Allan Wilson

Luke 6: 46-49

Acts 9: 1-6; 16: 23-31

         My concern and exercise is that Christ should have the true place that is rightly His in our affections.  I bring this exercise because of the line of the hymn relating to the Spirit, which says,

         Thou dost know the Father’s feelings

         Of affection for His Son

                   (Hymn 121).

This occasion of the gospel preaching is all about the Father’s affections.  God’s affections are involved in this occasion, and in expressing those affections He has in mind that your affections might be secured for Himself, so that you and I might come in reality to have some understanding of the Father’s affections for the Son.

         I read in Luke’s gospel because the Lord brings out a necessary link at the very beginning, and right through, of being on the right foundation.  Another scripture speaks about this same incident (Matt 7: 24-27), but I read this one because it says that he “dug and went deep”.   Have you ever dug in your history, beloved?  Have you dug and gone deep?  Have you got right down to the bottom in your own history, and come to the rock?  Have you done that?  Have you got to the bottom of things and found that there was a rock there, and that is secured by coming to Christ.  Paul also says, “For other foundation can no man lay besides that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ”, 1 Cor 3: 11.  You get the contrast in this chapter of laying a foundation that is on the Rock.  That is the purpose, that is the prime object of this time when we are here together that we might get through to having to know that our links are solid on the Rock, not on the ground of this world.  The younger son in Luke 15 thought that his position was secure and safe on the foundation of the world with the money that he had.  He thought he was secure in that.  We are living in a time when that has proved to be false.  People have found to their sorrow that the foundation they had in their financial affairs is shallow.  It is not built on the Rock.  There are different instances that can be drawn attention to, and it says of that young man that he came to himself.  I think that with him maybe he realised that he had nothing in himself.   He realised that the Rock was somewhere else.  It is secure in Somebody else, it is secure in a Man, and that Man is Jesus.  He thought of his father’s house.  The preaching to you is about a Man who is ascended and glory-crowned.

         That is what Paul came to.  Paul thought he was secure in what he was doing.  His activities were to exterminate what there was of Christ, and he was brought to see that the foundations of his operations were wrong, were false, and were insecure.  The jailor put Paul in the inner prison.  These prisons are not like what we have today.  Paul was in the inner prison, the most secure place there could be, and man was building his activities around that, but God brings in an earthquake.  He shakes the foundations, and He is shaking your foundations.  He shook Paul’s, whose name was Saul, on the road to Damascus.  He shook his very foundations.  He shook the jailor’s foundations.  They both began with a question, “what must I do ... ?”; “Who art thou, Lord?”  Are we digging deep?  Are we getting down to what is rock, what is a solid foundation?  It relates to this matter of the Father’s feelings of affection for His Son.  God is drawing attention to Christ.  He is not drawing attention to anyone else.  He is drawing attention to the true Foundation, “For other foundation can no man lay besides that which is laid”.  It has been laid.  Are you or am I in the reality and the consciousness of that in our history, because there will be things to come.  It says in Luke, “He is like a man building a house, who dug and went deep, and laid a foundation on the rock; but a great rain coming ...".  Many things will come in in your history, but if you are founded on the Rock you will stand.  Oh, my friend, have a living link with Christ.  Have a true, living link, dig deep.  It is the basis of my whole exercise, the whole matter of being here, that we might dig deep, that we might get down and understand the Father’s affections for the Son.  He wants you to have this link.  “But a great rain coming, the stream broke upon that house, and could not shake it”; if you are on any other foundation, it does not matter what it is, it will not stand.  You read of the woman in John 4.  She had had five husbands.  She had tried all the different things there was in this world, and each one did not satisfy.  They did not bring about true satisfaction; but she came to Christ.    And here He said, “And he that has heard and not done, is like a man who has built a house on the ground without a foundation, on which the stream broke, and immediately it fell”.  There is no great rain in verse 49.  It does not need much.  How fragile the things that occupy us are.  Have you found that in your history?  No matter how young or how old you are, tests come along and how fragile the basis of anything we have that is not founded on the Rock.  Though the great rain falls and the stream breaks what is on this Foundation will stand, it will go right through, and that, my friend, is what God wants us to come into, to have a true appreciation of the love of Jesus.  Think of what He has done for us!  As men and women, boys and girls, we are all sinners.  Scripture tells us that, "all have sinned", Rom 3: 23.  We are outside of God’s blessings as sinful men and women, but God seeks to bring us in, and He has in His love, in His affection, made provision in Christ.  Think of the extent of the Father’s affections for each one of us, think of the extent of the Lord’s affections for each one of us, that He has gone this way.  He was the One who took upon Himself the question of your sins and my sins.  Oh the wonder of the Father’s affections, and the Lord’s affections, that we might come into blessing, that we might come through to this Rock, appreciate what He has done for us!  He has taken away my sins, borne them in His body on the tree.  He has dealt with the matter of sin and all that was involved in that.  Sin has no place in God’s eyes, and Jesus took it away so that God could come out in righteousness and display His affections.  Think of that!  This One that I spoke about was the One whom the Father sent.  God sent His Son for sinners.  He was the One, the One that the Father loved.  He sent Him to take up your sins and my sins so that He in righteousness could extend mercy to you and me because of the completed work of our Lord Jesus on the cross.  If that had not been the case, God could not have righteously forgiven us poor sinners.  God could not just bypass sin.  Sin had to be met.  The penalty of sin had to be met, and who bore the penalty?  The penalty was yours and mine.  The One who bore the penalty was the sinless One.  Pilate said that about Him, “I find no fault whatever in him” (John 18: 38); there was not a thing, the sinless One.  Could he say that about you or me?  He could not, even after we are converted, but God draws our attention to the One who bore these sins, and He wants us to be attached to Him, have a firm attachment to the Rock.  Dig deep in your history, young and old, dig deep; get to know the consciousness, the reality of your link with Christ.  That is what will take you through.  The testimony will be assailed time and time again, but what is going to carry me through, what is going to carry you through, is our link with the Saviour, based on this firm foundation.  Paul says that later on, too, “Yet the firm foundation of God stands”, 2 Tim 2: 19.  Am I going to stand?  I cannot stand on my own rights.  I do not care who you are, you will not.  You might think you can, but you cannot, and you need to be firmly attached to the Rock, and He has given us the wherewithal.  He has not only provided a Saviour who has taken away my sins.  That is a wonderful thing that Jesus has taken away my sins, but He is bringing us into the enjoyment of your place in the Father’s affections.  The enjoyment of that involves that Christ has gone on high.  We are speaking about a living Saviour.  We are speaking about a living Man in heaven.  The Man who died is the Man who lives.  That is wonderful! 

         We are speaking about a living Man in heaven, and as He has gone on high He said when He was here He would send another Comforter.  That is wonderful, that a divine Person has come down to indwell you and me, that there might be a display, there might be a demonstration, a testimony in this world, that Christ is alive, that Christ has secured your soul and my soul, and that is the blessed Holy Spirit.  I think that is why we have this house on the rock.  The house is where the Spirit is going to be.  It is not brick and mortar, it is your heart and my heart, and that comes out in demonstration.  There is a difference in the demonstration of a Christian and his pathway.  We were speaking of that this afternoon, that something of these features are shown as coming from Christ, and that is what the Spirit would do in your affections and mine.  It says of Him in John’s gospel that "he shall receive of mine and shall announce it to you", chap 16: 14.  What a wonderful thing, a divine Person, where He is!  He is doing that now, today, not two thousand years ago.  He did it then, but He is doing it today.  He is taking the things of Christ and showing them unto you.  Am I allowing that to happen?  It will not just be a mystical happening.  It is something that is real because we are founded on this Rock.  It starts there, but we need to keep going back to that.  We need to keep being reminded that everything for me revolves round Christ, it revolves round the One who is the Centre of the Father’s affections, and the Spirit brings us into the joy of that.  He brings us to understand that I am not alone.  I do not walk in my own way.  I walk in relation to what is for the heart of Christ.  That is why we have these other gatherings.  That is why we come together.  That is why we break bread.  That is why these things are demonstrated.  Certain things are not demonstrated to the world but they are demonstrated to Christ, a demonstration of my affection for Him.  There is that positive, personal reaction and action in relation to Christ, because we know this foundation, we are conscious that that is stable.  My friend, have no other foundation.  Do not put your faith and trust in anything else.  It will just be sand, shifting sand at that.

         I only read these other scriptures, as I said, to bring out how Saul, as he was, thought he had a foundation that was going to see him right through.  He thought he was doing the right thing.  He was sure, he was positive.  He was a very prominent young man.  In his own activities he was very prominent.  He was very skilled, he was very learned.  He claimed certain things, as he tells us in his history, but he says that they were all just as filthy rags, all these things that he had claimed.  If you think you can claim anything in this world, it is all just as filthy rags without Christ.  This is what Saul had to come to.  Saul was a big man but he came to be a small man, Paul.  He brings out these other things you read of in Acts and you see a different kind of man. You see the man who has his foundations on the Rock, and there is Somebody with him in the most testing circumstances that you and I have never known.  We have never been in these conditions.  Some Christians in days gone by went through very testing circumstances.  We know nothing about that.  We are tested in other ways and this is what is to come to light.  In these testing circumstances, it says, “And at midnight Paul and Silas, in praying, were praising God with singing, and the prisoners listened to them”.  Is that my testimony?  Do I find that as I go about my work, or go to school or wherever, that there is something that can be taken account of that is different?  Nothing is drawing attention to yourself.  Paul and Silas here were drawing attention to the right foundation.  They were praising God.  It is not to draw attention to anyone else; it is to draw attention to the Rock.  That is what they were doing.  That jailor had his whole foundation in what he was in the establishment that was here.  This was a very cruel regime, the Roman regime.  He had taken off their clothes and he had scourged them, and laid many stripes upon them, and cast them into prison.  Think of that, the severity of what was involved in that, and this man thought, ’This is secure.  I am safe.  I am going to go right through; I am in a very safe position’, and God showed him by an earthquake that the prison was not safe.  Everything that he had put his trust in was not safe.  The prisoners were all loosed, and what held them?  Why did those prisoners not leave that prison?  I think it was the testimony of those who had their foundation on the Rock, Paul and Silas.  They were praising and praying.  They were “praising God with singing”.  Oh, to have something of that in my own history and your history that there is an answer like this.  I know Paul was special, but something of that character should be known by everyone of us, and it is.  I can look around and I can see those that have set this forward.  You can too.  Are you one of them?

         Well, may the Lord touch our affections that His might be more your portion and my portion, that there might be a greater response to God as answering His desires to bring you into the enjoyment of His affections.  Think of that.  That is wonderful!  God has in mind that you and I come into the benefit of His affections because of the fact that the One who was prime in His thoughts has done so much to secure the Father’s thoughts, and bring you and me into them.  May it be so for His Name’s sake.

Port Seton (Edinburgh)

7th March 2010