Luke 10: 34
I want to say something in relation to what our two brothers have brought before us as to the local assembly being a place where care is administered. It is an attractive thought that there is a place where this man could be taken to. We know the story well, it is often preached from, Luke 10; it is known as the story of the Good Samaritan. We know that when the man was in a helpless state he was met, in figure, by the Lord Jesus, when only a transaction with Christ would resolve the matter of his immediate need. That was done there and then on the Jericho road, as we often say in the glad tidings. However his ongoing well-being was a matter of concern, and that is why he was taken to the inn. Often we speak of the Good Samaritan as being typical of the Lord Jesus, we speak of the innkeeper as being typical of the Holy Spirit, and I would endorse all of that; but there is this attractive thought that there was somewhere the Samaritan would take him to, and I think that relates to what we have in the local assembly. It is a place; it is something that is quite tangible. It is not just an idea, it is not a concept, it is set out here as the inn: somewhere where care could be administered, somewhere where divine Persons were free. The man who typifies the Lord Jesus had taken him to this very place. The local assembly is somewhere where the inheritance that our brother has spoken of is valued, is treasured; it is important: it is an area of safety. This man needed an area of safety and he was taken to an area of safety but, much more than that, it was an area for his spiritual development. That should be so in our local assemblies.
The local assembly is generally where young people come to know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour. That is a great cause for encouragement and rejoicing, but there is more than that. They come to break bread, and again that is a great cause for encouragement. They have the gift of the Holy Spirit given to them by the Father if they receive it. And where does all this take place? Well, it normally takes place in the local assembly, where we remember the Lord Jesus. Yes, it is in a place - we break bread here in Loanhead, we break bread in Port Seton, in a local assembly that is set in a place. The thought that is set out here is the provision of care, and I would just like to say something briefly as to the wideness of that thought. The immediate care was dispensed on the Jericho road, but there is still that very attractive thought that ongoing care is required. I think that we all need that. Everyone of us needs ongoing care. It is rather obvious that this man would need ongoing care. Healing would be required. Immediate things had taken place on the Jericho road, but healing would be required. There would be his building up needed, but there is even more than that alluded to here. There is the thought that he was going to remain there in this area of care and safety until the Lord Jesus returns, and I think it bears application that there is an area, an environment, that is safe for the believer and is safe for the believer’s development, spiritual development, spiritual growth, appreciation of the inheritance. Even Saul of Tarsus in Acts 9, when he met the Lord on the road to Damascus, was taken to a place. He was taken to a local assembly where the inheritance was valued and appreciated. He was taken there to people who loved the Lord Jesus and, as a consequence, loved one another, were found gathering together where the truth was held and held preciously, and he was placed in that environment, an environment of care. Care in the fullest sense is administered here, care with a view to spiritual growth continuing. We will not grow in eternity but we can grow here, and there is an opportunity for all of us to treasure the local assembly and be part of that system that can administer care when and where it is needed. It is needed in many different ways - by persons turning aside, by persons coming amongst us, and in the normality of growth, especially amongst the younger people. All that can be done to nurture that and to encourage it can be found in the local assembly. Our brother has spoken about being taken under the wing. These are touching things but they are real things administered affectionately by people who have your care at heart, affection for the Lord Jesus and affection for one another, and desire spiritual growth, and the preciousness of what you have come into to mean more and more to you. This is administered largely in the local assembly. I do not say that to detract from what is done individually, but again what is done individually largely flows out from the local assembly.
So we have this attractive touch here that this man is taken to a place of safety and care where everything was there for his needs. He did not need again to leave that environment. Now we know that we find ourselves in the world whether we have to work or whatever, but the thought that is conveyed is that he never needed to find his life on the Jericho road again: he finds his life in the inn, speaking of the area where the Lord Jesus is treasured, where the Holy Spirit is in operation as well as indwelling believers. It is the place where, for example, these believers are found together for the simple but profound matter of reading the Scriptures. How much help comes into our gatherings when we open the Scriptures! You must notice that. Sometimes we are very small, and we wonder what is going to be said, what value is going to come out of an occasion. However you never leave without some fresh touch coming into these occasions, and that is in operation in reality among us. It is caring in the fullest sense, it is care with a view to having some increased appreciation of what is precious to the Lord Jesus. The place where this is seen functioning is the local assembly. These things are not just ideas or texts on the wall; they are seen in operation. These matters that we spoke about, this place, the inn, all these things, these practical things, would actually take place. This man’s spiritual well-being would be catered for in the fullest sense, and that is a very attractive thought. It is something that is possible; it is something that is achievable. It is achievable through the help of divine Persons and, in particular, the help of the Holy Spirit operating in this area. This environment that we should treasure and value, is closely linked to our inheritance: an area where our inheritance is treasured. We have this lovely thought that this man was not left to his own devices, he was taken to a place where spiritual care could be administered. It is a challenge to us all, because these things involve us being engaged in what is precious to the Lord Jesus in a place, and that place is the local assembly. We can all find our place there and there is something for everyone of us to do with a view to furthering the Lord’s interests here. May He bless the word for His Name’s sake!
25th December 2012