Saturday, 22 October 2011

THE SPIRIT OF THE AGE IS A DEADLY SPIRIT

“Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?”
(Psalm 139:21)

Ah, the spirit of the age is a deadly spirit. A man may now almost profess anything so long as he is sincere; and so long as his conduct is moderately straight, nothing must be said, nothing.

O may we care for God’s honour more than for anything else – for the Person, the immaculate, the mysterious, the glorious, the complex, the immortal Person of Immanuel, God with us.

May we hold the immortality of His sacred humanity from the moment He was conceived.

May we contend for and hold fast these merciful truths, without which we must be undone for ever and ever.

Well, do you care for these things?

I am speaking to the wise virgins, God’s people.

Do you care for the honour of God?

Then take up your sword!

By James Popham

Saturday, 24 September 2011

RIGHTEOUSNESS IMPUTED

Righteousness imputed!

This makes the person beautiful in God's sight, because it makes him just. Sinner, this must be your title. This is your title to bliss. This must be your perfection, and if you have any desire after Christ, may I say this to you. Do entreat the Lord to reveal in you the righteousness of Christ, for true salvation, vital godliness, is more than a matter of idea. There must be this, shall I say this substitutionary thing, perfect righteousness, and this is Christ. Hence the name that is given Him: "This is the name whereby he shall be called, the Lord our Righteousness." (Jeremiah 23:6)

If you want thorns in your dying pillow, live carelessly, live as your natural mind dictates, be careless of your profession. If you want comfort and peace on your dying bed, beg of God to reveal in you Jesus Christ as your righteousness, and if you get that revelation it will make you very careful about your walk.

You will want to please Him who has made you acceptable to Himself, made you beautiful even as He Himself if. "For as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17).

This is His righteousness; this is the sinner's righteousness, this is His beauty. All in all. No thread of human goodness will ever be added to this. Not a single deed that a child of God does, however holy, will ever be added to this righteousness. By the help of God, I will shut the creature out as much as I can; yea, the Scripture does it. He is all righteousness. Here is our plea, here is our title, here is our beauty, here is our comfort.

By James K. Popham

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

THIS GLORIOUS GOSPEL

This glorious gospel, is the gospel of the imputation of sin to a suitable sinless person, the Saviour.

In this epistle it is said, God "hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew not sin." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

There was a complete transference, a mutual transference; the transferring of guilt to the Saviour, and the transferring of His righteousness to the sinner; "that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."

Take this out of the gospel and what is there left that is worth notice?

Take this out of the gospel and how could a wretch who feels his wretchedness in sin have any hope in the mercy of God?

Such is a terrible gospel; no gospel at all if imputation is taken away.

Eliminate this doctrine of the imputation of sin to Christ, and the imputation of righteousness to the sinner, and we are all as good as in hell; there is nothing for us but perdition.

When a sinner, brought by the Spirit of God into solemn and deep despair of himself and of his own righteousness, looks on the Lord Jesus, and adoringly and wonderingly believes in the imputation that removes from himself all sin and brings to him nothing but righteousness, he is complete in Christ. That is the gospel word.

"And ye are complete in Him." (Colossians 2:10)

Completely justified and completely saved.

Glorious gospel!

If this but shines into our hearts what a happy people we shall be!

By James Popham

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A DIFFICULTY RESOLVED


There are some difficulties in the way. One difficulty is this: An honest conscience, an instructed heart is so sensible of the ease with which one may be deceived by one’s own heart, as to feel it a great hindrance; and yet it helps. We may be searching and trying, weighing and testing, looking for a repentance that we do not feel, a broken heart which we have not got, faith which we fear we do not possess, feelings of contrition, of love, of spirituality of mind, which are far above us; and we may say, “I shall never reach that kingdom, never get into it. I am carnal, sold under sin; what shall I do?” Not finding the graces of the Spirit flourishing in us, we are apt to conclude that we have never been born again, never had the Holy Spirit and never tasted that the Lord is gracious.

I believe the tempter is here. He endeavours to keep before the mind the graces of the Spirit as a foundation.

What a mistake he causes us to make!

How happy would some of us be at certain moments if we could but feel repentance and faith and hope and love and a broken heart!

How gladly would we, as we think, go to God if such and such graces were flourishing in us!

We little suspect what I believe to be the truth, that the devil and our own hearts are together in plotting against us, trying to make of graces, which flow from Christ, a foundation.

He is the Foundation for graceless sinners.

“Sinners are high in His esteem,
And sinners highly value Him.”


By J.K. Popham - 1925

Thursday, 11 August 2011

BOOK REVIEW: MERCIES OF A COVENANT GOD - BY J.K. POPHAM

Mercies of a Covenant God - By John Warburton;

Hardback; 255 pages;

Published by Gospel Standard Trust Publications.

We are thankful for this so gracious, so God-honouring a book, displaying, as it does, in a very lively manner, the sovereign love of God the Father in election, the efficacy of the blood of God the Son, with which He purchased the church, and the mercy of God the Holy Ghost in the washing of regeneration.

The simple, original, and in some ways powerful narrative of the dealings of his covenant God with one who was designed to receive grace for the ministry, for the "obedience to the faith" of many precious souls, is very attractive, and we hope may be the means of much good in the church of God.

In the first place, it tells of the wonderful, the clear work of the Holy Ghost in quickening, converting, and separating John Warburton from sin and the world. For
indeed, before this divine operation, he walked according to the course of this world; to use his own words, he...

"was given up to all manner of wickedness, and so continued until I arrived at that time and place God had purposed, not to offer, but to call by grace.

'To change the heart, renew the will,
And turn the feet to Zion's hill.'
"


We most heartily welcome this dear book, because, if we have "the seeing eye," we shall see the great works of the Lord, which are "sought out of all them that have pleasure therein;" see not a natural religion, not a towardness to God, but a mighty, a radical, an inward change, a powerful life, whose source, and nature, and end he himself knew not for a long time. It was eternal life which wrought, bubbled, boiled over, wrought according to its own nature, and manifested itself by its appetite, raising the forlorn sinner towards its glorious Source and End. Like its divine Author, it "could not be hid."

Mr. Warburton's convictions of sin were deep, too deep for a human gospel; the wounds could not be slightly healed. The holy, just, and good law handled him severely, to use one man's word, it "killed his heart;" or as Paul expresses the matter, "I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died" (Romans 7:9).

And as the killing work was powerful and clear, so was the blessed deliverance. Mr. Roby, whom Mr. Warburton was hearing, read a precious text, "Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive; Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them" (Psalm 68:18).

The word was the word of a King; it was not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; and it was received in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.

Writing of it, Mr. Warburton says,

"O the wonder and the glory that shone into my soul! O the love, the peace, and joy that broke into my heart as the words came out of his mouth! They were truly sweeter than ten thousands of gold and silver."


Thus the man who died by the operation of the law in him, Romans 7:9, became dead to the law by the body of Christ, Romans 7:4.

Let it suffice, then, to say that he received a divine call to preach the gospel, that he was anointed thereto, that constant and heavy trials in providence, and constant and remarkable deliverances were commanded for him, and that in an eminent degree his ministry was owned of God at Trowbridge, and that his end was peace.

We cannot forbear giving our readers a beautiful ascription of praise and glory to the Trinity which Mr. Warburton penned after one of his many marked deliverances.

"And why, O my soul, art thou not amongst them [the false prophets]?

Is it because thou hast merited His favour more than they?

O no; it is because it pleased the God and Father of all mercies and all comfort that it should be so. Blessings and honours be unto Thee, O holy God the Father, that ever Thy love and choice was fixed upon such a brat of hell as I.

Honours, blessings, majesty, praises, and glories for ever crown Thy head, O holy God the Son, equal with the Father, and one with Him, that ever Thou didst condescend to take my nature into union with Thy divine Person, didst obey and righteously fulfil all the demands of the holy law, and didst satisfy divine Justice for all my cursed sins; didst conquer death and him that hath the power of death, even the devil; and hath ascended up on high, and taken possession of the inheritance, and ever liveth to make intercession for my poor soul.

And O Thou holy God, Thou blessed Spirit, one with the Father and the Son, blessings, honours, majesty and glories for ever be unto Thee, that ever Thou didst pick up my poor soul out of the ruins of the Fall; didst kill me to all works of righteousness which I could do; didst reveal justifying righteousness and pardoning blood to my heart, and didst bear Thy solemn witness to my spirit that I am an heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ.

O Thou that hast preserved me from falling a prey to the world, the flesh, and the devil all these years up to this moment; that hast lifted up a standard in my soul again and again when the floods of horrid, awful, and unspeakable blasphemies have plunged my poor, trembling soul into such despair that I have many times given it all up as a lost matter!

O holy, blessed Trinity of Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, one God, whom reason cannot fathom, but faith believes, love embraces, and praise adores, bless Thy holy Name. It is in Thy light that I see light; it is Thy smiles that make my smiles; it is Thy strength and power made manifest in me that holds me up and makes me strong; it is Thy Spirit of grace and supplications poured into my heart, that brings my soul to pour it out unto Thee; it is Thy precious gift of faith, and Thy precious power that draws it into exercise, which enables my soul to come with confidence and say, "My Lord and my God;" it is Thy precious presence as my Father, my Friend, and my eternal All, that changes a dungeon into a palace.

Without Thee I am more and more confident that I can do nothing. O, ever keep me, ever teach me, ever uphold me. O, never leave me to myself, my dear Lord, for two are better than one."
(Page 138)


Our concluding word to our readers is, obtain the book, and may God make the reading a blessing to you.

By J.K. Popham

Thursday, 28 July 2011

THE BIBLE "IS" THE WORD OF GOD

Do not be carried away by the deceiving statement that the Bible "contains" the Word of God.

Reflect on it. A container is different from what it contains; it holds something which itself is not.

We say the Bible IS the Word of God.

He gave it.

He spoke it.

It is infallible.

Men will be judged by it. It is the last appeal. It is God's very and immediate Word. By it every man will stand or fall in the last grand size.

By J.K. Popham

Friday, 1 April 2011

SLUMBERING AND SLEEPING

A warning given by J.K. Popham in a sermon in 1900 on the wise and foolish virgins.

-----------------------------------

“They all slumbered and slept.”

Ah, there is much in that word of Solomon; the sluggard calls for a little more sleep and a little more slumber, a little more folding the hands to sleep (Proverbs 6:9-10).

And what follows?

So his poverty cometh like an armed man, as one that travelleth (Proverbs 6:11).

There the lazy creature is. Ah, I know him.

Do you?

He thinks it much to take his hand out of his bosom and convey food to his mouth, so indolent is he. Slothfulness and poverty are companions, and rags are the complement. Therefore, when you look at your soul covered with rags, when you perceive death and poverty and emptiness in your spirit, turn – and God help you, O believer in this sleep, this slumber – turn and rise from your bed.

She said of old when the Lord came near: “My children are with me in bed” (Luke 11:7); “I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?” (Song of Solomon 5:3). You know the result; and some of us have experienced it...

This is part, and only part, of the slumbering and sleeping of the wise virgins. They have vessels of oil, but the lamps are almost gone out. It is dark night; God absent; truth, more or less, absent; hence this condition. One more point and then I will turn to the second part.

There was a time when some of us felt a warm, burning zeal in our souls for the honour of God; it was dear to us. If anyone impugned the truth, O how it stirred us; if anyone seemed to contravene any word of God and go in any way that appeared to tarnish His honour, how it stirred us up!

“Do not I hate them ... that hate Thee? and am not I grieved with those that
rise up against Thee?”

(Psalm 139:21)

But now how is it?

Ah, the spirit of the age is a deadly spirit. A man may now almost profess anything so long as he is sincere; and so long as his conduct is moderately straight, nothing must be said, nothing.

O may we care for God’s honour more than for anything else – for the Person, the immaculate, the mysterious, the glorious, the complex, the immortal Person of Immanuel, God with us.

May we hold the immortality of His sacred humanity from the moment He was conceived.

May we contend for and hold fast these merciful truths, without which we must be undone for ever and ever.

Well, do you care for these things as you once did?

I am speaking to the wise virgins, God’s people.

Do you care for the honour of God as you once cared for it?

Now I just commend these considerations, these points to you. If you are inside these remarks, call them charges if you will, do this – seek grace to fall under them; do not resist, do not object that the man is in a bad spirit, that he is gloomy. Any sort of thing the devil will cause you to say, if he can, to blunt the edge of truth, and take off the point of conviction; but O fall down, and confess, confess.

We turn now to the next part, the sleep of the foolish virgins, this is the sleep of death. They are dead in sins, dead in a profession, dead in formalities.

Some here have that form of truth which we hold here, by reason of their constant attendance.

Such everywhere are to be found.

The land is full of these virgins. But as to any conviction of their state, any cry for mercy, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” as to such exercises, they are dead, fast asleep.

O sinner, if the Bridegroom comes in some judgment, in some providence, or in the hour of death and awakens you only then, it will be a most awful awakening – a terrible awakening, never again to be lost in slumber. Never again will your conscience be soothed in guilty slumber; never again will your mind be eased by the soporific [sleep-inducing drug] of a wicked sleep, never.

This is the sleep of death, the sleep of sin, the sleep of error; it is the sleep of guilt, the sleep of an unbroken condition of death, of alienation from God, from the life of God by wicked works. May the Lord awaken such sleepers in mercy and for the purposes of mercy, if it can be His holy will.

“At midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.”
(Matthew 25:6)

There is coming a time when there will be an awakening. May the Lord in His kindness awaken His poor, sleeping saints to a closer exercise, a more gracious believing, a warmer love, a more vigorous hope. If it can be His gracious will, may He do it for me and for you, my beloved friends.

I am often in these days depressed and discouraged. We are in dark days. There is no denying it on the part of those who see things in the light of God’s truth, who see and know what vital religion is. The Bridegroom is tarrying. There is a grievous withholding of the Holy Ghost, of gracious fear, of heavenly communications; and the sad effect, the guilty effect upon us, is this sleeping and slumbering.

May the Lord have mercy upon us poor, miserable creatures.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

CHRIST'S GLORY IN THE CHURCH

Preached At Galeed Chapel, Brighton, on Lord's day
evening, August 5th, 1923 - By J.K. Popham
________________________________

"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
(Ephesians 3:20-21)
________________________________

There is a rule to which I must draw your attention; a rule whereby the ability of God may be apprehended by us. Unless we come under this rule we shall never understand how God can supply all our needs according to His riches in glory. The rule is in the last member of this twentieth verse, "according to the power that worketh in us." If you say that you believe God can do everything, have you any standard or rule by which you may say that? One may appeal to the Bible and say, believing that, "I cannot but believe God can do all things." That is most true, that is a good rule and it is good that men observe it. O! that England once more might return to Holy Scripture, that every one of you not born again might have that rule in your own minds and stick fast to it, that good to yourselves, your families, and to the nation can be wrought according to the testimony of the word of God. Might it please God to say one thing to you, that He can, and will punish sin, and if you die in sin He can and will punish you; that He is able to sustain you in being through eternity and fill you with that punishment which your sins deserve. God make you think of this, sinner, make you believe it and fear Him.

There is another rule, different and more intimate, and that is the rule of a personal experience. "according to the power that worketh in us." This shows that those for whom this prayer is offered, the people of God, have in their own hearts a rule whereby they can say they believe the Lord can do more for them than they are able to ask or think. Has God put that rule in us? Do we know that He can save us from sin because He has forgiven sin? That He can hold converse with worms because He has graciously spoken to us; that He can deliver out of snares because He has delivered us; that He can make us well acquainted with Christ because we have had some acquainting of that divine Person given to us, some hints, some touches of His graciousness? This is "the power that worketh in us." Can we say we believe that He can raise us up from all the bad and low conditions and states of mind into which we fall, because He has raised up already from time to time? Mind this rule. It is not speculation; it is not notion, it is experience. I can say, some of you can say, He can melt our hearts with love because He had done it in us, and He can do more than this. We can say He can bring us into intimacy with Himself beyond all that we have ever asked or thought, because in some measure He has already granted that intimacy to us. What He has done in us says He can do more than this. What He has spoken to us according to that word, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit," (1 Cor. 2:9,10) and what He has revealed says He can reveal more. If you stood on the edge of this ocean; if your feet have been led by it; if the eye of your faith has looked somewhat upon it, look at a distance and seen this ocean flowing, the ocean of grace and of salvation and of love, then you can say: I believe God can bring me into that, make me swim in it and bring me into it eternally so that I shall never be able to pass it. It will be a river too, yes, in the language of the scripture, "A river that cannot be passed over."

He is a good man who has in him this inward rule, this rule of the Holy Spirit's indwelling and teaching and operation. This tells us that true religion is no cold picture but a living thing in the heart; that it is God coming to and taking up His abode in a sinner, teaching, leading, speaking, anointing, helping and sealing; and that what He has done He can exceed beyond our requests. Meditate on this. Go to Him as you can with this rule in your heart and experience, and with this petition: Do again for me, and do more for me that Thou hast done, more than I can ask, more than I can think.

"Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." The church is composed of regenerate persons, called and chosen and faithful. The first gospel church we are told about in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. After the three thousand had been converted, had gladly received the words of Peter and had been baptized they were added unto the church. Then, "the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved," and very soon we read of the number being five thousand, and multitudes being added. A church is a congregation of the faithful. A visible church is a church gathered into one place, not a national church but a church gathered into one place. It is composed presumably of true believers, persons who have received the grace of God not in vain and have been brought in the providence of God into one place, having their hearts attracted each to the other and united first in spiritual union, and then in the bonds of visible church fellowship. We read of the churches in Galatia, the church at Ephesus, the church in Corinth, the church in Thessalonica, and so on.

We read in the Book of the Revelation of seven churches, seven golden candlesticks, this representing the church of Christ perfected from time to time in the holy dealings of the Holy Spirit, and in the all wise and all powerful providence of God. Christ walks in a church. We see Him walking in the midst of the seven candlesticks; His eyes were open and were as flames of fire to search; His feet were as if they burned in a furnace to try; His voice was full of majesty as the sound of many waters to alarm, to command, to control; and out of His mouth goes a sharp two-edged sword, that is, the word of the living God Himself speaking.

The presence of Christ gives consistency and strength and beauty and glory to the church. No church is living, though it may have a correct form, though it may have all true orthodoxy, it cannot be a living church if Christ is absent. Are we a living church? Is His gracious presence with us? I do not speak now of individuals, I believe there are individuals and many of them in this congregation with whom Christ is, to whom He has spoken, with whom He has walked. These, if they were taken to a desert place, away from all christian fellowship, from the ministry and from the bible itself, these would live, these would have the presence of God. "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee," belongs to individual members of the invisible church, it will stand to the end; but when you come to a collective body, then the question is prompted, is He with us as a church? May the Lord give an answer for His great name's sake, in this church.

In such a church as I have mentioned there is to be glory to God, and this glory is by Jesus Christ and it is to continue, "throughout all ages, world without end, Amen." What is this glory? It is the glory of God's grace; the riches of the glory of His grace; the riches of the glory that His people have when they have a real hope, the hope of His calling. This glory is the indwelling of the Trinity; the Father walking in the church; the Son walking in the midst of the churches; the Holy Spirit making the church His temple. This is a true church that has the Trinity in it. Every church of Christ believes in the Trinity. Every church of Christ believes in the Eternal God, the Eternal Father, the Eternal Son and the Eternal Spirit, one God subsisting in three persons in the mysterious relationship that is in that great word, "Father, Son and Holy Ghost."

This glory is in a church in particular ways, as first, of life in Christ Jesus. O! the glory of spiritual life in a sinner, how it is destined to put its foot upon corrupt nature. O! the glory of this life that tramples under foot the power of this world. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." (1 John 5:4) The glory of this life is that it shows itself in hunger for God, hunger and thirst after righteousness. Yes, and if we should degenerate as a church, if we should become as that church did of which the Lord says, "I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth" then the knowledge of the Trinity will die away from us; and woe to any church from which that knowledge has died. Beware, dear friends, of the weakening of the faith of the living God; of the weakening of your apprehension of the Trinity, the ever blessed Jehovah manifesting Himself according to scripture; beware of that, for this text applies to the church, "Thy God thy glory." "Awake, awake; put on strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments." (Isa. 52:1) It is said, "The glory of the Lord is risen upon thee," (Isa. 60:1) and that must be the glory of God in Christ. Do you get communications from God? Do we as a people, living, professing christians, get communications from God? Is he silent to us, or does He speak? The glory of a church is the glory of God's presence, that wonderful presence that can never be explained, that is felt; that wonderful presence that some know, that brings intimacy, and conformity to the will of God and the very image of God.

Secondly, the glory of divine grace is manifested in the operations of the Holy Spirit; and these operations are sovereign. The continual conviction of our own ruin in Adam and by our own foolishness and sinning, will never die from the visible church. The healthier an individual is and the healthier a church is, the more his conviction of indwelling sin and the law in the members is felt, the more powerful does it work, for the Holy Spirit does convince us. Why, you young people, young in the fear and ways of God, you may think you know enough of sin. You know enough for the moment, enough to make you sick of self, enough to make you flee to the Lord Jesus, and that is great; but as you grow and as you increase in knowledge, you will increase in sorrow. Solomon's language will be true in you, "He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow," for as you increase in knowledge of yourself you will increase in sorrow that you are such a sinner. I believe I knew something of my heart more than 50 years ago now, but I did not know much; I did not know myself half as much I know myself today, and one result was that I did not flee to the Saviour half as much as I am obliged to flee now. I have not the dread of hell today as then, but the dread of falling into sin, of falling a prey to the evils of my own heart; this is with me. Every living church will have sorrow in this, and this is the sorrow that there is in each member a quarrel with God, a natural enmity to God. Down must you go that Christ may be lifted up! You must decrease that He may increase. You must see yourself that you may value a sight of Him; you must see the ugliness of sin and believe there is nothing uglier, nothing to be called evil in the whole world but sin, and then, how you will value the Lord Jesus!

There will be also the remedy for the malady; the Saviour for sinners; the Mediator for the dumb; the Intercessor for those who cannot take their own cases in hand. The Spirit of Christ will receive of His things and show them to faith. O! what a people of God you have where you have a revealed Christ. When heart joins to heart, when faith in one and faith in another and faith in the body will be running out in fervent desires and in constant errands to the throne of God's heavenly grace to the person of the Lord Jesus. There will be the shoes of "the preparation of the gospel of peace." "How beautiful are thy feet with shoes O prince's daughter!" it is said in the Song of Solomon. How beautiful are the Lord's people in Christ; their experience is beautiful. Yes, she is beautiful within. "The king's daughter is all glorious within," (Ps. 45:13) in the operations of the Holy Spirit. Faith pleasing God; love running out to Him; hope casting anchor in Him; patience waiting for Him, and humility taking the lowest place. This is the internal beauty of the church. The badger's skin covering all the beauty of the temple hid that beauty from the eyes of a stranger, but God was there and He saw the beauty. You may have a rough exterior but if you have that internal beauty of the Holy Spirit you have a great deal. "Her clothing is of wrought gold," the righteousness of the Lord Jesus that both justifies and beautifies. This is the glory of God.

God's glory is also in that He bears patiently with His children who are so wayward and barren and so prone to wander from Him. They are so prone to keep Him out when He comes at night with His locks filled with the dews of the night and says, "Open to Me, My sister, My love;" (Songs 5:2) so prone to say "I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?" Yet He bears with such people. Some of us are obliged to confess that this has been our conduct, our treatment of our best Friend and yet He has patiently borne with us and turned again with double love. This is the glory of God that He bears with His erring backsliding people.

It is the glory of a church and of an individual child of God, that the Lord Jesus does hold communion, and does communicate to His people of His love and His mercy and His word. Yes, there is an intimacy, and though I know but little of it, I would not part with that little for the world. When sometimes in secret you are seeking the Lord; confessing to Him your felt unworthiness, barrenness, and ignorance and bemoaning your sinfulness, does He not graciously whisper some kind word? Does He not, now and again, touch you with the finger of His love? Does He not bid you look to Him, because all your fruit is found from Him? When you go to Him with all that you are and have, does He not say, "I have heard him, and observed him;....From Me is thy fruit found." "I am the true vine;....as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me;....for without Me he can do nothing." (John 15:1-5) Is that not true? And does He not graciously speak such things to us? telling us to abide in Him. "Abide in Me, and My words abide in you." There is intimacy. May we look for it as a people. May we pray for it as a people, that He would speak to us.

Would not this be a wonderful remedy for some of our own ways? Would it not save us from many things? Should we employ our tongues as we often do if the Lord were to speak to us? We should praise Him. We should be saying to our souls, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name." No man, no minister, no exhortations, no letter of the scripture, no warning will ever contain this unruly member. We speak against the Lord, and we speak wrong things. But if the Lord were to communicate more to us of Himself, it would be the cure; the taming of the unruly member. Is not the glory of the church conformity to the truth? What says the Apostle by the Holy Ghost to the Romans? "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you." (Rom. 6:17) God runs you into the truth as molten metal is run into a mould; you take its shape, and so when God is with people and speaks the truth in power to their souls, they take the shape of truth and there is a divine beauty put upon them, a beauty that never can be where the truth is not present in power and in glory. Every word that the Lord has spoken to His people has had an effect upon them. Every word they receive from heaven does something for them, moulds their will and their affections and their understanding and brings them into some degree of conformity to the truth they hear with power. Is not the glory of a church conformity to Christ's image? Are not the Lord's people predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ and to His suffering image? They suffer for sin and they suffer by sin; sin their greatest cross, their sharpest pain, their deepest shame; it is the cause of their fears and doubts and weakness and failings. Sin is the root of evil in them and it brings forth evil to them and much pain. Christians are predestinated to the glorious image of Christ; He rose from the dead, so do they rise from the dead; they are baptized into His death and they are raised up in the likeness of Him who is their life; they are called upon to reckon themselves dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ. This is their glory. Their glory is the name which He gives to them; a name better than that of sons and daughters; the name is this, "The Lamb's wife."

God's saints and churches as such, rightly led, pray,

"Make the union closer yet,
And let the marriage be complete."

There is a person by whom this glory comes, by Christ Jesus and by the death of Christ. Let us go back a little. Let us come in spirit as we may to the birth of Christ. It was unique, a birth of a miraculous nature. He was born of the virgin, and this is the birth we are to celebrate continually. Christ is born. What a mercy it is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ born of the Virgin Mary. All God's glory is here; the fullness of the Godhead bodily dwells in the man Christ Jesus. Go with Him to His baptism and there is the Trinity, the Father owning Him, the Spirit descending upon Him. Follow Him into the wilderness of temptation, forty days and forty nights with wild beasts and tempted of the devil; subjected in His temptations to all the indignity and pollution of the devil; yet nothing touched Him, for He resisted unto blood, He strove and He conquered. Go with Him throughout Judaea and watch Him doing miracles, for God was with Him. Follow Him into the garden of Gethsemane and see there the man Christ Jesus, weak and yet strong, submitting Himself to the will of His Father. Then follow Him into the judgment hall where His judgment was taken away in the day of His humiliation; and thence to Calvary.

What is all this? It is the glory of God; the manifestation of divine love; the flowing out of infinite goodness, the forth goings of the grace of God in and by Jesus Christ. Sin is put away, everlasting righteousness is brought in and the name of God honoured. Grace is great but the equity of the law is equal to it. The law can never be dishonoured, and the grace of Christ honoured the law and magnified it and made it honourable. (Isa. 42:21) Then this is wrought in experience as He comes to His dear children; He speaks life into their souls by His Spirit; He comforts them with love; He indulges them with His presence; He gives them from time to time to know that He put away their sins, as it is written, "Ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins." (1 John 3:5) What a wonder this is, that God should gather people to Himself in Jesus Christ and see in them no sin, and declare to them that they are without spot or wrinkle or blemish or any such thing. (Eph. 5:27) "Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus."

There is a glory of God in the law and that will overtake all mockers and wall who die in their sins; a terrible end that will be when the glory of God shines illustriously in their everlasting condemnation. May none of us know that glory. But this glory is mild, is bearable, is beautiful, is communicable and is communicated by the Holy Spirit, the glory of the man Christ Jesus; the glory of His work, the glory of His death, the glory of His resurrection, the glory of His ascension into heaven. This glory is upon them, "Let My name be named on them." The glory of the gospel is in the church. It was Paul's labour and prayer that the truth of the gospel might continue with the Galatians. Beset by tempters and by false teachers, they were much damaged, and he prays that the truth of the gospel, which they had for the moment turned away from, might continue with them. Thus he travailed in birth for them again until Christ should again come to them and be in them as He had been, the hope of glory.

Do you feel afraid of losing the truth? Do you even fear the truth may depart from you? Have you ever a fear that it won't continue with us here? One may say I am determined never to let it go, but the probability is, you have not got it. The people who have it say, "Lord take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth." That is the way the Lord's people go. They stand in weakness; they move by prayer; they hold fast by these supplications; they stand in faith; be not high-minded. Faith alone will keep you holding to the throne of grace and to the atonement of the Lord Jesus.

This, then, is just a little hint of the glory of God in the church by Christ Jesus and it is to continue through all ages. Visible churches have risen and fallen; have come into being and have passed away. Seven such churches were in Asia, they are not there now. Churches in this our own beloved country have been raised up and continued for a time. But churches pass away; they come, they go; they live for a time, then they die. Yet in the true church, there is a continuance throughout all ages. First here then there, there is a living church of the living God and in that church visibly the glory of God is "by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, would without end." Can you say honestly as in God's sight, regarding what is the glory of a church; can you say, Amen? And can you put your hand on your heart and say: Let that glory be here; then let me be part of a church of Christ? Have you courage, being a sinner, to look to the Lord Jesus and say,

"Enter the chambers of my breast
Thyself prepare the room."

Can you invite Him? Have you courage of faith to invite Him to come and enter your heart? If you have, you do not know yet how pleased He will be to answer you; what delight and pleasure it will be to Him to come and say: This is My bride; this is My house, I bought this sinner with My blood, he is Mine; I claim him, I have given him prayer, here I come with My answer, thou art Mine. O! sinner, what a day that will be when He so comes to you. The grace of God is great; the love of Christ is infinite; the grace of the Spirit is omnipotent and when this Holy, Holy, Holy Trinity shall come, then the sinner will welcome Him. May it please the Lord to glorify Himself in our midst and in our hearts. Amen.

CHRIST - THE END OF THE LAW FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

Preached At Galeed Chapel, Brighton, on Lord's day Morning June 24th, 1900 - by J.K. Popham
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"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth."
(Romans 10:4)
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Real religion has a foundation. A religion without a foundation is like a house built upon the sand, like a ship without a keel, like a piece of India-rubber. God has made us religious creatures. He laid the principle of religion in our nature and then He gave, in a revelation of His will, the form of that religion, prescribed its duties, and set forth its last great end, namely Himself. The will of God as revealed is the only right rule and foundation of all things that He has made, and the revelation of His will respecting what He will have His creatures do and what He will not have them do that is, I say, the bottom and root and end of all natural religion. He gave this to pure man, and it holds still. The law is the measure and rule of all our duties, obligations, and ends. Every person here is under that rule. Every person here has to be judged by that law, by that revelation of God's will. While compliance with this law continued death was nowhere in existence; that is to say, it had no place in our nature. It is very probable that we have no proper conception in this our fallen state of what we were as from the hand of our Creator placed in Eden; what our understanding was in its grasp, its pure light, its apprehension of the Creator; what our will was in lying absolutely straight with the revealed will of God; what our affections were with no taint in them, no disposition to irregular objects that we are forbidden. I think it probable we have no proper conception of all this. Now because we are absolutely ruined, laid in the dust, as when one cutteth wood chips fly about, our nature is sent flying into bits all about, and no part, no piece is sound or complete, rottenness has entered into our bones. And yet that law is as absolute, its requirements as broad, its penetration to the depth of our nature as deep, its obligations as binding, though we have lost all ability to comply with it, and there we are!

Well now, natural religion having a place in us and not being wholly destroyed, sends men about with this conviction, that something is wrong, we are not as we ought to be; sends men hither and thither therefore to help themselves to that which is good. In the Jewish religion it took that particular form, that their hearts were wholly set on the externals that God gave them to teach other things. Having done them they were satisfied. They went about to establish a righteousness of their own, and this was not submitting themselves unto the righteousness of God. And now there are some people here who are doing the same thing. We all of us did. When God laid His hand upon us we went about strenuously doing that, and should have been doing it today if the Lord had not put an end to it. And there are others who feel they have not quite done their duty. What do they do? They go about to establish their own righteousness and to be very busy. Now that belongs to all of us, and I would that God if it should please Him would press it on the consciences of those who have never felt it. It would be a blessing for you to be brought to consider what your obligations, duties, and debts are, and that you cannot meet any of them.

Ah my young friends, many of you were the children of Christian parents! I was not born in religion. You were, and you cannot be thankful enough for it in a sense, that you were born under the sound of the truth. But O if God would do something more for you, that would be a blessing added to what you now have! O it would be a blessing!

This being the case that we are all born with the bottom completely knocked out of us, that we have got such a twist as nothing can put straight, the whole creation must wholly die, what will the Lord do? I will tell you what He has done made "a new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness," (2 Pet. 3:13) made a new covenant because the old covenant could not give life; made a new one that does give life, and in this new covenant put a bottom that never can be moved. He has bottomed it on His sovereign eternal love, and laid at the bottom of it and as the ground of all His covenant purposes the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and has constituted Him as the Head and Saviour of the body. Then in the fullness of time He sent this Jesus Christ, and that Lord Almighty, that eternal Son of God, took our nature and in that nature obeyed the law perfectly, He took when He assumed our nature, every debt, every duty, every obligation, and every liability His people have on them He took them all. O what a heart He has! O what strength He had, what love!

He began at the beginning where we turned aside. There Christ took His first step. We stepped aside in our conception, and I wish to draw your attention to that vital truth, that we were born in sin. Whether you believe it or not, that is the truth. Christ was born holy that is the truth. "That holy thing," said the angel to the virgin; spotless humanity, impeccable holiness, Jesus Christ born of a woman, made under the law. (Gal. 4:4) That was the beginning, my friends; you think of it! Religion without doctrine is like jelly, nothing in it, no consistency, no form. O this blessed doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ has a bottom! It gives form and substance to religion.

Well I will show you, as God helps me, a little how this comes to pass, that man is brought to submit to this righteousness of Christ as being the end of the law. Now the law one day will enter an action against every subject of it, no matter who he is. I tell you my hearers, you are born under the law, and that law will one day enter an action and demand satisfaction, and it will depend on what answer there is to it as to how you will be for eternity. Now when the Holy Spirit begins the work of grace He puts the law to a man's heart and life; often to his life first, so that external excrescences and inconsistencies are rectified. You could not lie, be a drunkard, live in open sin, transact business as a worldly man does, with the holy straight law of God in your conscience. When these external matters are put straight it shows a man where his affections should be set, what his duties to his fellow-creature are. It shows him he has never done one single thing right heart wrong, lip wrong, eyes wrong. God jostles out the world set in his heart. Now he is before God's bar. Some of us have been there, and I wish others might be brought there. Our mouths stopped, we become guilty before God, our rags discovered, indwelling corruptions made known. There was a straight line put to us that showed us all our irregularities, our crookedness. It is not enough to discover some crooks. It is as if sometimes God will put a glass, His Word, and focus as it were the glass of His truth in the law and set it right upon us. What does the man do? He falls on his knees and begs God to forgive him, promises never to do so again. What is the effect? He falls the more. What is the result? He becomes worse; this troubles him, affects him, he is wholly wrong. Some can remember this time, how we went to bed troubled and feared opening our eyes in the morning; how we prayed for mercy, promised amendment, stumbled during the day; how we lived in terror of the Almighty, feared the flaming sword of that bright burning justice, the law we had broken, the hand that was on us, the power we could not escape. Those were days some of us will never forget. Jeremiah said: "Remembering the wormwood and the gall, my soul hath them still in remembrance." (Jer. 3:19,20) So long as this goes on in a sinner's conscience and no Christ in view, so long is he distressed.

Now Christ brought home, opened, made known, revealed by the Spirit, becomes the end of this law. Your foes cannot be resisted, your accusations cannot be met or denied, but Christ is the end of the law. He is the end in some remarkable respects. For instance, He is the end of its condemning power. Condemnation, O terrible word when that condemnation is just! In heart, lip, and life depraved, how can man be other than condemned in conscience, in the Scripture, condemned everywhere. He is a poor miserable wretch, a forlorn creature. Then Christ appears, then hope appears like the breaking of the day, like the Morning Star that bids the sinner believe the day is approaching. This view of Christ sets the sinner longing, praying in a new way as it were, opens to him a way of escape. It is like the fresh morning air that plays upon the face, gives some vigour and promise of the sun and a good day. Withdrawn, the sinner sinks again, but he does not forget it, though he may doubt whether God gave it to him. You never will forget it if you have once felt it, it is so wholly different from every operation of the law, every feeling you had under the law. You believe with the heart that there is a way of escape, with the heart that there is a way of salvation; whether for you or not, that is not settled.

When Christ comes He takes the law away and puts in its place the gospel. Christ said: "Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God! He taketh away the first that He may establish the second." (Heb. 10:9) The first is the law. He takes it away in its condemnation and establishes the gospel in its power. The apostle said: "Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Ghost and in much assurance." (1 Thess. 1:5) When Christ is fully manifested and received by faith, then condemnation is gone. The man is no more under that law. The man who has been standing at the bar before the Judge expecting to hear his condemnation, to his astonishment is acquitted. He goes out of the court free, no more under the law. O what a change, what a wonder! Heaven to dawn on a hell-deserving sinner! God to smile on a self-condemned wretch! Christ by His Spirit to breathe peace to a guilty conscience, where the man has felt, "Peace, why that is not possible!" For he has met that Scripture, and that Scripture may have met him: "There is no peace to the wicked;" (Isa. 48:22; Isa. 57:21) and he said, "That is my case." Then to his utter amazement and he cannot believe it he feels peace breathed into his soul. Where is his sin? It is gone.

Now he may not have very distinct apprehensions as to how all this came about. Now God has put the pardon of sin, the peace of Christ into his heart, he has got to the end of his troubles as he thinks, and he has in a sense. He has got no law to fulfil, no righteousness to work out, no straight line by which to walk as God gave to Abraham, no law to judge him, no fire to burn, no sword to cut him off, that being dead wherein he was held. He is dead to the law, its mauling, cutting, condemning power in the conscience; now he is dead to it through the revelation of Christ to his soul. Christ is the end of the law to him.

Why, you know my friends, if any Englishman go over to France and become naturalized, the laws of England would not affect him. A Frenchman would be subject to the French laws, no writ could reach him through any breach of English law. If God has put you under that terrible law of Sinai and killed you, and then in His rich mercy taken hold of you and put you into Christ, planted you in the gospel, put faith into your soul, Sinai's law cannot reign there. Christ is the end of the law, the particular end of its rule, the end of it in respect of its condemnation. You may say: "That is strange preaching for one who should tell people to do what is right." I am not afraid of that objection. Whoever loved as the man who is under the gospel? What wife or husband would be as tender as those under the gospel? Every relationship in life, every matter is borne, every trial carried, every cross taken up under the gospel, as it could not possibly be under the law. Right? Why, you wish to be right in every step of your life! You won't be afraid while the power is upon you, and yet every minute your cry is: "Hold Thou me up and I shall be safe."

I say this it is not done in every case with the same distinctness, with the same measure of power; but every man who comes under the law will be dead in his feelings until he is brought under the gospel by the manifestations of Christ in his soul in some measure. O how sweet it is to find the doctrine of Christ's obedient life in your soul! How good it is to find that what Christ laboured for on earth when He was a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief bears fruit in your experience! O to think He laboured all His life to make this open way for your sinful soul to the Almighty; opened this blessed fountain for your guilty conscience that it might be made pure; worked out this blessed robe of righteousness that you might wear it! All the joys of saints cost Jesus a groan, all the righteousness cost Jesus stripes. I wish I knew this better. I know enough to make me hate myself and love Christ. I love His obedience, His sufferings, and His death. By them I was made nigh, by them I escape in soul experience from the wrath to come. Sinner, thou must come here or be lost! Your soul must embrace this or be lost!

Now if the Holy Ghost bring thee here, lost in sin, condemned by the law, and then that blessed Spirit, the Revealer of Jesus, should bring thee near enough, thy faith will embrace Him. You will close in with Christ and embrace Him in your arms, the Antidote of sin and death. God is then your Friend for ever, never more to forsake, never more to give a legal frown on your spirit. You may have a stroke, many a rod, all from the Father's hand, all in infinite love.

Well now, He is the end of legal repentance. You notice this piece of experience, because it is very wonderful. Legal repentance all the saints know more or less under the law. Everyone will know that sooner or later. Legal repentance has respect to the consequence of sin. Any thief can wish he had not committed the theft with the prison doors shut on him. Legal repentance does not make the sinner love the Judge and hate the sin. It does not fix his eye on the sufferings of Christ. No; he may be filled with legal repentance and yet filled with enmity and bitterness. Let the Lord but come in His gracious Person, love, and blood to your soul, and the law will then be gone as to that effect of it, for Christ will bring His repentance. O that evangelical repentance, how sweet it is! Aye, the nearer you are to the cross, the stronger your repentance will be! The more mercy operates, the sweeter your tears. The more God's love flows in through Christ, the more you will hate the sins that broke that guiltless heart in Gethsemane and at the cross. The more the light of His countenance shines on your soul to reconcile you to God, the more you will be sorry you were ever alienated from Him and that your alienation brought such grief to Christ, such making His heart and bowels like wax. If you have known this, it is such a clean thing in religion.

"A sinner may repent and sing,
Rejoice and be ashamed."

Blessed be God, some of us have lived here, and we know it! You may hear plenty of talk about a cheerful religion. There is the greatest cheerfulness, where divine love is the strongest; and where divine love is the strongest, I am sure in this mortal state we shall find repentance the strongest.

Some of you parents may have broken the hearts of your children when you have been kind and they expected the rod. They might have said: "We will never give in." But you look with a look of love and say: "You will break my heart if you continue this waywardness." That is how the Lord manages us stupid, stubborn, wayward creatures; and when He manages us like that and shows us we broke the guiltless heart of Christ, that always breaks our hearts. Christ is the end of legal repentance and the beginning of gospel repentance.

Then He is the end of the law in respect of sin's power. Now this is true. The more the law works in a man's heart, the more his sin works. It stirs up his sin, provokes it: "The law worketh wrath." (Rom. 4:15) The more a man strives against it under the law, the worse he becomes. But if Christ comes and faith embraces Him, that dear Redeemer, look at the change. Who can give up idols under the law? God might break them, but you love them for all that. You may have been pulled out of some fire of sin, yet loved it all the while and looked back at it again and again under the law. But how was it when Christ came? "He shall subdue our iniquities." (Micah 7:19) That is how it was, was it not? I can appeal to every Christian here in this matter. A soul blessed with the gospel, who has had it brought in with power, who has not felt this? "Quick," says Berridge, "my idols all depart, Jesus gets and holds my heart." And under the sweet influence and power of the grace He has brought with Him, what do you say? "Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it; tread every idol beneath Thy feet; take this heart and put it right; clear it of idols and keep it clear of them." That is the gospel. When Christ comes He is the end of the law that provokes sin, and the beginning of all true worship.

Ah my friends, as I have often said to you, the true form of worship is lain in the soul when Christ is made known! You know how to worship then, and whom to worship. "God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24) If you embrace by precious faith the Lord Jesus as brought and revealed to you, then you have known the death of that sin, the weakening of that corruption, the pulling up of every evil, the taking of the heart, the will, and the judgment, and setting them wholly on the Lord. I wish it lasted! It will one day; some of you have had the prospect of it. We do not continue long in one state of mind here, but the eternal day is coming when "unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation." (Heb. 9:28)

And sinner, mark this you must have this perfect righteousness, this perfect justness, or be lost! If you have been perfectly lost in your apprehension by the work of the law, when Christ comes you will understand what this perfection of His is. Talk of the power of sin being prevalent! Is there a sin you would live in, is there a lust you would indulge then wilfully, persistently? Let conscience answer where Christ's blood has been. Your plague is that sin will live in you, though blessed be God, you do not live in sin!

Then in the next place, He is the end of the law in respect of all sacrifice. O what a good thing! What a mercy! You must bring perfect sacrifices you know, perfect obedience without flaw. It must be perfect in measure; that is to say, it must be perfect always, for measure is a measure of time as well as every other thing. Hence perfect obedience is everlasting obedience. Well then, there is no hope for us. No, not there, not there. Hence God has brought His Son into some of our souls, and so it is written: "He shall purify the sons of Levi...that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord." (Mal. 3:3,4) "When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand." (Isa. 53:10) What is that offering in righteousness? When they bring Christ in the hand of faith. One of the highest attainments of faith, and faith's greatest wisdom in the soul as wrought and standing in the power of the Spirit, is this to acknowledge every accusation that is brought against the soul and then mention the Person and work of Jesus Christ. If you have that faith and that wisdom and skill, you are a blessed person. "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth."

And the end of the law is the end of trouble, the end of the curse, the end of hard duties. That is what it is the end of. Then the beginning of Christ in the soul is the beginning of peace, love, and mercy; the beginning of the reign of grace never to end; the beginning of conquest over hell and sin till the last great victory is obtained. Dr. Owen said this I must say it with immeasurably more reason: "I cannot preach a good sermon, but I can preach a good gospel." I wish in my measure to say the same. I know it is in my measure, but I am certain of it, I am at a point about it, that what I have preached to you this morning is a good gospel. Whether you know it or not, whether I know it or not, it is a good gospel and there is nothing good outside the Person and work of Christ. If Christ be brought in, death goes, sin is subdued, guilt is purged, and the peace of God brought in. If we never know this Christ we shall never be right. If He be never brought in we shall be filled with death for ever, be under the law for ever; and being under the law we must finally be where it sends all rebels for ever in hell.

The longer I live, the more I live to feel two things. One is my emptiness of the gospel, and the other is that when that gospel is brought with some degree of power to my soul it is a remedy that heals, suits, fits, comforts me, and lifts Christ up in my judgment. Then I wish more and more that I knew Him better. May you know Him, may I know Him whom to know is life eternal. Paul's desire was, "That I may win Christ and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ." (Phil. 3:9) May He graciously look upon us. We are poor creatures. Do fear this if you can, fear innovations, fear everything that tarnishes the Person, perfect work, and saving grace of the Son of God. Everything is wrong that has that effect on the spirit. And cleave as well as you can, poor condemned creature, condemned in your conscience cleave to every sound concerning Christ that makes Him everything in your eyes, though you may fear He is not everything in your soul. The day will come when He will be everything in your soul, for "then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord."

CHRIST DWELLING IN THE HEART BY FAITH

Preached at Galeed Chapel, Brighton, on Lord's day evening, January 4th, 1903 - By J.K. Popham
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"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God."
(Ephesians 3:17-19)
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I shall only address you particularly upon the first clause of the 17th verse; "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;" but the whole is a remarkable petition and very full. Should God fulfil it in any measure in us, we shall indeed be highly favoured. I noticed a little this morning of the 16th verse, and spoke a little of what this precious and blessed and exhaustless storehouse is "the riches of His glory," out of which the apostle prayed all the blessings subsequently mentioned might come to these Ephesians. Ah my friends, if it would please the Lord to open the treasures of grace in the Person of Christ in the new covenant, a covenant ordered in all things and sure, and supply our needs out of these treasures, no pinching killing want will ever reach our souls! I know living tongues are dumb at best; it does not appertain to any creature to set out in the fullness of it, what God is in Christ; and for myself in particular, I must confess the older I get, the more unequal I feel as in God's sight for the work of the ministry. There are moments when it seems to me I am permitted to look into the nature of the ministry and see what it is that God sends His servants to do, even to make known the mystery of Christ, and those very moments are the moments when I sink, when I most feel my own incompetency, extreme inability, and the unspeakable poverty of my conceptions and language, when attempting to think of or set forth this blessed Person, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Of one thing I am sure, as far as I know my own mind in the matter, and it is this the one particular aim and want of one who is sent to preach, when he is under a right influence, is to espouse the Lord's people unto Christ as a chaste virgin, to make instrumentally a match between Christ and sinners, and in doing so he must set forth the beauties, suitableness, greatness, and glory of that Person to whom sinners divorced from the law are brought to be married. The apostle begs for himself and the saints, that he might have given to him a door of utterance to make known the mystery of Christ as he ought to speak. How it becomes God's servants to make the same request, that the saints would strive together in their prayers for them, that they might be able to speak and make known the mystery of Christ as they ought to speak. God help you, His saints, to strive together in prayer to God for me that I may have given to me a door of utterance to make known the mystery of Christ as I ought to speak. This remark grew out of what I said concerning the fullness of Christ that one has spoken of in the hymn:

"My never-failing treasury filled
With boundless stores of grace."

And I just hinted at this storehouse of grace this morning, as in election, setting up Christ as the Head of His people, giving Christ to them before the world began, justification, forgiveness, faithfulness, promise, and power to accomplish what the Lord has purposed and said. And if our eyes were but opened by the Holy Spirit of Christ to see this treasure, this fullness, this ample supply set forth in the gospel, put into the Person, the heart of the Lord Jesus, could we then ever think we should die of want? "He that spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32)

Then I made a few remarks upon the particular form in which the apostle was led by the Spirit to speak of the communication out of that supply to the saints, namely in the form of strength. "To be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man." (Eph. 3:16) And we need it. We need strength to make us pray; no prayer can reach the throne of grace that is not sent out with powerful energy by the Holy Ghost. We need strength to make us believe when the forces of the sinful heart are all bent against faith. We need strength to make us love, for all the enmity from within, and often the providence of God, is bent against love. And one might run through all the graces and exercises of God's children, and show what weakness there is through sin in them, and how they therefore do need continually supplies of grace, that is, of strength from Christ which the blessed Spirit is sent to convey.

But I rather wish this evening, to take up the first clause of the next verse, a part of the one prayer of the apostle: "That Christ might dwell in the hearts of the saints by faith." I daresay some of you who are the people of God often enough feel very empty of Christ, very empty of faith, so empty as to find a suitableness in the Psalmist's prayer, "Leave not my soul destitute;" and as to this indwelling of the Lord Jesus, how far you feel from it! But there is a presence of Christ never withdrawn. The first presence is when the new birth takes place and His precious life is communicated and His gracious preserving presence is then granted. Never does He leave, never does He forsake, those in whom He takes up this His divine abode, in His own precious life; He never will. He has put His name there: "Here will I dwell, for I have desired it." No man loses that, no saint forfeits that, no devil deprives a tempted soul of that, no night of desertion ever causes that to be lost; no wanderings, fierce temptations, lusts, battles, defeats, can ever rob a sinner of that gift of the presence of Christ. But then that is not always felt. If we put the days, minutes, or hours in which we have felt and enjoyed the presence of Christ by the side of the days, weeks, minutes, or hours that we have gone mourning without the sun and felt He was not with us, feared He never had been, never would be, O what shall we say as it respects a comparison? Why, there is on the one hand just a speck, on the other hand nearly a lifetime; a moment compared to years. Ah, but there is this to be said, the worth of Christ's presence is not to be measured by how much you enjoy of it, but by what it is in itself, by what it does!

Now the presence of Christ in the soul, in the heart by faith, is very blessed, and we may say that it was typified by the presence of the ark of the Lord, the tabernacle, in the very midst of the nation of Israel in the wilderness. There was the holy place and the Holy of holies in which was the ark, and round about this, north, south, east, and west, were the people encamped according to the divine commandment. The glory of that people was the ark, the defence of that people was the ark. Like the presence of God to that people was the ark. Life, prospects to come, all centred in that ark in the midst of them. And my friends, when God is present with a sinner, how true it is that all his hopes, all his feelings, all his comforts, all his satisfaction, all his beauty, all his prospects, that sinner can say are centred in Him. By precious faith a sinner lays hold of a revealed Christ. If your faith does not move it is no faith at all. If you have never received Christ, it is because you have no faith. If you have living faith you have living wants, and all these wants are centred in Christ and what He has revealed. You lay hold of Him, and thus there is formed an experimental union between Christ and your soul and you are espoused to Christ as a chaste virgin; all other lovers are gone. Hence what Peter says becomes experimentally true: "Purifying your hearts by faith." Ah, if you lay hold of a revealed Christ, as long as there is a power strengthening your faith you hold Him fast and refuse to let Him go. I shall show this in one or two particulars.

For instance, when Christ is in the heart by faith there is real peace in the conscience. Peace in the conscience, what is that? It is the smile of God through the blood of Christ, producing a calmness, a satisfaction, a perception of God's blessing, a sense of acceptance, a perception of God's good will to that sinner, that can never be fully expressed. Peace in the conscience, what does it respect? Holiness, majesty, the glory of God. It respects the sinner's state and standing for time; yes, not for time only but also for eternity. Peace in the conscience, what can compare to it for blessedness? Now when you hold Christ you feel it, and as long as you hold Him you feel it. When He dwells in the heart by faith, you realize that, according to the measure in which He is in you. Mind you, I don't cut a man off who has not got it, who cleaves to it, a stranger who has been circumcised in his heart. He may feel yet a stranger, not like one of the Lord's people. When this blessing comes, this revelation of Christ, the mystery of God, then it is that faith lays hold, because Christ is near enough to the faith that the man has to be laid hold of. And then it is this holy peace is felt peace with God, peace with the divine attributes, peace with every precept of the Lord, every commandment of the Lord because all of them have been fulfilled by Christ, peace with your own soul because an accusing conscience is silenced by the blood of Christ, peace with God's providences because though afflictive there is love in them, peace with respect to eternity though the grave is a gloomy place and death is awful to human nature, but the sinner is not terrified then. Thousands of enemies came against the children of Israel and said: "Soon we will break your ranks, soon you will be no more a nation;" but so long as the glory was in the midst of them, so long as they saw the morning and evening sacrifice year by year, so long as the glory dwelt there, they could have said, "Ah, but our strength lies here!"

So when the devil roars, sin roars, temporal things say, "You won't remain long as you are, you will soon make shipwreck;" by faith a sinner maintains peace. He knows his God and loves Him. You know this is true, some of you. Has your help not been from the Lord in the past, has He not been your defence, have you not felt Him in your heart the hope of glory, and felt you could say, "How can I sink with such a prop?" And you have been obliged to sing:

"Thrice comfortable hope
That calms my stormy breast,
My Father's hand prepares the cup,
And what He wills is best."

You have been obliged to say, whatever the enemy may say to the contrary:

"But all this will not do,
Our hope's on Jesus cast;
Let all be liars and Him be true,
We shall be well at last."

Now that is the way in which the Lord Jesus dwells in the heart by faith. Faith lays hold of His Person, His precious merit, His justifying righteousness, grace, mercy, love, and blood, and holding Him fast the conscience is satisfied, the heart is at rest, the affections are full, the understanding is illuminated, and the man stands fast for the time in His precious Head.

Now this blessed indwelling of the Lord Jesus Christ has another thing connected with it, namely the eternal love of God. O what brought Christ? What made Christ as a Surety? What gave Him as a Saviour? What brought Him down to suffer, bleed, and die? What brought Him and carried Him through His matchless sufferings, pain, and anguish? What took Him to the grave? What led Him up? What is it, now that He is before the throne, does all this? As to the beginning, as to the sea that has gone on flowing ever since love, the eternal love of God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Sometimes this is understood by faith. If we can understand by faith that the world was framed by the Word of God, we can also still more understand that the church was built on love. Love gave the church a Surety; love ordered her ways; love ordained her paths; love fixed her birth, marked out her difficulties; measured and weighed her sorrows. When Christ is laid hold of by faith this scheming ordering love, that fixed everything for the good of the church, is seen, is felt. That is not a strange distant tale for everyone, is it? One says:

"'Tis my happiness below,
Not to live without the cross,
But the Saviour's power to know
Sanctifying every loss.

"Trials must and will befall;
But with humble faith to see
Love inscribed upon them all,
This is happiness to me."

And as long as you hold this, this precious revealed Christ by faith, and will not let Him go, be it for a few minutes or an hour or a day, so long is love apparent in all the ways of God, so long does the fire of love work upon your spirit and make you love God.

"Loved of my God, for Him again,
With love intense I'd burn;
Chosen of Thee ere time began,
I'd choose Thee in return."

Where does this love shine as in Christ? Nowhere is it so comfortably felt as when it is revealed and radiates as the beams of the sun when it shines in its glory. This sun radiates, reaches your body, circumstances, pains, poverty, wants, difficulties; reaches them all! "Love inscribed upon them all!"

I wish I knew this more than I do. There is a peculiar power, authority, and glory in this to hush every murmur, still every fear, rebuke every enemy, and comfortably assure the soul it is well and will be well. I believe you can look on death in everything and say with the woman, "It is well," when faith holds Christ fast. "I held Him and would not let Him go," said the church. Ah, it is no mere moralizing that will bring a man to this! Philosophic patience and submission will do in certain things, but when you come to the hour of death and yet find life in your soul, love in your soul, God near you, prospects bright, present things right, that is faith! Faith in the bleeding Lamb, faith holding a revealed Christ! Love shines in it.

Well, you hold Christ by faith and He dwells in your heart as King. There is another result, another blessed experimental fact yourself, your enemies, your sins are all quiet. Job says of himself speaking of his past days: "I sat chief, and dwelt as a king." (Job 29:25) When Christ is revealed He sits as King on the flood of trouble, workings of evil, everywhere in providence, in your heart, in your conscience, in your feelings. O if we could but hold Him! What love He shows in giving, what power He displays in coming over all the difficulties, mountains, and hills, so that nothing can keep Him from the soul; and then He gets within reach of your faith. You know what I mean, some of you. Faith instantly puts forth her hand, lays hold of Him and embraces Him. There is a match, pure affection goes to Him. The soul can for a moment say how I wish I could say that word every day of my life! I have often been troubled because I could not say it "O Lord our God, other lords beside Thee have had dominion over us; but by Thee only will we make mention of Thy name." (Isa. 26:13) Do you ever look round, so to speak, in yourself, and look at your affections, so low and wild; your will, so rebellious; at your desires, that run away; your heart, gone to the ends of the earth? You have looked at these things, at their noise, their tumult. God in human nature has come to the sinner; Jesus Christ the eternal God, has come to the creature; poor helpless creature, and asserted His authority in His precious blood, divine righteousness, invincible grace; asserted His right to this redeemed soul bought with His own most precious blood, and said: "This is My rest for ever, here will I dwell, for I have desired it." And as Joseph put out all the Egyptians when he would make himself known to his brethren, so Christ puts out all authority, rule, and power in this gracious way. Ah my beloved friends, I know He does it! There is no evil lust or master-sin you ever smarted under that won't go down as to its authority, and as to its workings, at that time. When this blessed Jesus comes, your faith lays hold of Him and keeps Him for the time. "Be this religion mine," you say. "I tread the world beneath my feet, And all the world calls good or great." "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith."

When He reveals Himself there is yet another thing, and it is this the blessed prospect He sets before you of a good finish. Ah, some of us are very anxious about the end! I am. I am very concerned at times about my dying day. It may be far from me, but I don't find the thought of it far from me, and many a time I don't know how it will be, I am full of fear. But there are moments when there is no fear, the prospect is bright, hope is strong, when eternal things are seen; and what is it that occasions all this sweet prospect, bright prospect, certain comfortable prospect? What is it causes you to say, "Yes, I to the end shall endure?" What makes you sure there is a heaven? What makes you sure there are living fountains of water for you to partake of in heaven? What assures you that there you will never need a temple made with hands, nor candle lighted by any man? What brings a demonstration of all these things to you? Why, Christ in your heart! He comes in the Father's name, sings the Father's righteousness, declares the Father's love and mercy in a poor destitute sinner's heart, and your faith is again strong, strong enough to hold these things, believe these things, rejoice in these things, triumph over death, hell, and the grave. In these mercies you feel nothing can daunt your spirit or make your heart droop for the time being, because this God is with you. "What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? Thou Jordan that thou wast driven back? Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams, and ye little hills like lambs? Tremble thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob." (Ps. 114:5-7) Well, you know it was this, they saw God. As when Jesus walked on the tempestuous Sea of Galilee, as when He said, "Peace, be still;" when He fed five thousand with a few loaves and fishes; as when He opened the eyes of the blind; stopped a funeral and said, "Young man, I say unto thee arise;" just so, when He comes, exerts His mighty power in the soul, and faith receives Him, He dwells there as King, makes His voice mightier than the raging of the sea when the waves have lifted up themselves. He dwells by faith in the heart and there is a certainty then, the prospect is bright. Now a man speaks without staggering through unbelief; now he holds fast his God, and can remember all the way the Lord has led him, and bless God for His kindness to him.

And I tell you there is yet another thing when Christ is revealed, there will be an explaining of a great matter, there will be an opening of a great perplexity, "How is it a child of God can be subject to such lusts, such sinfulness?" He says, "If I had grace could I be subject to these things, could I indulge these things? If I had grace, should I not be different in my mind, purer in my affections, more zealous in my spirit, more fervent in prayer, constant in believing?" But when Christ comes He will open this and make it out: "What will ye see in the Shulamite?" His smile cheers the hidden man of the heart, His presence works the most holy feelings; and even this does no longer terrify: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matt. 5:48) That is a word that has begotten the greatest fear and shaking in some of our spirits. Now the Lord opens the mystery of grace up. He has led us into the painful mystery of iniquity as it works; but now in His presence, as He is held by faith. He opens the mystery of holiness. What would the sinner will but what God wills? What would the sinner do but what God commands? What would he hold but what God gives? O the content with God's will; the submission to God's dispensations, the choosing God's Word, esteeming it more than one's necessary food; the cleaving to the promises, desiring to be conformed to God's will, as the suffering Saviour, in weakness, under a cloud, tempted, reproached! He says: "Still I would be with Him, with Jesus, leaving all things to do His Father's will and knowing no other will; with Jesus, who was so intent on doing His Father's will that He saluted no man by the way; blind though He saw, deaf though He heard. I would like to be like that, I would have the world beneath my feet, I would be holy."

This will clear a man of the sanctification of the flesh and instruct him in the sweet sanctification of the Spirit; in that chief of Satan's wiles the betterment of the human nature; and instruct him in the sweetness of God's mysterious grace, how grace begets holiness wherever it is, and Christ in his heart by faith is the ground root of holiness as much as justification. And I tell you this, the precepts will be dear to you, your pleasure will be in pleasing the God of all grace, if ever Christ dwells in your heart by faith; I am certain of it. "Let everyone that nameth the name of the Lord depart from iniquity." Says the soul: "That is just what I want; break these snares, these chains that gall me, these imperious lusts; purge away guilt that burdens my conscience; bring Thy holy peace that will not lead to licentiousness, but will on the contrary fill me with warm affections, holy desires after Thee, sweet repentance and godly sorrow for sin that needeth not to be repented of."

Just one word more and I will leave it this evening. If Christ dwells in your heart by faith you have got a real strength in your feelings for the time; but mind you, it is not a strength of which you will boast, in which you will strut about and consume on your own flesh, but a strength that very much goes out in a sense of weakness which makes you cast yourself on the Lord. I wish I knew how to properly express it, because I am certain there is a religious strength that many professors boast of, that is not strength at all, but presumption. Where this heavenly strength is deprived from the presence of Christ it makes a man feel he is not fit for anything without Christ, not fit for any trouble without Christ; he can bear no affliction without Christ, can stand in no difficulty without Christ, submit to no trouble without Christ. But he can bear all, he has got on the whole armour of God, when he has got Christ. Well, this poor creature is a blessed creature, and though in his weakness he often feels ready to fall, yet he has in his soul that which is greater than the devil, the flesh, and the world. He is a strong man, though so weak; he is strong in grace, the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Now my brethren, do as God helps you look at this, and if I have been enabled to set out the truth in this particular point as it is in Jesus and in the Word of God, may the Lord help you to follow it and fulfil in you this prayer of the apostle: "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." May He command His blessing to rest upon us. Amen.

"CHRIST IS ALL IN ALL"

Preached At Galeed Chapel, Brighton, on Lord's day evening March 26th, 1922
By James Popham
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"Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all."
(Colossians 3:11)
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It is to be much observed that in a chapter of exhortation this great and all-comprehensive statement of doctrine should be made. It is to be observed that the Holy Ghost is here teaching a mystery, a mercy, an all-centring truth, a truth which as made known by the Spirit enables the Lord's people to walk in the exhortations, which precede and follow it. Sovereign grace will always appear shining in the church to the praise and glory of God, and as opened and applied by the Spirit will keep the Lord's people from legalizing exhortations, from bringing in duty-faith in order to please God and obtain mercy. You will never by grace disregard precepts and admonitions; you will never wish them out of the Bible; you will never excuse yourself in any act of disobedience on the ground of your weakness. You will never think that the Lord is too particular in so writing as to regulate your life according to His revealed will, and when you find in your hearts the riches of the truth of the text, then you will find what one has said to be true: "God's biddings are gracious enablings." Then you will pray: "Give strength and will, and then command, and we will follow Thee." The text is very wonderful. It excludes from the new creature all kinds of distinctions Jew, Greek, circumcision, uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond, and free. Distinctions among men are abolished in the new creature. High and low, rich and poor, The same Holy Spirit who wrote these words by Paul, wrote also by the same man to the Romans and said that there is no difference between Jew and Greek, for "the same Lord is over all and is rich unto all them that call upon him." (Rom. 10:12) This is a great mercy, God is no respecter of persons. We must ever maintain, I believe the church of God will ever maintain, those natural and proper distinctions which God in His providence makes as between high and low, rich and poor, and so on, master and servant; but in Christ they do not hold. The doctrine of the text is this, that in the child of God who has been born again and has put on the new man, received Christ by revelation, is brought into union with Christ, there is but one centre, one fullness, one life, one hope, and he finds all that to be in Christ Jesus. "Christ is all and in all."

I shall take it in the first place in this respect He is all and in all to His Father: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." All the grace God will give to the church, He gave first of all to Christ, as Paul says to Timothy, "Who hath saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." (2 Tim. 1:9) All in respect of fulfilling the law. He is "the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth." (Rom. 10:4) He fulfilled it. He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it, (Matt. 5:17) magnify it and make it honourable. (Isa. 42:21) He is all as a Foundation: "Behold I have laid in Zion a foundation stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone." (Isa. 28:16) None will ever have grace but from Christ. None will ever be delivered from the law but by the death of Christ. None will ever stand well for eternity, but as built on the Foundation that God has laid in Zion: "To whom coming as lively stones," ye are built on a living stone, that is Jesus Christ. He has all life. "As the Father hath life in himself, so hath given the Son to have life in himself, and he will give it to whomsoever he will." (John 5:26) The life, the spiritual life, which animates Zion is in its fullness in Christ. He is all light, the light that is to lighten all the world, I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in me should not abide in darkness." (John 12:46) He is all power. He is the Strength of Israel. He is the power of God. All power to rule is given unto Him, in heaven and in earth. He is all bread: "I am the bread of life." Whatever nourishes your faith comes from Christ, is part of Christ. You will always languish and faint and fall, unless nourished up by that precious Bread of life which Jesus Christ is. He is all rest. The Father rests in Him, the church rests in Him: "This is my rest for ever, here will I dwell; for I have desired it." (Ps. 132:14) Rest, who does not value it? What is rest to a labouring man? It is sweet; so is Christ sweet as the rest to His weary people. He is all comfort. He is the God of comfort: "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you, and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem, saith the Lord." (Isa. 66:13) He is all peace. He is the God of peace, the Prince of peace, and by His cross He made peace. No real peace apart from Christ can ever be known.

He is all sweetness. Sweetness left us, sweetness was banished from the earth by the Fall. God drove out the man from Eden when he had sinned, and now labour and sweat o brow and pain are the best for the most part. O Christ is sweetness! Light is sweet, mercy is sweet, pardon is sweet, the favour of God is sweet, the word of God is sweet to the taste of all to whom it is given.

He is all glory. The glory of God was given to Christ for the church: "And the glory which Thou gavest me I have given them." (John 17:22) So to the Father, Christ is all. The sufficiency of love, the fullness of love, the sufficiency of all goodness, the fullness of goodness, Jesus Christ is to the Father; and if a poor sinner is led by the Holy Spirit to pray, this will be what, as it were, the Father will say to him: "Go to my Son, I am pleased in Him." It pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell in Him." (Col. 1:19)

Now let us pause here and ask ourselves a question that is vital, namely: Does this fullness which the Father is pleased should dwell in His Son, please us, or would we prefer a stock of our own? Let conscience answer the question.

In the next place, Christ is all to His people, all in them, and this we must notice in a few particulars, as:

First, He is all life: "I am the life," is His own testimony. John had shown to him, as he informs us at the end of the Revelation, "a pure river of water of life clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb," (Rev. 22:1) and if that life is given to us we find what the Psalmist found, namely, "no man can keep alive his own soul." Everyone blessed with this divine life finds that it must be sustained, replenished as it were, renovated, and who can do this but He who is that life in its fullness, from whom it flows into the soul? "I give unto my sheep eternal life and they shall never perish." (John 10:28) Conscience may lash us, but it cannot replenish a languishing life. Conscience may be God's word and minister to you, telling you of your faults and your follies and your destitution. It may point out, but it will never supply you. Christ must give you new life. Hart has well expressed it: "He to the feeble and the faint, His mighty aid makes known; and when their languid life is spent, supplies it with His own." This life is very beautiful, it is pure, a pure river of life. Hence all the holy desires of the people of God, all their wishes to be freed from sin, all their grief for sin. A pure life must grieve over a bad life. It is as if two lives are in each child of God. One from beneath, the other from above. Bless God, "the elder has the upper hand, that the elder prevails. The damping of desire, the choking of prayer, the aversion for good, the desire for the world, and the disinclination to forsake the world to take up the cross. O this death! Deathly feelings, deathly formal prayers, formal reading of the Scriptures, the formal hearing of the word, everything formal and deathly. These things come from self, they are death, they are nothing better; and that is the best that can come from you, from anyone. Now the opposite is thisan aspiring life and the object of the aspiration is God. "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God." (Ps. 42:1) "O when wilt Thou come unto me and bless me?" We want this feeble life strengthened, languishing life to be replenished; we want the supplies that Christ alone can afford and give. He is all this. All holy desires, all gracious feelings, all hunger for God, all thirst for righteousness, all longing to be at the throne of grace, all exercises there, all prayers that go from the heart and ascend and reach the ear of the Lord of Sabaoth all these come from life. The Spirit of life in Christ gives liberty from sin and death. The Spirit of life goes up to heaven. What comes from heaven goes back to heaven. As the rain that comes from heaven in the form of fruit, so the life that comes from Christ into the soul returns to Him in the form of faith and hope and love and prayer and obedience and humility. So He is all life. Do you not feel revived at times? Is it not very blessed to feel, from being in the most languid, carnal, deathly condition, an up-springing to your great surprise, of new feelings and life and energy in prayer, confession of sin, and asking the Lord that He would keep you from sinking back into that condition? Do you not put up, so to speak, the petition of Jeremiah, who when he was brought out of the house of prison, besought the King not to let him go back there; and you, brought out of a bad state, say sometimes, "Lord, do keep me from sinking back again." This then is the first thing to notice. He is all life in the church. She is the fullness of Christ, the relative fullness. His life is hers.

Secondly, He is all light. Light discovers darkness, light that shows us our deformity in sin, light that makes us understand there are dangers everywhere, light that acts upon Scripture and brings a Scripture unto our heart, making that known that is written: "The entrance of thy words giveth light, it giveth understanding unto the simple." (Ps. 119:130) How is it that we read the Bible and understand so little of it? How is it that some of you, if you do read the Bible at all put it down an uninteresting uninforming book? I tell you that it is an inspired Book, and you may not consciously dispute what I say. I tell you it is God's Word, God's own Word inspired by the Spirit. I tell you that it describes your case, and you may not dispute what I say, "I do not understand it." Now let me tell you the reason. Your eyes are closed, your eyes are closed. "The entrance of thy words giveth light, it (that is the entrance) giveth understanding to the simple." That was why the Psalmist could say he had more knowledge than the ancients, he understood more than his teachers, because the word entered. O what a blessed light is Scripture when thus entering! "Truly," said Solomon, "the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun." That is so naturally. We all love the light, and the older I get the more I live daylight and the sun. Now when God's word comes in, it is a beautiful light. It shows God, who He is, what He is, how holy, how glorious, how gracious, how tender, how compassionate, how wise, how full! It shows a sinner how bad, wicked, deformed, helpless, and dead he is! It reveals Christ, how good and full He is! It makes Him attractive, it shines on the road that leads to life. It opens the way wherein no lion nor any ravenous beast shall be found. And it sometimes is used by the Lord to shine upon the path wherein you are walking. It may be a path full of trouble. Still the light comes, and you say "This is the way." Christ is all this: "I am come a light into the world." The light of life, the true light, that lighteth every man born in the church of Christ. He has come to be this. Christ is all light.

He is all mercy, all mercy. If we are the Lord's people we are exhorted to come boldly to the throne of grace. What is that throne of grace? It is no other, no one else than the very Lord Jesus Christ. Grace is in Him. God has set Him up as that glorious One; "A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary." (Jer. 17:12) Christ is that sanctuary called "a little sanctuary in the countries;" (Ezek. 11:16) and it is a great thing to see this, for mercy is the total sum of our need. Mercy alone can cover us, mercy alone can supply us and support us and help us and teach us and comfort us, and Christ is all this. What a wonder it is to find the fullness of mercy, and some of it flowing into your heart and soul, flowing so that you say, "Why, this melts my heart!" "Dissolved by thy mercy, I fall to the ground." And surely every child of God wants to know that and feel it.

He is all righteousness. And here let me bring in this, that a newborn soul is created after the image of Him that created Him, and the image of God is righteousness; that is, here he is righteous. And if you are born of God you are. There are two words to be said about this. First, there is righteousness imputed, and this makes the person beautiful in God's sight, because it makes him just. Sinner, this must be your title. This is your title to bliss. This must be your perfection, and if you have any desire after Christ, may I say this to you. Do entreat the Lord to reveal in you the righteousness of Christ, for true salvation, vital godliness, is more than a matter of idea. There must be this, shall I say this substitutionary thing, perfect righteousness, and this is Christ. Hence the name that is given Him: "This is the name whereby he shall be called, the Lord our Righteousness." (Jer. 23:6) If you want thorns in your dying pillow, live carelessly, live as your natural mind dictates, be careless of your profession. If you want comfort and peace on your dying bed, beg of God to reveal in you Jesus Christ as your righteousness, and if you get that revelation it will make you very careful about your walk. You will want to please Him who has made you acceptable to Himself, made you beautiful even as He Himself if. "For as he is, so are we in this world." This is His righteousness; this is the sinner's righteousness, this is His beauty. All in all. No thread of human goodness will ever be added to this. Not a single deed that a child of God does, however holy, will ever be added to this righteousness. By the help of God, I will shut the creature out as much as I can; yea, the Scripture does it. He is all righteousness. Here is our plea, here is our title, here is our beauty, here is our comfort.

So in the next place, He is all the holiness of His people. Pure affections come from Him, holy feelings come from Him. I do not mean sentiment, but I mean true holiness in your heart that makes you hate sin, that makes Christ precious, that makes obedience a delight, that makes you long to be where He is, where there is no sin. It is not a notion floating in the mind that is naturally religious, but a true, solemn, sacred wish to be like the Lord; and it is part of likeness to Him. It is an abhorrence of evil, it is a cleaving to goodness, it is a following Christ, it is a leaving the world. saving yourself from this evil generation. It is being clean: "Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord," (Isa. 52:11) and it proceeds from this: "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean." (Ezek. 36:25) This is Christ, a pure river of holiness as all life comes from Him. O what a wonder it is be longing to be godly in the midst of your feelings of being ungodly!

Next, Christ is all rest, all rest. Rest is beautiful, sweet. You may rest in the bosom of your family, find delight there and say, my best place is my home; and it is one of God's greatest gifts, natural gifts. It is one of the best parts of our wicked nature. There is a home in which a man rests, and when he has done his day's work and business and gets home to his family, he is not anxious to go out and find company elsewhere. He says, "I have enough here, this is my rest, I want nothing better than this in this world." Now take this spiritually. What a rest is Christ! "We which have believed do enter into rest," (Heb. 4:3) and this means much. It means many things, I can only name one or two.

It is a rest with respect to working. Rest is relative. God rested from His works when He had made all, and had seen all that He had made was good and was pleased therewith. Then He rested from His labor and His work on the Sabbath day. The seventh day was called the Sabbath because it was the rest. Now if you enter into Christ as yours by the Holy Ghost, you cease from your own works, you do not work to please God. You do not work to obtain life; you work because you have life, but you rest in respect of the Lord's great salvation. It is in your heart. That is one wonderful part of rest, that you have nothing to do to make yourself acceptable to God, nothing to do to render yourself pleasing to the divine Majesty. You understand those of you who have had it, what a perfect rest it is to the mind. What a ground for the soul! What a bed from the creature! Salvation, salvation wrought out, salvation revealed, salvation brought nigh, brought home by the mighty power of the eternal Spirit. That is rest.

Then you come to trouble. You are in the wilderness, you have affliction, and then is said: "Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him," and when you are enabled to that, to leave yourself, your circumstances, men, things, want, everything that may have pressed upon you, leave all with the Lord; commit all into His keeping and feel in your soul, now His will is my delight, His dispensation with me is the choice of my soul, you have real rest. And this I will say and I know no child of God who has had the experience will contradict me I will say this, that five minutes of this rest will give you an impression of the goodness of God that no endowment, and no preaching, no reading can ever lodge in your mind and understanding. O it is so pure, it is so heavenly, it is so blessed! "Rest in the Lord," in His holy will, in His divine dispensations, in the afflictive dispensations; rest in Him, wait patiently for Him to come and work what deliverance you need, what deliverance it may please Him to grant. Who is all this? Christ is all and in all. The good will of Him that dwelt in the bush is here. The design of God for your good is here. The foundation that you shall be a partaker of His holiness lodges here, the end is here, that you may be brought in God's time into the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Christ is all and in all here, and beloved friends, He is all the power of God in His church. Says Paul to the Romans: "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth." (Rom. 1:16) This then brings it into experience. That is not a mere statement, not a laying down of a doctrine, it is a real bringing the doctrine of the gospel into experience: "The power of God to everyone that believeth." And what a power it is to overcome unbelief, to scatter the darkness and confusion of our minds, to do away with sin and guilt from the conscience, and to fill an empty heart with a revealed Christ, and to make the sinner know that he is accepted in the Beloved, and that all that is necessary for His appearing before the Most High in glory, he receives from Jesus Christ. My beloved friends, this power of God is wonderful in the heart, it subdues sin. If ever you get the foot of your faith on the pride of your nature, you will say the power was God's. "The foot shall tread it down," that is, "the lofty city." "He layeth it low, even to the ground. The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor and the steps of the needy." If ever you say in heart, "Be gone unbelief, my Saviour is near," it is the power of God in you. If ever you can say in your heart, "This God is my God for ever and ever and will be my guide even unto death," that is the power of God. When you walk at liberty, when you walk up and down in the name of the Lord, when you feel happy in the Lord, when all disputes are ended in forgiveness, when all controversies are drowned in the blood of Christ, when your will is brought into unison with the will of God, the power that accomplished these things in the power of Christ, the power of that blessed One who is said to be the power of God. Therefore no distinctions of human nature among men can have any effect at all here. They are just as if they did not exist, so truly, so absolutely, is the whole work in the regenerate person the work of God, that a man must say: "Now I had nothing to do with it. I was passive, when Christ first came; I have been passive every time mercy has come anew to me. I have not been left passive. Ah, mercy has made me move, but I was passive in the reception continually, so that my nature was subdued. I am a vessel, and mercy was poured in; and so let me say in conclusion, this being the case, on whose head must the crown be put, who shall bear the glory? Why, the Lord Himself.

Therefore we find the song that is in the church triumphant in heaven, is also in the church militant on earth. It is one song sung in different manners. In heaven perfectly: "Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father, unto him be glory and dominion for ever and ever." (Rev. 1:5,6) And what have we sung some of us, what have we sung in our hearts when our lips have not moved, when we have been prostrated before the Lord, when our hearts have swelled, when we felt we could do no other than praise Him, and our hearts have been tuned, and we have sung a song. What has it been? Just the same: "Unto him that loved us." Just the same: "Sovereign grace o'er sin abounding, Ransomed souls the tidings swell, 'Tis a deep that knows no sounding, Who its breadth or length can tell? On its glories let my soul for ever dwell." The song flows to Him. Christ is all and in all, permeating all; His name pervades, it is pervasive; His blood penetrates, His righteousness covers, His grace subdues, His peace conquers, His rest is delightful in every respect. It is thus then that the creature is nothing but a receiver, passive in the reception. The creature has here no distinctions, neither rich nor poor, neither learned nor ignorant, neither strong nor weak, neither good nor bad. Privileges help not, and no lack of privileges can be any bar because from first to last He is "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord Almighty."

Well my brethren, let us try by the help of God, notwithstanding that we are so low, many of us, and have so little grace, to praise the Lord for His great goodness to us. Let us bring the sacrifice of praise, even the fruit of our lips, to Him who has been so boundless in His goodness over what we have thought and felt to be our boundless guilt, our dreadful sins.

May the Lord bless you, bless His truth, and give this sweet sacred foundation to each one, that Christ now would bring His love, His goodness, His mercy, His atonement, that Christ in His grace is all in all. Amen.