Have these Things Always in Remembrance (2 Peter 1:15)

January 2019

Dear Christian Friends

I trust that you proved God’s mercies over the Christmas period (however you did, or did not, celebrate it), and hope that He will give you health and happiness in 2019, as you enjoy Christian fellowship.

As we start a new year, I thought it might be a good idea to remind one another of those things which motivated Darby and others in the early 1800’s, and their relevance to us now.

  1. A reminder that the Lord’s coming even closer now.  Paul wrote, ‘It is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.  The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light’ (Rom 13:11-12).  Paul was, I believe, looking forward to the rapture – the salvation of our bodies which will be changed.  As we look around we see the darkness of the world, getting even darker as God’s honoured relationships are discounted.  At the same time the public sphere is becoming more and more confused – in the UK, USA and in the Rome-backed EU, with oppressive regimes and wars elsewhere). The love of the many may have grown cold, but the light shines even brighter amongst Christians who have the hope of our Lord’s coming, and amongst those enduring persecution.

 

  1. A reminder that the calling of the church’s mission is heavenly.  It’s sad: so often we hear that striving to be better Christians we can make this world a better place.  We cannot; we never will.  Jesus said, ‘They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world’ (John 17:14), while Paul wrote, ‘For our conversation [or ‘commonwealth’ – Darby or ‘citizenship’ – NIV, ASV etc.] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself’ (Phil 3:21) .

 

  1. A reminder that Christians are called to be apart from religious organisations which are based on the principles of the world – human organisation with one person in charge of an assembly be it a pastor, vicar, priest or whatever, and human performances with beautiful music and liturgical rituals on one hand emotional excitement on the other, all pandering to the flesh.

 

So, what do we see?  Small Christian companies which are unattractive outwardly, and if we are honest somewhat struggling.  You ask  ‘How will they grow and spread, and what is the future?’  If the Lord’s coming is just round the corner, why be worried about the future?  Maybe our faith is being tested – meanwhile let’s just obey the Lord  – ‘This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you’ (John 15:12).  ‘By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another’ (John 13:35).

 

God’s blessings in 2019.

 

Sosthenes

 

 PS – A thought about Corinth

Thinking about the above, last week we had a meeting for ministry meeting and I was moved to give a word on what constitutes a good local assembly:

Not Corinth – Good numbers, gifted speakers but factions and politics

Not Ephesus – Absolutely correct teaching and well ordered – but no love

Just ’the poor of the flock’ – like Philadelphia – just a little power but as the city’s name implies – brotherly love

A brother followed speaking about Corinth and orderly meetings (1 Cor 14).  You could imagine a large hall: I guess they didn’t have seats, but a several (men and women?) speaking simultaneously  People gathered round the speaker they liked.

 

 

 

The Imminent Coming of the Lord Jesus

‘And thus we shall be always with the Lord’.   Oh, dear brethren, to be in the presence of the Lord Jesus, to be like Him, to have a body of glory like unto His body of glory and to be with Him, no more to go at all out, forever with the Lord! 

Issue No 3

 

 

Address by Philip Mason at Malvern, 2 December 2017

And Peter said to him, Lord, sayest thou this parable to us, or also to all?   And the Lord said, Who then is the faithful and prudent steward, whom his lord will set over his household, to give the measure of corn in season?   Blessed is that bondman whom his lord [on] coming shall find doing thus; verily I say unto you, that he will set him over all that he has.  But if that bondman should say in his heart, My lord delays to come, and begin to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and to drink and to be drunken, the lord of that bondman shall come in a day when he does not expect it, and in an hour he knows not of, and shall cut him in two and appoint his portion with the unbelievers.

Luke 12: 41– 46[†]

 

The elders which [are] among you I exhort, who [am their] fellow-elder and witness of the sufferings of the Christ, who also [am] partaker of the glory about to be revealed:shepherd the flock of God which [is] among you, exercising oversight, not by necessity, but willingly; not for base gain, but readily; not as lording it over your possessions, but being models for the flock. And when the chief shepherd is manifested ye shall receive the unfading crown of glory.

1 Peter 5: 1-4

 

But we do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them that are fallen asleep, to the end that ye be not grieved even as also the rest who have no hope.   For if we believe that Jesus has died and has risen again, so also God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus.  (For this we say to you in [the] word of [the] Lord, that we, the living, who remain to the coming of the Lord, are in no way to anticipate those who have fallen asleep; for the Lord himself, with an assembling shout, with archangel’s voice and with trump of God, shall descend from heaven; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we, the living who remain, shall be caught up together with them in [the] clouds, to meet the Lord in [the] air; and thus weshall be always with [the] Lord.   So encourage one another with these words.)

1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18

 

I want to say a few words, dear brethren,about the coming of the Lord Jesus.

 

I said to a young brother recently, ‘The Lord’s coming can’t be long now’.  That challenged me: do I really believe that the Lord’s coming is imminent?  And if I believe it, what difference is it making to my life?   Not long ago, I was speaking to an elderly sister who said she lay awake in the night worrying about the troubles amongst the brethren, and wondering what was going to happen.   I thought, wouldn’t it be nice instead, if we woke up in the morning thinking, ‘The Lord is coming today!’.  If I knew that somebody important was going to visit, I would want to be ready.  Now, what if that important Person was the Lord? Would I have to change my plans for the day?  Would I have to change my occupation even?  I might think there was no point in going to work, but that would just be lazy. I think if I knew the Lord was coming today, I would want the Lord to find me doing what I ought to be doing to fulfil my responsibilities here.  But it would be the busiest day of my life.  For a start, to be ready, there is quite a lot I would have to set right in myself.

We read in Luke 12 of the bondman who said in his heart, ‘My lord delays to come(v. 45).  J N Darby wrote[‡], ‘The expectation of the return of Christ is the exact measure (the thermometer, so to speak) of the life of the church.’  If we thought that His return was imminent, our hearts would be burning within us.  But if we lose sight of His return, we grow cold, and our spiritual state declines. This bondman didn’t say out loud that his lord delayed; he said it in his heart.  Then he started ‘to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and to drink and to be drunken’  (v. 45).   I know personally what it is to lose sight of the Lord’s coming, and to treat those around me in a way in which they should not be treated.  May we all be assured that the Lord is coming soon: it will change our behaviour; it will change us.

In 1 Peter 5:1, we read of ‘the glory about to be revealed’.  The Lord’s second coming, as we have been taught, has two parts.   First of all there is the rapture, and then there is the appearing when the Lord Jesus comes to establish His millennial kingdom upon this earth.   The glory will be revealed then.  This world has not yet seen the glory of the Lord Jesus.  When the Lord Jesus was here, His pathway was a pathway of humiliation, a pathway in which He glorified His Father.  Few like John apprehended it.  He could write, ‘We have contemplated his glory, a glory as of an only-begotten with a father’ (John 1:14).  Those on the mount of transfiguration saw something of the glory of Christ as He was transfigured before them.  But that was not public.  The full glory of our Lord and Saviour will be seen when He comes to reign, and establish His kingdom in righteousness upon this earth.   He will take up what was denied Him when He was here.  What a time it will be when the Lord Jesus takes His rights, and reigns from shore to shore, the whole earth in subjection to Him.  The physical change here will be dramatic.  We are told in scripture, ‘The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as a rose’(Isaiah 35:1).    There will be moral changes too: ‘The earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah’ (Isaiah 11:9).   Revelation 20starts, ‘And I saw an angel descending from the heaven, having the key of the abyss, and a great chain in his hand.   And he laid hold of the dragon, the ancient serpent who is [the] devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the abyss, and shut [it] and sealed [it] over him, that he should not any more deceive the nations until the thousand years were completed’ (v. 1-3).

Christ will rule directly upon this earth, centred in Jerusalem as scripture tells us, and we will reign with Him.  ‘ifwe endure, we shall also reign together’(2 Timothy 2:12).  We have our part in testimony now; in that future day, we will have our part with the Lord Jesus in His glory.  We will be ‘partakers of the glory about to be revealed(1 Peter 5:1).  We do not know when this will be, God only knows that, but I believe it will not be too long now, before the Lord takes up His rights and establishes His rule over the earth.

The Thessalonian saints were concerned about what was to come.  The Lord’s coming is mentioned in both Thessalonian epistles in all but one chapter. It says of these Thessalonian saints that they had ‘turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,and to await his Son from the heavens, whom he raised from among the dead, Jesus, our deliverer from the coming wrath’ (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).  They were reminded of the coming wrath.  When the Lord Jesus comes and takes up His rights on this earth, there will be dreadful judgment upon those who have rejected the glad tidings – those who have risen up against Him under the power of Satan.  But we, like the Thessalonians, have put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus, and have been delivered from the coming wrath.  The knowledge of this should make us urgent to present the glad tidings, warning people of the peril that theyare in if they reject God’s free offer of salvation.

These brethren were in some consternation about those that had died (or fallen asleep). Paul didn’t say, ‘You don’t need to worry about those that have died because they are in heaven’.  He uses the words ‘with Him’(ch. 4:14).  Elsewhere Paul tells the saints that the dead in Christ are ‘absent from the body and present with the Lord.’(2 Corinthians 5:8), in a state that is ‘very much better’(Philippians 1:23).  Those that have died are free from the effects of sin.  They are in the presence of Jesus, but, being asleep, are not responsive to Him at the present time, though they will certainly be in a coming day. He says, ‘God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus” v 14.  They will come out with Him when He comes in to reign, they will be with Him:  ‘the armies which are in the heaven’(Revelation 19:14).

Whilst we look forward to that second coming, this is not our present hope.  Our hope is in the coming of our Lord Jesus to take us to be with Himself, what we call the rapture.  After talking of those who fall asleep, the apostle goes on,  ‘(For this we say to you in [the] word of [the] Lord, that we, the living, who remain to the coming of the Lord, are in no way to anticipate those who have fallen asleep;  for the Lord himself, with an assembling shout, with archangel’s voice and with trump of God, shall descend from heaven; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we, the living who remain, shall be caught up together with them in [the] clouds, to meet the Lord in [the] air; and thus we shall be always with [the] Lord.So encourage one another with these words.)’(1 Thessalonians 4:15-18). The Lord is waiting, at the present time, for the Father’s word to come out to gather up all of His own to be with Himself.  Then He will come Himself: He is not going to send anyone else.  The two men in white clothing said to those who were watching the Lord Jesus go up into heaven, ‘This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, shall thus come in the manner in which ye have beheld him going into heaven’ (Acts 1:11).

We have a three-fold cord:

  • The assembling shout, a shout that will gather all of the Lord’s people together.
  • The Archangel’s voice, which will be unmistakeable, and
  • The trump of God, which will be heard by everyone who is meant to hear it – none will miss it.

This shows the value of every blood bought saint, none of whom will be left,because each has a place in the divine plan. All are precious on the sight of God, His work, having begun in each, will have been completed unto Jesus Christ’s day (See Philippians 1:6).

The rapture will be a witness to the resurrecting power of the Lord Jesus, for allthose who have been laid in the grave, committed to His keeping until His return will be gathered up. He will raise them.   We ‘shall be caught up together with them in the clouds’, (or ‘on the clouds’as in Matthew 26:64).  The Lord Jesus will come as close as He can to this earth, without touching it, orbeing seen by those who had rejected Him. Then He will ‘transform our body of humiliation into conformity to his body of glory’ (Philippians 3:21).  That will be wonderful, dear friends.

What a scene it will be!  The differences amongst Christians, the breakdown that has existed down through the years of this present dispensation, difficulties that have taken years to sort out, if they have been sorted out at all, will be settled in the twinkling of an eye.  Why?  Because every eye will be looking at Jesus.   Surely, if we all were currently looking at our Saviour, waiting for that assembling shout, taking our direction from Him, would not these intransigent differences fall away now?

And thus we shall be always with the Lord’.   Oh, dear brethren, to be in the presence of the Lord Jesus, to be like Him, to have a body of glory like unto His body of glory and to be with Him, no more to go at all out, forever with the Lord!   That is our portion; that is our hope.  Let us lift our eyes, dear brethren, and look to the Lord Jesus.  Let us follow Him.  Let us seek to be here for Him, and witness to His return.   The Lord will have His rightful place; His glory will be revealed; His rights will be acknowledged, and His name will be honoured. Then all will see Him, and at ‘the name of Jesus every knee should bow, … and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord to God [the] Father’s glory’ (Philippians 2:10-11).  Let us bow to Him now!

So encourage one another with these words’.   Let us be encouraged, and may the word be blessed for His name’s sake.

 
Edited by: Daniel Roberts, Strood, Kent  (daniel@adayofsmallthings.com)

Revised by Philip Mason and checked by others,  All scripture quotations are from the Darby translation

January 2018

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The Lord’s Coming – Is that REALLY our Expectation?

How much does the hope of the Lord’s return (the rapture) feature in our Christian meetings – an expectation – a hope.  Is it the hope of troubles being ended, of divisions being over, of our poor old bodies being changed  – or the hope of seeing our Saviour whom we love, and being with Him?  Is it also the joy of knowing that at that time, Jesus will have His bride (us!) united to Him in glory.   Is the degree of the expectation of Christ’s imminent return, the thermometer measuring our company’s spiritual warmth?

A few weeks ago, I was at a meeting for fellowship and ministry in the pleasant town of Malvern in Worcestershire England.    The brother serving gave an address on the Lord’s coming. He started with a story:

An elderly sister had spoken to him recently, and said how she woke up during the night with troubles on her mind, especially those amongst the Christian group she was with.  But there were others – the world, her family, herself – particularly her health.  Then she said “Wouldn’t it be great if I woke up thinking, ‘This is the day the Lord is going to come!’  Wouldn’t that make a great difference to the day – and to me?”

The brother serving read from:

  • Luke 12:45That bondman should say in his heart, My lord delays to come’
  • 1 Peter 5:1The elders which are among you I exhort, who am their fellow-elder and witness of the sufferings of the Christ, who also am partaker of the glory about to be revealed’
  • 1 Thess 4:17We, the living who remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we shall be always with the Lord’

This raises questions:

–           Am I really looking forward for Him to come?

–           Is there anything I ought to put right before He comes?

–           Is what I plan to do today according to the Lord’s will?

He quoted J N Darby: ‘The expectation of the return of Christ is the exact measure (the thermometer, so to speak) of the life of the church’ (Collected Writings vol 2 – Prophetic 1 p 292 – Lecture 3 of 11 on ; The Hopes of the Church of God) – See also A Day of Small Things summary – The Second Coming of Christ [*]

This made me think of our Christian gatherings.  How much does the hope of the Lord’s return (the rapture) feature in our meetings – an expectation – a hope.  Is it the hope of troubles being ended, of divisions being over, of our poor old bodies being changed  – or the hope of seeing our Saviour whom we love, and being with Him?  Is it also the joy of knowing that at that time, Jesus will have His bride (us!) united to Him in glory.   Is the degree of the expectation of Christ’s imminent return, the thermometer measuring our company’s spiritual warmth?

Darby wrote his poem ‘Hope’ in 1881, shortly before he was taken.  Unlike many of his poems, it was written in the plural – the company rather than the individual.

And shall we see Thy face,
And hear Thy heavenly voice,
Well known to us in present grace!
Well may our hearts rejoice.
 
We wait to see Thee, Lord!
Yet now within our hearts
Thou dwell’st in love, that doth afford
The joy that love imparts.
 
Yet still we wait for Thee,
To see Thee as Thou art,
Be with Thee, like Thee, Lord, and free
To love with all our heart.
 

Hope by J N Darby (1800-82)

Little Flock 1962/1973 editions – Hymn no 270

Many of the churches in our area have websites.  I have been looking at these, sometimes with blogs, or reproduced sermons, and often with a ‘Statement of Faith’ (either their own or that of the Evangelical Alliance, or in some cases the Nicene Creed[†].

There were traditional churches – Church of England, Baptist, Methodist

There were evangelical churches – Missions, FIEC affiliates, former Open Brethren

Many were charismatic and Pentecostal Churches with names such as: Kings Church , The Word House, King’s Treasure, New Life, Elim Pentecostal, the Incorruptible Word Ministries, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, The Redeemed Evangelical Church of Christ, Jesus Revival Ministries, Beulah Christian Fellowship, House of Favour, Peace & Love Assembly

What saddened me was that not a single one of these seemed to have any appreciation of the present living hope of the church – His imminent coming and the joy of being with Him.  Their outlook appeared totally earth-bound – helping less fortunate people, enjoying exhilarating services, music with choirs and bands, youth outreach (now using social media) etc.  I do not doubt that there are many real lovers of the Lord Jesus in those gatherings, with the full knowledge of their eternal salvation, and who have received and have the knowledge of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  They have light of the Lord’s coming to take up His glorious kingdom on earth, but it is based on a ministry that is wholly earthly.

Even those citing the Lord’s return might be hazy doctrinally.  The ‘Statements of Faith’ below†, seem not to distinguish between the rapture and the appearing and the millennium and eternity.  I guess if these things are viewed as generations in the future, they do not appear important.   Or are the church leaders wanting to avoid contention?

This does not just apply to the churches.  There are many books on prophecy which accurately portray the future, based on the Bible.  But they concentrate on events and judgments.  The joy of our Saviour’s return is often lacking.

Of course, I may be mistaken, in some ways I would like to think that I was, and if there were more who had the light, joy and hope of the rapture, I would be immensely happy.   I have not been to any services in these churches.  I have not read every book on prophecy.

We can thank God there are some places which are different.  I am aware of a couple of places who do not, nor would not, have websites, and where there is a true expectation of the Lord’s return – the meeting where we were till recently, and a nearby Gospel Hall where we know several who go there.  Maybe there are other small companies of believers meeting separately, enjoying the Lord’s support and awaiting His return.  But all this is very few in a conurbation of a quarter-million people.

May the Lord’s return be ever brighter in our hearts – and may the hope of it, and our desire to be with Him, affect our lives individually, and may it enliven our gatherings too.

May God bless you in 2018.

Sosthanes

 

[*] In ‘A Day of Small Things’, I have several articles on the rapture (mainly in summaries of J N Darby’ works – especially ‘The Present Hope of the Church’.  These cover the dispensational teaching, and the reality of the rapture, which could happen at any time, since no prophecies have to be fulfilled first.  More importantly, they also help us see the real hope – the real joy – our Lord and Saviour’s return, and our being with Him.

Some of these are:

 

 

 

[†] The new UK Evangelical Alliance’ New Statement of Faith states, ‘The personal and visible return of Jesus Christ to fulfil the purposes of God, who will raise all people to judgement, bring eternal life to the redeemed and eternal condemnation to the lost, and establish a new heaven and new earth’.  The older Worldwide Statement reads, ‘The expectation of the personal, visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and glory’.   Also the ancient Nicine Creed (referenced by the Methodists) states, ‘I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come’.

What will it be when all life’s toil is finished, And we have entered our eternal rest

What will it be when all the strife is over,
And all Thy saints, now scattered far and wide,
Shall be without one shade of variation,
All like Thee, Lord, united by Thy side!

1 What will it be when all life’s toil is finished,
And we have entered our eternal rest;
When past for ever is the night of weeping,
And with Thee, Lord, we are for ever blest!

2 What will it be when all the strife is over,
And all Thy saints, now scattered far and wide,
Shall be without one shade of variation,
All like Thee, Lord, united by Thy side!

3 What will it be when sorrow’s day is ended,
And pain and grief for ever pass away;
When with Thee, Lord, we share the bright forever,
In perfect peace throughout the perfect day!

4 What will it be? – In blest anticipation
E’en now our hearts outpour in praise to Thee;
But when we see Thee face to face in glory,
Then purer, sweeter, shall our praises be.

Anne Ross

Little Flock Hymn Book (1962/1973) No 421.

 

 

A G Doughty – Lord, in past and distant ages, Long before the ken of man

Lord, in past and distant ages,
Long before the ken of man,
Ere creation’s words were spoken,
Or the heav’ns and earth began,
Thou wast there in all Thy glory –
Blessed Lord, we bow the knee –
Dwelling then in love unbounded:
Homage now we render Thee.

What that love no thought can fathom;
Nor can human lips define
Those relationships eternal,
All inscrutable, divine!
But, in time, Thou wouldst in manhood
Here the Name of God declare,
In a wondrous, blest relation
Which Thou couldst with others share.

All His will Thou hast accomplished,
All the work He gave Thee, done;
One in thought, in plan and purpose,
He the Father, Thou the Son.
But on resurrection’s morning,
To Thine own Thou didst declare
That Thy Father was their Father,
And His love they now might share.

A G Doughty (1892-1949) 

Little Flock Hymn Book (1962/1973) No 117.

 

 

The Lord’s Second Coming and the Church’s Witness

The Lord’s first coming: He came in flesh, but only those who received Him knew Him, and that through the Spirit.
His second coming: He is seen by all.
Hence His first coming was really a spiritual one; the true coming will be the second.

Based on J. N. Darby: The Lord’s Coming and the Church – Notes and Comments Vol. 2, p 275.

JohnNelsonDarbyTwo comings:

  1. The Lord’s first coming: He came in flesh, but only those who received Him knew Him, and that through the Spirit.
  2. His second coming: He is seen by all.

Hence His first coming was really a spiritual one; the true coming will be the second.

Although in His first coming He came in the flesh, He was only known spiritually.   No man could come to Him, except the Father who had sent Him draw him (See John 6:44).   He said to them,  ‘The words that I speak unto you they are Spirit and they are Life’ (John 6:63).  So those who heard, believed and kept His word had everlasting life: their eyes were opened by to see Him through the Father’s grace.  They were taught of God and knew who He was – the Son.  Others saw His miracles, but He would not commit Himself to them – He spoke in parables.

The real personal coming of the Lord Jesus is His second coming.  It will not be merely a revelation to believers, but ‘every eye shall see him, they also which pierced him’ (Rev 1:7).  His, the Son’s, glory will be known.

Christ is now in glory.  That is how the church knows Him now.  If the church denies this, it ceases to be the church: the ground of its very existence has ceased – it has ceased to exist in the sight of God.  Although salvation may be taught in a casual way, there is not faith as a church and the Spirit has no office in it, for His office is to testify of Jesus and His glory.   Even if the church suffers, that suffering is for nothing because it is joined to the world – it has ceased in its true existence.  The same applies to individuals, even evangelicals, who deny the Spirit’s voice witnessing His glory.

Nevertheless, God has not left Himself without witness.  We may be all mixed up, with our errors, weaknesses, and even unbelief.  But the witness in the true church has not ceased to exist.  Competent members of the church acknowledge of the power of reconciliation in Christ, and the testimony of the Word of God.  They believe it, submitting to God, and know the presence of the Holy Spirit, looking forward to the return of the Lord Jesus. They are they the glory and hope of the church.  Here is a church with faith – held in humility.

May God our Father keep us humble, holy in spirit and conversation giving us grace, patience, and that of faith.  May we and lean in faith upon His word in the certainty of His love, qualifying us for His glory, forgiving us our weakness for Jesus sake, our Lord, and in Him.

 

 

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible – 1&2 Thessalonians

In 1 Thessalonians, we get the Lord’s coming for the blessing of saints; in 1 Thessalonians we get the judgment of unbelievers.

Outline of Bible cover1 Thessalonians

In 1 Thessalonians, we get the Lord’s coming for the blessing of saints; in 1 Thessalonians we get the judgment of unbelievers.

In the first epistle, the saints are associated with the Father, the one true God. They had formerly been used to false gods they were used to, and hostile to the gospel. Now they are converted, in al very lively state, and, through their faith, are a witness in all the world.   They serve the living and true God, and wait for His Son from heaven. They, Gentiles, enjoy the revelation of the Father, and His grace, and are active in service – ‘your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ’ (ch1:3)

In chap. 2, the coming of the Lord Jesus is connected with the apostle’s joy and crown in the saints who had been blest.   In chapter 3, His coming is connected with holiness before the Father, and in chapter 4, we have the full explanation of the rapture of the church to meet Christ at His coming. Verses 15-18 are to a parenthesis, ch. 4:14 linking directly with ch. 5:1, The character of Christ’s coming to the saints is contrasted with His coming to the world. Paul exhorts them and prays that God should keep them till Christ comes.

2 Thessalonians

In 2 Thessalonians the saints had been confused, believing the dreadful persecutions they were in were the day of the Lord. Paul sets them right, as in that day that they would be at rest, and the wicked troubled. ln chapter 2, the apostle writes of Christ’s coming, and their gathering together to Him. This is proof that the day must be future. He then shows them how wickedness on the earth would develop before that day comes. In the last chapter he asks their prayers, and gives them divers exhortations.

 

Originally by JND.   Lightly edited by Sosthenes,  September 2014

– Se A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible  for the original

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ADOSS Newsletter No 6 – March 2014

Not the ruler of the synagogue but a brother - depiction from an icon in a Russian Orthodox ChurchΣωσθένης Ὁἀδελφὸς – Sosthenes the Brother

sosthenes@adayofsmallthings.com – 

ADOSS Newsletter No 6 – March 2014

Dear Christian Friends

ADOSS is progressing well, thank God, which gives me a lot to pray about.

I summarised two groups of articles – JND’s Faith once delivered to the Saints and the Present Hope of the Church.  These have been prepared for e-publication but I have not had enough replies from critical readers correcting the work.  Thank you for the input so far – but I need more before the booklets can be released in electronic or hard copy form.

The Sufferings of Christ

I have done a summary of JND’s  The Sufferings of Christ  – on Christ’s Sufferings from Men and from God, in His Spirit, and in Anticipation.  It is a most holy subject, and I am surprised it brought out so much criticism in Darby’s time.

This is the second of a series which can go on indefinitely Fundamental Truths’.  The first was on ‘The Resurrection’More will come, if the Lord will.  Your suggestions are welcome.

The Righteousness of God

I must confess to the fact that I am struggling with this one, originally in Doctrinal vol 2 (Series vol 7).  Darby sought to counter the belief, which was taught at that time, that Christ became our righteousness, that is that what was due under the law from us, He took on himself.  Hence He would help us walk in according to the same law here if we are to follow Him.  Personally, I have not heard this taught, nor do I know where it is still taught, but any tendency for Christians to place themselves under a legal obligation must have its root in this unscriptural teaching.  There is that favourite Easter hymn ‘There is a green hill far away’.  It goes on ‘He died to make us good’  and ‘try his works to do’.  Oh dear!

I hope to have this one done in a week.

Co-operation

I still need friends who will review ADOSS critically.  I am all too aware of my shortcomings, but I do not want anything erroneous to be on the website, or worse still in print.  So PLEASE take an article and compare it with the original (ask me for this) and see if I have covered the ground accurately and comprehensively, but in modern language, and reduced to about 1/3 the length.

So long as you have a love for the truth, love for the Lord and His people, and have the capabilities I do not mind who helps me:  male or female, old or young, ‘or whatever church connection.

Some new Friends

I am receiving more and more correspondence with godly souls.  Some of course are people just wanting money – one Roman Catholic priest wanted funds for Mass vestments and other things.  I pointed out that God was not interested in vestments, they were not necessary and, besides, all real priests in his congregation (ie all believers), were already clothed in the ‘best robe’!

But there are others – one sister hanging on to the idea that we will have to face the great tribulation – but most sound.

The Church

More and more, the ruined state of the Church is evident.  Wouldn’t we all like to see it totally united in its pristine pentecostal state?  But there are inconsistencies everywhere.  It just casts us on God.  When I was a boy, there was a brother in London who served widely, Percy Lyon.  He might have been a bit eccentric, but his teaching on the ‘broken-hearted churchman’, has remained with me all my life.

May you prove God’s grace.  Maranatha!

Your Brother, Sosthenes

 

 

 

 

And shall we see Thy Face

270: AND shall we see Thy face

by John Nelson Darby (1800-1882)
sung to Silchester
by Henri Abraham Cesar Malan (1787-1864)
(S.M.)

1 AND shall we see Thy face,
And hear Thy heavenly voice,
Well known to us in present grace?
Well may our hearts rejoice.

2 With Thee in garments white,
Lord Jesus, we shall walk;
And spotless in that heavenly light,
Of all Thy sufferings talk.

3 Close to Thy trusted side,
In fellowship divine;
No cloud, no distance, e’er shall hide
Glories that then shall shine.

4 Fruit of Thy boundless love,
That gave Thyself for us;
For ever we shall with Thee prove
That Thou still lov’st us thus.

5 And we love Thee, blest Lord,
E’en now, though feeble here,
Thy sorrow and Thy cross record
What makes us know Thee near.

6 We wait to see Thee, Lord,
Yet now within our hearts
Thou dwell’st in love that doth afford
The joy that love imparts.

7 Yet still we wait for Thee,
To see Thee as Thou art;
Be with Thee, like Thee, Lord, and free
To love with all our heart.