Tag Archives: Christ

Are You Receiving A Spiritual Education?

Let me ask a probing question.  Are you and I receiving a spiritual education?  Are you and I, spiritually speaking, becoming educated persons?  Here’s how we can tell.

When John the Baptist came on the scene, many came to him to be baptized in Jordan.   Some of these became his close disciples.  For we read that John had disciples.  Now, what is the single-most thing John taught his disciples?  I should rather say, what was it about himself that John the Baptist passed along to those who were his disciples?

It is this.  John the Baptist lived, breathed, ate, slept, walked, talked… One Thing alone—to see the Christ of God, and join others to Him.

And there came a day when John looked up from his baptizing in Jordan, and saw Him coming to him.

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a Man which is preferred before me, for He was before me (John 1.29,30).

John sums up his whole ministry now.

And I knew Him not: but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing in water.

This was the whole purpose of his baptism—to prepare the hearts of the people for a Manifestation that was at the door, a shining forth of this One who was to come.  It was a manifestation so radical, so “outside the box,” that, apart from John’s baptism, they would miss it!

John, as we read the passages of Scripture that speak of him… we touch a man with a deep, deep love in his heart.  It is this, really, that he passed on to his disciples–his love for the Bridegroom.  His one great desire was to see all those he was baptizing joined to the Bridegroom.  In fact he called himself “the friend of the Bridegroom,” that is, one of the Bridegroom’s attendants.

But the friend of the Bridegroom, which standeth and heareth Him, rejoiceth greatly because of the Bridegroom’s Voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3.29-30).

What self-effacing humility in this great man—whom Jesus later proclaimed to be the greatest “among them that are born of women” (Mt. 11.11).  John had no interest in joining the people to himself.  Yes, he was a rabbi in Israel—a guide, a leader, a teacher—his disciples called him, “Rabbi” (John 3.26).  But his one concern was to see the people joined to the One who was coming after him.

And so, what a day it was for John when this One came to him to baptized in Jordan by him!  He had accomplished his ministry.

This my joy is therefore fulfilled.

Again the next day as John was standing by the Jordan with two of his disciples, he lifted up his eyes and again saw Jesus walking along.  As John watched Jesus, his eyes riveted on Him as he walked along, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God.”

The two disciples, whatever they were doing, heard their teacher speaking.

And they followed Jesus.

They left their beloved teacher, and began to follow this One.  For this is what their beloved teacher had taught them—and he rejoiced when it began to happen.

Now comes the verse by which you and I can gauge the state of our spiritual education.

Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? (Jn. 1.37).

Notice that—and I wonder if it wasn’t a test question.  Jesus was asking, more or less, “What do you want?  What is it you are after?  What do you want from me?”

No doubt there were many things they could have asked for.  But it was not some thing they wanted from this One… and I love this verse:

They said unto Him, Rabbi (which is to say, being interpreted, Master), where dwellest Thou?

What an answer.  It shows us the kind of education these men had received from John.  It shows us just how well educated, spiritually speaking, these men were.

Rabbi, where dwellest Thou?

What a letdown for John, right? His disciples are moving on to a new rabbi. But no, this is the very thing he had taught his disciples to anticipate.

Master is an old English word meaning Teacher.

Teacher… where dwellest Thou?

…You are our Rabbi, our Teacher now… and we just want to be with You… wherever that happens to be. How precious to discover that it is this very thing the new Teacher Himself wanted.

He saith unto them, Come and see.

It is His gracious invitation to those who are asking this question.  “Come and see!  Come and see where I dwell, come and dwell with Me.  Do you want to be with Me?  I want you to be with Me!”

Do you and I have this same passion burning in us?  Is it, at least, being kindled in us, and growing?  I know… the needs in this hour are many, oh, so many, and very great… and some of our longings so deep.  But we come to a certain place, and… all we want, all we really are interested in is…

Teacher, where dwellest Thou?

For, dwelling with Him, is not this The Answer to all our need and all our longings?

Teacher, where dwellest Thou?

In my estimation, those with this question growing in their hearts—this pursuit—are receiving a top-notch spiritual education.

Oh, for teachers like John the Baptist in our day!

Top of the Page

The Ever Increasing Kingdom

There is a feast that “mends in length” — that grows greater, better, richer, fuller, deeper, the longer it continues.  This feast is, really, the table of the Kingdom of God, where we are sitting down with our King at His table, and in His kingdom.

It is a kingdom the increase of which shall know no end.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it, with judgment and with justice from henceforth forever” (Isaiah 9.6,7).

There shall be no end to the increase of this kingdom—its government, its peace.  This kingdom is an everlasting kingdom that cannot be destroyed.  In fact, as many as have sought to come against and destroy this kingdom have only caused it to increase.

Daniel saw “a Stone cut out without hands” (there’s your Rock that came down from Heaven, Cole) that smote a great image of gold and silver and bronze and iron and clay—smote it upon its feet.  And the whole thing came crashing down, “and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors, and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them.  And the Stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2.35).

This is what happened at Calvary.  The Son of God at Calvary, as they drove in the nails— it was God who was doing the smiting.

Jesus the Son of God had come on the scene pronouncing that the kingdom of the heavens was at hand.  He went about ministering this wonderful kingdom—preaching to the poor the Glad Tidings of this kingdom, healing the sick, casting out demons…  The kingdom of God was not something to come some distant day down the ages.  The king of the kingdom was present!  The kingdom of God had come nigh!

“But if I by the finger of God cast out demons, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you” (Luke 11.20).

Satan was not happy with all this.  If this One were allowed to continue on, it would be the utter demise of his own kingdom.  He had to do something about it.  And so he conspired to have the King of this kingdom crucified.

People get fascinated by conspiracy theories.  God had His own conspiracy par excellence in the works.  What happened at Calvary was a sting operation like none other.  For, when Satan sought to put a halt to this kingdom by conspiring to have the king of this kingdom crucified—and he succeeded in his evil design—much to his everlasting dismay, all he succeeded in doing was causing this kingdom to increase!

For, when the risen and ascended King sat down on the Throne of the Kingdom at the right hand of the Father and sent forth His Holy Spirit upon the waiting disciples, this was the increase of His kingdom!  And now they went forth in multiplied numbers proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Acts 8.12, 14.22, 19.8, 28.23,31) .

Oh, what a wonder.  Oh, the wisdom of God—“the wisdom of God in a mystery… which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory” (1 Corinthians 2.8).

In spite of all his knowledge—and he prides himself on his knowledge, we are told: Ezekiel 28.3,17—Satan (I say this respectfully) seems to be a slow learner.  He just never seems able to comprehend the wisdom of the Cross.  For he continues to assault this everlasting kingdom to this day.  What shall the end be of all his malice, I wonder?  For he is working overtime these days, intent on obliterating this kingdom from the earth.  At times it seems he has almost succeeded… as he did that day at Calvary.  (We are smiling at this now, aren’t we?)

…Beloved saints of the Most High—the ones Daniel in another of his visions saw taking the kingdom, Dan. 7,18—let us not be slow learners ourselves.  Let us walk in the wisdom of God.  Let us take up our own cross, and follow Jesus.  I confess… I myself have been such a slow learner in this area.  Even so, I continue to take my place as a disciple at the feet of Jesus.  For, wherever the saints of the Most High are taking up their cross and following Jesus, are standing true in their troubles, are fighting the good fight of faith, are fighting the Lamb’s war, are seeking to overcome evil with good, are walking in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit… this is the fellowship of the “kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ”—and the increase of His everlasting kingdom is inevitable.

And God has a surprise in store.  The hour is at hand when this kingdom shall “come”—shall be openly manifested in great fullness.  When, and where, shall it stop?  Never, apparently.

Daniel saw this mountain filling the whole earth.  Isaiah saw a day when its increase would cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11.9).

Top of the Page

%d bloggers like this: