365 days with Newton

6 SEPTEMBER

That great Shepherd of the sheep

‘Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ Hebrews 13:20–21
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Psalm 23:1–6

That great Shepherd of the sheep. This name is precious to his sheep and it comprehends his whole role. Their safety depends on his being their Shepherd, and their consolation on their knowing that he is so.
Let us speak of the sheep. They are a great multitude which no man can number, but their number is determinate and known to their Shepherd. When they are assembled at his right hand on the great day, not one will be missing. They are the remnant, which the sovereign wisdom and grace of God purposed from everlasting to save out of the ruin which sin had brought upon mankind. As such, they were given as a trust and as a gift by the Father to the Son. He accepted them as a charge, and rejoices in them as his portion, in whom he will be admired, in time and eternity. They are born in sin, and live for a longer or shorter space in vanity and ignorance even as others, but he who has loved them with an everlasting love, in due time draws them to himself. Till that hour comes, he watches over them by his providence, and then he makes himself known as a Shepherd—rules, leads, guides and guards them, till they arrive in glory. The proof of their relation to him lies in their effectual calling by the power of his Word and Spirit. And here we must begin if we desire to know whether we are his sheep or not. Whoever receives the gospel report, feels the need of a Shepherd, and seeks to him and him alone, is undoubtedly one, for he says, My sheep hear my voice [John 10:27].
FOR MEDITATION: [for Sunday, 6 September 1778]
The Saviour calls his people sheep,
The bull can fight, the hare can flee,
And bids them on his love rely,
The ant, in summer, food prepare;
For he alone their souls can keep,
But helpless sheep, and such are we,
And he alone their wants supply.
Depend upon the Shepherd’s care.

SERMON SERIES: HEBREWS 13:20–21, NO. 2 [1/3]

My Utmost for His Highest

September 5th

The missionary watching

Watch with Me. Matthew 26:40.

“Watch with Me”—with no private point of view of your own at all, but watch entirely with Me. In the early stages we do not watch with Jesus, we watch for Him. We do not watch with Him through the revelation of the Bible; in the circumstances of our lives. Our Lord is trying to introduce us to identification with Himself in a particular Gethsemane, and we will not go; we say—‘No, Lord, I cannot see the meaning of this, it is bitter.’ How can we possibly watch with Someone Who is inscrutable? How are we going to understand Jesus sufficiently to watch with Him in His Gethsemane, when we do not know even what His suffering is for? We do not know how to watch with Him; we are only used to the idea of Jesus watching with us.
The disciples loved Jesus Christ to the limit of their natural capacity, but they did not understand what He was after. In the Garden of Gethsemane they slept for their own sorrow, and at the end of three years of the closest intimacy they “all forsook Him and fled.”
“They were all filled with the Holy Ghost”—the same “they,” but something wonderful has happened in between, viz., Our Lord’s Death and Resurrection and Ascension, and the disciples have been invaded by the Holy Spirit. Our Lord had said—“Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you,” and this meant that they learned to watch with Him all the rest of their lives.

Streams in the Desert

September 5

“Blessed are all they that wait for him.” (Isa. 30:18.)

WE hear a great deal about waiting on God. There is, however, another side. When we wait on God, He is waiting till we are ready; when we wait for God, we are waiting till He is ready.
There are some people who say, and many more who believe, that as soon as we meet all the conditions, God will answer our prayers. They say that God lives in an eternal now; with Him there is no past nor future; and that if we could fulfill all that He requires in the way of obedience to His will, immediately our needs would be supplied, our desires fulfilled, our prayers answered.
There is much truth in this belief, and yet it expresses only one side of the truth. While God lives in an eternal now, yet He works out His purposes in time. A petition presented before God is like a seed dropped in the ground. Forces above and beyond our control must work upon it, till the true fruition of the answer is given.—The Still Small Voice.

I longed to walk along an easy road,
And leave behind the dull routine of home,
Thinking in other fields to serve my God;
But Jesus said, “My time has not yet come.”

I longed to sow the seed in other soil,
To be unfettered in the work, and free,
To join with other laborers in their toil;
But Jesus said, “’Tis not My choice for thee.”

I longed to leave the desert, and be led
To work where souls were sunk in sin and shame,
That I might win them; but the Master said,
“I have not called thee, publish here My name.”

I longed to fight the battles of my King,
Lift high His standards in the thickest strife;
But my great Captain bade me wait and sing
Songs of His conquests in my quiet life.

I longed to leave the uncongenial sphere,
Where all alone I seemed to stand and wait,
To feel I had some human helper near,
But Jesus bade me guard one lonely gate.

I longed to leave the round of daily toil,
Where no one seemed to understand or care;
But Jesus said, “I choose for thee this soil,
That thou might’st raise for Me some blossoms rare.”

And now I have no longing but to do
At home, or else afar, His blessed will,
To work amid the many or the few;
Thus, “choosing not to choose,” my heart is still.
—Selected.
“And Patience was willing to wait.”—Pilgrim’s Progress.

365 days with Newton

5 SEPTEMBER

Peace with God and conscience

‘Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ Hebrews 13:20–21
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Philippians 4:4–9

He bestows peace: I create the fruit of the lips; peace to him that is afar off [Isaiah 57:19]; and only he can do it. He gives peace by faith: Romans 5:1 [Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ]. Let us consider the branches:
(i) peace with God. By nature we are at war, he with us and we with him. All the evils and miseries we feel and fear are tokens of his displeasure, and our spirits and conduct show our enmity, especially when he touches us closely either by his Word or providence. Now this war ceases when we believe. He is at peace with us: no more condemnation, though perhaps the comfort of it is not yet known. He then supports and teaches, and blesses the soul with spiritual blessings. The enmity on the sinner’s part is ended and he is made willing to serve and love the Lord.
(ii) peace of conscience. Many are in a safe state before they know it assuredly in themselves—but in due time he will show it them. From hence flows:
(a) a peaceful frame of mind. Where sin is pardoned, all is well. Not that there will be no exercises and distresses, but there is a ground of peace in the heart, and in proportion as faith and grace grow, it has power to rule in the heart, as is expressed [in] Colossians 3:15 [And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful].
(b) a disposition of peace towards others. The Lord’s peace sweetens the spirit and subdues selfishness. By nature we are hateful and hating one another.

FOR MEDITATION: Try yourselves by these things. Sinners, can you be content to remain at war with the God of peace?

SERMON SERIES: HEBREWS 13:20–21, NO. 1 [3/3]

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