Dwell Together In Unity
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1).
I preached last week for such a delightful and enthusiastic crowd in Canada, Kentucky. After having dinner with about twenty people at the pastor’s home, we adjourned to the porch for coffee and talk. The Pastor lamented the apparent divisions and schisms among the people who believe and preach the gospel of God’s free grace. “It ought not to be so!” he said. “For those who are loved by Christ and who claim to love Christ, not to love one another is beyond understanding. If the person and work of Christ, or the character of God, or the authority of Scripture divides us, then so be it; but let us not defend our personalities, programs, traditions, and personal peculiarities to the point of separation from true believers.”It is always good while building new fences to check out and mend those which have served our cause for years! Brethren, let us love one another, for love is of God!
Pastor Henry T.Mahan (1982)
The Bible is not a “how to” book, a road map, a calendar of events, a history book, or a code of conduct. The Bible is a Him book. From beginning to end it is the declaration of the redemptive glory of God in Christ. Take the preeminence of Christ out of the Bible and all you have is another book. Use the Bible for any other reason than to declare Christ crucified and you misuse the word of God.
“That good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
God’s will is “perfect”. In it, there is no spot, no stain, no weakness, no error, no instability. It is and indeed must necessarily be as perfect as God Himself; for it emanates from Him who is all perfection; and is a discovery of His mind and character. But when God’s perfect will sets itself against our flesh, thwarts our dearest hopes, overturns our fondest schemes, we cannot see that it is a perfect will. But rather, are much disposed to fret, murmur, and rebel against it. God’s perfect will may snatch a child from your bosom; strike down a dear husband; tear from your arms a beloved wife; strip you of all your worldly goods; put your feet into a path of suffering; lay you upon a bed of pain and languishing; cast you into hot furnaces or overwhelming floods; make your life almost a burden to yourself! How can you, under circumstances so trying and distressing as these, acknowledge and submit to God’s perfect will; and let it reign and rule in your heart without a murmur of resistance to it?
Look back and see how God’s perfect will has, in previous instances, reigned supreme in all points, for your good. It has ordered or overruled all circumstances and all events, amid a complication of difficulties in providence and grace. Nothing has happened to your injury; but all things have worked together for your good. Whatever we have lost, it was better for us that it was taken away. Whatever property, or comfort, or friends, or health, or earthly happiness we have been deprived of, it was better for us to lose, than to retain them. Was your dear child taken away? It might be to teach you resignation to God’s sacred will. Has a dear partner been snatched from your embrace? It was that God might be your better Partner and undying Friend. Was any portion of your worldly substance taken away? It was that you might be taught to live a life of faith in the providence of God.
Have your fondest schemes been marred; your youthful hopes blighted; and you pierced in the warmest affections of your heart? It was to remove an idol, to dethrone a rival to Christ, to crucify the object of earthly love, so that a purer, holier, and more enduring affection might be enshrined in its stead. To tenderly embrace God’s perfect will is the grand object of all gospel discipline. The ultimatum of gospel obedience is to lie passive in His hand, and know no will but His.
“That good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
What is Man?
It is impossible for anyone to have both great views of God and great views of man. Those who imagine that man is great think God is insignificant. Those who know that God is great know that man is insignificant.
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” Here is greatness and littleness, grandeur and nothingness, excellence and corruption, majesty and meanness, God and man.
“What is man?” The Word of God tells us plainly. — “All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field” (Isa 40:6). — “Verily, every man at his best estate is altogether vanity” (Psa 39:5). — “Men are a lie” (Psa 62:9).
“ What is man?” Don’t ask philosophers what they imagine, educators what they read in books, scientists what they see in microscopes, psychologists what they see in asylums, or sociologists what they learn from tests. Ask God who made us. He declares in his Word that man is fallen, depraved, sinning, sinful, cursed, condemned, helpless, dying flesh. Men are grasshoppers before him. Men are the dust of the earth, nothing more. Man is a lump of clay. Man is a puff of smoke, a mist of vapor, the small dust of the balance, a drop in a bucket. Man is insignificant! All the nations of all men in all the world are less than nothing before the great and infinite God.
Man is nothing. Man has nothing. Man can do nothing. You are nothing; and I am nothing. No matter how many of us nothings you put together, nothing added to nothing is still just nothing. God, teach us to know our nothingness, that we may look to Christ for everything!
“Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).
Isn’t it said of Enoch that ‘he walked with God’? What about faithful Abraham or Joshua and his household? How in the world can God (holy, just and pure) and man who is born in sin be allowed to communicate and commune together? That new creature in Christ Jesus walks perfectly with its maker! Why we agree with Jehovah regarding our sin, judgment and righteousness. Blessed thought, we have been given a new nature, a new heart and a new attitude that simply loves its own source of righteousness, the Lord Jesus Christ in us. Thank God it is so brethren or else NONE would or could walk together EVER with Christ, our sweetest and closest elder brother. Drew Dietz