David J Hutson
1 Corinthians 11: 26-28
Acts 20: 7 (to “morrow”)
Hebrews 10: 23-25, 37-39
1 John 2: 28
I was encouraged by what our brother has brought before us to bring forward an impression which I believe brings what he has said into practical expression among us. “For as often as ye shall eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye announce the death of the Lord, until he come”. I think we are to be increasingly regulated by the fact of the coming of the Lord, the imminence of it. I was thinking, in pondering this during the day, as to the word “until he come”. We might say, in a sense, at the Supper we have His coming in three different aspects. Primarily, I understand from the teaching, “until he come” relates to His coming in glory, His return. We are here in the scene of His rejection, acknowledging His rights. As our brother has said, they were acknowledging the rights of God at that time, and we acknowledge the rights of the Lord Jesus in the time of His absence, but in view of the time when those rights are to be universally acclaimed, “until he come”, and we shall come with Him. Before that time He will come for us, so there is not only His coming with us, but His coming for us, when He comes to claim all His own “and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we, the living who remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air”, 1 Thess 4: 16, 17. Then the blessed experience we have at the Supper, as He says elsewhere: “I will not leave you orphans, I am coming to you”, John 14: 18. He comes to us at the Supper. So there is His coming with us; His coming for us; and His coming to us.
These things would be kept before us livingly from week to week at the Supper. They would have a bearing on how we approach the Supper, as it says: “So that whosoever shall eat the bread, or drink the cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty in respect of the body and of the blood of the Lord”. It is a very serious matter. But then it says, “let a man prove himself”, so that we can be free in relation to that occasion as we prove ourselves. There would be a review of the past week, and we would review as to how we have been occupied, whether it has been in relation to what relates to the interests and rights of the Lord Jesus here or whether we have just been indulging ourselves in something which is completely outside the range of what is according to His pleasure.
Then in Acts it says, “And the first day of the week, we being assembled to break bread”. It is striking that it is related there to “the first day of the week”. So, if there is a backward look in judging ourselves in view of being fit for the Supper and what it means as answering to the heart of the Lord Jesus in His absence, and being available under His hand in view of the service of God, there is also the forward look. It is “the first day of the week”, and so it is to govern us as we go through the week. It is not without significance that it says here, “the first day of the week, we being assembled to break bread”. So that each week we have the Lord’s supper, and what occupies us then and the basis on which we break bread together in holy and happy fellowship is to be maintained through the week. As I say, there is what leads up to the Supper, but then there is what flows out of the Supper so that it is a central matter with us and relating to the fact that the Lord Himself comes to us at that time.
So I read in Hebrews because I suggest that there we have the reference again to the coming of the Lord. We are to “hold fast the confession of the hope unwavering, (for he is faithful who has promised) and let us consider one another for provoking to love and good works”. That is how we would be in relation to one another. But then it says, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the custom is with some; but encouraging one another, and by so much the more as ye see the day drawing near”. How wonderful that is, “as ye see the day drawing near”! How bright is the prospect before us, beloved, that glorious day! It does not say which day, but I would suggest it would be that day to which we are looking forward, the day of His appearing, the day when He manifests Himself and we shall have been taken to be with Him for ever, when our pathway here, and the testimony have been concluded, from that point of view. That day is drawing near: “as ye see the day drawing near”. It must be so, chronologically, but more than that because of the indications that the Lord Himself would give as coming in among us; and as we see the course of things around us in the world, we “see the day drawing near”. And so we are to be not neglectful of “the assembling of ourselves together” so that we may prove the blessedness of His coming, as He says, “I will not leave you orphans” - or ‘comfortless’ (KJV) - “I am coming to you”. So we would be preparing for it.
And then in John, I believe we can apply this as having some reference to it: “And now, children, abide in him”. I understand Mr Darby makes a reference to “abide in him” meaning 'to hold fast in dependence and communion', Collected Writings vol 25 p279. What a word that is! He says, “And now, children, abide in him”. Hold fast in dependence and communion! What a word that is for us! I must say, beloved brethren, I am very much searched by the word. I am very much searched myself as to it. I am only able to speak of it in power if in any way having its application to myself: “abide in him” - hold fast in dependence and communion - “that if he be manifested we may have boldness, and not be put to shame from before him at his coming”, that we might be ready for His coming at any time, not only when He comes in glory. We have thought of that too, when He comes as manifesting Himself at the Supper. Think of what it says in Corinthians, that “many among you are weak and infirm” (1 Cor 11: 30), and because of the conditions that were there, they were “put to shame”, in that sense, “from before him at his coming” if one may apply it in that way. But we are to be abiding in Him, holding fast in dependence and communion, “that if he be manifested we may have boldness”, we may have liberty in relation to that blessed and precious occasion when He manifests Himself in the breaking of bread.
This is all very searching, beloved. I felt encouraged to bring this forward following what our brother has said as to the way those conditions were maintained in a day when the enemy was active, and the enemy is active at the present time. We feel it for ourselves that the enemy is active in relation to that which is precious to the heart of Christ, to rob what is for the pleasure of our Lord Jesus, and so I thought it suitable, as under the Lord, to bring forward these scriptures to see how we are to meet these things by keeping near to the Lord, holding fast in dependence and communion, being ready for His coming when He comes in among us and being governed by the fact of His coming in our conduct during the week and in view of His coming to us again.
Well, may the Lord help us! One feels stumbling a little in speaking of these things, but I trust they may just add to what has been said, and that this may have its present application to us in view of what is here increasingly for the heart of the Lord Jesus as of the character of the assembly which He has loved and given Himself for. Amen.
3rd February 2015