look for a bus
to take me to my hotel, and my gaze became rivetted on a nearby hill. It
was a hill just outside the city wall. It was green on the top, the grass
growing up its slopes. The face of the hill, though, was rugged, blunt and
open, and on the face of that cliff there were two caves looking for all
the world like two great eyes. In between them there was a promontory, a jutting
rock, which looked just like the bone or bridge of a nose. The whole appearance
was as of a huge, geological skull. Was this Golgotha, Calvary, the Place
of a Skull? I am not ashamed to admit that I stood there, surrounded by a
teeming throng of people, with the tears running down my face. I realised
that it may well have been on that very spot that so long ago He who was
fully Man and yet truly God walked slowly up that hill with my name on His
heart, to bear my sins in His body on a cross. Could I ever forget that it
was there that the mercies of God touched earth for my sake? No artist could
ever depict that love, no writer ever describe it, no preacher adequately
convey it and no poet fully interpret it. My overflowing heart could only
find expression in one of the simplest of all hymns:
"God commends His love,
Greater could not be;
While I was a sinner,
Jesus died for me."
Worship begins just here. It is the overflowing praise of a melting heart.
True worship is grateful.
2. It is Practical
Note how Paul goes on to say that spiritual worship consists in presenting
the body as a living sacrifice, "holy, acceptable (or well-pleasing) to God".
It would be interesting to conduct an experiment by asking everyone to draw
or to describe in words a man at worship. It would probably take very little
time to analyse the results, for virtually everyone would have captured
the same kind of idea, either in words or in picture. It would show the
man on his knees or standing with bowed head and hands together; whether
the man worshipping were in public or in private, he would be seen at prayer
or in meditation. In other words, we would place worship in the context
of the heart, or mind, or soul, in the realm of the invisible and intangible.
With some surprise, therefore, we discover where Paul now places it, for
he appeals for the presentation to God of our bodies. We are to worship
God in our physical bodies. This is precisely the same line of truth which
he follows in his words: "Ye were bought with a price; glorify God therefore
in your bodies" (1 Corinthians 6:20).
The test of a man's spirituality is not in the length of time he spends
in the circle of Christian fellowship and service and not alone in the time
spent in prayer and the study of God's Word. The real test is in the quality
of his life taken as a whole. Earlier in the letter Paul had already given
stress to this point by his call to the Roman Christians to present their
members "as instruments of righteousness unto God" (6:13). The expression
"members" refers to parts of the body -- "offer the parts of your body to
him as instruments of righteousness" (New International Version).
"Yield the parts of your body to him"; this is a perfect description of the
new life of worship as lived by the redeemed man who by the Spirit is now
alive unto God. It is intensely practical, down-to-earth and disciplined;
it is day to day, involving the actions of every part of the body.
Allow me to be mildly controversial. An interesting thing in the Christian
world today is the way in which music -- or what purports to be music --
is given such a large place. For instance, there is at the moment a particular
presentation whose sub-title is: "A Musical to call God's people to repentance".
For my part I find this deeply disturbing. I understand that repentance in
its essence is not musical but moral; it is not essentially emotion; it
is ethical. I am not persuaded that because we can gather Christians --
especially young people -- in very large numbers to take part in a musical
extravaganza that we have necessarily made any contribution to spiritual
progress in the Church. A. W. Tozer once said that it is becoming increasingly
difficult [2/3] to gather people together in large
numbers where the only attraction is God. This is distressingly true.
Spiritual worship is practical; it involves every part of the body. It
applies to our hands, in a world where materialism expresses itself in forms
which are both blatant and subtle. It involves our eyes, in a world where
allurements from the mass media and from the behaviour of our fellow-men
(or, more to the point, our fellow-women) are becoming almost irresistible.
It involves the discipline of our tongues, those little and often unruly
members. The Epistle of James and related Scriptures devote much emphasis
to the use and misuse of the tongue. In this connection it is very striking
that Peter writes of the Lord Jesus that He "did no sin, neither was guile
found in his mouth" (1 Peter 2:22). The latter part of this verse seems redundant.
If He did no sin, why was it necessary to add the second phrase? Perhaps
it is because people are inclined to limit the word "sin" to grosser and
more obvious failings, regarding an occasional slip of the tongue as not
worthy of consideration. An occasional word going stray, a slight exaggeration,
they feel can hardly be described as sin. For this reason the apostle was
concerned to make his point doubly clear, insisting that when he said "no
sin" he really meant no sinning of any kind, not even with His mouth. The
inference is that it is with the mouth that we most easily offend.
We could continue with all the members, for worship should be given in
the physical expression of our whole personality. The living sacrifice should
be "holy", says Paul, using language borrowed from the Old Testament. In
this connection we should note that the psalmist's call to worship the Lord
is not in the beauty of phraseology but "in the beauty of holiness". The apostle
goes on to describe this sacrifice as acceptable or well-pleasing to God.
Old Testament sacrifices are no longer pleasing to Him, but the holy life
of the believer brings Him great pleasure. What an astonishing and thrilling
truth this is, that our worship can bring delight to the heart of God. "They
that are in the flesh cannot please God." Try as they will, give as they
will, study as they will; though they have a model family life, an honest
business life and though they show integrity in every relationship, they can
never bring satisfaction to God. But the simplest believer can, for he can
offer the living sacrifice of a holy life. This is true worship.
3. It is Doctrinal
A further factor of this worship is that it is accompanied by the renewing
of the mind. This emphasises the vital truth that there is a close connection
between Bible doctrine and holy living. We probably know the Phillips' rendering
of the first part of this verse: "Don't let the world around you squeeze
you into its own mould". Perhaps the Christian agrees that this is right and
is a fine ideal, but complains that his problem is how to put it into practice.
He accepts the command not to be conformed to the world, but longs to know
the secret of fulfilment. Should he attend a certain conference, should he
embrace some special teaching, follow some particular speaker or seek some
special experience of the Holy Spirit? Paul makes no mention of any of these,
but he does lay down the norm for Christians in the words: "... but be ye
transformed by the renewing of your mind". There is no substitute and no
alternative. We don't have to go chasing hither and thither in the world
for the secret of holiness. Not until the Spirit of God impresses the truth
of God on our renewed mind will we be able to work out God's will in the
worship of practical living. A transformed life does not come about as a
result of dreams or of drift or of drama, but of discipline. It was Alexander
MacLaren who said: "The foundation of all transformation of character and
conduct is laid in a renewed mind".
4. It is Fruitful
"That we may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of
God." The whole picture of worship is that of giving. The entire movement
of worship is away from the worshipper to the One who is being worshipped.
We worship the Lord by yielding our bodies up to Him. Though we give, however,
we also receive. Note how the tide flows back into the life of the worshipper.
When we have yielded our body in whole-hearted worship as a living sacrifice,
then we are in a position to test and prove the wonder of God's will. This
will not necessarily be found in ecstatic feelings or in supernatural manifestation,
but in wisdom and grace; the wisdom to test the Lord's will and the grace
to approve it.
The wisdom to test what is God's perfect will. Was there ever such a
time when discernment in this matter was called for? The Bible speaks much
of false prophets, of unsound teaching, of [3/4] wolves
in sheep's clothing. It tells us that we must test the spirits and come to
know what is of God and what is not. In doing this we should remember one
very sure principle, and that is that God's will never conflicts with His
Word. Clearly, then, the more I know of God's Word, the better will I be equipped
to recognise His will. This is the precious fruit of real worship, to grow
in the knowledge of what brings pleasure to God. And we must always remember
that when a person speaks in a still, small voice you need to stay near him
to catch what he is saying.
The word "prove", however, implies not only the wisdom to test God's
will but the grace to approve it. Clearly His will must be acceptable to
God, but is it to us also? Is "the sovereignty of God" just a cliche, or
do we wholly believe it? Have we ever complained? Have we ever questioned
His ways with us? Most of us know what it is like to act as did the writer
of Psalm 73 who tells how he argued, wondered, questioned why the ungodly
are so fit and flourishing while Christians suffer so much. He found no answer
to his problem, and goes on and on until we are almost whining and weeping
with him, until he suddenly stops short. He had found the answer. "When I
went into the sanctuary of God," he informs us, "then I understood." Exactly!
When I reached a place of true worship then I was able to find a place both
of wisdom and of grace. The problems are solved and the struggles about the
will of God cease when we become living sacrifices. A wonderfully fruitful
outcome of being a worshipper is to have wisdom to discern God's will and
grace to come into harmony with it. Worship, then is grateful, practical and
doctrinal; it is also truly fruitful.
CALL TO COMMUNION
"Arise my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, that art in
the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy
countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice and thy countenance
is comely. Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vineyards;
for our vineyards are in blossom." (Song of Songs 2:13-16)
IT seems impossible to unravel a consecutive story from the various scenes
which go to make up the book of Solomon's Songs, and at times it is exceedingly
difficult to identify some of the characters in the narrative. Since we know,
however, that Christ is to be found in all the Scriptures, we feel that
we are justified in claiming that He is represented here by the Beloved King.
Even those who seldom make reference to these Songs will probably quote
with joyful conviction such well-known phrases as: "He brought me into his
banqueting house, and his banner over me was love" (2:4) and: "My beloved
is ... the chiefest among ten thousand ... yes, he is altogether lovely"
(5:10 & 16).
Furthermore we know the Church, the King's bride, is the great divine
mystery, hidden "in other generations", so we feel justified in answering
the enquiry: "Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon
her beloved" (8:5) by affirming that this typifies the Church and Christ.
We, by grace, are members of that Church, so it cannot but be instructive
and inspiring to consider such a passage as the above verses in which the
Bridegroom opens His heart to her whom He has chosen for Himself. As we consider
His words we may ask: "What does the Spirit say in the churches through
these verses of Holy Scripture?"
THE appeal begins with such endearing terms that we hesitate to accept
them as directed to us. "My love! My fair one! My dove!" -- can this really
be Christ's language to His Church? We readily identify ourselves as those
who are "in the clefts of the rock". All genuine believers find comfort
and security in claiming the Lord as our Rock. The Old Testament saints
made much of this title -- "the Rock of ages", Isaiah calls Him -- and the
New Testament confirms the claim that Christ is our Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4).
It becomes clear, then, that this call of the Beloved is directed to her
whose safe position is in "the clefts of the rock" and who, moreover,
[4/5] has a way of access up "the secret place of the stairs",
or "the covert of the cliffs". We have this safety and access because of
redemption, so it appears that the Lord is here speaking to us.
What makes us hesitate, though, is the manner in which we are addressed.
"O my dove" -- can that be us? Yes, indeed it can. What is more, this term
"dove" which appears a number of times in these Songs is twice qualified
by a word translated "undefiled", but which literally means "perfect". "My
dove, my undefiled, is but one" (6:9). The relationship between the Church
and her Lord is quite unique; there is nothing like it in the universe. If
this seems too idealistic or presumptuous for us, we should ask the Spirit
to reveal to us what the Scriptures mean by the term "justification". Perhaps
before doing so we can include in our considerations the ecstatic declaration
of the King: "Thou art all fair, my love; and there is no spot in thee" (4:7).
"All fair!", "undefiled!", "perfect" -- what can all this mean? Is it the
blindness of love which exaggerates virtues and ignores blemishes? No, it
cannot be that, for Christ's love is perfectly balanced by His truth, so
that He can never be accused of unreality. This must be how He views His bride.
Is it only descriptive, then, of the ultimate condition of believers
when they are raptured to the glory to be with Christ for ever? It will
certainly be true in that great day, but I suggest that it describes a present
experience, and I confirm this with a quotation from the portion allocated
for April 7th in Watchman Nee's new book of Daily Readings: "Suppose
that the malefactor who was crucified with Christ had lived on after he had
believed in the Lord. Suppose he had come down from the cross and lived for
several decades more. Let us further suppose that during those years his
work had been ten times more than that of Paul, that his love had grown ten
times more than John's and that he had brought ten times more people to Christ
than Peter did. Would it have made any difference if he had gone to heaven
then, rather than on the day on which he was crucified? Would he have been
any worthier of his place thereafter all those years? All who have tasted
the grace of God know that he would not have been one whit worthier than when
he entered Paradise on that first day. Qualification for heaven is founded
on Christ's 'It is finished'. No one can add anything to His work of redemption."
THE gospel offers something much more than forgiveness; it freely gives
"the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that
believe" (Romans 3:22). This may be difficult for us to understand, but it
is the clear statement of God's Word. "There is therefore now no
condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1) and "by him everyone
that believeth is justified from all things" (Acts 13:39). It is therefore
sober fact when our Lord calls us "All fair" and says that there is no spot
in us. You may say: "I don't feel like that!" True, but when did God ever
allow Himself to be affected by our feelings, or even to suggest that we
should be governed by them? We notice that it is not the bride who claims
this perfection, but the Bridegroom who attributes it to her. And whatever
qualifications we may make in the case of Solomon's typical "dove", we have
none which we rightly apply concerning the spiritual people of God, for it
is God Himself who justifies them and Christ who shed His blood to make them
perfectly whole (Romans 8:33-34). Justification means to be made right in
God's sight; it admits of no gradual changes or self efforts at improvement.
It deals with the absolute difference between the unredeemed and the redeemed,
sinner and saint. The deciding factor is as to whether we are "in Adam" or
"in Christ". If we are "found in him" (Philippians 3:9), we share His perfect
and eternal righteousness.
WHEN Paul preached this gospel of righteousness by faith alone, his religious
opponents objected that it was a message which would make men careless about
their sins. How wrong they were! When the reformers preached this same gospel
they were subjected to similar criticism arid called "antinomian" -- lawless.
In fact, however, the opposite was true, as it still is today. Justification
is more than a theological nicety or a legal term; it is a divine dynamic
for holiness of life. It is always possible for merely nominal Christians
to shelter behind a spurious claim to grace while still living on in sin,
but I know of no greater spur to holy living than for a man to know himself
completely reconciled to God and accepted in the Beloved. The Church is Christ's
"Fair one", His one and only love. He chose her as such before the world
But why the title "Dove"? The word speaks to us of gentleness and simplicity,
but is this all? Can it be that it is an allusion to the presence
[5/6] and work of the Holy Spirit in the Church? Even so, we need
to ask also why the Spirit descended and remained on Jesus in this form?
Why a dove? May I suggest the possibility that at His baptism a link was made
with the first presentation of the infant Jesus to God? The law prescribed
that on such occasions burnt and sin offerings should be made, with the kindly
provision that if the mother were poor, two doves would be acceptable, the
one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering (Leviticus 12:8).
Mary and Joseph were certainly poor (they had not yet received the Magi's
gifts), and so they took the Babe to the temple with their two doves (Luke
2:24). Thirty years later, after He had been baptised, Jesus was praying
when the heaven opened and, like a dove, the gracious Spirit descended upon
Him and remained upon Him. The Dove was the sign of the whole burnt offering.
The Dove flew down, but He never flew away (John 1:32); He remained to mark
out this Living Sacrifice, this Whole-burnt Offering, as the Father's delight.
Jesus had come to "fulfil all righteousness". This must surely mean more
than proving Himself righteous. It meant also that He had come to bring repentant
sinners into the realm of His own perfect righteousness. We remember, in
this connection, that it was by the eternal Spirit that He offered Himself
to God in the sacrifice of the cross which provides believers with perfect
righteousness. It may be that this is what is suggested by the term "Dove";
it is associated with the enjoyment of God's free gift which makes Him both
just and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus. We, too, have been
baptised, and our baptism testified to the glorious truth of union with Christ.
No visible dove came to us, but the Holy Spirit sealed us as those for whom
all righteousness has been fulfilled, marking us out for a life of entire
consecration to the will of God. So Christ calls us His dove, and as such
He appeals to us for the closest fellowship. He begs us to mount those secret
stairs, to climb those heavenly cliffs, so that in spirit we may hold close
communion with Him.
THE call is intensely personal. If, however, we found it hard to credit
that in His eyes we are all fair, what shall we now say when He assures us
that He yearns for our company? "Let me see thy countenance, let me hear
thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely." Does
He say this to us? Can it be that the Lord calls the
Church to prayer because He Himself derives pleasure from her company? Those
trembling voices, those halting prayers, those so-inadequate praises; are
they really sweet to Him? Those faces, lined perhaps with sorrow, pale with
the weariness of life's burdens, softened surely with the realisation of
His love; are they beautiful in His eyes? Well, that is what the Word of God
says, and it says it not only in this figurative language but in many other
passages of Holy Writ.
If our voices are not sweet to others, they are to Him. If nobody else
finds our smiles attractive, He does. He loves us with a tender love. It
is not our works or our money that He desires most of all -- precious though
these may be -- but our practice of heart communion. It has been my happy
lot for a great part of my life to be in fellowships where time was set
apart for pure praise and worship. There was an agreement to refrain for
the moment from petitions, so that priority might be given to worship and
thanksgiving. And lest any zealous saint of a practical mind should object
that it is the Church's business to ask and receive, may I say that such
praising groups have always been most fruitful and effective in their subsequent
intercessions. It has been a matter of priorities. We have found that praise
has released prayer and prayer has empowered for action.
IN the previous article on Worship, John Blanchard rightly points out
that this is intended to be something much more than mere thoughts or emotions,
for worship involves glad obedience. What I write now is entirely in harmony
with what he says, for in this passage the Bridegroom wishes to commune with
His beloved not in an unrealistic or merely mystical way, but with the practical
issue of fruit-bearing in view. "The vineyards are in blossom," He reminds
her, "even while I am enjoying your communion I am concerned also for fruit
for the Father's glory." Now what this exactly means in the allegorical
setting of Solomon's Songs I do not know, but none of us can fail to register
its close allusion to Christ's own talk on fruit-bearing in John 15. The
blossom presages fruit, and it is fruit that Christ purposes in our lives
of abiding. The Lord has this in mind when He calls us to closer communion.
He wants to hear us, but if we will listen, He also wishes to speak to us.
Earlier on the bride had confessed: "They made [6/7]
me keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept" (1:6).
This is an all too common tragedy among God's servants who allow their concern
to work for others to rob them of that supreme service, which is "ministering
to the Lord".
"Our vineyards are in blossom" whispers the Beloved One, even while He
expresses evident concern lest the promise should never come to a fruitful
realisation, lest the bloom and tender grapes should never mature. When,
therefore, the matter of communion is adjusted, He is in a position to deal
with the threats to fruitfulness. There are the foxes -- the little foxes
-- which will spoil the vineyards if they are allowed to do so. Even as He
speaks we get the impression that it is with that still, small voice which
can only be heard by those who are in close touch with Him.
AGAIN, it may be difficult to explain the niceties of the allusions to
foxes in a vineyard, but it is not difficult to appreciate that in the spiritual
life there are wily, sneaking enemies to fruitfulness which must be dealt
with if there is to be satisfaction to our divine Husbandman. These are often
relatively minor matters, seemingly unimportant intruders, only little foxes,
but they will rob the Lord and rob us too if they are allowed to run wild
in our lives. Perhaps the bride, in the security of the cleft rocks, was
unaware of these perils. All the more reason, then, for her to respond to
the Bridegroom's call to communion so that He could discuss them with her
and co-operate in getting rid of them. He did not shout condemnation from
a distance, and He did not demand action against them as the condition for
His favour. The Lord is not like that. He simply appealed for closer communion
and then whispered: "Let us take the foxes ..."
"Let us take them. We will do it together, you and I. I am not commanding
you alone to clean up your vineyard so that its promise of fruitfulness may
be fulfilled. Nor am I offering to do all the work for you while you idly
languish in the house of wine, comforted with raisins (2:4 & 5). Let
us face the realities of the situation together, and let our lovely heart
communion result in practical and fruitful action!" It is in this spirit that
we find the Lord Jesus urging us to come closer to Him and to seek His face
in prayer. He wants to hear us, but He also wants us to hear Him, and we
may well miss what He has to say if we do not make use of the secret places
of the stairs.
THE ill-advised Marthas of the Church may voice their impatience, but
we can afford to ignore them since the Lord will not tolerate this kind of
complaining. "This," He says, "is the better part which shall not be taken
away from her" (Luke 10:42). He Himself will certainly not take it away.
Nobody else can take it away if He refuses permission for them to do so.
The sad thing is that we ourselves can throw it away, as we sometimes do,
making ourselves deaf to the wistful calls of the Lord that we should spend
more time with Him. The very last appeal in these Songs has a sad undertone:
"Thou that dwellest in the gardens, thy companions hear thy voice; cause
me to hear it" (8:13). A multiplicity of committee rooms and church business
meetings provide ground enough for Christ so to complain of His Church today;
we are content to linger in the study when we might be in the Audience Chamber
of the King.
May we return to the two Bethany sisters, Martha with her busy preoccupation
with the activities of "service" and Mary with her better part of "the secret
places of the stairs". How did it all end? We may reasonably conclude that
Martha accepted the Lord's rebuke, for she loved Him too and was loved by
Him. For all we know she may even have left her fussing, and joined Mary
at the feet of the Lord Jesus. If she did, we may be sure that the meal tasted
all the better when it did come, and provided opportunity for fellowship
with the Saviour. We may even say that if it had been a modern setting, the
possibility is that when it was over Jesus might have helped with the washing-up.
His great concern both then and now relates to proper priorities, putting
first things first, and there can be no doubt that His priority is communion.
He still calls: "Let me see thy face; let me hear thy voice", not because
He wants to discourage activity but because He knows -- none better -- that
a heavenly mind will make His Church of great earthly use.
The following article by George Verwer will deal with a similar emphasis,
this time in its setting of the Church Prayer Meeting, which is all part
of the call to worship and the call to communion. [7/8]
THIS IS ASAPH SPEAKING
(Another look at Psalm 73)
THIS is Asaph speaking. And let me make one point clear at the outset.
I know for a fact that God is good to Israel, to the upright and the pure
in heart. The truth is so obvious that you'd think no one would ever question
But there was a time when I actually began to wonder. My stance on the
subject became very wobbly, and my faith almost took a temporary tumble.
You see, I began to think how well off the wicked are -- lots of money, plenty
of pleasures, no troubles -- and soon I was wishing that I were like them.
Everything seems to be going their way. They don't have as much physical
suffering as believers do. Their bodies are healthy and sleek (naturally
-- they can afford the best of everything). They escape many of the troubles
and tragedies of decent people like ourselves. And even if trouble should
strike them, they are heavily insured against every conceivable form of loss.
No wonder they are so self-confident. They are as proud as a peacock and
ruthless as a tiger. Just as their bodies seem to overflow with fatness, so
their minds are spilling over with crooked schemes. And are they ever arrogant!
They scoff and curse at their underlings and treat them as if they were dirt,
threatening them continually. Even God Himself does not escape their malice.
Their speech is punctuated with profanity, and they brazenly blaspheme Him.
Their tongue swaggers and struts through the earth, as if to say: "Here I
come: get out of my way."
Most of the ordinary people think that they are great. They bow and scrape
and show utmost respect. No matter what the wicked do, the people find no
fault with them. And this only confirms the oppressors in their arrogance.
They figure that if there is a God, He certainly doesn't know what's going
on. So they feel safe in pursuing their careers of crookedness. And there
they are -- cushioned in luxury and getting richer all the time.
Well, I began to think, What good has it done me to live a decent, honest,
respectable life? The hours I've spent in prayer. The time spent in the Word.
The distribution of funds to the work of the Lord. The active testimony for
the Lord, both public and private. All I've got from it has been a daily
dose of suffering and punishment. I wondered if the life of faith was worth
Of course, I never shared my doubts and misgivings with other believers.
I knew better than to do that. I often thought of the man who said: "Tell
me of your certainties; I have doubts enough of my own." So I kept all my
doubts to myself, lest I should offend or stumble some simple, trusting soul.
But still the whole business was a riddle to me: the wicked prosper while
the righteous suffer. It seemed so hard to understand. In fact, it wore me
out trying to solve the problem.
Then something wonderful happened. One day I entered into the sanctuary
of the Lord -- not the literal Temple in Jerusalem, but the heavenly sanctuary.
I entered there by faith. As I was complaining to the Lord about the prosperity
of the wicked in this life, the question suddenly flashed across my mind:
"Yes, but what about the life to come?" The more I thought about their eternal
destiny, the more everything came into focus.
So I spoke to the Lord, something like this: Lord, now I realise that,
despite all appearances, the life of the wicked is a precarious existence.
They are walking on the slippery edge of a vast precipice. Sooner or later
they fall over to their doom. In a moment they are cut off -- swept away
by a wave of terrors too horrible to contemplate. They are to me like a dream
when one awakens in the morning -- the things that disturbed the dreamer
are seen to be nothing but phantoms.
I see now that the things that were causing me to be envious were phantoms.
It was stupid of me to become bitter and agitated over the seeming prosperity
of the ungodly. In questioning Your justice I was acting more like an animal
than a man (Excuse me for acting as I did).
Yet in spite of my ignorant behaviour, You have not forsaken me. I am
continually with [8/9] You, and You hold on to me,
like a father holds his child by the hand. Throughout all my life, You guide
me with Your counsel, and then at last You will receive me into glory.
It is enough that I have You in heaven; that makes me fabulously wealthy.
And now I have no desire for anything on earth apart from Yourself. Let the
ungodly have their wealth. I am satisfied with You and find my all-sufficiency
in You. My body may waste away and my heart may fail, but God is the strength
of my life and I'll never need or want throughout eternity.
Those who try to keep as far away from You as possible will perish without
You. And those who have forsaken You for false gods will be destroyed. As
far as I am concerned, I want to be as near to You as possible. I have committed
myself to You for protection, and I want to proclaim Your wonderful works
to all who will listen.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE PRAYER MEETING?
(Our beloved brother, George Verwer, has made available to us an article
which he was asked to write for the magazine MOODY MONTHLY. Here is a part
of that article. It accentuates a pressing need among God's people today.
ONE of God's great men of past years, Samuel Chadwick, taught that Satan's
greatest aim was to destroy our prayer lives. Satan is not afraid of prayerless
study, prayerless work, or prayerless religion ... but he will tremble when
If Chadwick was correct (and hundreds of other great men of God have
said similar things), then we are really in trouble. If there is any part
of our church life that seems to be in trouble, it is the prayer meeting.
In fact, in an increasing number of churches, for all practical purposes,
there is no such meeting.
There is no lack of books on prayer, and most pastors preach on prayer
once in a while. If there is any doctrine to which we pay only lip service,
it has to be the doctrine of prayer. In ministering in thousands of churches
over the past twenty-two years in North America and around the world, I have
never ceased to be amazed at the neglect of true, heart-felt, corporate prayer.
There are some beautiful exceptions in some countries, but they are few
in comparison. I am convinced that another challenge or message on prayer
will do little good, and that alone has almost kept me from writing this
article. The hour has come for us to pray. Let us put the prayer meeting
back into the life of our churches. This will take action, discipline and
perseverance, combined with large amounts of love, patience and spiritual
reality. C. S. Lewis said, "We have the tendency to think, but not to act.
We have the tendency to feel, but not to act. If we go on thinking and feeling
without acting, we soon are unable to act."
Part of my motivation for writing this article came after a weekend of
ministry in a church where the mid-week prayer meeting had been dropped,
mainly due to lack of interest and attendance. The Holy Spirit worked during
that weekend, and during the final meeting on Sunday evening the pastor announced
that they would start the prayer meeting again on the following Wednesday
night. Afterwards I heard that some fifty people attended, and that they
had a great time of prayer. The fact that some churches have good, live and
powerful meetings, even in this activistic, leisure-loving, television age,
is proof that your church can as well.
Other Christians tell me that they wish their church had a good, live
prayer meeting. Many have stopped going to dead, poorly organised prayer
meetings, while yet others continue only out of a sense of duty or guilt.
Should we not be drawn into the presence of the Living God with higher motivation
than this? Why are we only attracted by special speakers and programmes rather
than the Lord Himself? On a practical level, what real authority does the
Lord Jesus have in our churches today?
To see things change it will take both a spiritual and practical revolution.
We need a divine combination of practical changes and deeper commitment.
Pastors spend hours in preparing a sermon, but how much time is put into
[9/10] preparing for the prayer meetings? Linked with this is the
great compromise of changing the prayer meeting to a mid-week service of
"Prayer and Bible Study", which, after the Bible study and the voicing of
"requests", involves usually about ten to twenty minutes of actual prayer.
I guess some feel this is better than nothing, but many decide that "nothing"
is better, so they decide not to attend.
Some really live churches which I have had contact with have prayer and
Bible study on different nights in order to give enough time for both. Others
have them together, but have the meetings long enough to have at least a
good hour of prayer. Some have other prayer meetings in different homes and
this is often good, though at times there is more fellowship than prayer,
and they especially seem to lack reality in the area of intercession. These
good functions should not take the place of at least one good church prayer
meeting a week when a large part of the congregation is together in
"one accord and unity" as in the book of the Acts.
The lack and neglect of such meetings, I believe, are two of the great
mistakes in our Bible-believing churches, and such deception by Satan represents
a far greater enmity than liberalism or cults. In fact, a clear study of
2 Corinthians 10:4-7 would show us that prayer is the main way we are going
to stand against the enemy in whatever way he may attack us. We seem to be
blind to the nature of the spiritual warfare and feel that as long as we
have a full Sunday School and good numbers on Sunday mornings that we are
okay. Could it be that as in Revelation 3:1, we have a name that we are alive
but are in fact dead? Could it be true, as one man said, that if the Holy
Spirit left us there would be very few changes made? Everything would go
on as usual!
We should be willing to do almost anything to leap from such a deadly
state. I feel it is almost too late in some places where spiritual schizophrenia
has set in on such a deep level. This will be changed only by radical, deep-rooted
repentance. Surely the prayer meeting and our own personal prayer lives must
be a vital part in anything lasting and real that takes place. Let us bring
the prayer meeting back into its rightful place in the life of our church,
AND let us put Christ back in His rightful place as be Lord of our lives.
How should we prepare for a Prayer Meeting?
1. By spending time in personal prayer.
2. By reading God's Word, especially on the subject of prayer and then
by feeding on powerful books on the subject. There are over fifty books
we can use.
3. Mobilise as many as possible over a period of time to present short,
specific requests from the mission field both at home and abroad. Each missionary
on special ministry should have someone who represents him in the prayer
meeting. Avoid having more than five to ten minutes of requests before having
at least some time in prayer.
4. Get hot items from the newspapers which will motivate the people to
a sense of urgency. 1 Timothy 2:1 gives us clear teaching about the need
5. Organise when possible some kind of visual aid that will help the
6. Sometimes arrange for special speakers, but communicate that most
of the time will be for prayer. If you feel they must bring a longer message,
then extend the meeting ... but don't cut down on the actual prayer time.
Keep in mind that talking to God is more important than listening to man.
7. Point out some of the ways they can help to kill the prayer meetings.
a. Praying too long at one time.
b. Preaching at people in their prayers.
c. Praying only for things pertaining to your own church.
d. Not changing anything from one week to the next.
e. Not really believing or expecting specific answers.
This material will not be new to many who read it, but it is the cry
of my heart that some who read it will determine to act, regardless of the
cost. The battle will be uphill all the way, for "prayer is work". However
the results will be great and eternal. [10/11]
CHAPTER BY CHAPTER THROUGH ROMANS
9. THE BLESSINGS OF THE JUSTIFIED (Chapter 5:1-11)
WHEN we read through these verses we must take notice that the apostle
is not telling us what the justified person's condition ought to be, but
what it is. Paul is not presenting us with an ideal, but with a real description
of everyone who is justified by faith in Christ Jesus.
"... peace with God ..."
The first thing he emphasises is that we have peace with God through
our Lord Jesus Christ. This peace with God is not brought about by any work
of ours: it is the Lord's own achievement. By His redemptive work He has
ensured that we who were previously under God's wrath are now at peace with
Him. This peace is "through our Lord Jesus Christ" and for that very reason
it is perfect peace and it is absolutely unshakeable. It is, as we would say,
guaranteed. In this and the following chapters we shall find that Paul emphasises
the fact that justification and all its resultant blessings come "through
our Lord Jesus Christ". Everything is due to Christ: all is given us in Him
and all is concentrated on Him. Once we fully appreciate this fact, then
we can understand that all which is spoken of in this chapter is not an unattainable
ideal but present experience, to be received gratefully from the Lord Jesus
who Himself purchased them for us.
The peace which we have with God through our Lord Jesus Christ consists
of God having made peace with us. His thoughts toward us are no longer thoughts
of animosity but of goodwill. It is an undeniable fact, this peace with God.
It is not improved by our feeling full of peace, nor is it diminished by
our feeling heavy and depressed. It has nothing at all to do with our feelings,
but is an objective fact which nothing can alter, proclaimed to us in the
Already the apostle has stated that the Roman believers have "grace and
peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (1:7). Grace and peace
are an inseparable evangelical unity. Paul cannot imagine the one without
the other, so it is unimportant which he mentions first. At the beginning
he placed peace after grace, but in this passage he mentions peace first.
He will go on to speak of grace, for both are the work of God and not the
result of any efforts of ours. It is easier for us to understand that grace
comes from God, for we appreciate that no condemned criminal can reprieve
himself. It may be somewhat more difficult for us to realise that peace is
also the work and gift of God, for we immediately link with it some thought
of tranquil feelings or peaceful emotions within ourselves. The word "peace",
however, has another content and meaning, namely the removal of strain and
hostility. We can always begin to doubt our own peaceful sensations, just
as we can doubt our own love, but we cannot doubt that God Himself has made
peace with us by the blood of His Son, having loved us even when we were
enemies and adversaries. If, then, God has made this peace, whatever we feel,
we may boldly claim that we have peace with God, and that this is an eternal,
"... access by faith into this grace ..."
"This grace wherein we stand" is a characteristic description of our
position in relation to God. Our status is a status of grace, that is to
say, God always regards us as a people who are fully accepted in the Lord
Jesus. Our sin has been taken away. Just as a man like Abraham could stand
before Him and a man like David could be pleasing to Him, so we have a standing
and an acceptance which will never be changed. When Paul speaks of our having
had access by faith into this grace, his thoughts are doubtless based on the
Old Testament. There it was laid down that the high priest might go into the
mercy seat in the Holy of Holies, but could do so only once a year on the
great Day of Atonement. In contrast to this, everyone who is now justified
by faith has free entrance into the Holy of Holies and can happily remain
there in the presence of God, all by virtue of the grace which is in Christ
Jesus. The difference is overwhelming. No wonder that the apostle goes on
to speak of rejoicing and glory!
"... we rejoice in hope of the glory of God"
We who have sinned and fallen short of God's glory (3:23), can now boast
of the hope of this glory, being convinced that the God who has reconciled
us to Himself will also lead us on, conforming us to the likeness of His
Son and [11/12] making us co-heirs of all things with
Christ. Such a conviction, based as it is on the love of God alone as revealed
in Christ Jesus our Lord, enables us to look with the eyes of faith on all
life's troubles. Previously we feared them and regarded them as obstacles
on life's pathway, but now we are able to rejoice even in these troubles,
for we know that through patience and probation they help us on to our desired
Tribulations are now made to play their part in building us up in Christ,
giving us a Christian character in which are found patience, longsuffering
and dependability. For the tried Christian there is at the end of this road
a destination of hope which is not here described in detail. It includes
all that God has ever promised us. While life's trials and troubles deprive
the people of the world of their hopes, they confirm the Christian in the
glorious hope which God has given him. They stimulate him with the promise
that he will be like Jesus, the promise of coming glory, of the new heavens
and new earth where righteousness will always dwell. They encourage him with
the promise that he will reign with Christ over God's universe, the promise
of an eternal dwelling in the city whose builder and maker is God.
"... hope putteth not to shame ..."
Hope of this kind will never disappoint. It does not promise more than
it can fulfil; it does not deal in mirages or castles in the air. It presents
us with substantial and satisfying realities. When the man who has been justified
enters into the promised glory he will no doubt, like the Queen of Sheba
before him, exclaim: "The half was not told me". No eye has yet seen nor
ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man to conceive the wonders
of what God has prepared for His own. It is too great for us to comprehend
while we are in our present condition. At the moment we cannot encompass
its significance. We can confidently wait for it, though, for God's hope
will never permit of any disappointment or shame.
We may wonder how we can be so sure. We know our own weaknesses and shortcomings
all too well. When we think of what our past life was like, and even how
we have fallen below the standard in our Christian life, we may well tremble
at the thought of whether we shall have a share in all that hope of coming
glory which is promised in the gospel. Even while we tremble, is it possible
for us to be assured that we shall not be put to shame by our hope? Happily
it is, but solely because of God's love to us. The scripture goes on to stress
this matter of divine love, though not attempting to explain what is completely
beyond our comprehension. We are told that while human love might possibly
reach the limit of sacrifice for those who are friends, good men, God's
love has extended to the degree that He gave His Son to die for us when
we were still enemies. That is to say, even when we were against God, God
was for us with a love which knew no bounds. It is this love which is the
certain guarantee that our hope will never be put to shame.
"the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts ..."
That love was poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit as He came
into them when we were justified by faith. The love so described is not
our love to God, but His love to us, as is clear from the subsequent verses.
It is the love which He commends to us which He also sheds abroad in us.
It may be true that because He first loved us we now love Him, but that is
The love of God is the common possession of the Church. No one in the
Church has deserved it, but all are to the same extent the objects of that
love. Even as no one can deserve to stand justified before God, so no one
can deserve to enjoy His love. And even as no one is more justified than
others, so no one has more of God's love shed abroad in his heart by the
Holy Spirit than anyone else. There is no respect of persons with God: He
has no favourites. When Paul wishes to substantiate the fact that the love
of God is poured into our hearts by the Spirit, he adds: "For while we were
yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly". Here is the length and
breadth and height and depth of the love of God. It is centred in the cross
of Christ where He took away all that condemns us, our sin, our shame, our
enmity, our defiance and our ungodliness and gave us the hope which does not
make ashamed. He did it without our help. He did it without our even asking
Him to do it. He did it even in spite of us. While we were still enemies we
were reconciled to God by His work of love, and then when we believed He
poured the realisation of that love into our hearts by [12/13]
the Spirit, so giving us to know a hope that can never be put to shame.
"Much more then ..."
God's love is always more than we could have thought possible. He turns
us back to this love again and again. We must never forget it. Nothing must
overshadow it. It is the greatest. The comparisons which Paul is now going
to make, using this phrase "much more" for the purpose, do not mean that
there is any higher love than that of Calvary, but with convincing spiritual
logic he argues that what is incomprehensively great, namely the giving of
His Son to die for us, makes certain the lesser yet wonderful fact of our
future salvation from wrath and promise of divine glory in its place. He argues
from the greater to the lesser, reasoning that if God went to the extreme
extent of sacrificing His Son for the sake of His enemies, we can be fully
assured that He will give everlasting glory to those past enemies who are
now reconciled. What He has done in justifying wicked sinners is so amazing
that it is less surprising to find Him planning such a glorious hope for
the justified. Again the apostle argues from the greater to the lesser in
saying that if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled, then there can
be no contesting His purpose that we should be saved by His life and gain
all that God has promised and even more!
"... we rejoice in God ..."
Our hope is truly well founded. It has its foundations in that great
love of God for us, the love which did not shrink from the unthinkable,
that His dearly beloved Son should die instead of us. God commends His love
to us. He draws our attention to it. If we build on that, and on the fact
that God is God, so -- and only so -- we shall have a hope which will never
cause us to be ashamed. Paul brings this "Song of songs" to this climax:
"And not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have now received the reconciliation". There is no credit
for man: all the glory is due to be given to God. As He is the basis of all,
salvation in its fullness, so He is also the goal of all, everything comes
back to Him. We have nothing but rejoicing when we consider Him. It was great
that we were able to rejoice in hope of the glory of God but it is even greater
that we find ourselves rejoicing in God Himself. He has done all things well.
All good and blessing come from Him. Nobody advised Him, nobody helped Him;
salvation is altogether of Him, through Him and unto Him. How greatly we can
rejoice as we find nothing standing any more as a barrier between Him and
ourselves! We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. We rejoice in the
God of glory.
(To be continued)
THE OFFENCE OF THE CROSS
THE verse from which this title is taken suggests that if only Paul had
continued to preach circumcision he could have avoided persecution and been
freed from the inevitable offence which is created by the message of the
cross (Galatians 5:11). It is an obvious fact that wherever the cross of the
Lord Jesus Christ has been faithfully preached it has not only brought hope
and new life to some but also caused trouble with many more. Wherever this
message has gone it has aroused antagonism. As it was a stumbling-block to
the Jews and an absurdity to the Greeks in the first days, so it has ever
since been unacceptable not only to men of the world but even to many religious
This is a fact, in spite of its being the most popular symbol. There
is hardly a city in Christendom where the architecture, galleries of art,
collections of literature and conservatoires of music do not give a prominent
place to the sacred sign of the cross. It is a pity, then, that so much
of the preaching and teaching in the Christian Church is either confined
to the "Historic Jesus", which presents a crossless Christ, or to an interpretation
of the cross which is much less than the Scriptural one.
Yet the consistent message of the whole Bible is that the cross is God's
way of salvation, His sufficient and His only way. It is further very clear
that this has been the message which God has blessed to the salvation of
men. It was dominant in New Testament days, and the recovery of, or re-emphasis
upon some vital and essential phase of that cross gave rise to such movements
[13/14] as are signified by names like Luther, the
Wesleys, Whitfield, Moody, Spurgeon and many other God-honoured men.
Before we begin to discuss why the cross has always been such a maker
of trouble and cause of offence, we need to make it plain that no exception
is taken to the heroics of the cross or its aesthetics. Sacrifice, suffering,
unselfish devotion, self-effacing service for the good of others, enduring
the penalty of setting oneself against current evils; these are romantic
elements which are popularly appreciated. It is the deeper meaning which the
Bible gives to the cross which provokes men's opposition, and it may be profitable
to examine a few of these more closely.
1. The cross condemns the world
In the cross Christ created a great divide between the old world and
the new, a divide which cannot be bridged. Two distinctly different systems,
scales of value, standards of judgment, sets of laws, stand contrasted on
the two sides of the cross. The system of each is not only quite different,
but irreconcilable and for ever mutually antagonistic. The cross demands an
absolute distinctiveness of interest and objectives, relationships and resources.
It draws the final distinction between the saved and the unsaved, between
the living and the dead.
The apostle Paul said that by the cross of Christ he had "been crucified
to the world" and the world crucified to him. The Word of God emphatically
declares that this age is evil and that "the whole world lieth in the wicked
one". It says that the world's ways, motives, purposes, ideas and imaginations
are all the opposite of God's. It further asserts that the world is utterly
incapacitated from either receiving the revelation of the divine mind, growing
of itself into the divine image, enjoying and appreciating real fellowship
with God, or being entrusted with the privilege of co-operation with God.
Such capacities and relationships belong only to those whose new birth
has delivered them from this present world. It is understandable that the
world finds the condemnation of the cross irritating and unacceptable, and
it is to be feared that the presence of "worldliness" in the individual
Christian life and in the Church is in direct contradiction to the essential
purposes of the cross. The Lord Jesus described His cross as being "the
judgment of this world" (John 12:31). Those who follow Him must accept this
verdict, and will consequently have to suffer from the offence of the cross.
2. The cross crucifies the flesh
The Word of God declares that "our old man has been crucified with Christ"
(Romans 6:6) and that "One died for all, therefore all died; and he died
for all, that they which live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto
him" (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). So far as God was concerned the history of
the fallen race was concluded at Calvary. From that time onward, God's entire
concern was the new creation. It is no use our trying to bring some of the
old creation life into the new creation, for God will not accept it. Our
human capabilities as well as our infirmities; what we call our better side
as well as what we recognise to be our worst side; our goodness and our badness
have all been included in that death. Henceforth we are called to live not
on a human level but on a divine. In ourselves we possess nothing which is
acceptable to God.
So often it is the assertion of some human element, some like or dislike,
some ambition or some personal interest, which paralyses the work of God
in and through us. To regard not only our sins but ourselves as having been
taken to the cross by Christ is the only way by which those purposes of God
can be wrought out through our lives. It may seem strange that while we so
often deplore our lack of spirituality, we are so slow to accept the verdict
of the cross on our natural lives. We find it humiliating to accept the same
verdict on ourselves as has been passed on the world, namely that of death
by crucifixion. Nevertheless there is no other basis for a really spiritual
life and witness: the cross must work out death in us in order that the life
of Christ may be released in full expression through us. So there may be
a sense in which the Christian also has to face the offence of the cross.
Only by really knowing the power of the fact that he is crucified with Christ
can he know the blessedness of the new life. When it is truly "no longer I",
then the way is opened for the affirmation: "but Christ that liveth in me".
The end is glorious but the way is the painful way of the cross.
3. The cross casts out the devil
Here we touch the deepest cause of the offence, for the world and the
flesh are only the instruments and weapons by which the great hierarchy
[14/15] of Satan maintains its hold and its existence as the controlling
force. As He approached the cross, Christ said: "Now is the prince of this
world cast out" (John 12:31). As Paul reflected on the deep meaning of the
cross he said that by it: "Christ stripped off principalities and powers,
making a show of them openly, and triumphed over them" (Colossians 2:15).
It is perfectly natural, then, that the great hierarchy of evil should
by every means and resource seek to make the cross of none effect. By the
"pale cast of thought" it will dilute the message of the cross; by pushing
in the world's methods and spirit it will sap the spiritual vitality of
the Church; by stirring up the flesh, the self and the old Adam it will
cause schism, strain and disintegration; or by making much of the human
elements in its artistic, aesthetic, heroic side, it will be blind to the
need for regeneration. Reputation, popularity, the world's standards of
success, are all contrary to the spirit of Christ, but they are the attractions
by which the enemy engrosses the minds of many, sometimes even Christian
If, therefore, the cross is preached in the full content of victory over
and emancipation from the world, the flesh and the devil, it is to be expected
that by hook or crook the intelligent forces of evil will stop at nothing
to silence it, and will stir up every cause of offence which can be laid
to the account of the cross. No wonder that this message is repudiated or
misrepresented, since it is God's solution to the problems of fallen man.
Crucifixion is a harsh end; it reveals the utterness of God's repudiation
of everything which belongs to the old creation. To the believer, however,
the cross as presented in the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
In conclusion let us not forget that the enjoyment of the full purpose
of God, the experience of victory, and association in life with Him that
sitteth on the throne in His glory are ours just in so far as we are one
with the reality of the cross as set forth in the Word of God. Perhaps it
is best summed up for us in the words: "They overcame him because of the
blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony, and they counted
not their lives dear unto the death" (Revelation 12:11 ).
A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
WITH this issue we are privileged to begin the seventh year of this magazine.
We cannot do so without once again recording the unfailing faithfulness of
our God in the past. Every need for 1977 was fully provided for, according
to His promises. As we worship Him for this, we also pray His rich blessing
on all His stewards who have so generously helped with their gifts. When
we decided to economise by not sending individual receipts, we realised that
we were taking risks, for it is not easy to contribute to such a work and
receive no acknowledgement. The amazing thing is that many of you do so.
This puts us under a burden to send you our thanks via the Throne, as we seek
to do, but it also calls for some mention in print. It has been most gratifying
to find the flow of gifts unchecked. Prices mount higher, but our income
has mounted with them. We magnify God and also we assure you of our sincere
Through the year many kind letters of encouragement and appreciation
have reached us. In some cases these, too, remain unanswered. Each one,
however, has been truly appreciated and provoked prayer as well as praise.
We ourselves are humbled as we realise how many fellow Christians pray for
us. This has been a year when we ourselves have felt especially upheld and
prospered by the prayers of brothers and sisters in Christ. We try to do
our part in remembering them also as we come to the Throne of Grace on which
our reigning Lord is seated.
Will 1978 be the year in which He rises up from that Throne and comes
out to meet His raptured Church? Nobody knows. What we do know, though, is
that His unrevoked instructions are: "Occupy, till I come!" We shall be
blessed indeed if His Coming finds us fully extended in His glad service.
May TOWARD THE MARK help us all to have a greater devotion to Christ Himself!
THE GOINGS OF GOD
(Studies in the book of Exodus)
J. Alec Motyer
2. THE REDEEMING GOD (7:8 to 13:16)
IN our last study we saw how the work of God with Moses was concentrated
on the great objective of making him an obedient man. We found that God reached
the target at which He was aiming: "Moses and Aaron did so as the Lord commanded
them, so did they" (7:6). It is interesting to note that it took eighty
years of Moses's life to get to that point, for the passage records that
he was then "four score years old". It is true that God cannot be hurried;
He takes whatever time is required to reach His objective in us which is
to make of us men like Moses who will take God at His word and do what He
commands. As we move into this new section of the book we are reminded this
was the man whom God was going to use. "These are that Moses and Aaron" (6:27).
It was that Moses, and no other, who led the whole people into the
experience of salvation. How true it is that it is the obedient life which
is the blessed life. That man, and no other, was the man who led others
to know the salvation of God.
WHY THE PLAGUES?
Our present section divides into two parts with a clear dividing mark.
"The Lord said unto Moses, Yet one more plague will I bring upon Pharaoh
and upon Egypt. Afterwards he will let you go hence. When he shall let you
go he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether" (11:1). This is the dividing
mark. On the one side of that verse we have the series of nine plagues which
were acts of God in which there was no salvation: nine plagues but no deliverance.
And on the other side of the verse we have the tenth plague bringing the
release of God's people from the land of Egypt. This is the division of the
passage, but it raises two questions. The first is, Why the plagues? It was
not only that the nine plagues did not save the people, but that from the
start God knew that they would not do so: "When thou goest back into Egypt,
see that thou doest before Pharaoh all the wonders that I have put in thy
hand, but I will harden his heart and he will not let the people go" (4:21).
Why did the redeeming God, setting out to deliver His people, spend all this
time performing acts which He knew would not deliver? The second question
is, Why the Passover? God announced that the tenth plague would achieve liberation
for Israel (11:1). He said that Pharaoh would be so overborne by this final
act of judgment that he would not merely allow the people to go but would
insist that they did go. Very well then, if the tenth plague was going to
bring about deliverance, what was the need for the Passover?
Our first question is, Why the plagues? The answer seems to be that God
will not pronounce and execute judgment without having gone to the limit
in setting before the sinner the evidence against him, and in making every
possible appeal for repentance and obedience. The plagues are a part of the
Bible doctrine of the justice of God, Who will not condemn without evidence
and Who will not judge without giving the accused every chance to learn of
His glory, to respond to His ways and to come to Him in repentance and faith.
It is because we are confronted by the justice of God that the story of the
nine plagues is punctuated by references to Pharaoh's heart. It is as though
Moses, in writing up this great story, was anxious all the time to let us
know what was happening in the secret place. All this was designed to bring
the sinner into a better way, but was he responding to God's warnings? Clearly
he was not, but over and over again the heart of Pharaoh is mentioned, so
that we may see the progress of the divine work. In the whole Exodus narrative,
from chapter 4 to chapter 14 there are 20 references to the heart of Pharaoh,
God thus allowing us to see that all that happened was an appeal to a heart
which remained obdurate, refusing the appeal of God and going on to its
It may well be, however, that another question is arising in the reader's
mind: "Did we not hear from the beginning that God was going to harden Pharaoh's
heart? In that case, what chance had the poor man? The dice seems to have
been loaded against him right from the very start. Does it not appear that
before any appeal was made to him, it was made impossible for him to respond
to that appeal? We can only [16/17] answer this question
and appreciate the doctrine of the righteousness of God by trying to understand
more about this matter of Pharaoh's heart. We find that the references fall
into three sections: There are the verses which speak of divine actions,
such as, "I will harden his heart" (4:21); there are verses which describe
a state or condition, such as, "And Pharaoh's heart was hardened" (7:22);
and thirdly there are verses which describe human actions, such, as, "When
Pharaoh saw that there was respite he hardened his heart" (8:15). This is
the evidence set before us. The first group, treating of divine actions, has
seven references; the second: describing a state of affairs has six references;
and in the third group, which deals with human reactions, there are four references.
I suggest that we will understand them a little better if we consider them
under three headings.
1. The Lord uses means to achieve an end
When, therefore, the Lord says that He will harden Pharaoh's heart, the
implication is that He will make use of a customary means of bringing about
that situation. When, for instance, He speaks of Himself as the Lord "who
makes peace and creates havoc (Isaiah 45:7), He has already told us just
how He creates havoc and calamity. He raises up conquerors in the world. He
uses means to achieve His end. Now the customary means of heart hardening,
in the providence of God, is that the human heart and will are faced with
the truth of God and become hard when they refuse its appeal. There was a
moment when Pharaoh realised that his magicians could not help him but only
increase his trouble by adding more frogs to the many who were already there,
and he appealed to Moses and Aaron, asking that they would intreat the Lord
on his behalf (8:8). He recognised God. What is more, he proved God, for he
himself was invited to appoint the time when it should happen. He did so
and found that God answered the prayers of Moses for the removal of the plague.
So Pharaoh saw his error, began to realise the truth and had positive proof
put before him of the power of God, but in spite of it all, he refused the
appeal of the truth and so hardened his heart. At the end of another plague
we are told: "When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunders were ceased,
he sinned yet more and hardened his heart ... and the heart of Pharaoh was
hardened" (9:34-35). So it was the action of the man which produced the consequent
state: he hardened his heart, and his heart was hardened.
2. The Lord determines the result
"I will harden Pharaoh's heart," God said. This means that when the Lord
appoints a means to an end, then His providential power works so as to bring
that end to pass. But it means something more than that. It means that the
Lord, in His righteous government of the world, reviews every soul of man
to determine how long the period of probation shall last and when that period
shall end. When therefore He said to Moses: "I will harden Pharaoh's heart",
He was speaking in the light of His own determination and foreknowledge.
He was saying to Moses: "I am sending you into the land of Egypt at a crisis
moment, at a point of no return. Pharaoh has now had all the rope that I
am prepared to give him, and you are going into Egypt at the moment when he
will hang himself." The Lord fixes the moment when the end will come. We
see this in its general application when we think of the statement in the
Bible that "it is appointed unto men once to die". That is the point of no
return; there is no further offer of the gospel and no further chance of
repentance after that. This is true for every individual. We see it also in
the history of man. At the moment of the Fall God determined that every descendant
of Adam would be involved in the matter of sin and that from that moment
onwards it would be impossible for man to return to God if left to his own
devices. A whole race was "dead in trespasses and sins". We can see it over
and over again in the matter of sin in our own lives. Sometimes God allows
us to go on with some sin, refusing to hear His calls to repentance, until
the time comes when He terminates the period of probation and allows us to
be hooked with this sinful habit. This, beloved friends, should warn us with
great solemnity to keep short accounts with God, living in a spirit of forsaking
sin and fleeing to Him in repentance, so that we should not suddenly find
the period of probation ended. What a tragedy even for those saved for all
eternity to have to go into God's presence having to face His inquisition
into a sin which we refused to abandon. He fixes the time when the period
of probation ends.
3. He presides purposefully over the whole process
"The Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh; for I have hardened his
heart and the [17/18] heart of his servants, in order
that I might show these My signs in the midst of them, and in order that
thou mayest tell them in the ears of thy sons and thy sons' sons what things
I wrought upon Egypt" (10:1-2). God holds the sinner in a state of impenitence
so that He may multiply before the sinner's eyes the grace and the glory
of God, heaping appeal upon appeal, until the sinner is granted the grace
of repentance or until the moment comes when that grace is withdrawn. In doing
this God displays His glory for His praise among His own people. It is all
done purposefully for the praise and the vindication of His majesty. This,
then, is the reason for the nine plagues, that through them God may demonstrate
that in the condemnation of the sinner He is of unimpeachable righteousness.
No accusing finger can be pointed at Him. Did He make His way known to them?
Yes! Did He give them every opportunity to repent and return? Yes! Why then
are they overthrown? Because they chose the way of condemnation. God vindicates
Himself in His judgment of the ungodly.
WHY THE PASSOVER?
Now we have to ask the second question: Why the Passover? It seems that
God had achieved what He set out to do by the tenth plague. "When that dire
plague falls" says God, "Pharaoh will let you go; he will indeed hasten your
departure" (11:1). If that great divine enterprise to liberate the people
was achieved by the tenth plague, why did they need the Passover? The tenth
plague was a deliberate act of God in final judgment. "Thus saith the Lord,
About midnight I will go out into the land of Egypt ..." (11:4). No waving
of the rod of God now. For the first time God takes judgment into His own
hands, saying "I will go out in judgment and that judgment will come upon
all alike". Importance will save nobody -- the first-born of Pharaoh will
die. Unimportance will excuse nobody -- "the firstborn of the maidservant
of the mill" (the lowest of the low) will also die. Divinity will be no protection
-- "all the first-born of the cattle" (even the sacred bulls of Apis and
the cows of Hathor) will be smitten. Yet in this context "the Lord doth put
a difference between the Egyptians and Israel" (11:7). This difference was
not exemption from judgment but deliverance by substitution.
Previously the Lord had made a difference as when there was darkness
over the whole land but "all the people of Israel had light in their dwellings".
That was a difference of mercy. Now, however, that the time has come for
the judgment of sin, He could not excuse the Israelites for they too were
sinners. When Moses came to them, they had also been rejectors of the word
and way of God. If, therefore, the Lord had simply drawn a line of demarcation
He would have been unrighteous, for however justly He condemned the sinners
on His left hand He would have been unjust if He had excused His sinful people
on His right. The difference this time must therefore not be a territorial
boundary, nor a national distinction based on ethnic difference or traditional
inheritance. It was in fact a difference between houses that were marked
with blood and houses that were not. This explains the necessity for the Passover.
God must be just as He saves the sinner, and that is why He made the strange
decree: "Take a lamb" (12:3). In the eyes of man this may seem a fantastic
irrelevance. What has a lamb to do with our bondage? What has the taking
of a lamb to do with the injustice and lack of privilege which our slavery
involves? The cry of the oppressed of all ages could rise with those oppressed
in the land of Egypt, asking: "What has the taking of a lamb to do with our
situation of desperate need?" The answer is that the Lamb is God's way out.
This is the fundamental provision; this is the only way of liberty and justice;
this is the only hope of a perfect society -- "Take a lamb".
This is God's way of being just and yet the justifier of him that believes.
He cannot excuse the sinner, but He can and does provide a perfect atonement
for him. In this connection there are four things which we may consider in
relation to the Passover.
1. THE LAMB
We read the instructions given to the Israelites in 12:3-6 and discover
various factors in the matter of this deliberately chosen lamb:
i. Number. The lamb was to be equal to the number as well as the
needs of God's people. There had to be a counting of heads. "A lamb according
to their fathers' houses; a lamb for a household". They were to act in families
in this matter. If, however, the household was too little for a lamb, then
the next neighbour would share in the lamb -- "according to the number of
the souls". The lamb must match the number of the people of God. If in any
given household the smallest lamb which could be selected was too
[18/19] much for them, then they were told to share with their
next door neighbours. The lamb must match God's people as to numbers.
ii. Needs. There also had to be a counting of capacity: "according
to every man's eating". The people of God were to be represented in this
lamb not only in their numbers but in their needs. God looks upon His people
in their totality and in their individuality, so that when it came to the
selection of a lamb the number and the need of each person had to be taken
into account. The lamb must match the number and the needs of the people of
iii. God's requirements. The lamb must also meet the requirements
of God Himself: "Your lamb must be perfect" (12:5). The Hebrew word is a
glorious affirmative. It means that before the discerning eye of God there
must be nothing that could cause offence. It seems a pity that so many translations
have turned it into a negative: "without blemish". The lamb must be perfect
in God's sight, so that it not only matches the number and the needs of the
people but matches the requirements of God Himself. There was to be no panic
or haphazard taking of a lamb, but a careful choice had to be made. "Don't
leave the matter until you need it," God said, "choose it now while you
have time on your hands, choose it deliberately and thoughtfully while you
weigh up all the issues. Examine it carefully and make certain that it is
perfect, and then keep it until the fourteenth day." This lamb, then, was
equal to the people of God, it was equal to the requirements of God and
it was reserved for His appointed day and hour.
2. THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB
The people were to take this lamb and kill it. Just like that -- kill
it! As they killed they were to take the evidence of death, blood. As the
blood flowed out from the knife wound they would say, Life is ebbing away,
life is being terminated in death. The scene was a dramatic one. They were
to catch that blood in a basin, and then they were to take that proof positive
that a death had taken place and paint it round the doors. On both the upper
door post and on the two side posts they were to paint this evidence, so that
all who looked at that house would say that it had been visited by death.
Each father of a family, with concern for his precious ones, would perform
this rite carefully, making sure that the evidence of death was seen round
his door and that all the family, the sons and daughters and the mother with
her baby in her arms, were safely inside beneath the shelter of that blood.
With regard to that blood:
i. God is satisfied (12:13). The blood satisfies God. It
does not say: "When I see you I will passover you", for that would be favouritism
and would bring the fair name of God into disrepute. What it does say is:
"I will go through the land of Egypt in that night and ... I will execute
judgments ... and when I see the blood, I will pass over you". They were
all in the presence of a sin-hating God who would only stay His judgments
where He saw that death had already taken place. "When I see the blood ...".
There was something in that blood which satisfied God. The first effect of
its evidence was toward God Himself and so mightily affected Him that His
wrath vanished and peace took its place. It was as if He said: "I am now satisfied
concerning you, and have no wrath left". When a wrathful God is reconciled
to the acceptance of a sinner like me, that is what is involved in the phrase:
"reconciling the world unto himself" (2 Corinthians 5:19). The other Bible
word which is used to express God's satisfaction is "propitiation". The precious
blood reaches up to God and propitiates Him, enabling Him righteously to
change His wrath into acceptance.
ii. God's people are made secure. This is the other side of the
same truth: "when he sees the blood upon the lintel and upon the two sideposts,
the Lord will pass over the door and will not suffer the destroyer to come
into your houses to smite you" (12:23). The destroyer could not touch the
people of God because God was satisfied concerning them. Note wherein their
security lay: "I will smite the Egyptians" says God, but He does not balance
that by saying that He would forgive the Israelites. Nationality had ceased
to matter. Ancestry had ceased to be of any account. Nothing now mattered
but that they had taken shelter in a place where the blood had been shed
and were so secure and free from harm that judgment was irrelevant to them.
With judgment all around the Israelites were not only secure, they were actually
feasting. This was the result of taking God at His word. God had told them
to slay the lamb. God had told them to collect the evidence and to paint
the door surround. God had told them to take shelter there. They had done
so at His word and by this simplicity of faith in His saving promises they
were secure from all harm. [19/20]
iii. Salvation is by substitution. We now come to the third great
word which explains the secret of the amazing efficacy of the shed blood.
It is Substitution. In these words there is the essence of our salvation:
Propitiation, Reconciliation and Substitution. We see the illustration of
it here in Exodus but this is in complete harmony with the New Testament,
even though we do not use a single New Testament reference. The Word of God
speaks with one voice. What God did for His people in Egypt is what He has
done always, right up to this moment, and that is to save the sinner by
one appointed to die in his place. Salvation can only be by substitution.
"Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and his servants, and all the Egyptians,
and there was a great cry in the land of Egypt, for there was not a house
where there was not one dead". Brothers and sisters, listen to that cry!
All over the land of Egypt there is a cry such as never was, for bereavement
had entered into house after house. But tune your ear sharply, for there is
another cry in the land of Egypt: there is the shout of them that triumph
and the song of them that feast. In their houses also there is one who is
dead, for the lamb has died in the houses of Israel. The people are safe because
death has taken place. There in every house, as dramatically and vividly
as in any Egyptian house, there is a corpse, there is the evidence of the
just judgment of God.
We may object that in the Egyptian houses the dreadful evidence of divine
judgment consisted in the death of but one person, the firstborn. Parity
of reasoning might suggest that the death of the lamb had only brought deliverance
to the firstborn in the houses of the Israelites also. What God had in mind
before the night came, though, is found in His words: "When thou goest back
into the land of Egypt, see that thou do before Pharaoh all the wonders which
I have put in thine hand. But I will harden his heart, and he will not let
the people go. And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel
is my firstborn". So while it is true that the lamb died for the firstborn,
what God had in view was His whole people as His firstborn. From this we
see how important it was to reckon the number and the needs of the people
of God. Every lamb had to be carefully and peculiarly chosen, for everyone
of the people of God was to be represented in it and substituted for by it.
The lamb dies for the people of God: salvation is by substitution.
3. THE FEAST OF THE LAMB
It was not only that the lamb's blood was to shelter God's people, but
also that its body was to provide a feast for them. In this connection there
are two important truths which we should note. The first comes right at
the end of the chapter: "In one house shall it be eaten. Thou shalt not
carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house" (12:46). The lamb
can only be enjoyed where the blood has been shed. This is of great significance.
The lamb is a feast only for those who are sheltering under the blood. There
is no other way in which men may participate in the blessings of the Lamb
of God than by the blood of His cross. The second truth is that where the
lamb is enjoyed, that lamb is a total sufficiency for God's people. It was
not only their heads which were numbered when the lamb was chosen, it was
also their appetites; all their needs were represented there. God's provision
was such that all the people who were safe because of the lamb's blood could
also come to feast on that same lamb, knowing that all their needs were provided
for in that sacrifice. In the feast upon the Lamb of God there is that which
fully satisfies the appetite of every saved sinner. No redeemed person is
sent away empty or hungry, for all feast upon the Lamb.
4. THE LIFE OF THE LAMB
Those who enjoyed this feast were to do so in a particular way: "Thus
shall ye eat it, with your loins girded, and your shoes on your feet, and
your staff in your hand, and ye shall eat it with urgency" (12:11). It was
a night feast, but they were dressed for morning: it was a night feast but
it was not a supper but a breakfast. They ate it in the night but they ate
it in preparation for the new day: it was not a preliminary to bed but a preliminary
to pilgrimage. As they partook of the feast they became committed to a pilgrimage.
They ate as those who were prepared for action; they ate as those who were
committed to go walking with God; they ate it as those upon whom there was
a constraint to begin at once. Their loins were girded for action, their
shoes and their staff were symbols of their pilgrimage, and the urgency and
haste of their manner of eating suggested that they were under constraint
to begin at once. The eating of the Lamb of God commits the people of God
to a certain way of life.
(To be continued) [20/ibc]
[Inside back cover]
INSPIRED PARENTHESES (11)
"(and was hindered hitherto)" (Romans 1:13)
THIS parenthesis occurs in one of those passages which Paul prefaced
with the phrase: "I would not have you ignorant ...". There are six such
passages in his writings and in each case he calls his readers "brethren".
Clearly, then, this whole matter was one of considerable importance.
It is also rather surprising, for it discloses that a man of God, and
an apostle at that, had purposes which were frustrated. He frankly confesses
that so far he had been hindered from visiting the church at Rome, and that
this had occurred many times. There are no excuses and no explanations; simply
the statement that he had often intended to make this journey, but had until
then been unable to make it.
In Corinth there had not been lacking those who charged Paul with being
carnal and inconsistent because he did not visit them as he had intended.
He denied the charge, explaining that he had been obliged to change his plans
for their good (2 Corinthians 1:23). There was no such reason for his failing
to go to Rome. He had wanted to go. He had planned to go. But he had been
prevented from so doing.
WE know the whole story now. We can read how the apostle found himself
in a quandary owing to the bitter and murderous hostility of the Jewish
leaders and the cowardice of their Roman Governor and was forced to fall
back on his last prerogative of Roman citizenship. He appealed to Caesar,
and was shipped off to Rome as an imperial prisoner. It was a hazardous journey
and at one time seemed doomed to end in tragedy, but the faithfulness of
God and the faith of His servant brought him through to the moment when Luke
could report: "and so we came to Rome" (Acts 28:14).
Thus it was that God's marvellous overruling providence used the Roman
authorities to take His servant to their city, even though he went as a
prisoner. The fact that Paul did go to Rome, as he had wished, suggests
that the hindrances had been permitted of God simply because it had not
yet been God's time for him to go there. Whatever human and satanic hindrances
had kept him from going earlier, they had all been subservient to divine
sovereignty. In other words the final decision as to the hindering or prospering
of God's servants is made by God Himself.
IN his prayers Paul made constant requests to the Lord that at length
he might be prospered in this purposes (v.10). Even an apostle could not
govern circumstances, nor force doors to open before God's time. Paul had
to pray and humbly wait for divine intervention, and to have a will in harmony
with the perfect will of God. Such a man does not need to apologise for delays.
He can cheerfully wait for God's moment, being assured that when that moment
comes neither man nor devil can prevent his going where God wants him to
So often it is a matter of patience. Paul did not dejectedly complain
about the hindrances which had frustrated his hopes, but significantly inserted
the word: "hitherto", so revealing his expectations that the time would come
when God would speak the word of release. So he prayed on, as we must do
in similar circumstances, and he found that in due course he did go to the
capital. His prayers were answered in a strange way. He could never have imagined
what would be the circumstances of his going to Rome. It is so often impossible
for us to foresee just how God will answer our prayers, and this is just
as well, for we might be tempted to stop praying about that particular matter.
For those who look back on the whole story, as we can do in the case of Paul's
going to Rome, it is tremendously encouraging to know that prayer was answered
in God's good time. There can be no real "hindrance" when God is on the move.
"GOD IS ABLE TO MAKE ALL GRACE ABOUND UNTO YOU;
THAT YE, HAVING ALWAYS ALL SUFFICIENCY IN EVERYTHING,
MAY ABOUND UNTO EVERY GOOD WORK."
2 Corinthians 9:8
Printed by The Invil Press, 4/5 Brownlow Mews, London
WC1N 2LD -- Telephone: 01-242 7454