Philip Hogan

Genesis 6: 14-16 (to “side”)

Psalm 48: 12-14

Colossians 1: 23

         In Christianity we are brought into a sphere of security.  I have read about a secure salvation, a secure relationship, and a secure testimony.  The ark was surrounded by waters of destruction.  It struck me that the ark was a very large vessel.  It may have been around about 450 feet long, and Noah was instructed to pitch it “inside and outside”.  It was completely sealed; it was completely secure.  In that respect it was impregnable.  What God brings us in touch with is impregnable.  It is unassailable; as the work of Christ that was carried out on the cross was, and is, unassailable.  The ark was completely sealed.  Our brother and sister have put their faith in the work of the Lord Jesus for themselves personally, and it is to characterise their whole life, up to now as individuals, but now their life together as a married couple. 

         There was one door in the ark.  Our brother and sister have both come through that one door.  They know what that door is: the door speaks of Christ.  It is vital that everyone knows what it is to come through that one door.  There is no other way; there is no other door.  It is a tremendous thing when you put your faith in Christ and know that that work is established once and for all, and it is a work that has been completely carried out to God’s satisfaction.  It gives a tremendous sense of security, a sense of security that transcends anything that can be known in this world, where people strive after financial security and strive after job security; and there is very little of either in this world.  But the security of knowing and having your faith pinned on Christ far outweighs any other security that you are likely to experience in your lifetime.

         Then it says that Noah was to pitch it inside.  You might say, ’Why did he need to pitch it inside as well as outside?’.  But that is what we have to do.  That is what Christ has done, but we have to appropriate that work, and He has given us the resources of the Holy Spirit in order that that pitch can be applied.  It can be applied in our lives; it can be applied in our household circumstances; so that there is what is perfectly and utterly sealed, so that what is outward, and what is outside under judgment, cannot penetrate.  The ark rose above all that. 

         And then it says, “A light shalt thou make to the ark”.  The light was like a window; so our brother and sister, as well as knowing what it is to come in by the same door, also know what it is to look out of the same window, to have their outlook towards heaven, to have a spiritual outlook, an outlook that characterises everything they do in their lives, that characterises the way they operate, the way they move.  That is an outlook which is heavenward, an outlook which finds its centre in Christ where He is at present.

         When we come to Psalm 48 it speaks about “bulwarks”.  It refers to a defensive wall.  There are bulwarks on ships too: in the old days they used to use very hard timber, and then they used to impregnate it with pitch to make sure  the ship was waterproof, to make sure that it was sealed.  In the midst of a world that is marked by atheism, agnosticism and alternative messages we can apply the thought of bulwarks to our households which are characterised by how they stand in terms of their Christian outlook.  Christianity is being assailed from all sides and yet in the midst of that God has established these bulwarks: “Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces”. 

         Before that it says, “Walk about Zion”.  One of the privileges of marriage is that you can explore things together.  You can explore this territory, you can explore together.  You can share an impression of the greatness of the Lord Jesus, you can have some impression of heaven, and you can discuss it and you can, in that respect, explore it together.  It is a great thing to be able to do that. 

         And then going out from that I believe there is what is seen outwardly; so there is a testimony in these bulwarks.  There is what is sure and steadfast and reliable and what is being worked out in our day-to-day experiences, through the good experiences and through the difficult experiences.  Sometimes our households go through very difficult exercises, but there is what is unassailable, that we put our faith in, the Lord Jesus.  And He would come in and He would help us through these exercises.  He would come in and would show us His friendship, show us His love; and as we come before Him, even in the simple day-to-day, run-of-the-mill exercises and circumstantial difficulties that we may have, there is what is being worked out in each of our hearts that is sure and is steadfast, not because of what we are as humans, but rather because of what He is in all His greatness, in all His reliability, in all His consistency.

         Then there is what would shine out “to the generation following”.  There are many young people here today.  There are children, teenagers, and they all have different exercises.  Their life is ahead of them, but there is what is carried on, what is going forward in life, going forward in power.  The testimony is not going to fade out.  We might think it is here in weakness and smallness, but yet it is not going to fade out because there is what is living, there is what is glorious, and there is what is absolutely dependable because that is the work of Christ.

         Then it says, “For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide until death”.  It is a tremendous thing to think that it says of the One we have to do with, the One we have a real relationship with, as our brother and sister have known what that relationship is, “For this God is our God for ever and ever”.  The same One that created the worlds, the same One that worked out the fine detail of creation, is our God.  He is a God with whom we can have a real relationship and it says, “he will be our guide until death”.  We can bring that into all our relationships.  He will be “our guide until death”.  We have known what it is for Him to be our Guide.  Sometimes He will show us a way that is not according to what we thought it would be.  We all have our lives planned out for ourselves; we all have our ambitions and aspirations.  Sometimes God will show us there is a way that is different to my way and your way, but what we do know is “he will be our guide until death”.

         In Colossians it says, “if indeed ye abide in the faith founded and firm, and not moved away from the hope of the glad tidings, which ye have heard, which have been proclaimed in the whole creation which is under heaven”.  We have been brought into touch with the glad tidings.  We live in a world where there is much which is negative, where there is much which would try to erode the very essence of Christianity, but there are glad tidings from heaven, and our brother and sister have been the beneficiaries of these glad tidings.  They have known what it is for these glad tidings to change their lives.  They have known what it is to have the hope of the glad tidings within their hearts and, as their household is set up together, something of that hope is seen outwardly in testimony, seen by neighbours, seen by friends, seen in simple acts of going to the meeting and reading the Bible.  These are things which characterise the Christian household, and it is seen in testimony, and it is all based on the fact that we do have hope, “the hope of the glad tidings”.  So the testimony is entirely unassailable and the testimony is worked out in our relationships together and it will go forward and it will go on in power as we have this hope.

         So, as to our brother and sister, it says, “if indeed ye abide in the faith”.  Well, we can simply “abide in the faith”, bring faith into our circumstances, bring faith into our day-to-day lives.  We have these Scriptures in our hands and as we exercise faith, the Scriptures will open up and we can see something of the glories of Christ, something of the greatness of what God has in mind for us.  And as well as that we have the power of the Holy Spirit who would open them up and who would give us a view of these towers that we read about in Psalm 48, so that we can explore these things.  We can “walk about Zion” and we can see the towers, see a spiritual landscape in all its greatness and all its glory, a landscape that is greater than anything else in this world, “if indeed ye abide in the faith founded and firm”.  Well, the bulwarks abide in the faith: they are “founded and firm”; their foundation is in Christ and they are firm because His work is complete, and it is assured, and I am sure our brother and sister will find there is great stability in having to do with Christ in their day-to-day circumstances. 

         May He bless the word.

Glasgow

13th April 2013