1 Timothy 2: 1-7 to “apostle”
Mark 10: 45
Matthew 26: 28
Luke 11: 13
In Timothy, Paul gives the immense scope of the gospel at the present time, something that we need to bear in mind. It speaks more than once in this section of “all”. We are to make supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings for all men. I find that is a test to me as to giving thanks, making intercessions for all men, but that is what we are exhorted to do. There is much that we can give thanks for, but we need to have all men in our prayers in view of what God has in view for them, for it says later that God will have all men to be “saved and come to the knowledge of the truth”, and then “God is one, and the mediator of God and men one, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all”. What a tremendous scope there is in the gospel. You hear of some men, and we know of some in history, and you wonder whether it was possible that they could be saved, but such is the work of the Lord Jesus, such is the wonder of God’s heart that there is not a man, woman or child on earth who cannot be saved. It is wonderful, the scope of things that there is in the gospel. It says that He “desires that all men should be saved”. How wonderful that is! That is God’s desire. I feel myself how much more I should be with God in that desire. How evangelical we would be, if we were with God in His desires that all men should be saved. How ready we would be to give a word, to point to Christ in order that men might be saved, knowing that in doing so we are with God in His great heart of love, desiring “that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth”.
And then it speaks of the glory of the One who has effected everything for Him, “the mediator of God and men one, the man Christ Jesus”. There is a note in relation to “the mediator”. It says He “gave Himself a ransom for all”, that is ’a ransom in place of’ all. He has taken the place of everyone who puts their trust in Him, but here it is everyone: “who gave himself a ransom for all”. “The man Christ Jesus”, the blessed Saviour, One who in Himself “is over all, God blessed for ever” (Rom 9: 5), and yet He Himself, knowing the heart of God as none other could know it, has come here to earth, has become a Man, to make that heart known, to make that love known, and to secure those whom God had His desires in relation to that “all men should be saved”. Oh what a glorious Person He is, “the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself”! You might say, He held nothing back. It speaks in another setting of the merchant who went and sold all whatever He had - that was for what He should obtain for Himself, but here it is what He would secure for God: He “gave himself a ransom for all, the testimony to be rendered in its own times”. What a wonderful time we are in, these extended times, two thousand years, and the gospel has been preached all this time. We speak of dispensations, and this is the longest recorded of the dispensations. What a witness to the fact that God desires that all men should be saved. He has made the provision in the Person of His only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the shedding of His precious blood, that men might be saved, and, in order that men might come into the gain of it, this wonderful time has been extended. What it will be for God when it comes to a close! How terrible it will be for men. Think of what God will have eternally when He is surrounded by men who know Him and love Him, who know His love, every one like Christ, like the One who has come out from Him in order to make His heart known. How wonderful that will be, and yet God is waiting, holding things in check at the present time in view of men being brought into the gain of all that He has in His heart of love for them.
So I just want to make that point: the wonder of the present time in which we are, the wonder of what has been accomplished; and although at any time God can close up this scene, men being away from Him and refusing the glad tidings which have been preached for so many years, yet God is still waiting in patience, waiting as we sometimes sing,
God waits in grace
with hands outstretched to bless
What a God He is, and all on the principle of what has come from His own heart. It is a lie in the world that God is a God of demand and so on, but I have read these scriptures because they all speak of giving, wonderful giving. There could not be greater giving than the giving of God. The Lord could say, “If thou knewest the gift”, or the giving, “of God ... thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water”, John 4: 10. How wonderful: “would have given thee living water”. Think of the wonder of that, “If thou knewest the gift of God”, or the giving of God. God is a Giver. Oh that we could convey that to men generally, that God is a Giver, and He has to give that which none other can give, and what He gives is for man’s eternal blessing, and the Lord Jesus Himself has His part in this, as it says, “the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself”. He could not have given more, but such was His love that He would not give less, but He “gave himself a ransom for all”.
But the gospel comes so that we might get the gain of this, so that we might accept it for ourselves, because the other scriptures I have read do not speak of “all men”. That is why I read them, and it is something we ought to bear in mind. If you have not come to know the Lord Jesus as your Saviour you need to realise that these things - whilst they are available to all - are only to be known by those who have put their faith and trust in Him. So the Lord Jesus speaks of the way in which He was here Himself, and He speaks of His being here: “the Son of man” - that is the Lord Jesus - “did not come to be ministered to, but to minister”. He came here to serve. How wonderful that One who as to His Person created the universe, came here as a Man to serve, not to be served but to serve, “and give his life a ransom for many”. He does not say here, ’gave his life a ransom for all’. We need to see that. He “gave himself a ransom for all”. The gospel is available through the work of our Lord Jesus for all, but the life is the virtue and value that was there and that is only availed of by “many”. The gospel comes that each one under the sound of it might reckon themselves among the many for whom the Lord Jesus came and gave His life. It is available to all, but it says, He gave “his life a ransom for many”, and many will be secured. I trust each one here will be secured for the pleasure of God eternally through the work of the Lord Jesus when He gave Himself a ransom for all, as being among the many who have put their trust in Him.
Again, when He speaks of His precious blood, He says, “For this is my blood, that of the new covenant, that shed for many for remission of sins”. Everybody’s sins will not be forgiven. It says elsewhere “through faith in His blood”, Rom 3: 25. Thank God if we have been given faith in the precious blood of Jesus, and in the efficacy of it before God to cleanse us from every sin: “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin”, or ’every’ sin, 1 John 1: 7. Thank God if we have been given the grace and the faith to put our trust in that precious blood and its value as before God. We may say, ’Do we think enough of it?’. Well, who can fully value that precious blood but God Himself? Think of that word that we often speak of that He said to His people of old, “when I see the blood, I will pass over you”, Exod 12: 13. Your sins and mine, beloved, are not forgiven because of our valuation of the precious blood of Jesus. They are indeed forgiven because of our faith in that precious blood, and some valuation that we have of it, but the full value of it is seen by God Himself: “when I see the blood, I will pass over you”. Wonderful things these are to be under the shelter of the precious blood of Jesus. The gospel goes out today so that it might be known by everyone under the sound of the word, indeed so that, if it were possible, everyone might come under the sound of the word and might come to know that they can put their trust in the Lord Jesus as Saviour and in the value of His precious blood, and come into the gain of the forgiveness of their sins.
Then there is in this further, wonderful giving: the Lord Jesus has given Himself, His precious blood has been given, and, in order that we might come into the enjoyment of all that God has in His heart for us, He has given the Holy Spirit. Some of us have been speaking of the things that cannot be fully realised by us, but they are “Things … which God has prepared for them that love Him” (1 Cor 2: 9), and in His love He has provided for us and we have here that it says, “how much rather shall the Father who is of heaven give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”. So one has been thinking of that, beloved, in relation to this preaching, that everything is here on the basis of divine giving. It is not a question of the law, ’thou shalt’ and ’thou shalt not’. The only requirement is simple faith in the Lord Jesus, simple faith in the value of His precious blood, and simply asking in relation to this wonderful gift that the Father has to give. I notice that it does not say that the Father who is of heaven gives the Holy Spirit to them that ask for Him, but “to them that ask him”. I think if you ask Him it shows you are dependent upon Him, and God delights to find persons who acknowledge their dependence upon Him, and you might say He answers that by giving them the Holy Spirit. How wonderful that is, because what He sees in them is something that He saw in all its absolute perfection in the Person of Jesus. How wonderful that Jesus was here as a wonderful, glorious Man in dependence upon His God and Father, and now God sees others here in dependence asking Him because they feel their need of Him. How the Lord Jesus could be here as asking the Father. What a wonderful study that is, to see the way the Lord Jesus was here in dependence, and as God sees you here in dependence upon Him and sees you here as asking, He would crown, you might say, what He sees, His work there in you, by giving the Holy Spirit. He gives the Holy Spirit to those that ask Him. There is liberty in asking if you are not clear as to having received the Holy Spirit, but I believe it is because He crowns His own work, what He sees there of the character of that blessed and glorious dependent Man when He was here, and He crowns it by giving the Holy Spirit. Oh what a Giver God is!
That is all one had to bring before you tonight - the wonder of it that God is to be known as a giving God. The Lord Jesus, the wonderful Giver, gave Himself a ransom for all, His precious blood has been given for many for the remission of sins. Each one can put their faith and trust in that precious blood and in the Saviour whose blood it is. You can come into the gain of that precious life of Jesus which was laid down in order that we might come into life on the other side of death, and the Father would delight to give the Holy Spirit as we are found here in dependence. The gospel brings in all that God has to give; how wonderful that is! God is not making demands. His desire is that “all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth”, and the way into it is by simple dependence and simply acknowledging your need of a Saviour, and putting your trust in the Saviour that God has provided. He has given everything on His side, and for us it is simply to receive it. Oh what a God He is! May more open their hearts to receive what He has to give as a result of the preaching today. Amen.
11th August 2013