The Worship of God Himself
and other ministry
Ministry by J. Taylor
– Part One
Those who are unfamiliar with JT should see Biography: J. Taylor.
The new series* of JT's ministry, originally published by Stow Hill Bible and Tract Depot, has 100 volumes – some 5,000 pages – almost all being notes of oral ministry in readings and addresses.
[* The original 'old series' had 212 volumes of varying size and included addresses by other servants. Many of those are now in the series 'Selected Addresses' published by Kingston Bible Trust.]
- As the series is all in print and also available on CD – see Site News: Bibles and Books: Kingston Bible Trust – it will only be drawn upon for this 'Ministry' group or for the Doctrine group
- for articles of significant historical and doctrinal value,
- or if suitable articles by others are not available.
I value highly – and have benefited from – the ministry of all the servants represented on 'My Brethren'.
- But I particularly recommend JT's ministry for the breadth of scope and depth of perception marking it.
On this page, The Worship of God Himself, 1935, is a landmark reading, preparing the way for the final opening up of the service of God.
The Temple of God and the Scriptures is of note because its principles governed JT throughout his own ministry.
- Often, when asked a question privately, he is reported to have said, 'Ask me in the meeting'.
- If the balance between the temple and the Scriptures, which he advocated and practised, had been maintained the great sorrows and troubles after his departure in 1953 could have been avoided.
The Creator of the Worlds is of interest in showing mediatorship before the incarnation.
The Course of the Testimony and the two addresses on The Man of God bear particularly on the present day.
The Lord Knoweyh Them That Are His helpfully examines the various ways in which the Lord knows His people.
Authority in Doctrine and Fellowship convincingly establishes the scriptural position and exposes the widespread post-1959 error that 'authoritative ministry' proceeds from one man.
Page Top Introduction Top
|THE WORSHIP OF GOD HIMSELF|
|Romans 11: 33-36; 16: 25-27; Ephesians 3: 20,21|
A Reading at Eastleigh, Hants, August 9, 1935
Ministry by J. Taylor 68: 94-111
Key to some Initials: C. A. Coates, Teignmouth Alfred J. Gardiner, London
E. J. McBride, Croydon J. Taylor Sr., New York H. P. Wells, Leamington
J.T. These scriptures record the deep feelings that moved the apostle in his writing, first in the epistle to the Romans and then in the epistle to the Ephesians.
- The consideration of them may serve under the Lord's hand to bring under review in a little way what immediately suggested the doxologies.
- We have first the ways of God on the earth as seen in Romans 10 and 11; then the gospel itself as outlined in the epistle, leading to the closing verses where the mystery comes into evidence which is outside these ways.
- It comes into them but had been hid, and the subject of the epistle promotes such deep feelings as to call forth an ascription of praise to God in regard of the mystery.
- Then we have the unfolding of the mystery itself in Ephesians, leading to such feelings as are expressed in the few verses read, including the power that is available, the power in which God does "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think".
- This last passage is intended to fortify us in the maintenance of the exalted truths of the epistle.
C.A.C. Yes, indeed. Would you suggest that the spirit of these wonderful utterances is intended to pervade the service and worship of the assembly?
J.T. I thought the consideration of them would lead us to the great end in view in all God's counsels and ways.
- In each case it is God, the ascription of praise is to God, God Himself being the great end; God as such being the end in view.
- I believe that as we are drawing near to the end of this dispensation the Spirit would move in that way, that God should come before us feelingly;
- for these ascriptions of praise are to Him because of what He is in Himself.
F.W.W. In what character do you view God in these doxologies?
J.T. Well, briefly: the first scripture in Romans 11 alludes to His wisdom, knowledge and judgments as manifested in His ways. His sovereign ways, His sovereignty affecting not only His people but those who are not such;
- then the second in chapter 16 is God in relation to the assembly, the establishing – verse 25 – being needed by us, but the doxology going to God as such;
- finally in Ephesians it is God as He is presented to us in John 1: 18, for instance –
- "No one has seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him".
- So in Colossians, we have the Son spoken of as
- "image of the invisible God" – Christ is that.
C.A.C. In what relation does that stand to the name of Father?
J.T. Well, I have been thinking lately that these relations into which God has entered through the incarnation have in mind what we are;
- it is God coming within the range of our intelligence and affections so as to secure us with a view to what He is in Himself.
- Having entered into the relation of Father with His Son, that relationship stands,
- but it is necessarily a narrower or more limited thought than the thought of Godhead, although the Father is God.
- The great thought is God; that is the word the Spirit of God uses to convey the Deity. That is the great thought.
- The relation into which He has entered is not anything less blessed, for it involves our being brought near in relations suited to Him, not simply as creatures but as sons;
- and all to the end that men might through redemption be brought near in freedom to worship God.
E.J.McB. You think of God as the supreme thought?
J.T. I think that is how Scripture presents the truth.
E.J.McB. And as to these doxologies, would the first one be more a question of His judgments, and the second one more a question of His wisdom, and the final one what we might speak of as the greatness of God? He is able to do all.
J.T. Quite so, as regards what is available for our help; and then, "To him be glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus unto all generations of the age of ages". Ephesians gives us the full thought.
C.S.S. Would that be suggested in Psalm 50: "Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined"?
J.T. Quite so, the shining out of God. It is not now the shining out of His creation, but He shines out of Zion, the perfection of beauty. The first doxology here is,
- "Of him, and through him, and for him are all things"; that is, the bearing of all this is Godward, as indeed we should expect in ascriptions of praise or worship.
- In unfolding these wonderful things by the Spirit, he knew the One who was capable of such emotions, reminding us that in ministry and service these emotions are in keeping.
- The ministry occasions them; the servant is not only being used, but he is an intelligent person himself and capable of these emotions.
F.W.W. These doxologies result from the spirit of worship in the speakers?
J.T. That is what I was thinking, that in unfolding these sovereign ways of God in relation to Israel the apostle is moved first as to the depth of wisdom;
- the first doxology is occasioned by the thought of the depths of wisdom, that is the first thing mentioned:
- "O depth of riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!"
Ques. Would the title here be equivalent to the title in the first chapter of Genesis, "In the beginning God"?
J.T. I think so, I think that is what is in mind; it is God. "In the beginning God". The word is in the plural in Genesis 1, which would emphasise the thought of the Supreme, the One to be worshipped.
C.A.C. Are these ascriptions specially to be noted as being the only intimation of the character of worship on the part of the saints? We have no account in the New Testament of expressions used in the assembly, have we?
J.T. You mean that we have no psalter in the New Testa-ment, so we have to take these expressions as representative of what believers said in the early days.
- Yes, one can understand that if the apostle Paul were in a meeting on the first day of the week, as he would be as he had opportunity, he in worship to God would touch on these things.
- Of course, we rightly bring Christ and present Him to God in His infinite perfections as Son; but then there is what God is, and that is touched on in these passages:
"How unsearchable his judgments, and untraceable his ways!"
- You feel that the speaker is in the presence of God, the Source of all, for he proceeds to say,
- "Of him, and through him, and for him are all things". He is in the presence of God!
- He would be supported in this, of course, by the great Priest, for access to God is through the great Priest; and he would be in the power of the Spirit; but he is in the presence of God.
L.M. As to God and the Father, would you say why John in his gospel and epistles puts the two thoughts alongside so often? For instance, in chapter 4,
J.T. While they run together, God is the great thought. "God is a spirit".
- The Father denotes a relationship entered into; in John it usually denotes God in grace, that He has entered into that relation in grace, hence,
- "The Father judgeth no man", John 5: 22.
- That shows in itself that it is a title or relation narrower, though not less blessed, than the primary or the final thought. God is the primary and the final thought.
- The relations taken are with a view to the great final thought being reached, that God might be known.
- See what a knowledge the worshipper has here! What an apprehension of God he has! How he is moved in thinking of Him, in the word,
- "O depth of riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!"
- He is in the presence of God, he is in the presence of the great Being who has come out; and he is moved in His presence and moved intelligently.
Ques. Is that the thought in 1 Corinthians 15: 28: "Then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all"?
J.T. That is the end.
E.J.McB. Is this somewhat similar to Israel's blessing of Joseph's sons, where he refers to the God that had brought Abraham and Isaac through?
- "The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God that shepherded me all my life long", Genesis 48: 15.
- Is that the character of doxology, and should we not experience, as the result of God's ways with us, this holy sense of His own blessedness?
J.T. That is what I think we might see, that the Spirit is aiming at that; God is to be worshipped because of what He is Himself.
- Jacob alludes to the God of his fathers, and the God that shepherded him; his view is very great for him.
- But when you come to Exodus 3 God not only says, "I am the God of thy father", but when Moses makes the inquiry, Who shall I say sent me? God says, "I AM".
- There you touch something that enters into this chapter;
- "I AM hath sent me unto you", Exodus 3: 14. That is the ever-existing One.
Ques. As to the word of the Lord, "I ascend to my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God", John 20: 17, is God the higher thought there?
J.T. God is necessarily the greatest thought. The Father comes first there, but it never comes first in the epistles.
- When you get the ascriptions, there it is to God and Father; God is first, so that we have to take John 20 as progressive.
- That is, you come into the knowledge of the Father; the Father is a term of the relationship into which He has brought us that we may know Him more intimately; the very term implies that.
- There is more intimacy possible than with God as God, but that intimacy that we come into serves us in good stead in worshipping God.
- The relationship is to that end, it is progressive; that in the knowledge of the Father I have power and more liberty to speak to God.
- I believe the Son in taking graciously a lower place on our account as Man, teaches us how to speak to God, gives us feelings, as in the case of the apostle here, suitable to God. The relation of Father and Son serves to that end.
Ques. Is God as thus presented the Source and Object of all, in Romans?
J.T. That is what is stated plainly here, and with a view to that we see how He acted sovereignly in chapter 9, not only in regard to Isaac, but also in regard to Jacob and Esau.
- He acted sovereignly as to Isaac and Jacob in regard of those born after the Spirit; but He also acted sovereignly as to those who were not. He says,
- "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated".
- We have to know God in that way. He did not say He hated Esau before he was born, but it is brought in in that connection. Before they were born He said,
- "The elder shall serve the younger".
- That is God's sovereign discrimination in favour of one person and against another. Then He raised up Pharaoh sovereignly to show His power in him.
T.C.F. Would you say that God has entered into a mediatorial position so that He might be known thus?
J.T. The relationship and the system of affections are really to lead us into a state great enough to worship God;
- not that the worship of God is any more blessed, but it is the end in view.
- Obviously the Creator is to be worshipped, the Supreme is to be worshipped.
Ques. Is that the idea of glory in each scripture?
J.T. Exactly, the great end is God, and these relations set men free, set us free so that we might worship Him.
P.A.R. Would this doxology connect with Proverbs 8 in any way, the beginning of God's way there?
J.T. I think so, wisdom is in mind in that chapter as mark-ing His ways. That is the first thing mentioned in Romans,
- "O depth of riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!"
G.C.S. In the song of Moses he says, "Ascribe ye greatness unto our God", Deuteronomy 32: 3.
J.T. Quite so, "greatness unto our God".
C.S.S. Is your thought that these depths of God's riches are made known to the assembly, as we get, "The Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God"; and He reveals them to us?
J.T. He does, but this is really in a way greater, because it extends back to what was remarked as to Proverbs 8; it goes back to the beginning of God's way; wisdom was there.
- Proverbs 8 takes us back to the beginning of everything, and wisdom was there; that is, you are impressed with this, that God was operating, and He was operating in wisdom.
- So that all Scripture is intended to promote the knowledge of God in our hearts and minds, from Genesis 1 onwards.
- "In the beginning God"; a great thought presented in a word that denotes supremacy and power, presented in the plural as if to remind us of God; and that is never to be lost sight of.
- The whole tenor of Scripture is to keep that before us, to make us worshippers.
Ques. Is that what underlies the Lord's prayer in John 17?
J.T. The three chapters in Romans blend together in the apostle's mind by the Spirit.
- He begins with deep feeling as to Israel, as to those whom God took up sovereignly, showing that he is not a mere instrument but a feeling person, a man affected feelingly.
- He is a worshipper even in that matter So deep are his feelings that he says,
- "I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh", Romans 9: 3.
- That is the feeling that the sovereign ways of God promote in us.
- He took up that people and the apostle gives us a list of things that attached to them;
- "Who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the law-giving, and the service, and the promises; whose are the fathers; and of whom, as according to flesh, is the Christ, who is over all, God blessed for ever Amen", Romans 9: 4-5.
- That is another doxology; it is the outcome of his feelings, of what he is about to speak of as to Israel, a people that God took up sovereignly
- and in connection with whom is the Christ; but who is He? God, over all, blessed forever.
- Now you may question why this as to God is brought in there. We come at the end of these three chapters, 9-11, to God, and praise ascribed to Him because of His wisdom, knowledge, judgments, and so on;
- but this God is Christ too. Christ is God over all, blessed forever.
- I mention that because of the importance of our being governed in our minds by Scripture's way of speaking; lest there should be any shade cast on Christ.
- In making everything of God rightly there is not; it is just that He has come in according to this wisdom, according to love of course, but according to such a scheme of wisdom;
- that One who is spoken of as God over all should come in in connection with Israel and be known here as a Sufferer, a lowly Servant.
- But what for? To the end that the great primary thought of God should be reached; and it is reached in those verses read.
Ques. Does this first doxology suggest the entire solution of every moral question for God Himself, everything caused to work for His glory in that way?
J.T. That is right; all is for Him.
Rem. I thought this treatise on the gospel comes in so that God gets His own pleasure out of man now, however viewed.
J.T. "Through him" – we have to understand how that works out; I think the epistle has that in mind.
- At the beginning of these three chapters we see the wonderful scheme of wisdom, that Christ came in in relation to God's earthly people.
- Instead of bringing Him in immediately after Adam failed, wisdom required that centuries should pass by, and God should call out a people in connection with whom all these things should be,
- and then that Christ should be by them. Surely we have to consider wisdom in all that!
- He spoke of it in Genesis 3, and He postponed it for centuries;
- and in the interim He calls out Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and attaches to them the promises, the law and the adoption. He brings all these things in before the incarnation.
- What does all that mean? What have I gained by that? What is there in that lesson book for me? That is what enters into these chapters;
- and then finally the Christ, who is over all, God blessed for ever.
- There is the scheme of wisdom; the great lesson book for faith to understand and see how God reaches His thought in His ways on earth.
Ques. Is it not the sovereignty of mercy that the apostle is speaking of here? Having learned what mercy is, it fits us to think of God in this worshipping way.
J.T. That is right; that comes into it, the idea of wisdom is the first thing mentioned.
- He is rich in mercy to all that call upon Him; and Ephesians too says He is rich in mercy; but then He is rich in wisdom.
- What does all this mean? Why did He defer the incarnation? What is He working out?
C.A.C. And it is all God; if it is through Him, it is through God, not exactly through the Mediator. Is that important?
J.T. "Through him"; that is the reason why it is well to call attention to what is said about Jesus at the beginning as, "over all, God blessed for ever". It is God's doing,
- and the One who carries it out in detail, the Man Christ Jesus, is no less than that; He is God.
T.C.F. Would you allow the suggestion that the thought of God in these doxologies is greater than that of God in Genesis 1?
J.T. It must be, for there we have the bare statement, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"; but now we have the unfolding of wisdom in God's ways.
- Why did He defer the incarnation? He spoke of the seed of the woman coming in, but it was not immediate. All this is worked out in the meantime. What is it for?
- It is a question of wisdom, and as a lesson-book for us, so that we should be worshippers from this standpoint, so that we should know God from this standpoint; so the three chapters go over the ground.
- The apostle in the first emotional statement tells us the depth of his feelings – what he thought of those whom God called out, Israel, as He called them.
- But what do I think about them? It may be only a few years before God will begin to move in them; what do I think about them?
- The apostle says, what I think is this that at one time I was ready to be accursed from Christ because of them; and he tells us why.
- Then he proceeds to show how God in coming in in this way works sovereignly; He took up Isaac instead of Ishmael; He took up Jacob instead of Esau; and so on.
- The principle of sovereignty comes home to me. Why did He take up me? Any of us ought to be able to say that, Why did He take up me? He passed by others. That is intended to make me a worshipper.
L.O.L. Is it significant that we do not read much of wisdom until we come to Solomon? He asked for wisdom. Solomon wrote Proverbs 8.
J.T. You can see how great a thought wisdom is in Solomon, in God taking up a man and making him so wise.
- Wiser than all men; wiser than Ethan, than Heman and Calcol; he had no equal.Of course the thought is Christ: Christ now is the wisdom of God.
- But we can only touch on these things, they are really the greatest possible things; the greatest range of things is what is presented in these doxologies.
- It may be the gain will be in the suggestion more than in what may be said.
When we come to the last chapter, the apostle has the mystery before him. Why did God keep it a mystery?
- We are told in Proverbs 25 that it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, we have to understand wherein the glory lies; the glory of concealment.
- So that what is in view is the establishment of the brethren, of the saints,
- "according to my glad tidings, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, as to which silence has been kept in the times of the ages, but which has now been made manifest, and by prophetic scriptures, according to commandment of the eternal God, made known for obedience of faith to all the nations – the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever. Amen".
- It is again a question of wisdom. We have to see wherein lies the glory of concealment, spoken of in the book of wisdom, that is the book of Proverbs,
- and how there was wisdom before the world, prepared for our glory. See 1 Corinthians 2: 7.
H.P.W. It says here, "According to commandment of the eternal God". That links us with the greatest thought of God.
J.T. Yes; God, but now the eternal God.
C.A.C. Is that the thought of the mystery of God in Colossians? It is what pertains to the knowledge of God Himself.
- "In which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge", Colossians 2: 3.
- It is a greater and wider thought than the assembly, is it not?
J.T. That seems to be how it stands. The mystery of God, I suppose, includes all that can be called mystery.
- This thought of mystery is intended to make us treasuries, hiding places, safe keeping places or depositories for divine thoughts.
C.A.C. Then the apostle's agony of desire for the saints in Colossians 2 stands in direct relation to what you are bringing before us today.
J.T. He was combating. One feels how meagre we are in dealing with these immense matters, but yet they belong to us.
- One is made to feel one's limitations and the limitations of the brethren; how little we can elucidate these thoughts, they are so great and we are so limited!
- The very suggestion of these wonderful depths of God is so great, unveiling His mystery so that we may be rooted and grounded in love.
- It is the state of the saints that is in mind here. Even a Paul could not unfold the thing to certain ones because of their state.
- What God would remind us of is our state; whether there is the state of love and the unity of the Spirit, so that these things should be unfolded to us that we might know
- "the mystery of God; in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge".
E.J.McB. Would the thought be that if one accepts the sovereignty of God and the wisdom that has taken one up, one would want to be established in the present ministry and the place the assembly has in the mystery of God?
J.T. The epistle, I suppose, augments this; the apostle does not go forward to unfold it to the Romans, but it is the expected outcome that should be looked for by those who have received the gospel;
- "according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery".
- It was already revealed; it does not speak of it as future, it was already there; but the Romans evidently were not ready for it.
- The establishment would be that we might be equal to the thing, to the mystery that he speaks of here, leading up to the great thought of God wherein are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
- They are hidden there; they are not spread abroad for the natural mind of man; they are hidden there.
C.A.C. Could we have a little on Ephesians 3?
J.T. Well, I thought it would be a good finish to our reading as leading up to the great end.
- The passage really begins immediately with the apostle's prayer to the Father that He would grant the saints to be strengthened by the Father's Spirit in the inner man.
- It is the Spirit of the Father, I apprehend, to the end that the Christ should dwell in our hearts by faith, that we being rooted and grounded in love, should be able to take in what is
- "the breadth and length and depth and height; and to know the love of the Christ".
- That is where we are led to, to this great thought, the strengthening by the Father's Spirit, that we might thus be fully able to know
- "what is the breadth and length and depth and height; and to know the love of the Christ which surpasses knowledge; that ye may be filled even to all the fulness of God" – not the Father here, but God.
- Then in verse 20 he says,
- "But to him that is able to do far exceedingly above all which we ask or think, according to the power which works in us, to him be glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus unto all generations of the age of ages".
- It seems as if we are led there to the final thought as to what God has in mind in the assembly.
Rem. The Father's Spirit would give us ability to apprehend Christ in His greatness:
- "Strengthened with power by his Spirit in the inner man; that the Christ may dwell" in our hearts.
J.T. I think what you say suggests much. The relation entered into of Father and Son enables God to speak so as to be intelligible to us as to what He thinks of Christ, what His thoughts of Christ are.
- It is not simply God and man, it is Father and Son; and that is a relation that existed in humanity from the very beginning, and it is intelligible to us.
- "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased", Matthew 3: 17, was the announcement from heaven; and that was said of a Man. Well, we are capable of understanding that.
- God works by way of environment with an end in view. He placed the relation of father and son in the human race; I do not think He placed it in the angelic order of being, although angels are called the sons of God.
- But I do not think Scripture warrants the thought that there is the relation of father and son amongst angels, that there is any suggestion of it.
- He is pleased to place that relationship in the human race; and all that God did had a purpose in it.
- He enters much more into detail than we are inclined to think, in view of taking us up according to His counsels.
- He operates externally: our antecedents, how we are brought up, our environment, all this is in God's mind.
- He works with wonderful forethought and detail in regard of each of us; and if He had the idea of coming in in the relation of Father and Son, He places that relation amongst men. It is well known.
- And so at the Jordan He announces from heaven,
- "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased".
- Anyone who heard that would be affected. There is the relation of Father and Son; a Man being here on earth in that relation.
E.J.McB. And that is conducive to the knowledge of God in a worshipful way.
J.T. Conducive to the full thought that God had in mind.
C.A.C. So this scripture confirms the line of thought you have been suggesting; the Spirit of the Father strengthening, and Christ dwelling in the heart through faith, leading up to the great thought of the fulness of God.
J.T. Yes; that there may be glory to God in the assembly in Christ Jesus.
C.S.S. Do you think that the knowledge of the Son of God referred to in Ephesians 4 is preparatory to our being filled to all the fulness of God as in chapter 3?
J.T. I should think so, but of course in the epistle it comes afterwards in relation to ministry.
- All comes from the ascended Man, Christ in heaven, and the wisdom with which He has provided the ministers, as it is said,
- "for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ", Eph. 4: 12-13.
- You are alluding to that thought of the fulness of Christ. That fulness of Christ is one thing; what He is as Man in sonship, what comes out of that, as it were, that is what we are to come to.
- The fulness of God is obviously a greater thought although they run together.
- Being filled to all the fulness of God is, I apprehend, that the assembly is set up in the presence of God in the light of the full knowledge of God, not in the weakness of the creature but in power filled unto all the fulness of God.
- I stand up there with all the saints as filled in the presence of God. Each of us would be there in that way.
A.J.G. Would that be the perfecting of the saints that you referred to at the beginning?
J.T. The perfecting of the saints comes in chapter 4, in the work of the ministry; the gifts are to that end, for the perfecting of the saints. That is to say,
- the saints are to be brought round to the full exercise of their senses, nothing missing, no malformation; so that there might be growth, growing up to Christ in all things.
- But then, "filled even to all the fulness of God"; of course it is perfecting, but not the same thought, I think.
- The thought is that there is capacity formed; the saints are great persons. The Father's Spirit in the inner man implies capacity.
- I want to be able to take everything in that is there; and that is why we ought to be attentive now.
- The apostle says he bows his knees because of that; in Colossians he combats in view of the mystery of God, but here he bows his knees in view of capacity in the saints, that we may be fully able to take in the
- "breadth and length and depth and height; and to know the love of the Christ which surpasses knowledge".
- Think of the greatness of these things! It is a question of capacity by the Father's Spirit in the inner man.
Rem. I was wondering whether the thought is seen in the sons of God in Job 38: 7. The sons of God entered feelingly into what God was doing.
J.T. I think you can link that on with Paul here in Romans; how they were moved when the foundations of the earth were laid;
- the sons of God shouted for joy and the morning stars sang together. They entered sympathetically into what God was doing.
- With Paul, after the long history and manifestation of power on God's part, how beautiful it is to see him ascribe praise to God because of what He is!
- Not only what Christ is – of course Christ is the manifestation of God – but then God is to be spoken to in relation to what He is Himself.
Ques. Have you the Holy Spirit in mind in relation to God?
J.T. Certainly; He is God Himself. God is here by the Spirit. That is why I was remarking that we should pay attention to the way Scripture speaks. We have in Genesis 1,
- "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"; then,
- "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters".
- It is the same God but now He is moving in compassion, and that runs right through the history of the Spirit as we have it in the Scripture. It is what God is here compassionately and feelingly.
- God maintains His own majesty; He is God, and yet He serves, and even makes coats for Adam.
- And right through it is God as feeling, even humbling Himself to behold the things in heaven and in the earth – Psalm 113: 6. Yet He maintains His majesty in the Deity.
Rem. The heart of the apostle is bowed in the conscious sense of God's absolute supremacy.
J.T. That is what I was thinking. The apostle is great enough to speak to God in this way;
- and that is what one would like, to be great enough for such utterance.
- The passage is a matter of inward ability; that we may be filled, able to take in these great things.
E.J.McB. We are to be competent to worship God intelligently.
J.T. And great enough in our feelings, not only to use the expressions, but great enough inwardly in ourselves in speaking to God.
- It is not only the question of intelligence, but of the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God; that is Ephesians 1.
- Then the Father's Spirit in the inner man giving me ability to stand up in the presence of all this, and to enjoy it; and to speak of it feelingly as Paul does here.
- You can see what a man Paul was by the Spirit, as able to speak in this way, and with such fulness.
O Blessèd God, our souls are moved as one
To render praise and wider glory still;
Our minds are filled with all that Thou hast done
In working out the counsel of Thy will.
We bow in adoration, for we know
It was Thy thought before the world began
To fill a scene where endless praise should flow,
And share Thy rest eternally with man.
And by the Spirit now we touch that rest,
And see, O God, the end of all Thy ways;
We stand in Christ as those Thy love has blest,
To serve Thee now and richest anthems raise.
We thus extol afresh Thy wondrous Name,
And bow before Thy glory all divine.
We worship still, while gladdened hearts exclaim –
"Thou canst be hindered in no thought of Thine!"
Hymn No. 406 (1973) G. H. Stuart Price
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|THE TEMPLE OF GOD|
AND THE SCRIPTURES
|John 2: 18-22; 5: 46-47; 10: 35; Revelation 3: 12|
An Address at Sydney, Australia, October 3, 1939
Ministry by J. Taylor, 48: 113-123
This service will take the character of remarks – I hope, in the power of the Spirit – on the Holy Scriptures and on the Temple of God.
- These are two prime subjects, important at all times, but particularly in our own.
I selected John's writings only, as they have peculiarly in view the last days.
- It will be remembered by most of us that it is recorded in the last chapter of the gospel of John that John was following Jesus, and Peter inquired of the Lord, "what shall this man do?"
- Evidently John was an unimposing, markedly unambitious brother who valued love more than most things.
- The Lord in replying to Peter said, "If I will that he abide until I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me", John 21: 22.
- The Lord, although not meaning that John should remain alive until He came, certainly meant to connect Peter's mind with the period of His coming, and that,
- as it approached, provision would be made for the peculiar conditions that should arise.
So it is that bearing of John's ministry is toward our days, for which, those of us who have understood this and prove it, thank God continually.
- John, therefore, among other things, stresses the Scriptures, but also stresses the Temple of God , connecting it, in our first scripture, with the body of Christ here; and in Revelation 21 with Christ as the Lamb in the holy city.
- He says, "I saw no temple in it; for the Lord God Almighty is its temple and the Lamb".
- The conditions in the city are suited to the divine presence, yet the idea of the temple is there, and divine Persons are said to be in it; implying that They are very accessible.
- The Lamb will certainly be accessible, and God in Him; so that inquiry will be made then in the temple.
The Scriptures and the Temple
I purpose to speak about the Scriptures first.
- They are peculiarly the object of the enemy's attack at the present time; for many years past, indeed, they have been the subject of attack continuously;
- for, although a certain body of professing Christians of great antiquity and renown, assumes to recognize them in toto,
- yet they are largely nullified by its interpretations – as effective a way as there is of rendering them ineffective as read by men.
In the period of the Reformation, as many of us will know, the authority of scripture was asserted.
- This was met by the body, to which I allude, some years later, by spurious additions to the Scriptures,
- beclouding them and dragging them down, to say the least, to the level of mere human productions; the Apocrypha was added to the canon of scripture.
- Then again in regard to the temple of God, God graciously, in later years, revived the thought of it.
- The truth recovered included what Paul conveyed in his question to the Corinthians,
- "Do ye not know that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?", 1 Corinthians 3: 16.
- Light from the temple was thrown on the holy page of scripture and the true canon of scripture was discerned and preserved.
- And has been maintained to the present moment, and will be, by the help of God, to the end: the Spirit been here.
This great revival of the truth, so far-reaching, so illuminating, so practical, entering into the various meetings of the saints for the study of scripture and for ministry,
- is discounted by the same religious body in what it calls "The Bull of Infallibility", in which a mere man, under certain conditions, is regarded as competent to speak with divine authority.
- Antichrist, we are told in the Scriptures, "sits down in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God", 2 Thessalonians 2: 4.
I mention these facts, here brethren, because we should know them.
- They belong to the working of evil against Scriptures, against the Holy Spirit, and against temple of God.
- It is well to have them in mind, because God is looking for faithfulness amongst us, that the authority of scripture may be maintained inviolate,
- and that the presence of the Holy Spirit, as constituting saints in whom He dwells, the temple of God, should be maintained not only in terms, but in practice, so that we need not speculate on what any part of scripture means.
No honest Christian would say that he understands all scripture, but, in dependence on God,
- as the brethren assemble together in the light of the temple, the Holy Spirit sheds light on the holy page of scripture, so that we understand.
- Many of us have been gladdened as on such occasions light broke in, the Spirit of God in His own way, sometimes quite unexpectedly, making a passage luminous in a fresh way.
- A peculiar joy enters into the heart of a servant when he has such an experience.
- The blessed Spirit of God moving, acting in the Temple, causing light to shine in, gladdens, perhaps, not only the one He used, but all who heard.
- If there are those here who regard what I am saying as unintelligible, I would urge you to look into the matter and consider the significance, as seen in scripture, of the temple of God.
There are two words used for temple in the New Testament, both appearing in John 2: 14, 19, the former referring to the general building called the temple,
- the latter to the inner sanctuary, and is the word used throughout the book of Revelation.
- It refers to the immediate presence of God, where also He makes communications, as in Numbers 7: 89.
- Think of the greatness of it! The Psalmist says, "to inquire in his temple".
- It may be there are some here who have never thought of it, but the temple of God is one of the most important facts of the moment.
- It is parallel with the Scriptures in importance.
- It is in virtue of the temple that the canon of scripture has been determined.
- Whatever may be said of ecclesiastical council and their findings, it is in the power of the Spirit that the saints determine what is of God; what is authoritative as from Him.
- They, as of the temple, discern it, and regard as spurious, however canonised, what has no part in the Holy Scriptures.
I want first to speak of the Scriptures before continuing about the temple.
- You will see how the two thoughts as to the temple are linked in my first passage – John 2; first, the temple in the general sense, out of which the oxen, etc., were cast; and then the Lord speaks of the temple of His body;
- and, as to the latter, John says, that after He rose from among the dead, His disciples "believed the scripture".
- We have a suggestion here of the importance of the light of resurrection in relation to scripture.
- They believed the scripture.
- Many of us here, it may be, believe because we have been born into Christian households.
- We have regarded the Scriptures according to their face value, theoretically perhaps, scarcely reading them much.
- Presently some school teacher tells you that the book of Genesis is doubtful, and the book of Jonah a fanciful story, and you partly believe it.
- In thousands of cases this is happened. Hence the importance of looking into the great matter of the resurrection.
- John says, on more than one occasion, this included, that the truth of the resurrection and glory of Christ bears on the authority of scripture.
- In truth it is as apprehending by the Spirit, Christ risen and indeed glorified, that we get the full bearing of scripture.
- The Bible becomes a new book to us. It is lighted up with the glory of Christ.
- Hence here the disciples after Christ arose
- The word which Jesus had said, as I hope to show presently, implies the temple.
- The body of Christ was the temple. It was the temple while He was alive, and here in flesh, but now his word is believed.
- He raised Himself, and the light of His resurrection enabled the disciples to believe what the Jesus said as well as the Scriptures.
- Hence, as believing the Scriptures, on this principle, they become peculiarly interesting.
- A living thought enters your soul; the resurrection of Christ is a wonderful fact in the soul.
- One of the most remarkable things is that after He arose He expounded to two wandering saints in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself – Himself in that condition.
- Of course they refer to Him in flesh and blood, but now He is in a new condition, and so the effect of resurrection in the soul enables one to read the Scriptures in a new way.
- They are "Appointed to be read in churches" – thank God! especially in England; but how read?
- The Lord says to one, "how readest thou?"
- And again an honest man, the Ethiopian eunuch, in answer to Philip's question, "Understandest thou what thou readest?" says, "How can I, except some man should guide me?"
- That is the attitude of soul to take, and hence I lay stress on the word read in John 2, "they believed the scripture".
This is the first point; the second point I would make is the exposition of the Scriptures. "He expounded unto them", we are told by Luke.
- God furnishes expositions, and He would urge us to use them, to avail ourselves of them;
- the Lord led the way into it; "He expounded unto them in all the scriptures" – what an unfolding!
- How one would look to hear how He touched on the different books of the Old Testament! He never touched on the Apocrypha, you may be sure.
- Philip again in answer to the unit, preached unto him Jesus, beginning at the scripture the eunuch was reading.
- I cannot say that he was reading the prophet Isaiah right through; but undoubtedly it was under the guidance of the Lord that he was reading that particular chapter;
- and it was under the direction of the Lord that Philip was there to help him to understand;
- and so it is the Lord provides expositions of scripture. Why not avail ourselves of them prayerfully?
- One could list some of them, but I would certainly urge the use of divinely furnished expositions. They are of God, and to neglect them is loss.
- Do not allow them to replace the Scriptures, read the scripture first and then the exposition.
Then again, I would say, Search the Scriptures. That is what the Lord says in John, "Search the scriptures".
- We may do so, as for hidden treasure, and we will not fail to find it. The Lord says, "in them ye think ye have eternal life".
- You will find eternal life spoken of in the Scriptures, but you will not find the substance in the Scriptures, you will have to go to Christ for that.
- Eternal life is in Christ, but the Scriptures aid you in the understanding of it.
- Many pore over the Scriptures in that way instead of linking the reading of them with Christ; He is the substance of all scripture, the Spirit of all scripture.
- Then again, the Lord says "the scripture cannot be broken" – a very great thought.
- What a word, dear brethren, at the present time, when men are so boldly, blasphemously, suggesting that Christ told lies.
- He makes much of Moses. He says, "if ye do not believe his writings", John 5: 47.
- Think of the Lord putting the writings of Moses before His own words! Yet man would make some of Moses' writings fictitious.
- The Lord says, "if ye do not believe his writings, how shall ye believe my words?"
- I am speaking so that we might be fortified. Times are getting worse and worse, and God would have us fortified on these points.
- "The scripture", said the Lord, "cannot be broken", John 10: 35. Many of you will remember the connection.
- They thought Lord was blaspheming because He said He was the Son of God, and He said, "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?"
- and, in this connection, the Lord says that the scripture cannot be broken. Let us accept it.
- Well, says the Lord, if those to whom the word of God came are thus spoken of,
- "do ye say of him who the Father has sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am Son of God?"
- I speak thus, as I said, that we might be fortified, that our feet be on solid ground in accord with the Scriptures.
- They cannot be broken, the Lord says, and anyone who attempts to break them is taking direct issue with Christ. He will do well to remember that he is not stronger than the Lord.
Well now, in the few minutes there left I wanted to return to the temple.
- I have connected it with John's writings, because he uses the word more than any of the evangelists; quite a number of times in the book of Revelation.
- I quoted one in chapter 21, where the thought is connected, as I said, with the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb.
- "I saw no temple in it; for the Lord God Almighty is its temple, and the Lamb".
- So that it is connected with divine Persons, and hence in our scripture in John 2, the Lord refers to His body as the temple.
- As He was here in the flesh, how approachable He was!
- Yet in His answers He was concerned about the divine thought governing the question, and on the other hand, the state of the questioner.
- Now He is risen and in heaven, and will function as the temple in the heavenly city presently;
- in the meantime the temple is here in the saints.
- Let no one be afraid of that remark as to the saints, but here it is the saints viewed organically.
- Some of you may be quite out of contact with this thought of an organism and, of course, you are losing enormously.
- It is the time to learn how to function in the organism called
- "the mystery of God; in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge", Colossians 2: 3.
- They are hidden there. The hiding implies spirituality in the saints, for the saints are viewed, in the Scriptures, in a mysterious sense, as processing the Spirit;
- and viewed thus, they have in them, deposited by the Spirit, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
- Can any Christian assume to get along without this wonderful thing – the mystery of God?
- It is God's thought for each Christian, that you should have part in it, and so the apostle says to Christians not very far advanced – those at Corinth –
- "Do ye not know that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? … for the temple of God is holy?" 1 Corinthians 3: 16-17.
We need not, as I said before, be speculating if a thing is not clear to us in the Scriptures.
- The Lord would have us to have recourse to the temple, and at the same time to have patience.
- "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God". That would preclude speculative and fanciful thoughts.
- I need not be fanciful, I am not strengthened by it, I am not help by it, nor are my hearers.
- I should have recourse to the temple; the matter may not be made clear at once, but I may go again, and again, and again; presently, as I have said, light breaks through.
- I am able to revise my article in dependence on the Lord. I am able to take my stand as responsible for its contents; if I do not, I should not publish it. The temple meets it all.
- We are wonderfully furnished, dear brethren, and Lord would bring this to us,
- "Do ye not know that ye are the temple God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"
- What is it for? For inquiry. It is much safer to inquire there than from any brother; not that we should not inquire from one another; I am not disparaging that –
- but the temple, the Spirit being in it, is the supreme thought in this matter, and God would have it honoured.
- Hence we find in the most complicated period seen in scripture, in the book of Revelation, the temple is more referred to, and actually used, than in any other book.
What a complicated state of things is now coming in? What darkness in varied forms of apostasy is spreading abroad rapidly! How essential that the temple should have its place!
- John shows us that it is to have its place in the conditions depicted in the book of Revelation; hence I have read the passage that relates directly to our own times, to this meeting tonight: Revelation 3: 12.
- The Lord refers to it in speaking to Philadelphia;
- He assumes that the overcomer in that assembly understands the temple.
- We may assume that that brother had been ministering; had given addresses, and sought to expound scripture.
- How could he be sure of the truth of what he ministered? By the temple.
- The Spirit of God is speaking, according to these addresses, to the assemblies; the temple is involved in this, and the overcomer in Philadelphia understands.
- The Lord says, "him will I make pillar in the temple of my God", Revelation 3: 12.
- The Lord was the temple itself – only He could be that. Now He will make the overcomer a pillar in the temple of God.
- Why does He say that? Because the overcomer would understand and value the great honour of being a pillar there.
- How shall I be a pillar there, if I have not been a pillar there?
- It is here that I am to stand up for the truth, and the assembly is "the pillar and base of the truth".
- It is possible and most important that the minister should understand, should be assured as serving the saints, that what he is saying is according to God.
- It is possible for him to speak "as the oracles of God".
- Thus he values what the Lord proposes to him, to make him a pillar in the temple of His God. That would be a support to it, and an adornment to it.
Dear brethren, that is the need now – support and adornment of what is of God.
- We often speak of these things, and rightly, in our Bible readings; but then what about certainty as to what we are saying?
- What about assurance that it is the mind of God, that you can subscribe your name to notes of it, depending on the Lord?
- "In many things", says James, "we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man", James 3: 2.
- Mistakes are made, but I am speaking of the possibility, in a general way, of speaking the word of God, and knowing that it is the word of God.
- The saints need to be assured, and the minister needs to stand by what he says and writes, assured that it is in its general substance and bearing the word of God.
- He can do so in virtue of the temple. It is in part the Lord's answer to modernism.
- It is a wonderful thing, that the Spirit of God is actually speaking today, the temple God running concurrently with the authority of scripture;
- so that the Scriptures are understood and can be applied in a spiritual way.
- It is a great triumph, and the Lord would have us to enlarge on it, to understand how to inquire in the temple God.
There are two things as to the house of God that the Psalmist – indeed David himself – stresses: "to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple".
- He says, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple", Psalm 27: 4.
- The soul is to be entranced by that – "the beauty of the Lord", the wonderful divine traits that are delineated for us in the house: it is a question of the place of the affections.
- Then there is more, namely, to "inquire in his temple".
- It is quite right to take the concordance, and read the Bible carefully and studiously; but do not forget to inquire of the Lord in His temple.
- Read in your own room, of course, but the light usually comes in more freely and fully as one is in the attitude of inquiry when the saints are together as in the temple.
- Let us accept it as a fact. It is a fact, and many of us have proved it. Let us prove it more .
- We have only touched the fringe of this great truth. It is God's way of meeting modernism, and all that is like it at the present time.
- The incorruptibleness of the Scriptures, the spirituality of the Scriptures, and their applicability to all circumstances are lighted up by the Spirit in the temple.
- There is a great door opened up to the dear brethren, and one is urging it, on oneself and on all, to make much of this side of the truth – the temple God. We have not far to go to seek it.
- "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God", says the apostle, "and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
- As we come together humbly and simply, in recognition of these things, the light shines around us –
- what Christ is to God, and the way by which Christ effects all His thoughts.
- All these things come out when we inquire in this way, in His temple. May God bless the word!
Blessed Holy Spirit,
Dwelling in the temple,
In the holy shrine –
Holy is Thy presence,
Holy is the place
Where Thou now art dwelling
In exceeding grace.
Unto thee ascribing
Glory, honour, power,
We would wait upon Thee
In this hallowed hour.
Let not human wisdom,
Nor let carnal thought
With unholy feelings
Hide what Thou hast brought.
Let Thy light transcendent
On the Scriptures shine,
Opening the treasures
Of the mind divine:
Thoughts of Christ in glory,
Of the Father's love,
Bringing in their shining
Wisdom from above.
Hymn No. 490 (1973) James Macdonald
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|THE CREATOR OF THE WORLDS|
|Hebrews 1: 1-2; Acts 1: 1- 9|
An Address at Edinburgh, July 4, 1950
Ministry by J. Taylor, 70: 395-403
Mrs. Andrew Robertson – then Miss Lois Wood of New York – was present at this address. Lois recalls that JT was pressed to give an address but in agreeing said that he only felt able for a short word and that perhaps some other brother would carry on. When JT sat down Mr. Harry D. Thomas of London did just that.
The brethren, doubtless, will be aware that Paul is the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, which affords much as to the Person of Christ, the deity of Christ.
- The epistle treats much of the Psalms, and it has been pointed out too that the Psalms correspond in measure with the Pentateuch; that is to say, with the books of Moses.
- It might be easily pointed out that the deity of Christ, in a figurative way, in a forerunning way, is much treated of in the book of Psalms, and the hearts of the saints of old were cherished by the thought of the Messiah, their Messiah, being so beautifully spoken of therein; undoubtedly the saints of God, from of old, were all touched by their Messiah being thus spoken of.
- And many a saint in our own dispensation has found real joy in the food afforded in the book of Psalms for the nourishment of the believer's heart, as it is even today.
- Many today in this very hall have been affected, turning away from the world and its attractiveness, its glories, turning away from all that, to be with the Lord's people, as we are here today, as those whom they love.
The book of Hebrews therefore becomes a wide field for the enjoyment of the brethren, the enjoyment of their affections for Christ. How they admire Him, the glories of Christ, the death of Christ too, and the glory that should follow, as it is said.
- The book therefore is to be looked into even more than ever, recalling the great servant Paul as to his admiration for Christ.
- However much he presented the truth to the gentiles, he also presented it to the Hebrews, the Hebrew Christians of his day; but in our day we are not concerned so much about the Hebrews as we are about the saints of this dispensation, those who form the assembly, for the assembly is the great theme of the Scriptures.
- I ventured to read from the first chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, to call attention to the expression 'worlds'.
- "God having spoken in many parts and in many ways formerly to the fathers in the prophets" – the allusion being to the Old Testament, "at the end of these days has spoken to us in the person of the Son, whom he has established heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds";
- that is the word I want to come to, to link it on with the book of Acts, showing how in that book the Spirit of God enlarges on the up-going of Christ, not the down-coming but His up-going.
It is recorded twice in the passage I read, that He was received up, or taken up, and, of course, it ought to appeal to our hearts, that ours is a going-up time.
- The going up belongs to us also, so that we are not concerned with the glory of this world or what it affords to the natural mind. We are referring to that world,
- "that world, and the resurrection".
- The Lord Himself spoke of those who are counted worthy to have part in that world, and the resurrection; but, as I said, I wanted to come to the word 'worlds' in this first chapter of Hebrews.
- As lovers of God, the brethren love to think of His word, the word of God. It is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and is a divider asunder of soul and spirit, and joints and marrow, and of the thoughts and the intents of the heart.
- Who is the Christian that is not exercised on these lines? and so it is, that I would say a word as to this word 'worlds'.
We are not much conversant with the idea of the worlds – using the word in the plural, and that the worlds were made, or framed, by the word of God.
- "The worlds were framed by the word of God", Hebrews 11: 3;
- but here in chapter 1 it is said that the worlds are made by the Son, by the Lord Jesus. They are made by the Lord Jesus, and the question is, how many worlds there are.
- It is a question really involving the Deity, the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, but particularly the deity of Christ; and the question is, how many of us know anything about this great subject of the 'worlds'.
- We know something of the present one, the one we are in. It can be measured geographically; the school-children often know something about it geographically, the solar system and all that, but the solar system does not include all the worlds.
- We are to be directed to the greatness of Christ; He is the Maker of all the worlds, as it says here,
- "by whom also he made the worlds".
- He made; that is, He is God. The "He" is God; therefore the making of the worlds is a creatorial, or rather, I should say, a mediatorial term. It is creatorial, of course, but I was rather thinking of the idea of mediatorship, of the Mediator.
- God has effected redemption through Christ, and many other things, but Christ is Mediator of creation.
- The idea of mediatorship was brought out largely in Moses, and so the study of Moses becomes of immense importance as to all these matters.
- But now I am speaking of the worlds. Moses did not speak of that; he did not speak of the mediatorship of the worlds; he spoke of the mediatorship of Moses, and we are told that the law was ordained through angels in the hand of a mediator.
Moses did not speak of the worlds; it belongs to the many subjects treated by Paul in Hebrews.
- Many others are treated of in the first chapter; I have already alluded to how the Psalms are quoted in the first chapter, finishing up in the last verse of it with a reference to angels, it says,
- "Are they not all ministering spirits?".
- They were made before men, but they are ministering spirits, they are subject to us; that is, to Christians, those who are heirs of salvation. We are heirs of salvation, with the dignity and glory of that position, dear brethren.
- We can enlarge on this matter, that there are those who are heirs of salvation and angels are ministering to them. Angels are ministering to us, angels are creatures, they are not divine Persons.
- There are only three divine Persons, as far as Scripture shows; that is, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- We read of other creatures, such as cherubim and seraphim, but these are not strictly creatures, they are just symbolical representatives of certain things. I do not know what I can say about them, or whether anybody here can say anything about their description, about seraphim. Seraphim are simply creatures of God, or rather, though symbolical, are spoken of thus in the Scriptures.
- The only divine Persons are the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and we need to be clear ourselves, to disabuse ourselves of any other thought as that there are any others outside of the Three – the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- The Three exist, and They are all to be understood, and enjoyed and worshipped; every one of Them worshipped, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, all are to be worshipped.
- We cannot assume to minimise any one of the divine Persons, strictly; They are all equal, as one might say. In the abstract, They are all equal; the Father and the Son and the Spirit are equal.
- What They were before, in the equality of Their own proper relations, we cannot say; nobody can say.
- We can worship, and we do, thank God. We have learnt to worship. I hope every one here has learnt to worship. It is a time of learning, learning who the Father is, and learning who the Son is, and learning who the Spirit is;
- and then remember too that the Spirit has not died for us, nor has the Father died for us; the Son has died for us, and only the Son has died for us, and we worship Him, we revere Him, and it is well that we should, that He should become everything to us.
- There is only one Person in the whole universe who died for us, and that is Christ. He is the great Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.
Well now, I am coming back to my subject, and that is the word 'worlds' – whether we know anything about the worlds; that is to say, about them.
- We know something about the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and they are worlds, of course, in a certain sense, but they are not everything.
- There are worlds that we have never seen, or heard of in the ordinary way; we have heard of them, of course, because the scripture speaks of them, here in this very chapter, the Son made the worlds, for they were made mediatorially. In John 1 it is said that
- "All things received being through him".
- That is the Son, the Lord Jesus, a divine Person. He is the Maker of everything. He is a divine Person. Not one thing, it says, received being without Him; and so now the question to be worked out a little is, What about these worlds? Are they anything to us?
- Are they anything to wonder at in our minds; anything to bring in reverence, seeing that God has made them, that Christ has made them? Think of the vastness of the idea
- Of course, even the earth itself is a small thing relatively. The sun is small, larger than the earth, but still small; and the stars appear small, of course, but then they are all made by the Lord Jesus, the Lord Jesus made everything, not one thing was made without Him.
- We are not even told that angels had anything to do with it. Not one thing was made without Him – incomparable, the magnitude of it! and yet it belongs to Christians. It is one of the things that belong to us, that we should revel in, that we have part in all this vast universe.
Now, in the passage I refer to here, in the second verse, this word 'worlds' is said to be a Jewish expression, though that is not in the scripture.
- In Scripture it is called 'worlds', it is a plural word. Possibly the word cosmos is involved, but that usually refers to the earth, things that are made that we know of; but it is not 'the universe' here, it is the word 'worlds' that is here; we do not know how many,
- and that is what I am saying, that there are so many, the things that we have to deal with are so immense, that they cause reverence and respect, and, we might say, joy as we think of what we are brought into, that the world in itself, that is, the earth, disappears, you might say, in its nothingness.
- I repeat, that we do not know, dear brethren, how many worlds there are, but we do know the Creator, we do know the Maker of them, and we worship Him. We love Him and we worship Him, and that is the great point at the moment. I would think that all ministry must reduce itself to that.
- All ministry must reduce itself to that, to what is in the Father, and what is in the Son, and what is in the Spirit; but, to come now to the point, God made the worlds, by the Son; that is to say, the Lord Jesus has made them, but He has made them mediatorially, in that sense.
- He wrought redemption too, mediatorially, but there are things beyond that, that we cannot fathom or reach in our minds, but we do well to ponder them and be worshipful, to think of their existence, and that we have part in them.
I hope the brethren will be patient with me, in trying to say what I am saying, because I think everybody will realise something of the magnitude of it, and however big the systems of the worlds are by themselves, they are God's creation and they cause worship in our hearts;
- Whatever we may speak about, the first day of the week, and the Lord's supper, the result, the outcome, the thought in all is that we are to worship God. John bowed down to the angel, but he said, "Worship God"; and that is the word that I would say to every young person here today, 'Accustom yourself to the worship of God'. "Worship thou Him", it says elsewhere.
- And so I go back again to my text, and that is
- "By whom also he made the worlds".
- I do not go beyond that, although there is much that could be said, that some of us have often spoken of, and that is about the Lord Jesus,
- "who being the effulgence of his glory and the expression of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, having made by himself the purification of sins, set himself down on the right hand of the greatness on high, taking a place by so much better than the angels, as he inherits a name more excellent than they".
- So now I pass on to the book of Acts, having spoken about the worlds. It is just, as I said before, that the brethren may begin to think of these things, and to think of the vastness that we are brought into; that we are to be worshipful because of it, that we have part in it.
So now I want to say a word about the first chapter of the Acts. The dear brethren will be aware that all one is endeavouring to do is to help, especially the young people who are here, and who perhaps have not much taken account of these great and glorious things.
- The book of Acts is the work of the Spirit of God, of course, we might in a way say, the acts of the Spirit of God.
- In a sense, the book comprises the works of the Spirit of God; and the thought now is just to call attention to what is going up, what going up means, because it implies what we have in the service of God the worship of God, so that in Ephesians 4 we have:
- "Wherefore he says, Having ascended up on high, he has led captivity captive, and has given gifts to men. But that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same who has also ascended up above all the heavens, that he might fill all things".
- And then again Paul's own remarks in the epistle to the Corinthians, that he said
- "I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago … such a one caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man (whether in the body or out of the body I know not, God knows); that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable things said which it is not allowed to man to utter".
Well now, that helps me to say a further word as to the passage in the Acts that we have read; that is to say, the service of God is in mind, and the epistle to the Ephesians exemplifies what it implies, that we have to with such a realm, a non-created realm,
- and perhaps someone would say it is impossible to know what that means, but it is a fact, it is a non-created realm, for the Lord Jesus has ascended up beyond all the heavens, it says, gone beyond all the heavens, and where are they?
- We must stop and think of these things, and become worshipful about it. Where are they? Where are these heavens, all the heavens? How many are there? We must inquire about these things. And so, as I said, in this verse,
- "having by the Holy Spirit charged the apostles whom he had chosen, he was taken up".
- He was taken up; that is, the Lord was taken up, and so when we take part in the service of God on the first day of the week, what do we understand about being taken up? What do we understand about the third heavens, "above all the heavens"?
- I am just endeavouring to say a word to the brethren to stir up our affections as to the magnificence of all these things, and to be enjoying them constantly, that we ourselves have part in them.
Here, as I said, we have the word, "having by the Holy Spirit charged the apostles whom he had chosen, he was taken up".
- And then again we are told in Luke that He lifted up His hands and blessed them, and He was carried up into heaven. Well, who carried Him up? Where did He go? Where is He now? We might say, bringing the thoughts down to such as Moses, or Elijah. Where are they now? Are we inquiring about them?
- We belong to this wonderful system of things, even the creature system. There is the heavenly system of creatures, like the heavens, and we belong to it, we have part in it.
- We shall not ever enter into what belongs to divine Persons; at the same time, we are not far away from Them. They are not far from any one of us, it says; and so we read in John of the nearness of God, and yet the inscrutability of God, that no one has seen God at any time.
- No one has seen Him at any time. We may as well accept that, because it is a fact. And yet we read in Matthew, that certain ones see God, Matthew 5: 8, but we have to understand. Philip said to the eunuch,
- "Understandest thou what thou readest?"
- and that is a good question for everybody, as we read the Scriptures. "Understandest thou what thou readest?" And be in the things, that you see properly belong to you.
Now I am just going to say a word about the last verse of this paragraph, verses 1-9. It says,
- "And having said these things he was taken up",
- the same expression as in verse 2. In Luke 24 we read that as He blessed the saints He was carried up. But where has He gone?
- How do we reckon where He has gone, because we only see what we call the sidereal heavens; we do not see everything. Many things are not visible; the visible and the invisible are spoken of. And so here,
- "they beholding him, and a cloud received him out of their sight".
- He is taken out of their sight. We say, He is invisible. Well, He is taken out of their sight. That is the point. It does not say that even Moses, or Elijah, was taken out of their sight. We know they must be somewhere.
- In fact, it says in Matthew that many bodies of the saints that slept arose, and entered into the holy city and appeared unto many. That is all you can say. That is all I can say, but it is wonderful that we can even say those things, and be affected by them.
So it is that I now close with this thought, in the last verse here,
- "And having said these things he was taken up, they beholding him" – they beholding Him – "and a cloud received him out of their sight".
- They beheld Him for a short time, but He was received out of their sight. So that it is an invisible state of things, dear brethren, and yet we have part in it; though we are but creatures, we have part in it.
- We are going to be taken up to heaven, as the Lord was, but only to a point, not as He was taken up. That is, He has gone beyond all the heavens, but we are to be taken up, and are going into heaven.
- That is what we are enjoying the thought of, that we are going into heaven, that heaven is our place, and the assembly knows that heaven is its place. In the book of Revelation the assembly of God is seen coming down out of heaven, having the glory of God.
- So I leave that with all the dear brethren, and the Lord may give a further word.
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|THE COURSE OF THE TESTIMONY|
|New York, 1908|
Ministry by J. Taylor, 2: 317-320
A weighty obligation rests on the saints of the present generation. For many centuries Christ, viewed as typified by the ark of the covenant, had been obscured.
- The recognition of the human element, and the principles of the world, in the church, practically set aside the Holy Spirit; and so Christ was lost to view.
- The Spirit will ever make Christ prominent, but when He is not allowed to speak, the man after the flesh, instead of Christ, comes into evidence. The Scriptures foretold that this should occur, and we know by what we see around us that it has occurred.
- The history of Israel, as recorded in the book of Judges and the early chapters of 1 Samuel, is analogous to the history of the church in this respect.
- From the time of the construction of the ark of the covenant it was the great central figure in Israel from the divine point of view, and where intelligent faith existed it was so regarded.
- But in the days of the judges it was scarcely noticed at all according to its true import; when, however, the people were pressed hard by the Philistines they resorted to the ark as if it could save them, instead of trusting God whose presence among them it symbolised.
- Alas! He had now forsaken Israel, for their state was such as to preclude His presence. Forms which represent what is divine avail nothing when the state to which these forms primarily referred is lacking.
- The ark was taken by the Philistines. It was a dark day in Israel; for the glory had departed. But God acted sovereignly in raising up David to reinstate the ark in its place.
- The same thing, in principle, has taken place in the church: God has wrought; the authority of the Lord has been acknowledged, and, as a result, Christ, as the object and centre of God's counsels, has regained His place in the affections of the saints.
- God has done this for us, and the weighty question for the saints is: Shall Christ continue to retain this place with us?
The recovery of the truth alluded to was by men of God.
- A man of God shines in a crisis. The crisis does not make him a man of God, but what he does in it shows him to be such. He acts for God. But if we are not with God before the crisis, it is not likely that we shall act for Him in it.
- In the establishment of the kingdom, David was a type of Christ; but David was personally a man of God. He served his own generation by the will of God; he may be regarded as a typical man of God; and his work in Israel is a demonstration of what God can do through one who is faithful to Him.
- But recovery of the truth is not only connected with men of God, for if we look into the Scriptures we see that the testimony primarily came out through them.
- The development of God's testimony was gradual, but steady. Indeed the accuracy with which each part fits into connection with all that preceded it attests, in the strongest way, the divine authenticity of the whole, and also of the Scriptures, in which we have the record of it.
- But each phase of the testimony, as it appeared, brought into evidence some man of God. Each had been formed of God so that in him should be set forth some feature of Christ; wherever faith existed there was some conception of Christ; and this gave character to the person. Hence there was a living testimony.
- We see, therefore, in Abel not only a type of Christ: righteousness was actually there in him, and he suffered for it; he had faith, so we see in his testimony a feature of Christ in a substantial way. The same is true of the other men of faith who followed after Abel.
But our present concern is to show that they were men of God, and so were honoured as taken up to bear witness beforehand to what God intended to set forth in Christ.
- Under God, we owe to them the wonderful unfolding of the testimony which the typical part of the Old Testament affords. For the psalms and prophetic books, in the same sense, we are also indebted to men of God:
- "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost", 2 Peter 1: 21.
- Coming to the New Testament, the same remarks apply. The man of God considers only for God, and nothing can afford more food for the soul than to trace this in the Lord's ministry.
- The apostles, too, were men of God. Through them the testimony of God, in its completeness, was established in the world.
Now this precious treasure being in the world, who is to be, so to say, its custodian?
- At the outset the church as pervaded by the Spirit was this, but even then the man of God was needed. Compare 1 Timothy.
- But now that the assembly has fallen into outward ruin, the testimony is connected with faithful individuals who, nevertheless, walk in the full light of the church.
- Here we come to the second epistle to Timothy, which contemplates our own days. Timothy was faithful and thus the apostle Paul had entrusted the truth to him, and he in his turn was to commit it to other faithful men.
This involves a most important consideration as showing the divine way of transmitting the truth.
- It is evident in the Old Testament that while a man of God might represent some phase of the testimony, and serve his own generation in this connection, yet he recognised and maintained what God had given in generations before him.
- David, for instance recognised the light that came in through Moses; and Stephen, in the New Testament, embodied in his address before the council all the light previously given, and accepted, in the spirit of his Master, the full consequences of his testimony.
- Each served his own generation by the will of God. But each of these men of God served also the generation that followed him.
- The blessing and glory of Solomon's reign were the result of the faithfulness of David; and the exalted ministry of Paul was, in a sense, an outcome of Stephen's testimony.
To return to the responsibility resting upon us now. God in recent times raised up men who recovered, as it were, the ark of the testimony. This was at the cost of much exercise and conflict.
- What they recovered they handed down to those following. These in their turn have had sorrow and conflict in seeking to preserve it, and so it has come from faithful hands to us.
- What are we going to do with it? Are we going to dance before it with joy, like David, and enshrine it in our affections? Shall we defend it, like Stephen, at the cost of our lives? These are weighty questions for the saints of God at the present time.
- The maintenance of the truth calls for constant self-judgment and self-surrender. Thus only can we hope to pass on what we have received to a generation following, if it please God that there should be one.
- In the absence of these, we shall either sell the truth for worldly advantage, or corrupt it in the effort to gain positions of prominence in the church, as some were doing at Corinth.
- The recent attack* of the enemy was to corrupt the saints by the introduction of human principles in the ordering of the house of God. The Lord has graciously given deliverance, but we may be assured that Satan will set another snare for us.
- The occasion calls for men of God. Let it be remembered that to be a man of God is a question of faithfulness, and not gift, and so it is within the reach of all.
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|Exodus 33: 7-11; Deuteronomy 21: 1-9|
Address at Edinburgh, 1915
Ministry by J. Taylor, 7: 323-331
| Compare Ministry: J. N. Darby 2: "Principles are Not Enough: We need God"|
A casual reader might conclude that JND and JT disagree, but a careful reading makes it clear that their teaching is complementary.
JND warns against the legal abuse of divine principles which damages the saints, whereas JT insists that divine principles must not be compromised to retain souls which God Himself will do. GAR
I thought this passage would help us in regard to fellowship.
- In the first passage Moses had the light of God's mind in his soul, and it was a question as to that with which he would connect it.
- The testimony really has a universal bearing, and what is in connection with it locally must be in accord with it.
- You cannot have one set of principles in one locality and another in another locality, you must have uniformity.
- In the second passage read we get the thought of local responsibility, in the city next to the slain man.
- It is not only a question of what I can connect myself with, but having the testimony of God in my soul, I am concerned as to what it can be connected with. Moses came down from the mount with the desires of God in his heart, and what was he going to do?
- It calls for consideration as to the persons you can connect yourself with and principles which are to govern you.
What decided Moses to take the course set before us in Exodus 33 was the knowledge he had acquired of God. He considered for God and what was suitable to God.
- The wonderful experience he had had with Jehovah since He first revealed Himself to him, added to the experience on the mount would greatly increase his sense of what was due to God.
- He had received from God on the mount communications which typically referred to Christ; so Moses would increase his sense of what was due to God, and his action was governed by that, rather than by a specific commandment.
This chapter is interesting, because it gives us the principles of God in regard to the people. You have to take the previous chapter to get the bearing of it; indeed, you have to consider the whole section beginning from chapter 25.
- Holiness, the law of the house, influenced Moses. He must have had a wonderful sense of what God was. The whole environment in which the communications were made affected him.
- In Exodus 19 your mind is impressed with the particular care with which God guards His righteousness; there was a boundary set round the mount. Of course, there are other sides to it, but God would impress upon His people what He is.
- Then in Exodus 24 they saw the God of Israel, and the pavement of sapphire under His feet.
- But Moses was received up there alone with God; for forty days he neither ate nor drank; his soul was sustained in the presence of God; that is, he was sustained outside of nature. A man like that coming down into the camp, as it was at that time, was very serious.
- His ear was exercised, and he discerned that it was not the voice of war, but of pleasure, in the camp; so he broke the tables; he could not bring them in there. He takes the tabernacle and pitches it outside, indicating that there was a receptacle for the light he had in his soul. He could not connect that with the camp. The light was more to Moses than himself.
- These are the kind of exercises which govern us as to fellowship not only that I am in fellowship; but I have exercises as to what is of God, and the circumstances with which it is connected.
- We have to remember that the ark of the covenant was long without a resting-place. Every right minded Israelite would consider for that. Under Samuel and Saul it never had a resting place. That is the thing to consider for can you find circumstances suitable for the ark; suitable for Christ?
The same kind of feeling governed David when he said,
- "I will not give sleep to mine eyes", Psalm 132: 4.
- He had heard of the ark at Ephratah, no doubt when he was very young; that was the controlling object of his life. It was one thing to hear about the ark, and another thing to seek a place for it. He would not sleep until he had found a habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.
- Moses had the same sentiments. He had not had tine to construct the tabernacle; the material was not available; the people had given their ornaments for idolatry; whatever tent he pitched it was provisional for the moment.
- The wonderful thing is that God put His approval on what he did
- "The Lord spake to Moses as a man speaks to his friend", Exodus 33: 11.
The tent Moses pitched became an interest to the people. Those who sought the Lord went out to it. The first consideration is the testimony and the place for it.
- I have thought that if we take care of the principles God will take care of the people. To have a place for the testimony you must, in Christianity, have the people; but if you look after the principles, God will look after the people.
- Even the putting off of their ornaments did not qualify them to have the tabernacle; the tabernacle was taken away from them. They worshipped at the door of their tents; that was not what God wanted;
- and those that sought Him went out. God wants us to worship at the door of His tent, and for that you must go out.
Divine principles are abiding; they are eternal; the principles we stand for will be public in the world to come.
- They will hold good, and will govern the people then. God's thought is that we should stand by them now. If you stand by the principles, He will look after the people.
- We have a seal with two sides,
- "Let him that nameth the name of the Lord depart from iniquity", 2 Timothy 2: 19;
that is our side, that is the principle we are committed to; to withdraw from iniquity. The other side is,
- "The Lord knoweth them that are his", 2 Timothy 2: 19.
He will take care of them.
We have to see that the testimony is maintained in a clean place. That is the idea. You would not
commit it to anything unclean or unsuitable.
- Here is a man fresh from the presence of God; he comes into the camp which is permeated with idolatry. What does he do? The Lord did not tell him what to do, but he had principles in his heart produced by his knowledge of God. He had a great regard for what was due to God.
- That is what is seen in this passage. Moses had great love for the people, but he considered for God first. He called it "the tabernacle of the congregation". If he gave the tabernacle that name, it showed that he expected the congregation.
- The second epistle to Timothy is most interesting; our part is to consider what is due to God, to withdraw from iniquity.
- On the other hand, the Lord knows them that are His. You have the congregation there too, for you follow righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them that call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.
- The congregation will always be there. We should never expect to see ourselves without the congregation.
- The great point is that God is enshrined in the tabernacle. To find our way today we have these principles. The knowledge of God comes through the gospel, but popular evangelists send their converts to different religious systems, but that is not God's mind.
- The idea of the assembly is called out ones. The call is the gospel. We are called out to something. Christ becomes the Centre for the mind and heart; the gospel is concerning Him.
- Every divine principle flows from what God is. If you take them up, God will be with you. That is what you get here. Moses had been on the mount with God, and when he comes down his action is established by God.
Paul in similar circumstances says,
- If you stand by the principles God will stand by you, and the congregation will come. But you will only stand by the principles as you appreciate them; as you appreciate them you are set for them.
- Moses did more than that, he would die for the people. That is the next thing. If you are in the Spirit of Christ, you will stand for the principles and stand by the people, but the principles come first.
- It is a great mark of favour when trouble comes if the people are saved as well as the principles. Paul withstood Peter to the face. He stood for the principles, and Peter was saved as well.
Holding the truth in love is the great thing. If you do that you will not let the people go. You hold the truth, but you hold it in love.
- I think one of the most remarkable instances of divine wisdom is seen in the letters to the Corinthians. We should study them if we wish to serve in the house of God.
- They show us how a man acts who stands by the principles of God, and who loves the saints. He said, in effect, 'If I go to Corinth, I shall have to use severity, and I do not want to do that. I want to get all the Corinthians'.
- So, instead of going, he writes a letter and sends it by Timothy, one not only converted through him, but one who knew his ways, and who would put the Corinthians in mind of them.
- He sends the letter, and the result is the mass of the Corinthians are saved. We do not want to lose the saints, and if we are not to lose any of them we are to act wisely, and love is the most skilful of all things.
- This raises the question as to how we are to conduct ourselves when difficulty arises. What are you going to do? The study of these two letters in connection with Moses' act here affords wonderful light as to how to act.
- Paul did not stand afar off from the Corinthians; he went through the exercises with them, which is a mark of priestly service.
Christianity is a system established in wisdom. The four gospels give us wisdom as seen in Christ. Divine wisdom is seen there in relation to everything that existed on earth. In other words, they are the book of Proverbs personified.
- The epistles give us the children of wisdom; they give us examples of persons who had learnt from Christ how to act. Christianity is not like the old system. We have not a prescription for every difficulty, but we have the Holy Spirit here, which those under the old system had not.
- Now things are more established on precedent than on commandment; it is more a question of discovering how Christ acted and how the apostles acted. We have not commandments exactly, there are such, of course, but we have principles, and how you face difficulties brings out what you are spiritually. The Lord lets us expose ourselves.
Moses here saves the situation. His conduct shows what a knowledge of God he had.
- The best test of a man as to where he is with God is how he acts in a case of discipline, especially if the persons are known to him, if he has lived with them. If he is not a spiritual man he will be governed by partiality.
- If we had a prescription for every difficulty there would be no need for exercise or spirituality. The punishment would just have to be made to fit the crime. Now the Lord allows things to arise, as if to say, 'Now what are you going to do?' And what you do proves what you are spiritually.
- It is a question of love to God and to your neighbour. The question of local responsibility all lies in the commandment,
- "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself", Leviticus 19: 18.
- It all hinges on that. If you have to deal with your neighbour, and you are not under the influence of the love of Christ, you will be governed by partiality, by some personal feeling.
The second scripture we read, Deuteronomy 21, gives the idea of what is local.
- have thought that no conditions can arise which would prevent the working out of assembly principles. That is saying a great deal, but I am assured that we are never shut up. Love is the one thing that has never yet failed.
- No matter how bad the conditions are, you can carry out assembly principles. Things could not be much worse than in Corinth. It is remarkable how the apostle on the one hand considered for God, and on the other hand considered for the saints; they were all saved.
On the other hand, if the conditions are so bad that flesh rules absolutely instead of that which is spiritual, you are not shut up. If such conditions arise the apostle supposes in 2 Timothy, that there is still a way for us; we withdraw from evil.
The foundations were untouched at Corinth. If the foundations are not destroyed you can go on, but if the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
- If the foundations are destroyed, then it means that Christ is given up, as in the public systems of men. They may not become absolutely apostate, but if Christ has no place there, the righteous must withdraw from that; but then, you do not give up assembly principles. You can go on because you have the congregation.
- It is beautiful to see the way Paul acted, and his basic principle was love. If he had considered for his own authority and fame he would have gone there. That is what lies at the bottom of many of our difficulties, our fame and reputation.
- There were those who said that Paul was not truthful; those who said his speech was contemptible; the enemy's attack was to set aside his authority. He did not consider for that, he considered for God.
The difference between the state of the Corinthians and that described in 2 Timothy is, that the saints had not given up the foundations at Corinth. In the main they still held the truth; the Holy Spirit was there; they were still regarded as the body of Christ.
- "Ye are God's building", says Paul. 1 Corinthians 3: 9.
- They had not given up the foundation truths of Christianity. 2 Timothy supposes that the foundations are given up.
- Luke 10 shows the character of the true neighbour. If you are in the nearest meeting to the one in trouble, the question is, have you the oil and the wine? That is the obligation; the neighbour is to be a neighbour.
The passage here reads "And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near … and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried", Deuteronomy 21: 5.
- What we see there is that alongside the principle of local responsibility is the priestly thought. The priest is to determine things.
- What you find, where difficulty arises, is that it is really a question of the constitution of the meeting. It is the outcome of the underlying state of things, and what is required is to build them up.
- Where difficulty arises locally you will often find that saints are feeding on controversy, and if you do not bring in good food there is very little hope for them. If local difficulties arise, what is needed is a priestly state. I think that is the point, and that is where Christianity comes in.
- The priest is the man who loves. The leading feature of the high priest is the breastplate and the shoulderpieces. The priest says, as it were, I have you on my heart to speak well of you. The judgment of Israel was to be according to that.
- Your judgment is not to be based on your feelings but according to your love for the saints. It is the judgment of the breastplate.
The difficulty such as this Scripture has in mind develops where the priestly state is low. The only hope in Israel was the priest. Everything hinges on the priest.
- If the priest is not there there is no hope. The priest is able to minister Christ to the saints it is in the priestly state that you can minister.
- Of course, it is Luke that records that. It was Christ Himself who was the Samaritan. He was attendant upon man here. It required the priest to do that; to bring in oil and wine. Evidently it is Christ who is Priest.
- It is remarkable that the apostle can take account of the Corinthians as he does when there was division there. But the foundations were still there.
- If you go to the place with the ministry of Christ, that will revive the saints' spirits. What souls need when they are hungry is food. They want ministry to lift them out of ruts; even when they say, "I am of Paul, and I of Apollos", 1 Corinthians 1: 12.
- Ministry is the great thing. If the priest is active, there will be help.
The working out of the thing in Corinth produced the spirit of self-judgment.
- He says, "In all things ye have proved yourselves to be clear", 2 Corinthians 7: 11.
- They proved themselves to be clear, but they had to accept the responsibility of what existed among them. That is the first thing.
- Now this chapter establishes the fact that the nearest meeting is the one held responsible; it does not say that the others are excluded, because fellowship is general as well as local. So it says, in Corinthians,
- "To all that in every place call on the name of the Lord", 1 Corinthians 1: 2;
- it is universal as well as local. That is important, because there is danger in applying it only to the local side of things, and people outside of that are not in touch with it.
This chapter guards us, but in a general way, the nearest meeting is held responsible. If we acted wisely, we would act on this principle; you may not have to wait.
- If the nearest meeting is not acting in a priestly character, try and get it right, because if you go over their heads you may lose them, and then you will not gain much. You act on those lines and maintain that fellowship is general as well as local.
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