BROADCASTER NOVEMBER 1972
OCTOBER RADIO FEATURES
Managing Ed itor __
President. . .
J. RICHARD CHASE
CONT ENT S
*A Ch ristian Gam e .
J . R ich a rd C h a s e
*Pane l D is c u s s io n s .
*From E g y p t to C a n a a n Rob e rt Hobson
*C riteria fo r C ritic ism
A i S a n d e rs
*A S tu d y in E c c le s ia s te s J . R ich a rd C h a s e
F am ily L if e S e rie s
W. Rob e rt Sm ith
♦Edited Biola Hour Radio m e ssa g e s
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B ìo I a CollEqE BIBLE CONFERENCE TOUR PROGRAM, 1973
TOUR NO. 1 April 24 - May 15 Dr. Samuel H. Sutherland, Lecturer Dr. Israel Carmona, Assistant Cost: $1275 from New York to New York. (Reduced group fares from West Coast to be announced) TOUR NO. 2 June 18 - July 9 Dr. Charles L. Feinberg, Lecturer Cost: $1355 from New York to New York. (Reduced group fares from West Coast to be announced) TOUR NO. 3 July 24 - August 8 (with 28 -day optional extension around the world) Dr. Lloyd T. Anderson, Lecturer Dr. Robert L. Thomas, Assistant Cost: $1265. 28-day exten sion: additional $1350.
No man has the capacity to be truly free until he knows Christ. Apart from our freedom in Christ, however, we respond in predict able ways. For example, the philosopher Plato knew well the power of pas sion and in his dialogue, "Phaed- rus," revealed how passion alone wins out over the combined ef forts of intelligence and virtue. Many know well that they are not masters of their own lives. Life is a constant hastle as they fight with themselves, society, and God. The pressures are enormous. As a breath of fresh air, Christ says, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36). Let us con sider the dimensions of this free
dom that is in Christ. First, we are free from Satan's bondage. The Pharisees who heard Christ speak of freedom replied that they were not in bondage to any man. Christ, however, knew that they wanted to hill Him and replied, "Ye are of your father the Devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do" (John 8:44). What does it mean to be bound to Satan and to act as he demands? Paul illustrates very vividly in Gala tians 5. There he sets the pattern in verse 17 by saying that the flesh will lust against the spirit. In the verses following he points out what the works of the flesh are. Let me illustrate by using the word, hatred, as found in verse 20. If a person is mean to us and tells
By j. RICHARD CHASE
cross-roads attempting to decide whether or not we will serve Christ and be free, or continue in bond age to Satan and live a life that is governed by human nature. We are already traveling on one road or the other! The ancient Pythagoreans did believe that man stood at the fork of a road and was asked to decide whether he would travel the path of virtue or that of vice. In fact, the Pythagoreans used the Greek letter, Upsilon, to show the deci sion man must make. To the Py thagoreans, man travels down a single path until he comes to the fork in the road where this basic decision in life must be made. Such a philosophy is foreign to the Bible. Either you are bound to Christ or Page 5
us off to our face, it is human na ture to respond with hatred. If we have not fully comprehended the freedom that is ours in Christ, we will respond with human nature, not our spiritual nature. Hatred is but one of the common qualities found in the life of any individual who has not experienced or claimed the full freedom that is his in Christ. We would be off base if we said that we are bound neither to Christ nor to Satan. I do not be lieve it is possible for an individual to be fully free from such things as hate, jealousy and envy apart from the new life that is ours in Christ. In fact, Christ told us in Matthew 6:24 that we can serve only one Master. Today, we are not at the
you are bound to Satan. There is no alternative or middle ground. Thank Cod, in Christ, we are no longer bound to Satan and are freed from responding as mere hu man nature would dictate. Secondly, we are freed from guilt and condemnation. As a young person, I remember being told by my parents when I had done things wrong. Many times I would go to my room thinking I might as well "throw in the sponge." I saw no way to live in a manner acceptable to others. In Christ, I found a measure of free dom never tapped previously. I do not have to go around with a guilt complex feeling I am con demned. Paul testifies to the Rom an church. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (8:1). Having accepted Christ, no one can point their finger in condemnation. We are free in Him from all guilt. The Savior has removed the judgment. Coals are essential in life, but our goal of living a life that is pleas ing to the Lord is designed to pro vide direction and hasten progress. It is not an overwhelming burden that crushes and destroys. There is a world of difference between a healthy desire to succeed and the haunting thought that we are not acceptable. The Christian stands be fore God (the only One who counts) knowing that, through Christ, he is neither guilty nor condemned. In Christ we are also free from the pressure of justifying ourselves to God. Sometime ago I was read ing about a businessman who reg ularly contributes to a variety of religious organizations. He said, "I don't know just who God favors so I want to make sure I have all the
bases covered." In many ways, we are all trapped in this prison. We honestly believe that there is much that we must do in order to reveal our acceptability before Cod. This is a burden that is unnecessary. Christ has already made us accept able before the Father through His shed blood on the cross of Calvary. In John 8, Christ speaks of free dom to the Pharisees. They were attempting to prove their accept ability to Christ by saying that they were Abraham's children. In Christ's day, there were many that attempted to prove acceptability to God by pointing to their heri tage or by keeping the Old Testa ment Law. Think of the pressures that many of them were under. There were over 1,000 laws and prohibitions a person had to be acquainted with if he was to live completely within the law. In light of that, what a triumphant note is sounded by Paul in Galatians 5:1: "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." In Christ, those who have been at tempting to live under the law were free and were not to be entangled again with what Paul called, "The yoke of bondage." Perhaps you have not been guil ty of keeping the law to prove that you are acceptable to God, but there may be other legalistic ten dencies in your life that you have been counting on as proof of your acceptability to Cod. No matter how good they are, they cannot take the place of Christ's sacrifice. Prayer and Bible study, as profit able as they are, cannot make us acceptable before Cod. Christ's work alone is all-sufficient.
There is, however, another di mension of our freedom that is often overlooked. We are free from the burden of proving we are somebody to other people. It would be humorous if it were not so tragic the way the Pharisees at tempted to prove to the people of their day that they were just a little bit better. Remember in Luke, Chapter 8, the Pharisee prays and tells Cod how he is so much bet ter than other people. Many of us are just that way. Whether rebel or part of the so-called establishment, we work hard to prove that we are just a little better than other peo ple. We dress up or down, depend ing on the game we are playing. We constantly vie for the best po sition in any discussion. The trag edy is that many Christians are still slaves to this game. In Christ, we do not have to prove we are some body: Christ has made us some body. We are sons of God, we are new creatures, we are joint-heirs with Christ, all of the provisions of heaven are ours. We have the priv ilege of walking in fellowship with the Lord. Our efforts are totally insignificant when compared to the work that Christ has done for us. Finally, I am free to think posi tively — to think what I want to think with the new mind I have through Christ (II Timothy 1:7). If we are bound to Satan, we will think as he would have us. If some body gossips about us, we try to get even. Our minds will examine all the possibilities of striking back. That is predictable behavior: we are slaves to our human or sinful nature. Have you ever been trapped in congested traffic when you were in a hurry. It is natural to "honk your horn and blow your stack."
But when we are truly new men and women in Christ, we are free to respond in new ways. We have the ability (if we will use it) to exercise patience, to use the time to think constructively. In Christ, I am no longer a ser vant of Satan and a slave to cir cumstances. I am potentially free from the anger, hate, envy, and fear that eats the heart out of life. Indeed, if the Son shall make you free, you will finally be free! These aspects of freedom are tremendous. I no longer have the heavy burden of fighting for my place before God or men. Christ has made me acceptable and I am free. But, there is another side to this coin and lest we distort the mes sage, it must be considered. I am not free to be oblivious to my fel low men or disrespectful to my Lord — that is unless I want to forgo a significant measure of fellowship. In I Corinthians 6:12 and 10:24, Paul states that all things are pos sible or lawful for him but that not all things are expedient, or mix well with living for Christ. In 6:9- 20, Paul expects the Corinthians to live differently — not to earn their salvation or make points with God. Rather, he desires that they show they were new creatures in Christ and not interested in continuing as slaves to sin. Later in I Corinthians 8-10, Paul reveals the obligation we have to use our freedom wisely before oth ers. In these chapters he seems to present three groups of people that have to be reckoned with. Two of these groups are Christian, the last is the unsaved. First, there are weak Christians who know little of their freedom Page 7
in Christ. As a contestant in a game, they are trying to chalk up points to win favor with God: Two points for wearing a conservative toga and five for not eating meats offered to idols! Paul says they are ignorant (I Corinthians 8:7). Yet Paul, free though he was from the pressure of this supposedly "Chris tian" game, says, I will limit my freedom in order to help them (I Corinthians 8:13). Paul was not obnoxious in the way he handled his freedom; he loved people too much. This same 8th chapter also re veals a second group of Christians: the stronger or obnoxious Chris tian. Why is he obnoxious? Be cause he is free in Christ? No! Because he thinks much of his freedom is due to his great insight instead of Christ's great sacrifice. They had knowledge, but they
lacked love or concern for the Christian still trapped in works and indecision (e.g., I Corinthians 8:1, 9, 11 and 12). Paul also limited his freedom to reach that last great group: the unsaved. The unsaved are quick to judge on appearance and actions. Paul, therefore, carefully d isci plined himself so he might have the best chance of reaching them for Christ (I Corinthians 9:19-27). Free in Christ? We certainly are! Freed from the overwhelming bur den of trying to do what Christ has done so well. But, charged with a holy obligation to live wisely be fore God and profitably before men. Dr. Chase's Expío message was recorded in Dallas, Texas this past summer as he was addressing a student seminar.
COLLEGE DAY FRIDAY — NOVEMBER 17
• special chapel • faculty/student talent program • visit classes • opportunity to talk with professors
If you wish to receive information for your youth group, contact Biola's Dean of Admissions
Or. J. Richard Chase Dr. Samuel H. Sutherland PANfLDiscussions Dr. Charles L. Feinberg
numbers seven and 40 so often? Is there some significance to them?" A. There certainly is a great deal of use of these two numbers. There is a fine book by F. W. Grant, The Numerical Bible, which explains some of these points very help fully. The book of Revelation has a number of these for seven is the number of perfection and, at the end of all things, this blessed state will again be experienced. Here we see things in completion. Forty is important as we consider the sub ject of testing and sometimes even punishment. There were 40 days for the flood in Genesis 7. Exodus gives us the 40 days Moses was on Mt. Sinai. There were 40 years of wilderness wandering. There were three 40's in the life of Moses, all connected with testing. There were 40 days in spying out Canaan by the Israelites. Jonah's warning to Page 9
Q. "Are there possibly degrees of heaven? I have heard that there is a first, second and third. Is this Scriptural?" A. You will find your answer in II Corinthians 12:1-4. Paul was trans ported by the Spirit to catch a glimpse of the heaven of heavens. The atmosphere about us could be regarded as the first heaven. The heaven in which the stars and planets move is the second. The third heaven is the place in which God dwells. Verse four refers to this as Paradise. Other verses which may be helpful to you are Acts 7:49 and Hebrews 1:8. The third heaven, remember, is not a created place. It is the throne of God which endures forever and forever. Q. "Why does the Bible use the
Biola has a record enrollment this year of 1900 students for the college and seminary.
Ninevah took 40 days. This was the same length of time for the fasting of our blessed Saviour. In the post-resurrection ministry of Christ, 40 days were used. While Bible numeries are interesting and important, one must make sure of contextual meaning to understand Cod's purpose rightly. Q. " What is a Christian's responsi- Page 10
bility in the ecology movement? God gave us dominion over all the earth and many people feel we are abusing this." A. Without question we certainly have. We are all for the important preservation of God's creation. Few people seem to really care about the environment in which they live. As with anything, however, let us not overlook the Christian's
John to seven actual, historical churches in the Roman province of Asia Minor. We first find manna mentioned in Exodus 16. Israel was going through the wilderness and needed this sustenance. God gave them this angels' food for some 40 years. This is the promise that the Lord will give us His eternal sus tenance. The white stone symbol izes approval. When we do our voting we have ballots and ma chines. Years ago, however, the people used black and white stones to indicate approval or disapproval. People would toss into an urn the color of the stone which indicated their feelings. This is where we get the expression "blackball." It would be like "thumbs down." God gives us His eternal stamp of love and acceptance. Q. "What does Galatians 4:26 mean when it states 'Jerusalem, which is the mother of us all'?" A. As with any portion of the Bible, the Scripture must be considered in the light of the context. The contrast here is between the heav enly and the earthly. The earthly Jerusalem represents the Lawwhich is not free. The heavenly Jerusalem suggests grace and God's unmer ited favor. The use of the term "mother" refers manifestly to all the children of God and of the provision for protection and com fort which the Lord shows to us in the exceeding riches of His grace. Q. "Could you please explain the popular term 'existentialism'?" A. This is a term used in philosophy generally which has now come into Christian circles. It reveals how much of modern theology has been Page 11
first and primary objective which is the teaching, preaching, and con sistent living of the Gospel mes sage. Q. "Would you please explain Rev elation 2:17? What is 'the hidden manna' and 'the white stone' re ferred to?" A. In the first three chapters the Spirit of God is speaking through
engulfed and enveloped in such concepts. Unfortunately, today, so much is predicated on the basis of experience. Existentialism affirms the actuality of things as opposed to mere possibility or conceivabil- ity. It appeals to the senses and is really an introspective humanism in approach. It expresses an indi vidual's intense awareness of his limitations. Christian existentialism expresses the subjective or the in ward aspects of a human being considered as a creature of Cod. Orthodox, fundamental theologi ans certainly do not knowingly classify themselves as existential ists. We hold to an objective stand ard which is the Word of Cod. Everything we do is conditioned by the authenticity and the relia bility of the Bible. Frankly, exis tentialism, if it has any message at all, addresses itself to despair rath er than that of hope which per vades the Biblical revelation. Q. "If a person lives where there are no good, fundamental churches should he go to a liberal church or simply stay home?" A. We cannot be another man's conscience. We hesitate to take that position or to appear to take that position. From purely a per sonal point of view, however, it might be best to first go to the pastor of the least liberal church and express your deep concerns. Let him know your feelings and convictions. Urge him to preach the Word of Cod in its complete revelation. If this fails, why not consider a small Bible class in your home, gathering those people of like kind to exhort one another with the truths. This is actually the way the church began. It may be
that the Lord will use your humble efforts to help others, including impressionable boys and girls, to know the truth of Cod. Q. "/ was told that in the account of God creating man the Greek word infers more than just Adam and Eve since it is 'mankind'. Could this be possible?" A. There is no original Creek for this passage since the Old Testa ment is in Hebrew. You may be referring to the later Septuagint version. In the Hebrew language there are at least four different words for man. One differentiates him generically from woman. The second shows he is of a different sex category. The other shows him in his weakness and fraility. The last refers sometimes symbolic of a warrior or a man of might. In the reference which you have in mind, Adam does refer to mankind. The way the word is pronounced can also alter the meaning. To accent the first syllable of "mankind'' it again means only men as against women. To accent it differently it means mankind over against ani mals, birds, fish and the like. There fore, it is the second syllable that must be accented (Genesis 1:26). This particular subject has vast ramifications all the way through Scripture. You and I ultimately are going to be conformed to the im age of Cod's Son. He is the image of the invisible God. The specific reference here is to mankind or humanity. God created all human beings in His own image. No one can possibly prove that there were more than Adam and Eve created in the beginning. The human fam ily has all come from Adam and Eve. The Lord Jesus Christ died for
Adam's race since he was the nat ural head of the human family and the Saviour is the spiritual head of the new creation. Q. "I have always thought fasting, as defined in the Bible, pertains to food. Recently it is being pointed out that one can fast by giving up something. Could you please ex plain this?" A. The Biblical concept of fasting is abstinence from food. Any other type is not taught in Scripture nor is it verified by reliable diction aries. This may come from the old idea of giving up something for lent. Such has no Biblical basis whatsoever, although fasting is well defined in the Word. Fasting must be done in a good spirit as unto the Lord, without being critical of others. It is really most important to spend more time in prayer be fore the Lord and less worrying about whether fasting is proper. The best time to fast is when one is so taken up with a burden that his life is given over in tremen dous, earnest, devout intercession so that eating is a minor matter. Q. "Is there any indication in the Old Testament Scriptures particu larly where a person just decided to fast or was there always some immediate, pressing burden draw ing them into the act?" A. The references always show that it was something the Lord enjoined upon the nation as a whole or in dividually. It was not ever to be done without real purpose and meaning. There was always an ob jective to be accomplished for the will of Cod.
HAVE YOU REMEMBERED the LORD’S WORK IN YOUR WILL?
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There was, and is, always a dan ger in advertising one's efforts at fasting. That is not to be the case whatsoever! There is no personal merit which is to be received from fasting. Sometimes the lack of food sours the disposition. There is a danger here in our outlook on life. We are not to compare ourselves among ourselves. Such activity is definitely unwise. This is what they did in Israel and why our Lord Je sus condemned the Pharisees for their activities. Cod wants piety but He also wants spiritual living. Q. "My son is a Christian but he smokes marijuana. He uses Gene sis 1:29 to justify this act I have told him his body is God's temple but he does not want to listen. How can I explain this particular verse to him?" A. It is amazing how some indi viduals and groups can extract por tions of the Bible out of context to prove their erroneous theories. One simple answer to your ques tion is that ail of the first chapter took place before the fall of man through sin. As a result of that, all of nature has been condemned and bears the sins of his iniquity. There is nothing that could stretch the truth farther than to quote Genesis 1:29 as a defense in using marijuana. It is the height of folly and absolutely wrong and a total perversion of Scriptures. Q. "Were any prophecies fulfilled when Jesus met with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfigur ation?" A. This account is interestingly found in Matthew, Mark and Luke, which are the synoptic gospels.
COME WITH US to the HARVEST FIELDS!
The fields are white for harvest . . . the laborers are few! Biola stu dents are in the harvest fields each week seeking to influence souls for the Lord Jesus Christ. YOU can join our students in this great harvest through The Biola Fellowship! As you share with us in prepar ing leaders for the harvest fields of this world, the Biola Broadcaster will be mailed to you as a special gift each month. I will pray for Biola and, as the Lord enables me, I will endeavor to give as indicated below: $.... 25 10 5 Monthly □ □ □ □ Quarterly □ □ □ □ Semi-Annually □ □ Annually □ □ □ Please use my gift for: Campus Development □ Student Aid □ Radio □ General Fund Mr. Mrs. □ Miss................................. Yes, I want to share in Bioia’s ministry through the Biola Fellow ship. City................ .............. State....................Zip..... Send to: Biola College 13800 Biola Avenue, La Mirada, Calif. 90638 In Canada: Biola Association of Canada P.0. Box 3013, Vancouver, B.C., Canada Address.
to act upon or divide the Word of truth but rather we are to proceed straightly by the Word of truth. We are to allow it to act upon us, rath er than having us act upon it. Our lives are to be governed by the Scriptures. We should be guided and directed into a more holy manner of life and living. Q. "In Deuteronomy 8:3 'word' is in italics. But in Matthew 4:4 where Christ quotes the same Scripture, it is not. Is there an explanation for this?" A. In the freedom of inspiration through the Holy Spirit there can be these word changes, just as any author can do. Christ certainly did not do violence to the basic orig inal meaning of the Old Testament in this quotation. He could not have been more accurate. So, while "word" is in italics, it is certainly understood clearly as being there. Q. "In the light of Matthew 13:34, did the Lord teach in any way ex cept by parables? And, exactly what is a parable?" A. The quotation does not refer to the whole ministry of Jesus but rather to those occasions of public ministry. In the Beatitudes, for ex ample, He did not use parables. A parable is simply an imaginery story used to illustrate certain spir itual truth. Someone has phrased it as being a heavenly story with an earthly meaning. It is to illumine important truths.
John does not record this event. One prophecy definitely fulfilled at this point is Malachi 4:5. Our Lord Jesus had indicated that if Israel had been in a believing atti tude toward Him as their Messiah, then the coming of John the Baptist would have fulfilled the function of Elijah. A number of prophecies were fulfilled when the Lord met with Moses, representing the Law, and Elijah, representing the proph ets. This was the subject of their conversation (Luke 9:30, 31). The patriarch and the prophet were talking about the death of Christ which He was to accomplish at Jerusalem (Isaiah 53). Q. '7 am confused by the multi plicity of translations and para phrases. Why do some ministers approve of those which are ques tionable?" A. God has told us to study to show ourselves approved unto Him (II Timothy 2:15). This does not mean that if anything is made easy we do not have to study it. This is a day when everything has to be made simple in every area of life. We prefer to recommend the King James Version. We also recognize the value of some of the later works for comparative study in working with various groups. Young people seem to understand and appreci ate that which has been written in their own vernacular. While some modern translations are good, oth ers cannot be recommended. We believe the New Scofield Refer ence Bible is extremely practical. There are helps in the margin and in the footnotes which are valu able. The phrase, "rightly dividing the word of truth," does not mean in the original Greek that we are
In studying the exit of Israel out of Egypt into the land of Canaan we find a most magnificent picture of striking contrasts. It shows how an individual can come to know the Lord by the shed blood of the Saviour, and thereby enter into the fullness of the Christian life. In I Corinthians 10:1-11 we have a detailed description of this im portant event. The Apostle, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells us what happened to Israel in their exodus from Egypt and their final entrance into the land of Ca naan. The redemption we see typi fied here is through the shed blood. Unfortunately, God's chosen peo ple did not enter the kingdom immediately. Geographically, it is about a fourteen day walk from Egypt to Canaan. What a sad and tragic thing to see that Israel had to spend 40 long years in the wil derness. The reason for it basically was sheer unbelief. While the peo ple evidenced enough faith to get out of Egypt, they fell short when it came to getting into the land of Canaan. We might further typify the land of Canaan as that normal experi ence for the believer now. Some song writers have incorrectly made Canaan refer to heaven. This does not fit the picture at all. The prom ised land is something that we can enjoy today. It is an opportunity for blessing and victory in our present activities. The words of Moses in Deuter onomy indicate clearly that God brought them out of Egypt so that He could bring them into the land of Canaan. The underlying prin ciple which was characteristic of the people was murmuring, fault finding, criticizing, and grumbling. Page 17
If you have been redeemed by the shed blood of Christ, born again of the Spirit of Cod, it is His inten tion that you should triumph. Keep in mind, it is one thing to talk about victory but sometimes quite another to experience it. How many Christians do you know who are really happy and contented? Quite frankly, living in the past or even in the future is really living an abnormal Christian life. My wife put it to me this way, "I have come to the conclusion that I want Jesus Christ to be as real to me when I drop an egg in the kitchen as He is to me when I am in church." This makes sense! I ask you, "Is Jesus Christ real to you right now?" If He is not, then you are living a wilderness-type Christian life. Jesus did not simply die to provide forgiveness of sin so He could someday take you to heaven. Both of these things are, of course, marvelous to consider. But there is infinitely more in His death. The Saviour wants you to step into new life right now to provide the fullness of His grace and love.
It is well to see again the story as it is recorded for us in Exodus 2:11ff. Israel had been in bondage to Egypt for some 400 years. Moses came on the scene and could not help but empathize with the sad plight of his people. One day he saw an Egyptian hitting one of his people. When no one was look ing, or so he thought, Moses went out and killed the Egyptian, hiding him in the sand. To me this repre sents a fantastic picture of the average, evangelical thrust. Seeing the need and problem we begin to attempt helping Cod out of the dilemma. We think we can come up with the answer in our own strength. We have no indication as to what Cod thought of Moses' ac tion. The Lord was well aware of all that was happening. He was not caught by surprise nor did He need any human intervention. How easy it is to be taken in by the situation of the moment, equating our Chris tian living with immediate needs. The fact is, Cod does not want your help—He simply wants you! He died for you, not for the help you might give Him. All of a sud den we find that we have expended all of our energies and exhausted all our resources — all to no ap parent avail. Perhaps today you are actually fed up with church and Christian ity. Maybe you are tired and bored. In my travels around the country many times people relate to me these very real needs and feelings. Jesus Christ, remember, died that He might step into your life and live through you the dynamic of His own being. The problem is, are you willing to let Him do it? We have seen how Moses tried
Dr. Hobson is the North American Director of the Capernwray Fellow ship of Torchbearers.
am tired of living a sham, but I won't admit it!" The problem is we just do not want to expose our selves to other people who think we are good Christians when we alone may know the truth. We are not anxious to let others realize what we really are. Eventually the time will come when you will not care who knows. Christ did not die on the cross to put you in the wil derness. He shed His blood so that He might infuse His life into yours. In verse 16 we read about the priest of Midian who had seven daughters. Moses helped them when they encountered difficulty at the well because of cruel shep herds. He was brave enough to go to their aid. That was quite a come down! First he was the self-ap pointed statesman planning to help Israel out of her dilemma. Now he was reduced to a mere waterboy. He was not aware at that moment the Lord was going to use that sit uation. Maybe you are in a condition right now for which you have no human explanation. God knows what He is doing. He will work it out (Romans 8:28). When we do not understand our situation we ponder, "God, why? Lord, if only this would change." Our lives are lived on the basis of "if" and "why." All the Lord is waiting for from you is an attitude of trust. You may be surrounded by insur mountable problems. The only an swer is that Cod will step in to do the impossible. Will you let Him? Then, thank Him for His ability to handle the entire situation. ANY OLD BUSH WILL DO When the daughters of Jethro returned home, they told their fath- Page 19
to keep out Cod by seeking to rectify the inequities imposed up on his people by the Egyptians (Exodus 2:13-15). Trying to solve one problem only caused another even more dangerous than the first. Now Pharaoh was intent on killing Moses. While we do not doubt the sincerity, dedication and commitment of Moses, yet he failed to realize that God is not basically interested in these com modities. He simply is interested in you! Moses had to run away to save his life. What utter frustration, de pression and discouragement he experienced. He did what he thought had to be done but the only thing which transpired was miserable failure. This is typical of so many believers. After becoming a Christian, there is that first urge to be active in everything possible. The cooling off does not take too long. I speak from experience. I be gan my pastoral ministry in 1950, just a youth fresh out of Bible col lege. The start was characterized by a whirlwind of activity. For five solid years that went on. Then I found myself totally and physically exhausted, depressed, dejected, disappointed and disillusioned. I was literally ready to "throw in the towel." Perhaps you may be going through a similar experience just now. I can understand and empa thize with you. At the end of those five years my body had wasted away until I was only 130 pounds (6 ft.-3 in. tall). There was no per sonal peace which the Bible had to offer. I experienced just the op posite of joy and contentment. Perhaps there are some reading this who would have to admit, "I
er about the one who had deliv ered them from the hands of the shepherds (Exodus 2:19). Learning of Moses' kindness to the seven daughters, he was interested in the man's help. He found Moses "was content to dwell with the man" (vs. 21). The earlier enthusiasm, commitment and dedication seems to be missing. Too often this is the sad com mentary that can be pronounced on Christendom today. We lose our zeal and choose rather to sit back and criticize others. How easy it is to be misunderstood and to have our feelings hurt. We become depressed and disillusioned. The danger is that we leave that first love. How strange it is to see once strong Christians, through circum stances and disappointments, will ing to accept something far less in life than what Cod originally in tended for them. The Lord desires that you have a victorious, trium phant life. This means, if you are living a life of defeat today, then you are accepting something far less than what the Saviour has for you. While I may not understand your situation, I am in touch with the Person who does. My Bible teaches me that Cod's intention for you and for me is a life of victory and blessing. This is not to say that problems will be a thing of the past. Keep in mind, victory is syn- onomous with battle! Too often we have been content to settle with far less than victory. Moses, following his defeat and fear in Egypt, was now on the back side of the desert content ! He had been a total failure and now he was content! It is during this time that Cod
speaks to Moses from the burning bush. Seventeen years ago, at the end of my five year ministry as a pastor, I met a man named Major Ian Thomas. In the course of our conversation he referred to this passage in Exodus 3. He drew a diagram for me on the placemat. First there was a circle into which he put the name of God. He illus trated it further by saying, "Now suppose Moses was over to the right side as God speaks to him. But suppose Moses were a hun dred miles in the opposite direc tion. Could God have used a bush over a hundred miles in the other direction as easily as He used that particular one?" I had to answer, "I suppose so, but what difference does it make?" He smiled and ob served, "In other words, in God's economy, just any old bush will do." I got the point as the Holy Spirit opened my mind to illumine my thinking. No matter how de feated, how depressed, how de jected I had been in the past, "any old bush will do." The Lord uses what is available. In Moses' case the plant did not have any capacity in itself. God used it because it was available. You may have come to the point where as far as the Lord is con cerned you have lost your useful ness. Maybe you have been dab bling in sin, and because of the guilt now feel that for you, "It is all over." Yes, "Any old bush will do." The bush could not boast, "Look what I did." It was simply the vehicle through which God spoke. The Lord is looking now for available bushes. Are you available to Jesus Christ? You are qualified because, "Any old bush will do!" I became so excited when I dis-
covered this 17 years ago that I could hardly contain myself. I ex claimed, "In other words, in spite of my past failures and depressed guilt, I can come and confess all of my sins and fears living in antici pation of the victory the Saviour wants to give me." Will you make yourself today to be available? CANAAN LIFE God spoke to Moses through the burning bush. He had been so sure that the Lord had forgotten him entirely. How often we fall into the same trap! Have you felt that the Saviour was not interested in you and was not alert to your cry? I can recall vividly those days of heavy depression for me when I wondered if God was even alive. As far as my life was concerned there seemed to be no evidence of His care. The Lord assures us, "I know your sorrow." Never fear, there is nothing that happens to you but that the Lord knows! What you must do is simply come to the Lord and tell Him how you feel. After all, He is the only One who can help you. It is so easy to get involved in cliches and evangelical jargon that we only are impressing one anoth er and certainly not the Lord. I challenge you to forget all the pol ished words and phrases and just get through to God so that you can hear the wee small voice of the Spirit say, "You let me worry about it. Give me your whole life and make yourself totally avail able to me. Let me handle the sit uation!" Are you willing to do that? God told Moses, "I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring
Dr. and Mrs. Hobson were on campus for last year's Torrey Conference. them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey" (vs. 8). There was no thought here of a 40-year wilderness wandering. The promise was for deliverance! The Lord Jesus now lives in you if you are a believer. He wants you to enter the experience of Canaan which is a land of blessing, triumph, and victory. Are you sick of the wilderness? Tell the Saviour all about it. Be very specific about the sins that you may need to confess. Turn your entire life over to Christ, area by area. Give Him every part of yourself, past, present and fu ture. Say, "Lord, it is all yours." Christ died in order that He might live through you right NOW. This is what we mean by Canaan Page 21
life. Anything less is a cheap imi tation of the real thing. Let Him take over and stop living that wil derness life. It is all up to you. You are the one to benefit as the Lord blesses. Moses met with defeat and frus tration when he attempted to de liver Israel out of Egypt by his own capacity and ability. He experi enced miserable failure on the back side of the desert. In such a posi tion of humility, Cod spoke to him through the burning bush. This il lustrates the fact that even as He used this plant, so He can use you if you will make yourself available. God was fully aware of the oppres sion of the children of Israel (Exodus 3:9, 10). Moses doubtless won dered how such deliverance could come since he had tried it 40 years earlier. There is no wonder he ques tioned, "Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?" It may be that Moses, like the rest of us, had an ego prob lem. He was not chosen by the Lord because of his past record of success. It is when we realize that we are nothing that God can really do something! Too often our vision is blurred on this vital point. Keep in mind one important fact. If God uses you today in His kingdom it will not be because of your ability but rather because of your inabil ity! If you find yourself asking, "Who am /? How could / ever do the job," then you will probably qualify. The day I discovered this 17 years ago I nearly jumped out of my skin! Do you mean to say God is looking for failures? Exact ly. He knows that if you come to grips in your heart that you are a total failure then you can come to
trust Him and not yourself. I am afraid we have developed a gen eration of Christians who are so able and adequate that they erron eously feel they do not even need God. There are such sophisticated evangelical programs that the Holy Spirit is never consulted. There is nothing wrong with good programs and able men, but it is not by pro motion and pushing, but by God's Spirit. When Israel was finally deliv ered out of Egypt, the Lord wanted to make certain only He would re ceive the glory. That is why He chose Moses who had been brought low through his continued failure. In traveling around the country I find two kinds of pastors, gener ally. On the one hand there are those who are looking for a very sophisticated program to employ in the church which they believe will get results. On the other hand are the pastors who are trying to figure out a way to unwind the program, getting back to allowing the Holy Spirit to do His will in the membership. The latter are wisely saying, "Lord, we want your program; nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else!" God told Moses, "I know you failed forty years ago. Now you let Me do it." The Lord promised to be with Moses all the way. He was told God's name to use when peo ple might ask him his credentials. He was instructed, "Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." What ever God chooses to initiate, He has the power and the authority to implement and the capacity to finish (Philippians 1:6). What did God start in your life? Remember the day when you came to know
when pulled out, would be lep rous. The act repeated would clean the flesh of the disease, making the hand as new flesh. The third sign was when the water from the river would be turned into blood. With these definite manifestations of truth, the people believed (Exo dus 4:31). It took all three signs to make them see that God was going to take them out of Egypt into Canaan. I wonder what it will take in your life? What do you suppose God will have to put you through so that you will believe that you are nothing and that He is every thing? What is needed to get you to drop to your knees and say, "God, I am all through." In God's economy the way up is the way down. God was going to have to put Israel through a great deal be fore they finally would believe. My own personal testimony is that God allowed me to go through hell and back again to bring me to a point of brokenness. Seventeen years ago, having preached my heart out for five solid years, I simply said, "God, I am through; I am finished. I do not know what to do." Then the Lord broke through! You see, for every prob lem, He already has a victory planned. He tells me so again and again in His Word. Finally, Israel believed. "When they heard that the Lord had visited them, and that He had looked upon their afflic tion, then they bowed their heads and worshipped." May I challenge you once again to drop to your knees and confess, "Lord Jesus, I thank You that You are with me. I unreservedly give to You all that I ever have been and all that I ever will be. I am placing it all and un- Page 23
the Lord Jesus? What has happened to you since then? Has the exuber ance and the excitement begun to dissipate? Jesus Christ is living in you. That means He is not just with us, but in us. He came to be your Lord not just a friend and help in time of need. This is where the rub comes. Most of us do not want anyone else to be Lord over us, not even Jesus Christ. We are will ing to allow Him to be King as long as we retain the right to be Prime Minister. Unless He becomes Lord of your life, you will never know what the Canaan experience is all about. How tragic to spend the rest of your Christian life in the wilderness, wandering around, missing Cod's best. Do not let any body else talk you out of it. Jesus Christ died in order to live through you victo riously. Anything less than that is a cheap imitation of the real thing. Take that important step of faith just now. Moses, like many of us on oc casion, could not believe that God would indeed use him after all his failures. He resorted to all kinds of excuses until finally the anger of the Lord was kindled against him (Exodus 4:14). God said, "Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well . . . He shall be thy spokesman . . . he shall be to thee instead of a mouth." In verse 29 we find Aaron telling all the elders what God had told his brother. Imagine what was happening. Moses and Aaron were explaining the message of deliver ance. If they would not believe they were to cast a serpent on the ground. God was simply giving to Moses some proof that this was indeed His business. A second sign was a hand in the bosom which,
the Red Sea before the hole was there so that the hole would be there when they got there." That is faith! It does not indicate that they were surprised. They simply went over on dry ground (Exodus 15). The Lord's intention was to bring them out of Egypt and into the promised land of Canaan. All they needed to do was to rest in the knowledge of this and obey His word. Sadly enough this is not what actually took place. The first thing was that they came to Marah (15:23) and found the water too bitter to drink. The people started talking against Moses (16:2). What basic unbelief they revealed. This was just a sam ple of what they would be like for the next 40 years of fruitless wan dering. They found themselves on the right side of the Red Sea but on the wrong side of Canaan. What a sad thing to contemplate. With the heavy burden of such contemptible scorn, Moses went to the Lord and poured out his heart, "God, what shall I do?" To quench the thirst of the people, God's servant was told to strike the rock at Horeb so that refresh ing water would come out. What a beautiful picture of the Lord Je sus Christ (17:6). Later in the jour ney, the people once again com plain for lack of water. This time God tells Moses to simply speak to the rock and it would give forth water (Numbers 20). For some rea son, Moses disobeyed the Lord and struck the rock twice. As a result the Lord declared, "Because ye be lieved me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them" (Numbers
reservedly at your disposal." This is not just an act, it is a daily atti tude. As Israel came to that point of total relinquishment, Cod stepped in and did the impossible. He is waiting to do the same for you today. What a fantastic picture we have of the Christian life as the Israelites came out of Egypt by the shedding of blood. Moses attempted to lead but failed miserably in his own strength. There were some impor tant lessons he had to learn on the back side of the desert. God, in His sovereign grace, spoke to him through the burning bush. All that the Lord's servant needed to do was to live in absolute, total de pendence upon God. In the final analysis, God's plan for Israel's de liverance was by the shedding of blood. The plagues were simply to create a confidence in the heart of the people so that they would listen to the voice of the Lord. If there is anything that is missing in the Christian church today it is that. Why will we not learn to believe God? We ask Him to do things He has already promised to perform. At the night of the passover, each family was to take a lamb without blemish, using the blood to be sprinkled as instructed. This re quired simple but total obedience. The account is recorded in the 12th chapter of Exodus. The stringency of this action upon Egypt caused Pharaoh to let the slaves go free. That must have been a very excit ing day! Read about it again in chapters 13 and 14. The first prob lem they encountered was the Red Sea. But again, God gave the or ders and Moses obeyed. One com mentary points out, "The children of Israel went toward the hole in
Talbot Seminary (Myers Hall) located on the Biola campus. A new Seminary Chapel/Classroom building is planned for the near future to take care of the increasing number of students enrolling in the graduate school.
as well as making sure of your eter nal destiny. All these are, of course, true. He died to reside in your life. Remember that as the children of Israel entered the land of Canaan they experienced one victory after another. I challenge you to exam ine your life. What has happened since you were born of the Spirit? The question is not how active you are. Beware of the barenness of the busy life! Let Christ live through you the dynamic of His life! If you have a grumbling, critical spirit then you are in the wilderness! Page 25
20:10-12). Those are some of the most tragic words in all of the Bible. Unfortunately, Moses did not ever get into the land of Canaan, he only saw it from afar. Perhaps he died a totally defeated man. God's plan was Canaan, not the wilderness. Perhaps you are living a defeated life today. You have never experi enced the purpose for which Jesus Christ came into your life. He died for infinitely more than simply to take you out of Egypt, giving spir itual birth and forgiveness of sin,Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60
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