There was a man who had two sons.  The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate’.  So he divided his property between them.


Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.  So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.  He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.


When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!  I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’  So he got up and went to his father.


But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.


The son said to him ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’


But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick!  Bring the best robe and put it on him.  Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fatted calf and kill it.  Let’s have a feast and celebrate.  For this son of mine was dead and is alive again;* he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.


Meanwhile, the older son was in the field.  When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.  So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.  ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’


The older brother became angry and refused to go in.  So his father went out and pleaded with him.  But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders.  Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.  But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you killed the fattened calf for him!’


‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.  But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again;* he was lost and is found.’ ” - LUKE 15: 11-32.


[* See The Personal Indwelling Of The Holy Spirit .]






[On page two of ‘The Leader’ (April 20th. 2004 issue), the following was printed.]


“Not so long ago the music world mourned the passing of Johnny Cash, ‘the man in black’.  Some time before he died Cash wrote his autobiography and in it he tells the story of his older brother Jack, who was only 14 when he died.


As well as studying at the local high school, Jack also worked in a small agricultural business which it ran cutting up oak trees into fence posts.  The money he earned helped support his family, who were struggling to survive by working in the cotton fields of rural Arkansas.


But, one day a terrible accident happened.  A table saw which he was using at the time severely cut Jack, resulting in his death a few days later.


Sometime before his death, Jack had announced to his family and the community that he intended to be a preacher.  Everyone agreed that he would make a fine preacher, for his strong Christian character was really well known.


Johnny Cash looked up to his older brother, and Jack’s example still influenced him right up to the end of his life.  In his autobiography he wrote, ‘Jack isn’t really gone, anyway, any more than anyone is.  For one thing, his influence on me is profound.  When we were kids, he tried to turn me from the way of death to the way of life, to steer me toward the light, and since he died his words and his example have been like signposts for me.


The most important question in many of the conundrums and cries of my life has been, ‘Which is Jack’s way?  Which direction would he have taken?  I haven’t always gone that way, of course, but at least I’ve known where is was.’


I wonder has there ever been anyone in your life that has profoundly influenced it?  Like Johnny Cash you may not have followed their advice or counsel, their way of life or faith, but at the back of your mind, or even without thinking, your thoughts go back to what they might have done or said.


Jesus told a story about a man who thought he knew best for his life.  He had it all planned out in front of him.  All he needed was his father to come up with the capital and allow him to live his life, his way, for his pleasure and to his plans.


But he soon realised that the world did not want to play ball with him and so as he sat amongst the pigs, not only looking after them but eating their food, Jesus said, ‘he came to his senses.’  Or as we would say, ‘he caught himself on!’


He realised that his father had the way of life he yearned for all the time.  There he had safety, security and a future hope.  There he had freedom rather than what he wrongly believed all the time were restrictions.  He knew what it was like, because he had been there before.


How many of us even reading this have been there before?  We know the way, the truth and the life and yet we insist on walking our path, making up our own truth to suit us or trying to find a life which if we were truly honest with ourselves can never fully satisfy. You know there is something better, because you have been there, but now you are somewhere else.  For whatever reason, maybe now is time that you ‘caught yourself on’ and begin to say ‘I walk the line!’


The story of the Prodigal Son is not about a son finding Salvation; it is a story of a true son leaving his father’s service, and afterwards experiencing Restoration and Celebration -  a celebration which the ‘older brother refused’. 










 [* Translated from the German by Prof. Banks.]


He went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.  He said, ‘A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return.  So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. * ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’


[* A mina was about three months’ wages.]


But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’


He was made king, however, and returned home.  Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.


The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’


‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied.  ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’


The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’


His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’


Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man.  You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’


His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant!  You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow?  Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’


Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to one who has ten minas.’


‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’


He replied, ‘I tell you that to every one who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.  But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them - bring them here and kill them in front of me.’ ”

- Luke 19: 11-27.



The narrative (Luke 19: 11-27) itself speaks of the setting up of a kingly rule, which, however, was preceded by a journey into a far country, and a consequent prolonged absence of the future king, during which the fidelity of his servants is to be proved on the one hand, and the hate of his fellow-citizens will be revealed on the other.  We may here then assume as undoubted, that by this journey of the nobleman Jesus means to represent His own approaching departure from the world, and by his return His own coming again in royal power and glory; and further, that by the nobleman's servants left behind He would have His own disciples understood, and by his fellow-citizens, His own fellow-countrymen, and citizens of Israel.


From that retirement of their Lord arises for the disciples of Jesus, as for the servants of the nobleman, an intermediate period, during which they will be without His visible presence, and must wait for His coming.  But the period is not given them for idle waiting.  It is of the most critical importance for themselves, because it is appointed them as a test-time, on the use of which their own participation in the kingdom of Christ and their position in it will depend.  As the nobleman on his departure delivered to ten servants one mina each, commanding them whilst he is initiating his coming as king, to trade with these minae, precisely that in dealing with so slight a sum the fidelity of each one, and his fitness for the royal service, may be seen; so will Jesus, for the intermediate period up to His second advent, hand over to the body of His disciples (the idea of unity lies in the number ten) an apparently inconsiderable gift, and appoint them the duty of working with it for their Lord, while He is far away.


Like as (it is with the Parousia of the Son of Man as if) a man, about to journey into another country, called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods(Matt. 25: 14).  The Greek words are literally translated “the goods of him”, is not necessarily the entire property of every kind and in every place belonging to the householder, but is limited by the context to the property he had in his possession, and under his personal management in his residence so far.  Being now about to take a journey, he is obliged to hand over this property of his, which he is unable personally to manage as before, to other faithful hands during the time of his absence.  He therefore calls, not strange labourers, but his own servants, belonging to him as his servants; and as their master, since he may expect that they will regard his interest as their own, entrusts to them and their hands the property he leaves behind.


In the investigation on his return, the householder first bestows his praise on the faithful servant, and then promises him his reward, so that the Greek words ... [See Greek] belong not so much to the preceding eulogy, as to the following promise of reward, giving its reason, therefore: Well done, thou good and faithful servant!  Over a little thou wast faithful, over much will I set thee (Matt. 25: 23).  He calls him a good and faithful servant: “good” not in the general moral sense but in his character as servant, therefore a true servant; and since he has especially proved himself such by his fidelity, which is the most prominent virtue of a good servant, the specific “faithful” is combined with the general term “good.”  The promise of reward is to the effect, that because he has been faithful over a little, he will set him over much, just as a servant who has proved his fidelity in the small is trusted with the great.  Thus, the comparatively large sum delivered to this servant was but little in comparison with the wealth of goods (money is no longer specially thought of) over which he is now to be set, set as controller, so that he may now deal with them just as independently, despite the householder’s presence, as with the sum of money during the master’s absence.  But this, of course, supposes that from the mere position of servant, which he has hitherto held, he is raised to the position of a friend of his master, sharing his full confidence, and taking part in his authority.  Hence, to the promise of reward, a saying is added, expressive of this elevation:- “Enter into the joy of thy lord,” i.e., into the state of joy accruing to him in his character as lord, and in virtue of his authority, so that the servant will have part and lot in his master's state.


But great and glorious as is this reward, so heavy, on the other hand, is the punishment that will be inflicted on those [servants] who let the word entrusted to them lie dead and useless.  For not merely will the Lord leave to the faithful the rich product of their earthly labour even in the future Kingdom of God as their crown of rejoicing, their glory and joy (1 Thess. 2: 19), but He will also over and above reckon to their glory what He takes from the indolent.  By exposing the false glory of the latter, as though they had done their duty by merely preserving that which was entrusted to them, and taking that glory from them along with the trust that was theirs, He will still further augment to the faithful the glory and joy which is the result of their faithful labour, so that they will become just as much richer as the others became poorer.


And to the retribution decreed is added the positive punishment which the householder orders to be inflicted on the profitless servant (ver. 30): and the useless servant cast forth into the darkness without (outside the bright festive rooms).  Although, therefore, no festal celebration of the householder’s return was expressly mentioned in the narrative before, since the “joy of the lord (verses 21, 23) cannot be referred to such a feast merely, still the thought of such a celebration so natural and common in other parables, really floats before the narrator’s mind.  And whereas the first two servants’ entrance into the joy of their lord evidently includes participation in this festal joy, so the idle servant is to be expelled from the bright rooms of his master’s household.  This doom, then, forms in fact the contrast to the eulogistic word to the first two servants: “Enter into the joy of thy lord.”  Christ, in the hour of His coming, besides depriving every idle, unfaithful servant of what was entrusted to him, will also inflict on him the penalty of exclusion from His Kingdom: what Luke says of the punishment of the servant already implies that he has no share in the kingdom of his lord, and therefore that he who is like him will have no share in the Kingdom of Christ.


And if the hour of Christ's Second Advent will be an hour of reckoning even for His disciples, how much more will it be an hour of judgment for His enemies!  The citizens of Israel, who hated Jesus, although He lived and worked among them as His countrymen, and who were impelled by their hatred for Him to resistance against the counsel and will of the most high God - what can they be to the Messiah returning from heaven but enemies and what other fate can the erection of the Messiah’s kingdom bring them than that of rebels, on whom a victorious king takes righteous vengeance?  Although members of the chosen nation to which Christ Himself belonged, who as such would have been called in the first rank to enjoy the blessings of the Messianic Kingdom, the manifested Messiah at the setting up of His Kingdom will call them before His tribunal as His foes, and forthwith inflict on them the punishment due to hardened rebels against His divinely ordained eternal kingship - the punishment of condemnation to the eternal death, of whose pain and terrors even the slaying of the rebels in the parable is but a feeble image.  When it is said that such an image is unlike the mind of Jesus, this is simply an a priori assertion easily refuted by the numerous passages in which Jesus speaks of the punishment of damnation with no less menacing solemnity, and no less terrible images.  That nothing can be meant by extreme penalty inflicted on the rebels in the parable but the condemnation to eternal death, ought not to have called in question, considering the clearness and distinctness with which the parable distinguishes the period of the second advent as one of reckoning and judgment, from the intermediate period preceding it as the time of the Lord's absence in the heavenly world, designed to leave scope to His friends and foes to manifest their love and hate.






Servants of the King


Luke 11: 21-26






Our King is here tonight - our King himself, and I long that every one of you should lose sight of the servant and prostrate yourself fully before his Master, his King and yours.  Let us for a moment stay, while I ask you first if your hearts, and feet, and hands, and head are clean?  If they are, come for a moment into the most holy place with me, and let us adore Him in thought.  And as you look up into His face, does He not look benignly and lovingly upon you?  And yet I think - in this vast audience there are some who cannot meet His glance with pleasure, and it may be that some words that I shall speak tonight upon the service and the responsibility of the servants of the King may help them to enter into the blessed life, that blessed life that is always spent in communion with the King.


Our Place in Christ’s World


Now why is it that you are not perfectly happy?  Why is it that your Christian life has been so much a failure?  It is sometimes like summer in its beauty, and then like winter with its biting cold.  What is the cause of the failure of your Christian life?  That you are a Christian, there is no doubt.  Why is it? I think that you have largely mistaken the nature of Christ’s world and your place in it.


Perhaps some of you have read - the title at least - of the book, The World, and My Place in It.  Are you quite sure that you understand your place in Christ’s world?  Think for a moment.  It is of the utmost importance for a soldier to understand his place in the army, of the utmost importance for a limb to understand its place in the body, of the utmost importance for a piece in a machine to know and keep its place.  Otherwise there is discomfort, there is pain, there is accident.  Now, what you need to do, as it appears to me, is to know the true meaning of this world and your place as a part of it.


The great law of this world is gathered up into the one word service.  Every fish in every stream, every bird in every woodland, every flower in every copse - all serve.  The angels themselves are ministering spirits, and our blessed Lord himself occupies the position of the true and chief Servant, for He came not to be ministered unto but to minister.  He took upon himself the form of a servant, and He tells us the day is coming when He will gird himself and come forth to serve the men and women who have [served Him and] waited for His coming.


Lift up your eyes for a moment to see the ideal Servant of God, the Prince whose coat of arms bears this motto, “Ich Dien(I serve), for He himself is the ideal of service.  And may I lift up your thought for a moment to the blessed God himself, and ask you to consider Him as the happy God, the blessed God, because He lives to minister to the world He has made?  That truth is taught you in words to which I need not refer you, because they are so familiar, and in which the apostle informs us that all things serve us who are Christ’s, and we serve Christ, and Christ serves God.  So that all this universe is linked in one great chain of service, from the very tiniest gnat which is dying tonight in the cooler breeze, up to the Son of God himself, who sits at the right hand of God.


Slaves of Jesus Christ


Now, if you would, therefore, know your true place, understand that you are a ‘slave’. I am addressing a congregation, of freed slaves, of emancipated slaves.  Our origin was a slave origin.  We were under bondage to Satan and to sin, but Jesus Christ bought us with His own most precious blood, and He expects now that we should be what Paul in his Epistle to the Romans gloried in being, “Paul, the slave of Jesus Christ.”


Now, then, you truly understand that this universe is one great universe of service, and when you shall take up your true place in it as the slave of Jesus Christ, then the failure shall pass out of your life, and you shall rise up to the dignity and glory and blessedness of an emancipated soul.


There are many spheres of service.  I note them as I pass.  There is first, in my esteem, the service of praise: “Praise Him, you servants of God that stand in the house of the Lord.”  Praise is our very loftiest duty.  It is higher than giving thanks.  Thankfulness has something of self in it, for we thank God for that which we have received.  But in praise we forget even the very gifts of God, and we take our stand side by side with the heavenly servants, and prostrate ourselves before Him, and bless Him for what He is of himself.  That is the loftiest service, the service of praise.


And then is the service of common duty.  Oh, that every one remembered it!  The kitchen worker and the shoeshine boy may equally serve Christ as Gabriel himself, if they only shine shoes, and do the kitchen work for the love of God.  There is nothing common in this world, nothing menial, nothing small, for everything is the worth of the motive that prompts it; and the meanest action may be dignified by the loftiest motive.  And I say again that the street cleaner who cleans the roads for the love of God makes that action as great as the guiding of a planet by an angel for the same motive.  There is a service, therefore, of common life.


There is also, thirdly, a service of suffering.  Go to those of your dear ones who lie day and night in one posture.  Tell them that they also serve who lie and suffer and wait, and they serve thus.  The Lord must manifest His passive virtues.  It is not enough to have the active qualities of the Christian life revealed.  He must have a great army of sufferers who will reveal the patience and sweet willingness of His grace.  Let the sufferers know that they also serve.


There is also the service that comes from cultivating the gifts with which we have been entrusted, for there is not one believer in this great audience who has not been entrusted with some one gift to use for the Church, and it should be our privilege to find out and use it.


And, fifthly, there is a service of witness bearing, not to convert the world, not to convert men.  Go out through the world as heralds crying everywhere, “God has anointed this same Jesus both Lord and Christ,” and that seems to be another sphere of service.  And now where is your fault or failure ?


Serving Self Instead of Christ


It may be that you are doing nothing, and in the busy rush of this great universe, and in the constant operations of Christ’s Church, you are in comparative inactivity - idle, slothful.  You remember that the one sea that is called the Dead Sea is the sea that receives everything and gives out nothing.  And there is no truer sign of incipient death than that you should be receiving everything from God, and giving out nothing in return.  Why, that piece of ground that bears nothing is near to cursing.  How near the curse may be!  God has in His great army of workers fishermen, ploughers, reapers, sowers, nurses, soldiers.  Find your place among one of these and serve Him, and in serving Him begin to live for love of Him who saved you.


It may be that you are serving unwillingly.  There is a submission of must, and there is the submission of choice.  There is the submission of the heifer unaccustomed to the yoke which she is bound to carry, and there is the submission of the yielding, plodding animal who takes the yoke.  Whatever may be God’s plan for you I cannot tell, but God’s purposes shall be fulfilled.  But if all the while you are murmuring, fretting, chafing, complaining, you shall still have to bear that yoke to the end.  How much wiser then not to fight against God’s will, but to will God’s will, or to will to be made willing to will God’s will, and so you shall come to choose and love that which, at first, was the yoke from which you shrank.


But, granted that you are working willingly, there is a great mistake that sometimes comes to the Christian worker against which we should guard.  Does not self too largely enter into all our schemes of service?  For instance, don't we often work for our own glory?  We like to see our names in the public prints; we are more interested in the success of our class, our church, or our sect than we seek to be for the glory of Cod.  We are not prepared to fail, if by our failure Christ shall be more glorified than by our success.  And if we see some other more successful than ourselves, we find it very hard to be glad, though it would be impossible not to be glad if we were only living for the glory of God.


Is there not a constant difficulty with us when the “I” of self rises up before us, and asserts itself as the thing for which we live?  Some of us find it difficult to be earnest, because frequently we are tempted by our very earnestness to plume ourselves on the fact that we are more earnest than others.  This is a temptation to the most spiritual, and sometimes our most earnest efforts are inspired by the one thought of adding some laurel to our brow.


Does not self intrude in our laying down our own plan of work?  We say we will do this or that or the other, never considering whether it is Christ’s plan for us.  When God called Moses on the Mount, He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern I show you.”  He said this so that the man of God could not use his inventive faculty, for everything had to be received from God.  Are we careful enough in this?  There is a great difference between our schemes of work and the great work that God appoints.  How many are working for the Master instead of allowing the Master to work through them?  The true thought of Christian work is to be like an earthenware pitcher or clean mug standing on the kitchen shelf with the handle turned outwards ready for use, or to be as a pen in the hand of a ready writer, not writing its own thought, but pliant for the writer to use as he will.


Thirdly, self asserts itself in prompting us to use our own strength.  Most of us are too strong for God to use.  Is there one subject more sad than to see how God takes up men, but after a while lets them down again; takes up sections of the Church, and uses them, and then puts them down again?  He takes up some denomination and increases it and uses it for His service, and then that denomination falls into the shade.  Sometimes we wonder why this is, but is not the reason that the denomination or Christian worker has become too strong for God?


When God wanted to bring back to himself the world that had fallen away, He chose not the Rabbis, the Gamaliels of Jerusalem, but twelve fishermen from the shores of Galilee.  Alas!  We do God’s work for our own glory, and after our own plan, and in our own strength; and because we do, we are met by incessant failure.


Then how shall we act tonight?  I wish to lay aside all formal address, and talk to you freely and tenderly.


Now, what appears to me to be our incumbent duty this very night, if we are conscious that our work has been marred by failure, our duty is to take our true place as the slaves of Jesus Christ.  You remember in that Psalm of the King, the 100th. Psalm, we are told that, “Your people shall be willing in the day of your power.”  And the translation given by the Revised Version is, “Your people shall be freewill offerings in the day of your power.”  The same word is used by Deborah to describe the people who offered themselves as willing offerings.


What we ought to do is to look up into the face of our King.  Let us look up into His gentle but majestic face, let us see in Him the marks of the agonised death by which we were bought, and now, as a great host of the redeemed slaves who belong to Him, but who have been robbing Him of the purchase of His own blood, some for five years, some for ten, twenty, thirty, forty years, who have been living for themselves instead of living as His purchased possession shall we not, one and all, quietly look up into His face and tell Him that from this very night we will be utterly, only, and forever, His?  Will you take the opportunity of so accosting Him?


Identified with Christ’s Purposes


When you were first converted, you told Christ that from that moment you would be wholly His.  But since your conversion, though you have theoretically held that you were His servant, you have forgotten to live as you promised.  You have spent your money as you chose. You have pursued the plan of life that pleased you.  You have furnished your house and chosen the locality in which you live.  Very few of us have been living as if we were the purchased property, the slaves of Christ.  And does it not become us to take our true position tonight?  And again I say, shall we not look up to Christ’s face, and with tears in our eyes shall we not confess with sorrow and grief that we have been defrauding the Master of His own, and have been largely regardless of His claims, and that now we retrace our steps and consecrate ourselves to Him?


Oh, that there may be scores, hundreds of young men and young women, who from this very moment each shall date the time when they commenced to live as the purchased property of Christ, as those who are not their own, but are constrained by the love of the King to live no longer to themselves, but to Him who died for them and rose again.


A friend of mine who had been visiting at a country house was interested to notice in conversation with the old butler, who had been in the family for many years, how the old grey-headed servant identified himself with everything in his master’s ownership.  That is our house; those are our park lands,” said he; “these are our flocks; these are our fruit gardens, and these are our children - bless them!”  And he went forward and met his master’s children as though they were his own.  When shall we become so identified with the interest of Christ that we shall have no thought for ourselves, but our whole thought may be, all that is His is ours?


Once more, when we shall thus have yielded ourselves to Christ, the first thing He will do will be to receive us, and the next thing to fill us.  The moment you make a freewill offering of yourself to the Saviour, that moment He receives you.  There may be no conscious emotion, no rush of ecstasy, and you may go on for many days, that may seem grey and dark, but stay yourself with repeating the old refrain, “I am His,” and there shall come into the life which is given to the King the fulness of the Holy Spirit.


Just as in the air tonight there is no rushing wind, but the blessed cool breeze, entering this favoured room by every aperture, so in the yielded life there comes at once the gentle breath of the Spirit of God.  When there has been the yielding of the spirit to the Son of God, He will receive it, and He will fill it, and He will fill it constantly, and then He will use it.  Day after day, hour after hour, you shall wait upon His word, and He will send you upon His most sacred tasks, He shall employ you in His most intimate work, and you shall not work for Him, because He shall work through you.  The other day I heard of a great London artist whose father in his early life had been the means of giving him the education that had made him what he is today.  And it was told me that now he has brought his aged father to live with him in his larger mansion in this city.  The occupation of his aged father was moulding, and since he has come to live with his son, he is still carrying on day by day the handicraft of early life.  But the old man’s hand has lost its cunning, and every night when he retires to rest, his son spends at least an hour in the room in which his father has been moulding all day.  He takes out all signs of failure and brings the work up to the highest pitch of perfection of which the old man’s hand was capable in its best days.


Is not that a parable of how our work has been done?  When we leave it feeling that there has been so much failure, and shortcoming in its very best, then our King Jesus Christ goes over it with His own hand, wiping out that which appears to be a failure, and restoring it and making it beautiful as His own ideal.


In closing, I would call upon my own soul, as upon yours, and ask that this very night there may be a prostration, if you will, in spirit, and a kneeling at the feet of Christ, and a surrender of the whole being to Him.  In this act, the life of consecrated toil shall unfold into a life of peace and bliss, of perpetual summer, and of all the glory with which God can inspire the human soul.  O Christ, make of me as much as can be made of me during the short life I may yet have to live.  Amen.






The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory





Yours is the kingdom.”  It is not ours; it is altogether His.  He prepared it from all eternity.  He founded it on a sure foundation.  He made His own Son the king.  He has surrounded it with walls - salvation, and made the gates thereof praise.  He protects and defends it against all enemies.  He assigns to each of His servants a place and a work, distributing His gifts according to His own good pleasure.  We may therefore rest in peace, and commit ourselves, and our work, in humble confidence to our great King.


The kingdom is God’s.  Though we read of the kingdom of darkness, strictly speaking there are not two kings and two kingdoms; there is but one God and Lord, even the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; His is the kingdom.  God’s enemies are a mass, not a body; a crowd, not an organism; a collection of individuals, not a flock guided by a shepherd.  There are at present many things that offend in this kingdom, but they will be cast out; there are tares and weeds, but they will be gathered and burnt; there are rebels, but they will be banished from His presence.


The kingdom is the Lord’s.  In nature, in providence, in grace, He is sovereign; and there is a kingdom of glory, which He is preparing through these subordinate kingdoms.  The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein.”  The Lord reigns.”


It is this light that shines in Scripture and which explains to us that history has a meaning and an aim.  We wait for the kingdom of the Son of man, and of the saints of the Most High.  The kingdom of God is over all, and God’s children, watching the signs of the times, lift up their heads, for their redemption draws nigh.  They know also that He overrules all things for His glory and their good, and that all powers and influences in His vast kingdom, from the ministry of the angels down to the fall of the sparrow, are obeying His perfect and loving will.


His is the Infinite Power


As the kingdom is His, so power belongs to the Lord.  He is able to do all things that please Him.  The thought of infinite power would have in it something overwhelming and crushing, if all divine attributes did not coexist in perfect harmony, if might were not inseparably linked to wisdom, and mercy, and holiness.  And how sweet is the thought that the greatest manifestation of divine power is Christ, and Christ crucified, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!  Christ is the Word of His power.  By Him all things were created, and by Him they are upheld.  The power of God is manifested through His Son.


When we thus see the strong hand of the Lord and His outstretched arm in redemption, when we remember that all power in heaven and earth is given now to the man Christ Jesus, we can contemplate Omnipotence with joy, though not without awe.


Is anything too hard for the Lord?  When we think of the miracle of the incarnation, when we think of the resurrection of Christ, what miracle of divine power and love can be incredible?  What future event predicted surpasses in wonder the former mighty acts of God?  His is the power - all power.  All forces and energies, however opposed to Him, are His; after many circuitous roads, of their own perverse choice, they must at last bow down before Him.  Pharaoh, Caesar, Satan himself; all kingdoms must serve the coming of God’s kingdom. The star shines forth to lead the wise men from the East to Israel’s King; when the Messiah suffers, the sun becomes dark, the rocks are rent, the earth trembles; and when He comes again, all heaven and earth shall be filled with wonders and signs.


The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory


His is the power; great things become small, and little things become great when He wills it.  He can send twelve legions of angels as easily as commission the ravens to fly across the hills and bring food to His servant.  The decree of Caesar Augustus for all the world to be taxed has its true reason in the ancient prediction of Micah and the Babe of Bethlehem. Herod’s cruel designs of murder are frustrated by the angel appearing to Joseph in a dream.  God has paths invisible; His step is so gentle that no ear can perceive it, and His power so great that no might can resist.


It is God’s delight to manifest His power so as to abase man’s pride and to strengthen the faith of the humble – “For the day of the Lord of Hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up, and upon all the high mountains, and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.”  It is when men triumph and glory in their strength that God shows forth His power in His weakness.


All human power had combined against Jesus, and done its utmost: a traitor among His own disciples, the highest council and authority of the land, Herod the king, and Pilate the judge, the people of Jerusalem, and the Roman soldiers.  And what more could they do or wish to do than to silence that unwelcome voice witnessing for the truth, and to banish Him from the land of the living?  There He lay low in the grave, silent and dead; and so anxious were they to keep Him in His prison that they placed a great stone on His tomb and sealed it, and the soldiers kept watch.  Perfect was their triumph and great their security.  Death is the lowest state of weakness, to be buried out of sight, the greatest defeat.  But the weakness of God was greater than the power of man.  He was buried - but only as a grain of wheat, to spring up in new glory, and to bring forth much fruit.  Very early in the morning, no human eye witnessing it, the Father raised His Holy Child Jesus.  In the power of His resurrection He is since going on from strength to strength, leading captive captivity, having the strong for His spoil, and subduing all things unto himself


All Glory Belongs to God


His is the kingdom, and by His power will it be established, for the end of all divine works and ways is His glory.  Let us not think of God’s glory as we think of our own.  Man seeks glory because he is selfish; but “God is love.”  His glory is the manifestation of himself; His glory is to fill heaven and earth; it is the blessedness and joy of all His children.  When man seeks glory, he seeks to make himself a centre, and thereby destroys himself and others; when God seeks His own glory, it is because He is the only centre of life and light.


There is no glory except God’s.  His is the glory.  All other glory is false, empty; no, it is the very opposite of glory - shame and misery.


Glory is brightness, and God is light; whatever light there is, is the reflection as well as the gift of the Lord in Christ Jesus.  Separated from God, men, even of the most brilliant genius and the most richly stored mind, are in darkness, and, unless they come to Christ, they will be forever in utter darkness.  Glory means, in Hebrews, weight, substance.  God is the great reality; all things are shadowy, vain, mere outlines, without fulness, unless they are connected with God and with eternity.


Glory belongs absolutely to the Lord, and therefore we have confidence in praying to Him; for His own glory He will bless, save, sanctify, and glorify all who call upon His holy name.