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1 Let brotherly love continue.

There can be nothing more certain than that the sentiment of love,‭ ‬which is here referred to,‭ ‬is at the very bottom of the whole scheme of the truth in which we rejoice‭; ‬there can be nothing more certain than that the very object of the truth is to manifest God's love to us,‭ ‬and to develop God's love in us‭; ‬there can be nothing more certain than that the truth in its ultimate and eternal development,‭ ‬as we might say,‭ ‬will present the very highest form of this impulse of love‭; ‬and there can be nothing more certain,‭ ‬either,‭ ‬than that those who are not carried along by this prevailing impulse-which originates the truth,‭ ‬and which we may also say is the essence of the truth-will be left behind.‭

Those who are not of love are not of God.‭ ‬John distinctly says that God is love,‭ ‬and that those who are of God walk in love.‭ ‬And he says‭ "‬He that sayeth he loveth God and hateth his brother,‭ ‬is a liar,‭ ‬and deceiveth himself.‭" ‬Such a case as this we can conceive to be possible,‭ ‬where a person may know the truth and may console himself with the idea,‭ ‬which so far is legitimate,‭ ‬that knowing the truth and having been immersed,‭ ‬he is a child of God‭; ‬and yet who,‭ ‬notwithstanding his legal status in the matter,‭ ‬is personally destitute of the principle in which it has its origin,‭ ‬which is here expressed by the word‭ "‬Love.‭"

We have the distinct assurance of John,‭ ‬of Paul,‭ ‬of Jesus,‭ ‬and of all who in fact have spoken in the name of God,‭ ‬that such individuals are spiritual abortions-out of harmony with the system with which they are connected-excresences upon it,‭ ‬as it were,‭ ‬which will in due time be cut away.‭ ‬Such unfruitful branches will be lopped off.‭ ‬Jesus says

‭ "‬Every branch in me that beareth not good fruit shall be taken away.‭"

Now if we only look this sentiment in the face,‭ ‬we shall see it to be a very attractive one,‭ ‬and capable of affording the highest happiness-a sentiment which when once it begins to control our mental being,‭ ‬will,‭ ‬without much difficulty,‭ ‬hold the sway.‭ ‬If we only reflect for a moment what the object of existence is,‭ ‬we shall then see that the Scriptures,‭ ‬in presenting the fact that God is love,‭ ‬and that love is the highest object of being,‭ ‬is presenting us with something,‭ ‬both the most sensible and attractive that can possibly be considered.‭

People live to be happy‭; ‬as soon as persons cease to be happy,‭ ‬they cease to have any object in life.‭ ‬We see this practically illustrated in the case of the suicide.‭ ‬He has lost every sort of happiness,‭ ‬and the consequence is,‭ ‬that having no object in existence,‭ ‬he deprives himself of it.‭ ‬If that be true‭ (‬and it‭ ‬is true,‭) ‬what we have to think about is,‭ ‬the fact that love is the highest source of happiness,‭ ‬whether existing in our own bosoms,‭ ‬or manifested by others toward us.‭ ‬In fact,‭ ‬the longer we live,‭ ‬and the more we study,‭ ‬the more we shall find that the deepest sources of happiness-happiness that will be genuine and enduring-are only to be found in connection with the things of God‭; ‬for God has associated the highest blessedness with the things which pertain to Himself-with those actions of the mind which he desires.

‭ ‬There is no blessedness apart from these.‭ ‬Love is the highest and the strongest.‭ ‬There is no sentiment capable of giving a man or woman more power for enduring,‭ ‬or for accomplishing an object,‭ ‬or of being really happy,‭ ‬than this one of love.‭ ‬There is nothing can equal the pure delight that springs from the love of another.‭ ‬I do not now mean the love that exists between the sexes‭; ‬though that might be referred to as an illustration.‭ ‬since it is chosen to represent the relation that exists between Jesus and the ecclesia.‭ ‬I refer to friendship in its purest and most disinterested form‭; ‬the pleasure it gives surpasses all the gratifications in which men ordinarily indulge.‭

Unfortunately,‭ ‬we are in a state of society in which the selfish instincts rule,‭ ‬and we very rarely get an opportunity of realising this love.‭ ‬We have endless opportunities of kindness,‭ ‬but few for real,‭ ‬spontaneous,‭ ‬unchecked love.‭ ‬There are two kinds of love‭; ‬and one is more enjoyable and easy to accomplish than the other.‭ ‬To love a person who is lovely,‭ ‬is delightful and costs no effort.‭ ‬This is perhaps the most perfect form of love,‭ ‬the form which exists in the complete body of Christ prospectively contemplated.‭ ‬When the shattered fragments of that body,‭ (‬at present mostly hid in the dust,‭) ‬are united,‭ ‬and the community of the righteous made perfect by resurrection and judgment,‭ ‬love will prevail over all.‭ ‬All will love,‭ ‬for all will be lovely.‭

Christ will have blown away all the chaff,‭ ‬rejected every unworthy person,‭ ‬and there will remain only those who are truly distinguished by their love to God,‭ ‬to Christ,‭ ‬and to each other.‭

‭Bro Roberts - Exhort No1.

Brotherly love is the key to everything. Without it, nothing can succeed; with it, nothing can fail. It was especially important at this great crisis of doctrinal transition during which the apostles wrote. It is equally important in the problems of today. We talk so much of love, but we so easily forget it, when issues are raised and emotions are aroused. Let us ever remember James' searching words:

"Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."

In our ignorant self importance, we so often think our anger can advance God's glory. *

2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Notice the word "strangers." This is a command of God just as much as baptism is a command. Do we do it? Do we entertain strangers? When did we do it last?

There are two kinds of people in the world. One group is very large, one is very, very tiny -- the small-minded and the big; the fleshly and the spiritual, the self-centered and the self-sacrificing. The Scriptures call them: goats and sheep, tares and wheat, unfaithful and faithful stewards of God's goods. It is quite easy to tell which group we belong to: "If we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged," "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers." The thought is broader than simply entertainment or hospitality. Literally it is, "of the love of strangers be not neglectful."

As the apostle says elsewhere (Gal. 6:10) --

"Do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."

Not just as an incidental, self-pleasing, meaningless hobby, but a full time, wholehearted, dedicated way of life. *

3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

This is the second greatest command --

"Love your neighbour as yourself "

Not just love your neighbour, that's quite common and meaningless in various self-satisfying degrees, but --

"Love your neighbour AS YOURSELF."

There is a world of difference.

Thank God there are some like this today! And their life is a glorious fulfillment of what life was meant to be. But how few they are! But they alone are Christ's true brethren and sisters, the only ones he will recognize when he comes. He makes this so abundantly clear in Matthew 25 --

"When saw we thee hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison?"

How blind we can be if we do not want to see! *

4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Rather, more correctly, as in the Revised Version and the Diaglott, "Let marriage be honorable among all." It is an exhortation, a command. Let everything to do with this major aspect of natural life be pure and beautiful and spiritual and in harmony with the glorious ideal that God established at its beginning.

The world has made such a sad travesty and corruption and degradation and failure of what could be life's most beautiful and comforting and helpful natural aspect. How man always cheapens and degrades everything he touches! How childishly, how pitifully, they deck out and adorn their poor corrupting bodies, but how naked are their souls! God will judge all who corrupt His pure and holy ways. *

5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Happiness is not a matter of being pleased when things are the way you want them. Happiness is the capacity and understanding to be content and thankful when present things are far from what you would like them to be.

Happiness is related to, and based upon, eternity and eternal things. A "happiness" that is in any way a precarious hostage to the cheating vagaries of the present is no happiness at all in the real or scriptural sense. It is a worthless sham. It will desert you at the very moment you need it most.

Bro Growcott - Search Me O God

"Conversation" here means "custom, way of life, frame of mind, character, outlook." Covetousness is simply wanting something we do not need; and our needs are very, very few. This is the mainspring of the whole world's activities, but the brethren of Christ are called to a higher, more satisfying way of life. They are called to free themselves from the shackles of selfishness and desire, to fill their minds with the infinitely more satisfying joy of service to God and to man.

"Be content with such things as ye have" (v. 5).

Contentment is a wonderful blessing. It is one of God's greatest gifts to His children. It is the essential foundation of happiness and peace. Paul said to the Philippians, writing in bonds and from prison --

"I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."

Surely one of the Spirit's greatest and most essential lessons! Until we learn this, we are children, wanting, wishing, desiring, seeking a mocking illusionary joy in getting and possessing -- accumulating and hoarding, ever fearful of the morrow.

When we have learned this, we are men. We are ready for God's work; we have cleared the decks, we have girded our loins. We are ready to be useful in the divine purpose. We have become spiritual adults. We have found true peace and satisfaction and happiness and security.

This was said to Jacob when he left home in fear of his brother and started out alone into the unknown.

It was said to Joshua, when he lost Moses, and found himself alone with the whole burden of Israel.

It was said to the humble young Solomon as he was about to take on the rulership of the nation after David.

Have we a right to appropriate the promise to ourselves? --


Clearly, from Paul's words here, we have, though it was never spoken generally, but to specific individuals at specific times. There is a comforting lesson here. God is no respector of persons.

This was said to Jacob when he left home in fear of his brother and started out alone into the unknown.

It was said to Joshua, when he lost Moses, and found himself alone with the whole burden of Israel.

It was said to the humble young Solomon as he was about to take on the rulership of the nation after David.

Have we a right to appropriate the promise to ourselves? --


Clearly, from Paul's words here, we have, though it was never spoken generally, but to specific individuals at specific times. There is a comforting lesson here. God is no respector of persons.

"Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope."

Do we believe this promise that He will not forsake us? Are we willing to trust ourselves to it in faith? Are we willing to do, to our fullest means and abilities and resources, what comes to hand TODAY and leave provision for the MORROW to God? We are told earlier in this epistle that --

"He that cometh to God MUST BELIEVE -- must have faith"

-- and faith, says James, calls for deeds, not words. Why are we reminded (in Heb. 11) of all these wonderful things that ordinary weak, fearful men and women like ourselves have risen to through the power of living Faith? Is it not to teach us the solemn, vital truth that we, too, must, in perfect faith, follow the same path if we would reap the same reward? *

7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Again, it is better in the Revised Version -- "them which had the rule over you, which spoke unto you the Word of God." It is a calling to remembrance. He is clearly reminding them of former leaders, and their faithfulness to the end of their lives: "considering the END of their conversation (way of life)."

James (who was put to death by Herod) is the only one of the apostles whom we know would be in this category, but doubtless by this time, just before the destruction of Jerusalem, others had sealed their testimony with their blood. The last days of terrible vengeance were about to come on the guilty nation as Jesus had foretold. Patriotism would soon be at a fever pitch, and all who did not enter into the defense of the Mosaic institutions would be branded as traitors and cowards. This was the "time of trouble" of which Jesus had warned. *

8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

The emphasis is on the contrast between that which is eternal and unchanging, and that which is temporal and passing. The Law was a temporary arrangement. Christ is an eternal, living reality. Paul's reference clearly is back to the quotation from the Psalms given in chapter 1, which he applied there to Christ --

"Thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail."

Tremendous changes were impending for the Jewish race -- God's ancient people -- terrible, convulsive, destructive changes. They were to be cast out and scattered, the temple burnt, the city destroyed, the land plundered and desolated.

In the process, the whole Mosaic framework would of necessity collapse and come to an end. How urgent, then, that they be anchored to that which would never, could never, change.

"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and for ever."

The one fixed point in all Creation; the Nail fastened in a sure place, the Cornerstone of the eternal Temple, the Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek, made --

"Not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life."

For us, too, the message is the same. The changing background is different but the eternal alternative to which we are called is the same.

"The things that are seen are temporal"

-- for the Gentile just as for the Jew. We live as Israel did then, at a time of tremendous and revolutionary change. Change in everything in the world around us, its standards, morals, way of life, the patterns of world power and control and influence -- all are in violent flux. There are no fixed points of reference anymore. The sea and the waves are roaring.

Nations throughout the earth who have slept in backward obscurity while the white man has ruled and seized and plundered, and oppressed, are now rising in long pent-up and held-back blind fury. Warfare -- domination of his fellow man -- always man's chief occupation and delight, is daily opening up broader avenues of cruelty, horror, and mass murder on a hitherto undreamed of scale. This is twentieth century civilization.

And in what was once the Christadelphian body, vast and destructive changes are well advanced with their pernicious work, and gathering momentum.

Surely, as in the last terrible days of Israel's Commonwealth, we need to be reminded, "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever." Here alone is reality, stability, continuity, eternity. *

*  Bro Growcott - Go Forth To Him Without The Camp

9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

There is at present a sad tendency in some groups to take all the robust passages concerning fellowship which have preserved and guided sound Christadelphians for over one hundred years, and surgically isolating and dissecting them, one by one, by contortion to endeavour woolily to rationalize away all their force and meaning: to progressively talk them to death and water them down and down so that no weapons are left for the defense of the Body of Christ from corruption and error.

They say, rather smugly, of those who stand aside from error: "By their fruits ye shall know them": Their interpretation of this is: "Look at 'them,' the divided few, and look at 'us,' the undivided many: obviously OUR way must be right."

We can see the logic of the Catholic Church using this argument, but it falls strange from the lips of those who profess to recognize the call to "Come out and be separate." Can it not with far truer logic be said from the opposite point of view: "Look at the bitter intra- and inter-continental recriminations, the tolerated errors and confusions, the fearful paralysis of inaction against creeping error, the glaring differences transparently and precariously papered over for the sake of an appearance of 'unity,' the deplored but tolerated assiduous eating away of the sound foundations laid by the pioneers."

How can the Truth as so beautifully brought to light by brethren Thomas and Roberts be clearly and robustly presented at lectures if doctrine after doctrine -- Responsibility, Kingdom now, Holy Spirit possession, Nature and Sacrifice of Christ, clear-cut Creation, Rome is Babylon, one thousand year Kingdom, post-millennial revolt, Inspiration (Acts a legend, Genesis a myth) -- are pushed into a hazy, unmentionable twilight zone of "agreeing to disagree" for the sake of a false "peace"?

Bro Growcott

13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

It was a call to Israel to leave behind every aspect of Gentilism -- the way of the world -- the mind of the flesh. Soon in our readings we shall read again John's words --

"Love not the world, neither the things of the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but of the world."

In leading up to the climax of his appeal, Paul calls attention to a strange and wonderful aspect of the Law -- a hidden mystery woven right into the fabric of the Law -- in fact, placed at the very heart and apex of the whole Mosaic system.

The great day in Israel was the Day of Atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month -- still kept in mechanical, ritualistic ignorance, but as a wonderful witness, three thousand years after its establishment, by blind, wandering Israel -- Yom Kippur.

All the ceremonies and sacrifices of the Mosaic dispensation focussed toward this one solemn, yearly event when the High Priest, in a completely deserted and empty Tabernacle, went into the Most Holy Place to make atonement with the sacrificial blood.

This supreme sacrifice -- the sacrfice whose blood entered the Most Holy -- must be burned without the camp.

It was not to be consumed upon the Altar, and no man in the whole Mosaic system might partake of its flesh.

The one great central sacrifice, to which all the year's repeated sacrifices pointed, must be burned entirely outside the whole Mosaic organization. Here, in its crowning event, the Law portrayed its own inadequacy and pointed to the one great sacrifice for sin who would establish righteousness and open a way over, above, beyond, and outside of the Law of fleshly ordinances given to Israel through Moses.

Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. We have here no continuing city, no ties to the present, no interest in earthly things.

Paul concludes with a beautiful prayer that God may lead them to a practical application of these things to themselves, without which all is meaningless; that He may in His love, and by His marvellous power, make them perfect in purity and holiness without which no man shall see God. *

* Bro Growcott - Go Forth To Him Without The Camp

20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

"The sheep hear his voice, and he calleth his own sheep by name and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers."

These are the natural facts in the case. Their spiritual meaning is plain. The shepherd's voice is what Christ has said for the guidance of men, but with this is bound up much more than the precepts that actually came out of his own mouth. What he said himself is only part of the message of God to man. For the rest of the message, he refers us to Moses and the prophets: "Think not," said he, "that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfil" (Matt. v. 17). "They have Moses and the prophets: let them hear them. If they believe not Moses and the prophets, neither would they be persuaded though one rose from the dead" (Luke xvi. 29). "If ye believe not his writings (the writings of Moses), how shall ye believe my words?" (Jno. v. 47). "The Scripture cannot be broken" (Jno. x. 35). "The Scripture must be fulfilled" (Mark xiv. 49).

Such are a few illustrations of the way in which, in so many words, he binds up the message of God in the "Old Testament" with his own personal word in the New. In addition to these, the instances in which he does so by implication, and in which such an association results of necessity from his teaching and his work, are more numerous and weighty than the casual reader of the Bible can be aware. The conclusion resulting from them all is that the Shepherd's voice is co-extensive with the Bible. The Shepherd's voice is the voice of the Spirit, as especially manifest from the pendant to each of the messages sent by Jesus to the seven ecclesias: "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the ecclesias: "concerning all of which messages, he says "I, Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the ecclesias" (Rev. xxii. 16).

Because, therefore, the Scriptures of Moses and the prophets are given by inspiration of God -- because their authors were "holy men of God who spoke (and wrote)as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" and not as impelled by human will (2 Pet. i. 21), those only truly listen to the voice of the shepherd who listen to those Scriptures, as interpreted and applied by the Spirit in Jesus and the Apostles. The voice of Jesus is not a different voice from the Holy Scriptures which were read in the Jewish synagogues every sabbath day in the days of Jesus, and now placed in the Providence of God in the hands of Christendom.

The voice of the personal Jesus is but a supplementary and explanatory expression of the same Eternal mind. The Old Testament Scriptures, in conjunction with the Apostolic testimony to Jesus as their fulfiller, were able to "make men wise unto salvation" in the days of Paul (2 Tim. iii. 15); and they are still able to work that great result for men if they will allow them. God not only spake by Jesus, but the prophets also, as Paul says: "God, who at sundry times and divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son" (Heb. i. 1). So also Jesus teaches in the parable of the vineyard -- the proprietor of which sent first various messengers, and then his son.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 29.

Apostolic succession, then, especially through such a channel, is a mere figment of the carnal mind. The only succession of which any Scriptural idea can be formed is, the following in the steps of the apostles' faith, which no one, who understands the word of the kingdom, would affirm of the ecclesiastical guides of the people.

The power and the authority of the apostles died with them. Those who succeed to their faith are their successors only in this sense. Their word, which is also the Lord's word, dwells in such richly in all wisdom; and where the word of the Lord is found, there, by the belief of it, He dwells in the hearts of men. When they work according to this word they and their Lord work together. But this is not peculiar to a ministerial class, but is common to all the Lord's people; for He is no respecter of persons.

A successor to the faith of the apostles delights to feel he is a layman, that he is one of the flock, and the best of the sheep it contains, because his sole anxiety is to know and obey the Great Shepherd's voice (Heb. 13:20; John 10:27) He is not a wolf, nor a dog, rending, and devouring, the flock, and investing himself with its wool; but one who would be the servant of the least, that he may be exalted to an unfading crown of glory, when the Good Shepherd shall appear to give life to all His sheep for evermore.

Elpis Israel 2.1.