Righteousness, Peace and Joy

Frederick Raven

It is to my mind a wonderful thing that believers can be maintained in the power of the Holy Spirit in spite of the power of the enemy, the power of death, and the lawlessness of man; maintained in all the good of God’s kingdom, which is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, even while the outward conditions of things remain unchanged, and will remain until the coming of the Lord. Righteousness, peace and joy are things that characterise heaven; righteousness is in heaven, peace reigns in heaven, and joy is found in heaven. They are brought down to us in the power of the Holy Spirit, and are thus established in our hearts in spite of everything we see around us.

(F E Raven, NS vol.15 p260.)

Golden Nugget Number 381

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God is the God of Hope

‘Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that ye should abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit;’ (Rom 15:13)

Charles Coates 1862 – 1945.

God is the God of hope, and He would have His people to abound in hope.  He is going to carry through without fail every purpose of His love in connection with those whom He has called.  The Holy Spirit would give us power to hold it all in our souls as a matter of hope.  God is going to carry His work through with all His saints, and is going to secure all that is in His purpose. If we abound in hope, as having before us what God has before Him, it will keep us bright, and sustain us even in the presence of all the weakness and departure that have manifested themselves in the Christian profession.  Paul never wrote in a more encouraging strain than in 2 Timothy.  When John wrote his Gospel the assemblies were in a sad state, but he wrote about the Son of God, and the Father, and the Comforter, and about the thoughts of divine love in relation to those given by the Father to the Son.  He is a blessed example of one filled with all joy and peace in believing, and abounding in hope.

 (C A Coates, Outline of Romans, p230)

en Nugget Number 387

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Jesus stooping to heal my poor broken Heart is greater in doing that than in creating the Universe

J N Darby (1800-82)

I love to tell God that He numbers and names the stars; the infinitude of God is seen in that; He spangled the heavens and upholds it by the might of His power; but He heals the broken hearted.  Jesus has stooped down to my poor broken heart and has healed it; and He is greater in doing that than in creating the universe.

olden Nugget Number 385

(William Johnson,  Addresses and Other Ministry, page136)

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At the right Hand of God sits a Man for our Righteousness and Justification

J N Darby (1800-82)

Into a world where joy-seeking, toil, sorrow, care and heartbreaking abound, God has come; and in heaven at the right hand of God sits now a Man, there for our righteousness and justification.  Jesus came into the world and gathered round Himself.  He was the only Man that had a right to do so…and here He became the centre of every heart with eyes to see.

Where am I to find a way in the world?  He answers, “Follow me”.  Who can open heaven to me?  The same only.  And what does heaven delight in?  The Son of man.  On Him is heaven opened, and on Him the angels wait!  He gathers round Himself as the centre from the world and its confusion.  He was a divine object walking about in the world and drawing all hearts touched by God around Himself.  In Him I get not only the path, but a guide through the path, and in finding Him to whom my heart is drawn, I have Him whom God delights in.

Golden Nugget Number 386

(J N Darby. Extracted from 3-day Meeting notes, 1861)

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Jesus has stooped down to my poor broken heart

William Johnson

I love to tell God that He numbers and names the stars; the infinitude of God is seen in that; He spangled the heavens and upholds it by the might of His power; but He heals the broken hearted.  Jesus has stooped down to my poor broken heart and has healed it; and He is greater in doing that than in creating the universe.

(William Johnson,  Addresses and Other Ministry, page136)

Golden Nugget Number 385

Golden Nuggets are published by Saville Street Distribution,                                     Venture, Princes Esplanade, Walton-on-the-Naze, CO14 8QD, UK

It is a Wonderful Thing that Believers can be Maintained in the Power of the Holy Spirit in spite of the Power of the Enemy

It is to my mind a wonderful thing that believers can be maintained in the power of the Holy Spirit in spite of the power of the enemy, the power of death, and the lawlessness of man; ma

Frederick Raven

intained in all the good of God’s kingdom, which is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, even while the outward conditions of things remain unchanged, and will remain until the coming of the Lord. Righteousness, peace and joy are things that characterise heaven; righteousness is in heaven, peace reigns in heaven, and joy is found in heaven. They are brought down to us in the power of the Holy Spirit, and are thus established in our hearts in spite of everything we see around us.

(F E Raven, NS vol.15 p260.)

Golden Nugget Number 381

Golden Nuggets are published by Saville Street Distribution,                                     Venture, Princes Esplanade, Walton-on-the-Naze, CO14 8QD, UK

Darby and the Wesleyans’ Free Will

From a letter written in 1861 published in the collected Writings volume 10. Doctrinal 3.  Page 185.

The Wesleyan Doctrine

J N Darby (1800-82)

J N Darby maintained that the Wesleyan doctrine of free will was a consequence of a failure to appreciate the fact that man is entirely lost. He went as far as saying that those who believed in free will could not have a full conviction of sin. Such an idea is a perversion of Christianity

Free will belongs to the natural man. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God’ (Rom 8:7-8).

Man’s heart is so corrupted and his will so obstinate that nothing can induce him to submit to God, to receive the Lord and  abandon sin.  A godly Wesleyian feels that he must please God in his own power: he does not recognise the total fall of man, something incompatible with pure grace.

So, the question is: is the old man changed, instructed, and sanctified? or do we receive a new nature in order to be saved?

Redemption

The truth is that God has shown that man is wicked, without remedy, and the cross of Christ condemns man — sin in the flesh.  Through redemption accomplished by Christ, we have a new life, eternal life, come down from heavenin His Person.  Redemption, the accomplished work of Another, loses its force when one entertains ideas of improving the old man.  Arminianism[1], or rather Pelagianism, pretends that man can choose a practical deliverance from a moral state, rather than redemption.

Philosophically and morally speaking, freewill is a false and absurd theory.  Free will is a state of sin. Acting in free will follows sin.  What cruelty it would be to propose a duty to man who has already turned to evil!


[1]The following are the main points of Arminianism according to Wikipedia:

  1. Salvation (and condemnation on the day of judgment) was conditioned by the graciously enabled faith (or unbelief) of man.
  2. Atonement is qualitatively adequate for all men, “yet that no one actually enjoys [experiences] this forgiveness of sins, except the believer …” and thus is limited to only those who trust in Christ;
  3. “That man has not saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free will”, and unaided by the Holy Spirit, no person is able to respond to God’s will;
  4. The (Christian) Grace “of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of any good”, yet man may resist the Holy Spirit; and
  5. Believers are able to resist sin through Grace, and Christ will keep them from falling; but whether they are beyond the possibility of ultimately forsaking God or “becoming devoid of grace … must be more particularly determined from the Scriptures.”

Pelagianism is a heterodox Christian theological position that holds that the original sin did not taint human nature and that humans have the free will to achieve human perfection without divine grace. Pelagius (c.  355 – c.  420 AD), a British ascetic and philosopher, taught that God could not command believers to do the impossible, and therefore it must be possible to satisfy all divine commandments. He also taught that it was unjust to punish one person for the sins of another; therefore, infants are born blameless. Pelagius accepted no excuse for sinful behaviour and taught that all Christians, regardless of their station in life, should live unimpeachable, sinless lives

Who can I Break Bread with?

Principles of Gathering

J N Darby (1800-82)

Entitled ‘Principles of Gathering,  this is the substance of a letter by JND as to the question of who should read and her should not.  It is published in Collected Writings Volume 7 (Doctrinal 2) page 349. 

The Reception of Saints to Partake in the Table of our Lord

JN Darby raised the question is as to the reception of saints to partake in the table of our Lord with us: whether any can be admitted who are not formally and regularly amongst us[1].

Clearly, a person who is not sound in faith or ungodly in practice should be excluded. However, should a godly and sound person, not associated with a system with an ordained ministry be shut out?  Should he be excluded simply because his conscience has not been enlightened as to such wrong practices?  Simply put, sects meet on their principles, Baptist, Congregational etc.  If a believer belongs formally to such, you do not admit such.

No Membership of ‘Brethren’

There is no membership of ‘Brethren’. Membership of an assembly is unknown in Scripture.  Every case must be treated on its own merits – on the principle of being members of Christ’s body – the unity of all members.  If you say, ‘You do not belong to us, you cannot come’, the whole principle of meeting is gone.  Such a path is not of God.

Darby said that he had heard persons talking about communion services as being the table of devils. They may be sectarian, but they are not heathen alters.  This is monstrous nonsense and shows the bad state of the person who says such things.

A local assembly should always receive a person who is a true believer, and who has dissociated himself from that which is not of God. There cannot be too much care as to holiness and truth: the Spirit is the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit of truth; but ignorance of ecclesiastical truth is not a ground of non-reception or excommunication when the conscience and walk are undefiled. 

However, if one insisted on his right to break bread with two divergent companies, he would not come in simplicity in the unity of the body. It is evil: he has no right to impose any condition on the church of God.  Such a person cannot have a pure heart.

Satan is busy, seeking to lead us one side or the other — to destroy the largeness of the unity of the body, or to make it loose in practice and doctrine.  Reception of all true saints is what gives its force to the exclusion of those walking loosely.  If a local assembly excludes those walking godlily, power is lost, for those who are godly are shut out too.


[1] I always have a little difficulty on anything that refers to ‘us’. What do we mean by ‘us’?   Applying ‘us’ to a particular group of Christians is blatantly sectarian.

Bethany

James Butler Stoney (1814-1897)

I think we little comprehend what Bethany was to the Lord.  He was not only at home there because they rested in His love, but because He was understood.  Mary does two things most pleasing to Him.  She sits at His feet, hearing His word, and she anoints Him for the burying.  The one shows she appreciates His mind – what He had to unfold; the other, that the most fragrant thing in her possession goes into the tomb with Him.  This is devotedness of a double kind; it is on the one hand to receive only from Him; to have no thought, no mind but His; on the other, to declare plainly that what would distinguish me most in nature, I pass over to Him who died here.  It fills the house at Bethany with fragrance.

Golden Nugget Number 376

(J B Stoney, NS vol.12, page1)

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A Word Left on Record

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It is worthy of note that the Apostle John, who was a father in a peculiarly blessed way, in addressing a word to each of the gradations in the family of God, namely, “fathers,” “young men” and “babes,” not only gives a present word to each, but also places a word on record. He says, “I write to you, fathers,” then he says, “I have written to you, fathers” (1 John 2: 13-27), suggesting to us that we need to be reminded of what has been written, as well as to take heed to the ministry of the moment.

It is a cause of deep thankfulness that in these last days of the Church’s history upon earth, God in His infinite goodness has been pleased to revive much truth that was lost to the saints during the middle ages. Some of the best of this ministry has been preserved for us in the printed page, and is still available to us. As in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, the original features of the assembly, long lost, have been recovered in the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of faithful men raised up for the purpose and specially sustained in the midst of severe opposition. For more than a century the Lord’s voice has been heard in ministry of a most powerful character, separating many of His own from what is unsuitable to Him both in the world and in the religious sphere, and presenting Himself as the great Head of His body, the Assembly. Truth after truth has been recovered through the living activity of the Head in ministry, using vessels qualified by Himself for this precious service. Every truth thus recovered has been challenged and bitterly opposed, for the enemy always has his servants ready for this deadly opposition. But the Lord has stood by His beloved servants and supported them, so that one position after another has been won and consolidated.

In this process of recovery, it would appear that, speaking generally, the Lord has not been pleased to go over the same ground twice, but has given a gradual development of the truth. This principle is also in accord with the Lord’s activities in the early days of the Church’s history, as recorded for us in the Acts, where a gradual and orderly development of assembly features are seen, culminating in Ephesus in chapter 20, where the full light according to all the counsel of God is announced. The Lord pursues thus His gracious activities on the assumption that previous ministries have taken effect and builds upon that. Thus, in present ministry we get the Lord’s present mind for His own, making known that which is peculiarly suited to the present movements of the testimony. Never for one moment weakening what He has previously brought to light, but rather strengthening it and adding to it.

Now if the character of previous ministry was essential for the recovery of the Assembly according to the mind of God, it is also necessary for the education of the individual saint today if he is to be intelligent as to the scope of the truth. If we are to be well balanced in the things of God, we must take heed to the word left on record as well as listen to present ministry.

  • If God has been pleased to give His children today such a legacy of edifying ministry contained in books, and seeing there are so many of them, it becomes a question of selection. In the world they have their works of record known as “classical” and “standard” works, and the classics occupy the preeminent place in the world’s libraries. Can it not be said that among the written ministry of the past century or so there are books answering to the classical works, that is, those of superlative value? I believe there are such and l think the Spirit of God would help us to select from the many books of ministry available, those which are of exceptional worth to the church of God. A spirit of honest inquiry among those who are more experienced would doubtless lead to a wise selection, the prayerful perusal of which would aid greatly to the establishment of souls.

Paul exhorts Timothy to have an outline of sound words (2 Timothy 1:13), and we would do well to take heed to this exhortation.

Scripture frequently speaks of building, for instance, “building up yourselves on your most holy faith.” (Jude 20) Building is a methodical work — first the foundation, then the principal walls and joists, then the roof, then the internal construction, and lastly the details and finishing. And cannot we gather from this the manner in which the Lord has been pleased to recover the truth in these last days? Fundamental truths were brought to light which meant a rigid separation from the world and religious evil. The great basic principles concerning the gospel and the Assembly and the future ways of God. Then the great constructive truths affecting the saints in their relations together, and now to complete this wonderful work the adornment of the house is going on.

In speaking thus, one would not for a moment lose sight of the fact that divine work in our souls is always accompanied by a suitable state. There must be individual history with God; conscience and heart must be in exercise if we are to prosper spiritually, but ministry has a great place in our spiritual development.

Before leaving this subject one word might be added; namely, that the fierce opposition of the enemy is mainly directed against anything fresh or new in ministry. Previous ministries have been established and are now beyond conflict, but the enemy is ever ready to hinder and oppose every onward movement of the testimony. One would therefore seek not only to treasure every dedicated thing which already has a place in the house of God, but be ready to stand for what the Lord may be giving in this our day.

H. W. Ellis

Goodmayes