THERE ARE SO MANY who refuse to take their place in the family of God. This family may be like a family that I once knew. There was one girl and one boy in it who never did their share of the work or bore their share of the responsibility. Others had to deny themselves to do their work for them. For many years I have recognized that the same thing was true in the Father’s family. Here are a man and a woman who have been Christians for thirty or forty years. They apparently have not grown any, in the last thirty-five years. When they are sick, others have to exercise faith for them. When they are in a hard place, others bear their burdens. They are always seeking for help, yet they have ability which has never been exercised or developed.
You know your place in the family. You know your rights and privileges. 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we children of God.” This one has never taken a son’s place, never assumed a son’s responsibility, or enjoyed a son’s privileges. The Father is a stranger to him. He enjoys preaching very much, and helps support the church; but he does not appreciate his righteousness in Christ, neither does he take advantage of it in helping himself or others. You understand that righteousness means the ability to stand in the Father’s presence without the sense of guilt or inferiority. Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.”
They are in Christ. They have access to the throne. They have heard the invitation of Hebrews 4:16 to come boldly to the throne of grace to make their requests known that they may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. In their time of need they go to others. It would seem as though they were ashamed to go into their Father’s
presence. A sense of inferiority has gained the ascendancy in them. Hebrews 4:1 has never had any effect upon them: “Let us fear therefore, lest haply, a promise being left of entering into his rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it.” This is the rest of faith, the rest of righteousness. I am no longer anxious. I am in His family. My Father is caring for me.
John 10:29, “My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of my hand.” This man has never yet recognized that his Father is greater than all circumstances. They are his masters. Demons and their work hold him in bondage. He is afraid of sickness and afraid of want; yet his Father is greater than all. He knows nothing about this quiet rest where he no longer fears anything.
He knows that his Father cares for him. He knows that Hebrews 7:25 is absolutely true: “Wherefore also he is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
They have never enjoyed His intercession. They have never taken advantage of it. They have never quietly said, “He ever liveth to pray for me. He is holding me.” They have never enjoyed their rest. They are like the one spoken of in Hebrews 4:11, “Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, that no man fall after the same example of unpersuadableness. “ He is talking about those who failed to enter into His rest, and they did not enter because they were not able to enter into the rest that God had provided. Today so many are unable to act upon the Word. They cannot be persuaded to enter into the rest of Christ.
They do not have the fruits of righteousness. Do you know what they are? Why, the first fruit of righteousness is rest in the Word. It is that quiet confidence in the Word. Isaiah 32:7 describes it: “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.” That is a foregleam of the effect of righteousness in the New Creation. It is peace. It is quietness. It is assurance. This is the highest type of faith. There is no irritation. There is no anxiety or restlessness. (Psalm 23:1-2.) “I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).
There was no fear of demons, of circumstances, or of lack. He knows the Father cares for him.
Jesus said, “Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all of these things shall be added unto you. The believer has sought and found the kingdom of God. He is a New Creation. He is a possessor of the very Nature of the Father, and that Nature has given him righteousness, so he lives and walks in fearless quietness. Hebrews 5:12-14, “For, when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food. For everyone that partaketh of milk is without experience in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But solid food is for full-grown men, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil.”
Notice carefully, “by reason of time.” How long have you been a Christian? How long have you had Eternal Life? Directly after you received Eternal Life you should have begun a careful study of the Word, for you never can tell when a crisis will come and you will desperately need faith in the Word. You also need the Word every day. You need that quiet, restful spirit. You know what the Word says, is. You know that every statement of fact that is made, either through Jesus, or through Paul or James or Peter or John, is worth its face value. Paul says, “By reason of time you ought to be teachers.”
Every believer was supposed to be an evangel – not an evangelist, but in his own circle he was to be a soul-winner. They were to be praying for sick folks, carrying other people’s burdens.
But Paul says that though they ought to be teachers, instead they haven’t learned anything. They aren’t able to teach themselves, or to guide themselves from day to day. They need someone to teach them the first principles of the Word of God. Thy can’t eat the solid food of the Word. They can’t understand it. They are babes, and must be fed on milk. Had they acted it, had they practiced it, it would have become a part of them.
Instead James describes them in James 1:22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves.” What an army they are, these self-deluded Christians. They think that because they go to church and likely have been baptized, or may have had some wonderful experience back yonder, that they are all right. But when a crisis comes, they utterly collapse.
“When by reason of time ye ought to have known the Word.” Yet we are babes in Christ. We have never exercised ourselves in the Word, never exercised our faith, never put love to the test, never tried to live the Word. We have just floated. 2 Corinthians 3:4, 5, “And such confidence have we through Christ to God-ward: not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God who also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant.” Notice first, “And such confidence have we through Christ to God-ward.” I want you to be able to say that in the face of every difficulty, “Such confidence have I in the Word, that nothing can overwhelm me. I stand here a master in the midst of the failures of others.” You are conscious of the reality of the Word. He can’t fail you. He is with you. He is with you in the written Word; He is with you in the Name of Jesus; He is with you in the Presence of the Holy Spirit.
That sufficiency of God is your sufficiency. His ability is your ability. 2 Corinthians 9:8-10 is a challenge from the very heart of the Master: “And God is able to make all grace abound unto you; that ye, having always all sufficiency in everything, may abound unto every good work.” Here is the sufficiency of God at our disposal. Here is the fullness of God spoken of in John 1:16: “For of his fulness we have all received, and grace for grace.” This fullness or sufficiency, or ability of God belongs to every believer; and He has made it to abound to us that we, having “all sufficiency in everything, may abound unto every good work.”
But let us go back to 2 Corinthians 9:7, and see what he says, “Let each man do according as he hath purposed in his heart; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.” This is not a giver only of money, but a giver of his time, a giver of his ability, a giver of his wisdom. “When by reason of time” ye ought to have much to give the church … you ought to be able to open the Word up to hungry hearts that come into your home. Notice this tenth verse, “He that supplieth seed to the sower and bread for food, shall supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness.” Do you know what the fruits of your righteousness are? You have become the righteousness of God in Christ. That means that you have ability to stand in the presence of Satan and all his works with utmost freedom, without a sense of inferiority. You can stand in the presence of other men’s failures, a victor. You can walk into the Father’s presence any time with boldness.
The Father has invited you to come with freedom of speech to the Throne of Grace and make your requests known. (Hebrews 4:16.) It may be for yourself, or it may be for others. You have a right here. You know Philippians 1:11 is a marvelous sentence, “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” You are filled with the fruits of your righteousness in Christ, of your ability to know the Word, your ability to heal the sick. You strengthen the weak to bear the burdens of the overloaded. You have ability to teach the Word and have it become a living thing in your lips. Why? John 6:63 has become a reality to you, “The words that I speak unto you are spirit and are life.”
They will become spirit. They will become life. They will become healing. They will become strength in your lips. Have you ever thought of it? Philippians 1:20. Paul said that “in nothing shall I be put to shame, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body.” He says, “He is now living in my body; He shall be magnified in my body.” What does that mean? He will be seen as a victor.
2 Corinthians 2:14, “Thanks be unto God who always leadeth me in triumph in Christ.”
That should be the song on the lips of every believer. There isn’t any reason for your being a weakling. There is no reason for it whatever. The strength and ability of God are yours.
The first step in this wonder life is your recognizing the Lordship in Jesus. You do that. That leads you into your rights. Now that you have confessed the Lordship of the Master, it means that you have confessed the Lordship of His Word. It governs your life.
You confess the Lordship of Love, that new kind of Love that has been shed abroad in your hearts by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:5.) You see, when you receive Eternal Life you receive the Nature of the Father; and the Father is Love. You receive the Love Nature. Now you let that Love Nature dominate and rule you. You who are studying this lesson, I want you to think: This is what I must give to the world. This is what I must give to the Church. I am learning what must be given to the people. You are like a mother who eats in order to produce milk to feed her babe. You are feeding on the Word so that you will have ability to minister to the others, so they will no longer be in the class of those who must be carried as an infant. Ephesians 4:11-13 has become a reality to you: “And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ (and you are part of that body): till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”
We are all to study to show ourselves approved unto the Father (2 Timothy 2:15). We must satisfy His heart. He has no pleasure in ignorant or sickly children, for He has made provision for their education and perfect healing. He never intended that His children should be dependent in their old age upon the world for their care. “My God shall supply every need of yours” (Philippians 4:19). You want to learn to trust that absolutely. You want to trust Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things in Him who strengtheneth me.” That must become a part of your very being. Philippians 4:11, “For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be independent of circumstances.” 1 Corinthians 1:30. Jesus is made unto us wisdom.
You know that wisdom is the ability to use knowledge that you have gathered from experience, or from books, or from the Bible. Now you know what to do with that. Wisdom leads you out into victory. It is a wonderful thing-this Divine Life. This Life is an unsolved life. From day to day there is an unveiling of the riches of His grace, riches of His love, riches of His wisdom, the riches of His ability that has become ours.