Magazine March 2015


Emphasis: Bowing In The Kingdom -Paul Alberts
Worship: Jesus Shall Reign Whereer The Sun -Isaac Watts
Feature: An Invitation -Colin Salter
Feature: Living As His Subjects -Milton Jamieson
Feature: What To Do And How To Do It -Alfred Bouter
YouAsked: Should we preach the kingdom of God? -G. A. Wiese
Uplook: The Parable Of The Ten Virgins -Jacob Redekop
Response: Responses
Family: Engagement And Marriage -Eugene P. Vedder, Jr.
Discover: Discover Questions -Alan Groth
Issues: The Blessed Man -H. A. Ironside
Series: Divine Titles And Their Significance -A. J. Pollock
Overview: 2 Chronicles -Leslie M. Grant
GoodNews: Will God Forgive Me? -Roscoe Barnes III
Full Magazine PDF: Magazine PDF

Will God Forgive Me?

By Roscoe Barnes III

“Bruno” had reached the pinnacle of success. He owned his own business, lived in a nice house, drove a fancy car and had a beautiful wife. It seemed that his happiness would never end. But soon problems surfaced and his marriage fell apart. Before long he did something he would live to regret.

I met Bruno when I visited the medical unit of the detention facility where I was chaplain. Bruno was a hulking figure with sad eyes – an expression that told you something was wrong.

“I’ve been trying to reach you for a long time,” Bruno said as he greeted me with a handshake. He then offered me a chair. The 30-year-old man rarely smiled and was often ignored by those around him. He felt that people were either afraid of him or they simply hated him. Either way, most people, including other inmates, would not give him the time of day.

Without any prompting from me, Bruno began to tell me his story as he started to cry. “I can’t believe I’ve ended up this way,” he said with tears coming down his face. “I’d never been in trouble with the law. I can’t believe this is happening.”

He told me that he was at the end of his rope. Loneliness had set in like a heavy sack and all he could see was despair. Eventually, Bruno said that he had started to think of how he would take his own life. As he sat in front of me with his elbows resting on his knees he said he had done the most horrible thing imaginable – he had killed another human being. “I’ve taken a man’s life … and I deserve whatever happens to me,” he said. He wiped his face and paused. Then he looked me in the eyes and asked: “But do you think God can forgive me?”

That question hit me with a wave of emotion as I thought about the Good News of Jesus Christ and how He came to save us from our sins. I eagerly shared the message of God’s grace with Bruno and then asked him a simple question, “Have you trusted Christ as your Savior?”

Shaking his head he said, “No,” and started sobbing profusely. When I asked if he would like to, he immediately said, “Yes.” He then bowed his head and prayed to receive Christ into his life. When he lifted his head he was beaming with a bright smile, and the expression with the sad eyes was no longer there.

Bruno’s life was so drastically transformed that he went from being the most despised and feared man in the facility to the most loved and respected. He found favor with all who worked around him. He accepted what he had done as sin and committed his future to God.

What God did for Bruno He will do for anyone who places his or her trust in Jesus Christ as Savior. God loves us and is more than willing to forgive us of our sins. He said: “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins” (Isa. 43:25 NKJV). “God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him” (Dan. 9:9 NIV). Forgiveness of all our sins is available simply for the asking!

When I think of Bruno’s story, I’m reminded of the apostle Paul who was responsible for the deaths of Christians, but God’s grace made a difference in his life (1 Tim. 1:12-16; Acts 22:4,19-20). For this reason he could say: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Tim. 1:15, NKJV).

It does not matter who you are or what you have done, God’s grace – His underserved kindness – is all you need. Jesus came into the world as a man and He died on the cross for you and me. Jesus shed His blood so that our sins could be washed away: “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His [Jesus’] name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission [forgiveness] of sins” (Acts 10:43). “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7).

Jesus rose from the dead on the third day and He is alive right now. He longs to save you and to forgive you of all your sins. Will you accept God’s forgiveness? We can tell you more.

2 Chronicles

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” —2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV

By Leslie M. Grant

Here the gracious summing up of God’s ways in connection with the kings is continued. Solomon’s magnificent kingdom is seen here beautifully typifying the reign of the Lord Jesus in the peace of millennial glory. Nothing is therefore said of his grievous deviation from the path of obedience to God; his marrying many wives and being badly influenced by them.

The dividing of the kingdom in the days of his son Rehoboam must be taken note of, for grace does not set aside God’s government. Rehoboam was forbidden to attempt to bring the ten tribes back again by force. The ten tribes set up a new center at Samaria and a new king. They are therefore only referred to in this book in connection with the history of Judah for God’s grace must be shown only in connection with His chosen line – the line of the true Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. This stands out beautifully in the histories of Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah and Josiah.

Such a review that so magnifies the blessed counsels of the grace of God is a precious intimation [hint] of the character of the judgment seat of Christ for the believer. The books of Kings show us the obnoxious history of man, while Chronicles show how God’s grace transcends man’s sin.

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 Five 

By A. J. Pollack

Prophecies Concerning The Coming Christ
These prophecies are most illuminating and precise. How could writers, centuries apart in different countries and generally ignorant of what each other wrote or would write, give us one complete prophecy with the utmost precision? This indicates a divine power was controlling and guiding their pens – a Master Mind energizing each writer. The Bible is the only book in all the literature of the world which presents this unique and unanswerable testimony to divine inspiration.

A most striking prophecy followed man’s sin in the Garden of Eden. Enmity was put between the serpent and the seed of the woman. That seed was Christ. Satan crushed His heel [something painful] when he led men to crucify the Lord of Glory. But Satan’s apparent victory was actually his utter defeat. That will be seen in the future day when Satan will meet his final doom in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:10), thus fulfilling that first prophecy that Satan’s head would be crushed [will be fatal] (Gen. 3:15 JND).

A later prophecy shed more light as to who Christ would be. We read, “Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14 NKJV). Immanuel means “God with us” (Mt. 1:23) and is another name for God. Isaiah wrote that Christ would be the Child of the virgin, but He would Himself be God. 

The prophet throws still more light on the subject of the coming Christ, which historically did not come to pass for over seven centuries. “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6).

Would any uninspired writer in his wildest dreams pen this verse? It sounds apparently contradictory to speak of the same Person as a Child of days and “the Father of eternity” (JND). How could both statements be true? And yet we know from Scripture that the Child of the virgin, begotten by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, was God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16). God as well as Man, yet one blessed Person – the Son of God – a mystery utterly beyond man’s comprehension! Our Lord Himself told His disciples, “No one knows the Son except the Father” (Mt. 11:27 NKJV).

It is an incomprehensible mystery to us, like the following Scripture: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me, the One to be Ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Mic. 5:2). Here, in a seeming contradiction, is a Baby born in a defined place, Bethlehem, and yet we are told that the One so born was from everlasting. In taking up Manhood our Lord had a beginning at Bethlehem, but the One who had that beginning is God from everlasting, the eternal Son who never had a beginning. The Son was given, not born (Isa. 9:6).

As a last example from Scripture we read: “Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, I was there [there AM I, JND – the assertion of deity]: and now the Lord GOD and His Spirit have sent Me” (Isa. 48:16). We have here the three Persons of the Godhead in fullest concert for the blessing of man. Marvelous truth! The Word sent stands in great prominence in this Scripture. Was this not wonderfully fulfilled when our Lord, as recorded in John, announced 14 times that He was the Sent One of the Father?

To those in the temple who doubted He was the Christ He said, “You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me” (Jn. 7:28-29). The circle is complete. The Lord plainly linked Himself up with the Sent One of Isaiah 48:16.

This forms a suitable finish to our study of the names of God in the Old Testament and affords a pleasing introduction to our study of divine titles in the New Testament. It is in the Person of our Lord that the Old and New Testaments join hands.

The Blessed Man

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” —Psalm 1:1-2 NKJV

By H. A. Ironside (Lord Is Near, 1988)

This blessed man is God’s ideal of what man ought to be in this scene. It finds its perfect fulfillment in the holy behavior of the Lord Jesus Christ, who ever did the things that pleased the Father. We, in our measure, are called to walk as He walked (1 Jn. 2:6), according to the example He has left us (1 Pet. 2:21). To do this we must be regenerated (Ti. 3:5). It is a life of holy separation from all evil that is in view. The blessed man is careful to avoid any participation with the ungodly so far as their attitude toward divine things is concerned. His piety does not consist in a negative attitude toward evil alone, but in the positive enjoyment of what is good. The Word of God is precious to him and is his spiritual food, assimilated [absorbed mentally] by meditation (Jer. 15:16).

Perennially fresh and always fruitful, the blessed man is likened to a tree whose roots go down to the water streams, ever drawing up that which tends to growth and enrichment, so that he is a witness for God to all who know him, as they see how richly grace is working in his soul.

Engagement And Marriage For The Christian

Editor’s Note: A few points in this article may not be viewed as suitable for young children.
If reading to a family, it may be wise to review the article first.

By Eugene P. Vedder, Jr.

Engagement And Marriage
From beginning to end God’s Word speaks much about marriage. It makes clear the sanctity of marriage, for marriage was instituted by God in the Garden of Eden before our first parents sinned and was designed by Him for the blessing and joy of mankind. Marriage is also a lovely earthly picture to help us understand the relationship between Christ and the Assembly (Church). Ephesians 5:22-33 makes this very clear.

Scripture does not say much about engagement, the period of commitment immediately prior to the consummation of a marriage. But God’s Word definitely recognizes engagement, sometimes referred to as betrothal. Customs and practices in regard to engagement vary in different parts of the world. However, what is important for Christians is what God says in His Word.

In the western world two people may decide they want to get married and they then make this known by getting engaged. Sadly enough, in this ungodly world often a man and a woman simply begin living together and then perhaps later decide to get married. This is, of course, absolutely contrary to God’s will for mankind. No matter how commonplace it has become or how it is glamorized in the world, before God this is sin, and God’s Word speaks of it as fornication.

At the time the Bible was written engagement was normally a matter arranged by the parents or families of the couple. This pattern is still followed in many cultures today. It makes sense to the extent that parents normally have acquired experience in married life that their young people do not have, but it has serious, potential drawbacks too. Marriage is probably the second most important decision an individual has to make in his or her life, second only to accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior and Lord. The will of God must be paramount in our lives!

Strictly speaking, at least for Christians, engagement is a matter of a man and a woman committing themselves before God to marry one another (we emphasize, a man and a woman, for God’s Word does not recognize any other relationship as marriage, regardless of men’s laws or court rulings). The period of engagement is the final time for them to prepare themselves for marriage. Their love will be growing and they will want to be together, but they must exercise care to keep pure, avoiding all intimate contact for God has reserved the joys of this pleasure for the married couple.

If during the engagement either individual should find that he or she does not feel free before God to enter into a lifelong exclusive oneness with the other, this is the time to end the relationship, heartbreaking as this may be. Both God’s Word and practical life experience demonstrate the awful disaster that a wrong marriage can be for husband, wife, children and even the families and friends of both partners.

Some Scriptural Examples, Pro And Con 
In Genesis 24 we see Abraham concerned about a wife for his son Isaac and sending his oldest servant to find one suited for him. He gave careful instructions as to where he should go and what kind of woman would not be suitable. Upon arriving where he was sent, the servant prayed for direction and eventually negotiated with the family of Rebekah. The family agreed that the match was of God, and Rebekah personally said, “I will go,” when asked whether she would go with the man. The family blessed Rebekah as she left. Arriving home, the servant told Isaac all that he had done. The marriage was consummated and Isaac loved Rebekah. Many today would have problems with such an arranged marriage, but this is the first marriage we read of after the original instance where God made and brought Adam his bride. Furthermore, in many of its details this story is a beautiful picture of His Bride, now being procured [taken] and prepared for our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the case of Esau we see him taking wives for himself that were a grief to his parents (Gen. 26:34-35). There is no word as to an engagement or even of his parents being consulted about whom he married. He took two Canaanite wives to begin with, and a daughter of Ishmael as a third wife when his parents were grieved because of the first two wives (Gen. 28:6-9). Nothing is said about his parents being involved in any of his decisions.

Isaac and Rebekah sent Jacob to his Uncle Laban to take a wife of his daughters (Gen. 28:1-5). Jacob went with his parents’ blessing but made his own arrangements (Gen. 29), ending up with both of Laban’s daughters plus their maidservants as his wives. Jacob worked seven years for Rachel whom he loved, he was deceived by his uncle who gave him Leah, and then he worked seven more years for Rachel. We see the disorder and strife that polygamy brings as we consider Jacob’s messy family life.

In Genesis 34, after Jacob’s daughter Dinah was humbled by Shechem, he and his father came to Jacob to arrange for Shechem to marry Dinah. Jacob’s sons came in from the field and involved themselves in the negotiations for this marriage. Shechem was noted as being honorable above all in the house of his father. But Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi were treacherous and killed Shechem, his father and all the males in their city. Thus the engagement was broken and no marriage occurred.

Judah in Genesis 38 acted shamefully and entirely on his own – first in having a Canaanite as a close friend, then in taking a Canaanite wife. His shame continued in looking for a prostitute and later in almost having his daughter-in-law burned for her pregnancy for which he was responsible.

Deuteronomy gives us a restatement of the Law God gave to Israel. Galatians shows us clearly that we Christians are not under that Mosaic Law, yet there are many things we can learn from it. Several times, and especially in Deuteronomy 22, we find God making a distinction between a woman who was married, a woman who was engaged, and one who was not engaged and thus not married. We see that the penalty for lying with a man’s wife – what we would term adultery – was more severe than for the rape of an unmarried young woman. The penalty for raping an engaged woman was more severe than if she was not engaged. Thus God clearly differentiates between non-engaged women, engaged women and married women. The distinctions God makes show us plainly that engagement is not a light thing in His holy eyes.

How sad to read of Samson’s engagement and subsequent wedding in Judges 14. “She pleases me well” or the converse is still the criterion for many an engagement and wedding in the world today. Insistent self will, putting pressure on parents, acting against God’s expressed will, keeping secrets from parents and spouses, marrying out of the will of God, making worldly friendships, following customs of the world – all these things are integral to [essential parts of] the lives of all too many, even Christians.

Turning to the New Testament we find in its very first chapter an engaged couple, Joseph and Mary. Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant. He was called her husband although they were not yet married and Mary was still a virgin, something Luke also emphasizes. Matthew 1 calls Joseph an honorable man and says that he was not willing to expose Mary publicly, so he wanted to break the engagement secretly. God’s angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, telling Him not to fear to take Mary as his wife for the child she was bearing was by the Holy Spirit, and this Son would save His people from their sins. Inspired, Matthew added that all this was according to prophecy, which he then cited. So we see that under normal circumstances Joseph could have broken the engagement, but that it took a message given by an angel in a dream to keep him from doing this.

The apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11 spoke of espousing (engaging) the believers at Corinth to Christ. He wanted to present them as a chaste virgin to Christ, but they were listening to false teachers and thus being unfaithful to Him. He regarded this as a very serious issue. We, indeed, are in a period of engagement waiting for our Lord to come and take us to Himself. After this the marriage supper of the Lamb can be celebrated for which the Bride has made herself ready (Rev. 19). 

Dissolving An Engagement 
These passages from both the Old Testament and New Testament show clearly that engagement and marriage are not the same in the eyes of God. Engagement is a solemn commitment which should never be taken lightly, but there are circumstances under which an engagement can be broken. One of these would be fornication on the part of either the woman or the man. Also if two individuals are engaged and one is a believer and the other is not, the believer should not marry the unbeliever. Scripture tells us that our “yes” should be yes and our “no,” no. But we must obey God; and there are circumstances where we need to humble ourselves, recognizing that in getting engaged we have failed by making a wrong decision or agreement. In such a case we should humble ourselves before the Lord, confessing that what we have done is wrong rather than making the matter worse by entering into a marriage that would bind us for a lifetime in a relationship that is contrary to the will of God. These are not the only reasons that would warrant dissolving an engagement.

When it comes to wanting to dissolve an engagement simply because one feels that he or she loves someone else more, this must be seriously weighed before the Lord. Do not enter into marriage lightly! God tells the husband to love his wife (Eph. 5:25,28,33) and the wife to love her husband (Ti. 2:4). Beware of entering into a marriage if your heart is taken up with someone else rather than the person you are engaged to marry! When a person is engaged he or she should be looking forward to married life with the one they are engaged and not be occupied with someone else.

In Conclusion 
Many other factors may enter into the matter of engagement and marriage: wealth or poverty, education or illiteracy, unity of faith or lack of this, health, goals in life, family, social or cultural pressures and so much more. But the most important thing for Christians is that both the man and the woman must be firmly convinced that the engagement and the marriage before them is truly the Lord’s direction and will. If such is not the case, the marriage will be a prospective disaster. It would be better to break off the engagement and relationship than to have to live in a marriage not of God the rest of one’s life – or to break such a marriage by divorce, which is something God hates (Mal. 2:16). Divorce is not in God’s plan for marriage for it completely spoils the picture of Christ and the Assembly, which human marriage is meant to portray. May the Lord be seen in all that we do!


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The Parable Of The Ten Virgins

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.” —Matthew 25:1 NKJV

By Jacob Redekop

The kingdom of heaven embraces the entire sphere of Christian profession. In this parable, told in Matthew 25:1-13, we find the kingdom of heaven likened unto ten virgins who, having taken their lamps, went forth to meet the bridegroom. Here we have those who have heard the Word and have taken a position in this world in contrast to either the Jews, who worship the one true God, or to the heathen, who worship any number of false gods. They have taken on the Christian religion as a profession and therefore are responsible on this basis.

We find in these verses a limited sphere occupied by those who took their lamps of testimony – whether true or false, wise or foolish – and according to their profession they will have to give account to God. It is clearly not the whole world spoken of here, nor their receiving or rejecting the gospel testimony. Rather, it is a picture of those who have accepted it, even though their acceptance may be merely an outward expression. Here it is not a question of having spiritual life, but of occupying a position in the world as being identified with this rejected One to whom they now bear witness. Such a witness can only be rightly done in the energy of the Holy Spirit, as symbolized by the oil. It is in this way that the wise and the foolish are distinguished, for to all outward appearances there is no difference. All had lamps, slept, and arose to trim their lamps; but the dark night made manifest their true condition and also displayed the desperate need of the foolish virgins. They had no oil. What a sad awakening it is for those who call, “Lord, Lord,” only to hear the answer, “I do not know you.”

The foolish turned to the wise, seeing that the wise possessed what the foolish had not, only to be directed then to the true source where their need could be met. In Revelation 3:18 we have similar counsel given to those who are mere professors: “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” 

We understand from Paul’s epistles that the character of the testimony in the present Church period is heavenly. The calling, position and hope are heavenly because heaven is the place where Christ has gone in virtue of having finished the work of redemption on the cross. It is in Christ that all truth is centered, and therefore it is to His blessed Person that we are called to render testimony.

In Matthew 25 we see the virgins going forth to meet the bridegroom. There was an energy seen at the beginning, leaving all behind in order to meet Him. It is not so much His coming, but the One who is coming – the Person! This is what characterized the early church. They waited for the Son from heaven, even Jesus. “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). Each of the four items mentioned in this verse has to do with Christ. We read in Ephesians 4:21: “As the truth is in Jesus.” The fellowship is that of the Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Cor. 1:9). In the breaking of bread we show forth the Lord’s death until He comes (1 Cor. 11:23-26), and we pray in His Name (Jn. 16:22-27). These passages show how completely the life of the early church was formed by the One whom they were following. What a bright testimony this was – only to be quickly marred. Already in the apostle’s day, Paul wrote, “All those in Asia have turned away from me” (2 Tim. 1:15). John was led to write, “You have left your first love” (Rev. 2:4). Very soon the virgins all slept.

For hundreds of years the professing church was in this sad state. Already in its early history, the presence of the Holy Spirit was set aside and substituted by man’s arrangements, only to introduce deadness – a mere form without the power of the Holy Spirit. The result was that Christ was displaced and the power and value of His work were denied. The heavenly position of the believer was lost sight of and with this came a settling down to the level of this world. The blessed hope of His return was given up, and soon all slumbered and slept. Value was placed upon man’s work to obtain righteousness and favor with God, rather than upon Christ’s finished work as an accomplished righteousness and the basis of one’s acceptance with God. In short, the ministry committed to the apostle Paul was soon unknown.

Since our parable of the ten virgins is general in nature, what lesson do we have here for the individual? It is this: Although in its broad outlines we are part of the professing body of Christendom, this professing body is composed of individuals – each one being a contributor to the general condition. Each individual is either true or false, wise or foolish, thereby raising or lowering the general condition. Not one of us who has taken upon himself the name of the Lord Jesus Christ can dismiss his responsibility that is associated with that name and position. “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Lk. 6:46 NKJV).

What could possibly change this state of things when all slept? It surely is not by man’s efforts, but only by the Spirit of God whose presence and work testify of Christ and glorify Him. “At midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’” (Mt. 25:6). When was this cry made and the truth of Paul’s ministry recovered to the Church? When was the hope of the Lord’s return announced again, as well as other truths relative to the position and calling of the Church?

This clearly did not happen during the Reformation, although unquestionably that was a work of God in giving His Word to the people and in preaching justification by faith. It was about 180 years ago that an awakening took place in many places and countries which affected all of Christendom. The evidence of this is found in many publications still in print, not only from the pens of those whom God used in spreading these truths, but also from those who rejected them. The nature and unity of the Church, its heavenly calling and hope, the coming of the Lord for and with His own, and many other truths were recovered and loudly proclaimed.

The effect was that many Christians separated themselves from their unscriptural associations and gathered together simply as Christians on the ground of the one Body, unto the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They owned the presence of the Holy Spirit in their midst to guide and direct. Spiritual gifts were recognized, not by man’s appointment, but as given by Christ, the ascended Head of the Church, for the edification of the people of God. This truly was a trimming of the lamps. Everything inconsistent with a going forth to meet the Bridegroom was cut off. These Christians were characterized by simplicity and unworldliness.

Mere profession could not carry this light. The energy was lacking. They might trim their lamps to bring them into outward conformity, but this does not give light. Oil is needed – the power of the Holy Spirit. The foolish turned to the wise for oil only to reveal their folly, even as Simon in Acts 8 was willing to pay money to have the power to communicate the Holy Spirit to others by the laying on of his hands. He thought that the gift of God might be purchased with money. In this it is not man’s place to give, but to receive. “I counsel you to buy from Me” (Rev. 3:18), and the terms of this transaction are laid down in Isaiah 55:1: “Without money and without price.”

It is clear that we do not have the gospel presented in the words of the wise virgins, but a warning. We desire to press this message upon the conscience of any who are relying upon something other than the work of God in their souls. “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Rom. 8:9). These words are unmistakably clear. You may belong to the best church organization on earth and be the most zealous religious worker to be found, but if you do not have the Spirit of Christ you do not belong to Him. All your good works are worthless for they are nothing but dead works, an empty profession. You may compare yourself with other professing Christians and come to the conclusion that you are better than they. You have committed no “big sins,” as people say. But remember, when the foolish virgins came and said, “Lord, Lord, open to us!” the solemn reply was, “I do not know you.” Have you come to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation?

There is also a solemn warning in this parable for each one who sincerely loves our Lord. The midnight cry has been sounded, “Behold, the Bridegroom is coming; go out to meet Him.” How has this affected us? Has the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ brought about a response in our hearts? Have we earnestly replied, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus”? Is this accompanied by a separated walk and devotion to Him? Do our behavior and dress speak of separation rather than conformity to the world? This world is guilty of having crucified the Lord of Glory. Can we then join hands with this Christ-rejecting world and at the same time render a faithful testimony to Him? We cannot and we must not! In the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, “the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14 KJV). “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13 NKJV).

As the Bridegroom, our Lord’s interests are centered in His own. He knows them that are truly His, He calls His own sheep by name, and He goes before them. He alone is worthy of our hearts’ affections. “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Heb. 12:28).

Should we preach the kingdom of God?

QUESTIONS:“Preaching the kingdom of God.” 

• What does this mean?

• Should believers today preach the kingdom of God?

• Does that embrace the gospel as set forth in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4?

ANSWER: The apostle of the Gentiles, although for two years prisoner at Rome, was preaching the kingdom of God (Acts 28:31). Remarkable! In Rome, the very center of man’s greatness and power, Paul had the courage to proclaim the majesty and glorious greatness of his Lord and Master. The world had viewed that same blessed One as worthless, crowned Him with a crown of thorns and crucified Him. Yet, He is risen, exalted and glorified on the Father’s throne. He will soon come again to reign on this earth where He was crucified.

The apostle in his parting address to the elders of Ephesus said, “… the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more” (Acts 20:24-25 NKJV). The burden of the ministry, which he had received, was to witness to the grace of God and proclaim the kingdom of God. These things are linked together. It could not be otherwise.

Our Savior is the Messiah, the King of Israel. Looking at the Psalms one can count 25 or more references to God’s anointed King, such as:

  • “My King” in Psalm 2:6 is God’s Son, the Son of the Father’s love,
  • “My King and my God” in Psalm 5:2,
  • “The LORD is King forever and ever” in Psalm 10:16, and
  • “Who is this King of glory? … The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah” in Psalm 24:7-10.

We leave this very profitable study to you to pursue.

The Son of God came into this scene by becoming Man. He has the dignity of the King. The theme of the Gospel of Matthew is “the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” That is the royal One, the King and the Promised Seed. Therefore we read at once: “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” (Mt. 1:1, 2:2).

The theme of the Gospel of John is the glories of the Son of God, yet nowhere in the Gospels is the Lord Jesus so much spoken of as the King as here. Only John records that the multitudes after the feeding of the five thousand “were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king” (Jn. 6:15).

In chapter 12 our blessed Lord was honored at the table as the King. Some of His own had made Him a supper and each one was delighting to take their place which grace had given them. One was serving and another enjoying fellowship. Mary brought the ointment of spikenard, very costly, and lavished it all upon His feet. She recognized Him alone to be worthy of all. “While the king is at his table, my spikenard sends forth its fragrance” (Song 1:12). Oh, that all the Lord’s own would understand this better and be so willing to pour the adoration of worshiping hearts at His holy feet! He surely is worthy. The savor of His great Name would fill all the house and be carried everywhere (Jn. 12:3; 2 Cor. 2:14).

Again in John 12 we read: “A great multitude … cried out: Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!” (vv.12-13; see Psalm 118:25-26). The Holy Spirit applied Zechariah 9:9 to this scene: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.” He received this recognition as “the King of Israel” from the multitude, but He is soon seen weeping because they had not known the time of their visitation (Lk. 19:37-44). After the rapture the godly remnant will pass through exercises of heart and be willing to receive Him as their King. But now only His sheep know His voice and follow Him (Jn. 10:4).

At the close of John’s gospel, the Lord is the object of scorn. Pilate speaks seven times of Him as King:

  1. “Are You the King of the Jews?” (Jn. 18:33).
  2. “Are You a king then?” The Lord’s faithful answer was, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (v.37).
  3. “Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” (v.39).
  4. Pilate’s soldiers crowned Him with a crown of thorns and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” (19:3). Pilate brought Him forth so arrayed thus giving this act his public approval (v.5).
  5. “Behold your King!” (v.14).
  6. “Shall I crucify your King?” (v.15).
  7. Pilate gave the last in writing: “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS” (v.19). “What I have written, I have written” (v.22) was his final, unalterable verdict. Although an unrighteous judge and not realizing what he was saying, Pilate bore witness to the truth.

Although Jew and Gentile have disowned the Lord as King, “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” All His own gladly recognize His glory as King. Yet someone will reply, “We are a heavenly people and He will be the King for an earthly people.” Very well! But let me illustrate the point.

A bride, soon to be queen, the king’s wife, delights much in the fact that her lover is the coming king. He has not as yet ascended the throne. The day of coronation is still future. She will love to speak of his being honored as the king. She loves that day. To her he will be the loving husband, yet she is happy to tell of his dignity and majesty. She is much grieved at his being rejected and could never associate for a moment with those who scorn the coming king. So it is with the Christian today.

We are a heavenly people and are waiting here in this scene for our heavenly Bridegroom, who will soon come to take us to Himself (Jn. 14:3; 1 Th. 4:16-17). We also love His appearing (2 Tim. 4:8; 1 Jn. 3:2), when He will come in His glory. We, the redeemed, will be with Him. As King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Tim. 6:15), He will take His rightful place and reign. Then it will be proclaimed, “The kingdom of the world of our Lord and His Christ is come, and He shall reign to the ages of ages” (Rev. 11:15 JND), and the 24 elders are seen on their faces worshiping God at that glorious sight. We do so now in anticipation of that day.

The King is rejected now but He has been enthroned by the Father and crowned with glory and honor. The kingdom as present is a spiritual one. It is the sphere where the will of God is recognized and obeyed. Only those “born again” can see and enter the kingdom of God today (Jn. 3:3,5,7). We are to seek that kingdom and His righteousness; He has promised to take care of the other things. Our Father knows what we need (Mt. 6:32-33).

We are to be the proclaimers of the gospel of the grace of God to the lost sinners of the world, also instructing them in the kingdom of God. We should love to tell of the royal majesty of our blessed Lord. The place as King is due to Him in this scene of His rejection. It is sad that we hear so little of that coming, glorious day of His appearing. Some preachers even deny that there will be such a display of Christ’s glory in this scene.

The verses mentioned in our question, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, are the fundamentals of the gospel: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (NKJV). But that is not all. In the same chapter the kingdom is spoken of in verses 23-26. Later, we read of the mystery of His coming for His own (vv.51-57).

The term “gospel” means “the glad tidings,” and it includes all! All is important in its place. Christ’s birth is “good tidings of great joy” (Lk. 2:10). His death and completion of the redemptive work is a source of glad tidings for sin-troubled souls – here they learn that the sin question has been divinely settled. The resurrection of the Lord is good news, for here we learn that we are justified. Not a single charge can be brought against one who puts his trust in the risen Savior. He is coming again for us – believers. That is good news rich with comfort for we will then be forever with the Lord. What joy to Him and to us! He is going to come with His own to reign – what glad tidings for the godly remnant and joy to us to see Him receive His rightful place and reign, and we with Him!

Answered by G. A. Wiese in the September,1939 Grace & Truth Magazine (adapted).