Lord's Day Evening Meditations March 30, 2003

2 Corinthians 4:6-11

Nearness To Christ

It is important to keep in mind that the Lord loves us as much now as when He died on the cross; that the One Who hung there in those hours of darkness loves us just as much right now as He did then. When He died, He not only put our sins away as far as the East is from the West, He not only gave us a hope of one day being with Him and like Him, but He also gave us a new life, and what a privilege and a blessing it is to be walking in the truth of that. Our old man was crucified at the cross, and we should be walking in the new man, in newness of life, not only for our own blessing, but also for the Lord's glory and honour. The world has no thought of the Lord and no thought of eternity, but what a blessing it is for us to have our minds occupied with Christ. He desires that, and He deserves it.

Read 2 Cor. 4:6 - 11. We do not have to be afraid that someone might come into this room tonight and kill us because we love our Saviour; but, when one member suffers, the other members suffer with it. There are people in other places in this world who are being killed for the name of Christ. We should be in prayer for them, but also realize that we are very blessed and privileged in this country where we are not persecuted for enjoying our Saviour. With the "treasure" that we have in our "earthen vessels", and walking in newness of life, we might be "troubled on every side, yet not distressed perplexed, but not in despair that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." The Lord is not here today, but we are here as His people, and we are called "to walk, even as He walked." We are to shine as lights in this world for the Lord.

What does the world see when they look at us? Do they see a joy and a hope in us, like Peter writes, "Ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you"? 1 Pet. 3:15. When others can see that we have a hope so that they ask, "Why are you so happy, what are you looking forward to; how can you be happy with so much stress, and worry in this world?"- that is Christ in us. It is a blessing when the Lord can use His own to shine as a light, and to attract others to that light. Some people who were preparing to go out as missionaries were asked, "What motive do you have to go and tell others about Christ?" One answer was, "The love of Christ constrains me." What a blessing it is for us to have the constraining love of Christ to give us a motive. The Lord's motive was love, and His purpose was blessing. We see it in all His path, and in the cross. What more do we need than the constraining love of Christ? We are in a day of small things, in weakness, following a rejected Lord; but, He will not leave us nor forsake us.

Read 2 Cor. 5:14 - 20. "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ." A country in Africa might have someone in Canada representing their country; we are here representing our heavenly country. How do we shine as ambassadors? Do others see what we have and desire to have it too? In this day of small things we can get discouraged very quickly. I have known assemblies that have disappeared when the last saints died. What a blessing it is to know that the Lord loves us just as much now as when He died. All His love, all His thoughts, center around His Bride, His assembly. When we look around we can get very discouraged at all the corruption in this world. We have to look up. I often think of the story of Peter walking towards the Lord on the water. When he was looking towards the Lord he was fine; when he looked at the waves around him, he began to sink. If we look at all the turmoil around us, we will lose sight of how much the Lord loves us. We must keep our minds fixed on that blessed One.

So, in the new creation, "old things are passed away." We are new creatures, and should be walking in newness of life. There is so much that Satan has in this world to attract the flesh. His purpose is to destroy, to hurt and harm; the Lord's purpose is to bless. Serving Satan is like a slave who has a very hard master who only wants to hurt and destroy. But serving Christ is an honour to His name and a blessing for us.

Read Rom. 8:1 - 8. To "mind the things of the flesh" (v. 5) is to feed the old man with the food that Satan has to fill the void in the human heart. We are down here for a very short time; the Lord could come tonight. We can get so occupied with self, our own worst enemy, with conditions in the world and in the assembly, and have so many worries and concerns, that we lose the enjoyment that we can have in being in communion with our blessed Lord Jesus, and with our Father in heaven. The Lord wants us to have an intimacy with Him, not only as a Saviour, but also as a Lover and Friend; to be able to turn to Him in prayer at any time of the day, to be found at any moment, in any kind of circumstance in prayer. Look at the Lord in His walk down here; He was always in communion with the Father. In that great test in the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed three times; three times - that's supplication. It's a blessed example for us that in this time down here we can have a blessed intimacy with the Father.

We mustn't be too occupied with our failures, although we should be conscious of them and confess our sins. That brings us back into communion, for we have an Advocate with the Father, One Who takes up our cause, "Jesus Christ the righteous." It is a blessing to have such a One that we can go directly to. In the camp they have their priests, but we have a great High Priest, Who is the Lord Himself. He always has a listening ear, and He will help us through in every detail of our lives, the little things as well as the big things. To be able to leave everything in the Lord's hands is a wonderful thing; to have One so close, Who lives in us, a treasure in an earthen vessel. You don't have to have known the Lord for many years to have this communion with Him. He can fill the oldest saint, and He can fill the one who is newly saved. Collectively also, in the assembly, the Holy Spirit should have liberty to work in one and another. "My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies." S. of Sol. 6:2. We can think of that garden as the assembly, and the Lord present there, as the Head, desiring to receive that sweet incense, which can only be produced by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. There are the individual flowers also. What does Christ get from us, in the assembly, and in our daily lives? If we are walking in newness of life, in the Spirit and not in the flesh, the Lord will receive a sweet incense from us, both individually and collectively. We should desire that, and He deserves it, He Who has done so much for us.

Think of what our Saviour did when He suffered for our sins on the cross. The hymn says it well -

Oh what a load was Thine to bear

Alone in that dark hour;

Our sins in all their terror there,

God's wrath and Satan's power.

To get the thought of that, and to appreciate it more, will draw us closer to that blessed One, and we will enjoy His love in a fuller measure. In His Son and the work of the cross, God sees us perfect, for we have been made "the righteousness of God in Him." We can be found, in this scene, walking for the Lord and enjoying His love. He can look down and see us, though in much weakness, walking in newness of life, and that will honour His precious name.

Turn to Zechariah 4:10. "For who hath despised the day of small things?" We should not be discouraged by fewness of numbers. We can still gather here and have the Lord in our midst; we can still remember Him, we can still purpose in our hearts to walk for the Lord and make His love known. He has "given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness," and "exceeding great and precious promises." 2 Pet. 1:1 - 4. We should be found thanking Him for His constraining, encircling love and for all His provisions along the desert pathway. We are a privileged people. J.F.