Genesis 48: 5-6
John 13: 1; 17: 9-10
I wondered, dear brethren, if we might be helped to have some appreciation of the fact that we belong to divine Persons. It says in Ephesians 2: 13, “ye who once were afar off are become nigh by the blood of the Christ”. And 1 Corinthians says, “and ye are not your own? for ye have been bought with a price”, chap 6: 19-20. I think in our histories that is where we would start: with the appreciation of the cost, “bought with a price”. We have been “afar off”, but tonight I would draw from a touch I got on Lord’s day, a simple yet a wonderful thought, that we belong to divine Persons, we are a divine possession, but not in a slavish way. There have been those who were owned by their masters, they were the possession of their masters, but this is a different kind of possession, a different kind of ownership. I just wondered if that might encourage our hearts as we go through the different exercises that are amongst us at this time, that we might just be preserved in our love for Christ and our understanding that we belong to Him.
The first scripture we read speaks typically of what we mean to the Father. We received a touch as to this not so many months ago at the Supper. It is the kind of thing that lingers with you; they “shall be mine”. Think of the desire of divine Persons that we should belong to Them, that we should have an understanding of that. He says, “as Reuben and Simeon”. He knows all that Reuben and Simeon are. You read what he says about them further on in this book, but think of what these two children, these two sons that were born to Joseph, meant to Israel; they “shall be mine”. I think that suggests the position we are brought into. We are brought into the Father’s presence in the sense that we have been brought through death to know this position that is ours, being those who belong to the Father. There was a cost involved. Joseph was rejected. He was put in the pit (chap 37: 24), with all that that meant, but think of the Father’s appreciation of what is secured. I was struck in our reading too on Lord’s day, when we read, “loved his own”. That is how the Lord Jesus views each one of us; we are “his own”. He is speaking typically of what there is of the remnant in this section that we read, but it comes down to us, “loved his own”. Think of the affections of the Lord Jesus for each one of us, and He wants us to be maintained in the appreciation of that position that is ours. It is not to be taken lightly. Beloved, you feel in your history how often this has not been true characteristically of you because of what you let yourself into, but this is how the Lord Jesus views us. This is the standard He wants us to be maintained in, to be His own, not our own. He is the One who has paid the price. We are the ones who have gone into the distance, but He has brought us nigh. What a wonderful place to be found in the presence of divine Persons for their pleasure! That is what I had a touch about: as we are brought nigh we get some sense that the Father has delight in us. He has perfect delight in Jesus, absolute delight in Jesus, but as we are in this position there is delight for the Father.
And as we have an appreciation of this it brings us to an appreciation of one another, to realise as we handle the saints, as we get further on in John 13, that we understand whose we are. They belong to Christ. Jesus has paid the price. How do I view my brethren? How do I speak of them? How do I think of the saints? Do I have different categories of thought in relation to my brethren? Do I place them at different levels in my affection? I think the Lord Jesus, when He says this, has every one at the same level in His thoughts. Beloved, I think we need to have something of the divine perspective in our appreciation of one another. We belong to Christ. The saints belong to our Lord Jesus Christ and He wants to bring us into the enjoyment of this position of nearness, a place that is to be very much appreciated, to be enjoyed. It is not just a picture on the wall. It is not just a text, not just a theory. It is not just something that is said amongst the saints. It is something that you and I can enjoy, but it requires that we answer to that in our responsible histories. It is not just a mystical thing that happens when you come together on a Lord’s day, or when you come amongst the saints. There is a secret history. There is something that has been wrought out. I think what the disciples came into later on in John 13 must have been a wonderful feeling, to have the hands of the Lord Jesus washing their feet and wiping them with the linen towel. That is not to be sentimental. I think these things bring out the personal touch that each of us has to know by experience with the Lord Jesus and it is a constant matter. I do not think it is a once and for all thing. I think this is a constant matter. We need it. In the world in which we are, no matter which stage of life we are at, young and old, we need these touches from one another to maintain us at this level, to maintain our thoughts of one another at this level, to understand that the saints belong to divine Persons. They have secured them for themselves.
We read in John 17 what the Lord Jesus said in His prayer. This is a wonderful section in John 17, worthy of much contemplation. Think of what the Lord Jesus says in the verse we read, “but concerning those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine”. Think of that. The Lord Jesus brings us into that place. He wants to maintain us in that. We read on in this book and He asks that the disciples might be maintained; He says, “that thou shouldest keep them out of evil. They are not of the world, as I am not of the world”, v 16. What a standard! Do you feel you live up to that? Do I feel I live up to that? That is the view that Jesus has of us, and that is the position He wants us to be maintained in, and that is how we have to be here for Him.
Now, beloved, I just feel we need to get some sense of this in our affections, to encourage our souls to be stimulated so that we might seek to be here for Christ. In spite of all that comes in may we have in our affections that we belong to, and are the possession of, divine Persons. He “loved his own”. That is a wonderful thing to know that we are loved by the Lord Jesus, “having loved his own who were in the world, loved them to the end”, loved them through everything. Whatever comes in, the Lord Jesus is there and able to maintain us and sustain us and bring us through in triumph. That is the wonderful thing in Christianity, despite the smallness that we might know, despite the frailty that we might find, that He is able to bring us right through to the very end, right through everything. There is nothing at all that He cannot bring us through to.
Well, may we just be encouraged in our affections to know that we are a divine possession.
21st October 2008