Magazine February 2015


Emphasis: Fully Committed? -Paul Alberts
Worship: The Burnt Offering -Clarence E. Stuart
Feature: Sold Out For Christ -Timothy P. Hadley
Feature: The Committed Servant -Alan H. Crosby
Feature: Give Me This Mountain -Warren Henderson
Feature: I Surrender All -Martin Girard
Issues: Gods Remedy For Our Problems -Jacob Redekop
Serving: The Witness Of A Little Girl -Hank Blok
Discover: Discover Questions -Alan Groth
Series: Divine Titles And Their Significance -A. J. Pollock
Overview: 1 Chronicles -Leslie M. Grant
YouAsked: Did Paul sin by not obeying the Holy Spirit? -Eugene P. Vedder, Jr.
GoodNews: Let Go Of The Twig! -Raymond K. Campbell
Full Magazine PDF: Magazine PDF

Let Go Of The Twig!

By Raymond K. Campbell

During a gospel revival in Scotland, a certain lady became concerned about her salvation. Several of her friends had been saved, and feeling some anxiety herself, she went to a preacher and told him she was unhappy. He replied that he was glad to hear it!

Astonished and somewhat offended, she told the minister what efforts she had made to obtain salvation; how she had read and prayed, but still seemed as far from peace with God as ever. He then told her that it was not by anything that she could do, but by what Christ had done long ago and finished on the cross, that she was to be saved.

This all seemed mysterious to her, so she visited her friend who had recently been converted. She asked her what she had done to obtain the wonderful peace with God of which she spoke.

“Done? I have done nothing! It is by what Christ has done that I have obtained peace with God,” her friend replied.

“That is just what the minister told me, but I cannot understand it,” the lady answered. Then she went home very distressed.

Shutting herself in her room, she fell on her knees, resolving that she would not rise till she found rest and peace. After some time in agony she fell asleep. While sleeping, she dreamed that she was falling over a frightful precipice, but caught hold of a single twig which overhung the abyss beneath.

She clung to this twig, crying aloud for help. Then a voice from below, which she knew to be the voice of Jesus, told her to let go of the twig and He would receive and save her. “Lord, save me!” she cried; but the voice again answered, “Let go of the twig.” She did not dare to let go of the twig, but continued crying, “Lord, save me!”

At last, the One below, whose voice she heard but whom she did not see, said in the most tender and solemn tones, “I cannot save you, unless you let go of the twig!” In desperation she let go and fell into the arms of Jesus; and the joy of finding herself there awoke her.

The lesson forcibly impressed on her God’s way of salvation. She saw that Jesus was worthy of all her trust and it was by holding to the twig that she kept herself away from Christ! So she let go of all her self-efforts and found Jesus all sufficient. Now she enjoyed that wonderful peace with God which is only through the Lord Jesus Christ.

What about you? Are you at peace with God? Do you know your sins are all forgiven? Are you resting in the arms of Jesus and in His finished work on Calvary’s cross? If you are not trusting and resting totally in Christ for salvation, and ceasing to cling to any merits or efforts of your own, you will never enjoy peace with God and never reach heaven.

Listen to the heavenly voice that calls to you, “There is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior; there is none besides Me. Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isa. 45:21-22 NKJV). 

Christ is a complete Savior and the only Savior. If you want to be saved you must let go of every other hope and let yourself fall into His powerful, saving arms. If you are striving, trying and clinging, you are not trusting in His ability to save you and bring you safely to heaven.

Christ did not come to help save sinners. No, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15). “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). He must do all the work. Therefore, dear reader – as a guilty, helpless, perishing sinner – you must surrender yourself to Christ and let Him save you! We can tell you more.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Ti. 3:5). “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Did Paul sin by not obeying the Holy Spirit?

QUESTION:In Acts 21, Agabus was led of the Holy Spirit to warn Paul about the danger in Jerusalem, but Paul went anyway. Did Paul sin by not obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit?

Answered by Eugene P. Vedder, Jr.

ANSWER: It is important to examine God’s Word carefully to see what He is saying on its sacred pages and what He is not saying. Looking back a few chapters we find in Acts 16:6 that Paul and the brothers with him “were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the Word in Asia” (NKJV). Verse 7 adds: “They tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.” These verses show plainly and simply that on this trip Paul and his companions followed the directions of the Holy Spirit and did not go where He forbade or did not permit them to go to preach the Word. Are we to think that they later were less subject to His leading?

In Acts 20 and 21 we find Paul toward the end of his next trip heading to Jerusalem. He and the brothers with him were carrying the love gift sent by the assemblies in Macedonia and Achaia for needy saints in Jerusalem. In various Scriptures we read of his love for his fellow Jewish countrymen and his great desire to see them saved. In fact, in Romans 9:3-4 he goes so far as to say, “I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites.” How he desired their salvation!

Again and again on this journey the Holy Spirit warned Paul what lay before him in Jerusalem. “Now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me, but none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself,” he told the Ephesian elders at Miletus (Acts 20:22-24). The Holy Spirit was not forbidding him to go, but was warning him of the consequences his going would entail. Paul went on, not deterred by that which lay before him.

At Caesarea in the house of Philip the evangelist, Paul received his final warning (Acts 21:1-14). The prophet Agabus came down from Jerusalem and “took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, ‘Thus says the Holy Spirit, “So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.”’” Notice, this was no prohibition. But, it was a very vivid demonstration of what would happen to Paul if he persisted in going on to Jerusalem.

Both the brothers traveling with him and those at Caesarea “pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. But Paul was not to be dissuaded. Realizing what he was being warned about, he answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” The brothers then accepted his decision, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.” Notice again: There is no mention of any prohibition or of any disobedience on the part of Paul. Nor do we find any negative comments or reproaches addressed to Paul, nor is anything said in subsequent chapters that would indicate that Paul had sinned. He had made his decision and he was willing to suffer the consequences.

Plans Paul had made and shared with the Roman saints in Romans 15:22-33 to visit them and then go on to Spain after his visit in Jerusalem did not materialize as he had planned. He had asked for their prayers in view of the dangers before him and that his service in Jerusalem might be acceptable to the saints. Coming to Rome as a prisoner on appeal to the emperor may have seemed like a far cry from coming “in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ,” as he had wished. To what extent the saints at Rome got to enjoy this we do not know. But God’s saints down through the ages have benefited greatly for several of the choicest epistles in the New Testament stem from Paul’s imprisonment in Rome. For these we thank God.

Long before these events the Lord had told Paul, “Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me … Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles” (Acts 22:17-21). The Lord of the harvest knows where and why He assigns to every one of His servants his own particular place and work. It is always best to submit to His will when we know it. But who are we to call this honored apostle’s pressing on to Jerusalem in love for his people when warned of the consequences that would ensue from this, sin?

There are many things we do not understand, but we can agree fully with Paul who wrote that “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

1 Chronicles

“O Lord, for Your servant’s sake, and according to Your own heart, You have done all this greatness, in making known all these great things.”

—1 Chronicles 17:19 NKJV

By Leslie M. Grant

This book summarizes God’s ways of grace toward Israel in reference mainly to the reign of David, the man after God’s own heart. The two books of Chronicles are therefore similar to Deuteronomy, for they are a review from the standpoint of God’s grace. Saul’s reign is not mentioned, but only his sad end in battle. Saul is typical of man in the flesh, who can receive or exemplify nothing of the grace of God. David, however, is a type of Christ, in whom that grace is preciously manifested. Also, no mention is made of David’s 71/2 year reign in Hebron over Judah alone, but only of his reigning over all Israel; for the grace of God embraces all of His people, not merely a part.

The glaring moral evils that affected the house of David are silently dropped from the record here. David’s grievous sin with Bathsheba and Uriah, the sin of David’s son Amnon, and the proud rebellion of Absalom are not mentioned. On the other hand, much is said of David’s preparation and great provision of materials for Solomon to build the temple. This, too, was for the display of the glory and grace of God.

David’s history then is seen here, not as a biography of the man or even officially as king, but as typical of Christ. Thus, those events are dwelt on that show him most strikingly in this character.

This column is taken from the book: “The Bible, Its 66 Books In Brief.” 
It is available for purchase from Believers Bookshelf USA.

Divine Titles and their Significance

Part Four: We continue this month by considering several more divine titles of the Old Testament.

By A. J. Pollack

Jah: Contraction Of Jehovah
This is a contraction of Jehovah, occurring 43 times in the Old Testament and always translated “LORD” in most translations. With 5 exceptions, these all occur in the Psalms, the first being Psalm 77:11. The last is in Psalm 150:6, twice repeating this sacred name in the psalm’s closing verse, “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD [Jah]. Praise the LORD [Jah].”

Adon: Lord, Master 
This name as referring to God occurs first in Exodus 23:17 and is the singular of Adonai. It occurs 300 times in the Old Testament under the names “lord” or “master.” It refers far more often to earthly masters, kings, rulers and great men than to God. It is easily seen by the context whether the name applies to God or to an earthly master.

Eloah: God, An Object For Worship 
This name for God is the singular of Elohim and means “God, the Object of worship.” Its first occurrence is found in Deuteronomy 32:15, “But Jeshurun [a poetical name for the children of Israel] grew fat and kicked; you grew fat, you grew thick, you are obese! Then he forsook God [Eloah] who made him, and scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation.”

This name occurs over 50 times in the Old Testament, 41 times in Job. Seeing that Job gives us the story of the conflict between God and Job, it is understandable that this name for God should find a large place there. Job not only learned himself in the presence of God but he was likewise blessed in the true knowledge of God, from which flows the only true happiness.

The Lord (Adon) Of All The Earth 
This title of God, consisting of six words, sets forth His wide dominion. It only occurs three times in the Old Testament – in Joshua 3:11,13 and Zechariah 6:5. The verses in Joshua bring before us the striking scene of the ark (typical of Christ in resurrection) being carried over the Jordan River by the priests, thus preparing the way for the Israelites to pass over to take possession of the land of Canaan. How cheering to them that the Lord of All the Earth should give them a possession where they could live – prophetic of the time when the Son of Man shall take possession of the whole earth and “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14).

The portion in Zechariah brings before us the fact that the Lord of All the Earth has agencies everywhere, ready to carry out His will in relation to mankind. We read, “These are four spirits of heaven, who go out from their station before the Lord of all the earth” (Zech. 6:5).

The vision here teaches that behind all man’s apparent arranging and planning, God is directing earthly affairs for His own wise purposes and glory in the government of this world. In these four spirits is seen prophetically the rise and fall of the four great world-empires, first indicated in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image made of gold, silver, brass and iron – the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian and Roman empires. We await the revival of this last empire in these closing days [which we undoubtedly are seeing being formed in the current European Union].

Elah: An Object Of Worship 
This name for God occurs 89 times and, with one exception (Jer. 11:11), is found only in Ezra and Daniel. The name means “an object of worship.” Occasionally it is applied to man-made gods, but otherwise to the only One to whom the word rightly belongs. In Ezra it occurs 43 times and always in connection with the building of the temple in the time of Zerubbabel and Joshua, and the verses that follow. While building the temple, surrounded by cruel and fanatical foes and with little strength of their own, we can understand how they turned to God again and again during their difficulties. 

Elah occurs 45 times in Daniel. In that book it is strikingly connected with the expression, the God of Heaven, which occurs 5 times. How naturally Daniel and his companions would turn to the God of Heaven when in a land of idols and captive in a strange country. What a resource is God to His people in all similar times and circumstances! GT

Related thoughts shared by Walter Scott
(adapted from The Bible Handbook)
God: Eloah
Israel, as a nation, was placed in the midst of an idolatrous world as a testimony against the gross idolatry and corruption of those not believing in God. It was also a witness to the unity of Jehovah – to Him who is alone and one in power, wisdom and goodness; in contrast to the numerous gods and deities of the world. An integral [necessary, basic] part of all divine testimony since the days of Abram is that “our God is one Lord” (Mk. 12:29; 1 Tim. 2:5 KJV). Thus where the idolatry of Jew or Gentile with their many gods and lords is in question, Eloah is generally used as being the name and expression of the only living and true God, the object of all testimony and worship.
To the unbelieving and idolatrous people, God sent a message in their own language that their gods (elohim) shall certainly perish from the earth and from under heaven (Jer. 10:11). This threat will be executed in the day of Jehovah’s anger, as Isaiah 2:18 solemnly tells us: “The idols He shall utterly abolish.”

Lord Of All The Earth
In taking possession of “all the earth,” of which Canaan was an example of what is to come and Joshua a type of the Lord in the taking of the inheritance, God selected this easily understood and fitting title. Under it the people crossed the Jordan and undertook the conquest of the land. When, however, the highly favored people would dare to connect God’s blessed name and presence with their evil and idolatry, God could but leave the earth, no longer having a home or throne in it. Thus, Ezekiel witnesses the glory (the divine majesty and divine presence) slowly moving away from Jerusalem and going toward its native home (Ezek. 1-11). To have remained in the defiled temple (Ezek. 8) or sanctioned [shown approval for] the iniquity of the throne would have been to lower His character, deny Himself and tarnish His glory as God. Governmental power, therefore, passed over from Jerusalem to Babylon, and from that important moment we date “the times of the Gentiles” (Lk. 21:24; Dan. 2). God could not sanction iniquity by His presence – although governmentally He might bless the power conferred upon the Gentiles – so long as His people were held in captivity by these powers and the cities of Judah laid waste. Hence, when the cause of Israel is again taken up the title will be re-asserted (Rev. 11:4, compare with Zechariah 4 and 6:5).

Nebuchadnezzer lauded the God of Heaven but not the Lord of All the Earth – that title only being taken up when Israel’s place of supremacy in the earth and amongst the nations is being made good. The central part of Revelation is God’s assertion of His right and title to the earth; the consequence being days of wrath and terror upon man – especially upon apostate Judaism and Christendom. These judgments will inspire such fear in the wicked that they will haste to give glory to the “God of heaven” (Rev. 11:13). But that is not the title expressive of the character of these awful days and times. Men will cheerfully own God’s title to heaven, His right to dwell and govern there, for, after all, that keeps God and man at a distance. However, when He announces His settled purpose to again take up this earth, to wrest it from the power and grasp of Satan, men will sternly refuse to own the title “God of the earth.” So the storm of divine judgment will roll on: the seals broken, the trumpets blown and the vials poured out. The thick black clouds will break and burst until the guilty world is thoroughly swept by the broom of destruction. Then the song from heaven will break upon a joyous and redeemed creation: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).

This, then, is a title which God asserted at the conquest of Canaan and will establish by power in judgment after the day of grace is closed, introducing the setting up of His kingdom on earth.

God Of Heaven
We have about 20 instances of this interesting title in the Scriptures. It is only found twice in the New Testament (in Revelation), but it occurs eight times in the book of Ezra. The book of Ezra details the religious state of the returned remnant from Babylon. God most graciously permitted a considerable number of His people to return to the city and land of Immanuel, but they did so under Gentile permission and protection. When returned they got blessing from God, but not the presence of God. In the five post-captivity books – Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi – the remnant is not once termed “My people,” except in distinct reference to the future. In earlier times this was the favorite expression of the prophets and was found abundantly in their books. But now after the captivity, although all the rituals may have been practiced, the presence of GOD – of Jehovah – was absent. The glory was departed from Israel. Their temple – beautiful and glorious – had no ark, no golden mercy seat, no golden cherubim and no Urim and Thummin. Where was the cloud of glory, the well-known symbol of Jehovah’s majesty and presence? It had vacated its place and retired into heaven. But it will yet return and occupy the magnificent millennial temple, filling it with glory (Ezek. 43). Those sunny days and times are not far distant.

Thus we account for the frequency of this title in the book of Ezra. God was indeed caring for and watching over the remnant of His people, but He did so secretly and providentially. The glory had left the house, hence the appropriateness of the title “God of Heaven.” God acts in and from heaven, not on earth, yet He directs and controls all for the blessing of His own. When He begins to act publicly on behalf of Israel, He will do so under His Joshua-title, “Lord of All the Earth.”

The point now for faith to recognize is that God is acting and directing. What a comfort in the presence of evil and evil men: “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). The book of Esther, in which the name of God does not once occur, shows the secret acts of God, exercised through the Persian monarchy. There we see that His people are watched over and protected by God Himself.

The expression “kingdom of heaven,” which occurs only in the gospel of Matthew, about 30 times, has its root in Daniel 6. It is an important phrase in connection with the title “God of Heaven.” This divine, and to us exceedingly important title, covers all the period of time from the scattering of Judah by the first imperial power until God again takes up the cause of the Jew.

Look for the continuation of this Series next month.

The Witness Of A Little Girl

“Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper. And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.” —2 Kings 5:1-4 KJV

By Hank Blok

We do not know how old this “little maid” was. We do not even know her name. But that’s not of any real importance! What little we do know is of greater significance. The Scriptures tell us that: 

  • She was a little Israelite girl;
  • This little one was a captive in a foreign land;
  • Away from home she served a Gentile lady;
  • Her mistress’s husband had an incurable disease; 
  • She had a great concern for the man with his illness; and 
  • She did what she could to get her mistress’s husband to the help he needed.

This is what 2 Kings 5:3 simply records: “And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him [Naaman] of his leprosy*.”

What a wonderful statement; one full of grace on many levels. It would suggest that the little girl was most likely brought up by her parents, grandparents or other godly guardians to know the true and living God. Children do not forget the things that are indelibly inscribed on their hearts during those formative years. Of course we know that some may not always follow the teachings introduced to them in their youth. Yet, there is no doubt that they will never lose all of the influence passed on in those early years. 

Had she met the prophet Elisha? We cannot tell. She certainly must have known enough about him to suggest that he could help. While she may not have been able to give Naaman’s wife the instructions for the healing of his disease, she could at least provide a reference to someone who could help. Similarly, our children may not adequately know how to lead a person to Christ. Therefore, it would be good that each child be encouraged to refer others to a parent, stronger Christian or evangelist who is able to explain the way of salvation. In actuality, this is what a lot of children do when they bring their friends, their parents and others to a Sunday school or daily vacation Bible school! Many parents can probably testify that their kids were the greatest little evangelists as young children.

It is so special that the Lord Jesus could say, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” And it is ever so personally touching that He would take them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and bless them (Mk. 10:14-16). Just as wonderfully, He can touch their lives to make them usable for His blessed purposes of bringing others to Himself.

* In the Bible, the illness of leprosy portrays sin and it’s end result – death.

God’s Remedy For Our Problems

Reflections In 2 Corinthians 2:14–7:1

By Jacob Redekop

We are well aware that there are many problems facing the Lord’s people today. New difficulties arise before old ones are cleared away. Being firmly persuaded that the Word of God furnishes the answers to help in every situation, I asked myself these questions: How is it that God’s people can be so divided on so many issues? Would not obedience to God’s Word and dependence upon the Lord unite us together? I found the answer in Paul’s epistles to the Corinthians. The Corinthian saints were divided because they were occupied with the wrong man (1 Cor. 1:11-12). They were powerless to cope with the problems until they had learned what Isaiah 2:22 (KJV) states: “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for what account is to be made of him?” In 2 Corinthians we are given God’s answer – the solution.

The two epistles of Paul to the Corinthians are “wilderness” epistles. The saints are viewed as having been set apart from this world by a divine call (1 Cor. 1:2). This world, which to the eye of faith has become a wilderness, furnishes nothing to sustain that faith. The Christian passing through this world has the responsibility to live in complete dependence and obedience to the Lord. Failure to do so is the root cause of all the break-ups and break-downs in the family as well as in the assembly (church) testimony.

God allows this time of testing in the wilderness in order that we might learn what is in our hearts. But what is of much greater value is to learn what is in the heart of God, and that is Christ. Then, as we learn this, we turn away from ourselves to find in Christ the answer to every need. 

The Root Cause Of Problems 
In reflecting on this portion of Scripture in Corinthians we must bear in mind the great object the apostle had before him. He longed to see the Corinthian saints lifted out of their low spiritual condition as he had described it in 1 Corinthians 3:1, “And I brethren could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal.” Their carnal [self-centered] condition had led to worldliness and moral laxity, which further opened the door to assembly disorder and doctrinal error. It left them with little spiritual discernment and no spiritual strength to cope with their problems. This is much of what we are facing today.

This condition, exposed in the first epistle, is addressed in the second epistle to show God’s way of transforming us into the moral likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ. There are two aspects of this truth. Objectively, or in an absolute sense, God has purposed this transformation for us in Christ. Subjectively, or in a personal way that applies to each believer, this change is accomplished in us by the Spirit, who works out God’s purposes for us. As that transformation is accomplished, problems are solved in a God-honoring way. Self is set aside, in all its varied forms. In its place Christ is seen in all His moral beauty.

It is not the intent of this article to be occupied with difficulties and problems, but to see God’s remedy for them. That does not mean that we try to avoid or escape the problems, for we cannot run away from them. Rather, we see God’s provision to meet every need – and that provision is in Christ.

Change Is Possible 
The apostle Paul himself had been in extremely stressful situations as expressed in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 and 4:8-9, “Pressed out of measure, above strength … despaired even of life … troubled on every side … persecuted … cast down.” In spite of these outward dangers, Paul did not faint nor become discouraged. Instead, he saw himself identified in testimony with a victorious Christ (2:14-15). By his conduct and preaching, a sweet fragrance of Christ rose up to God. Paul, who called himself the chief of sinners, was now the greatest vessel God had raised up for the shining forth of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (4:6). Only God could bring about such a change in the life of any person. What God did in Paul He is also doing in each one of us who have believed. God, by His Spirit, is writing Christ upon our hearts (3:3). The law could not do that. It could only tell man what he ought to do – what was expected of him, but it could not change him (Rom. 8:3-4). 

The Christian has received new life (Christ) and a new nature that delights in what is of God. The Holy Spirit now dwells in the believer and occupies us with Christ, where He is in the very presence of God. As I am occupied with the Man Christ Jesus where He is now, a transformation will take place in me, a moral change, making me more and more like Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).

One Great Hindrance 
The greatest hindrance to the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer is self. Good self or bad self is still self. Self-esteem, self-worth, self-image and self-love are at best an occupation with the wrong man – the very man whom God has set aside and condemned in the death of Christ. God is not attempting to improve man in the flesh: “Old things have passed away; behold all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).

The question might now be asked, “How does this teaching help solve problems?” First of all, we have to admit that “in me [that is, in my flesh] dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18). The problems which cause us so much trouble in our individual lives, in our families and in the assemblies find their source in our flesh. If we do not learn from God’s Word that the flesh profits nothing, then God teaches us by our own failures. How sad it is if we have to learn it that way. Yet, what is even sadder is that we have grieved the Holy Spirit; every failure or sin necessitated those unfathomable sufferings of Christ on the cross. But as I learn how wretched the flesh is in me, I turn the eye of faith away from self and find in Christ an Object of supreme delight – that One in whom God finds eternal joy and satisfaction!

It Begins In Me 
After experiencing how wretched the flesh is in me (not in my brother or sister), I must accept the teaching God has given in many portions of Scripture. He is teaching us to look away from self to Christ and, in so doing, we take on His moral features. These include obedience and dependence upon God, and patience, meekness, self-control as well as many other qualities as seen in Galatians 5:22-23. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit working out practically in the life of each believer. In 2 Corinthians 4:7 Paul explains that our bodies, which he calls “earthen vessels,” contain this treasure – which is Christ dwelling in the believer. As the vessel is broken up, the light that is within shines out.

In 2 Corinthians 5:10 the apostle Paul reminds us that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Then everything we have done in our lifetime will be manifested in the light of His holy presence. Our motives, our self-seeking, even if they were mixed in with our service for the Lord, will all be made known.

What was done in secret or in public, at the workplace or at home, in private counseling or in public preaching, all will be laid bare. How searching this is! But remember, when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, the sinful nature in which we sinned is no longer in us. We will then be with and like Christ; and we will rejoice that our old selfish, sinful nature is once and forever done away. Only what was of Christ will remain forever. If we, like Paul, would live our lives in the light of that Day of Judgment, what a difference it would make.

Christ Really Is The Remedy 
It is far easier to sing, “Nothing but Christ as on we tread,” than it is to live it. To live it means that it will govern my manner of behavior, what I wear, how I spend my money, where I take my vacation, how I speak to my wife or husband and my attitude towards my children. It will affect relationships in the home, at the workplace and in the world. You can be sure it will also introduce an atmosphere in the assembly that is Christ-honoring, showing forth indeed the mind of Christ. Having the mind of Christ equips us to face all dangers and difficulties and enables us to make the right spiritual decisions. Then the question is never asked, “What’s wrong with this or that?” Instead, the question will be, “What is pleasing to Christ?” “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

Paul concludes our subject in 2 Corinthians 7:1 by giving a word of encouragement: “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved.” If we allow God to work in our lives to put aside self and to fix our eyes on the Lord, then we will experience the deep peace and joy of fellowship with the Father. Then all the suffering or sorrow that we pass through here will be worth it. Faith looks beyond the present and evaluates everything in the light of eternity (4:17-18). May Christ be reflected in greater measure in my life – and in yours.

I Surrender All

All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give;  
I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live.  
I surrender all, I surrender all;  
All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all. 

— Judson W. Van de Venter (1855-1939)

Judson W. Van De Venter was born into a Christian home in 1855 and at the age of 17 he accepted Christ as his Savior. After graduating from university with a degree in art, he became an art teacher in a high school. He was also an accomplished musician and could play some 13 different instruments as well as sing and compose music.

In his thirties Judson found himself facing a dilemma, and for almost five years he struggled over what to do. Should he abandon his teaching career and concentrate on evangelistic work? While involved in a church event in 1896 the Lord challenged him, and this young man yielded to the Lord’s will and gave up his secular employment. The experience caused him to write a devotional hymn that has found its way into many hymnbooks: “All To Jesus I Surrender.” The beautiful tune to which the hymn is sung was composed by Winfield S. Weeden. He loved the words of the hymn so much that after his death the three words “I surrender all” were engraved on his tombstone.

The experience of Judson W. Van De Venter is one that many others have had. A question has confronted the individual about what he or she should do. Something inescapable has had to be faced squarely – and it has not been easy. This is not unique to a select group. Rather, it is something that every true Christian should come to terms with. “Lord” is not a word to use glibly [thoughtlessly]; using it implies owning the authority of the one who is so addressed. The Lord Jesus Himself said, “Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Lk. 6:46 KJV). Similarly, it is easy to sing the moving words of Judson Van De Venter’s expressive hymn, when emotions are stirred, and not genuinely mean them. 

Of course this does not mean that the hymn is unsuitable and ought not to be used. The New Testament makes it plain that every child of God should be able to say, “I surrender all,” in truth and from the heart. Three examples and three exhortations make this fact self-evident.

Three Examples 
The finest and yet the most humbling example must be that of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As He reached the climax of His earthly ministry, He entered into the darkness of Gethsemane one unforgettable night. Under the shadow of the olive trees and away from His beloved disciples, the Son of God knelt in prayer before His Father. Agony lay before Him: He, the Sinless One, was soon to be “made sin” in those three hours of impenetrable darkness on the cross (2 Cor. 5:21). Now, before that time, His holy soul was “exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death,” as He “fell on His face” in prayer (Mt. 26:38-39). Yet, the request that the bitter cup might pass from Him was regulated by the words that followed, “Not My will, but Thine, be done” (Lk. 22:42). He fully submitted to the Father’s will.

How amazing this is! His love for us is beyond compare, yet it was also love and devotion to His Father that caused Him to pray like this. There was no other way in which guilty sinners could be saved, so He arose from prayer to face the enemies who had come to apprehend Him. His Father’s will was paramount. If His followers are to be like Him, the words “Not my will, but Thine, be done,” must be uttered by them too.

For the second example we can consider one of the most devoted followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul. While being a hateful persecutor of Christ on a diabolical [devilish] mission to destroy the followers of the Lord, Saul of Tarsus (as he was then called) was blinded by a light brighter than the sun, which caused him to fall to the dust. Confronted by the Lord in all His glory on the road to Damascus, and realizing how wicked and helpless he was, Saul uttered those memorable words, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6). It was truly a moment of crisis. For too long Saul had gone his own way and done what he thought was right. Challenged by the risen Christ, he had been humbled and stopped in his tracks. He was now a man who was genuinely ready to submit to the Lord himself.

A third example comes from the last book in the Bible. This time we are not looking at someone young and enthusiastic, but at one who was an aged follower of Christ. The apostle John had been banished by the Roman authorities to the island of Patmos for his loyalty to the cause of Christ. But although banished, John was not left alone. Having seen a vision of the Son of Man in all His glory – Jesus, whom he had known so well during His earthly ministry – John “fell at His feet as dead” (Rev. 1:17). What else could he do? Like Saul, he yielded to the heavenly Master and surrendered everything as he lay prostrate at His feet.

Both of these men, along with the Lord Jesus, teach us something important by example. Like the two apostles we must humble ourselves before the Lord of Glory, placing ourselves at His disposal and at His feet. By their attitude each of them was saying, in effect, “Not my will, but Thine, be done.” Not only do we find examples in Scripture; there are also exhortations encouraging us to surrender our lives to the Lord.

Three Exhortations 
Our first exhortation must come from the Lord Jesus Christ. He who demonstrated such submission to the purposes of God throughout His earthly life, and especially in Gethsemane, called men and women to surrender everything to Him. Jesus said, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Lk. 9:23). Following Christ is not an “easy-going” option that can occupy some secondary place in our lives. If we would follow Him, we must renounce all personal interests and actually deny ourselves. Our own desires must count for nothing! Taking up the cross daily implies a recognition that self is, in effect, dead. Following Christ means that He must lead the way and that we follow Him – going where He leads and not where we might choose to go. 

“That is rather demanding,” someone might object. Yes, it is! In fact, it demands everything! If we think too much is being asked of us, it only shows how far we have moved from the terms and character of New Testament Christianity. We ought not to question these things. Jesus Christ must not be considered simply as Savior; He is to be Lord of our lives. Later in Luke 9 we read of some individuals who expressed an interest in following Jesus but said, “Lord, I will follow Thee … but let me first …” (vv.57-61). If Christ is Lord of our lives we dare not say “me first.” The rich young ruler wanted to follow Christ but turned away with a sad expression because he loved his possessions more than he loved the Lord Jesus (Mk. 10:17-22). Yes, a disciple is called to surrender all to Christ.

The apostle Paul, who had been dramatically humbled to the dust on the Damascus road, never forgot that life-changing experience. A study of his life as recorded for us in Holy Scripture reveals one who was entirely sold out to Christ. He knew what the Lord expected of him. In his letter to the Romans Paul explained the amazing truth of the gospel and the impact that it should have upon our lives in practical terms. As our second exhortation, he wrote: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1). 

God has shown tremendous mercy in saving us from the eternal punishment that we deserved. In view of what He has done for us through Christ, who gave Himself willingly to suffer on the cross, it is only “reasonable” that we should respond by yielding ourselves to Him. Those lives that have been redeemed are no longer ours! They belong to Him and ought to be presented willingly for Him to use. In fact, as we have already seen, He wants us to die to self and to present our bodies as “living” sacrifices to Him. He has a work for each one of us to do.

A third exhortation, among many more that could be considered, comes from the writings of Peter. Like John, Peter at one time had forsaken all to follow Jesus (Mk. 1:16-20). Many years later, as a much older man, Peter wrote of the need for younger people to “submit” and for all of God’s children to be “clothed with humility” (1 Pet. 5:5). He then wrote these challenging words: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (v.6). The hand of God is a loving hand that has been extended in mercy towards us. But let us not forget that it is also a mighty hand. How weak and insignificant we are before the Almighty! Like John on Patmos, we must humble ourselves at the feet of the Lord to whom we belong.

A Great Challange 
In the late 1800’s Charles T. Studd gave up a professional athletic career and became a missionary to China. At the age of 25 he also gave away a family fortune to support the evangelistic work of Hudson Taylor1, George Mueller2and others. These words that he wrote have inspired many to surrender their lives to Christ: “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”

Really, nothing more needs to be said. If we know anything about the mercy and love of God we should gladly surrender our lives to Him. To do anything less is to be dishonest.

By Martin Girard 

This article used by permission from, adapted.

1. James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) was a British missionary. He spent 51 years in China, establishing China Inland Mission (now OMF International). He was noted for a zeal for evangelism while being sensitive to the local culture. Thousands of individuals were saved through the work he began. 
2. George Mueller (1805-1898) was an evangelist who established the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England. He and those serving with him cared for over 10,000 orphans, established nearly 120 schools and educated over 120,000 children. The entire work was one of faith, asking only God for the needed provisions.

Give Me This Mountain

By Warren Henderson

The entertainment industry capitalizes on our desire to see common people accomplish the impossible. Superheroes are thus created to excite our imaginations about being more than what we are. Biblically speaking, we understand that there are only two authority structures with supernatural power – God’s and Satan’s, but the influence of the latter is limited by the first. Rather than wasting our time fanatisizing about imaginary heroes, we should be exploring how real people in their frailty can accomplish incredible feats in the tangible world. Caleb is a good biblical example of someone God empowered to be a true superhero. But why did God choose to use Caleb in a miraculous way to display His glory and not someone else? Let us study Joshua 14-15 to answer this question.

Historical Setting 
Seven years of invasion and conquest in Canaan had concluded; the military garrisons, fortifications and the main armies of the enemies were destroyed. Joshua was then given the task of dividing the inheritance among the tribes of Israel. Having allotted the land east of the Jordan to the two and a half tribes (Josh. 13), Joshua turned his attention to dividing and apportioning the land within Canaan to the remaining tribes. This would be determined by the drawing of lots (14:1-2). 

Caleb Requested His Inheritance 
Before any allotments were made in Canaan, the veteran Caleb stepped forward to assert his claim. Until now he had been quietly waiting because Joshua had been attending to the distribution of the land east of the Jordan. Caleb’s interruption was warranted and he reminded his life-long friend, Joshua, of what Moses had promised forty-five years earlier: “Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it [the Promised Land], and to him and his children I am giving the land on which he walked, because he wholly followed the LORD” (Dt. 1:36). The fortification of Hebron was to be the city of his possession, still requiring the expulsion of the powerful Anakim (giants, see Deuteronomy 9:2) who resided there. 

Caleb,* a Kenizzite, would not have received a land allotment with the tribes of Israel; thus he presented a short autobiography as a prelude to his appeal (Josh. 14:6-12). Moses had promised him Hebron as an inheritance when the years of wandering concluded and the nation entered into Canaan and conquered it. Moses rewarded Caleb, 40 years old then, for being a faithful scout in Canaan and for withstanding the rebel spies at Kadesh Barnea. What was Caleb’s motivation for standing with Moses at that turbulent junction? Caleb declared, “I wholly followed the LORD my God” (v.8). Forty-five years later, Caleb was still devoted to the LORD. He was faithful among a faithless nation and one of the few who refused to establish an alliance with the Canaanites. He stood faithfully with Joshua as a spy of the land and now he stood faithfully among his people in the land. 

Caleb Was Strong In The Lord 
The 38 years of wandering and the seven years of warring in Canaan had passed since that tragic day of disbelief at Kadesh Barnea. Despite years of blistering desert heat and numerous military engagements, the LORD had wonderfully preserved Caleb. He was now 85 years of age (14:9-10). Despite his age, he remained strong in the LORD: “Yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the LORD said” (vv.11-12).

The King James Version of the Bible translates verse 12 as: “If so be the LORD will be with me.” There was no question of Caleb’s mistrusting the LORD. Rather, he mistrusted himself. Caleb is a great example to us in our present day of weakness and complacency. His character upholds the finest virtues to be found in soldiers of the cross today: one who is sold out for the Lord and yet mistrusts oneself. He exhibited unabated [sustained] divine strength because he lacked self-confidence. His humility and continued dependence on God was unrelenting, and thus inspire every true believer to rise above the doldrums of earthly existence to experience real spiritual vitality.

Caleb understood that his dependence on the LORD infused him with divine power; thus, it did not matter to him that his possession was a fortification occupied by giants. Hebron, which the Anakim called Kirjath-arba, was his inheritance, and he wanted to bravely claim it for God (14:15). This city had special significance for the Jewish nation as Abraham and Sarah were buried there (Gen. 23:19, 25:10). Even though he was 85 years of age, he knew the LORD was with him and therefore he had confidence that he would drive the Anakim from his inheritance. 

Caleb Receives His Inheritance 
Joshua was moved by his friend’s address and responded by blessing him and granting his request. Hebron was Caleb’s possession (Josh. 14:13-14), and in the power of the LORD he subdued the giants and restored to the city its proper name (15:13-14). Caleb’s fortitude demonstrates how God’s people in any dispensation are able to overcome their adversaries and adversities: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of Hosts” (Zech. 4:6). May we, like Caleb, experience ongoing personal revival by wholly following and depending on the Lord GOD. Then, we too will be strong in the Lord and live in the enjoyment of heavenly things as we patiently engage in earthly conflict. Certainly, the abundant blessing of our True Joshua, Jesus Christ, resides on every Caleb-like Christian. 

Caleb Claims His Inheritance 
Hebron was located within Judah’s portion and Caleb not only took the city from the Anakim, but with the help of his courageous nephew Othniel, he also captured Debir (Josh. 15:14-15). Caleb had promised that whoever was victorious at Debir would have his daughter Achsah’s hand in marriage, so Othniel (who would later become a judge in Israel; see Judges 3:8-11) became Caleb’s son-in-law (Josh. 15:16-17). Caleb bestowed Achsah and Othniel with land south of Hebron for their own inheritance. But after their marriage, Achsah asked her father Caleb for the springs near this land also, which Caleb granted her (15:18-19).

It is worthy to note that because Caleb trusted His God and engaged the enemy in His strength he was victorious and, as a result, increased his inheritance. The land allotments were to pass down from generation to generation within the same tribe. In other words, an individual or clan could not increase their inheritance by buying or stealing from their brethren, but only by engaging and defeating the enemy. The prayer of Jabez illustrates this truth: “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested” (1 Chr. 4:10).

While the Law prohibited Jabez from gaining land through financial acquisition, he could enlarge his territory through legal conquest (that is, by seizing land from those whom God said should be removed from the Promised Land). To further advance the kingdom of God today, believers must do more than entertain each other in conquered territories (their homes and church buildings). They must be willing to venture out beyond these safe havens with the gospel message of Jesus Christ. The Lord is building His Church through the earnest efforts of His people to evangelize the lost. Let us never be satisfied with status quo – may the Lord enlarge our capacity to serve Him as He enlarges His Church.

Caleb Shares His Inheritance 
Because Caleb conquered in the name of Jehovah, he obtained more, which enabled him to bless others more. Besides blessing his daughter and son-in-law with a gift of land which included springs of water, Hebron, the city he captured from the Anakim, became one of the forty-eight priestly cities and one of the six cities of refuge. Caleb did not object to sharing with others that which God had empowered him to possess. He was glad to bless others with what he had acquired in the LORD; this is a great example to follow.

Accordingly, Paul reminded the believers at Corinth that they should not be puffed up in themselves over their possessions: “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Cor. 4:7). Whatever we have comes from God; there is no room for pride. Paul further exhorted the Ephesians that, rather than stealing from others as they may have done before they were saved, they ought to work hard to supply their own necessities and then to assist those in need (Eph. 4:28). With this in mind, may we, like Caleb, not think so highly of ourselves and our possessions that we are unwilling to assist others with what God has graciously placed in our stewardship.

*Caleb’s example shows us that the more we trust in the Lord for what we need, the more we will have to share with others and the greater our own blessing will be. This is a true hero of the faith. Caleb was sold out for the Lord and accomplished the impossible. May we also with humble hearts rise above our own deficiencies [faults] through resurrection power and achieve the spectacular for God. An imaginary superhero will never lead a lost person to Christ, but a real hero of the faith experiencing supernatural power can!

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.
—Francis R. Havergal (1836-1879)