,
PURE GRATITUDE 02/05/2011
 

 
“Pray without ceasing.  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you.  Quench not the Spirit.” 1TH 5:17-19.
 
Praying without ceasing and giving thanks in everything cannot be separated. 
The Lord ties them together in His Holy Word.  We must “by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God,” PHI
4:6.
 
As we see sin abounding in the nation and world, we have all the more reason to
exclaim, “Pray without ceasing,” because it is only by God’s mercy that we are
what we are.  Mercy is one-sided love.  God shows us love in exchange for our
hardness, ingratitude, obstinacy, and rebellion.  To “pray without ceasing”
means we must pray for mercy, or undeserved favor.  If we realize that we are
what we are only by God’s mercy and one-sided love, then we will be truly
thankful. 

 
If I give someone a paycheck after they’ve worked all week, they might say,
“Thank you,” as a courtesy, but they will not feel the same degree of gratitude
as someone who receives a check who has not earned it.  In the same way, we have
sinned against God from Paradise to this very moment.  We deserve eternal
destruction, but the Lord condescends to us with such love and mercy and
abundantly bestows upon us health, strength, and the comforts of life.  We also
have His Holy Word, which proclaims the way of salvation: “Turn ye; turn ye. 
Why will you die and not live?  Why will you not turn from your evil ways?”  Why
do we trample upon all His blessings?  Why do we still turn away from the Lord? 
By nature, we have no place for Him in our hearts.  We see His one-sided love
and feel true gratitude when we realize what we deserve.
 
“Quench not the Spirit.”  If the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin (that which is
displeasing to the Lord), we must not quench it.  We are to fall on our faces
before the Lord and confess that sin and ask the Lord to forgive us.
 
God’s ways are so much higher than our ways.  He sends the warmth of the sun to
cause nature to flourish, but He also uses the sun to scorch the land in
judgment.  Out of the same cup, the Lord pours forth His judgment and His
blessing.  The Lord remembers us and we must not forget the admonition of sons:
that those “whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth,” ROM 12:6.  The Lord puts His
finger upon us and draws us to Him as a token of His love.  In AMO 4:7 it says,
“And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months
to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain
upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained
not withered.”   

 
In JER 3:1-3 we read, “They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from
him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that
land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet
return again to me, saith the LORD.  Lift up thine eyes unto the high places,
and see where thou hast not been lien with.  In the ways hast thou sat for them,
as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy
whoredoms and with thy wickedness.  Therefore the showers have been withholden,
and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou
refusedst to be ashamed.” 

 
When we were living on a farm, the Lord laid that Scripture on my heart when the
rain had been withheld and the crops were drying up.  I read that carefully and
thought, “I have not been unfaithful to my wife or done any of these other
things,” but I could see great sin in the community and nation.  I could
certainly say that the Lord was just in withholding the rain, but I struggled
with it for a couple of weeks.  Then I read again in verses 13-14, “Only
acknowledgethine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God,
and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have
not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.”  Sometimes we can see the sin of the
nation and community, but the Lord wants us to acknowledge our own iniquity. 
Where had I transgressed?  The Lord showed me in verse 14: “Turn, O backsliding
children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of
a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.”  The Lord was
charging me with spiritual adultery: my heart had become so set on a big crop,
on the things of the world, that it was because of my sin that the Lord had
withheld the rain.  It becomes personal.  The Lord reproved me and showed me how
He loved me in Christ: “I am married unto you.”  We do not have to look far to
find out why the Lord withholds His blessings.  We can look closer to home. 

 
God blesses the springing grain with gentle showers; He sends “the former and
the latter” rain.  We read in JER 5:23-25, “But this people hath a revolting and
a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.  Neither say they in their
heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and
the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the
harvest.  Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have
withholden good things from you.”  The Lord bestows upon us the richness of His
blessings, heaping coals of love upon our heads.  To refine metal, you put coals
underneath and above to melt the metal.  When the Lord comes with His love and
says that He is married to us, it melts our hearts.  He showed me that He loves
me, but I had spotted my wedding garments.  In His love, He put His finger upon
me.  Does His bounty and love melt our hearts?  Does it take away the rubbish
and the dross and cause our hearts to be melted before the Lord?  Does the Lord
have first place in our hearts?  “Your iniquities have turned away these things,
and your sins have withholden good things from you.”  The Lord withholds His
blessings because of our iniquities.
 
God also uses rain as a judgment by sending it in the time of harvest to show
His displeasure.  We read in 1-SA 12:17-18, “Is it not wheat harvest to day? I
will call unto the LORD, and he shall send thunder and rain [which at harvest
time destroys crops]; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is
great, which ye have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking you a king.  So
Samuel called unto the LORD; and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day: and
all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel.”  This year has been a
bountiful year.  The Lord has not sent rain at harvest time.  He has granted a
good crop and so many blessings, but may it please the Lord now to use these
blessings to melt our hearts and show us that we have forfeited all.  Then we
will feel pure gratitude for undeserved mercies.

 
It is so sad that we, by nature, overlook God’s hand of providence in the things
that pertain to our daily lives.  There are so many ways that the Lord, in His
providence, spares, blesses and provides for us.  By nature, our hearts only
grow proud and we turn away from the Lord’s blessings.  Many times His blessings
become a judgment on us. 

 
Our text does not teach a legalistic gratitude, but prayerful humility before a
merciful God.  Our hearts must come before the Lord in true submission.  Our
text says, “Pray without ceasing.”  We should come to the Lord and confess our
guilt.  We should confess that we deserve nothing.  “In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  Not only do we
return to the Lord with gratitude for His benefits, but we also return unto the
Lord in Christ Jesus, in thankfulness to the Lord for what Christ has
performed.  1PE 2 says that if you suffer for doing wrong, it is no glory, but
if you suffer wrongfully and take it patiently, it is well pleasing to God.  If
we realize that it is only in the precious blood of Christ, shed for our sins,
that God can have mercy on us, then we will be truly thankful in Christ.
 
Verse 19 says, “Quench not the Spirit.”  When the Holy Spirit convicts us of our
foolishness, pride, and sin, then we should not push Him away, but thank the
Lord for being such a loving Father that He sends His Spirit to show us our sin.
 
There can be a natural gratitude for benefits, which ends in the gift itself,
for such things as prosperity or deliverance from trials, sickness, and other
circumstances of life.  Such gratitude still ends where it should begin. It
never leads the soul unto Christ as Benefactor or Saviour.  Salvation includes
much more than just saving the soul for eternity.  Salvation is a state in which
we must live.  Salvation is seen in the necessities of life as well as in the
salvation of the soul.  Our text says, “Pray without ceasing. In every thing
give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  We
give thanks for the benefits that God has bestowed on us because it is only in
Christ Jesus that these benefits are given.
 
True gratitude flows from a humble sense of God’s salvation in Christ.  Christ
must be the center of our gratitude if it is to be pleasing to the Lord.  Pure
gratitude flows from a fountain of unworthiness and humility and acknowledges
Christ as the Benefactor.  We receive every blessing in Christ.  He is the King
of providence and the King of kings.  Only in Christ is there any benefit for
hell-deserving sinners.
 
Pure gratitude flows from a broken and a contrite heart in submission and unity
with God’s will.  PSA 34:15 tells us, “The eyes of the LORD are upon the
righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.”  What does righteous mean? 
Many Scriptures talk about the wicked and the righteous, of the godly and the
ungodly.  The godly are those who practice the first table of the law: to love
God with our heart, soul, and mind.  The righteous are those who practice the
second table of the law: a right attitude towards our fellow man.  It is time we
understood the golden rule.  We ask to be forgiven of our sins as we forgive
those who sin against us.  We are asking for no more forgiveness than what we
offer.  So if you come before the Lord and ask for mercy, remember that those
who show no mercy will receive no mercy and “mercy rejoiceth against judgment,”
JAM 2:13.  The Lord looks upon those who have a right attitude toward their
fellow man “and his ears are open unto their cry.  The face of the LORD is
against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth,”
PSA 43:15-16.  Do you see the contrast? 

 
The righteous have a right attitude towards their neighbor; they do unto others
as they would that others do unto them.  The Lord has His face against those who
do evil.  In Verse 17 we read, “The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and
delivereth them out of all their troubles.”  If you show mercy, you will obtain
mercy.  If you are generous and loving in your judgment of your fellow man, the
Lord will be generous in His judgment of you.  This is thankworthy.  If you
suffer wrongfully and take it patiently, it is well pleasing to the Lord.  Verse
18 says, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such
as be of a contrite spirit.”  To be contrite is to be totally, unconditionally
surrendered to the will of God.
 
Pure gratitude ends in Christ as the benefactor for all our blessings both
temporal and spiritual.  We must be grateful for our everyday, providential
blessings with the same gratitude we have for the salvation of our souls.  Fifty
different denominations might have fifty different formulas of what constitutes
salvation, but the Scriptures tell us what constitutes salvation.  Being saved
is a process of having our wills dissolved in the will of God and being
reconciled to God.   .

 
Salvation constitutes deliverance from spiritual and temporal trials.  David
rejoiced with pure gratitude over deliverance from spiritual trials in PSA
116:7-12; “Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully
with thee.  For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears,
and my feet from falling.  I will walk before the LORD in the land of the
living.  I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted: I said in
my haste, All men are liars.  What shall I render unto the LORD for all his
benefits toward me?” 

 
David praised the Lord for his spiritual benefits, but he also cried out unto
God to be saved from natural enemies.  That was his salvation also, because the
Lord looked after his natural needs as well as his spiritual needs.  In PSA
69:2-4, he said, “I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come
into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.  I am weary of my crying: my
throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.  They that hate me
without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy
me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took
not away.”  David cried out to the Lord for salvation in natural things, for the
Lord to save him from his enemies.  David proclaimed his gratitude for God’s
salvation in temporal trials, as we read in PSA 69:28-30; “Let them be blotted
out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.  But I am
poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.  I will praise
the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.”  He
attributes deliverance from temporal calamities to the salvation of God. 

 
Christ is the King of providence, and every benefit we receive is from the hand
of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Anything we receive on this side of hell is a benefit
in Christ.  In order to observe the intent of our text, “In every thing give
thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you,” we must see
how Christ is the Ruler of all providence.  Every little incident in our lives
is under the control of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He rules and directs these
things.  EPH 1:19-22 says, “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to
us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he
wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own
right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and
might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but
also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave
him to be the head over all things to the church.”  Salvation is from Christ, in
His position of greatness and power, to us who believe.  The Lord Jesus Christ
is the Supreme Ruler of all things, which includes providence.  .
 
To understand what our text means in Verse 19, “Quench not the Spirit,” we must
understand how God the Father is glorified by obedience.  When the Holy Spirit
convinces us of sin, righteousness, and judgment and we resist and ignore His
call and force our way forward in our sinful ways, then we are quenching the
Spirit and the Lord will remove His blessing.  The Lord is so pleased with
obedience.  Obedience is salvation.  When we are delivered from rebellion and
sin, we are saved.  We read in PHI 2:8-12, “And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the
cross.  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which
is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things
in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every
tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the
Father.  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence
only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and
trembling.”
 
We have heard that we are saved by the blood of Christ, but it goes far beyond
that.  The blood of Christ was shed as an act of obedience.  The blood of Christ
appeased the wrath of the Father.  The Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself and
became obedient unto death: “I lay down my life…No man taketh it from me…This
commandment have I received of my Father,” JOH 10:17-18.  Because of that
obedience, God exalted Him and gave “him a name which is above every name: That
at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in
earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” 

 
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only,
but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and
trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his
good pleasure.” PHI 2:12-13. Fear is a holy reverence for God, not a slavish
fear.  As we look to Christ as the Author of our salvation, and we see how
pleased the Father is by obedience, we will work out our salvation with holy
reverence for the will of God, trembling at His Word.
 
Pure gratitude flows from a fountain of love.  In JOH 15:10 we read, “If ye keep
my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s
commandments, and abide in his love.”  The Lord Jesus Christ draws a parallel
between our salvation and our obeying Him out of love, even as He obeyed the
Father out of love.  He wants us to keep His commandments.  What does it mean to
keep His commandments?  He is speaking of the law of love, that we love God
above all with our hearts, souls, and minds, and that we love our neighbor as
ourselves because in this is the whole law.  We shall abide in His love if we
keep His commandments.
 
We need to see how great Christ’s salvation is in the way of providence. 
Salvation is not something that we receive after death.  Salvation begins in
this life.  Salvation is day to day and is seen in the providence of God.  In
EXO 33:19 we read, “And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee,
and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to
whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.”  When
He causes all His goodness to pass before us, we will see His salvation in
day-to-day things and that therein He has ruled all things according to His
will. 

 
I experienced His providence when we were moving.  We had taken our ping-pong
table apart and I started to carry the big 4x8 foot panel downstairs.  I had the
stair door open and saw one of my grandchildren sitting at the very bottom of
the stairs, playing with a toy.  I thought I could slide the board past her on
the side, so it never entered my mind to ask her to move, but as I set the board
on the steps for a moment, it slipped out of my hands.  That heavy board with
sharp metal corners was headed for the very spot where she had been sitting at
the foot of the steps, but in God’s providence, she had dropped her toy and had
stood up just then to retrieve it.  The board ripped a hole in the carpet in the
exact spot where she had been sitting.  You and I may not realize to what extent
God directs and controls everything, but He spared my granddaughter’s life by
causing a little toy to fall out of her hand so she would get up just at the
right moment.  How often we might be on the verge of eternity, but in a
split-second, as the Lord directs, He spares our lives!

 
Let us pause a moment and ponder how, in a split-second, the Lord could have
taken our lives, but in His providence He made a provision to keep us here.  How
thankful we should be to the Lord for the ways He has spared us by the
providence of His hands. .

 
The Lord told Moses in EXO 33:20-23, “Thou canst not see my face: for there
shall no man see me, and live.  And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by
me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory
passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee
with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see
my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.”  The place of safety is upon the
rock.  Gratitude must begin and end in Christ.  The “clift of the rock” is the
crucified side of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Outside of Christ we have no place of
refuge.  How many times has the Lord helped us, spared us, and blessed us?  Our
text says, “Quench not the Spirit.”  The Lord is longsuffering, but He will not
be mocked; we must not turn our backs upon the Lord because it is only by His
mercy that we are yet what we are.
 
As we learn to see the love of Christ in His hand of providence, we shall
understand the meaning of ROM 2:4; “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness
and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth
thee to repentance?”  God sent His own Son, who sweat blood in the Garden of
Gethsemane, struggling under the wrath of God upon our sin, and hung upon the
cross, writing our names on His wounded hands.  If that does not melt our hearts
in subjection to Christ, then certainly no thundering of the law, hell, or
damnation will ever shake us.  If the burning coals of His love, heaped upon our
heads, do not melt our hearts and draw us unto Him, then nothing will bring us
in, and we will be hardened infidels before the Lord.
 
Pure gratitude cannot be separated from true repentance.  We cannot say, “Thank
you,” in an acceptable way to the Lord if our hearts continue in sin, and we
continue to walk against the way of the Lord.  We cannot separate the two.
 
The Psalmist recounted all God’s blessings in providence as he exclaimed his
gratitude in PSA 105:1-5; “O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make
known his deeds among the people.  Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye
of all his wondrous works.  Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them
rejoice that seek the LORD.  Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face
evermore.  Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the
judgments of his mouth.”  What marvelous works?  He remembered how the Lord had
delivered him in his struggles, trials, and dangers.  We must remember His
wonderful works and all the goodness of God that He causes to pass before us. 
We must also remember His judgment, and how He withholds the rain out of love. 
We must remember that the Lord will put His finger upon us out of love because
He wants our attention.  He wants our hearts to bow under His love and turn unto
Him.
 
Our text says,  “Pray without ceasing.”  Our hearts must be right before the
Lord.  Prayer and thanksgiving cannot be separated.  The Lord is not pleased
with a natural gratitude that ends in the gift.  The Lord is only pleased with
gratitude that ends in Christ.  That gratitude must end in looking to Him as the
Benefactor and the One who purchased our benefits. 

 
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus
concerning you.  Quench not the Spirit.”  How often we are all guilty of that. 
So often we allow our hearts to be filled with the things of this time and
place.  Our hearts are so filled with the achievements that we have in this
life, which results in quenching the Spirit.  That is why we must pray without
ceasing that the Lord will give us His Spirit in rich measure, preserve us from
quenching His Spirit, and give us a heart of contrition and true gratitude to
come unto Him with thanksgiving that is acceptable before Him.  We have so many
things today to be thankful for.  The Lord has blessed us beyond measure, but
the goodness of God should lead us to repentance.  It should lead us to a change
of attitude and a change of mind.  It should lead us back unto the Lord with the
gratitude that is due unto His name.
 
Amen.
 
When Jesus undertook
To rescue ruined man,
The realms of bliss forsook
And to relieve us ran;
He spared no pains, declined no load,
Resolved to buy us with His blood.
 
No harsh commands He gave,
No hard conditions brought;
He came to seek and save,
And pardon every fault.
Poor trembling sinners hear His call;
They come, and He forgives them all.
 
When thus we’re reconciled,
He sets no rigorous tasks;
His yoke is soft and mild,
For love is all He asks,
E’en THAT from Him we first receive,
And well He knows we’ve none to give.
 
This pure and heavenly gift,
Within our hearts to move,
The dying Saviour left
These tokens of His love;
Which seem to say, “While this you do,
Remember Him that died for you.”
Gadsby selection, 1838

 
 

 
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the
inheritance of the saints in light (Colossians 1:12). 

 
As the result of the fall, man is not fit for the inheritance our heavenly
Father has prepared for the saints in light.
 
I want you to take notice of verse 13: “Who hath delivered us from the power of
darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”

 
There is no middle ground. We cannot serve God a little and the world a little.
We are either serving the flesh or we are serving the Lord.

 
Romans 1:25-26 says: “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped
and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did
change the natural use into that which is against nature.”
 
When we serve the creature rather than the Creator then we are left over to the
power of darkness.

 
I read an article this morning that so touched my heart. We have legislators who
have prepared legislation to not only legalize homosexuality but to actually
make it a violation of civil rights, meaning it could be charged as a felony, if
you do anything against them. One pledged to close every church that opposes
their thinking, and that they would prove that there is no such thing as a God
except for those men who support that thinking. We have a man running for
president who condones this legislation. We are living in scary times. Those
people have been delivered over to the power of darkness.
 
We cannot serve two masters. If we are going to serve the things of this life,
sin and Satan, we are not translated into the kingdom of His dear Son. The
indelible mark of Christianity is: Who do we serve?
 
See what we read in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Know ye not that the unrighteous
shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor
idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with
mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor
extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” 

 
This is who we are by nature. By nature our pride will rise up against the
throne of Christ.

 
What a blessing we read of in verse 11: “And such were some of you: but ye are
washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord
Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
 
Some have been washed, and some have been left over to the power of darkness.
 
In our text, the Apostle Paul is speaking of “giving thanks unto the Father,
which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in
light.”
 
We have to made properly prepared. This word meet is taken from the Greek word
hikanoo (hik-an-o-o), which means “to qualify, to enable, to be worthy, or fit
in character.”
 
The Father has made us to qualify. He has given us the qualification. He has
given us a new heart. He has given us a new attitude. He has made us a new man.
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and service to the kingdom of
darkness, and He has brought us into the kingdom of His dear Son. He has
translated us out of that kingdom of darkness and brought us to where it is our
heart’s desire to serve the kingdom of His Son. It is a matter of who you serve.
 
The Apostle Paul tells us why our character, our attitude, our disposition, must
become converted in Colossians 1:21: “And you, that were sometime alienated and
enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.” We have to be
transformed from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His Son. He has made
us acceptable in character. He has made a new man out of us. Our hearts now
become reconciled to the will of God. 

 
The verses preceding our text tell us what the apostle saw in the character of
the saints in the church at Colosse, which made him exclaim the words of our
text, “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of
the

inheritance of the saints in light.”
 
What did he see in them that caused him to exclaim this gratitude to God? We see
this in Colossians 1:7-8: “As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear
fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; Who also declared
unto us your  love in the Spirit,” that is in the mind of Christ.
 
Where are your affections? What is your desire? What is the center of your love?
This faithful servant Epaphras saw in the church at Colosse that Spirit of
Christ, that Spirit of love, that Spirit of the mind of Christ.
 
This Spirit or mind of Christ is exemplified in Philippians 2:3-5: “Let nothing
be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem
other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every
man also on

the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” 

 
Where there is strife, the Spirit is quenched. In the original, the word mind or
attitude is basically the same word as Spirit. In the original, the word spirit
means a mental disposition. Where are our affections? Where are our priorities?
 
This Spirit of Christ in the church at Colosse excited the apostle’s heart to
cry unto the Lord that they might receive the knowledge of God’s will. The
Apostle Paul recognized the love of Christ in the heart. He recognized that
right Spirit, that right attitude, but he also recognized their ignorance of the
will of God.

 
If we are going to be translated into the kingdom of His dear Son, the essential
thing is that we know the will of God. The Lord says, My people are lost for a
lack of knowledge. They do not know what His will is.
 
The Apostle Paul cries out to the Lord that they might have the knowledge of His
will. He is talking about those who have the Spirit of Christ. He is not talking
about the world. Watch what we see in Colossians 1:8-9: “Who also declared unto
us your love in the Spirit. For this cause we also, since the day we heard it,
do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the
knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”
 
What is the beginning of wisdom? The fear of the Lord. What is the fear of the
Lord? To hate evil. He is asking for all wisdom, in other words, for a true
godly fear, and spiritual understanding.

 
We can say, We believe, and if you talk to 50 people, you may find 50 different
I believes, and I do not care what you believe. All I want to know is what does
the Word of God say?
 
I talked to a young family last week coming out of the Catholic church. They
said they had begun to see that the church has so much ritual, and they do not
really teach the Bible. This is what we must sort out in every church and in our
own hearts. How much of my religion is God-centered and centered in the Word of
God?
 
How can we be translated into the kingdom of His dear Son and serve the Lord
Jesus Christ and not have a full knowledge of His will? That becomes the prayer
of every God-sent servant—that the people might be enlightened with the will of
God and all spiritual understanding.
 
God’s Word so clearly teaches that this is how we sort out His true servants and
those who are hirelings. Do they teach the will of God or are they teaching what
they believe? Some call themselves pastors but condone homosexuality from the
pulpit. They believe this but it is not what the Word of God says.
 
I just read to you about it in 1 Corinthians 6:9, where it talks about
adulterers and the effeminate and the abusers of themselves with mankind not
inheriting the kingdom of God. Effeminate and abusers of themselves with mankind
means homosexuality. The Word of God is explicit on this, and yet there are
those who will stand in the pulpit and say, I believe we have to recognize that
they are normal, and we have to recognize their rights. They are not preaching
the Word of God. This is an extreme example, but how close do we have to bring
this to home? We have to sort out our own teaching and our own thinking and our
own beliefs and our own understanding. We must know what is taught by the Word
of God, and we must be able and willing to put everything else up on the shelf
and leave it there.
 
I want you to see what Jeremiah 23:21-22 teaches about false prophets: “I have
not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they
prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to
hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from
the evil of their doings.”
 
How do we distinguish between those who are truly sent by the Lord and those who
are false prophets? If they were preaching according to the Word of God, if they
were causing people to be translated into the kingdom of His dear Son, then they
would be preparing them to become inheritors of the kingdom and inheritance of
light.
 
How can we come to the light if our deeds are evil? Every one of us should have
no greater joy than to be able to come to the light and to have our hearts
revealed and to see if there is a wicked way within us that it might be
revealed, that we might repent of it and turn from it. 

 
The Apostle Paul equates our faith in the Lord Jesus with our love for the
brethren, which excites his prayers for wisdom, which begins with the fear of
the Lord. Look what we read in Ephesians 1:15-17: “Wherefore I also, after I
heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not
to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our
Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom
and revelation in the knowledge of him.”

 
He is talking about the church at Ephesus, where he sees that the love of the
brethren and their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ was recognized. The yearning
desire of a true-sent minister of the gospel is that the people might come to a
better and more complete knowledge of the will of God. This is the process the
Father is using to make us meet, to make us fit, to make our character right for
being in the inheritance with the saints in light. This means that nothing is
hidden. We become totally transparent before the will of God, and every thought
and intent of our hearts is laid bare and naked before the Lord.
 
As we are made “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,”
we are redeemed from all iniquity and given to abound in all wisdom, that is,
the fear of the Lord through the knowledge of His will.

 
In Ephesians 1:7-9 we read: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the
forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath
abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the
mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in
himself.”
 
The greatest blessing you and I can ever have in this life is to be growing in
the knowledge of His will—to grow in that knowledge, to abound, meaning to break
forth, to spread out. We desire to know His will and to have our hearts revealed
in the light of His Holy Word.
 
The apostle goes on to show us why the Father fills us with wisdom, that is, the
fear of the Lord, and the knowledge of His will to “make us meet to be partakers
of the inheritance of the saints in light.” I want you to see this in Colossians
1:10: “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful
in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” 

 
This is what it means to be made meet, to be made worthy, to be made a partaker
of the inheritance of the saints in light. This is how we become prepared. This
is how the Lord works His grace in the soul. It is a progressive thing. It is
growing in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and as we grow in this
knowledge we grow in the knowledge of the sinfulness of sin. We grow in the
knowledge of the corruption of our own evil hearts, and we have more and more of
a heart that is tender in the fear of God. Our hearts become increasingly tender
for anything that could offend the Lord. We have to walk worthy of the Lord.
 
This preparation for the inheritance of the saints in light begins while we are
still in our sins, and increases in the way of sanctification by “increasing in
the knowledge of God” and His will. As the Lord begins working His grace in our
hearts, He begins this progressive work of sanctification while we are still in
sin. We increase, we grow, we go from being spiritual infants and we grow into
spiritual maturity. As we are growing in the knowledge of His will, we continue
to find sins in our hearts that are bosom sins that before we had never thought
were sin. Now the Lord brings it to light, and He opens our understanding, and
we begin to realize that that is a grievous sin, something we have lived in all
our lives, and never thought it to be sin.

 
That is where David cried out, O Lord, the sins of my youth remember not. In
other words, when I was a spiritual child and living in various sins. I am
increasing in the knowledge of the Lord, and it is brought to my mind that these
are grievous sins against the Lord. As we look back it grieves us that all these
years we have lived in those sins.
 
We see this in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-3: “Furthermore then we beseech you,
brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how
ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye
know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of
God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.”
 
I want you to see that we are going to become spiritually mature. We will abound
and grow and increase as we grow in spiritual knowledge, how we should walk, and
how we must please God. Now we become more fruitful. We are to grow in holiness,
in separating ourselves from the things of this life and from the things of the
flesh. We are to grow and to abound in sanctification and to abstain from all
spiritual adultery, from anything our hearts desire that gets between us and the
Lord.

 
Being made ready for the inheritance of the saints in light is through a godly
desire and a delight in doing His will by the exercise of saving faith. I can
have all kinds of faith. I can have faith to move mountains, but if I do not put
it into exercise it is dead and without works. It is by the exercise of saving
faith. It is by doing His will that we see, that we grow.

 
In Hebrews 13:20-21 we read: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the
dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the
everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to
whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
 
That word perfect in the original means to be delivered from conniving, to be
delivered from underhanded cheating, from double-talking, to make it so we come
to the truth. It is to be delivered from the power of sin. 

 
The apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ exhorted the church to obedience to the
will of God with all longsuffering and patience, because that is how the Father
makes “us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”

 
It is so important that we understand these exhortations of the apostles to the
churches.
 
I want you to see in 2 Peter 1:11: “For so an entrance shall be ministered unto
you

abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
 
Is there anything more important to understand than this? It is by the exercise
of saving faith as we see in the previous verses. What is it if you do these
things you shall never be barren in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ? It
all centers on the second commandment: loving your brother as yourself. 

 
Continuing in verse 12 the Apostle Peter says, “Wherefore I will not be
negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them,
and be established in the present truth.” 

 
He had told them before and knew that they knew it, but he wanted them to
remember.
 
He said in verses 13 to 15: “Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this
tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I
must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these
things always in remembrance.”
 
He is saying, Never forget how that entrance is ministered to you into the
everlasting kingdom by the exercise of saving faith, by doing what you know is
right. 

 
This was the heart’s desire of Paul as we can see from his loving exhortation in
Hebrews 13:22: “And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for
I have written a letter unto you in few words.” Do not become angry because I am
being faithful to you.
 
I was talking to a pastor in another church here a few months ago, and I
commended him after the service for his faithfulness of exhortation. I commended
him about what a tremendous responsibility we have and how faithful he was
exhorting his people against sin. He replied, But I am not sure I will be here
anymore next week.
 
Even the faithful of God, when you touch on their bosom sins, you have ignited a
fuse. Look how faithfully the apostles exhorted the people, and look how
essential it is to exhort. 

 
The verses after our text tell us what it is to become meet, that is, fit in
character, “to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” We read
in Colossians 1:13-14: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and
hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption
through his blood, even the

forgiveness of sins.”
 
All of our pardon, and all of our forgiveness of sin, is centered in being
transformed into that kingdom. This does not mean for eternity alone. That means
in this life too. If we do not enter the kingdom in this life, we will not enter
it after this life. If we have not learned to know what it is to serve the Lord
and to have a heart tender in the fear of God for His will in this life, we will
never enter it hereafter.
 
This kingdom of His dear Son is the kingdom of light. It is that inheritance. We
read in Revelation 21:22-23: “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God
Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun,
neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and
the Lamb is the light thereof.”
 
We have to be prepared to be able to dwell in the light, because Christ is the
light. He is the light of heaven. 

 
Our Saviour has told us plainly how the light separates those who have been made
fit in character by coming to the light in this life, and those who are still
living in the kingdom of darkness. We see this in John 3:20-21: “For every one
that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds
should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds
may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
 
Many of God’s dear children have been quickened while they were still in sin,
but now the process of preparing to be inheritors of the kingdom of light means
that in this life we come to the light that our deeds might be made manifest so
we can repent of them and turn from them, that we might become prepared. That is
what our text is talking about: He made us meet to be partakers. He prepared us
for the ability to dwell in the light.

 
Do we think we can come into the light, but hate the light because our hearts
are evil? No. That is what this work of sanctification is for. It is to cleanse
us from evil. Our deeds are to be wrought of God. They are to be according to
His will, in other words that we have entered the kingdom of His dear Son. We
have been translated. We have been transformed. We no longer walk under the
kingdom of darkness. This is how He makes us ready, which means to be prepared
now to live in the light of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 
Those who are blessed to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light
must be made “meet,” that is “to qualify, to be enabled, to be worthy, or fit in
character,” because they will spend eternity walking in the light. How are you
and I going to stand eternally before the light and have every thought and
intent of our hearts clearly manifest before God and walk in it if we shun the
light in this life.
 
Watch what it says in Revelation 21:24-25: “And the nations of them which are
saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their
glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day:
for there shall be no night there.” 

 
I do not see how the Scriptures could be more clear. It is an eternal light.
There are no shaded areas. There are no gray areas.

 
Continuing in verses 26 and 27 we read: “And they shall bring the glory and
honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any
thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie:
but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
 
That corruption and that defilement of the heart must be purged and cleansed in
this life. This is what the Father is doing to make us meet. He is working in us
that work of sanctification. He is bringing us to the light in this life. When
the light is shined on us does the pastor have to worry that next week no one
will be in church like the pastor I mentioned earlier told me, or do they come
to the light that their deeds might be made manifest that they are wrought in
God.
 
Everyone who has become “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints
in light” will come to the full realization of the power of the light in this
life. I will show you where we find the power of that light in the Word of God.
It is in Hebrews 4:12-13: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and
sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul
and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and
intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his
sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we
have to do.”
 
Every evil thought that goes through our mind is open and naked before the Word
of God, and the Word is the Lord Jesus Christ.

 
This is what heaven will be—to walk in the light. It is going to be to walk
where every thought and every intent of our own imaginations will be naked and
open before the Lord.

 
Where is our walk? Do we hate the light because our deeds are evil, or do we
love the light and come to the light that our deeds might be made manifest so if
there is any evil way in us we can repent of it, so we can cleanse it, so we can
pray for the Lord to deliver us from it.
 
Oh beloved, what a day of horror it will be for those heaven-seekers whom the
Father has never made “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in
light.” Millions and millions are heaven-seekers. They want to go to heaven to
escape hell, but they have no desire to have a renewed heart. They have no
desire to walk in the fear of the Lord. They have no desire to come to the
light. They have never been made fit in character.
 
I want to show you what Revelation 6:15-16 tells us of those people: “And the
kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains,
and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the
dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks,
Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and
from the wrath of the Lamb.” 

 
The light came on and they could not come before the light because every thought
and intent of the heart is naked and open before Him. They are heaven-seekers,
and they come to the gate of heaven, and the light comes on. All of a sudden
they see the wretchedness of their hearts that they have never been cleansed
from. The light was their condemnation and they fled the light. They did not
want their hearts revealed. The Lamb was so angry because they never loved Him.
They never were translated into His kingdom. They had never served Him in this
life.
 
Those who have been made “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints
in light” have learned to know what it is to come to the light in this lifetime.
They want to come to the light of the Word. They want their sins revealed. They
want their sins to be made manifest so they can turn from them, so they can
repent of them, so they can have them forgiven.
 
In John 3:21 we read: “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his
deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
 
If we have a truly regenerated heart, then we want to come to the light that our
deeds might be made manifest that they are wrought in God. 

 
Their heart’s desire is that of David, which we find recorded in Psalm 26:1-2:
“Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in
the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my
reins and my heart.”
 
This is the cry of a regenerate soul. We want the light to shine in our hearts.
We want to know wherein we walk offensively to the Lord. We want to know that
which is not right in His eyes. 

 
Continuing in verse 3 David said: “For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes:
and I have walked in thy truth.”
 
Those who love truth come to the light. 
 
We read in verse 4: “I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with
dissemblers.” 

 
David is professing before the Lord what is in his heart. There are those who
love to be tale-bearers. They love to take the church of God apart and destroy
it.
 
David went on to say in verses 5 to 7: “I have hated the congregation of
evildoers; and will not sit with the wicked. I will wash mine hands in
innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD: That I may publish with the
voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.” 

 
He concluded in verse 8: “LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and
the place where thine honour dwelleth.”
 
What did David love more than the house of God, where he could come together
with the saints to worship and to praise and to sing forth the glory and honor
of God? What was more near and dear to the heart of David than to be able to
have that day of rest where he could assemble with the saints of God to honor
the house and name of God? His honor dwells in His house. We come to bring
homage and to honor His name.

 
David wanted his heart cleansed. If there is an evil way in it, reveal it, so he
can turn from it.
 
May the Lord be with us and may He give us wisdom to understand what He has to
say to the churches.

 
 

 
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him
that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but
is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). 

 
When we see the context of the chapter in which our text is found, we see how a
man was laying at the pool of Bethesda, and the Lord Jesus Christ healed him.
Jesus had told him: “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.”
 
We read in verse 14: “Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto
him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto
thee.”
 
This man had been criticized for obeying the word of Christ and taking up his
bed and walking.

 
Now watch verses 15 and 16: “The man departed, and told the Jews that it was
Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and
sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.”
 
They were so legalistic. They had their formula figured out as to what
constituted a sabbath day, and it had nothing to do with what the Lord Jesus was
teaching about the sabbath day.
 
We read in verses 17 and 18: “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh
hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he
not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making
himself equal with God.”
 
I want you to see the state of emotions at the time the Lord Jesus spoke the
words of our text. Emotions were high. There was much criticism. They hated Him
and went out to persecute Him.
 
Jesus said in verse 20: “For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all
things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that
ye may marvel.”
 
He spoke the words of our text in verse 24: “He that heareth my word, and
believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into
condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” 

 
By the power of His word this man was made whole. It is the listening to that
which He says, not what the Jews said. It is the listening to what the Word of
God says, not listening to the interpretation of men.
 
Eternityis a solemn word. I want you to see what we read in Matthew 7:13-14:
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way,
that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because
strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few
there be that find it.”
 
These few bring us into a solemn reality. Where is the distinction between those
who enter the strait gate and those who enter the broad gate? The distinction is
those who hear His word and believe on Him that sent Him and do what He says.
 
I want you to see the context of Matthew 7. We read in verse 21: “Not every one
that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he
that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
 
Our text is emphasizing that we believe in the Father who sent Him, that we
believe His words.
 
The Lord Jesus says in verses 22 and 23: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord,
Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils?
and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I
never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
 
These are those who do not do what Christ has said. They heard what He said, but
they did not do it. Our text is talking about those who have passed from death
to life. Who are these? Are we among them? We must examine our own hearts. Are
we among those who have passed from death to life?
 
I want you to turn with me to 2 Corinthians 13:5: “Examine yourselves, whether
ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that
Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
 
This is a solemn reality. This is a personal matter. You and I, each one of us,
must examine our own hearts. How do we prove ourselves? Are we walking in the
exercise of saving faith?
 
The Apostle Paul is saying: Either Christ is in you or you are a reprobate. If
Christ is formed in you, you have passed from death to life. This is the
important question as we examine ourselves, as we examine our own hearts, as we
examine our attitudes. We must examine whether we are in the faith, in other
words, whether or not we are walking in the exercise of saving faith.
 
Webster says, “Separation or alienation of the soul from God; i.e., being under
the dominion of sin, and destitute of grace or divine life is called spiritual
death.”
 
The Lord Jesus Christ says you have passed from death to life, which means the
separation from you and God has been removed, in other words that Christ has
been formed in you.
 
What do the Scriptures teach us are the distinguishing marks of those who are
dead, and what are the distinguishing marks of those who are alive. I want you
to turn with me to Ephesians 2:1-3: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in
trespasses

and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world,
according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in
the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in
times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of
the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
 
The Apostle Paul identifies those who are spiritually dead by their walk of
life. How are we walking? What is the conversation of our heart? Is the
conversation of our heart taken up with the things of the flesh? By nature we
were all under the power of sin. How much of that power of sin still reigns in
our hearts today? Do we still desire the things of this life and the flesh?
 
Our text says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and
believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into
condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
 
This is how we identify when we were walking in the things of death, but have we
passed from death to life?
 
This passing from death to life is evident from our walk of life, which is
believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, which is walking according to His word. It
is not just a belief that Jesus said these words historically. It means that we
hear His word and walk according to His words. It is the fruit of hearing the
words of Jesus Christ as our divine King.

 
We see this in Acts 9:31: “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and
Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and
in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.”

 
This shows how the walk of life identifies those who have passed from death to
life. The churches were multiplied by walking in the fear of the Lord, having
holy reverence for the will of God. It is walking, hearing and doing the will of
God.
 
This word edified is taken from the Greek word oikodomeo (oy-kod-om-eh'-o),
which means “to be a house builder, to construct or confirm, to build up—to
edify, embolden.”
 
This teaches us that we are edified by walking in the fear of the Lord. The
church is established and built up walking in the fear of God and in the comfort
of the Holy Spirit.
 
The church was being built up with lively stones as we see in 1 Peter 2:3-5: “If
so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living
stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as
lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up
spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
 
This is what it means to be passed from death to life. We become living stones.
Christ formed in you makes you become a living stone. He is the chief
cornerstone, but the building fitly framed and joined together is that precious
building of God, that house of God, which is composed of these lively stones. 

 
Jesus says in our text that those who hear His words and believe on His name
have passed from death to life, so what is it to live?

 
We see the answer in 2 Corinthians 5:19-20: “God was in Christ, reconciling the
world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed
unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as
though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye
reconciled to God.”
 
To live is to walk with a heart in total surrender to the will of God. Our
hearts must be fully reconciled with God’s ways, and we must give every
circumstance that comes upon us into the hands of the Lord and say, Lord, your
will be done. We must unconditionally surrender everything we have and
everything we are into the hands of a holy God.

 
If our hearts are still under the dominion of sin, we are still enemies of God
and separated from God’s presence, therefore we have not yet passed from death
to life. If our hearts are still rebellious against the will of God, if our
hearts are still inclined to the things of the flesh, if our hearts still long
for an empire in this life, we have not passed from death to life.
 
John 4:24 says: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in
spirit and in truth.” What does it mean to worship God in spirit and in truth?
That word spirit means a mental disposition, an attitude. Our attitude, our
mental disposition, must be in total surrender to the mind of Christ. We must
have the Spirit of Christ. You cannot serve God in any spirit or in any mental
disposition other than in the Spirit of Christ.
 
The course of a man’s life is spoken of in Scripture as his walk. Each person is
walking to his eternal destination. This is what you and I have to realize, and
that word eternity is one solemn reality. There is no changing after this life.
 
This word walk as used in Acts 9:31 clearly reveals there are but two
ways—“walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost” or
walking in rebellion and sin. There is no middle ground. We are not somewhat
improved, still a little carnal, in some purgatory, halfway to heaven, and some
day we will be able to make it. We are either walking in the carnal mind or in
the Spirit of Christ. We are not going to pass as religious and therefore
qualify as I read to you from Matthew 7:22-23: “Many will say to me in that day,
Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out
devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto
them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
 
Those people had so many things for which they had a claim on eternal life, but
Jesus said, I never knew you. They were religious people, and they spoke of
tremendous experiences, but they walked in rebellion to His will.
 
There are only two ways. We are either walking in the fear of the Lord and the
comfort of the Holy Spirit, or we are walking in rebellion. We read in Matthew
7:13-14: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the
way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because
strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few
there be that find it.”
 
There is only one way, and it is a narrow way. That word strait means difficult.
It is difficult because it constitutes crucifying the old man of sin, crucifying
everything of the flesh.

 
This Strait Gate points to Christ as the only entrance. The only entrance into
the sheepfold is through the door as we see in John 10:9: “I am the door: by me
if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find
pasture.” The only way to enter is passing from death to life, walking in the
fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. 

 
But why is this gate called strait? It is wide enough, high enough, comes down
low enough to allow the chiefest of all sinners to enter, but it is strait
enough and narrow enough to prevent anything of sin or self to go through.
Nothing that makes a lie, nothing of the flesh can enter. It is a crucifying
gate. The only thing that can enter is the sinner himself, that is, the sinner
who has learned to seek mercy, who has come to seek undeserved favor.
 
There must be the denying of self and a dying unto sin and a walking in the
footsteps of Christ to enter in through His righteousness being imparted in us.
Christ is the door, and unless that righteousness of Christ is imparted in us
and imputed to us, unless we have the righteousness of Christ as our robe, we
will never enter that gate.
 
Jesus goes on to say, “For wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth
to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” He is speaking of the
professing church.

 
The Lord Jesus Christ is the gate, and the cross is the way of crucifying that
old man of sin “which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” There
is only one way, and that is the way of the cross, when everything of self and
everything of the flesh has been crucified. 

 
Scripture places edification ahead of “walking in the fear of the Lord, and in
the comfort of the Holy Ghost.” The edification spoken of includes building,
that is, growing in knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Before there can be a
“walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost,” first
there must be a knowledge of self. We must know ourselves and see the sinfulness
of sin and see ourselves as sinners. We must see God’s wrath against sin, and
that He cannot relate to the sinner outside of the blessed robe of Christ’s
righteousness.
 
Until a man has learned to see sin in its true nature there will be no right
desire after Christ. If I can feel that I am good enough on my own, why do I
need a Physician? If I have no feeling of the death sentence that has come upon
me because of sin, I will not need a Redeemer. Until I see that I am a sinful
man, what need do I have of a heavenly Physician?
 
What would make me want to walk in the fear of the Lord if I have pleasure in
the things of unrighteousness, unless the Lord has worked the work of
regeneration in my heart and given me a new desire? I will have pleasure in the
things of this life, and I will have no pleasure in the fear of God.
 
Secondly, there must be a desire after and a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ
as the way of redemption from all iniquity. Jesus said in John17:3: “And this is
life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ,
whom thou hast sent.”

 
Those who have passed from death to life will never be barren in the knowledge
of their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, because they not only hear, but do His
words. We will never pass from death to life until the Holy Spirit works in us
to give us knowledge of self, to give us knowledge of our need of a Saviour, to
give us the knowledge of Christ as the Redeemer, redeeming us from all iniquity.
Then we will desire to know His ways.
 
We read in 2 Peter 1:5-8: “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your
faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to
temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly
kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and
abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the
knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 
This is having passed from death to life, walking as a new man desiring the
things of the Lord, knowing the will of God and doing the will of God. Therein
is salvation. This is life eternal. 

 
I know I have told you these things before, but see what the Apostle Peter said
in the verses following. We read in 2 Peter 1:11-13: “For so an entrance shall
be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in
remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the
present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir
you up by putting you in remembrance.”
 
We forget so easily. What is more important than to have that entrance into
heaven, that having passed from death to life?
 
Until we learn to know Christ there can be no meaning in Galatians 5:22-24: “But
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they
that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
 
What is there in this for a person whose heart is filled with bitterness and
hatred? Until Christ is formed in us what part do we have in these verses? This
is having passed from death to life. If we are walking in the things of death,
and if our hearts are still going after the things of the flesh, then what part
do we have in what is mentioned in these verses? If bitterness yet dwells in our
hearts, what portion do we have in the fruit of the Spirit? If our hearts are
not in total surrender to the will of God, and if we cannot look at another who
has caused us harm as an instrument in God’s hands to bring a circumstance as a
trial of faith, what part do we have in this? What part do we have in “meekness,
temperance: against such there is no law”? If we do not have Christ, what can we
claim from this?
 
This is passing from death to life. It is one or the other. We cannot ride the
fence and have a little of each. We cannot have a religious exercise but still
live in ways that are against the fruit of the Spirit. We are not going to walk
in the comfort of the Holy Spirit and yet cherish sin. The only way we can have
the evidence of having passed from death to life, and that is that the things of
death are behind us, is that we walk away from them.
 
Passing from death to life is “walking in the fear of the Lord.”
 
A right understanding of the love referred to in 1John 4:10 will excite a holy
reverence for God and His wrath upon sin: “Herein is love, not that we loved
God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our
sins.” He came to appease the wrath of God upon our sin. If we have ever had a
faith’s view of that suffering Saviour as the propitiation of our sins, then we
have passed from death to life. Then we will not walk in ways of sin because we
see how grievous sin is in the sight of the Lord. 

 
Those who lack this reverence for God’s wrath upon sin are admonished in Hebrews
10:26-29: “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of
the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful
looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the
adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three
witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy,
who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the
covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite
unto the Spirit of grace?”
 
We have not passed from death to life if we can just go along and willfully sin.
 
We are told in 2 Corinthians 13:5: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the
faith; prove your own selves.” It is a constant examination of our own hearts
whether we are walking in the faith, because Satan goes about as a roaring lion
seeking whom he may devour. He has such a desire to work in us a root of
bitterness.
 
Walking in the fear of the Lord is walking with a feeling sense that His eye is
upon you saying to you as to Abraham in Genesis17:1b: “I am the Almighty God;
walk before me, and be thou perfect.” That is the call God has given to Abraham
and to his seed, the church, the bride of Christ. 

 
This word perfect comes from the Hebrew word tamiym (taw-meem'), which means
“with integrity and truth, sincerely and upright, undefiled, without
blemish—perfect.” Some English words we think we understand so well have so much
deeper meaning than we ever realized.

 
How much conniving goes on in the human heart? How much swindling? How much
wording things in such a way to make others believe something different than the
whole truth? We must tell it just the way it is, the way we would want it told
to us. This is in relationship to our fellow man, that we do not take advantage
of him with some gray area of truth or some misconception of the whole truth.
 
A man told me once how he had sold a vehicle. He told the buyer: I have just
been all through it. I’ve been completely through the engine, the transmission
and the rear end. The buyer took for granted that he had overhauled it, but
after he sold it, the seller said the car was in such bad shape all he did was
put it back together and never did a thing to it. What he had said was true, he
had been all through it, but he deceived that man. We are to walk before God and
be perfect with integrity and truth. Truth is the whole truth.
 
See what a cage of unclean birds we have in our own hearts. How often we catch
ourselves talking to someone maybe not giving them the whole truth and have to
call them back and say, Did I make this clear? The Lord is talking about that
law of love.
 
The realization of our insufficiency and shortcomings in our walk draws the eye
of our faith to look to Christ and His all sufficiency. When you and I see how
far we fall short of this perfection, then we look to Christ because we see that
we need His perfection. We read in Colossians 1:19: “For it pleased the Father
that in him should all fullness dwell.” The fullness of perfection lies in the
Lord Jesus Christ. Now we must have our hearts drawn out to the Lord, that He
will incline us and give us all wisdom and all understanding and all knowledge
to be able to walk before Him and be perfect. 

 
It is the privilege—the great privilege—of the believer to pursue his course
with his eye on the fullness of Christ.
 
In John 1:16-17 we read: “And of his fullness have all we received, and grace
for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus
Christ.” See the fullness there is in Christ. You and I will never be able to
walk in perfection under the law. You and I must confess that we are tricksters,
that we are deceivers, that we are Jacobs. In times past we walked according to
the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air. That
is our human nature, but our fullness is in Christ.
 
With our eye on Christ and His fullness, we also have a feeling sense that the
eye of the Lord is upon us for good. When weunderstand what it is to pass from
death to life, then we understand that we walk as in the immediate presence of
God.
 
In the extremity of Hagar’s trial when the Lord appeared to her in the
wilderness, the name she gave to her Lord expressed the security she felt in
knowing God’s eye was upon her for good. We read in Genesis 16:13: “And she
called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she
said, Have I also here looked

after him that seeth me?”
 
This is walking in the fear of the Lord, when we walk with every step we take
like Jacob. He had to bring one foot up and stop and remember that the Lord had
touched the hollow of his thigh. With every step he took he remembered that the
Lord saw him.
 
We now walk as in the presence of God, so He looks in and sees and understands
every thought of the heart. It is so easy to talk about but so difficult to put
into practice. We must come back before the Lord daily and say: Lord, examine my
heart. Is my motive really what I brought across? Is that really the motive of
my heart? So often we have to follow up and make sure it was clearly understood
what we said so the other person will know we are telling them the whole truth.
 
This is not just a Sunday religion, but a sweet consciousness that the eye of
the Lord is upon you for good from the beginning to the end of the year. The
psalmist said in Psalm 33:18: “Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that
fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.” 

 
Those who hope in the Lord’s mercy know that the eye of the Lord is upon them,
that He is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. He is going to
bring us to an accounting on that day of judgment. I have often thought of the
solemn reality that on the day of judgment, as the Lord brings the world
together, and every person you have spoken to, every thought of what was going
through your heart, is going to be laid naked and open and bare. There will be
no secrets.
 
Continuing in verses 19 to 22 he wrote: “To deliver their soul from death, and
to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and
our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his
holy name. Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.”
 
This is what we experience having the eyes of God upon us. That is what it is to
walk in the fear of the Lord. 

 
To walk in the fear of God is to walk habitually with God in a state of
reconciliation with His will. Amos 3:3 says: “Can two walk together, except they
be agreed?” Can I claim that I am walking in the fear of the Lord and take
exception to anything that He has said in His Word? Can I be in rebellion
against the least of His commandments and walk in agreement with Him? I must be
in unconditional surrender to the will of God. 

 
The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 5:16-17: “This I say then, Walk in the
Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth
against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the
one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
 
If you walk in the Spirit you are not going to fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
You cannot do the things you would otherwise do. The Lord will grant His
restraining grace, and He will restrain you from doing those bad things that you
would do. That word cannot in the original it means “God forbid.” God will
forbid it. He will restrain it. He will not allow it. He will keep you from it.
 
This points to God’s restraining grace as well as our inability to walk in our
own strength. We must constantly pray for God’s restraining grace, for the Lord
to restrain us from sin, to keep us from sin, to deliver us from the power of
sin. “Ye cannot do the [bad] things that ye would.” You cannot do those things
you would have done.
 
God restrains us by way of the cross, crucifying our pride and self-sufficiency,
bringing about new desires. He crucifies our pride through the circumstances
through which He leads us. He brings about humility. He brings about that new
man of the heart. In Galatians 5:24 we read, “And they that are Christ’s have
crucified the flesh

with the affections and lusts.” This is the work of grace. That is that new man.
That is passing from death to life. 

 
The heart’s desire of those who have passed from death unto life is to realize
God’s presence. They desire for that separation from God to be removed. Their
longing desire is the presence of God, the love of God, the immediate presence
of God. The Lord had said to Moses in Exodus 32:34: “Therefore now go, lead the
people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall
go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon
them.” 

 
Moses had no desire to enter the promised land without the Lord’s presence. He
said to the Lord in Exodus 33:15: “And he said unto him, If thy presence go not
with me,

carry us not up hence.” 
 
Why was this? Because for Moses to be in the promised land without the Lord
would still be what Webster calls spiritual death, that is, “separation or
alienation of the soul from God.” That would be to be there physically but to be
spiritually dead.
 
It was not the loss of his property, children or wealth that made Job cry out of
the depth of his soul. He was able to say as we read in Job1:21: “Naked came I
out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and
the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” 

 
It was when the Lord had withdrawn His blessed presence that Job cried out in
Job 23:8-12: “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I
cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold
him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knoweth
the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot
hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone
back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth
more than my necessary food.”
 
You and I can have our property taken away, and we can feel so abused, and Job
had no remorse over that, but look how he cried out when he could not find his
God.
 
Our text says in John 5:24: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my
word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not
come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” 

 
Do we understand as Job did what it is to hear the word of God, that the word of
God is more necessary than our food, and to believe on Him who sent Christ?
 
See our calling to arise from this state of separation or alienation of the soul
from God and the dominion of sin in Ephesians 5:14: “Wherefore he saith, Awake
thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” 

 
We can become spiritually asleep and stupefied. A person can sleep his way into
death. A person freezing to death literally sleeps their way into death. He who
is so stupefied or numbed with drugs or with liquor  can pass into death without
feeling.
 
Verse 15 says: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.”
To arise from the dead means to walk circumspectly.
 
We read in verses 16 and 17: “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”
 
This is arising from the dead. This is awakening from sleep. This is where
Christ shall give you light.

 
 

 
Deuteronomy 8:2-3: “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God
led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee,
to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or
no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna,
which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee
know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out
of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.” 

 
For the past several weeks we have studied these two verses. Last week I pointed
out what we mean that man does not live by bread alone. In a spiritual sense, as
well as in a natural sense, we want to realize that you could sit alongside the
greatest mountain of food and die of thirst. You could sit by a river of the
most pure water and die of starvation. You need air, food, water and exercise if
you are going to live and be healthy.
 
You cannot live by His bread alone. We also need the blood, which is a type of
cleansing. We need His body for our justification, and we need His blood for our
sanctification. We must be cleansed from the power of sin as well as
justification from the penalty of sin.

 
The Lord Jesus is teaching us throughout the Scriptures the essentialness of a
balanced gospel. We must preach the whole counsel of God.

 
We made reference to Ezekiel 37, where it speaks about the dry bones and how
they came together in the Valley of Slaughter. Then the sinews came upon the
bones as he prophesied, but they still lay dead in the valley. Then the Lord
said, Prophesy to the winds that the winds might blow upon the slain. Then the
breath of life entered them, and they stood upon their feet and there was a
great army.
 
I want to point out that we may have these three elements and still not have a
healthy spiritual condition. We still need exercise. We may have that breath of
life. We may have the Spirit of Christ breathed into our souls. “Now if any man
have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9). We may have the
work of sanctification. We may have a claim on the pardon, but we still will not
have a healthy spiritual life until that faith is put into exercise.
 
We read in 2 Peter 1:4-7: “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and
precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,
having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside
this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience
godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness
charity.”

 
See the fruit of these three elements. We cannot stop by merely having faith. We
must add to our faith. When faith is put into exercise, we see the fruit of
spiritual life coming into exercise. This is essential if we are going to have a
healthy spiritual body.
 
This exercise of faith is what I want to speak about this morning.
 
As I pointed out earlier, the Lord uses circumstances to reveal what is in our
hearts.
 
When the children of Israel stood on the shore of the Red Sea, they could sing
the songs of redemption. They sang the Song of Moses as we see in Exodus 15.
They sang of the victory they gained over Egypt, the things of this world. They
gained the victory over the power of sin. The circumstances the Lord led them
through taught them what was in their hearts. He brought them into circumstances
where they became thirsty. Three days after they sang the song of redemption,
they were brought into a set of circumstances whereby the thoughts of their
hearts were revealed showing their murmuring, their lack of faith.

 
They had faith, but it was infant faith. Faith can be genuine in its infancy,
but many times circumstances overcome our faith. As we become mature in faith,
as we become established in faith, our faith overcomes our circumstances.
 
This is what the Lord is telling us when He says “that he might make thee know
that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of
the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”

 
We must not settle on a passage of scripture out of its context. We must feed
upon all the Word of God. We may not be satisfied by saying, Well, now I have
justification, but I still do not have sanctification. Sanctification and the
exercise of saving faith are equally essential to having justification.
 
As we have pointed out, faith is established by putting into exercise “every
word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD” as we see from 1 Peter
1:14-15: “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the
former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be
ye holy in all manner of conversation.” 

 
See how the work of sanctification is being set forth here. When we speak of
conversation, we are not only talking about the words we speak. What we are
speaking of is that which traffics our minds. The conversation of our hearts is
that which occupies our minds. I can be going down the field on a tractor, not
speaking a word to anyone, yet the conversation of my heart is what we are
speaking of here. That which traffics our hearts and minds must be centered on
holiness, on the things of the Lord. My heart can be meditating on bitterness
and hatefulness and spitefulness, not having said or done a thing, yet my
conversation is not communicating in a holy manner.
 
The conclusion of what we learn from God’s purpose in leading us these 40 years
(or this lifespan) in this humiliating, proving ground of our lives, is that His
dear children might become established in the faith by putting their faith into
exercise. It is to wean us from that which is by nature against the will of God.

 
We read in 1 Peter 1:22-23: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the
truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love
one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible
seed, but of

incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
 
See how sanctification is as equally a part of salvation as justification. This
unfeigned love of the brethren means that we prefer others ahead of ourselves.
Sanctification is that crucifying of the flesh, that crucifying of that old
nature of sin that lies within us by nature.
 
See the second table of the law in these verses: love God above all, with your
heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. It is by putting that
commandment into exercise that we exercise saving faith. We put into exercise
the faith God has given us by showing us what is in our hearts. We see the
selfishness. We see bitterness. All these things develop through the
circumstances the Lord brings us through. These things have to be mortified.
Through the work of the grace of the Spirit in our hearts we start preferring
others ahead of ourselves.
 
Our text says that we are not to live by bread only, but by every word that
proceeds out of the mouth of God. We have a selfish nature. We want what is for
our profit. I want to be justified. I want to go to heaven. I want to escape
hell. That, however, is not the whole gospel. In fact, that is not the gospel.
The gospel is being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible by
the Word of God.

 
The Lord is telling us, Take what I have taught you and put it into exercise.
 
When the Lord had brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea, they
seemed to have great faith as they sang the Song of Moses, that is, the song of
redemption from the power of Satan and the world. Faith must overcome
circumstances. They had been redeemed from Egypt, which is a type of the world
and a type of the power of sin.
 
See their apparent assurance of entering the promised land by faith in Exodus
15:17: “Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine
inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in
the Sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established.”
 
They were so sure they were going to enter the promised land, but if we know the
history, then we know that those very people who sang the song of redemption did
not enter the promised land because of unbelief. They were not willing to put
into exercise what the Lord had shown them. When it came to entering the
promised land, they did not have the faith to go forward. They perished in the
wilderness because of unbelief.
 
I want you to see the necessity of putting faith into exercise. The lesson they
had to learn by the circumstances through which the Lord would lead them these
40 years in the wilderness was that even though they had “tasted that the Lord
is gracious,” they still needed to learn what was in their hearts by nature.
When they left this place on the Red Sea, and for the next three days they
entered that wilderness, the first thing they did was that they allowed the
circumstances to overcome their faith. They were thirsty. They did not have
water. They began to murmur against the Lord.

 
In 1 Peter 2:1-3 we read: “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and
hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the
sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that
the Lord is gracious.” 

 
The Apostle Peter is saying that if we have tasted that the Lord is gracious, if
we have His promises, if we believe we have hope for eternity, then put this
faith into practice by doing these things that accompany salvation.
 
Notice the growing in faith and grace shown in these verses. We need to see that
we can have genuine but infant faith. It must be established. It must grow.

 
Through those circumstances that followed, Israel was to learn that they were
yet infants in faith. Sometimes we can think that we are such established
Christians in faith, but the Lord brings circumstances upon us. Do we overcome
those circumstances by faith, or is our faith overcome by those circumstances?
This will help us know whether we are truly established in faith or whether we
are infants in faith.
 
They allowed their circumstances to overcome their faith, even as Jesus’
disciples did. I want you to follow me through some scriptures to see what they
teach us about infant faith and how it is overcome by circumstances. Watch this
in Matthew 8:24-26: “And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea,
insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his
disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he
saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and
rebuked the winds and the sea; and

there was a great calm.”  
 
Here are a set of circumstances the Lord brought upon these disciples to test
their faith. Jesus rebuke them for their little faith because these
circumstances had overcome their faith.
 
When Jesus said, “O ye of little faith,” He did not rebuke them for unbelief. He
recognized the existence of true living faith, but in its infancy. The
admonition is not to allow our faith to remain in its infancy, but we must
become established in faith so established faith overcomes our circumstances.
 
We come through this set of circumstances, and we come through the next set of
circumstances. Every trial the Lord sends is going to be a little stiffer than
the one we had before, because we are growing in faith. The first trial in which
the Lord tries our faith may be minor compared to the ones we may have in later
years. As we become established in faith, we overcome these circumstances by
faith.

 
It is through the exercise of saving faith that we grow in our dependency on our
God and learn to live “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the
LORD.” We come to the point where we do not look at self. We no longer look at
circumstances. When Peter walked on the sea, as long as his eyes were fixed on
Christ, he could walk on the waves, but as soon as he took his eyes off of
Christ and looked at the boisterous sea, he began to sink.
 
This is what the Lord will teach you and me in the way of salvation. We must
take our eyes off of circumstances and keep our eyes on Him. Through this we
learn to understand, as our text says, we live not by bread alone, but by every
word that proceeds from the mouth of God. We do not live by temporal things but
our eyes are fixed on the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Those who have truly become fathers in grace understand what Jesus said in
Matthew 18:3-4: “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and
become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is
greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” 

 
See what happens as we grow in faith. Have you ever noticed how a little child
will sit at the table without the slightest concern about how the food got
there? They have no concern about who is paying the taxes. They have no concern
about who is paying for the heat and the lights. It has never entered their
minds. They sit there with the faith of a child that their father has provided.
 
When you and I grow in faith we will be able to look to the Lord, in spite of
all circumstances, for His providing hand. That is being established in faith.
We grow smaller and smaller and smaller within ourselves. We become nothing
because the Lord becomes everything. We become as little children. We come to
the point where we can trust the Lord in every circumstance.
 
John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
 
Let me explain to you the lesson we learn from the prophet Elisha. The king of
Syria sent an army to take him. Elisha’s servant said unto to Elisha, What shall
we do? We read in 2 Kings 6:16-17: “And he answered, Fear not: for they that be
with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD,
I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the
young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots
of fire round about Elisha.”
 
The Syrian army could not take Elisha, because Elisha prayed that the Lord would
blind their eyes.
 
We read in verses 18 to 20: “And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto
the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote
them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. And Elisha saidunto them,
This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you
to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria. And it came to pass, when
they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, LORD, open the eyes of these men,
that they may see. And the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold,
they were in the midst of Samaria.”
 
They were encircled by the army of Israel. Elisha’s faith overcame the
circumstances, but his servant had infant faith. All he could see were the
horses and chariots of Syria. He could not see those on the other side.
 
Those who are still in their infancy in faith need the admonitions Jesus gives
about beinganxious about those things we should trust to our heavenly Father’s
care.
 
We read in Matthew 6:31-33: “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we
eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after
all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye
have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his
righteousness;

and all these things shall be added unto you.”
 
When we can take our eyes off of the temporal things, and have our eyes fixed on
the kingdom of God, that is, on His service, that our heart’s desire is to serve
the Lord, then all these temporal things are no longer our concern. 

 
Jesus uses the term, “little faith,” in five places in the New Testament as a
loving rebuke for losing the single eye concept (taking our eyes off of the Lord
Jesus Christ and looking to the temporal things that are overcoming us), letting
faith be overcome by circumstances, instead of overcoming circumstances by
faith.

 
Jesus uses the term, “little faith,” when Peter lost that single eye concept,
looking at circumstances instead of Christ, in Matthew14:28-31: “And Peter
answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on
the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid;
and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus
stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little
faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” 

 
Why did you take your eyes off of me and start worrying about these boisterous
waves? This is what Jesus is telling you and me. As we are walking upon this
boisterous sea, through this life journey, if we take our eyes off of Christ,
and we start having our minds and hearts fixed on these boisterous waves, we get
that sinking feeling, and we begin to realize that we are sinking in the
circumstances.
 
However, if our eyes are fixed on Christ, we can walk over these circumstances.
It does not mean that the circumstances change, but the faith by which we walk
over them is what changes.
 
Jesus also used the same term as a loving rebuke in Matthew16:8: “Which when
Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among
yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?”
 
He had told them in verse 6: “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the
Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”
 
See how Jesus said this to teach them that “man doth not live by bread only, but
by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD.”
 
Continuing in verses 9 to 12 we read: “Do ye not yet understand, neither
remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread,
that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then
understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of
the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”
 
The Pharisees were looking at the outside of the platter. They were looking at
the dos and the don’ts. They made 630 laws from the law of God, which had only
Ten Commandments. The Lord Jesus broke the Law down into two: love God above all
and your neighbor as yourself. In so doing, He said, you have kept the whole
law.
 
Little faith sees God’s hand in greater things. Established faith sees God’s
hand in the smallest things. I can tell you of a man who was a professed atheist
who sold a refrigerator he said was guaranteed against anything but an act of
God. I asked: What do you mean an act of God? He replied: Well, like a
thunderstorm, a bolt of lightning or a tornado that would strike it and break
it. Even an atheist can see God’s hand in great things, but it takes faith to
see God’s hand in the little things. One time I drove up and my father said to
me, Ralph, you have two sparrows in the grill of your car. I looked at it and
said, Yes, Dad, it was the Lord’s good pleasure that two sparrows fell to the
ground. When we learn to see the Lord’s hands in these things, that is
established faith.

 
Everyone can see God’s hand in a tornado. When a hurricane strikes, even common
people call it an act of God, but can you see God’s hands in the little things
of your life? That takes established faith.
 
We read in Zechariah 4:10: “For who hath despised the day of small things?” We
must see the Lord’s hands in the little things in our lives. We must ask, Lord,
what are you doing in my life? What will you have me to do in my life in
response to what I see happening in that person’s life? I am not looking at what
that person said or what that person is doing. I am looking at what the Lord is
doing. What is the Lord’s purpose in what is happening in that person’s life? 

 
Putting our faith into exercise is essential to becoming established in faith.
The Apostle Paul admonishes those who had failed to put their infant faith into
exercise in Hebrews 5:12: “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye
have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles
of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.”
 
If you and I have infant faith, the only way it grows is by putting it into
exercise. The Apostle Paul was reproving the church because they had not put
their faith into exercise, and they were still babes.

 
Even though Paul was well-established in the faith, and had many and rich
experiences, he stresses the importance of pressing forward. There is never a
time that you and I become so established in faith that we come onto a plateau
and say, OK, now I can rest there. We read in Philippians 3:14: “I press toward
the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” This is
perfection. You and I never will reach perfection in this life, but we must
strive for it. 

 
This striving for perfection is the high calling of everyone who names the name
of Christ. If you and I profess to be Christians, if we walk under the banner of
Christ, we must strive for perfection. I want you to see this in Philippians
3:15: “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any
thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”
 
See how Paul laments over those whose faith is not put into exercise by living
by “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD,” that is, whose
walk does not compare with their profession.
 
The walk of some does not compare with their profession, and we see this in
Philippians 3:17-19: “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which
walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you
often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of

Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose
glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)”
 
The Lord is teaching us that our walk of life is the measuring stick whereby we
measure our exercise of faith.

 
The Lord led His dear children those 40 years through trying circumstances to
teach them what was in their hearts. The circumstances the Lord leads us through
are lessons in faith to teach us to know our own hearts.
 
Then we learn to realize that little faith is enough to see the mountains of
sin, but not enough to see the Sun of righteousness who shall arise over them.
As we grow in grace, we must not only have our eyes fixed on ourselves and the
corruption of our own evil hearts, but we must see the Sun of righteousness
rising over that mountain of sin.
 
We read in Malachi 4:2: “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of
righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow
up as calves of the stall.”
 
The holy Sun of righteousness arises with healing in His wings that comes from
that balm of Gilead, that blessed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that has that
cleansing power. As we see the malignity of our own hearts, we see the cleansing
power in the blood of Christ. 

 
The Lord leads us through these humbling circumstances to prove us, whether we
will put our faith into exercise to grow in grace, whether by faith we can
overcome these corruptions, whether by faith we can overcome the bitterness that
is in our hearts, by looking away from circumstances and looking to the blessed
redemption we have in Christ. He has come to redeem us from all iniquity.
 
Now we come to where we start gaining the victory over these circumstances
through the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
We read in 2 Peter 3:17-18: “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things
before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall
from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”
 
We must beware lest we be led away by the nature of our old human heart, that we
allow our old bitterness, hatred and superstitions to rule in our hearts. As we
grow in the knowledge of Christ and what He has done to redeem us from the power
of sin, and as we learn to understand that blessed atonement, and how the Father
was so pleased with the obedience of His dear Son even unto death, the death of
the cross, we learn to understand how we must also die to ourselves. We must be
obedient unto death, that is, death to self, sin and the old man of sin. 

 
It is so essential to grow in grace through the exercise of saving faith because
infant faith’s hope lies in its feelings. We do not live by bread alone. We do
not live just by being justified. That in itself is not salvation. We need
sanctification. We need the Spirit of Christ. We need to put that Spirit of
Christ into exercise. When we begin to have faith, that faith is centered in our
own feelings.

 
When feelings are warm, hope is high. When feelings are cold, hope is in
despair. That is infant faith.
 
James says in James 1:6: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he
that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” This
is infant faith. We must overcome these things by having our eyes fixed on the
Lord Jesus Christ.

 
Little faith has its anchor of hope cast in its own ship, that is, in its
feelings, circumstances and prayers. If you feel that you have an opening in
prayer, then your feelings are warm. Established faith, however, has its anchor
hidden in Christ, and it is unmovable. Whether our feelings are warm or whether
our feelings are cold, our faith does not falter. Our faith is anchored in the
solid Rock of Christ, because Christ is the anchor of our faith. It is not
centered in our feelings or in our frame.
 
Hebrews 6:19 says, “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure
and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.” The veil of the
Temple was torn in two from top to bottom when the Lord Jesus Christ died. This
opened the way for us to enter into the presence of God. We can come before the
Lord with our needs and our wants. Our hearts are centered in that anchor, in
the Lord Jesus Christ. Now our hope is within the veil. Our hope is in the
presence of God.

 
It is through that blessed sacrifice of Christ that the way was opened for you
and me to come within the veil We read in Matthew 27:50-51: “Jesus, when he had
cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.  And, behold, the veil of
the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did
quake, and the rocks rent.”

 
Only the high priest could go in through the veil into the immediate presence of
God, where the ark of the covenant was. This was entering the Holy of Holies.
Now this way is open to us, and this is where our hope lies. Now our hope is in
the Lord.
 
In Hebrews 11 the monuments of established faith are listed to urge us on to
mature in faith. The established faith of Moses could see over those mountains
of earthly pleasure and honor, to see the Sun of righteousness with divine
healing in His wings.

 
We see this in Hebrews 11:24-26: “By faith Moses, when he was come to years,
refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer
affliction with the people of God,  than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a
season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in
Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”
 
Moses could look over the top of this and see the blessedness there is in
suffering affliction with the people of God because that is where the true
riches are. He desired to be conformed to the blessed image of Christ.

 
The Lord Jesus Christ led His disciples through many trying circumstances to
humble them, to prove them and to teach them what was in their hearts. This is
what the Lord is doing to you and me as He leads us through this wilderness
journey. He brings us through these trying circumstances that crucify our flesh.
Our hope is not in the things of this life.
 
We read in Mark 6:48: “And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was
contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them,
walking upon the sea.”
 
He had sent His disciples out to sea. The wind was contrary, and the wind is a
type of the Holy Spirit. In the Spirit, everything seemed to be contrary to
them. This teaches us that in the darkest time of our trials, the Lord will open
our eyes to see that it is He walking upon those waves. He was the one who sent
that trial. Instead of looking at the circumstances, we start seeing Christ in
the trial.
 
When their eyes of faith were opened to see that Sun of  righteousness, there
was healing in His wings.
 
We read in verse 50: “For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately
he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not
afraid.” When you and I come into the midst of our struggles, and when our eyes
are fixed on the Lord Jesus Christ, we hear Him saying, “Be of good cheer: it is
I; be not afraid.”
 

Continuing in verse 51 we read: “And he went up unto them into the ship; and the
wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and

wondered.” When the Lord Jesus comes on board in our hearts, the winds cease.
This means the trial is over. It does not mean that the circumstances change,
but the trial is over. We have peace in those circumstances. We can give it all
over into the hands of the Lord and unconditionally surrender to Him. In those
circumstances they were still out in the sea, but the wind ceased.

 
Sometimes it leaves such a vacuum. When the Lord Jesus comes on board, it seems
that all of a sudden, the whole trial is over. We wonder sometimes how it all
happened. It was by faith, by having our eyes fixed on the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Little faith can only see that tumultuous sea, but established faith sees Jesus
walking on those waves. We can see that we have a problem. We see our sins. We
see all these things that mount up against us, but we are unable to look over
the top of that mountain to see that blessed Redeemer, that Sun of
righteousness. We cannot see that precious cleansing blood. Now we see that all
the filthiness of our hearts is washed away. 

 
As faith grows, the anchor of our hope is cast more and more out of self and
into Christ, “both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the
veil.” It brings us now into the presence of God. It brings us to where our
hearts can bask in the sunshine of His righteousness, that our hearts can now
bathe in the sunshine of His love.

 
David, the man after God’s own heart, found that his salvation, his very life
itself, was found in living “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of
the LORD.” It is by that Word of God in our hearts that flows as a fountain.

 
We read in Psalm 119:173: “Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy
precepts,” in other words, your Word. I want you to see how He lived by every
word that proceeded out of the mouth of the Lord.
 
Continuing in verse 174 we read: “I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and
thy law is my delight.” He had such delight in the will of God. His own will was
totally dissolved in the will of God. 

 
David said in verse 175: “Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let
thy judgments help me.” To live means to walk with the Lord. It means to walk in
the footsteps of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 
We read in verse 176: “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant;
for

I do not forget thy commandments.” David, the man after God’s own heart, had
gone astray. He saw how his own heart was filled with the things of the flesh.
He had strayed from God’s commandments. He had done so many things contrary to
God’s Word, yet he had not forgotten the Word of God. He strayed from it so
often. He was looking to the Lord Jesus Christ, the blessed Shepherd and Bishop
of his soul.
 
As we become established in faith we are admonished to overcome the
circumstances by the exercise of saving faith. We read in 1 Corinthians 3:2: “I
have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear
it, neither yet now are ye able.”
 
The Apostle Paul is telling them they are not growing in faith because their
hearts are still filled with carnality. They must grow. They must overcome this
carnal heart and these carnal actions and these carnal desires. They must strive
against them. They must take their eyes off from the things of the flesh, and
fix their eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 
In verse 3 he said: “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you
envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” They
had not overcome these things. They had not yet come to enough self-denial to
overcome these divisions and strife. 

 
Therefore Peter said in 1 Peter 2:1-5: “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and
all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings, As newborn babes,
desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have
tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone,
disallowed indeed of

men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a
spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices,
acceptable to

God by Jesus Christ.”
 
This is how the Lord is going to build His spiritual house. You, the lively
stones, have overcome all these things by the blood of the Lamb. You have been
able to look away from yourselves and look to Christ. To become a holy
priesthood means that you have been able to put self on the altar of sacrifice.
This is where we have a priesthood, the sacrificing of that ugly monster I. 

 
Those spiritual sacrifices you and I must offer up are those wrong attitudes,
those things that please the flesh. We must put on the altar everything of the
flesh. You and I would never be accepted in ourselves outside of the perfect
sacrifice of Christ being imputed to us. In that precious blood of Christ, we
have that atonement made, which is the pardon of our sins. Therein we become
acceptable, and therein we must see that our offering of our spiritual
sacrifices is only acceptable in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 
 

 
And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty
years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in
thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled
thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest
not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth
not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of
the LORD doth man live (Deuteronomy 8:2-3).
 
The book of Deuteronomy is a rehearsal by Moses of the 40 years Israel spent in
the schools of the Lord in the wilderness as he bid them farewell. Deuteronomy
is Moses’ farewell sermon.
 
We see this in Deuteronomy 1:3: “And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in
the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the
children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in
commandment unto them.”
 
In his farewell, Moses took them back to remember the 40 years the Lord led them
through this wilderness journey.
 
After Moses had preached his farewell sermon to Israel, he went up to the top of
Mount Pisgah, where the Lord showed him the promised land, but did not allow him
to enter it because he had not sanctified the Lord at the waters of Meribah.
There Moses said, Must we fetch you water out of this rock, instead of saying
that the Lord would fetch them water.
 
So now we see in Deuteronomy 34:5-6: “So Moses the servant of the LORD died
there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he buried him
in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of
his sepulchre unto this day.”
 
We have spoken about how the people were to remember how the Lord humbled them,
and proved them to know what was in their heart, “whether thou wouldest keep his
commandments, or no.” See the emphasis on what they were to remember.
 
Right after Moses had cautioned them to remember God’s purpose in these
humiliating lessons, “that he might make thee know that man doth not live by
bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth
man live,” then He cautioned them to remember as we see in Deuteronomy 8:5-6:
“Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so
the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of
the LORD thy

God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.”
 
Moses draws to their remembrance that the Lord for these 40 years had treated
them as a father treats his child. When they had transgressed He sent His
chastening hand, and the Lord told them by the mouth of Moses, Do not forget
this. Notice the emphasis: because the Lord deals with you as a man chastens his
son, so the Lord chastens you, therefore you shall keep His commandments and
fear Him.
 
I heard a man say one time, Well, the Lord is just chastening me. He showed me I
had not done anything wrong, but that He was just chastening me.

 
Now, I have eight children, and I have never lined them all up and used a whip
on them just because they are children. The only time I have ever chastened a
child was when that child offended against my will, because that child had
disobeyed.
 
When we start walking away from the Lord and disobeying Him, He sends His
chastening hand. I was in the Army, and they taught us that they had 10
different forms of punishment the company commander could issue. The first was
to be reproved. The first rebuke the Lord gives us is that He withdraws His love
and allows us to go into a state of confusion. Anytime you and I have a set of
circumstances, and we feel that the Lord has withdrawn Himself and allowed us to
come into confusion, the first thing we should ask is, Lord, what have I done?
What is it between me and you? Why am I now in a state of confusion? This is the
first form of discipline.
 
In the way of God’s gracious leadings there is another form of discipline found
in our text that is important to understand,  “And he humbled thee, and suffered
thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna.”
 
What we are admonished to remember is that these gracious leadings were to bring
about His desired effect, that is, that “he might make thee know that man doth
not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of
the LORD doth man live.”
 
If you discipline a child, the effect you are looking for is that rebellion is
broken and that the child comes under the supervision of the father. This is
what the Lord uses discipline for. The Lord will never discipline us beyond the
point of an unconditional surrender. I want to read to you Hebrews 12:11: “Now
no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless
afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are
exercised thereby.”
 
I think it is so beautiful when we understand that the Lord has a positive
purpose in His discipline, and that He only disciplines for a given point.

 
When I have chastened my little child, the desired effect is that the child
comes to me and puts his arms around my neck and says, Daddy, I love you. The
rebellion is broken.

 
The desired effect the Lord has in His chastening is the peaceable fruit of
righteousness. This is an unconditional surrender in the way of our rebellion,
that we come under the Lord’s authority, the authority of His Word, that we now
have a holy reverence for the will of God.
 
In Proverbs 8:13, we read: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil.”
 
When the Lord allows us to hunger, this is one form of discipline He uses to
correct us and get our attitudes straightened out. He gives us an attitude
adjustment.
 
What we are admonished to remember in these gracious leadings is that the Lord
is bringing about His desired effect and that is that we do not live by bread
only but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. We are to
stand in awe and have holy reverence for every word of God, that we start to
live by the Word of God.
 
Until the Lord suffered the prodigal son to hunger, he could feed on the things
of the flesh, the things of this world. Let us see how the Lord disciplined the
prodigal son. We read in Luke 15:12-13: “And the younger of them said to his
father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided
unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all
together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his
substance with riotous living.”

 
How did the Lord chasten him “as a man chasteneth his son,” to wean him from his
appetite for the things of the flesh? The Lord did not allow him to go out and
destroy himself. How did the Lord bring him back?
 
We read in Luke 15:14: “And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine
in that land; and he began to be in want.” The Lord gave him to see the
emptiness of the things of the flesh, the emptiness of the things of this life.
He took those things away from him.
 
This parable teaches us that when the Lord suffered him to hunger, his memory
was jarred. The admonition is to remember, so we tend to forget, and we start
running away from the Lord, and we start filling our belly with the husks of the
swine. Now the Lord jars our memory by putting His finger on us.
 
We read in Luke 15:17: “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired
servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with
hunger!”
 
The Lord took away the tinsel of everything of this life, and He gave him to see
the emptiness of it. This jarred his memory as to what he had left behind. He
started to remember his father’s house, and he came to himself.
 
Repentance is not a mystic thing that happens in the way of some experience.
Repentance is a change of attitude. We come to ourselves and begin to understand
what fools we have been, and we get an attitude adjustment. Now we sit down and
make a carefully planned repentance.
 
The prodigal son made a plan. He said, I will go to my father and ask if I can
become one of his servants. He had to carefully plan his repentance.
 
Repentance is what causes the angels in heaven to rejoice. We come to ourselves;
we have this attitude adjustment; we change our minds; and we stop chasing the
things of this life. We begin to realize that in our Father’s house there is
bread enough.
 
It was through these gracious leadings of the Lord that the prodigal son began
to desire to enter into his father’s service. He had been serving his father
reluctantly. The Lord has no pleasure in you and me serving Him out of
compulsion. If I were to stand here and preach enough hell and damnation to
scare you to the gate of heaven, the Lord would not let you in. Do you know why?
It would be because you would be selfishly trying to get in to escape the
consequences of sin. Your purpose would not be to enter His service.
 
I want you to see what happened to the prodigal son. When the Lord emptied him
and caused him to hunger, he started hungering for the love of his father. He
started having a desire to serve his father, and that is what the Lord wants.
The Lord wants you and me to serve Him.
 
I want you to see this in Malachi 3:18: “Then shall ye return, and discern
between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that
serveth him not.” When my dear old mother was lying on her deathbed, it caused
her face to shine like a star in the sky when I read this verse to her.

 
It is that entering into the service of God where we discern between the
righteous and the wicked. The Lord wants us to serve Him from a motive of love.
He wants us to serve Him because we love Him and because it is our pleasure to
be in His presence, not because we desire only to escape the consequences of
sin.
 
I want you to see what the Lord is teaching us in the way of repentance in Luke
15:18-19: “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I
have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called
thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.” He was not even asking his
father for the privilege of serving him any more as a son. He wanted to serve
him as a hired servant. This is the form of repentance that causes the angels in
heaven to rejoice over one sinner who repents. It is when the heart is renewed,
and it becomes our desire to serve the Lord from the heart, with a motive of
love.
 
When we consider the multitude of influences Israel had to face in the
wilderness, we will begin to understand why we can only live “by every word that
proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD.”
 
They had Moses to lead them, and Korah, Dathan and Abiram to mislead them. They
had Caleb and Joshua to encourage them, and the unfaithful to discourage them.
When the 12 went to spy out the land, Caleb and Joshua came back with a good
report. They said, We are well able to go, but the other 10 discouraged them.
They had Aaron, the Lord’s high priest, to sacrifice to the Lord for them, who
also sacrificed unto the golden calf. Satan was there to try to influence them
to walk contrary to the will of God.
 
Now you see why we have to come to the point where we have only one thing upon
which to fix our eyes, and that is every word that proceeds out of the mouth of
the Lord. Our pastor can bring us the unadulterated Word of God, and that same
man can also preach us half a truth, and it makes a lie. We have to be able to
go to the Word of God and sort it out for ourselves. Our eyes must be fixed on
Christ, not on the pastor. The Lord has these influences there for that very
purpose, that we are not living by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of
the pastor, but we are living by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of
the Lord.
 
We have so many things that would influence us away from the Word of God, and
that is why we are admonished to “search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye
have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).

 
Christ has to be the center. Why did John the Baptist say, “I am the voice of
one crying in the wilderness” (John 1:23). What was John teaching us here? Are
you this prophet? No. Are you that prophet? No. Then who are you? He was saying,
Do not fix your eye on me. Do not look at me as though I am something. All I am
is a voice, nothing to be seen, nothing to be admired. All I am is a voice that
you hear. That is where the pastor fits. He is only a voice, because we are not
to worship the pastor. We are not to have our eyes fixed on what the pastor
believes or what he says, but we are to ask, What does the Word of God say? The
Lord is so jealous of His Word.
 
As we learn to recognize the influences we are exposed to in this waste-howling
wilderness, our appetites go through a thorough adjustment. We start feeding on
different things. One time we had our faith in a pastor from the West Coast to
such an extent we thought if he died the world would end. Maybe then we would
have to look to the Lord.
 
We have those influences. We have those weaknesses, and those are ours by
nature, and the Lord allows this to happen. He causes us to hunger. He weans us
from all these things so we get to the point where we can only feed upon that
heavenly manna. He takes such a man away so our hunger is no longer satisfied
with a person, but our hunger can only be satisfied with the Word of God.
 
The children of Israel were accustomed to Egyptian food, that is, the onions,
garlic and the flesh, but the Lord led them in the wilderness, where all of
these were removed.
 
We read in Exodus 16:3: “And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God
we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the
flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth
into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” 

 
The Lord suffered them to hunger, because all they had left to eat was this
manna. They could no longer feed on the husks. In the circumstances the Lord
leads us through, He will bring us to where we can no longer feed on these
things. The Lord put them on a fast as it were that they may have a keener
appetite for spiritual

food.
 
If they had eaten meat, onions and garlic together with manna, which are
incompatible, it would have nauseated them. They would throw up. The Lord put
them on a fast and purged their systems of onions, garlic and meat so their
bodies were able to accept manna.
 
The Lord Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 that we cannot serve two masters. We cannot
serve God and the world. He causes us to hunger because we are not going to feed
on the best of two worlds. He is going to take us out of the one to feed on the
other.
 
We read in Proverbs 27:7: “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the
hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” The Lord causes us to hunger after
spiritual things by weaning us from the world.
 
Have you ever eaten yourself full in a fine restaurant, and on your way out you
see another table decked just the same. It does not make you crave their food.
You are full. However, if you came out of the field after you have been working
all day, and you are hungry, thirsty and tired, you can eat a piece of bread and
drink a glass of water and consider it a feast. It revives you.

 
The humbling experiences of Israel are written for our instruction. They are
typical of the ways in which the Lord leads His people through this life.
 
The first blessing mentioned is that He humbled them to make them fit in
character to inherit eternal life. I want you to see what the Lord’s purpose is
for the humbling process through which He leads us. It is to make us fit for
eternal life. I want you to see this in Colossians 1:10-12: “That ye might walk
worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and
increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to
his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving
thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the
inheritance of the saints in light.”
 
That word meet in the original means fit in character. The Lord will make us fit
in character “to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” Being
fit in character means that we might walk worthy of the Lord. It has to do with
our walk. It has to do with our attitude.

 
It is so important that we understand what salvation is. Salvation is to be
weaned from the things of this life. We have been made to feed on the Word of
God. We have come to where our walk of life is according to His will. We have
been saved from sin.
 
We are thankful that the Lord has counted us worthy, to suffer shame for the
name of Christ, that He has led us through these circumstances to humble us, to
prove us and to bring us to where we are weaned from everything of the flesh,
and to where we can be made fit in character, “to be partakers of the
inheritance of the saints in light.”
 
Notice from our text that suffering them to hunger was one of the means God used
to humble them. What has more of a humbling effect than to come into want? The
prodigal son left in pride. He left with everything he could wish for. He spent
his money in riotous living, but what was more humbling than to be made hungry,
to have to come to his father and confess he had sinned and to ask to become one
of his hired servants because he had been brought into want. 

 
Notice in the second place the divine feeding. He “suffered thee to hunger, and
fed thee.” What a tremendous, glorious consolation for you and me, not only to
know that the Lord suffers us to hunger, but that He feeds us.

 
To all those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, the Lord says in Isaiah
55:1-3: “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath
no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and
without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your
labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye
that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your
ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an
everlasting covenant with you, even the

sure mercies of David.”
 
Those who hunger after righteousness have this invitation, and this hunger is
one of the most blessed graces the Lord gives you and me.
 
That word and in our text is as a diamond rivet. It cannot be broken nor
altered. He “suffered thee to hunger [after righteousness], and fed thee.” Would
that not be horrible if we were brought to where we hungered, and starved to
death? Look at the consolation there is for those He has caused to hunger. There
is that blessed feeding, that blessed food, that blessed manna.

 
All those bitter things in God’s humbling process become sweet when we learn
what we read in verse 5: “Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a
man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.”
 
Now we learn to see that all these struggles and all these things we have gone
through were the tender love of a father who brought them about to keep us from
destroying ourselves by feeding on the husks of this world. He did this in His
love. It was a blessed thing.
 
What is God’s purpose in all this humbling by chastising? When God leaves us to
ourselves we become as we read in 2 Kings 17:33-34: “They feared the LORD, and
served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away
from

thence. Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the LORD,
neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the
law and commandment which the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he
named Israel.” 

 
This is what we do by nature. If the Lord would leave you and me to ourselves,
we would turn into a lukewarm state. We would fear the Lord. We would go to
church. We would do everything by the numbers, but our hearts would still be
serving our own idols and would go back into the world. It was not until the
Lord allowed you and me to hunger that we stopped feeding on the things of the
flesh.
 
Then the Lord says He will cause them to hunger and then feed them with manna.
He will not throw the pearls before the swine. He will not allow us to have the
precious things of Christ along with the things of the flesh. We cannot serve
two masters.
 
God’s purpose in His chastening is to cause His dear children to walk in
obedience as a matter of principle from a motive of love as we see from
Deuteronomy 8:6: “Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy
God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.”
 
What is the fear of the Lord? It is to hate evil. It is to love His will. It is
to have a holy reverence for God and His will.
 
The central theme of our text is “man doth not live by bread only, but by every
word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.” This is what
it means to live.
 
In Psalm 119, David says, Oh that I might live. What is it to live? It is to
live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. That is what
nourishes the soul. That is what sustains the heavenly appetite that God has
created in the soul by the work of regeneration. When the Lord works
regeneration in the soul, it is that appetite after righteousness.
 
Our text speaks of hunger and its consequences. There was a time when the world
suited us well. That is our nature. The first evidence that God had quickened
the new man in us was that our appetite changed. We were not happy with swine’s
food any more. The soul became conscious of the pollution and the consequences
of sin. The soul becomes aware that sin is grievous, and we learn to see the
sinfulness of sin and its hateful character. We see bitterness and pride and all
these things in our hearts. We become loathsome in our own sight. We can no
longer feed on those things that used to be our chief delight. We begin to
hunger and thirst after righteousness.
 
God caused us to hunger, and fed us with manna, with the will and the Word of
God. Then the soul became conscious of God’s absence and hungered for His
presence. Until the Lord removes those things that fill the aching void in our
hearts, we will be content with the things of this world.
 
When Adam fell, it created an aching void in the heart that nothing but the
image of God could ever replace. We try to fill this void with the things of
this life, but nothing can replace the image of God. It is not until the
presence of God is restored in our hearts that that aching void is ever filled.

 
As this hunger becomes insatiable, we come under the same confusing influences
as the children of Israel came under. Worldly friends want to influence us. They
want to lead us away from the Lord. They would say we need more entertainment.
They can see that our countenance has changed, and they suggest entertainment to
fill the emptiness.

 
The legalist would call upon you to live by the letter of the law, but there is
no satisfaction in that. There is no fulfillment in living by the letter of the
law. We must live by the spirit of the law.
 
As the hunger increased, the soul was weaned from all these. We see in 1 Peter
2:1: “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and
envies, all evil speakings.”

 
These are the things we feed on by nature. We are to lay these aside. Many
people only feed on the grapevine, and they are always talking, but that has to
be cut off.
 
Verse 2 says: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye
may grow thereby.” You cannot feed on husks and on food. When you fill your
stomach with husks, food will nauseate you, but if you have your stomach filled
with manna, then husks will nauseate you. You cannot feed on both. That is why
He causes us to hunger. He brings us through a fast to make us fit in character
so we can feed on manna.

 
Continuing in verse 3 we read: “If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is
gracious.” We have a keener appetite, and we start feeding on things that are
more blessed.

 
We read in verse 4: “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed
of men, but chosen of God, and precious.”

 
We are as dependent upon God to sustain our spiritual life as we are for Him to
quicken us from our spiritual death “in trespasses and sins” as we see in
Ephesians 2:1-2. 

 
In verses 4 to 6 we read: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love
wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us
together

with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made
us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” 

 
We are so dependent on God that He quickened us in the first place, and we are
equally dependent on Him that He sustain our spiritual life. How does He do it?
He causes us to hunger. He makes these things that are abominable to Him
abominable to us. He makes it so we can no longer feed on them. He takes our
hearts out of the world.
 
Many Christians are spiritually low because they do not live “by every word that
proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD.” They live by feelings, they live by
opinions, they live by so many other things, but the Word of God is not their
authority.

 
The Lord used clay and spittle to open the eyes of the blind, and the pastor is
nothing but clay that has been spit upon. Yet, when we take that and start
polishing it and make it an idol, the Lord will break that idol. Then we will
hate him as badly as we ever loved him. Sometimes it is our own fault, because
we made an idol of him, and now the Lord has removed that idol because we have
become so low that we feared the Lord and served our own idols. We need to
return to where we live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the
Lord.
 
Those who neglect feeding upon the manna of God’s Word are starving their souls.
The new man can only live upon manna, and if we neglect gathering it daily our
souls will become famished. We cannot live by anything else. We must live by
every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord, which is the manna with
which He feeds us. We must daily search the Word for new manna.
 
Our text says “that man doth not live by bread only.” At least two more
substances are needed for bare existence. Those are air and water, spiritually
as well as literally. You can have all the bread in the world and die of thirst.
You can live by a river of the most pure water and die of starvation. You can
have water and bread and die from strangulation. We need air, we need water and
we need bread.
 
How many people want to live off the broken body of Christ? They want to escape
the consequences of sin and have a pardon, and that is their whole religion. You
cannot live on that alone. You need cleansing water. If you do not have
cleansing you have no pardon.
 
This teaches that we will not only hunger, but also thirst after righteousness.
We not only desire to have a pardon for our sins, but we want to be cleansed
from the pollution of our sins. We desire to have sin purged away so we can walk
according to the will of God. This spiritual warfare that God has created in our
hearts is a desire to be free from sin because we see the sinfulness of sin, not
only that we want to escape the consequences, but that we have such a desire to
again be reconciled to God. We know that we can never be reconciled without
being cleansed.
 
The third essential element, air, is the new birth. You and I would perish
eternally if we did not have the work of regeneration, which is the new birth.
We see this in John 3:8: “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest
the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so
is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
 
Also, turn with me to Ezekiel 37:8: “And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the
flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no
breath in them.”
 
We need breath. He had the bones and sinews, the two essential elements, but he
needed the third one.

 
We read in verses 9 and 10: “Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind,
prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from
the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I
prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived,
and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”
 
We need that breath of life. We need that work of regeneration of the Holy
Spirit. We need to be born again. We need all three.

 
The Lord is telling us that we cannot live by bread alone. We cannot live by a
preaching of justification only.  We need sanctification. We need the Spirit of
Christ. We read in Romans 8:9: “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he
is none of his.” We need for the Holy Spirit to breathe in us. We need that work
of regeneration, that new birth.
 
There is one more essential element necessary for us to remain healthy, and that
is exercise. If a person has breath, bread and water, he is alive. We see
spiritual life, but to remain healthy this spiritual life needs exercise.
 
As we have learned what it is to eat from angel’s food, we must put what we have
received from the Word into exercise to remain spiritually healthy and to grow
in grace.
 
I want to show you what is one of the most essential elements of the gospel that
I do not hear preached today. I want you to see what it is when we take that
bread, water and life and we put it into exercise that it might live.

 
We read in 2 Peter 1:5-7: “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your
faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to
temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly
kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”
 
See the second table of the law put into practice here.
 
Continuing in verse 8 we read: “For if these things be in you, and abound, they
make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our

Lord Jesus Christ.”
 
John 17:3 says, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only
true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
 
Continuing in 2 Peter 1:9 we read: “But he that lacketh these things is blind,
and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old
sins.”
 
We are talking about the man who has life. Now we must put that into exercise,
and it is by exercise that we remain healthy, and that we learn to grow.

 
See the connecting word at the start of verse 10: “Wherefore the rather,
brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do
these things, ye shall never fall.”
 
How do we make our calling and election sure? We make our election sure by doing
these things. Is that preaching legalism? No. I am not telling you that you are
going to earn heaven by good works. I am saying that for those who have the work
of regeneration, for those who have life, do you want to be never barren in the
knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you want to grow spiritually? Then do
these things.
 
We read in verse 11: “For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly
into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
 
Is brotherly love immaterial? No. The great commandment is to love God above
all, with our hearts, souls and minds. Can you tell me you love God and hate
your brother? No. Doing these things is my evidence that I love God.

 
The law of self-denial for the well-being of others is the only means of
maintaining our own well-being. We maintain our own well-being, not by selfishly
seeking our own good, but by seeking the good of others. In so doing, we
maintain our own well-being.
 
Our text says, the Lord “suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna.” We
cannot feed on the things of the flesh and on heavenly manna.
 
When our hearts and minds are taken up with our family, our business, the cares
of this life, we will find our hearts as the prodigal son. We will find
ourselves in want. We will find ourselves barren in the knowledge of the Lord
Jesus Christ. When our hearts are taken up with the things that are spiritual,
so an entrance is ministered to us.
 
There will be an aching void that nothing can fill until the Lord again feeds us
with manna. When we feed on the things of the flesh, we will find our souls
barren.
 
So what is that manna? I read you that in John 6:35: “And Jesus said unto them,
I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that
believeth on me shall never thirst.”
 
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Word. Revelation 19:13 tells us: “And he was
clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.”
 
So, what is manna? Manna is to feed upon the Word. Amen.

 
 
Gods Gracious Leading, No. 2
 
And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty
years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in
thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled
thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest
not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth
not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of
the LORD doth man live (Deuteronomy 8:2-3).
 
We have spoken about how the Lord says, “Thou shalt remember all the way which
the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness.” We have
addressed the issue of how we must call to remembrance, and we must, as a cow
chews its cud, go over these things that the Lord has led us through. Many times
the Lord brings a rich blessing in us remembering what He has done.
 
Those who fear the LORD gather around to tell what the Lord has done for their
souls, and as we read in Malachi 3:16b: “And the LORD hearkened, and heard it,
and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD,
and that thought upon his name.”
 
The Lord is greatly pleased when His people come together and speak of those
things He has done. Many times these people came together to talk about what the
Lord had done for them, and where the Lord had led them in the humiliating way
that had brought them to this hour.
 
As they gathered around and “spake often one to another ... and … thought upon
his name,” they not only brought to remembrance those circumstances whereby the
Lord humbled them, they could also recall those times when the Spirit fulfilled
what Jesus said in John 16:14: “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of
mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
 
As the people of God come together and commune around the things of the Lord,
the Holy Spirit comes in their midst. The Lord is listening and takes notice of
what they are speaking about, and He writes it in His book of remembrance. The
Spirit glorifies Christ by revealing those things of His and will show them to
His people.
 
I want you to see this in Luke 6:21: “Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye
shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.” See the
harmony of this and what we read in Deuteronomy 8:3: “And he humbled thee, and
suffered thee to hunger.” One of the blessings the Lord grants us is when He
gives us that hungering in our soul after righteousness. 

 
As we see these circumstances the Lord leads us through, our hearts sometimes
bleed and are cast down. We then read in Luke 6:22: “Blessed are ye, when men
shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall
reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.” This
is not according to the flesh. When the Lord works that humbling grace in our
hearts, we see it is a blessing that we are sorted out and that the world hates
us and that we cannot keep company with them. We see that it was a blessing that
the Lord led us in this way of humiliation because we see that this is
fellowshipping in the sufferings of Christ. Our hearts and minds can come into
harmony with the mind of Christ in these sufferings. It must be for the Son of
Man’s sake. It cannot be for our pride.
 
If the Lord has sent someone who has cast us out of his company, the one who is
blessed is the one who has been separated from their company for the Son of
Man’s sake. In other words, because they see Christ formed in you. That way of
humiliation, that way of the cross, has brought us to where Christ is formed in
us. The world can see this, and for this reason they put us out of their
company. Then the Lord says we are blessed.
 
There is such a blessed harmony between those circumstances the Lord brings us
into, and those the Holy Spirit brings to our attention of Christ’s example in
the way of the cross.

 
We read in 1 Peter 2:19: “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience
toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.” If we are suffering for our
pride, if we are suffering for our stubbornness or if we are suffering for our
bitterness, that is not thankworthy. If we are suffering after having done them
good, and they reward us with hatred and bitterness, then we are suffering
wrongfully.

 
Continuing in verse 20 we read: “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted
for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer
for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” There is no glory in
taking patiently buffeting for your pride, arrogance or bitterness, or for
things you have done wrong.

 
The Lord is looking at our hearts. Do we have that Spirit of Christ? Do we walk
in the way of humiliation? Has He humbled us? If our hearts have truly been
humbled, then we can suffer wrongfully and take it patiently. We can be cheerful
under those circumstances. 

 
Now watch what it says in verse 21: “For even hereunto were ye called: because
Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his

steps.”
 
They put us out of their company because they cannot tolerate the Spirit of
Christ in us. We see that blessed harmony between what we suffer and what Christ
suffered in the way of humiliation. Christ humbled Himself and became obedient
unto death, even the death of the cross.
 
As our will is dissolved into the will of God, as the Spirit of Christ is formed
in us, we can patiently endure suffering wrongfully. We can humble ourselves
unto death, death to ourselves, death to everything of the flesh, death to sin,
death to the world. We are to follow in the footsteps of Christ.
 
The Creator of the universe is delighted when His dear family enters the kingdom
of God, and comes together to fellowship in the sufferings of Christ as we can
see from Malachi 3:16: “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to
another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was
written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his
name.”
 
They were speaking about the fellowship they had in the Lord Jesus Christ, how
they could fellowship in His suffering, how they could fellowship in His walk,
how they could follow His steps.
 
The Lord is so pleased because He sees that Spirit of Christ formed in the
heart. He sees that the humiliating process has worked its finished work. He
sees the purpose of all this humiliation that He has led us through.    

 
Then it goes on in verse 17: “And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts,
in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth
his own son that serveth him.” These are the ones the Lord will identify with.
These are the ones the Lord will lay claim to. These are the ones who will shine
as jewels in His crown because they have followed in His footsteps. The key is
in those who serve Him.

 
Let me now show you Malachi 3:18: “Then shall ye return, and discern between the
righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him

not.” 
 
See the harmony between this and the words of our text and that we have come to
live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. This is the purpose
of all this humiliating process. That is the purpose of all this refining in the
furnace of affliction. The Lord has brought us through this to “know what was in
thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no” (Deuternonomy
8:2).

 
All these trials of faith and humbling circumstances are to teach God’s dear
family what we read in verse 3: “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to
hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers
know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by
every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.” That was
His purpose for all this humiliation.
 
This life’s journey through the wilderness of sin is a proving ground, to know
what is in our hearts, to help determine whether we are building our foundation
upon the Rock, or whether we are building on the sand.

 
Jesus illustrated this in Matthew 7:24: “Therefore whosoever heareth these
sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built
his house upon a rock.” 

 
See the blessed harmony between this and the words of our text: “that he might
make thee know,” to prove whether you will live by every word that proceeds out
of the mouth of the Lord.

 
Notice verses 25 and 26: “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the
winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a
rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not,
shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand.”
 
God will “prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest
keep his commandments, or no.” Does this mean a legalistic keeping of the
commandments by the letter of the law? No. The Lord looks at the heart. Is it
totally dissolved into the will of God? Is it our heart’s desire to walk
according to the spirit of the law?

 
The spirit of the law is the law of love. Which commandments was He speaking
about when He said: “On these two commandments hang all the law and the
prophets” (Matthew 22:40)? What are they? To love God with all our heart, our
soul and our mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. He is going to put us
to the test to prove whether or not we love Him.
 
Notice again in Luke 6:22-23: “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when
they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out
your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap
for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did
their fathers unto the prophets.”

 
The Lord is asking: Have you learned to keep that commandment of love? Can you
rejoice or do you become bitter and hateful when they put you out of their
company, when they push you out and say, We cannot keep company with you because
you have a heart that is tender for the will of God. This becomes such a reproof
to those who walk in known sin.
 
God will prove what is in our hearts by the circumstances He leads us through.
 
We read in Malachi 3:3: “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver:
and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that
they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.”
 
The Lord Jesus Christ will purify our hearts and purge us in the furnace of
affliction. He will purify our corrupt hearts that our offerings will be with
our hearts, souls and minds in His service. We must have undivided hearts. Our
will must be totally dissolved in the will of God. The Lord tries the heart and
searches the reins through the circumstances He leads us into.

 
We read in Luke 6:27-28: “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do
good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which
despitefully use you.”
 
That word bless means speak well of those who speak ill of you. Speak well of
those who curse you. To have charity means to see every man in his best light.
We will speak well of them. We will cover their sins. That is the commandment of
love. He will lead us through these humbling circumstances that we might learn
to do His will, that we will live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth
of the Lord.

 
This brings us to the light to see the secret counsels of our own hearts. We
read in John 3:20-21: “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither
cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.  But he that doeth truth
cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought
in God.”
 
The Lord brings us to the light. In this wilderness journey, in this process the
Lord is leading us through, He wants to bring us to the light. Is the light our
condemnation, or do we come to the light that we might be made manifest, so that
every evil thought and every idle word might be brought to our attention, and
that we might be purged from it?
 
The light reveals the hypocrisy of the heart as well as the fear of God. When
the Lord shines His Word into our hearts, and the Lord speaks His Word with
power into our souls, it reveals our hypocrisy, wretchedness, bitterness and
hatred, as well as it reveals the fear of God. It reveals that humble desire and
that holy reverence we have to do the will of God. That does not mean we will
serve the Lord with perfection, but the Lord looks at the heart.
 
A person will never be bothered with pride until God humbles him. When we become
humble is when we first begin to see the Pharisee in our hearts. It is so easy
to see the pride in another person, and we can be so judgmental about other
people. When the Lord opens our eyes to see the Pharisee in our own heart, we
realize how proud we are, and we must be ready to come to the light that our
deeds might be made manifest, to see that they are wrought in God.
 
Has not the Lord touched your conscience with His finger to give you to know
what is in your heart? Have you noticed bitterness that rises up when someone
comes against your flesh? Have you noticed an unforgiving spirit? The Lord leads
us through circumstances to prove us. Have you found in your own heart that many
times you become critical of someone else? All these things are brought to the
light. Does it make us flee from the light because our deeds are being made
manifest, or does it bring us with a repenting spirit before the Lord, asking
Him to forgive us and to deliver us from the power of that sin? We need to pray:
Help us to be able to suffer wrongfully and take it patiently, that that
bitterness, and that judgmental spirit and that unforgiveness might be removed.
 
Have you been able to put your Isaac on the altar of sacrifice? Is your all on
the altar? This is the Lord’s proving ground. We are brought to a place where we
have to put everything on the altar to sacrifice for the Lord. Do we do it
grudgingly? Can we do these things? He is working in us to humble us and to
prove us.
 
See what God proved by calling Abraham to put his Isaac on the altar in Genesis
22:12: “And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing
unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld
thy son, thine only son from me.” The Lord had told Abraham that He was going to
prove him. He said, Put your Isaac on the altar.

 
The Lord came to humble us and to prove us. How does He know that you and I are
humble? He does this by putting us to the test. Do we truly fear the Lord? The
fear of the Lord is to hate evil, to hate pride, arrogance and all evil ways.
The fear of the Lord is a holy reverence for His will. It is to live by every
word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.
 
The Lord was testing Abraham. Do you truly fear the Lord? Do you truly reverence
every word I say to you? Put your Isaac on the altar.
 
The Lord proves us. He brings us through these proving grounds to test us. In
your travels through the circumstances God has for you to encounter in your
wilderness journey, there will be things from time to time “to prove thee, to
know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or
no.” Are we willing to obey the Lord? Are we willing to walk according to His
will? Can we crucify everything of our flesh? That is what the Lord has come to
prove. If He loves us, that proving ground will yet bring us to where we will
put our Isaac on the altar. We are not going to stop short of it if the Lord has
to bring us to the brink of eternity to do it. He will bring us to the point
where He will cut off all flesh.
 
There will be times you will say with Asaph in Psalm 73:1: “Truly God is good to
Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.” Those with clean hearts are those
who have been purged and cleansed through the trials the Lord has led them
through.

 
Continuing in verse 2 he said, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my
steps had well nigh slipped.” He saw the wretchedness of his own heart. He saw
the covetousness of his own heart. He saw how his heart was unclean before the
Lord. The Lord proved Asaph by bringing him into circumstances where he envied
the proud and saw that they had it so much better than him. 

 
He said in verse 3: “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity
of  the wicked.” The Lord had not prospered him like He did the wicked, and he
became foolish. The Lord led him into these circumstances to prove him, to try
his heart and to see what was in his heart.
 
Do these proving grounds humble us as they did Asaph? The Lord revealed to him
what was in his heart. See what he said in Psalm 73:21-22: “Thus my heart was
grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as
a beast before thee.” When the Lord proved Asaph, it humbled him.
 
As we gather around to call to remembrance “all the way which the LORD thy God
led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee,
to know what was in thine heart,” then what a blessing it is that we can tell
not only of our own failings, but of God’s faithfulness.

 
Asaph in Psalm 73 tells of his failings, but also of God’s faithfulness as we
see in verses 23 and 24: “Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast
holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward
receive

me to glory.”
 
See how such faithfulness of our God fills the hearts and mouths of His dear
family with His praises. We read in verses 25 and 26: “Whom have I in heaven but
thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my
heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”
 
See the blessed fruit of this humbling, proving ground. After the Lord had
humbled him, see how the Lord filled his mouth with praise. Asaph saw that he in
himself was not sufficient for these things. He saw the blessedness of the
salvation of God.

 
It was only by bringing Asaph through such a proving ground that he was humbled.
The Lord humbles us by bringing us through these circumstances to take our eyes
off from ourselves, to get our eyes off of the things of this world. He brings
us into these places of humiliation. Asaph’s humility brought forth his songs of
praise.
 
We have to see the blessed harmony in the leadings of the Lord. After Asaph had
been humbled and he had seen that he was as a beast before God, the Lord showed
him His mercy and his portion in Christ. Then his heart was filled with praise.
He said: “My flesh and my heart faileth,” or for me everything of the flesh is
as nothing, “but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”
 
All the circumstances the Lord brought Israel through are not only written in
His book of remembrance, but they were written for our learning. We read in 1
Corinthians 10:11-13: “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples:
and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are
come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There
hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful,
who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the
temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
 
The Lord will send no temptation, trial or proving ground upon us except that
which is common to man. God gave Asaph a way of escape by opening the door of
the sanctuary, which is the Lord Jesus Christ. This way of escape is how we can
bear the humiliation the Lord brings upon us. This is how we can rejoice when we
are put out of their company. We see the reward that lies inside of that door.
 
We read in Luke 6:23: “Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold,
your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto
the prophets.” We have that rejoicing because our eyes are on the reward.
 
What a mercy it is for you and me that not only the failings of Israel are
recorded, but also God’s longsuffering love toward them when they confessed
their sin. We see in Jeremiah 3:13-14: “Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that
thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to
the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the
LORD. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you:
and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to
Zion.”
 
This is what the Lord wants. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to
forgive. The door is open into that sanctuary. The Lord is pleading with us to
confess our sins and to acknowledge our iniquities and to humble ourselves
before the Lord that we might learn to know that man does not live by bread
alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.
 
Oh beloved, what a mercy it is for you and me to be able to look back and
remember the times when God had brought us into circumstances where all we could
do was cry to the Lord saying, Lord, help me! I am not a stranger to that, and
maybe you are not either.

 
Then oh what a comfort we find in that which was left on record for the comfort
of Israel in Isaiah 41:10-16: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not
dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea,
I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they
that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be
as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them,
and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war
against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of naught. For I the LORD thy
God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear
not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD,
and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
 
Look at the promises. Look at the rich consolation that is left on record of
what the Lord had said to comfort the people after He had humbled them. Now we
see here these four and five times in such a few verses where the Lord says, I
will help you. You know, then the Lord does help, and He delivers us out of all
our troubles.

 
He goes on in verses 15 and 16: “Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing
instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small,
and shalt make the hills as chaff. Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry
them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the
LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.” 

 
The Lord says He will deliver us from all our enemies, and we are our own worst
enemies. The Lord will give us a mouth having teeth, which means we will be able
to sing forth the praises of God. We will be able to shatter all those enemies,
and they will all disappear because the Lord will give us the victory over them.
All our enemies will be put to flight.
 
See how beautifully God has left on record for our comfort those circumstances
He has said He would lead His dear family into to humble them, but also His
blessed purpose in those circumstances in the following verses.
 
We read in Isaiah 41:17: “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none,
and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of
Israel will not forsake them.”

 
I want you to see the difference between this and what we read in Exodus 15:24:
“And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?”
 
Now after the Lord had led them 40 years in the wilderness, they cry unto the
Lord. They are not murmuring. They have been humbled. They have learned to see
and to understand what is in their hearts. Now when the Lord brings us into a
place of need, instead of rebelling and becoming bitter and murmuring, we turn
to the Lord. They were now calling on the Lord, and He heard them.
 
Continuing in verses 18 and 19 we read: “I will open rivers in high places, and
fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of
water, and  the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the
cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the
desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together,”
 
The water is from the fountain we read of in John 4:10, where Jesus is speaking
to the woman of Samaria: “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the
gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest
have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”
 
Continuing in verses 13 and 14 we read: “Jesus answered and said unto her,
Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of
the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall
give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
 
That wilderness heart of ours turns into a flowing fountain, the symbol of the
Spirit of God. The Lord is telling us how that dry and thirsty soul will become
a spring of living water.
 
We read in Isaiah 41:20: “That they may see, and know, and consider, and
understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy

One of Israel hath created it.”
 
This brings you and me back to the words of our text in Deuteronomy 8:3: “And he
humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou
knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man
doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth

of the LORD doth man live.”
 
The Lord is telling you and me that we are going to come to where we feed upon
the Word of God, that it becomes our food by night and day, that we do not live
by the things of this life, but we live by every word that proceeds from the
mouth of the Lord.
 
As God leads His dear family through this wilderness journey He will teach them
to rightly understand the authority of His Word. See what the Apostle Paul said
in Romans 7:9-12: “For I was alive without the law once: but when the
commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was
ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the
commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the
commandment holy, and

just, and good.”
 
As we have learned to understand the authority of God’s Word, we will understand
why the carnal heart would reason as the Jews in Mark 1:22: “And they were
astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and
not as the scribes.”
 
When the Lord speaks, He speaks with authority, and this is the basis and
central theme of the leading of the Lord. We must come to understand the
authority of His Word. We must come to where we tremble at His Word, not with a
slavish fear, but with a holy, reverential awe. All authority is given to the
Lord Jesus Christ. There is no authority outside of the Word of God.

 
This is the distinction between those who live by human reasoning, and those who
live by “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD.”
 
If we are going to live by human reasoning then we can gainsay the Word of God,
but if we are going to understand what it is that we live “by every word that
proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD,” then we stand in holy reverence at the
authority of His Word. We cannot alter one word of His.
 
Jesus says what it is to live by every word that proceeds out of His mouth in
Luke 6:46: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
 
Why do you call me Lord and you do not see that I have the authority to be Lord?
 
Continuing in verses 47 and 48 He said: “Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my
sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man
which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and
when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not
shake it:

for it was founded upon a rock.”
 
This man dug deep into the Word of God to know what is every word that the Lord
is saying. You do not waver when you are built solid on the Word. You cannot be
shaken.
 
Continuing in verse 49 He said, “But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a
man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the
stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house
was great.”
 
When we start building on human reasoning, when we do not build on every word
that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord, we are building on sand. When we do
not understand the authority of God’s Word, we do not understand the Gospel.
Then we have a humanistic Gospel.
 
The Lord leads us in circumstances to humble us and to prove us and to know what
is in our hearts, whether we will keep His commandments or no. He brings us into
this proving ground where we are going to have to sacrifice everything of
ourselves and everything of the flesh to obey.
 
We are going to be put out, and our names are going to be reproached and cast
out as evil, but in that day we will rejoice.
 
It says in Luke 6:24-28: “But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received
your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you
that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall
speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. But I say
unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless
them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”
 
Are we living by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord? This is
what we must dig deep into the Word of God to find out, so we understand for
ourselves what the Lord is telling us so we can walk and live by His every word.

 
 

 
Deuteronomy 8:2-3: “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God
led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee,
to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or
no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna,
which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee
know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out
of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”
 
Notice verse one of this chapter: “All the commandments which I command thee
this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and
possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers.”
 
We also read in verses 10 and 11: “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou
shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware
that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his
judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day.”
 
When the Lord has brought upon us His rich blessings, we must beware not to
forget Him. The most important thing for you and me to understand is that the
Lord wants us to understand what He has done for us. The Lord wants us to
remember the way in which He has led us. He wants us not to forget this when He
has given us blessings, and not to set our hearts on the things of this life. We
are not to live by the things of this life, but by every word that proceeds from
the Lord’s mouth.
 
Notice how our Saviour quoted these significant words of our text after He was
tempted 40 days in the wilderness. He had been tempted to violate this very
principle. Notice this in Matthew 4:3-4: “And when the tempter came to him, he
said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he
answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by
every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
 
The Lord is leading us through many trials, through many afflictions and through
many circumstances to teach us that we must live by every word that proceeds
from His mouth.

 
Notice the devil’s next subtle temptation by his crafty interpretation and
perversion of the Word of God in Matthew 4:5-6: “Then the devil taketh him up
into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto
him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall
give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee
up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”
 
One of the devil’s most crafty devices is interpreting the Word of God. He took
the Word of God to tempt Christ to disobey that very Word. He is trying to
interpret God’s Word to mean that we should be fatalistic.
 
There is much difference between interpreting the Word of God and unfolding the
Word of God. No human being on the face of the earth has ever been commissioned
to interpret the Word of God. The pastor’s job is to unfold it and search it out
and to show you “Thus saith the Lord.” That is the end of it. We have absolutely
no commission to interpret the Word of God. Our only commission is to unfold the
Word of God and to help you understand what it says.
 
The Apostle Paul explains so beautifully how we are not to live by the
interpretations of some authority but by every word of God. We see this in 1
Corinthians 2:4-5: “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words
of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your
faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
 
The Apostle Paul is showing us the basis of his ministry. It is not what some
theologian interprets God’s Word to mean. This is not the foundation upon which
we stand. Our foundation must be every word that proceeds out of the mouth of
God.
 
God’s dear family, whom He led through the wilderness, cannot feed on the husks.
They cannot feed on some interpretation of man’s wisdom. They cannot feed on
that which the swine have left. They can only feed on the bread of life, which
is every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
 
I see such a blessed harmony in these words from our text and those found in
Proverbs 30:5-6: “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put
their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou
be found a liar.” We do not eliminate a word, neither do we transpose a word.

 
By nature of the fall, we find the truth of what God has recorded in His Word in
Romans 10:21: “But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my
hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”
 
Gainsaying comes from the Greek word antilego, and it means to dispute, to
refuse, to answer again, to contradict, to deny, to gainsay, to argue with, to
oppose by reasoning, or to agitate contrary opinions or principles, to question
the justice of a principle.

 
Now by nature, God’s people are a gainsaying people. This means we want to take
the Word of God, and we want to agitate opinions contrary to it. By nature we
will argue against it or oppose it with human reasoning. We want to start
interpreting. We want to alter what God has really said to us because we do not
like it the way it is.
 
How often do people gainsay the Word of God because they do not believe they
should abide by it the way it is written? They will oppose it and question its
justice, not only the world, but God’s people are a gainsaying people by nature.
 
I want you to see Malachi 3:13-15, where it speaks of a gainsaying people: “Your
words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we
spoken so much against thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what
profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully
before the LORD of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work
wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.”
 
What we have done is to question the authority of His Word. See how these
gainsayers question God's judgment!
 
This is something I have said before, and I would like to say it again. Why are
there thousands of different churches and denominations in the world? Ask one
why they cannot fellowship with another, and they may respond, Well, we
interpret the Bible differently than they do. No human being, though, has ever
been authorized to interpret the Bible, so they are both wrong. Why do we not
just get into the Bible, unfold it and see what it says, and there would only
have to be one church.
 
As a result of this rebellion, which was instilled in the heart of man through
the fall, our text tells us how God leads His dear children to break that
rebellion and to rebuild their reverence for the Word. That is what happened in
Paradise. They lost their respect and reverence for God’s Word. We are not to
build our foundation upon the wisdom of men or upon what some theologian or
authority says, but on what the Word of God says.
 
That proud rebellion that is in our hearts by nature must be broken, so the Lord
leads us through circumstances to humble us.
 
The first point, which the Lord impresses upon the conscience, is to remember.
We forget so easily, and that is what the Lord was cautioning His people
against. If we get into a state of prosperity and into a comfortable set of
circumstances, we are likely to forget and neglect the authority of His Word.
 
One of the greatest weaknesses we have inherited because of the fall is that we
want to live by bread only, the temporal things of this world, and forget what
God has said. As soon as we become comfortable in the things of this world, and
we start setting our pleasures and hopes on the things of this life, the Lord
sees that we have forgotten to live by His Word.
 
We read in John 14:26: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the
Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things
to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
 
The Lord will lead us through circumstances, and He will bring us through trials
that will bring us to remembrance as to what the Lord has told us, and what the
Word of God says.
 
This Divine Teacher shines on all the ways in which He has led us. When we
become older and look back, then we remember things the Lord did to us when we
were little children. Many things in my life as a child often come to my
remembrance when the Lord has led me through some way that has brought me back
to remembering His Word. Now, many times the Lord reminds me of things He taught
me as a child.

 
One of the most blessed means this Divine Teacher uses to bring God’s ways to
our remembrance is recorded in Malachi 3:16: “Then they that feared the LORD
spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of
remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that
thought upon his name.”
 
The Lord often brings things back to my memory things when we have fellowship,
and we gather together to tell what the Lord has done in our lives. When someone
else tells what the Lord has done in his life, it brings to my mind what the
Lord has done in my life, how He has spared me, and how He has brought me to
this place, how He has led me these years in this life’s wilderness.
 
This time of refreshing follows true repentance. We read in Acts 3:19: “Repent
ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the
times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”
 
I was visiting with a pastor one time who was dying of cancer, and I asked him
how he was doing. He replied: “I have been preaching all these years, and now I
have to be saved myself. It seems as if the Lord has withdrawn Himself.”
 
I reminded him how he had been in our congregation, and how the Lord had so
richly blessed his preaching. I reminded him of another church, where he told of
how a woman had been so delivered from the power of Satan under his preaching.
Then I reminded him of another time he had told about in a congregation back
east that the Lord had so richly blessed. I told him: Now, when Satan comes and
tells you, Oh, you have deceived yourself. The Lord never called you into the
ministry in the first place, tell him to go back where he belongs.
 
After we had visited for a couple of hours, that man was as lifted up and
rejoicing in the Lord as he was cast down when we started talking. It was by
bringing to remembrance those things that the Lord had done in the past that his
soul was refreshed. The Lord in His providence brought about that very visit.
This is the refreshing that came in the presence of the Lord.
 
Oh beloved, what a blessed time of refreshing it is when one of God’s dear
children may exclaim with David as we see in Psalm 66:16: “Come and hear, all ye
that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.” This refreshes
the souls of those who have become dry. Before you leave a situation like this,
you will find that they too are remembering and are speaking of the times when
the Lord has worked good in their souls.
 
That is what the Lord is saying in our text—that you may remember. I will lead
you through these humiliating times, and through these humiliating
circumstances, so that when I come and send deliverances in such times, then you
will be able to tell of the times I have blessed you.
 
Now I want you to see the harmony between the words of our text and what David
said of those who feared the Lord.  Look at Psalm 66:10-12: “For thou, O God,
hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into
the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride
over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us
out into a wealthy place.”
 
This is what David was going to tell the people who came to gather around him in
verse 16. He was going to tell how the Lord had tried him, and how the Lord had
proved him, and now how the Lord had blessed him. I have been through this
struggle. I have been through this trial, but the Lord did not drop me in the
middle of the fire. He did not leave me to be drowned in the water, but He
brought me out to a wealthy place.
 
This calling of God’s assembly was to remember all the ways into which the Lord
had led him. It was to call to remembrance. He was going to tell them how he had
been proved and how he had been tried, but how the Lord delivered him.

 
I want you to see Psalm 66:17-18: “I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was
extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not
hear me.”
Regard in the original means “cherish.” If I cherish iniquity in my
heart. If I have some iniquity in my heart that I love.
 
Continuing in verses 19 and 20 we read: “But verily God hath heard me; he hath
attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away
my prayer, nor his mercy from me.”
 
This is the great news he was going to share with others. I was in trouble. He
proved me. He brought me out into a wealthy place. He heard my prayer, and He
delivered me. These are the things that come into remembrance when we come
together to tell what the Lord has done for our souls.

 
We often recall the darker shades of our paths as well as the brighter ones. We
have to also remember the black spots in our lives, as well as the times when
the Lord has delivered us, because it was these black spots that He delivers us
from.
 
It was the same with David when he said in Psalm 25:5-7: “Lead me in thy truth,
and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the
day. Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they
have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions:
according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.”
 
It is important to understand that David, the man after God’s own heart, the
sweet psalmist of Israel, when he got older, he said, “Lord, remember not the
sins of my youth.” When we are children, when we are young, we do so many things
that we do not realize are sinful. We have bitter thoughts. We can be rebellious
against our parents. We do not realize how grievous that is until we get older.
David asked the Lord to remember him according to His mercy.
 
Many times, children, now that I am old, I think back on when I was rebellious,
and that makes my heart cry. So many things we do when we are children, such as
being angry, bitter and rebellious, then when we get older we see how grievously
that offends the Lord. Then we say, Lord, please do not remember my sins of
youth. They grieve us. They haunt us, so in our youth we should learn to
remember what it is to love the Lord, and if we are submissive to our parents,
we are being submissive to the Lord. The Lord tells us to honor our father and
our mother. We must respect them.
 
We are to remember all the ways in which the Lord has led us. The Lord has led
us through so many trials. He has led us through so many circumstances, and we
are to remember all of them because He had one purpose in leading us through
these trying circumstances, and that is to teach us to remember that we live by
every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. It is to teach us to love the
Word and the will of God.
 
Now when we remember the dark shades of our lives, there are so many things
connected with our nature’s depravity. When you and I think back like David did
upon his sins of youth, we see so many things connected with the depravity of
our lives. We can think of so many times where we were bitter at this person, or
we were hateful toward that person, or we were rebellious against this or that.
We see such depravity, but we also see grace super abounding. Sometimes when we
think back on all the ways the Lord has led us, then we can think back how we
were so rebellious here, and then how the Lord used such circumstances to teach
us to understand that that was rebellion against God.
 
As we remember God’s mercy, and we remember His delivering hand, it sometimes
seems like all nature was against us, but what was the Lord teaching us? He was
teaching us to recognize that the result was bitterness in our hearts. He was
teaching us to know what was in our hearts, and we overlooked it until the Lord
led us to a given point and then we were able to see it.
 
Now then we see that dark shade in our hearts, and we remember how the Lord
taught us to see it, and how He delivered us from it. That is what we remember
when we look back.
 
The second point the Lord impresses upon the conscience in our text is why it
was that He led them 40 years in the wilderness. First He says remember, and now
He is going to tell us why. His grand purpose was to humble us.

 
Let’s see what the Lord is teaching us here. If the Lord would reveal who was
the proudest man in town, it would not be the one who spends his day counting in
his counting house or doing the things that please the flesh.

 
It would be one of those gainsayers of whom we read in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15:
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into
the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an
angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be
transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to
their works.”
 
This is where we would find the proud one. They can stand up to the Word of God
and interpret it and twist it to say exactly the opposite of what it says. How
much of that do we find in our hearts, that we do not want to take the Word of
God literally, just the way it is written, but we want to alter it a little, or
apply it in some way to fit us better? How much of this is in our hearts that
the Lord has to humble?
 
These ministers preach the righteousness of Christ, but I will show you where
the missing link is. They preach salvation without repentance. You can be saved
like Balaam wanted to be saved. He wanted to have all these wonderful
experiences. He wanted to die the death of the righteous, but he loved the wages
of unrighteousness. That is what happens under this kind of ministry. These
ministers have never cleaned up their acts. They have never repented of their
doings. They will be dealt with according to their works, not according to their
profession.
 
The Lord uses the Spirit’s teaching in the heart to produce the heavenly grace
of humility, which we do not have by nature. You and I have fallen in Adam by
nature, and pride was the first sin. Rebellion was the result of pride.
 
Two things produce humility by way of the Spirit’s teaching. One is His shining
into the heart with a deep discovery of who we are. The Holy Spirit will shine
in our hearts and give us to see the abominations that are there. He will give
us to see the blessed sacrifice of Christ, and the wrath of God upon sin, and
how it grieves God when we sin. He gives us to see our corruption, our weakness,
our pride and our wickedness. This though is not enough. It will not bring our
hearts to be sufficiently humble before the Lord.
 
How did the Lord bring to light the evil in the hearts of the Israelites? You
and I may be humble. I never had trouble in my life with pride—until the Lord
humbled me. When I start to see what it was for the Lord to humble me, then I
understand how much Pharisee was in my own heart. When I started to see what was
in my heart, I lost that whole pile of stones I had to throw at other people.
The proudest man in town was humble by comparison to me, when the Lord taught me
what pride I had in my heart.
 
The Israelites were standing on the shore of the Red Sea, and they had just been
singing the songs of redemption of how God had delivered them from the hands of
the Egyptians. That typified deliverance from the power of sin. Three days later
they murmured against the Lord. They murmured against that very God, and Moses
who led them.

 
The purpose of the Lord in bringing them into these circumstances was to reveal
what was in their hearts. That rebellion, bitterness and hatred was already
there. It did not come from this trial, but the trial revealed it. The Lord led
them 40 years in the wilderness to humble them. It was to teach them by these
circumstances what was in their hearts. During these three days in the
wilderness, their rebellion, which was already in their hearts, was revealed. It
was by this that He proved what was really in their hearts, whether they would
keep His commandments or not.

 
In the way the Lord leads His people today, He brings about circumstances in our
lives. Sometimes these seem like such riddles and bring us to our wits end. Some
circumstances seem to be beyond all reasoning. We wonder why the Lord would have
ever brought us into such a trap, but it is to reveal our hearts. In these
circumstances do we see bitterness, do we see rebellion, do we see murmuring? Do
we see pride being trampled upon? Do we see these things in our own nature
becoming revealed? He leads us into these circumstances to humble us.

 
This is what the Lord is saying. We see bitterness, and we see hatred, and we
see jealousy and we see covetousness. If we come into circumstances where it
seems that the Lord is going to set our brother above us, does it make us
jealous? Is that jealousy in us and suddenly it surfaces, that hatred, that
rebellion, that covetousness, that lust? Those sins are revealed by the
circumstances the Lord leads us through that we might know what is in our
hearts. The Lord knows what is in our hearts, but He wants us to know.
 
This is what Jesus taught in Matthew 10:34: “Think not that I am come to send
peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” 

 
If we are truly walking in the ways that the Lord is leading, and that He is our
Leader, we will walk in ways that are against the flesh. This will crucify every
grain of flesh that is in us. It will bring us to a place that we know we would
have never considered being.
 
Continuing in verses 35 and 36 we read: “For I am come to set a man at variance
against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law
against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
Does this mean literally that it has to be your own father or your own son? No,
what the Lord is saying is those who are the closest to you. Your closest
friends, those you love the most, and the Lord sets us at variance with them
because we love them more than we love Him. He separates us from them because we
made an idol of that friendship.
 
The Lord’s purpose in this is to humble us and to teach us what is in our hearts
so we will take up our cross.
 
Notice the following verses. We read in verse 37: “He that loveth father or
mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more
than me is not worthy of me.” This is what He is proving. Do we love that person
more than we love Him? Can we give up that friendship or that position in life
in sacrifice because we love Him more? The Lord will lead us in this way to
prove us. He will reveal what is in our hearts by cutting this off, by bringing
us to a crossroads. You choose. Are you going to follow me or are you going to
follow him?
 
Like I have explained before: two boys walking together with one dog following.
Whose dog is it? Wait until they get to a crossroad and they each go their own
way. Which one does the dog follow?
 
This is the way the Lord is. We can walk together side by side with someone in
the world until we come to a place where two ways meet. Now one is going to go
to the right and the other is going to go to the left. Who are we going to
follow? Are we going to follow the Lord, or are we going to follow our friend?
The Lord brings us into these trials to see what is in our hearts.
 
As with the Israelites in the wilderness, it was through circumstances taking
place one after another that the Lord reveals the corruption that is in our own
hearts. The Lord reveals to us by bringing us into these circumstances: which do
we love more? That is what He wants to know.
 
We read in verse 38: “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me,
is not worthy of me.” When we come to these crossroads, if we are unable to
sacrifice everything of the flesh and follow Him, we are not worthy of Him. So,
He will lead us in these paths and in these circumstances for the sole purpose
of proving our hearts.
 
As a general rule, it is not by having some minister tell us what wicked
creatures we are. It is not by merely looking into our own hearts and seeing the
evil therein, but it is by trials and by circumstances that the Lord teaches us
the corruption of our own heart.
 
I can have a preacher tell me all day what a corrupt person I am, but if it does
not apply to me, it is like water off a duck’s back. However, when the Lord has
led me into a set of circumstances and has allowed bitterness to settle in my
heart, and has allowed me to become corrupt in my thinking, then when the Lord
shows me what is in my heart, it is through these circumstances that I have
learned to see.
 
This is what the Lord is saying here in Deuteronomy 8:2: “The LORD thy
God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee.” It is for
this that the Lord leads us into these circumstances.
 
Time after time when the Lord humbles us, we come to the realization of how vile
we are. Then we come to the realization that we have been a gainsaying people,
and the Lord now brings us to where we start living by every word that proceeds
out of the mouth of God.
 
Our text says that we were humbled and that He proved us, to know what was in
our heart, whether we would keep His commandments, or no.

 
Another way in which humility is taught us is found in Romans 2:4: “Or despisest
thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing
that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”
 
The Lord opens our hearts and eyes to understand how we deserve so much less,
and that He has granted so much more than what we deserve. He opens our eyes to
see that God so loved us that He gave His own Son, and how that the love of the
Son hung Him on the cross to take away the penalty of our sins.

 
Mount Sinai drove the people away. Nothing about the law and hell and damnation
draws people to God. However, His goodness, His love, leads us to repentance, to
a change of attitude.
 
Is this notwhat we see in the life of Moses, the meekest of all men? We read in
Exodus 33:17-19: “And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that
thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by
name. And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.  And he said, I will make
all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD
before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew
mercy on whom I will shew mercy.”
 
Israel had just sinned. Israel had just been reproved for worshiping the golden
calf. God had just told Moses that He would destroy all Israel and make a great
nation of Moses alone. Moses intervened and pleaded for Israel, and the Lord
forgave them.
 
When the Lord causes all His goodness to pass before us, He is bringing to our
remembrance all these ways in which He has led us, and all the times we have
grievously sinned against Him, and how He graciously forgave us. He is showing
His tender love, and that is so humiliating.
 
Folks, I want to tell you from experience, when we have seen into our own hearts
and seen the corruption that is there, and then we see the tender love of God to
such a worthless, wretched sinner, that is the most humbling experience there
is. The Lord uses this to humble us as well as the circumstances through which
He brings us.
 
So what was the climax of God’s goodness that He caused to pass before Moses in
the wilderness? We read in Exodus 33:21: “And the LORD said, Behold, there is a
place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock.”
 
Behold, take notice, I want you to see this. I want to bring it to your
attention.  

 
Verse 22 says: “And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I
will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I
pass by.”
 
The Lord is showing him the place He has provided for His church, and that is in
the cleft of the rock. That is so humbling for those who have learned to see the
sins of their own hearts. While I pass by, while I pass over your sins, I will
have you in the cleft of the rock, that is, in that blessed sacrifice of the
Lord Jesus Christ.
 
In verse 23 we read: “And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back
parts: but my face shall not be seen.” He will take away His hand, and we will
see the finished work of Christ. If you were to see God outside of Christ, you
would be consumed. You will not see what God is on sin outside of Christ, but
you will be able to look on that satisfied, finished work of Christ.


 
 

 
And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus
himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they
should not know him (Luke 24:15-16).
 
Our hearts are often troubled, and we do not understand why the Lord seems to
hide His face. How little do we realize that often Jesus is communing with us.
How seldom do we realize that in all our trials that Jesus Himself draws near
and becomes part of our company, but we cannot see Him.
 
We read in Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man
hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him,
and he with me.” Sometimes our eyes are closed, and we do not realize that Jesus
is standing at the door knocking.He walks with us and talks with us, but we do
not realize it is Jesus.

 
The events of our text took place at a time of perplexity and trouble. The
Saviour had been slain and taken away from His disciples. The women had come to
the disciples and told them things that were beyond belief. They said He had
been raised from the dead and that they had seen Him. We read in Luke 24:11:
“And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.”
              
Two men were walking to Emmaus, and Jesus joined their company, and said to them
in verse 17: “And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these
that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?”
 
Continuing in verse 18 we read: “And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas,
answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not
known the things which are come to pass therein these days?”  

 
While we are walking in perplexing circumstances, the Lord Jesus Christ is
walking with us and communing with us. In these circumstances, He reveals
Himself and brings to pass His will even though it is hidden to our eyes, even
though we do not see and understand.
 
I want you to see in one instance why the Lord Jesus hides Himself. We read in
Luke 22:31: “And the Lord said, Simon Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have
you, that he may sift you as wheat.” Peter had a lesson to learn. The Apostle
Peter was so secure in himself. He had come to where he was such a great
Christian within himself.
 
In this perplexing circumstance, we must not overlook that the Lord Jesus Christ
said in verse 32: “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” Did
Peter’s faith fail? Certainly, but the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ in Peter
did not fail. We have so much faith in us, we have so much faith in what we can
do, but the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ did not fail.
 
When Peter was being sifted, the Lord left him over to the point where he was
cursing and swearing and denying that he ever knew Him. This was the man who was
so strong in himself and said: Though all men should forsake you, yet will not
I.
 
We need to understand the difference between our faith and our human reasoning.
Peter used human reasoning, and he thought it was faith, but this was sifted out
in the sieve of Satan. As we are sifted and the Lord is hiding His face, He is
sorting out all that is of ourselves.
 
FOR OUR FIRST POINT, we want to speak about a hidden Jesus.
 
FOR OUR SECOND POINT, we want to discuss why Jesus hides Himself.
 
FOR OUR THIRD POINT, we want to talk about how Jesus may be found after He has
hidden Himself.

 
Peter had to learn to know himself, and so must we. As Jesus walked with these
men, He explained to them out of the Scriptures how these things must surely be,
but in the breaking of bread He revealed Himself.

 
In Luke 9:23 we read, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” In the way of
crucifying that old flesh of ours we see where the Lord Jesus has hidden
Himself.
 
We read about Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 32:31: “God left him, to try him, that he
might know all that was in his heart.” The Lord withdrew Himself from Hezekiah,
so Hezekiah, a dear child of God, might know what was in his own heart. The Lord
already knew what was in Hezekiah’s heart. 

 
We read in Luke 22:31, “And the Lord said, Simon Simon, behold Satan hath
desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.” This was for the same
lesson that the Lord was teaching Hezekiah, that Peter might learn what was in
his own heart. This is why He had hidden Himself from Hezekiah and Peter. He
hides Himself from you and me that we might know what is in our hearts, that we
might know the pride of our hearts, that we might learn to see our own
self-sufficiency. This must all be weeded out and sifted in the sieve.
 
In Luke 22:53 we read how Jesus told the chief priests and captains of the
temple, “But this is your hour, and the hour of darkness.” The Lord had left
them over to an hour of darkness to fulfill the very counsel of God. They did
not know what they were doing. When the Lord Jesus was hanging on the cross, He
said: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). They
were fulfilling the counsel of God.

 
When Peter was reproving those who had crucified Christ, they replied in Acts
2:37, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” He had told them in verse 23: “Ye
have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” the Lord of life and
glory. The Lord had withdrawn Himself to bring about His own purpose.

 
In Ecclesiastes 11:8 we read, “But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them
all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many.” The
days of darkness are those in which the Lord has withheld Himself, those days in
which He has hidden His face. He has not forsaken us, but He has withheld
Himself from our eyes.
 
Jesus had withdrawn his Spirit from Peter, and Peter was in darkness, and we
read in Mark 14:71, “But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this
man of whom ye speak.” The Lord withdrew His restraining power and restraining
grace.
 
For three days and nights, Peter was in the bitterness of his soul. The Lord
Jesus had turned and given him that look of love, and Peter had gone out and
wept bitterly. His Jesus was in the grave, and Peter had no knowledge of what it
was about. It was all hidden from his eyes.
 
In Mark 16:10 we read: “And she went and told them that had been with Him, as
they mourned and wept.” The disciples had no knowledge of what this was all
about.  Jesus was hidden from them.
 
We read in Luke 24:11: “And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they
believed them not.” This was after the women came and told the disciples that He
had risen as He had said He was going to. They just could not believe it. They
could not understand it. The Lord Jesus had withheld their eyes from seeing.
 
Now we read in verses 14 and 15: “And they talked together of all these things
which had happened. While they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself
drew near, and went with them.”
 
When you and I have riddles, problems and perplexing things happen to us, we
come together and talk about it. We discuss these things and pray about these
things. He began to unfold the Scriptures to them concerning Himself, but they
did not realize it was Jesus they were talking to. They did not see the hand of
God. They did not see the Lord Jesus Christ in their trial. They did not see Him
even though He was walking with them and talking with them.
 
How often is the Lord Jesus knocking at our door to gain our attention to
something, and we are not listening? How often do we not behold Him? That word
behold means now listen, take notice, understand.

 
In Revelation 3:20 what was the Lord Jesus knocking on their door for them to
understand? We read that in the previous verses. Verse 17 says: “Because thou
sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and
knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and
naked.”
 
Their ignorance was their problem, and we are so often not cognizant of why the
Lord Jesus is dealing with us. Their problem was complacency. They were too
self-sufficient. They had come to the point where they were too capable of
walking without Him.
 
He says in verse 18: “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that
thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that
the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve,
that thou mayest see.” When we start to see how naked we are before a holy and
righteous God, then we start to understand that we need the clothing of that
fine linen, which is the perfect robe of Christ’s righteousness.

 
What does it mean to anoint your eyes with eyesalve? When the Lord Jesus Christ
opened the eyes of the one born blind, He spit on the ground and took the dust
and the spittle and made eyesalve and opened the eyes of the one born blind.
 
Continuing in verse 19 we read, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be
zealous therefore, and repent.” We have to have our eyes opened to see that
Jesus is in these very trials, that He is doing these things to get us to focus
our eyes on Him.
 
The Lord may be hidden from our eyes while we are communing together and talking
together. I want you to see though how the Lord is there. In Malachi 3:16 we
read, “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord
hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for
them that feared the Lord, and thought upon His name.”
 
This is synonymous with the context of our text. While they communed and
reasoned, Jesus drew near. The Lord bows down His ear, and He hears this
conversation. He hears the inner thoughts and intents of our hearts. As our
hearts cry out to Him, He hears these things, and a book of remembrance is
written, while we talk together, and while we commune together, and while we
discuss these perplexing circumstances we do not understand. Every one of those
prayers are written and remembered before the throne, and in His good time, He
answers them.
 
He reveals Himself, but there are certain ways and means whereby He does so, and
we want to notice that a hidden Jesus is still a praying Jesus. Jesus says in
Luke 22:32: “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not:  and when thou
art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” While you are going through this sin,
while this is all taking place and I have withdrawn myself, I am still praying
for you. This is the Lord Jesus, our intercessor.
 
Peter was so big and strong in himself, and this trial was to bring Peter as a
little child before the Lord. It says in Matthew 18:3: “Except ye be converted,
and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
By nature we are self-sufficient and big within ourselves. We cannot enter the
kingdom, we cannot serve the Lord, in a spirit of self-sufficiency. We cannot do
this until we come to the point where our hearts are broken down as a little
child. A little child sitting at the table has no concern about who is paying
the taxes, the light bill or who paid for the groceries or where they came from.
The child has childlike faith knowing that his father has provided. That is all
they know.
 
Jesus told Peter, “When you are converted,” in other words, when you have become
like a little child, when you come to the point where you know how to depend on
me. Peter was so self-sufficient he said that though all men would forsake Jesus
he would not, but this same Peter cursed and swore and denied that he ever knew
Him. Now we see who Peter is in himself. Now we see a Peter who becomes
converted.

 
Do you know what is strengthening for the brethren? It is when I can come to you
and say: Well, I see the circumstances you are in. I am not a stranger to that.
The Lord allowed me to stumble, and the Lord allowed me to fall, and the Lord
allowed me to become a little child. When I became a little child, then I knew
what it is to walk with faith in Him. I have no strength within myself. Now
everything is, Lord, what will you have me to do, and to totally surrender
myself to His will. 

 
In Mark 6:45-46 we read: “And straightway he constrained his disciples to get
into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent
away the people. 
And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to
pray.”
 
Again we see a hidden Jesus. In verse 48 we read, “And He saw them toiling and
rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them.” The disciples thought they were
going to be destroyed in the waves, but Jesus was in the mountain praying. They
were toiling in their own strength, but Jesus was watching. Jesus was there in
spirit. Jesus saw them and was praying for them. A hidden Jesus is still an
instructing Jesus.
 
We read in Luke 24:27, while He seems to have His face hidden from us: “And
beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the
Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Even while He has hidden His face, He
is bringing us through school. We have now entered the schools of Christ, and He
is teaching us by these trials that He brings us through.
 
For our second point, let’s talk about why Jesus is hidden. Jesus is hidden to
teach us the way of the cross, to teach us to take up our cross daily and follow
Him. He is teaching us what it means for everything of the flesh to be cut off.
That old man of sin must be crucified.
 
Have you ever studied Romans 6 to understand what it really means that we are
crucified with Him and that we are raised with Him unto a newness of life? We
partake of the Lord’s supper in remembrance of Christ’s death. When we think of
the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, what are we remembering? In that He died, He
died unto sin. In that He lives, He lives to God.

 
The wine signifies sanctification. To make wine, grape juice is put into a
vessel, and it is left to settle out. The dregs are left in the bottle, and the
wine is emptied from vessel to vessel. Each time this is done, the dregs are
left behind, so this symbolizes the process of sanctification. When we serve the
wine in the Lord’s supper, it is to teach us that when He died, He died unto
sin. We must learn that death process, that way of the cross.
 
Peter did not understand the way of the cross. We see in Matthew 16:21, “From
that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto
Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes,
and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” Then in verse 22 we read,
“Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee,
Lord: this shall not be unto thee.”
 
A few verses earlier, in verses 16 and 17, we read, “And Simon Peter answered
and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and
said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not
revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” This was a revelation
from God the Father.
 
Peter was not an infidel. Peter was not a stranger to grace, but Peter did not
understand the way of the cross. The Lord Jesus hid Himself from Peter to teach
Him the way of the cross. When Peter rebuked Jesus in verse 22, he was reasoning
with the flesh, and in verse 23 we read, “But Jesus turned, and said unto Peter,
Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not
the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”
 
Jesus is saying to Peter: That is not of faith. It is human reasoning.
 
In Isaiah 55:8-9 we read: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are
your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
 
If the Lord loves us, He will not allow us to build ourselves an empire of
self-complacency. He will not allow us to build ourselves a position where we
have no need of Him. If the Lord loves us He will make us as little children
totally dependent on Him.
 
Jesus is hidden from our eyes through unbelief. Peter thought he had faith, but
it was unbelief. It was human reasoning. Through our human reasoning and through
our unbelief, we make it so Jesus withdraws Himself.
 
In Luke 24:6 we read how the angel told the women at the grave, “He is not here,
but is risen: remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee.” The
Lord Jesus told them these things were going to happen, but they did not
understand. Unbelief had so blinded their eyes. In verse 7 we read, “Saying the
Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and
the third day rise again.”
 
The angel told the women this at the grave, and the women went to the disciples,
but “their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not” (Luke
24:11). That is unbelief, and through this unbelief, Jesus was hidden from their
eyes.
 
I want you to see verse 25, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the
prophets have spoken.” He was withdrawn from them because they were acting so
foolishly. They did not believe what Jesus had told them, but now He unveils the
Scriptures before their eyes to train them. These things were prophesied, these
things I told you. These were the very things you were told.
 
They were rebellious. They did not want to accept the truth. Do you understand
sometimes why the Lord Jesus is withheld from us? So often we are filled with so
much rebellion. Our hearts are still so rebellious to be able to unconditionally
surrender to what He has already told us. That is what had been happening here.

 
Next, let’s look at Jesus hidden through idleness and fullness of bread. See how
the Lord withholds and withdraws Himself because of our sins. One of the most
grievous sins is one that we least suspect. It is the sin of Sodom. Do you
understand that the destruction of our nation today is the sin of Sodom? I am
not saying sodomy. Sodomy was the judgment God pronounced upon Sodom because of
their sin.
 
Let me read to you about the sin of Sodom in Ezekiel 16:49: “Behold, this was
the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of
idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of
the poor and needy.”
 
How often you and I are guilty of the sin of Sodom. How much pride is there in
our hearts? How much self-sufficiency? We can build ourselves an empire to the
point where we do not need God. We cannot confess this to ourselves, but we are
now looking through God’s glasses. We become self-sufficient, and that is what
happened to Sodom. They had become so wealthy that they did not need God, and
they became proud. They had lots of time to entertain.
 
This is the sin of America—so much idleness, so much entertainment. You go out
on the sabbath day, the day that is set aside for serving the Lord, and we see
that it is now the greatest day for entertainment. They are stealing the Lord’s
day for their own gratification. We see in America today the Lord leaving them
over to themselves. They publicly defend sodomy as an acceptable way of life.

 
That is the judgment of God that we read in Romans 1:25-28: “Who changed the
truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the
Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto
vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which
is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the
woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which
is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which
was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God
gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not
convenient.” 

 
This is the judgment God sends for the sin of Sodom.
 
In Ezekiel 16:50 we read, “And they were haughty, and committed abomination
before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.” We do not understand by
nature how much of that haughty pride we have in ourselves.

 
I went one time to preach in a Rescue Mission to a group of people as a captive
audience who had to hear the preaching of the gospel before they could have a
free meal. How could there be any pride in those people dressed in rags? What
did they have to be proud of? Yet, when I talked to them afterward, they boasted
of themselves and their families. There was such pride in those people, it would
make your head swim. I thought to myself, What a glaring example of our human
nature. What is it that we have to be proud of? Even man in his best estate is
altogether vanity.
 
In Revelation 3:17 we read, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with
goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and
miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Do you see that sin of Sodom?
 
FOR OUR THIRD POINT, let’s talk about how Jesus may be found, and this is the
important point.
 
The sin of Sodom was, “Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and
needy.” Jesus may be found by strengthening the hand of the poor and needy, by
doing those things that Jesus did, by walking in the footsteps of our Saviour in
the way of the cross, in the way of crucifying self and reaching out to do those
things that are pleasing to the Lord.
 
Jesus may be found by observing His day according to His will. When we do that
which is pleasing to the Lord, then the Lord does that which is pleasing to us.
He gives us that reward. Let me show you in Isaiah 58:6-7: “Is not this the fast
that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens,
and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to
deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to
thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide
not thyself from thine own flesh?”
 
The sin of Sodom was that they did not strengthen the poor and the needy.
 
Continuing in verses 8 and 9 we read: “Then shall thy light break forth as the
morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness
shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt
thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I
am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the
finger, and speaking vanity.”
 
We find the hidden Jesus by doing the things He has commanded us to do. What
more would you and I like in our prayer life than for us to call and hear the
Lord respond and say, “Here I am.”
 
We read in verses 10 to 12: “And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and
satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy
darkness be as the noonday: And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and
satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a
watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that
shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the
foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the
breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.”
 
Jesus may be found by keeping the sabbath as we see in verses 13 and 14: “If
thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy
day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt
honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor
speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I
will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with
the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”
 
We find the hidden Jesus by delighting ourselves in the Lord and delighting in
His day, that we delight ourselves in doing what is pleasing to Him.

 
Does this mean that we can impose this on the ungodly? No. I want you to see
what it says in Hebrews 4:9-10: “There remaineth therefore a rest [sabbath] to
the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased
from his own works, as God did from his.”

 
There is no rest for the wicked, and you and I have no right to try to impose on
the ungodly one of the greatest privileges God has given His church. This day of
rest is one of the greatest privileges God has given us, that we have a day when
we can rest from all our labors, which is the emblem of eternal rest, a day we
spend praising and glorifying God.

 
Jesus may be found through submission and through obedience. I want you to see
this in John 15:7: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask
what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
 
Notice the word if. There is contingency with God. The Lord has His decrees that
He has decreed from eternity, but as far as you and I walking in His blessed
presence and having His nearness and having His love, it is contingent on our
obedience.
 
Has Jesus been hidden from our eyes? Maybe we have to examine our own hearts and
see in what area we are walking in a way that displeases the Lord. Maybe we have
not abode in Him. Maybe our hearts have been lifted up in the things of this
life. Maybe our hearts have strayed away as lost sheep, and we should ask as
David did in Psalm 119:176: “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy
servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.”
 
I want you to see in John 14:23: “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and
my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with
him.”

 
Jesus may be found through faith, and what is faith? It is the obedience of
faith. It is the exercise of saving faith. We read in James 1:5-8: “If any of
you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and
upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing
wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind
and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the
Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
 
We find the Lord through faith. It is by asking and believing. Are you going to
say you are asking in faith while you ignore abiding in Him, while you are
walking in your own way?
 
Mark 11:22-24 says: “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For
verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou
removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but
shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have
whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire,
when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
 
Are our prayers not mingled with faith? Is this part of the reason why Jesus is
hidden from our eyes?
 
Jesus may be found through forgiveness. We read in Mark 11:25: “And when ye
stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also
which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” That word may is so
powerful. That is saying that if you do not forgive, the Father in heaven may
not forgive you. It would be against His own character to do so. As we read in
verse 26, “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven
forgive your trespasses.”
 
Turn with me to Colossian 3:12: “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and
beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness,
longsuffering.”
 
Do you understand what this is saying? This is talking about the Spirit of
Christ. Do you want to find Jesus? You will find Him in the Spirit of Christ.
 
Continuing in verses 13 and 14 we read: “Forbearing one another, and forgiving
one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you,
so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of
perfectness.”
 
Charity is to speak of your fellowman in the best possible light. If you and I
want to be critical there is no human being we cannot take apart, but that is
not charity. If I have something against a person, and think I am justified in
doing him harm, I do not have charity.

 
Psalm 50:20 says: “Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou
slanderest thine own mother’s son.” Three verses later we see how pleased the
Lord is with praise: “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that
ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” This is what
the Lord really drove home to me. Instead of taking each other apart and being
critical, we should be finding what is there in that person that we can praise
him for. What is there in that person that he has done or what is there about
him that I can use to edify him, to build him up? That is charity.
 
Colossians 3:15-17 says, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the
which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ
dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in
psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the
Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord
Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
 
This is similar to what we read in John 15:7: “If ye abide in me, and my words
abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
 
The Apostle Paul goes on to say in Colossians 3:18 to 20: “Wives, submit
yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your
wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all
things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.”
 
What a precious thing it is when we see the harmony that there is in the word of
God, when we see what God is revealing to us as His will. If His word abides in
us, our walk of life will demonstrate an understanding of His word.
 
Jesus may be found in the way of repentance, in the way of turning, in the way
of remorse over sin. We read in James 4:1-3: “From whence come wars and
fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your
members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain:
ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not,
because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
 
We see so much contention in the world today. Homes are being split. Nations
rise against each other. We see wars and fightings. It is all that human nature.
 
It was such a privilege this past year when we had a drought, and the governor
of Montana called for prayer, saying let this week be a week of prayer. The
newspaper said that according to weather patterns it was going to be dry the
rest of this year, next year and probably the third year. Before the week was
over we had three inches of rain, and it turned into a wet year, and we have
above average moisture. The weather people were put to shame by people turning
to the Lord. God wants repentance, for us to acknowledge our iniquities, that we
have transgressed.
 
We read in Jeremiah 3:3: “Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there
hath been no latter rain.” Continuing in verses 13 and 14 we read: “Only
acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy
God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye
have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD. Turn, O backsliding children, saith
the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two
of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.”
 
Jesus may be found through prayer as we see in Luke 11:9: “And I say unto you,
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be
opened unto you.”
 
There is a preciousness in all the ways where Jesus may be found.

 
 
CONFESSION BEFORE FORGIVENESS No. 2
 
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9). 

 
This morning we considered our first point, that is, “If we say that we have no
sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
 
This afternoon let’s consider our second, third and fourth points.
 
FOR OUR SECOND POINT, let’s consider the conditional terms upon which sin is
forgiven, “If we confess our sins.”
 
FOR OUR THIRD POINT, let’s consider the foundation of our assurance of this
pardon, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful.”
 
FOR OUR FOURTH POINT, let’s consider how justice not only allows, but demands a
pardon, “If we confess our sins, [then] he is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

 
So, let’s consider the conditional terms upon which sin is forgiven, “If we
confess our sins.”
 
Notice Psalm 32:1-2: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin
is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in
whose spirit there is no guile.” One of the most blessed things you and I could
ever experience in this life and throughout eternity is that our transgressions
are forgiven, and that God has not imputed our iniquity unto us.

 
Notice that it is a conditional forgiveness: if we confess. Now let’s examine
our own hearts to see how much Pharisee, and how much of the spirit of the
publican there is in our hearts. The publican confessed his sin, but the
Pharisee boasted before God of his righteousness. How much do we justify
ourselves before the Lord? How much of the publican is in our hearts, of actual
open confession: Be merciful to me a sinner? We confess not only that we are
sinners, but we confess our sin.
 
When we have spoken wrongly, we can confess, Lord, my tongue is a world of
iniquity. When we have caught ourselves in pride, we can say, Lord, I have
violated your precepts. We have to identify that sin if it is to be forgiven,
and to confess that we have that sin. We ask God not only to forgive it, but to
cleanse us from it. The Lord did not come to save us in our sins, but to save us
from our sins. God does not forgive with the stipulation that everyone is a
sinner and that justifies living in sin. There has to be that longing desire of
repenting and turning from sin. It is not a matter of whether or not we are
sinners, it is a matter of having the grace to confess and repent of our sins.
 
Leviticus 26 tells how the Lord through His servant Moses showed His people the
blessings He would bestow upon them if they obeyed His will, but also the
judgements He would bring upon them if they walked contrary to His will.

 
I want you to see the conditions of repentance in Leviticus 26:40: “If they
shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their
trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked
contrary unto me.”

 
The Lord wants us to confess before Him when we walk contrary to His will.
Notice the next verse, which I find to be tremendously important. If in our walk
of life we find that confusion reigns, the Lord wants us to confess that too.
 
Verse 41 says: “And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought
them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be
humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity.” In other
words, He has allowed us to enter a state of total confusion, and this is the
reward for our walking contrary to Him. Nothing happens by chance. Then we must
confess: Lord, I have walked contrary to you, and you have walked contrary to
me. I am now receiving the fruit of my own doings.
 
We read in verse 42: “Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my
covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I
will remember the land.” 

 
If that unrepenting spirit is broken, and we accept the punishment of our
iniquities, then He will remember His covenant. The Lord will again send His
blessings on the fruit of our labors. The Lord will send His blessings upon our
hearts, and He will again bring us peace. This covenant with Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob was the Messiah. In other words, He would again bring the Messiah and His
preciousness back into our hearts. That promise that God had made with Abraham
was that the Messiah would come, in other words, that He would bring them into
the promised land, that He would bring them the promises of Abraham. His
blessings are contingent upon repentance. They are contingent on confessing we
were wrong.
 
We must notice the order King Solomon set forth in his prayer: if they confess,
if they turn, then forgive. We see this in 1 Kings 8:35-36: “When heaven is shut
up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray
toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou
afflictest them: Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants,
and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should
walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an
inheritance.” 

 
We need to understand this if we wonder why we are pining away in our
iniquities, but have not really examined our hearts to see how much Pharisee
there is in our own heart, and we have not openly confessed our sins. We are
still defensive. We still try to prove that we are right. We are still going to
go forward in our sins. If we do this, the Lord leaves us to confusion.
 
We need to confess His name, in other words, that He is the Lord and the Lord of
our lives, and turn from our sins. Then turn and not only bless them in their
souls, but in the fruit of their labors, King Solomon prayed.
 
David found that when he kept silent, God’s hand was heavy on him, but when he
confessed his transgression the Lord forgave him. I want you to notice this in
Psalm 32:3-5: “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all
the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is
turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and
mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the
LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.”
 
We must not only confess our faults to God, but to one another, for our prayers
to be effectual. We must be able to confess to our fellowman: I was wrong. Will
you forgive me? I want you to see this in James 5:16: “Confess your faults one
to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual
fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
 
We need to confess our sins to God and to one another for our prayers to be
effectual, for our prayers to enter heaven, for our prayers to get beyond this
ceiling. We must confess our sins to one another and admit we were wrong. We
cannot always defend ourselves and try to prove that we had some excuse for
doing what we did or to deny what we have done. When we have been wrong we must
confess that we were wrong. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man is
to confess your faults one to another.

 
The Apostle James associates confessing our faults to one another together with
the effectual prayer of the righteousness, that is, those who observe the law of
love. If we have offended someone, we have violated the law of love, and we must
repair that breach by confessing we were wrong. If we do not, our prayers are
not effectual.
 
If we find it so difficult to confess our faults to one another, how can we pray
for one another to be healed of that leprosy of sin, of that weakness, of that
covetousness, of that unruly tongue? The prayer for healing does not just
pertain to physical illness. It also pertains to the leprosy of sin. How can we
pray with one another if we cannot confess one to another?
 
If we cannot confess our faults to one another whom we have seen, how can we
rightly confess them to God whom we have not seen? Our pardon depends on this.
How can we come before the Lord and say: I was proud; I acted arrogantly; I was
wrong; and turn right around to the person we were proud against and defend
ourselves? Lord, I was wrong but do not tell him. It does not work that way.

 
The Lord says for that man to forgive me if I confess my sin, so the Lord can
forgive him. How can we be too proud to confess that we were wrong?
 
We read in 1 John 4:20-21: “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he
is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love
God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who
loveth God love his brother also.” Can you say that you love God and come before
Him and confess your faults, but hate your brother and not confess your faults
to him? How can we have a heartfelt prayer for our brother if we cannot confess
that we caused his injury? 

 
If we cannot confess our pride to one whom we love, how can we ask one another
to pray that we be healed of that pride?

 
If we cannot confess our covetousness to one we love, how can we ask one another
to pray that we be healed? We come together in a prayer meeting and ask for
prayer requests. One may reply: Yes, I have been harassed with covetousness.
Pride has been a stumblingblock in my life. I want prayer for this to be healed.
How can we do this if we cannot confess our faults to one another?

 
If we cannot confess our peevishness, or irritation, to one we love, how can we
ask one another to pray that we be healed of it?
 
We must confess that we are guilty of these sins that are so common to man and
that we need God’s help to redeem us from all iniquity. How can we ask: Pray for
me that I might be healed of these things, without confessing that we need that
help? 

 
If we cannot confess our rebellion to one another whom we love, how can we ask
one another to pray for the Lord to break that rebellion?

 
Can any one of us say we are free from these sins? Our text says in 1 John
1:8-9: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is
not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our
sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

 
We are all guilty of these things. That is a result of our fall by nature, but
we must confess these sins before one another and before the Lord.
 
Several things keep us from confessing our sins before God or our fellow man
even though we feel their weight.
 
One is hardness of heart. Did you know that because of the fall we have hard
hearts, and a hardened heart will hinder us in confessing our sins to one
another, and it will hinder us in confessing our sins to God? The law cannot
soften a hardened heart. The more we lash each other with the whip of the law,
the harder our hearts become. Guilt cannot melt it. I can put you on a guilt
trip and show you what a terrible transgressor you are, but this will not melt a
hard and stony heart. The pangs of hell in a man’s conscience cannot break down
the rebellion of the heart. That is why we do not have a gospel of hell and
damnation. That is not the gospel.

 
All the lightening and thunder of Mt. Sinai drove the people away. They fled
from the Lord. That does not melt a hard and stony heart.
 
Yet the Lord sends His Spirit with a blessed revelation of His love, and then
the waters flow. What has more tendency to break a hard heart, a heart of
rebellion, a heart of hatred, than love? Love heaped upon the head, those
burning coals of love, cannot be quenched with a flood. It cannot be quenched
with hardness of heart. It will melt a hard and stony heart.
 
Watch what we read in Jeremiah 31:9: “They shall come with weeping, and with
supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of
waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to
Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.”
 
See the love, compassion and tender fatherly care. We find the rivers not on the
mountain but in the valley of humiliation. Rivers run downhill. A river never
runs uphill. There is no exaltation there. It is a continual flowing of
humility, and it comes with weeping. The love of God draws us to repentance. 

 
Sometimes the Lord will compel a confession out of us by laying death and hell
before our eyes, but most often He will draw it out by melting our hearts with a
revelation of His love. The Lord is the One who brings us to confess, and we
must confess before we receive forgiveness.
 
We read in 1 John 4:8-9: “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only
begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” 

 
The Lord brings a confession out of our hearts when He starts manifesting the
love of God toward us because God sent His only begotten Son into the world to
suffer, bleed and die to pay the price of our sins. Now we see the tender love
of the Father. That is what brings us with weeping and supplication. That is
what brings us into the rivers and the valley of humiliation. This is not
preaching hell and damnation.

 
Continuing in verse 10 we read: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that
he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Now watch
what follows. He is looking for the fruit. Verse 11 says: “Beloved, if God so
loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
 
Now do you understand why the Apostle John said: “If a man say, I love God, and
hateth his brother, he is a liar” (1 John 4:20).
 
If you have ever had a faith view of the precious love of the Father in sending
His Son; if you have ever had a faith view of Christ being the appeasing of His
wrath upon your sins; and then tell me that you can hate your brother, you are a
liar. You have never had that faith view.
 
See the condescension of God’s love in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20: “And all things
are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to
us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling
the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath
committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for
Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be
ye reconciled to God.”
 
I want you to see how God first loved us. God reconciled the world to Himself by
sending His own Son to suffer, bleed and die, to pay the price of sin, to
appease the Father’s wrath upon sin. He sent His servants to proclaim that
reconciliation is in place from God’s side.
 
Where is the separation between you and God? Is it on His side or on yours? It
is because of our hard hearts, that rebellion in the heart by nature that can
only be broken by the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit works the work of
regeneration in the heart and breaks that rebellion. The separation is on our
part. The fault is with us, not God.
 
No one standing on the brink of eternity will ever be able to say he could not
be saved because of a limited atonement. God is reconciling Himself to the
world, and we are to be reconciled with Him. The fault is with man, not with
God. That rebellion of the heart has kept us apart. 

 
This is synonymous with Jeremiah 3:13-14a: “Only acknowledge thine iniquity,
that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy
ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice,
saith the LORD. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married
unto you.”
 
Where is the hindrance to you being saved? Where is the hindrance to a person
being at one with Christ? It is the rebellion and the hardness of heart whereby
they refuse to acknowledge their sin. The Lord melts that hard heart with a
revelation of His love.

 
FOR OUR THIRD POINT, let’s consider the foundation of our assurance of this
pardon, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful.”
 
The Lord draws that confession out of the hearts and out of the mouths of His
loved ones by a revelation of His love for them. Now we see how faithful He is.

 
Why does our text emphasize this attribute of God, “He is faithful”? He has so
many attributes. Why is it that the emphasis not on “He is merciful”? Why is the
emphasis not on “He is gracious” or “He is kind”?
 
It is because God’s faithfulness is the foundation of all His promises. What
would one promise of God be worth to you if you could ever prove that He was
unfaithful and that one promise had ever failed? Where would the foundation of
our hope be? Our hope is founded on His faithfulness, that He will never fail,
that what He has promised He is able to perform. He might lead us as He did
Abraham, whom He promised would have a son by Sarah. The Lord waited until
Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90. They were both totally past
child-bearing years.

 
His faithfulness is our absolute assurance that if we confess, He will forgive.
He has promised. His name is connected with this promise to forgive. That is how
surely He will forgive.
 
Turn with me to 2 Corinthians 1:19-20: “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who
was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea
and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in
him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.”
 
This tells us that His name is connected with His promises. He is faithful. He
cannot lie. There is no variableness or shadow of turning in the Lord. He will
not say, Yes, I promised, but I changed my mind because of what you did. We will
not sin away His promises, but His promises are contingent on our confession of
sins, if we repent, if we do what He tells us.

 
God’s faithfulness is the attribute in the divine majesty upon which every
promise rests. God’s word says in Romans 3:4, “Let God be true, but every man a
liar.” Every man will be proved a liar, but God will be true. God will never
deceive or repent of what He has promised.

 
Faithfulness, that is truth, is the very character of God. Therefore His
faithfulness is the foundation of our assurance of the words of our text: “If we
confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse
us from all unrighteousness.”
 
FOR OUR FOURTH POINT, let’s consider how justice not only allows, but demands a
pardon, “If we confess our sins, [then] he is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

 
The Lord tells us in Proverbs: He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns
the righteous are equally abominable in the sight of the Lord. So for the Lord
to condemn one who is righteous would be abominable in His own sight. If you and
I are just, justice not only authorizes but demands our acquittal.
 
If you and I are brought before the court of heaven, Satan is the accuser of the
brethren. He is the prosecutor, and God the Father sits as judge. What can any
one of us say but guilty, guilty, guilty? Justice demands our sentence, but we
have an Advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ the righteous. An advocate
is our legal representative, our attorney.

 
My legal representative stands up, and He enters my plea. He raises His right
hand, and in the palm of His hand my name is written. He stands before the
Father and says, That name is written in the palm of my hand and every sin that
has been brought to his charge has been paid for right here. The penalty for
that sin has been paid. The accuser of the brethren is put to silence. He has no
charges left to bring against me.
 
Now justice demands my acquittal. For the judge to condemn me would be as
abominable as it would be to justify me if I were guilty. Now I am righteous
because the penalty has been satisfied in full. If He has fully satisfied the
requirement of the law by the payment of the penalty, the law is satisfied. I
have now been justified, and therefore justice demands my acquittal.
 
Our text says He is faithful and just, not only meaning that He can justly turn
me loose because I am no longer guilty, but now justice demands that He turn me
loose. The charges are dismissed. I have been set free because I have confessed
my guilt. My Advocate would not just sit there. He said He would rise for my
cause, and He did, so now I find justification.

 
When we speak of the attribute of God’s justice we must ask, How can God pardon
a transgressor and still be just? We read in Romans 3:24-26: “Being justified
freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God
hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his
righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance
of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be
just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” 

 
God can do this and be just and allow that sin, not to go unpunished, but
punished in a Substitute. He would not be just if He allowed that sin to go
unpunished, but Jesus was the acceptable Substitute.

 
What an eternal wonder how the Lord of life and glory entered into the place of
transgressors to be made their Substitute under the curse of the broken law. We
see this in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew
no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

 
We stand righteous. That word righteous means not guilty. The word righteousness
and the word justified in the Greek are translated from several words. In this
instance that word righteous means to be acquitted as not guilty because our
Substitute became guilty. Our Substitute was made to be sin for us that we might
be made the righteousness of God, in other words, perfect righteousness.
 
Now justice demands our pardon, “If we confess our sins, [because] he is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness.” He is now just because we have confessed those sins.

 
Oh beloved, mercy begs, but justice demands! Have you ever known what it is to
lay flat on your face before the Lord and beg for mercy? The Lord Jesus Christ
stands before His Father and demands our acquittal.

 
Mercy beseeches and pleads for undeserved favor. Mercy is a part of God’s
character, which looks down with pity and compassion on a confessing criminal,
but justice says: This is his due. It is his right. It belongs to him. The Lord
Jesus Christ judges, and He demands our acquittal, because He has purchased our
salvation with a payment in full. Oh beloved how can that be? Our blessed
Redeemer has paid the debt in full. 

 
When Jesus was circumcised He became a debtor to do the whole law in the place
of His church. We read in Galatians 5:3: “For I testify again to every man that
is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.” 

 
When Jesus Christ was circumcised, His whole church was circumcised in Him. It
is so important that we understand that covenant of circumcision, where the Lord
Jesus Christ covenanted in eternity to come in the place of His church and be
their Substitute. God revealed to Abraham in the covenant of circumcision that
the Lord Jesus Christ would come and be a debtor to do the whole law for His
church.
 
We read in Colossians 2:9-11: “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the
Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all
principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision
made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the
circumcision of Christ.”
 
In that circumcision of Christ, you and I have the imputed righteousness of the
Lord Jesus Christ. We are circumcised in Him. We have fulfilled the law to
perfection by His imputed righteousness.

 
This is how the obedience of Christ is imputed to His Bride. That is why the
Apostle Paul said in Galatians 5:1-2: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty
wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of
bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall
profit you nothing.” If you are going to yet preach circumcision, you nullify
the circumcision we have in Christ.
 
Continuing in verse 3 we read: “For I testify again to every man that is
circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no
effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from
grace.”
 
The Lord Jesus Christ has been circumcised for His church, and we are
circumcised in Him. Circumcision does not replace baptism, and neither does
baptism replace circumcision. We need both. We are complete in Him. We need His
perfect obedience, but we also need His baptism, wherein He stepped under the
wrath of the Father and took away the penalty of sin. We are baptized in Him,
and we are circumcised in Him. This is how we can have Him as our Advocate,
where He stands in our place before the Father and says: Father, I have
fulfilled the law in his behalf. I have taken the penalty of the law in His
behalf. Justice now demands his pardon. The law has been satisfied, and the law
has been kept by my imputed righteousness.
 
It is such a terrible thing when people want to still preach circumcision, and
they preach that we have to be circumcised whether it be with water or the
knife. If so, Christ avails us nothing. We have nullified that. To be
circumcised means we become debtors to do the whole law. 

 
It was in the way of this perfect obedience that Christ became the propitiation
for our sin. In Philippians 2:8 we read: “And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the
cross.” This is the obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ that is crucial to you
and me. He became a debtor to do the whole law, and God had so commanded Him
that He must lay down His life and take it again. In such perfect obedience, He
stepped into the Father’s wrath as an act of obedience, and now you and I are
circumcised in Him. Our obedience is in the imputed righteousness of Christ.
That is why we need His circumcision. That is why we cannot nullify it by yet
being circumcised. Read Galatians 5 and study it prayerfully in that light.

 
The Father was so glorified by the perfect obedience of Christ because therein
His justice was satisfied, His wrath upon sin was appeased and the purpose of
His creation was fulfilled.
 
Philippians 2:9-11 says: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given
him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee
should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the
earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the
glory of God the Father.” 

 
He has perfectly satisfied the law by perfect obedience and the appeasing of
God’s wrath in the way of obedience.

 
Our text says in 1 John 1:8-9: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive
ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful
and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
 
Not only do we seek pardon, but we seek cleansing. When we learn to see the
sinfulness of sin and the true character of sin, then we understand what it is
to desire to be cleansed from sin, because the Lord will never save us in our
sins. He will save us from our sins.

 
 

 
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9).   

 
We can use the first epistle of John to measure ourselves in the light of the
word of God. We read in 1 John 5:13: “These things have I written unto you that
believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal
life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” We have no need to
doubt, fear or wonder whether or not we have eternal life.
 
This morning I want to dwell on one of the marks he has set forth whereby we may
know whether we have eternal life.

 
A couple of weeks ago we spoke about Job, and how the righteousness of Job was
not a righteousness sufficient for salvation. His righteousness was a
Pharisaical righteousness that centered on the sacrifice for justification. When
the Lord opened his eyes to see the spirit of the law written in his own heart,
he had to say, “Behold, I am vile.”
 
How do we see one of the marks of knowing that we have salvation? I can speak
from experience that to recognize a sin in my own heart is not as difficult as
it is to confess that sin, to admit, for example, that I was guilty of pride. I
was exalting myself. This confession is not just before the Lord. It means to
also confess it to our fellowman. I find that many of God’s dear children can
become so defensive if they are confronted with something they ought not to have
done.
 
The word of God tells us in Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us consider one another
to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of
ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so
much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” How can I reprove a man who
becomes defensive? 

 
The Apostle John is telling us how we can know if we have eternal life. We must
not only realize that we have sinned, but we must confess it. If you or I have a
brother who has caused contention, and he is defensive when we show him without
doubt that what he has done was wrong, the contentions never cease. Yet, if we
can confess our sins, it is so much easier to forgive.
 
If someone comes to me, confesses that they offended me, admits his wrong and
asks for forgiveness, it is much easier to forgive that person than if he is
defensive and justifies what he has done. Is that spirit in you that enables you
to confess when you are wrong?
 
The Scriptures are full of the perfections of Christ in our human nature as we
see from Hebrews 7:26: “For such an high priest became us, who is holy,
harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.”
 
There is perfection in our human nature, but it is only to be found in Christ.
If you and I try to defend perfection in our nature then our text says: “If we
say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
There is no room for a Saviour. There is no room for salvation until there is
confession for sin. 

 
As far as perfection in natural man, the Scriptures teach in Romans 3:10-12: “As
it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that
understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of
the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good,
no, not one.” 

 
This includes self-righteous Job. That includes the self-righteous Pharisees.
That includes the self-righteous hypocrite that dwells in each of our hearts.
 
If there is any perfection to be found in the church, it is only found in
proportion with Christ being formed in them. Perfection can be in you as far as
Christ is formed in you. Now we are not talking about me, we are talking about
the new man of the spirit that has been created in me. That new man is Christ
formed in me. In that proportion, as Christ has been formed in me by the work of
regeneration, by the work of the Holy Spirit, there is perfection in me.
 
The Lord looks upon that perfection in spite of our shortcomings because He
looks upon it in Christ. Now he can be pleased with what we do.
 
In Colossians 1:27 the Apostle Paul wrote: “To whom God would make known what is
the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in
you, the hope of glory.”
 
In me, this fallen creature, this sinner who has nothing but wounds, bruises and
putrefying sores, the mystery of God is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” This
is where perfection is.
 
Now watch what it says in verse 28: “Whom we preach, warning every man, and
teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in
Christ Jesus.” All faithful preaching must warn everyone of the sin that dwells
within them. We must be make knowledgeable of that human nature, that old man of
sin that needs the cross every day. Every day that old man of sin must be
crucified.
 
How do I teach “in all wisdom”? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
All faithful teaching begins in teaching the character and true nature of sin.
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, so if I am going to teach every man in all
wisdom, I must teach them the fear of the Lord “that we may present every man
perfect in Christ Jesus.” The perfection is in Christ Jesus. How far Christ
Jesus is formed in me is how far I have had perfection wrought in me.
 
We read in verse 29: “Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his
working, which worketh in me mightily.” This is when we have learned to see the
sinfulness of sin. Romans 7 tells us how the Apostle Paul was brought through
the schools of Jesus Christ, and how he learned to see the wretchedness of sin.
The knowledge of sin was working in Paul.
 
The Apostle John says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and
the truth is not in us.” 

 
The root of our imperfections lay in the corruptions of the heart as we see in
Jeremiah 17:9-10: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately
wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to
give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
 
As we look back to what the Lord has led us through in our lives, we start to
understand what it means “to give every man according to his ways.” This means
in this lifetime as well as in eternity.
 
I want to give you two illustrations. The first is Jacob. He deceived his old
father, he lied, he supplanted his brother, and the Lord rewarded him according
to his ways. Jacob went to Padan-aram, and he was deceived 10 times. When he
passed Penuel, he confessed that he was a traitor, a trickster, a liar and a
cheat. On his deathbed he realized that Joseph was yet alive. For 20 years his
children lied to him and deceived him with the coat of their brother as he
deceived his father with the coat of his brother. I want you to see how
precisely the Lord rewarded him according to his doings.
 
We see the same thing with David. David committed adultery and murder. The Lord
said that the sword would not depart from his house. It began with his own son
forcing his own sister to have sex with him, and his son Absalom killing his own
brother. With his own children, the Lord rewarded him for murder and adultery.
It concluded with Absalom forcing David off the throne and attempting to take
his life.
 
In the end, David would cry, “Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had
died for thee” (2 Samuel 18:33). David said this because he saw that this was
the fruit of his sin.
 
The Lord knows our hearts. He searches our hearts. I could spend the rest of the
day telling you about instances in my own life where the Lord has given me
according to my ways.
 
Can we confess our sins? If we say we have no sins, we deceive ourselves. If we
confess, the Lord will forgive.
 
Why are the failings, falls and grievous sins of God’s dear saints like Noah,
Lot, Abraham, Moses, David and Solomon recorded in Holy Writ? We see the answer
in 1 Corinthians 1:29-31: “That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of
him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and
righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is
written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
 
It is of God that we are in Christ. It is of the work of regeneration in our
souls by the Holy Spirit. I cannot stand up and say proudly that I have wisdom
and I have righteousness and I have sanctification. No, it is of God. For those
who think they can obtain perfection in the flesh, our text says,  “If we say
that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
 
A man who had been in the ministry for many years had been taken in a sin, and
as he was being reproved, he referred to the sin of David as if it were his
license to sin. He said: “Well, David sinned.” That is not why these sins are
recorded. These sins are recorded to warn us that even David fell. Now we see
how subject we are to falling. We learn to confess our weaknesses, and we beg
the Lord for restraining grace that He will keep us from falling. This is not so
we can look at the sin of God’s people and use that as a license for our sins.
 
FOR OUR FIRST POINT, let’s consider the declaration, “If we say that we have no
sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
 
FOR OUR SECOND POINT, let’s consider the conditional terms upon which sin is
forgiven, “If we confess our sins.” The forgiveness of sins is conditional.
 
FOR OUR THIRD POINT, let’s consider the foundation of our assurance of this
pardon, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful.” This is the foundation upon
which we have a pardon.
 
FOR OUR FOURTH POINT, let’s consider how justice not only allows, but demands a
pardon, “If we confess our sins, [then] he is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
 
This morning, the Lord willing, I hope to dwell on our first point. This
afternoon I hope to dwell on points two, three and four.
 
FIRST, let’s consider the declaration, “If we say that we have no sin, we
deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 

 
No man in a state of nature knows anything of the real character of sin, whether
he lives in open profanity, or as a Pharisee of Pharisees. Even if he lives the
life of Job, he not will understand the true character of sin by nature.
 
Before the Apostle Paul’s eyes were opened to the real character of sin, he
could say as we read in Philippians 3:4-5: “Though I might also have confidence
in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in
the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the
tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee.”
 
These are his credentials whereby he could trust in the flesh. If there was
anything to boast in the flesh, the Apostle Paul could boast about it. Until he
had the light shine into his soul, this was his opinion of himself. He did not
understand the true character of sin until on the way to Damascus the light of
God shined into his soul.
 
After Paul had seen the Lord Jesus in the way, he saw the law in a new light as
we see in Romans 7:11-13: “For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived
me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and
just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But
sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that
sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.”
 
Now the Apostle Paul, that Hebrew of the Hebrews, as touching the law a
Pharisee, knew and understood what the Apostle John is talking about: “If we say
that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.” Now he understood the true character
of sin.
 
After Paul learned to see sin in its right light, he said in Philippians 3:7-9:
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea
doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge
of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do
count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine
own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of
Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

 
All these things upon which he built the foundation of his salvation became an
abomination to him. He saw that circumcision on the eighth day availed him
nothing and that he needed the circumcision of Christ. 

 
We read in Colossians 2: 9-11: “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the
Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all
principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision
made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the
circumcision of Christ.”


He saw that his keeping of the law as a Pharisee was a loss. He saw that it was
hypocrisy. He saw that the very righteousness he thought merited salvation in
itself was a damning sin because it was in the wrong spirit. It was not in the
spirit of the law. When he came to understand the spirit of the law, sin became
exceedingly sinful.
 
Righteousness is through the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, where He by faith
endured the cross, despising its shame. He by faith stepped forward into the
wrath of the Father to take away the penalty of our sin, to appease the Father’s
wrath upon our sin by His perfect obedience, by His perfection of righteousness.
 
It was the perfect righteousness of Christ, that circumcision of Christ. He was
circumcised the eighth day, and He became a debtor to do the whole law on behalf
of His church. Now the Apostle Paul sees that righteousness is by the faith of
Christ, which is what we are reading about in Romans 4. There we read that
Abraham received the seal of circumcision as the evidence, as the pledge, that
the Lord Jesus Christ would be circumcised, that He would step under the
Father’s wrath, that by His perfect righteousness of faith, the church would be
healed.
 
Job experienced the cutting off of all his own righteousness when his eyes were
opened to see who he really was through the revelation of God’s true character.
We read in Job 40:4: “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay
mine hand upon my mouth.” Here Job received the light of the gospel and saw the
true nature of sin.  

 
There is such harmony between the life of Paul and the life of Job.
 
As we receive a right understanding of God’s character, we learn what Paul said
in Romans 7:14: “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold
under sin.” This is what we see when we understand the true character of sin.
 
I want to explain something that I think is so vitally important to understand.
It reveals our ignorance of self and sin when we can be critical of our
fellowman. When we do this we are saying, I have no sin. We are deceiving
ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

 
The scribes and Pharisees were critical of Christ Jesus, who had no sin. They
saw themselves to be so righteous that they could be critical of the Lord of
life and glory. They could call Him a Beelzebub. They could call Him a
blasphemer. Think of the names they called Him.
 
I want you to see what happens when we receive one glimpse of ourselves. Watch
what happened to these same scribes and Pharisees in John 8:7-9 when they
brought to Christ a woman taken in adultery: “So when they continued asking him,
he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let
him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the
ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went
out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left
alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”

 
The Lord Jesus Christ gave them but one glimpse of their own hearts and of the
spirit of the law. They did not have one stone left to throw at a person who was
guilty of a capital crime. That woman according to the law deserved to be stoned
to death.
 
How can we sit by such a large pile of stones and throw stones at our fellowman?
It is because we do not realize that we have sinned. It is because our eyes are
blinded to see the sins of our own hearts. When we understand the law and the
true character of sin, then we understand the true Spirit of Christ, and we do
not have a stone left to throw.


The real nature of sin astonishes the quickened sinner. That word behold in Job
40:4 where Job said, “Behold, I am vile,” was an exclamation of surprise. When
the Lord opened Job’s eyes to see the true character of sin, he was astonished,
and this is the way it is with you and me if the Lord truly opens our eyes. It
makes us gracious to the chiefest of sinners. We do not throw stones at the most
vile wretch. Our heart goes out to him with sympathy and love. “Oh Lord, how can
I reach out to that poor man and help drag him out of such a gutter.” I do not
throw stones at him, because I see the seeds of those same crimes in my own
heart. If it was not for the restraining grace of God, I would have been worse
than he. What stones do we have left to throw?
 
How should we come to such people as we read in Galatians 6:1-2: “Brethren, if a
man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the
spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one
another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” That is not being
critical. That is not throwing stones. That is seeking the man to restore him.



As the Holy Spirit opens our understanding to discover the spirit of the law, He
leads us into the chambers of imagery. He opens our hearts to understanding as
He did for these scribes and Pharisees to see the evil and wicked imaginations
of our own hearts. Now we understand what we read in Ezekiel 8:12: “For they
say, the LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.” That is the
secret imagination of the evil heart. I can be evil. I can be filled with
hatred. I can do all these things, and the Lord does not see it because the Lord
has withdrawn Himself. He has withdrawn Himself because of these sins. The Lord
withdraws His nearness and withdraws His Spirit because of these evil
imaginations of the heart. This gives us more license to sin.

 
When the Spirit begins to awaken a sinner to the true character of sin, he
attempts to purify himself by turning from some of his most sinful actions. The
first response is that self-righteousness begins to compound itself. We try to
become holy within ourselves. We are going to turn from certain sins, correct
ourselves and stand right before God. This is still not confessing ourselves to
be sinners under the light of the true character of sin.
 
As the Spirit continues to awaken the sinner to the true character of sin and
the spirit of the law, then one as perfect as Job will say as we read in Job
9:30-31: “If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean;
Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me.”
 
Then we learn to see that our best righteousness is but filthy rags. We can do
all in our power to cleanse our own selves of sin, and the Lord would still spew
us out of His mouth. Then we start to see our need for the perfection of Christ.
We start to see and understand that we need Christ’s righteousness, that we need
His blood for cleansing.
 
Our text says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the
truth is not in us.” 

 
When a man is brought to understand the true character of sin, he begins to
realize what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 3:19: “Now we know that what things
soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth
may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
 
You and I by nature are under the law. The law comes as a warrant officer to
arrest us and bring us before the judge. Then we understand what it means to
become guilty before God, and we are not defensive anymore. Our heart can tell
us that we are wrong. Our heart can convict us, yet we will phrase our defense
in some way that we will never confess that wrong. It even takes the grace of
God to come to where a conviction of sin brings forth a confession of sin.

 
“All the world” (Romans 3:19) means there is no exception. We are all guilty
before God. Until we have been brought to see that we are guilty before God, we
will never see the beauty of the imputed righteousness of Christ, which only has
merit. How do I need the perfect robe of Christ’s righteousness when I look at
my own clothes, and they are clean?

 
I want you to see in 1 Corinthians 1:30: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who
of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and
redemption.” It is all of God. He is altogether lovely. Everything flows from
Him, and everything flows back to Him because He is all in all. Now, we become
nothing.
 
The only ones who can say, “We have no sin,” are those described in Proverbs
30:12-13: “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not
washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes!
and their eyelids are lifted up.” They can say that they have no sin, but our
text says they are deceived. The truth is not in them. They are righteous in
themselves, but they are not cleansed from their filthiness.

 
God’s word illustrates how those who say they have no sin appear in His sight in
Proverbs 30:20: “Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth
her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.” We are spiritual adulterers
when we say we have no sin. When we do not see and recognize the sin of our own
hearts, we are guilty of spiritual adultery because we can stand up and be so
lofty. 

 
When we may think that we sin not in thought, words or deeds, then how often we
must confess as we read in James 3:7-9: “For every kind of beasts, and of birds,
and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of
mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly
poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men,
which are made after the similitude of God.” 

 
It does not matter who we are, we can be a wise man or a man of few words, but
scripture says that no man can tame the tongue. When we understand how much we
sin with the tongue, then we will never be able say that we have no sin. That
member of the body that has been defiled by the fall is an unruly evil, full of
deadly poison.  Anytime we have said anything unkind about any man, do not
forget that he might be fallen in sin, but he was still made after the
similitude of God.
 
No human creature can plead innocence in this matter. We are all guilty of this,
and we must all come before God and confess that we are guilty of these things.
 
Our text says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the
truth is not in us.” 

 
See the confession of Hannah as she poured out her heart to the Lord in 1 Samuel
2:2-3: “There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither
is there any rock like our God. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not
arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him
actions are weighed.”
 
Hannah was talking to the same one James was talking to, the human tongue. The
Lord weighs the actions of every man. The Lord weighs my actions. I have said so
often, Until we can start preaching with our feet, we had better keep our mouths
shut. We must know what it is to be gracious to our fellowman, forgiving his
weaknesses and praying with a sympathetic heart to the Lord to restore such a
one, rather to be critical of him and condemn him.
 
The Lord will weigh my actions in the balance of His actions, and then justify
me or condemn me based on how I judge my brother. Judgment begins at the house
of God, and I will be judged with the same judgment as I judge my brother. If I
forgive, God will forgive.

 
Can we boast of our actions before the Lord as the Pharisee, saying in Luke
18:11-12: “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee,
that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as
this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.”
 
Notice the prayer that the Lord Jesus is teaching us in Luke 18:1: “And he spake
a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to
faint.” As the Lord explains what this prayer must be, He goes on to show the
prayer of importunity, and then in verses 11 and 12, He shows the prayer of the
Pharisee, who did not see any sin in himself. The Pharisee brought his actions
before the Lord, and by the Lord actions are weighed.

 
This publican who was so despised by the Pharisee could not boast of his actions
and that he had no sin, but which of the two went home deceived? I want you to
see the tone of our text, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us.” That Pharisee had no truth in him. The Lord was
weighing his actions, but He also weighed the actions of the publican. We read
in verses 13 and 14: “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so
much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful
to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather
than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that
humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
 
The publican confessed his sin. He did not boast of who he was. He confessed who
he was. The Pharisee was deceived, and the publican was justified.  

 
There is such blessed harmony in the gospel. Our text says in 1 John 1:8-9: “If
we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If
we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
 
When I see the sinfulness of my sin, confess that I have sinned and come before
the Lord and confess that I am a sinner and need forgiveness, then He is
faithful and just to forgive.
 
So, which were the two greatest contrasts in the prayers of the Pharisee and the
publican? First, the Pharisee supposed he had no sin, therefore he deceived
himself, and the truth was not in him. Second, the Publican confessed his sins,
and he went home justified.
 
With the Lord’s help, we hope to consider our second point this afternoon, which
is the conditional terms upon which sin is forgiven, “If we confess our sins.”
 
I want you to take notice of this prayer of the publican and the Pharisee, and I
want you to weigh that with the language of our text. “If we confess our sins,
he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness.” In other words, we are made righteous in the righteousness of
Christ if we confess our sins. The difference was that with the Pharisee, he
confessed his righteousness, and he deceived himself.
 
The mere knowledge of how great our sins and miseries are is no basis upon which
to build our hope for eternity. We may teach three things that are needful to
live and die happily. One of them is how great our sins and miseries are. That
is what it says in the Heidelberg Catchecism. 

 
King Saul received much knowledge about his sins and miseries, but there was no
salvation in it for him. I want you to see this in 1 Samuel 28:20 and how he had
gone to the which at Endor and had her bring up Samuel: “Then Saul fell
straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of
Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day,
nor all the night.” 

 
The fact that he was now brought to this knowledge had no salvation in it
because even at this point Saul did not confess his sin. If he had fallen
prostrate before the Lord and confessed, I have sinned, the Lord would have been
faithful and forgiven him his sin, but one thing the Lord withheld from King
Saul was repentance. That knowledge of sin and misery has no salvation in it
apart from confessing it.
 
Samuel had told Saul in verses 18 and 19: “Because thou obeyedst not the voice
of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the
LORD done this thing unto thee this day. Moreover the LORD will also deliver
Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and
thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the
hand of the Philistines.”
 
Even at this point what did Saul lack? Our text says in 1 John 1:8: “If we say
that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Verse 9
says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I want to underscore that word if
in verse 9. It is conditional. If we confess our sins from the heart He will
forgive us and cleanse us. 

 
We can learn from many scriptural examples how God’s saints who shine as the
brightest stars upon the pages of Holy Writ were no exception to the spiritual
warfare in which all God’s dear children must fight. This is a struggle against
the power and character of sin.
 
Of Moses we read in Numbers 12:3: “(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all
the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” No man can claim he was more
meek than Moses. Yet it was of this same Moses that the Lord’s displeasure is
recorded against his pride and rebellion in Numbers 20:10-12: “And Moses and
Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them,
Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?” Do you see their
pride?
 
Continuing in verses 11 and 12 we read: “And Moses lifted up his hand, and with
his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the
congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and
Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of
Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I
have given them.” 

 
Can we say we have no pride? For their pride, Moses could not enter the Promised
Land. Moses, the meekest of all men, was rebuked for his pride. This is a
message you and I must understand. We need to confess our sins.
 
May God give us an attentive heart this afternoon, and the words He will bless
as we unfold our other three points.
 
FOR OUR SECOND POINT, let’s consider the conditional terms upon which sin is
forgiven, “If we confess our sins.”
 
FOR OUR THIRD POINT, let’s consider the foundation of our assurance of this
pardon and the foundation of His faithfulness that it rests upon, “If we confess
our sins, he is faithful.”
 
FOR OUR FOURTH POINT, let’s consider how justice not only allows, but demands a
pardon, “If we confess our sins, [then] he is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
 
 
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