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8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:
"whosoever shall confess in me before men, in HIM will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven;" and "whosoever shall confess in me before men, the Son of Man also will confess in him before the angels of the Deity."
14 And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
Christ will yet settle all disputes, great and small -- both by influence, and power; for it is written, "He shall execute justice and judgment in the earth," and "He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, nor reprove after the hearing of his ears."
But the time had not come for him to act this part. He had no command from the Father and no authority from man to interpose judicially in temporal affairs in his character as "the Lamb of God," manifested to "take away the sins of the world." He, therefore, could have no other answer than the one he gave:
Nazareth Revisited Ch 45
15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Some of the Sons of God can "make to themselves friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness," by their righteous use in the service of God, as Jesus himself in another place exhorted, and as exemplified in cases of Zaccheus, Joseph of Arimathea, Chusa, and many others in the apostolic age; and in the times of the prophets, Ezra, Josiah, Hezekiah, Solomon, David, and further back, Moses, Joseph, Abraham, and others.
But, as regards the average run of men, there can be no doubt that the possession of wealth tends to generate a frame of mind inconsistent with the modesty and purity that are acceptable to God. It tends to pride and indulgence and barrenness of spiritual fruit. Therefore the operations of the gospel are divinely directed towards the poor. "To the poor the gospel is preached." "Hath not God chosen the poor of this world?"
There is an object in this. It is not that the poor as such are sought after, but that the poor offer a better soil for spiritual tillage. They are, as a class, humbler and more reasonably-minded where light comes, and more appreciative of the goodness of God than those who have "more than heart could wish." Where they are not in this sense "rich in faith," their poverty is no recommendation. A poor man who is poor in faith is an uninteresting object indeed, both to God and man. There are millions of them upon the earth who grow and perish like "the grass of the field." But such as are enlightened and believing and obedient, are precious in the sight of God.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 45
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
Most are wrapped up in the immediate present and the very limited future which comes within the scope of present undertakings. But such a course does not satisfy the contemplative mind.
"Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die," is the universal doctrine, but only the shallowest, dullest minds can find merriment satisfying under such circumstances. Such an attitude requires the cruelest, bitterest form of self-deception and wilful blindness.
But, in the mercy of God, there is a third alternative for those who feel the need. How is one brought to feel the need? By a recognition of the sadness and perversions of the present dispensation, due to the incapability and inhumanity of man.
Is this brought home to us easily or quickly? Usually not. At first the world is a place of bright promise, of comradeship and love, a gay and thoughtless adventure. This is the common first impression in the innocence and buoyancy of inexperience.
How do we learn differently? What prompts us to turn for comfort and satisfaction elsewhere? Usually it requires the rough hand of misfortune and disillusionment to make us fully appreciative of the vanity of present things. We are aware, it is true, in a vague, theoretic way, of the vast preponderance of sorrow over joy in the world, but we feel nobody's troubles as keenly as we do our own. This is in the very nature of things. Our minds can only work on what is being continually presented to them in some form or another. Unless constantly reminded either by circumstances or direct efforts of our own will, we soon forget and our attention is taken by other things.
This, too, demonstrates why we must constantly supply our minds with material for thought from the Word of God. If we do not, our minds will feed on other and unwholesome things that so easily present themselves to them.
Bro Growcott - Lift Up Your Eyes On High!
21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
It is to illustrate the ultimate folly of making self-provision the engrossing rule of life, as it is with the common run of men. The occasion of its introduction gives even greater piquancy to the lesson. We are informed that "One of the company" on a certain occasion, "said unto Jesus, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me." This was invoking Christ's authority in a case of disputed title to property. Such an appeal is generally considered important and respectable.
In the present circumstances of human life (in which men to whom God has spoken are on probation as to the question of doing the will of God), Jesus could not look on questions of human property as men generally look upon them. First, he denied jurisdiction in such matters in the present state of affairs, though he will have jurisdiction enough when he comes to exercise judgment and justice. "Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?"
Next, most men would reckon he goes out of his way to have a needless fling at covetousness which more or less animates most men in their dealings. "Take heed and beware of covetousness; for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth."
The man who asked him to interfere must have felt this as an unkind rebuff, and the majority of people in our day would sympathise with him. He would feel he was only wanting "his own," and that if he asked Christ to help him, it was because the influence of a just man would be powerful. Yes, but there was another side to the question to which most men are blind. The lust of possession is a snare. It catches the heart and deadens it to other and higher considerations which ought to be supreme.
Hence Jesus says "Beware," and speaks of "the deceitfulness of riches;" their tendency to cheat the heart out of wisdom. He, therefore, advises men to turn "the mammon of unrighteousness," when it comes their way, into a friend, by its use for God in a good stewardship of which He alone, and not man, is judge. Universal experience shows the necessity for his exhortation. Nothing is more common than for men of enlarging wealth to make use of it for still greater enlargement in self-provision and self-ministration to themselves and families. And nothing seems more ghastly and sterile in the day of death than munificent and skilful arrangements in this direction to the neglect of what God requires at a man's hand in the way of faithful stewardship.
Nothing will emancipate a man so thoroughly and wholesomely from the bondage of riches as the use of them in the various duties which God has attached to this probationary state. This is what Jesus calls "being rich towards God" in contrast to a man "laying up treasure for himself."
Being rich towards God may not seem much of an acquisition in the day of health and liberty, but the matter wears a different aspect when that day sets in clouds and darkness, as it inevitably does sooner or later. When the dead rise, and the Lord sets up His throne in judgment, the reality of treasure laid up in heaven will be manifest in the eyes of men and angels.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 30.
22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
He discouraged the anxiety that is common to men on the subject of temporal affairs; that is, to men who have not faith in God... That this means more than belief that God exists, and that He will perform His promises -- that it means trust in Him for care in temporal things, is manifest from what he said on this occasion.
... They were to look at God's provision for the ravens and the herbs of the field, and to consider that they themselves were of more value in God's estimation than these.
...It is evident that these precepts pre-suppose "Faith in God." They test the existence of that faith. They excite no response where it does not exist. But they are not intended to lead to presumption. There is a palpable difference between faith and presumption. Jesus barred the way to a presumptuous application of the promises by his response to the Tempter's suggestion, that he should cast himself from the pinnacle of the temple on the strength of the assurance he had received that the angels would bear him free from harm.
"Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."
If he recognised this rule in his own case, he did not mean his disciples to ignore it in theirs. That he did not mean them to neglect their part in the provision of promised daily bread is evident from other sayings of his, and notably from those which he spoke by the mouth of his apostles after his departure from the earth, such as "If any will not work, neither shall he eat" (2 Thes. iii. 10); and again, "If any provide not for his own, especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (1 Tim. v. 8).
It is evident that the design of the remarks under consideration was to encourage a tranquil spirit of faith and hope in the occupations of life, and not to inculcate idleness or neglect. Christ would place God and the hope of His kingdom and the obtaining of an entrance therein, first in the aims of a man's life. Therefore, he would have temporalities, which with the world occupy the first place, put in the second, on the ground that God, who has made us, and will bestow the kingdom that is coming, is not indifferent to the conditions that affect us now while we are in probation for His use. In this there is perfect reasonableness.
But it affords no countenance to the extremes to which many in past ages, and some in the present, have carried it. It tells us not to make life a slavery to the mere material means of its sustenance, since God has promised what we need (of which He alone is judge). It tells us to bend mortal strength and anxiety to the attainment of God's approbation, that we may enter at last upon the fulness of well-being and joy which He purposes to bestow at the right and ripe hour, in His kingdom upon earth. It does not tell us to neglect this world's affairs, or to put forth none of the exertions which in the wisdom of God are necessary for the maintenance of life in its present state.
Christ went further than to inculcate a cheerful faith and a non-anxious providing. He advised giving to others as the best method of saving -- not as some ancient philosophers have recommended: by having our time of need met by the gratitude of those whom we may succour in the day of our ability; but that by giving alms we may lay up "a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth."
... Christ gives us God's recognition and memory as our incentive in doing good to men. This is all-powerful where there is "faith in God."
Nazareth Revisited Ch 45
29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.
It is as if Jesus had said: "Beware of whatever steals the heart. If you pile up wealth, you create a magnet that will act drawingly on the heart, and if your heart is under bondage to earthly things, where then will you be when the Son of Man comes? Can you be among those who will open to him immediately?"
There is great force in this way of putting it. It is a matter of common experience that opulence indisposes the heart to godliness. A man who is full of what consolations the present life can afford is liable to have but a feeble sense of dependence upon God, and but little ardour of desire for the coming of Christ. He naturally lapses into the condition described by a modern preacher as that of being in no danger of bursting the boilers in getting saved.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 45
31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
We must look beyond the examples found in Messrs. C... and W..., for those who have "crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." Enjoying the fat things of the present evil world, and as much of its honours and wealth as they can grasp, they are the last men who should taunt me with neglect of this Christian duty. They have been laboring for years for what this world affords, and they have obtained it.
They are rich in this world's stuff. They can count up their thousands of mammon; their flocks and herds; their broad acres and coal fields; endowments and houses, and fashionable goods. But of all these things "the unfortunate man" they revile and speak evil of falsely is almost as destitute of as the Great Founder of Christianity himself.
I have not labored for these things, and therefore have not acquired them. While they have been covering themselves with fatness, I have been laboring without hire, and trusting to Providence for supplies, in the work of opening the blind eyes, and of turning men from Gentilism to the intelligent belief of the knowledge of God as revealed in the old and new Scriptures.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Jan 1854
32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Go for pleasure! Go for it with all your heart and might! That is what you are put here on earth for -- to enjoy yourself to the uttermost. BUT -- be sure it IS pleasure.
The world is full of tragic, tempting, cheating counterfeits that never satisfy, but at best only stupefy with temporary excitement or sensation or absorption, like a brief drug high -- but all lead at last to the same dead end.
There is only one true, real, permanent pleasure -- unalloyed, unassailable, and everlasting. Ignore the myriad masks of the empty face of Folly, and heed the solitary sound of Wisdom's call to everlasting joy. God guarantees "pleasures for evermore."
Bro Growcott - Search Me O God
"Verily, I say unto you, that ye who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit an the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." On a later occasion, Jesus plainly stated when this "sitting on the throne of his glory" should be an actual fact: "When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory" (Matt. xxv. 31).
In view of this, there is no room for doubt as to the meaning of Christ's words. They amount to an assurance that at his return from heaven, to which he departed 40 days after his resurrection, he will associate the 12 apostles with himself in the kingly work that will be his to do at the regeneration -- "the restitution of all things" spoken of by the prophets (Acts iii. 20) -- the restoration of the kingdom again to Israel (Acts i. 6) -- when sitting on the throne of David, "he will rein over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke i. 32).
Popular theology provides no place for this divinely promised element of the great salvation. Though in this particular form the promise is limited to the apostles, it indicates the nature of the kingdom to be possessed by all the saints; for the salvation to be given to them is styled a "common salvation" (Jude 3) -- a salvation common to them all, differing only in position and degree.
All "reign with Christ" (Rev. xx 4); but some reign near him, as in the case of the apostles and the fathers; and some hold jurisdiction over ten cities, while some have authority over five. They all inherit one kingdom (Matt. xxv. 24; Luke xii. 32), but occupy positions differing in glory -- "every man according to his works" (Rev. ii. 23; xxii. 12).
It is the kingdom of Israel reestablished with the Holy Land (Zech. ii. 12), as the centre of that new system of things (Jer. iii. 17; Isaiah lxv. 18), which will diffuse the promised universal blessedness among men -- all nations blessed in Abraham and his seed (Gen. xii. 2, 3); "the glory of God filling the earth as the waters cover the sea" (Num. xiv. 21; Hah. ii. 14) -- the God of heaven having set up his kingdom, which shall break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms, and itself shall stand for ever (Dan. ii. 44).
Nazareth Revisited Ch 43
35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;
Figurative language, but with a clear and obvious meaning.
"Loins girded" means awake, alert, and prepared for immediate action. "Lights burning" means the lamps of knowledge not only filled with the Spirit oil, but in the active state of radiance and illumination, both for our own path and to attract and guide others.
"And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord."
We are told, here and in other places, that the moment of Christ's coming will be sudden and unexpected; and some will be ready and others not. We are told that much depends on just how that moment catches us-prepared or unprepared-watching, or off-guard.
Not because our chance state at any particular moment would be the determining factor-that would be just like a game of chance-but because our state of readiness at that time will be the key to our whole life.
Some will tire, lose interest, relax, be temporarily diverted. With some, the keen edge of ardent expectation will be dulled by luxury or prosperity or simply the force of custom or habit. With some it won't happen to be Sunday morning when the call comes, and therefore their minds will be far away on other things.
But those who truly love will become more eager, more alert, more watchful with each passing day, knowing and rejoicing that each day brings them one day closer to that joyful time on which their heart is fixed. That great day will not catch THEM with their minds on other, rubbishy things.
"That when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him IMMEDIATELY."
"Immediately"; that is the vital word there. There must be no hesitation or looking back-no last minute scurrying to put ne glected things in order, or to fill neglected lamps.
Jesus' point is that, to please him, there must be a constant looking forward to that moment; a constant, instant readiness to go, like a runner on his mark, alert for the starter's gun.
42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
"The Gospel Advocate calls me a restless, ambitious individual. I am restless, and shall so continue to be until I enter that rest which remains for the people of God. I am ambitious, and my ambition will be satisfied with nothing short of incorruptibility, and a portion in the undefiled and undecaying inheritance, in which I hope eternally to dwell.
Shall I rest, surrounded as I am by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, both in the church and in the world? Shall I cease to aim at the disenthralment of the human mind from the traditions both of Romish and Protestant 'Divines?' Shall I cease to plead for what I honestly believe to be the truth of Holy Scripture, because men, as liable to err as myself, are pleased to call it speculative and untaught? I am ambitious to benefit mankind...'
Dr Thomas life and works