Working For God! - novelonlinefull.com
You’re read light novel Working For God! Part 4 online at NovelOnlineFull.com. Please use the follow button to get notification about the latest chapter next time when you visit NovelOnlineFull.com. Use F11 button to read novel in full-screen(PC only). Drop by anytime you want to read free – fast – latest novel. It’s great if you could leave a comment, share your opinion about the new chapters, new novel with others on the internet. We’ll do our best to bring you the finest, latest novel everyday. Enjoy
The mystery of Christ, whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of that grace of G.o.d which was given me according to the working of His power.'a"Eph. 3:7 In the words of Paul to the Philippians, which we have already considered (Chap. IX.), in which he called upon them and encouraged them to work, because it was G.o.d who worked in them, we found one of the most pregnant and comprehensive statements of the great truth that it is only by G.o.d's working in us that we can do true work. In our texts for this chapter we have Paul's testimony as to his own experience. His whole ministry was to be according to the grace which was given him according to the working of G.o.d's power. And of his labour he says that it was a striving according to the power of Him who worked mightily in him.
We find here the same principle we found in our Lorda"the Father doing the works in Him. Let every worker who reads this pause, and saya"If the ever-blessed Son, if the Apostle Paul, could only do their work according to the working of His power who worked in them mightily, how much more do I need this working of G.o.d in me, to fit me for doing His work aright. This is one of the deepest spiritual truths of G.o.d's word; let us look to the Holy Spirit within us to give it such a hold of our inmost life, that it may become the deepest inspiration of all our work. I can only do true work as I yield myself to G.o.d to work in me.
We know the ground on which this truth rests, There is none good but G.o.d'; There is none holy but the Lord'; Power belongeth unto G.o.d.' All goodness and holiness and power are only to be found in G.o.d, and where He gives them. And He can only give them in the creature, not as something He parts with, but by His own actual presence and dwelling and working. And so G.o.d can only work in His people in as far as He is allowed to have complete possession of the heart and life. As our will and life and love are yielded up in dependence and faith, and G.o.d is waited on to keep possession and to abide, even as Christ waited on Him, G.o.d can work in us.
This is true of all our spiritual life, but specially of our work for G.o.d. The work of saving souls is G.o.d's own work: none but He can do it.
The gift of His Son is the proof of how great and precious He counts the work, and how His heart is set upon it. His love never for one moment ceases working for the salvation of men. And when He calls His children to be partners in His work, He shares with them the joy and the glory of the work of saving and blessing men. He promises to work His work through them, inspiring and energising them by His power working in them. To him who can say with Paul: I labour, striving according to His power who worketh in me mightily,' his whole relation to G.o.d becomes the counterpart and the continuation of Christ's, a blessed, unceasing, momentary, and most absolute dependence on the Father for every word He spoke and every work He did.
Christ is our pattern. Christ's life is our law and works in us. Christ lived in Paul his life of dependence on G.o.d. Why should any of us hesitate to believe that the grace given to Paul of labouring and striving according to the working of the power' will be given to us too. Let every worker learn to saya"As the power that worked in Christ worked in Paul too, that power works no less in me. There is no possible way of working G.o.d's work aright, but by G.o.d working it in us.
How I wish that I could take every worker who reads this by the hand, and saya"Come, my brother! let us quiet our minds, and hush every thought in G.o.d's presence, as I whisper in your ears the wonderful secret: G.o.d is working in you. All the work you have to do for Him, G.o.d will work in you. Take time and think it over. It is a deep spiritual truth which the mind cannot grasp nor the heart realise. Accept it as a Divine truth from heaven; believe that this word is a seed out of which can grow the very spiritual blessing of which it speaks. And in the faith of the Holy Spirit's making it live within you, say ever again: G.o.d worketh in me. All the work I have to work for Him, G.o.d will work in me.
The faith of this truth, and the desire to have it made true in you, will constrain you to live very humbly and closely with G.o.d. You will see how work for G.o.d must be the most spiritual thing in a spiritual life. And you will ever anew bow in holy stillness: G.o.d is working; G.o.d will work in me; I will work for Him according to the power which worketh in me mightily.
1. The gift of the grace of G.o.d (Eph. 2:7, Eph. 3:7), the power that worketh in us (Eph. 3:20), the strengthening with might by the Spirit (Eph. 3:16)a"the three expressions all contain the same thought of G.o.d's working all in us.
2. The Holy Spirit is the power of G.o.d. Seek to be filled with the Spirit, to have your whole life led by Him, and you will become fit for G.o.d's working mightily in you.
3. Ye shall receive the power of the Holy Spirit coming on you.'
Through the Spirit dwelling in us G.o.d can work in us mightily.
4. What holy fear, what humble watchfulness and dependence, what entire surrender and obedience become us if we believe in G.o.d's working in us.
Labouring more Abundantly.
By the grace of G.o.d I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed on me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of G.o.d which was with me.'a"1 Cor. 15:10 And He hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My power is made perfect in weaknessa . In nothing was I behind the chiefest of the apostles, though I am nothing.'a"2 Cor. 12:9, 11 In both of these pa.s.sages Paul speaks of how he had abounded in the work of the Lord. In nothing was I behind the chiefest of the Apostles.' I laboured more abundantly, than they all.' In both he tells how entirely it was all of G.o.d, who worked in Him, and not of himself.
In the first he says: Not I, but the grace of G.o.d which was with me.'
And then in the second, showing how this grace is Christ's strength working in us, while we are nothing, he tells us: He said unto me: My grace is sufficient for thee: My power is made perfect in weakness.'
May G.o.d give us the Spirit of revelation, enlightened eyes of the heart,' to see this wonderful vision, a man who knows himself to be nothing, glorying in his weakness, that the power of Christ may rest on him, and work through him, and who so labours more abundantly than all.
What does this teach us as workers for G.o.d.
G.o.d's work can only be done in G.o.d's strength.a"It is only by G.o.d's power, that is, by G.o.d Himself working in us, that we can do effective work. Throughout this little book this truth has been frequently repeated. It is easy to accept of it; it is far from easy to see its full meaning, to give it the mastery over our whole being, to live it out. This will need stillness of soul, and meditation, strong faith and fervent prayer. As it is G.o.d alone who can work in us, it is equally G.o.d who alone can reveal Himself as the G.o.d who works in us. Wait on Him, and the truth that ever appears to be beyond thy reach will be opened up to thee, through the knowledge of who and what G.o.d is. When G.o.d reveals Himself as G.o.d who worketh all in all,' thou wilt learn to believe and work according to the power of Him who worketh in thee mightily.'
G.o.d's strength can only work in weakness.a"It is only when we truly say, Not I! that we can fully say, but the grace of G.o.d with me. The man who said, In nothing behind the chiefest of the Apostles! had first learnt to say, though I am nothing. He could say: I take pleasure in weaknesses, for when I am weak then am I strong.' This is the true relation between the Creator and the creature, between the Divine Father and His child, between G.o.d and His servant. Christian worker!
learn the lesson of thine own weakness, as the indispensable condition of G.o.d's Power working in thee. Do believe that to take time and in G.o.d's presence to realise thy weakness and nothingness is the sure way to be clothed with G.o.d's strength. Accept every experience by which G.o.d teaches thee thy weakness as His grace preparing thee to receive His strength. Take pleasure in weaknesses!
G.o.d's strength comes in our fellowship with Christ and His service.a"Paul says: I will glory in my weakness, that the strength of Christ may rest upon me.' I take pleasure in weaknesses for Christ's sake.' And he tells how it was when be had besought the Lord that the messenger of Satan might depart from him, that He answered: My grace is sufficient for thee.' Christ is the wisdom and the power of G.o.d.' We do not receive the wisdom to know, or the power to do G.o.d's will as something that we can possess and use at discretion. It is in the personal attachment to Christ, in a life of continual communication with Him, that His power rests on us. It is in taking pleasure in weaknesses for Christ's sake that Christ's strength is known.
G.o.d's strength is given to faith, and the work that is done in faith.a"It needs a living faith to take pleasure in weaknesses, and in weakness to do our work, knowing that G.o.d is working in us. Without seeing or feeling anything, to go on in the confidence of a hidden power working in usa"this is the highest exercise of a life of faith.
To do G.o.d's own work in saving souls, in persevering prayer and labour; amid outwardly unfavourable circ.u.mstances and appearances still to labour more abundantlya"this faith alone can do. Let us be strong in faith, giving glory to G.o.d. G.o.d will show Himself strong towards him whose heart is perfect with Him.
My brother! be willing to yield yourself to the very utmost to G.o.d, that His power may rest upon you, may work in you. Do let G.o.d work through you. Offer yourself to Him for His work as the one object of your life. Count upon His working all in you, to fit you for His service, to strengthen and bless you in it. Let the faith and love of your Lord Jesus, whose strength is going to be made perfect in your weakness, lead you to live even as He did, to do the Father's will and finish His work.
1. Let every minister seek the full personal experience of Christ's strength made perfect in His weakness: this alone will fit him to teach believers the secret of their strength.
2. Our Lord says: My grace, My strength.' It is as, in close personal fellowship and love, we abide in Christ, and have Christ abiding in us, that His grace and strength can work.
3. It is a heart wholly given up to G.o.d, to His will and love, that will know his power working in our weakness.
A Doer that worketh shall be blessed in Doing Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves. He that looketh into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and so continueth, being not a hearer that forgetteth, but a doer that worketh, this man shall be blessed in doing.'a"Jas. 1:22, 25 G.o.d created us not to contemplate but to act. He created us in His own image, and in Him there is no Thought without simultaneous Action.'
True action is born of contemplation. True contemplation, as a means to an end, always begets action. If sin had not entered there had never been a separation between knowing and doing. In nothing is the power of sin more clearly seen than this, that even in the believer there is such a gap between intellect and conduct. It is possible to delight in hearing, to be diligent in increasing our knowledge of G.o.d's word, to admire and approve the truth, even to be willing to do it, and yet to fail entirely in the actual performance. Hence the warning of James, not to delude ourselves with being hearers and not doers. Hence his p.r.o.nouncing the doer who worketh blessed in his doing.
Blessed in doing.a"The words are a summary of the teaching of our Lord Jesus at the close of the Sermon on the Mount: He that doeth the will of My Father shall enter the kingdom of heaven.' Every one that heareth My words, and doeth them, shall be likened unto a wise man.' To the woman who spoke of the blessedness of her who was his mother: Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of G.o.d and keep it.' To the disciples in the last night: If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.' It is one of the greatest dangers in religion that we rest content with the pleasure and approval which a beautiful representation of a truth calls forth, without the immediate performance of what it demands. It is only when conviction has been translated into conduct that we have proof that the truth is mastering us.
A doer that worketh shall be blessed in doing.a"The doer is blessed.
The doing is the victory that overcomes every obstacle it brings out and confirms the very image of G.o.d, the Great Worker; it removes every barrier to the enjoyment of all the blessing G.o.d has prepared. We are ever inclined to seek our blessedness in what G.o.d gives, in privilege and enjoyment. Christ placed it in what we do, because it is only in doing that we really prove and know and possess the life G.o.d has bestowed. When one said, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of G.o.d,' our Lord answered with the parable of the supper, Blessed is he that forsakes all to come to the supper.' The doer is blessed. As surely as it is only in doing that the painter or musician, the man of science or commerce, the discoverer or the conqueror find their blessedness, so, and much more, is it only in keeping the commandments and in doing the will of G.o.d that the believer enters fully into the truth and blessedness of deliverance from sin and fellowship with G.o.d. Doing is the very essence of blessedness, the highest manifestation, and therefore the fullest enjoyment of the life of G.o.d.
A doer that worketh shall be blessed in doing.a"This was the blessedness of Abraham, of whom we read (Jas. 2:22): Thou seest that faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect.' He had no works without faith ; there was faith working with them and in them all. And he had no faith without works: through them his faith was exercised and strengthened and perfected. As his faith, so his blessedness was perfected in doing. It is in doing that the doer that worketh is blessed. The true insight into this, as a Divine revelation of the true nature of good works, in perfect harmony with all our experience in the world, will make us take every command, and every truth, and every opportunity to abound in good works as an integral part of the blessedness of the salvation Christ has brought us. Joy and work, work and joy, will become synonymous: we shall no longer be hearers but doers.
Let us put this truth into immediate practice. Let us live for others, to love and serve them. Let not the fact of our being unused to labours of love, or the sense of ignorance and unfitness, keep us back. Only begin. If you think you are not able to labour for souls, begin with the bodies. Only begin, and go on, and abound. Believe the word, It is more blessed to give than to receive. Pray for and depend on the promised grace. Give yourself to a ministry of love; in the very nature of things, in the example of Christ, in the promise of G.o.d you have the a.s.surance: If you know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
Blessed is the doer!
The Work of Soul-Saving.
My brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know that he which converteth a sinner from the error of his ways shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a mult.i.tude of sins.'a"Jas. 5:19[-20]
We sometimes hesitate to speak of men being converted and saved by men.
Scripture here twice uses the expression of one man converting another, and once of his saving him. Let us not hesitate to accept it as part of our work, of our high prerogative as the sons of G.o.d, to convert and to save men. For it is G.o.d who worketh in us.'
Shall save a soul from death.' Every workman studies the material in which he works: the carpenter the wood, the goldsmith the gold. Our works are wrought in G.o.d.' In our good works we deal with souls. Even when we can at first do no more than reach and help their bodies, our aim is the soul. For these Christ came to die. For these G.o.d has appointed us to watch and labour. Let us study these. What care a huntsman or a fisherman takes to know the habits of the spoil he seeks.
Let us remember that it needs Divine wisdom and training and skill to become winners of souls. The only way to get that training and skill is to begin to work: Christ Himself will teach each one who waits on Him In that training the Church with its ministers has a part to take.. The daily experience of ordinary life and teaching prove how often there exist in a man unsuspected powers, which must be called out by training before they are known to be there. When a man thus becomes conscious and master of the power there is in himself he is, as it were, a new creature; the power and enjoyment of life is doubled. Every believer has bidden within himself the power of saving souls. The Kingdom of Heaven is within us as a seed, and every one of the gifts and graces of the spirit are each also a hidden seed. The highest aim of the ministry is to waken the consciousness of this hidden seed of power to save souls. A depressing sense of ignorance or impotence keeps many back.
James writes: Let him who converts another know that he has saved a soul from death.' Every believer needs to be taught to know and use the wondrous blessed power with which he has been endowed. When G.o.d said to Abraham: I will bless thee, then shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,' He called him to a faith not only in the blessing that would come to him from above, but in the power of blessing he would be in the world. It is a wonderful moment in the life of a child of G.o.d when he sees that the second blessing is as sure as the first.
He shall save a soul.' Our Lord bears the name of Jesus, Saviour. He is the embodiment of G.o.d's saving love. Saving souls is His own great work, is His work alone. As our faith in Him grows to know and receive all there is in Him, as He lives in us, and dwells in our heart and disposition, saving souls will become the great work to which our life will be given. We shall be the willing and intelligent instruments through whom He will do His mighty work.
If any err, and one convert him he which converteth a sinner shall save a soul.' The words suggest personal work. We chiefly think of large gatherings to whom the Gospel is preached; the thought here is of one who has erred and is sought after. We increasingly do our work through a.s.sociations and organisations. If one convert him, he saveth a soul;'
it is the love and labour of some individual believer that has won the erring one back. It is this we need in the Church of Christ,a"every believer who truly follows Jesus Christ looking out for those who are erring from the way, loving them, and labouring to help them back. Not one of us may say, Am I my brother's keeper?' We are in the world only and solely that as the members of Christ's body we may continue and carry out His saving work. As saving souls was and is His work, His joy, His glory, let it be ours, let it be mine, too. Let me give myself personally to watch over individuals, and seek to save them one by one.
Know that he which converteth a sinner shall save a soul.' If ye know these things, happy are ye if you do them.' Let me translate these Scripture truths into action; let me give these thoughts shape and substance in daily life; let me prove their power over me, and my faith in them, by work. Is there not more than one Christian around me wandering from the way, needing loving help and not unwilling to receive it? Are there not some whom I could take by the hand, and encourage to begin again? Are there not many who have never been in the right way, for some of whom Christ Jesus would use me, if I were truly at His disposal?
If I feel afraida"oh! let me believe that the love of G.o.d as a seed dwells within me, not only calling but enabling me actually to do the work. Let me yield myself to the Holy Spirit to fill my heart with that love, and fit me for its service. Jesus the Saviour lives to save; He dwells in me; He will do His saving work through me. Know that he which converteth a sinner shall save a soul from death, and cover a mult.i.tude of sins.'
1. More love to souls, born out of fervent love to the Lord Jesusa"is not this our great need?
2. Let us pray for love, and begin to love, in the faith that as we exercise the little we have more will be given.
3. Lord! open our eyes to see Thee doing Thy great work of saving men, and waiting to give Thy love and strength into the heart of every willing one. Make each one of Thy redeemed a soul-winner.
Praying and Working.
If any man see his brother sinning a sin not unto death, he shall ask, and G.o.d will give him life for them that sin not unto death.'a"1 John 5:16 Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works' these words in Hebrews express what lies at the very root of a life of good worksa"the thoughtful loving care we have for each other, that not one may fall away. As it is in Galatians: Even if a man be overtaken in a trespa.s.s, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness.' Or as Jude writes, apparently of Christians who were in danger of falling away, Some save, s.n.a.t.c.hing them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear.' As Christ's doing good to men's bodies ever aimed at winning their souls, all our ministry of love must be subordinated to that which is G.o.d's great purpose and longinga"the salvation unto life eternal.
In this labour of love praying and working must ever go together. At times prayer may reach those whom the words cannot reach. At times prayer may chiefly be needed for ourselves, to obtain the wisdom and courage for the words. At times it may be specially called forth for the soul by the very lack of fruit from our words. As a rule, praying and working must be inseparablea"the praying to obtain from G.o.d what we need for the soul; the working to bring to it what G.o.d has given us.
The words of John here are most suggestive as to the power of prayer in our labour of love. It leads us to think of prayer as a personal work; with a very definite object; and a certainty of answer.
Let prayer be a personal effort. If any man see his brother he shall ask. We are so accustomed to act through societies and a.s.sociations that we are in danger of losing sight of the duty resting upon each of us to watch over those around him. Every member of my body is ready to serve any other member. Every believer is to care for the fellow-believers who are within his reach, in his church, his house, or social circle. The sin of each is a loss and a hurt to the body of Christ. Let your eyes be open to the sins of your brethren around you; not to speak evil or judge or helplessly complain, but to love and help and care and pray. Ask G.o.d to see your brother's sin, in its sinfulness, its danger to himself, its grief to Christ, its loss to the body; but also as within reach of G.o.d's compa.s.sion and deliverance.
Shutting our eyes to the sin of our brethren around us is not true love. See it, and take it to G.o.d, and make it part of your work for G.o.d to pray for your brother and seek new life for him.
Let prayer be definite. If any man see his brother sinning let him ask.
We need prayer from a person for a person. Scripture and G.o.d's spirit teach us to pray for all society, for the Church with which we are a.s.sociated, for nations, and for special spheres of work. Most needful and blessed. But somehow more is neededa"to take of those with whom we come into contact, one by one, and make them the subjects of our intercession. The larger supplications must have their place, but it is difficult with regard to them to know when our prayers are answered.
But there is nothing will bring G.o.d so near, will test and strengthen our faith, and make us know we are fellowworkers with G.o.d, as when we receive an answer to our prayers for individuals. It will quicken in us the new and blessed consciousness that we indeed have power with G.o.d.
Let every worker seek to exercise this grace of taking up and praying for individual souls. 
Count upon an answer. He shall ask, and G.o.d will give him (the one who prays) life for them that sin. The words follow on those in which John had spoken about the confidence we have of being heard, if we ask anything according to His will. There is often complaint made of not knowing G.o.d's will. But here there is no difficulty. He willeth that all men should be saved.' If we rest our faith on this will of G.o.d, we shall grow strong and grasp the promise. He shall ask, and G.o.d will give him life for them that sin.' The Holy Spirit will lead us, if we yield ourselves to be led by Him, to the souls G.o.d would have us take as our special care, and for which the grace of faith and persevering prayer will be given us. Let the wonderful promise: G.o.d will give to him who asks life for them who sin, stir us and encourage us to our priestly ministry of personal and definite intercession, as one of the most blessed among the good works in which we can serve G.o.d and man.
Praying and working are inseparable. Let all who work learn to pray well. Let all who pray learn to work well.
1. To pray Thee confidently, and, if need be, perseveringly, for an individual, needs a close walk with G.o.d, and the faith that we can prevail with Him.
2. In all our work for G.o.d, prayer must take a much larger place. If G.o.d is to work all; if our posture is to be that of entire dependence, waiting for Him to work in us; if it takes time to persevere and to receive in ourselves what G.o.d gives us for others; there needs to be a work and a labouring in prayer.
3. Oh that G.o.d would open our eyes to the glory of this work of saving souls, as the one thing G.o.d lives for, as the one thing He wants to work in us.
4. Let us pray for the love and power of G.o.d to come on us, for the blessed work of soul-winning.
 This thought is very strikingly put in a penny tract, One by One, to be obtained from the author, Mr. Thomas Hogben, Welcome Mission, Portsmouth.
I Know thy Works.
To the angel of the church in Ephesusa"in Thyatiraa"in Sardisa"in Philadelphiaa"in Laodicea write: I know thy works.'  a"Rev. 2:3 I know thy works.' These are the words of Him who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, and whose eyes are like a flame of fire. As He looks upon the churches, the first thing He sees and judges of isa"the works. The works are the revelation of the life and character. If we are willing to bring our works into His holy presence, His words can teach us what our work ought to be.
To Ephesus He says: I know thy works, and thy toil and patience, and that thou canst not bear evil men, and thou hast patience and didst bear for My name's sake, and hast not grown weary. But I have this against thee, that thou hast left thy first love. Repent, and do the first works.' There was here much to praisea"toil, and patience, and zeal that had never grown weary. But there was one thing lackinga"the tenderness of the first love.
In His work for us Christ gave us before and above everything His love, the personal tender affection of His heart. In our work for Him He asks us nothing less. There is such a danger of work being carried on, and our even bearing much for Christ's sake, while the freshness of our love has pa.s.sed away. And that is what Christ seeks. And that is what gives power. And that is what nothing can compensate for. Christ looks for the warm loving heart, the personal affection which ever keeps Him the centre of our love and joy.
Christian workers, see that all your work be the work of love, of tender personal devotion to Christ Jesus.
To Thyatira: I know thy works, and thy love and faith and ministry and patience, and that the last works are more than the first. But I have this against thee, that thou sufferest the woman Jezebel, and she teacheth and seduceth My servants.' Here again the works are enumerated and praised: the last had even been more than the first. But then there is one failure: a false toleration of what led to impurity and idolatry. And then He adds of His judgments: the churches shall know that I am He which searches the reins and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your works.'
Along with much of good works there may be some one form of error or evil tolerated which endangers the whole church. In Ephesus there was zeal for orthodoxy, but a lack of love; here love and faith, but a lack of faithfulness against error. If good works are to please our Lord, if our whole life must be in harmony with them, in entire separation from the world and its allurements, we must seek to be what He promised to make us, stablished in every good word and work. Our work will decide our estimate in His judgment.
To Sardis: I know thy works, that thou hast a name to live, and thou art dead. Be watchful and stablish the things that are ready to die: for I have found no works of thine fulfilled before My G.o.d.'
There may be all the forms of G.o.dliness without the power; all the activities of religious organisation without the life. There may be many works, and yet He may say: I have found no work of thine fulfilled before My G.o.d, none that can stand the test and be really acceptable to G.o.d as a spiritual sacrifice. In Ephesus it was works lacking in love, in Thyatira works lacking in purity, in Sardis works lacking in life.
To Philadelphia: I know thy works, that thou hast a little power, and didst keep My word and didst not deny My name. Because thou didst keep My word, I also will keep thee.'
On earth Jesus had said: He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me. If a man love Me, he will keep My word. and My Father will love him. Philadelphia, the church for which there is no reproof, had this mark: its chief work, and the law of all its work, was, it kept Christ's word, not in an orthodox creed only, but in practical obedience. Let nothing less, let this truly, be the mark and spirit of all our work: a keeping of the word of Christ. Full, loving conformity to His will will be rewarded.
To Laodicea: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. Thou sayest, I am rich and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing.'
There is not a church without its works, its religious activities.
And yet the two great marks of Laodicean religion, lukewarmness, and its natural accompaniment, self-complacence, may rob them of their worth. It not only, like Ephesus, teaches us the need of a fresh and fervent love, but also the need of that poverty of spirit, that conscious weakness out of which the absolute dependence on Christ's strength for all our work will grow, and which will no longer leave Christ standing at the door, but enthrone Him in the Heart.