Handfuls On Purpose By James Smith


Handfuls On Purpose
By
James Smith
For
Christian Workers and Bible Students
Outlines, Readings, Studies, Thoughts,
Illustrations, Hints.
Book F.
PREFACE.
IT is with deep thankfulness to the Giver of every
good gift that we send forth this NINTH SERIES of
“Handfuls on Purpose. ” It is very gratifying to US
that the interest taken in them has been steadily growing
from the first ; and as they have been the means of leading
many Christian workers into a closer study of the Word
for themselves, we rejoice, as this was one of the chief
objects of their publication.
In preparing these “Handfuls” we have sought to get
at the heart-thoughts of the Word of God, so that weary
workers and busy men might find food for the strengthening
of their faith, and assisting in their work for the Master.
Without making any claim of literary or critical
value, we have sought to give ori&nul matter, very little
if any in the whole series having been copied.
We purpose, if the Lord will, adding one more Volume
to the Series, and thus in measure encompassing the
task on our heart, of going through the entire Book.
We esteem it a great privilege to have the oppor-tunity
of ministering in any small degree, to the
encouragement and usefulness of the lowliest of Christ’s
servants, believing that “inasmuch as ye did it unto
one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it
unto Me” (Matt. 25. 40). In this volume, which we
trust will also be found helpful in “the quiet hour,”
we have once more humbly attempted to fulfil the
Apostle’s injunction, “Let him that is taught in the
Word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good
things” (Gal. 6. 6). What we have prayerfully
received, we herewith prayerfully give.
JAMES SMITH..INDEX OF SUBJECTS.
Page EXPOSITORY OUTLINES. Something Worth Glorying
OLD TESTAMENT. In, . . *. .* 64
STUDIES IN ISAIAH. Page Concerning the Dearth, . . 66
The Great Invitation, . . 9 A Confession and a Plea, . . 68
Failure in the Midst of The Experiences of a Witness, 69
Privilege, . . . 11 The Cursed and the Blessed, 71
Fitness for Service, 13 The Marred Vessel, 73
The Almighty Sanctuary,.. 15 Tongue Smiters, . . :: 76
The Great Feast, . . . . 17 Pashur, . . . . . 77
Rebellious Children, . . 20 A Chequered Experience, 78
Our Refuge and our Remedy, 20 The False and the True, . . 80
The Excellency of our God, 22 Faithfulness and Foolishness,81
The Power of Prayer, . . 24 Claiming the Promises, . . 83
Power for the Faint, . . 26 Ruin and Remedy, . . 86
Fear thou Not, . . . . 27 The Restoration, . . . . 88
Hope for the Needy, . . 28 Great, Hidden Things, . 88
Spiritual Israel, . . . . 30 The Rechabites, . . . . 88
God’ s Appeal to the Back- Burning the Book, . . 90
sliding, . . . . 32 The Voice of the Lord, . 92
God’ s Relationship to His Jehoiachin’ s Deliverance, 92
People, :. . . 33
Divine Questions for the STUDIES IN EZEKIEL.
Backsliding, . . . . 34 The Living Creatures, . . 95
Let us Stand Together-. Equipment for Service, . . 97
Substitution, . . . . ,?I; The Time of Love, . . 99
The Great Report, . . 38 The Arm of the Lord, . . 39 The Man of Sorrows, . . 40 Fear Not, . . . . . . 42 The Gospel of God, . . 43 Unfaithful Watchmen, . . 45
Practical Christianity, . . 47
Intercessors Wanted, . 49 The Gospel of Christ, . . 51 Longing for God or Revival, 53
The New Creation, , . 55
STUDIES IN JEREMIAH.
Called and Equipped, 57 Why is he Spoiled? . . 58 Backsliding, . . . . 59 A Solemn Dialogue, . 62
Sin and Death, . . . . 102 Warn them from Me, . . 104 Hypocritical Professors, . , 106
Faithless Shepherds, . . 107 What God will do for His
Sheep, . . . . . . 108
The Great Change, . . 109 The Bones and the Breath, 111
Waters to Swim in, . . 112
STUDIES IN DANIEL.
The Man of Purpose, . . 115 The Man of Faith, , . 117 The Almighty Stone, 118 The Nonconformists, . . 120 Nebuchadnezzar–Ruin and
Remedy, . . ,. 122.vi INDEX OF SUBJECTS .-Continued.
Pa@
Belshazzar’ s Doom, . . 124
Daniel-Steadfast in the
Faith, . . . . 126
The End of the Matter, . . 128 –
EXPOSITORY OUTLINES.
NEW TESTAMENT.
STUDIES IN KOMANS.
Justification, . . . . 131
Joy in God, . . . . 134
The Believer’ s Relation-ships,
. . . . . . 135
No Condemnation, . . 138
The Law of the Spirit, . . 139
The Condemnation of Sin. 140
The Righteousness of the
Law, . . . . . . 141
The Carnal and Spiritual
Minds, . . . . . . 141
In the Spirit, . . . . 142
The Resurrecting Spirit, . . 143
The New Life, . . . . 144
The Privileges of Sonship, 145
The Future Manifestation, 146
The Pleading Spirit, . . 147
The All-sufficient Promise, 148
The Eternal Purpose, . . 149
The Great Challenge, . . 150
More than Conquerors, . . 151
The Love of God, . . . . 152
Self-dedication, . . . . 153
Our Reasonable Service, . . 155
BIBLE READINGS.
Divine Leading, . . . . 130
Sealed with the Holy Spirit, 157
The Power of Faith, . . 159
Lovest Thou Me, . . . . 161
The Priesthood of Believers, 162
Our God a Consuming Fire, 166
Christ in Me, . , . 167
The Resurrection, . 1 70
The Ascended Lord, . . 174
Page
The Second Advent, . . 175
Suffering for Christ, . . 178
The Christian’ s Armour,. . 179
Paul’ s Last Letter, . . 182
Rejoice in the Lord, . . 184
Ask and ye shall Receive, . . 187
The Fruit of the Spirit, . . 1%)
Spiritual Wealth, . . . . 193
Wake up, . . . . . . 193

GOSPEL OUTLINES.
The Gospel Trumpet, . . 194
The Ladder of Grace, . . 195
Backsliding – Its Cause,
Course, and Cure, . . 198
Solomon and the Queen of
Sheba, . . . . . . 201
Elijah on Carmel,. . . . 203
Some Facts About Prayer, 205
The Faithful Saying, . . 206
Ebenezer, . . . . . . 206
The Rule of Christ’ s Peace, 207
Certainly I will be with
thee, . . . . . . 207
Lessons from the Harvest-f
i e l d, . . . . 207
Fear Not, . . . . . , 208
The Believer’ s Joy in the
Lord, . . . . . . 208
Wonderful Love, . . . 209
The Blessed Man, . . . 209
The Experiences of a Soul, 210
The Divine Keeper, . . 210
Captivity Turned into Sing-ing,
., . . . . 211
HeisAble,.. . . . . 211
Ebenezer, . . . . . . 211
Christ our Life, . . . 212
Have Faith in God, . . 212
The Yoke of Christ, . . 213
The Face of Jesus, 2 13
Peter’ s Fall, . . 214.INDEX OF SUBJECTS.–-Continued. vii
Page I’ age
Rare Young Men, . . . . 214 Prayer and Hunger, . . 221
The Word of God no Vain ( Believing and Turning, . . 221
Thing, . . . . 214
The Ladder of Grace, . . 215
Emblems of the Church, . . 215
Settled, . . . . . . 215
Enoch, . . . . . . 216
The Power of the Spirit, . . 216
Believe and Thou Shalt
See, . . . . . . 217
Heart Trouble and Its Cure, 217
What Meaneth This ? . . 217
Assurance of Victory, . . 218
Heart Searching, . . . . 218
SEED THOUGHTS.
Seed and Bread, . . ,. 219
The Word and the Hand, 219
The Shadow of Peter, 220
The Face of an Angel, :: 220
Smitten, . . . . . . 222
Altars of Brick, . . . . 222
Do Nothing Rashly, . . 223
I Thank my God, . . 223
Speech and Power, 224
Sufferings and Consolation: 224
The Open Face, . . . . 225
What Seek Ye ? . . . 225
God at Hand, . . . 226
The Bread of God, 226
Himself for our Sins, ’ : 227
Not after Man, . . . . 227
The Purchased Possession, 228
Rooted, . . . . . . 228
His Son in Me, . . . . 229
The Unsearchable Riches of
Ch.r&, . . . . 229
Followers of God, . . 230
INDEX OF TEXTS.
EXODUS. Page 3. 12, . . 207
DEUTERONOMY .
32. 47, . . 214
1 SAMUEL.
7. 12, 206, 211 16. 7, . . 218
1 KINGS.
10. l-10, . . 201
18. 19-39, . . 203
PSALMS.
35. 9, . . 184 107. 7, . . 130 112. . . 119. 119. 89, :: I:: . . 215 121. . . . . 210 126. . . 211 145. 14-21, . . 211
PROVERBS. Wge 10. 22, . . 193
SONG OF SOLOMON.
7. 11, . . 207
ISAIAH.
1. l-20, . . 9 5. 1-7, . . 11 6. l-8. . . 13 8. 11-i4, . . 15 25. 6-9, . . 17 30. 1-3, . . 20 32. l-5. . . 20 35. 1-6, . . 22 37. 14-20, . . 24 40. 28-31, . . 26 41. 9-16, . . 27 41. 17-20, . . 28 43. l-10, 30, 208 44. 21. 22, 32 48 16-18, . . 33 50. 1-3, .* 34
50. 4-9. . . 36 53. 1, 38, 39 53. 3-6. . . 40 54 42 55. i-h, 1: 43 55. 10. 11, 219 56. 10-12, . . 45 58. l-9, . 47 59. l-16, . . 49 61. 1-3, . . 51 64. 1-3, 65. 3, :: 2;: 65. 17-25, . . 55
JEREMIAH .
1. l-10,
2. l-24, :: 5”;
2. l-37, . . 198
8. 5-9, . . 60
8. 19-22, . 62
9. 23, 24,
14.1-9, . . ::.viii INDEX OF TEXTS .-Continued.
Page
14. 17-22. . . 68 15. 16-20. 17. 5-8, :: ;‘ :
18. l-6, .I 73 18. 1X-20, . . 76 20. 1-6, . . 77 20. 7-11, . . 78 23. 23, . . 226 23. 24-32, . . 80 26. 1-16, . . 81 29. 10-14, . . 83 30. 11-22, . . 86
38. . . . . 92
52. 31-34, . . 92
EZEKIEL.
36. 25-32, . 109 37. I-10, . . 111 17. 1-12, . 112
!%NIEL.
JOEL.
2. 15, . . 194
HABAKKUK.
3. 17-17, . . 208
MATTHEW.
11. 28, 29, 213 13. 46, . . 215
MARK. Page
11. 22, .” 212 14, . . . . 214
LUKE.
18. 1, . . 205 24. 50-53. . . 174
JOHN.
1. 38, . . 225
6. 33, . . 226
11. 40,
14. 1. ::
217
217
1.5. 4; 5, . . 190 16. 23, . . 187 16. 33, . . 218 21. 15, . . 101
ACTS.
1. 4.11, . . . 174
t. Y2
_. 216
4: 29:3O,
. 217
219
5. 15,
6. 15. :: z:
10. 9, I(7 . . 221
11. 21, . . . 221
12. 23, . . 222
19. 36, . . 223
ROMANS.
3-5, . . 131
5. 11, . . 134
6. . . . 135
8. 1,
8. 2. .: ::s
z5
. . 140
8: 6: 7: ‘. :::
8. 8, 9, :: 142
8. 10, 11, 143
8. 12-14, . . 144
8. 15-17, . . 145
8. 18-25, . . 146
8. 26, 27, 147
8. 28, . . 148
8. 29, 30, 149
8. 31-35, . . 150
8. 35-37, . . 151
8. 38, 39, 152
12. 1, 155
12. 1, 2. :: 153
PagO 1 CORINTHIANS.
1. 4, . . 223 4. IQ, ** 224
15. 20-22,
35-5s. . . 170
2 CORINTHIANS.
1. 5, . . 224
3. 18, . . 225
4. 6, . . 213
11. 24-33, . . 178
GALATIANS.
1. 3, 4, . . 227
1. 11, . . 227
1. 15, 16, 229
2. 20, . . 167
EPHESIANS.
1. 13, 157
1. 14, :: 228
3. 9, . . ‘229
5. 1. 229
6. 10-20, :: 179
COLOSSIANS.
1. 9-14, 195,215 2. 7, . 228 3. 4, . 212 3. 15, . . 207
1 THESSALONIANS.
4. 13-s. 6 175
5. 6, . . 193
1 TIMOTHY.
1. 15, . . 206
2 TIMOTHY.
4. 6-18, . . 182
HEBREWS.
11. 5, 6, . . 216
12. 29, . . 166
1 JOHN. . . 214
5. 4, . . 159
REVELATION.
5. 9, 10, . . 162.Handfuls on Purpose
6lID Pe0tament CiJutIhtee
THE GREAT INVITATION.
ISAIAH 1. l-20.
ISRAEL had fallen into degenerate times: and just as
“Moses was born” in the time of national darkness and
despair (Acts 7. 19, 20), so did the “Vision” come to
Isaiah, the Son of Amos (v. 1). God has His own time
and way of unveiling human guilt, and Divine mercy.
These two pictures are exhibited before us here in this
chapter.
I. Their Guilty Condition. They are charged with
rebellion. “I have nourished and brought up sons and
they have rebelled against Me.” He nourished them
and brought them up out of Egypt, and through the
wilderness, into a land of privilege and plenty. Yet they
rebelled against Him. Have we not also, as a people,
been nourished and brought up in a land of Gospel light
and privilege ? Are we still rebelling against Him ?
This wretched condition was the result of a certain moral
process. There was-I.
INCONSIDERATENESS. “My people doth not consider. ”
They became more thoughtless and thankless toward
their Owner and Provider than the ox, or the ass. When
we cease to regard the work of the Lord, and to colzsider
the operations of His hands in our behalf, we have already
entered the path of the backslider.
Vol. IX. 2 s.10 Handtul~ on Purpose.
2. PRESUMPTION. “They have forsaken the Lord,
they have provoked the Holy One of Israel” (v. 4).
Their thoughtlessness has resulted in a wilful and deliberate
departure from the Living God. When the backslider
has determined to have his own will and way there will
be a breaking of the Lord’s bands, and a casting away
of His cords (Psa. 2. 3).
3. PERVERSITY. “Why should ye be stricken?…ye
will revolt more and more” (v. 5). God could not deal
with them as sons in chastisement. So far gone were
they that they would not “endure” it, but only harden
their neck in more bitter revolt (Heb. 12. 5-8). It is
pitiful in the extreme when God has to say, “In vain
have I smitten your children: they receive no correction”
(Jer. 2. 30).
4. CORRUPTION. “Whole head sick.. . whole heart faint
. ..no soundness. ..putrifying sores, ” etc. (w. 5, 6). This
sickness, and faintness, these wounds, and sores, can
never be healed, bound up, and mollified, apart from
Him whom they have despised and rejected. Corrq5tion
is the result of being separated from the Source of Life-the
Living One. To forsake the Lord is to prefer
corruption and death to health and Iife (Matt. 5. 13).
II. His Merciful Offer. “Come now let us reason
together, saith the Lord, ” etc. (vv. 18-20). These words
contain-1,
A REVELATION. They reveal the infinite merciful-ness
of the God whom they had rejected and offended.
Why should He make the first offer to His rebel creatures ?
“Oh, ‘twas love, wondrous love.” While we were yet
sinners Christ died for us.
2. AN INVITATION. “Come now, let us reason together. ”
God recognises and declares man’s kinship with HimseIf.
“Come, let qs reuse*,” He does not “reason” wit4 the.Old Testament Outliner. 11
brute creation, How gracious this invitation is. God
might have driven out the whole nation from His presence
as He drove out the man from the garden. “Come now, ”
for where sin did abound grace hath much more abounded
(Rom. 5. 20). “Come now, ” and let us reason together,
for sin has been atoned at Calvary’s Cross.
3. A PROMISE. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they
shall be as white as snow. ” It has been said that “any
man can dye his soul with sin, but only God can bleach
it. ‘ * God’s power is in and behind His promise to turn
the scarlet-dyed clothes of a harlot-soul into the white
robes of a blood-washed saint. “Come %~IPI, * for neither
the number nor the depths of your sins need be any
hindrance, salvation is of the Lord. “The blood of Jesus
Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1. 7).
4. A WARWING. “But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall
be devoured with the sword” (v. 20). This is the Divine
ultimatum. If men refuse, and rebel against His free
offer of mercy and forgiveness, if they will not yield to
the Divine reasonablefiess, then their end is destruction.
God is merciful, but God cannot lie (Titus 1. 2). If His
promises are despised, His judgments will not slumber.
Come now, for behold now is the day of salvation.
FAILURE IN THE MIDST OF PRIVILEGE.
k4IAH 5. l-7.
THIS song of the prophet is a parable in honour of Jehovah,
recalling His marvellous goodness to His people, and
their failure and ingratitude to Him.
I. The Work Done. (w. 1, 2). These two verses
contain a brief, but perfect outline of Israel’s history.
The “fruitful hill”-Canaan. “E;enced” with promises.
“Planted with the choicest vine”-His chosen people,.12 Handfuls on Purpose.
“Gathered out of the stones”-idols, etc. “Built a
tower”-Temple. “Made awinepress”-Altar of Sacrifice.
“He looked for grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. ”
Utter failure. All this is typical of what God in mercy
hath done for us individually, and as a nation. We
also have been brought out of the bondage of paganism
and spiritual darkness, and planted beside the “fruitful
hill” called Calvary.
II. The Result Shown. “He looked for grapes, and
it brought forih wild grapes.” There was the semblance
of the fruit desired, but they were wild, utterly inconsistent
with their profession, and entirely unfit for His use.
There was nothing to satisfy the soul of the great Planter
and Protector. Fleshly works by professing Christians
are but wild grapes. They that are in the flesh cannot
please God. Our God is quick to discern the real character
of the fruit of His planting. The z&d grape is the outcome
of the old, wild, carnal nature that has not yet been
completely subdued by the new life. Be not deceived,
God is not mocked.
III. The Challenge Made. “And now.. *judge, I
pray you, betwixt Me and My vineyard, what could have
been done more to My vineyard that I have not done in it”
(vv. 3, 4). He had poured out His favours on His vineyard,
but they had stained it with the blood of His Son. Could
He have shown more love, more considerateness, more
longsuffering mercy for His people than He did? Think
of His dealings with them from Egypt to Canaan. Think
also of His dealings with us, in the gift and sufferings of
His Son, and in His merciful providence, that He might
have us a people for the honour of His Name. Now,
judge. What could He do more? (Matt. 23. 37).
IV. The Doom Incurred. “And now…1 will tell
you what I will do… I will take away the hedge…and.Old Testament Outlinee. 13
break down the wall…1 will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it” (w. 5, 6). Desolation
comes upon them because His protection is removed, and
His giffs withheld. The darkness of doom is the absence
of the light of Grace. When Christ was compelled to
turn His back on the temple, He had to say, “Behold
your house is left unto you desolate.” To be left to
ourselves is to be desolate. My Spirit will not always
strive with man. Repent. Return. Believe. Submit.
FITNESS FOR SERVICE.
ISAIAH 6. f-8.
“IN the year that King Uzziah died I saw. ” Uzziah had
reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. During all that time
“he was marvellously helped till he was strong.” But
when he became strong, in his own eyes, his heart was
lifted up to his destruction. He died a leper, for the Lord
had smitten him (2 Chron. 26). At such a mournful
time, and in such distressing circumstances, the Vision
of the thrice Holy One came to Isaiah. What a change
from the vision of a defeated, leprous king to that
of the exalted Throne of the Eternal One. Our day
of shame and sorrow may be the day of a new revelation
of hope.
I. A Glorious Vision. “I saw also the Lord sitting
upon a throne, high and lifted up, ” etc. He had seen the
downfall of U&ah, but he saw also the glory of the
unfailing God. This vision is the reality of that which
was seen by the high priest in type, when he passed through
the Veil into the “Holiest of All.” The Lord enthroned,
and His glory filling the house. The landscape was there
all the time, with its riches and beauty, although we did
not see it till the Veil of mist was rolled away. The
pure in heart see God. We, like the prophet, must have.14 Handfuls on Purpose.
this vision if we would become meet for the service of
God. We must needs see Jesus, our Lord, who humbled
Himself to the death for us. “High and lifted up,”
exalted and enthroned, and the glory of His person and
work filling the temple. Satisfying to the full every
heavenly and Divine requirement (Heb. 2. 9).
II. A Humbling Confession. “Then said I, woe is
me ! for I am undone (cut off). . .I am a man of unclean
lips, ” etc. A vision of the highness and holiness of God
is a self-humbling sight. “Unclean lips” are but the
weapons of an unclean heart. It was when Job saw the
Lord that he abhorred himself (Job 42. 5, 6). It is in
His light that we see light clearly. This is God’s method.
First, revelation, then self-discovery, self-abhorrence,
and self-abandonment. The vision of Bethlehem, Calvary
and Olivet, first smites with conviction then inspires
with hope. Having “seen the King, the Lord of Hosts,”
he has seen his own need, and the need of the peo$le, for
they also have “unclean lips” (v. 5). There will be hope
for the people when the servants of God have had a clear
vision of God, and of their own condition and need.
III. A Great Salvation. “Then flew one of the
Seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand” (v. 6).
The vision, the confession, “thelz” the live coal. The
Seraphim fitly represents the personal work of the Holy
Spirit in taking the thingsof the”Altar” (thesubstitutionary
work of Christ), and applying them to the troubled and
unclean soul. The lips were touched with fire because
the sin was purged, and the iniquity taken away. This
salvation is threefold-1.
PARDON. “Thy sin is covered” (margirt). Covered
by the atoning blood of God’s Lamb. Such a covering
as only God can cast over the guilt and heinousness of
sin (Heb. 1. 3)..2.
only
The
God
morally straightened.
Old Testament Outlinec. IS
PURITY. “Thine iniquity is taken away. n Not
is sin covered, but the cause of sinning is dealt with.
iniquity, or lack of equity in the nature, toward
and man is taken away. Renewed in your mind,
3. POWER. “Lo, this hath touched thy lips. )) The
touch of the living coal was as the sealing of the Holy Spirit
(Eph. 1. 13). It was power from on high putting his
lips into touch and perfect accord with the holy Altar.
Only the fire-touched lips can speak out the real significance
of the Cross of Christ. Pentecost was needed to emphasise
Calvary.
IV. A Definite Commission. The call of God was
distinctly heard. “I heard the voice of the Lord, saying,
whom shall I send” (v. 8). It was not a voice commanding
him to go, but a voice revealing to him, in a new fashion,
God’s longing desire to declare His mind and will to the
people through His willing servants. Who will go for us?
The man with the tire-touched lips is now ready to say,
“Here am I, send me. ” He who has been cleansed,
and claimed by the Altar fire, yields himself at once unto
God as an instrument of righteousness. Now that his
uncleanness and unwillingness have been taken away,
the Lord says, “Go” (v. 9).
THE ALMIGHTY SANCTUARY.
ISAIAH 8. 11-14.
THIS message from the Lord to the prophet in times of
distress and perplexity, contains a message of guidance
and comfort to all who are in similar circumstances.
I. The Danger. Judah was in distress, because
Syria and Israel had formed a confederacy against them.
Many also in Judah were disaffected to the house of David,.16 Handfuls on Purpose.
and in secret sympathy with the enemies of their country.
They were “refusing the waters of Shiloah, which go softly”
and rejoicing in the glory of a heathen king (v. 6). To
which party should the prophet, the man of God, ally
himself? This problem is with the Church to-day.
There is a confederacy against it; organised parties of
practical atheists. Within the Church herself there are
also those who are “refusing the waters of Shiloah (Gospel),
which go softly. ” Too softly for those who are the secret
enemies to the Kingdom of God, and of His Christ, and
who prefer the broad, turbulent waters of worldly pleasures
and politics.
II. The Remedy. It consisted of-1.
A REVELATION. “The Lord spake to me.. .and
instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this
people” (v. 11). Judah had lost sight of God, and of
their relationship to Him, and, as a result, were seeking
to “associate themselves” with a prosperous, heathen
kingdom. But God’ s Word to the prophet was, “thou
shalt not walk in the way of this people.” The Church must choose whether she will separate herself unto God,
or form a league with the aggressive forces of infidelity.
2. A REBUKE. “Say ye not, a confederacy. ..neither
fear ye their fear, nor be afraid” (v. 12). God’ s Word
warns us against glibly using the language of the ungodly.
“Say ye not. ” Don’ t you fall into their snare, or into
their manner or spirit of working. Don’ t you be terrified at their numbers and organisation. Neither be
afraid of their proposals, or propaganda. They shall be “broken in pieces.. . their counsel shall come to naught”
(w. 9, 10). Those of Judah who were crying out for a
confederacy with Assyria as a protection against the
combined forces of Syria and Ephraim, were but showing
their fatal weakness, as those who dwelt in the land of.Old Testament Outlhes. 17
“Immanuel” (v. 8). Such compromising on the part of
God’ s people needs to be sternly rebuked. Whatever
tends to lessen faith in God is dishonouring to Him.
3. A COUNSEL. “Sanctify the Lord of Hosts Himself,
and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread”
(v. 13). To “Sanctify the Lord of Hosts” is to set Him
@art from all else as the sole object of our confidence.
When our Lord said, “For their sakes I sanctify Myself”
(John 17. 19), He shows the position He Himself hath
chosen for His people’ s good. The dangers may seem
great, the united forces in opposition to us may be formid-able
and fearful, but as the greater always overshadows
the less, so, when the Lord of Hosts is sanctified by us
and becomes our “fear and dread,” we will not fear what
man can do unto us. Fear Him. The dreaded mystery
of holiness and power is with Him.
4. AN ASSURANCE. “And He shall be for a sanctuary, ”
etc. (v. 14). He shall become an holy place of refuge
and of rest for your soul. Hide thyself in God, and all the
confederacies of men shall never prevail against thee.
“God is our refuge and strength.. .therefore will not we fear. ” This hiding place is indeed a “dreadful place.”
But the more dreadful the place is the more secure are
they who hide in it. He will become “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence” to those who are opposed to His work and will. “They shall stumble and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and taken” that take counsel
together against the Lord and His anointed ones. “Say
ye not a confederacy, ” but say, God is my Sanctuary.
THE GREAT FEAST.
ISAIAH 25. 6-9.
THIS is another vision given to the prophet. He sees
Mount Zion as a table spread with rich and abundant.18 Handfuls on Purpose.
provisions for “All people.” It is the Millennial time
of fullness and victory for His ancient people, when
Jerusalem shall become a “praise in the earth, ” and when
all nations shall “Call Him Blessed, ” who is their God
and King. While the dispensational aspect must not be
overlooked, we should like to read these verses, for our
personal profit, more in the light of the Gospel of the
Grace of God.
I. The Place. “In this mountain. ” God not only
appoints the event, but also the place where it shall be
accomplished. He hath appointed Zion as the place
of His revealed glory. He also appointed “the place
called Calvary” for the revelation of His grace. Here the
Lord of Hosts hath made a feast for all people.
II. The Provision. It implies ample sufficiency for
the whole need of man. There is-1.
PERFECT SATISFACTION . “Fat things full of marrow
. . .wines on the lees well refined.” Blessings that
strengthen, and that cheer and inspire. There is no leanness
of soul, for those who feed in the work and fullness
of Jesus Christ. Every promise of His is full of marrow
and fatness. The wine of His Word is always on the lees
of ctemal verities. It is old and good. “Wherefore
spend money for that which…satisfieth not ?, Hearken
diligently unto Me, and eat that which is good, and let
your soul delight itself in fatness“ (Isa. 55. 1, 2).
2. FULL SALVATION. (1) The “Covering” of Dark-ness
has been destroyed. “He will destroy the face of the
covering cast over the people” (v. 7). The darkened
understanding has been enlightened (Eph. 4. 18). The
true light now shineth. (2) The “Veil” of unbelief has
been taken away. This veil that is “Spread over the
nations ” is taken away by turning t.o the Lord (2 Cor.
3. 15-18)..Old Testament Outlines. 19
3. The POWER OF DEATH has been destroyed. “He
will swaIIow up death in victory” (v. 8). Christ, in
dying, hath destroyed death, and him that hath the power
of death (Heb. 2. 14). The power of death, in itself,
is a tremendous power, it is truly the “terrors of death. ”
4. The ASSURANCE OF COMFORT has been given. “The
Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces.” The
proofs of sorrow and suffering are visible in many faces.
The day of His salvation is the day of peace and rest for
the soul. A French writer has a&cd, “Where are now
the calm, peaceful faces that were seen long ago ? ” Christ
is our peace, “My peace I give unto you. ”
5. The “REDUKE” OF FAILURE is taken away (v. 8).
The Salvation of God includes deliverance from a life of
stumbling and failure. Oh, what reproach lies upon
the servants of God to-day, because this full Salvation
is not realised. God means all this for His people. “For
the Lord hath sfioken it. ”
III. The Testimony. “It shall be said in that day,
Lo, this is our God” (v. 9). When God’s Salvation is
experienced there is no doubt at all as to its God-likeness.
This is the expression of a saved and satisfied soul. The
word God is in the plural here, and has reference to the
Trinity. To know Him, and Jesus Christ whom He hath
sent by the Holy Spirit, is Eternal Life. Those who can
say “This is our God, ” can confidently add, “And He will
save us, ” for, “We have waited for Him, we will be glad
and rejoice in His Salvation” (v. 9). We speak that we
do know. In a fuller sense, this will be the testimony
of God’s people, when the Lord Himself shall descend
from Heaven with a shout ” (1 Thess. 4. 16, 17). Mean-while
His Salvation is offered unto “All people” (Luke
2. 10). “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of
the earth ; for I am God ” (Isa. 45. 22)..20 Handfuls on Purpose.
REBELLIOUS CHILDREN.
ISAIAH 30. 1-3.
OH, how sad it is when the “woe” of the rebellious has to
be pronounced by the Lord on His own children.
I. The Nature of It. It is seen in their counsellors.
“They take counsel, but not of ME.” Worldly wisdom
is preferred to heavenly. It is seen in their covering.
“They cover with a covering, but not of My Spirit.”
They clothe themselves with pride, and fleshly energy,
instead of the power of the Holy Spirit. It is seen in
their walk. “That walk to go down into Egypt. ” Their
faces are toward the world, and their desire is to get into its
ways. It is seen in their Motives. “To strengthen
themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the
shadow of Egypt. ” They seek worldly strength, and
worldly protection, to advance their cause. The heart
that is in rebellion against God, and His Christ, is certain
to seek the help of the ungodly.
II. The Result of It. The result is “Shame. “ “There-fore
shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame.” The
strength of Pharaoh may do for a Pharaoh, but it will be
your shame as a professed child of God. The strength of
Pharaoh lay in the arm of flesh, and there is a curse upon
the man “that maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart
departeth from the Lord’ ” (Jer. 17. 5). Trust in the
shadow of Egypt will be your confession (v. 3). Nothing
but shame and confusion will come upon the Church of
God, if, for the sake of popularity and prestige, she allies
with the godless forces of to-day.
OUR REFUGE AND OUR REMEDY,
ISAIAH 32. I-5.
MAN’ S character needs a “double cure.” A place of
refuge from danger, and a remedy from the disease of sin..Old Testament Outlines. 21
When “A King shall reign in righteousness” within, then
the princes of that Kingdom “Shall rule in justice” (v. 1).
Note the-I.
Need Suggested. We are exposed to the “wind”
and the “tempest. ” These are the ordinary, and extra-ordinary
trials and dangers that all have to face. The
“wind, ” the common current of popular error: the
“tempest, ” the crushing influence of temptation and lust.
Then there is the “dry place.” The experience of dis-appointment
and helplessness, finding the world’s cisterns
empty in the time of deepest need. Then comes the
“weary land” experience. A fainting of the heart at the
discovery that the world provides no resting place for the
weary feet of an anxious pilgrim.
II. Refuge Appointed. “A MAN shall be an hiding
place. ” Who is this Man ? Jehovah says, this is “The
Man that is My Fellow” (Zech. 13. 7). The One Mediator
between God and men, the Malz Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2. 5).
He is-1.
A HIDING PLACE. That is the feature of His character
as Redeemer and Lord. The wind that drives away the
chaff cannot move those who hide in Him. “I flee to
Thee to hide me. ”
2. A COVERT from the tempest. A place of secrecy
where the most powerful forces outside cannot find
the hidden one.
3. The SHADOW of a great rock. The strength
of this protection is here indicated, and especially the
blessed fact that this shadow can be enjoyed by those who
are presently in “a weary land. ” “Behold the Man. ”
III. Blessings Enjoyed. All who sit under His
shadow have great delight. Here are several things
which characterise those saved by the Lord, and who are.22 Handfuls on Purpose.
abiding under the court of His wings enjoying His
fellowship.
1. Their EI’ ES are clcnr. “The eyes of them that see
shall not be dim” (v. 3). They have seen their need,
they have seen their opportunity, now they see God.
2. Their EARS arc opened. “The ears of them that hear
shall hearken. ” They have heard His invitation, they
have obeyed His call, now they eagerly listen to His Word.
3. Their HEART is taught. “The heart also of the hasty
shall understand knowledge” (v. 4). Yes, those who
rest in Him as their “hiding place” shall be taught of the
Lord (Isa. 54. 13). The hasty heart shall be righted there.
4. Their TONGUE is loosed. “The tongue of the
stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly. ” There is
nothing like the power of the truth of the Gospel for
taking the stammer out of a man’ s tongue, and making
him “ready to speak plainly.” Plain speaking, on the
part of the saved ones, is expected by the Saviour.
5. Their LIFE is purified. “The vile person shall no
more be called liberal, nor the crafty said to be bountiful”
(v. 5, R.V., margin). A purified life means purified morals.
Righteousness with God means practical righteousness with
our fellow men. The man whose eyes are opened, and whose
tongue has been loosed to “speak plainly,” will not laud
the immoral and the crafty because of their big sub-scriptions,
or high social position. He is no respecter
of persons, and must call things by their right names.
THE EXCELLENCY OF OUR GOD.
ISAIAH 35. 1-6.
IN the light of New Testament teaching, this portion is
most inspiring. There is a-I.
Vision of Hope. “They shall see the glory of the
Lord, the excellency of our God,” How is this glory,.Old Testament Outlines. 23
or excellency, to be seen ? Here, as in the Gospels, it
is seen in the transforming power of His grace. The
“wilderness, ” the “solitary place, ” and the “desert, ”
are made glad and beautiful because of it. The excellency
of our God is seen in imparting to the barren waste the
majesty of Lebanon, the beauty of Carmel, and the
fruitfulness of Sharon (v. 2). Israel, as a nation, is that
“wilderness, and solitary place,” which shall yet “be
glad.. .and blossom abundantly” at the revelation of the
Lord: but now we may see the excellency of our God in
the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4. 6). What transfor-mations
He hath wrought in the “wilderness and solitary
places” of the souls of men, and of social life !
II. Condition of Need. The people of God are here
reminded of three sources of weakness that are hindering
their life and work. They have “weak hands. ” Hands
that hang down (Heb. 12. 12). The hands represent the
instruments of work. What could even Hercules do with
a hammer of soap ? How can a servant work, or a soldier
fight, with weak hands ? They are powerless for service.
Then there is the “feeble knees.” They cannot walk
straight and steady. They are easily upset. A little
opposition, or the wind of some new doctrine, is enough
to impede their progress, or turn them aside. Their
knees are feeble, through the lack of the practice of prayer.
Another weakness is seen in the “fearftil heart.” This is
the worst of all, and the cause of all. When the heart is
pure and strong, the hands and the knees will soon be
strong and steady. Fearfulness is the result of the lack
of faith.
III. Message of Cheer. The servant of God is
commissioned to strengthen the weak hands, to confirm
the feeble knees, and encourage the fearful in heart (v. 4).
But how is this to be done ? Never were many of God ‘ 3.24 Handfuls on Purpose.
people so much in need of this, as now. With the work,
comes the message of power, “Beholdyozlr God will come. ”
The excellency of your God consists in this, that He
delights to make the desert blossom as the rose, and to
make the weak, the feeble, and the fearful, to triumph in
His strength. Your God who will come with vengeance
on your enemies, and a recompense to His own, He will
save you. Let not your heart be troubled because of the signs
of the times. Ye believe in God. Behold, He cometh
with clouds (Titus 2. 13; Rev. 1. 7). Say to them that
are feeble and fearful, Be strong; Behold your God.
IV. Work of Grace. The excellency of our God is
seen in making-1.
The EYES of the blind to see (v. 5). The eyes are
the windows of the soul. In spiritual blindness, it is
the spirit that is blind; to such, sight is a new faculty
(Acts 26. 18; Eph. 1. 18).
2. The EARS of the deaf to hear. As with sight, so
with hearing; the ear is but the instrument, it is the spirit
within that is made to hear Him.
3. The FEET of the lame to leap (v, 6). The morally
helpless, and crippled, by sin and iniquity, are made to
leap like an hart. Salvation means renewal (Acts 3. 2-10).
4. The TONGUE of the dumb to sing. Tongues that
were silent for God, will, at His touch, break forth into
praise (Psa. 15. 15). For in the wilderness of the unre-newed
and wasted life, the waters of grace shall break
out as streams in the desert. Ye shall see the glory, and
the excellency of our God.
THE POWER OF PRAYER.
ISAIAH 37. 14-20.
THE historical setting should be closely studied. A great
trouble had come to Hezekiah, the king, because of the.Old Testament Outlines. 25
Assyrian invasion, and the imperious attitude of
Rabshakeh the captain. “Trouble” has been said to be
“A Divine diet for the new man.” It is often more
profitable than it is palatable.
I. The Cause of His Trouble. It was “A letter. “
Only a letter, but a veritable “Messenger of Satan” to
buffet him. For some the postman‘s bag may contain
moral and social torpedoes. Who knows what the next
post may bring? This was an attempt to destroy his
faith in God (v. IO), to dispossess him of his inheritance,
and to bring him into bondage. The enemies of our sods
are always active toward the same end. Their letters
may be beautifully written, but they are terribly bitter.
II. What He Did With It. “He spread it before the
Lord” (v. 14). This solemn act revealed his faith in
God. He did not spread it before the “face of Heaven, ”
but before the face of an Almighty Personality. “He
that cometh to God must believe that He is” (Heb. 11. 6).
This also shows his thoroughness. He spread it. He laid
the whole matter, from beginning to end, right before
Him. Be definite in your dealings with God. Be as
honest and confidential as He wishes you to be. Keep
back nothing. Whatever is a trouble to you is interesting
to your God and Father.
III. How He Succeeded. “The angel of the Lord”
became his defence (v. 36). His argument was simple,
but irresistible. “Now therefore, 0 Lord our God, save
us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth
may know that Thou art the Lord” (v. 20). “When the
angel of death spreads his wings in the blast, ” woe be to
those who fight against the Kingdom of God. By the
blast of God they perish (Job. 4. 9). Is there any sorrow
too great, or circumstance too perplexing, that the
Vol. IX. 3.26 Handfuls on Purpose.
prayer of faith cannot bring comfort and deliverance ?
“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed.. .nothing
shall be impossible unto you” (Matt. 17. 20).
POWER FOR THE FAINT.
ISAIAH 40. 28-31.
“HAST tnou not known?” There is, oh! so much of the
goodness of God revcalpd to 1.1~ in His Word that we have,
as yet, failed to understand or to profit by, that we
greatly need a question like this to arrest afresh our
attention to our real need, and TIis Almighty fullness.
We are reminded here of the-I.
Need of Power. “He giveth power to the faint. ”
He speaks of power because he knows we need it. It is
for lack of power that WC “faint, ” and have “no might, ”
and are “weary, ” and the “young men utterly fall” (v. 30).
There is to-day much fainting and weariness because of a
conscious inability to overcome the power of current
evils. An unhealt-hy moral atmosphere makes it difficult
for a spiritual man to breathe. Even “young men ”
destitute of this power are an utter failure.
II. Source of Power. “Hast thou not heard that the
Everlasting God.. .fainteth not, neither is weary? ” (v. 23).
“Hast thou not known Ma?” (John 14. 9). All power
is given unto Him. AI1 creative and sustaining power is
His. All fullness dwells in Him. If we are workers
together with Him who fainteth not, why should we
faint? Why this weariness in us if He who never is
weary is working in us to will and to do of His good
pleasure ?
III. Nature of Power. Power is not something we
put on, it is something that puts on us. Something that
enters into our being, bringing increased capacity and
responsibility. Power, like love, dwells in the life of.Old Testament Outlines. n
God. To have more of His life means more of His power.
The spirit of life is the spirit of power (Acts 1. 8). This
power is not that of a new resolve, or of youthful vigour,
or natural enthusiasm, it is the “power of God,” because
God has come in mightier measure into the life. Abund-ance
of life means abundance of power.
IV. Condition of Power. “They that wait upon the
Lord” (v. 31). This waiting upon the Lord must be inter-preted
as an honest confession, that there has been
fainting and failure in the past. Because the promise +
is to the “faint, and to them that have no might” (v. 29).
His strength can only be made perfect in weakness (2 Cor.
12. 9; Heb. II. 34). Wait on the Lord, and change your
weakness into His strength (v. 31, wargila).
V. Evidence of Power. “They shall mount up.. .run,
and not be weary.. .walk, and not faint. ” They mount up,
like eagles, into a higher and purer atmosphere of life
where they can run, and not be weary, walk and not faint.
The enduement of power implies an ascension of the life
into a higher and more mysterious plane of living, far
above all the principalities and powers of earth and Hell
that would discourage and destroy. He giveth power to
the faint.
FEAR THOU NOT.
ISAIAH 41. 9-16.
W HAT is here said of Israel ? The seed of Abraham is
also true of those who are His spiritual seed, the children
of God by faith. These promises are made to “My servant
whom I have chosen ” (vv. 8, 9). If you are a servant
chosen of God, then these promises are virtually for you,
Each promise is a reason why you should “Fear not. ” He
says, “Fear thou not, for-I.
I am with thee. “With you as your shield and
great reward” (Gcn. 15. 1)..28 Handfuls on Purpose.
II. I am thy God. Thy God is good, and thy God
is almighty.
III. I will strengthen thee. If He is the strength of
your life of whom should you be afraid? (Psa. 27. 1).
IV. I will help thee (v. 10). This implies co-operation.
There is no help like His.
V. I will uphold thee. The right hand of His righteous-ness
will stay you up.
VI. I will defend thee. “They that war against thee
shall be as nothing, and as a thing of naught” (v. 12).
VII. I will use thee. “1 will make thee a new, sharp,
thrashing instrument” (v. 15). Every redeemed and
consecrated soul will be a 1zew instrument in His hand.
VIII. I will be glorified in thee. “Thou shalt rejoice
in the Lord, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel”
(v. 16; see Jer. 9. 24).
HOPE FOR THE NEEDY.
ISAIAH 41. 17-20.
THE “needy, ” who are they ? In every city and country
their name is legion. But the “needy” here are the most
hopeless of all mortals. Look at this picture of-I.
Lamentable Failure. “The poor and needy seek
water, and there is none. They are keenly conscious of
their need, they are “poor, ” they seek a common mercy-“
water”-they seek it where it cannot be found-‘“there
is none. ” And they have been seeking until “their
tongue faileth for thirst. ” What a picture of disappoint-ment
and desolation. While “the common salvation”
is as plentiful and as cheap as water, yet, how many poor
and needy souls are seeking it where “there is none, ” in
their own hearts, prayers, and works.
II. Inspiring Promises. Israel was not asked to dig.Old Testament Outlines. 29
wells in the wilderness, they were to drink from the
smitten rock. Salvation is of the Lord. To the “poor
and needy” three precious promises are given.
1. I will ANSWER them (R.v.). There is no answer to
this thirst anywhere else but in God Himself. God is
the only answer to the cry of humanity. He so loved the
world that He gave His Son. Look unto Me, and be ye
saved. God’s answer is near when our absolute failure
is recognised and confessed.
2. “I will OPEN RIVERS in the bare heights” (v. 18, R.V.)
God’s fullness of blessing often comes from unexpected
sources, “bare heights. ” “My ways are not your ways
saith the Lord.” A tongue failing for thirst is “a bare
height out of which He is able to bring rivers of water”
(John 7. 37-39).
3. “I will PLANT in the wilderness the cedar.. .in the
desert the fir tree and the pine” (v. 19). This is part of
God’s answer to the poor and needy wilderness of man’s
soul. It needs not only the cleansing and refreshing
rivers, but the imparting of new principles for the
beautifying of the life-like trees in the desert.
III. God-honouring Results. “That they may see,
and know, and consider, and understand together that the
hand of the Lord hath done this” (v. 20). AI1 His works
praise Him. Our transfigured lives are a testimony to
others of the good hand of our God upon us. When,
instead of the thorn and the brier, there comes up the fir,
and the myrtle, it shall be to the Lord for a name, and an
everlasting sign (Isa. 55. 13). It is a poor testimony for
God when the tongue faileth for thirst. But He delighteth
to answer our need, even for His Own Name’s sake. It
is when the new song is put into our mouth that, “Many
shall see and fear, and shall trust in the Lord” (Psa. 40. 3)..30 Handfuls on Purpose.
SPIRITUAL ISRAEL
OR, W ITNESSES FOR G OD. ISAIAII 43. l-10.
IT is not meet to take the children’s bread, and cast it to
dogs ; neither is it meet to take the Jewish bread, and give
it all to the Gentiles. The great and precious promises made
in the chapter are for Israel, and much important truth
is lost by applying them only to the Church. Israel,
like the Church of God, has a glorious and triumphant
future before it. Still, all that is here said of the Jew is
perfectly true of the Church, and may be forcibly applied
to all Christians who are the spiritual seed of Abraham.
I. They are Purchased. “Fear not, I have redeemed
thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art Mine.”
As Israel was redeemed out of Egyptian bondage and
darkness, called into a separate life, and claimed by God
as His own, so have we been redeemed from the bondage
of sin and Satan, separated from the world, and claimed by
our Redeemer as His own purchased possession. Ye are
not your own, for ye are bought with a price, redeemed by
the precious blood of Christ.
II. They are Preserved. “When thou passest through
the waters I will be with thee.. . When thou walkest through
the fire thou shalt not be burned” (v. 2). No nation has
ever passed through such deep and troublous waters as
the Jewish. No other people have had to walk through
such fire of suffering and persecution as they. Yet Jacob
has not been overthrown, nor has the flame destroyed him.
The reason is, “1 am with thee. ” As it is with Israel, so
is it with the Church, Only, the sufferings of Israel have
been for her own sins, while the sufferings of the Church
have been for Christ’s sake. Through the fire and the
waters of testing and trial must every redeemed one pass.
But “Fear not” is the Saviour’s word of cheer, for, “I
will be with thee” (Psa. 66. 12; see Psa. %. 4j..Old Testament Outlines. 31
III. They are Precious. “Thou wast precious in My
sight. . . and I have loved thee” (v. 4). How a wayward,
backsliding people can become precious to God is one of
the mysteries of His grace. This fact is a proof that
whom God loves He loves intensely (Dan. 7. 6). God can
do nothing superficially. If He saves, He saves to the
uttermost. When He gives life, it is life in abundance.
Their preciousness to God is a guarantee of their protection
and security. We are precious in His sight, not only
because of what He has given for us, but because of what
we are now, as members of the body of Christ, His Son.
IV. They are Privileged. “I have created Him for
My glory” (v. 7). The crention of Israel as a nation is
for the glory of God, and He shall yet be glorified in His
people in this present world (Hosea 1. 10). We, like
them, are His workmanship, created unto good works,
which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in
them. It is to the praise of the glory of His grace that He
hath made us accepted in the beloved (Eph. 1. 5, 6). The
Church of God is a new creation in Christ Jesus for His
own glory, and this glory will yet be manifested in the
ages to come (Eph. 2. 7).
V. They are Powerful. “Ye are My witnesses, saith
the Lord” (v. 10). A witness is one who has sufficient
knowledge to constitute a $rooj. Knowledge, like steam,
is a power that cannot be ignored. The Jew is a witness
to Christ crucified, the Christian is a witness to Christ
risen. Judah and the Church are both witnesses for God.
The Jews had committed to them the oracles of God
(Ram. 3. 1, 2), which gave them power for God. The
Church has committed unto it the Holy Spirit of God that
it might have witnessing power for God (Acts 1. 8). Every
Jew is a witness, so is every member of the body of Christ.
Our witness-bearing depends on what we axe, not what.32 Handfuls on Purpose.
we say. If we are monuments of His grace we shall be
witnesses for Him. What was said of Christ is true also of
every man in Him, “Behold I have given him for a witness
to the people.”
GOD’S APPEAL TO THE BACKSLIDING.
ISAIAH 44. 21, 22.
THE goodness and longsuffering mercy of our God nowhere
shines out more impressively than in His pitiful appeal
to His backsliding people. “0 Jacob, ” may remind
them of their past pride and failure. “0 Israel, ” of what
His transforming grace had made them. Jacob, the
wrestler, was turned into Israel the prince.
I. An Urgent Call. “0 Jacob.. .O Israel.. .retum
unto Me.” This clearly implies that they had turned
away from Him, and that, for His own, and their own
sakes, He longed for their return. All backsliding is a
turning away of the affections from God to some other
person or thing.
II. A Powerful Argument. He gives ample reasons
why they should return.
1. I have FORMED thee. Israel, as a nation, would
have had no existence but for the electing grace of God.
They were chosen, not because they were better than others, but because it pleased Him to call them. Backsliders,
think of that! God requireth that which is past.
2. I have FORGIVEN thee. “I have blotted out as a
thick cloud. . . thy sins. ” Have you forgotten the time
when He caused the sweet sense of His forgiving love to
float into your soul ? (Psa. 32. 1, 2).
3. I have NOT FORGO?TEN thee. “Thou shalt not be
forgotten of Me.” In your wilful wandering you have,
like the prodigal, forgotten Him, but He has not forgotten
you. “Return. ”.Old Testament Outlines. 33
4. I have REDEEMED thee. The fact that He hath
purchased you with His own blood that you might be His
own peculiar treasure, is another strong reason why you
should return unto Him (1 Cor. 6. 20).
5. I have CLAIMED t h e e. Return, for, “Thou art My
servant. ” He has not only a claim upon your person,
but also upon your service. Think of His infinite goodness
in still acknowledging you-even in your present, sinful,
and profitless condition-as His servant. “I will arise
and go to my father.”
GOD’S RELATIONSHIP TO HIS PEOPLE.
I SAIAH 48. 16-18.
“COME ye near unto Me, hear ye this. ” Here is something
God is specially desirous that we should give heed to.
Let us draw near unto Him, and hear it as fresh from His
own lips. “Oh, hear it again.” That Christ is the
eternal Son of God who was with Him “from the beginning”
and who was sent by “the Lord God, and His Spirit, ” and
who hath declared Him who is-I.
Thy Redeemer. “Thy Redeemer, the Holy One
of Israel. ” Who gave Himself for our sins that He might
redeem us from all iniquity. Jehovah is our Redeemer
in the person of His Son.
II. Thy Teacher. “I am the Lord thy God which
teacheth thee to profit. ” His teaching is not only
instruction for the mind, but the impartation of life and
light, of ability to receive and to act. He worketh in us
both to will and to do (Psa. 25. S-10).
III. Thy Leader. “I am the Lord thy God…which
leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.” As
He led Israel about and instructed him (Deut. 32), so, by
His Spirit, doth He still lead His redeemed people. The
Church never was in greater need of being “Led by the
Lord” than now..34 Handfuls on Purpose.
IV. Thy Keeper. “0 that thou hndst hearkened. . . then
had thy peace been as a river. ” They are kept in perfect
peace whose mind is stayed on Him. Great peace have
they which love Thy law (Psa. 119. 165). Hearken to
the voice of Him whose blood preach&h peace, and whose
life 1s the pledge that thy peace may be as full and constant
as “a river. ”
DIVINE QUESTIONs FOR TIIE RACKSLIDING.
IS.‘ wm 50. l-3.
THE Jews were captives in Babylon. The sin of idolatry
which, in God’s sight, was the sin of spiritual adultery,
had broken their marriage covenant with the Lord, and
separated them from Him. It would seem that while
they were in Babylon they murmured and complained
against God, and the severity of their condition. Back-sliders
are siow to blame themselves for their present
bondage and misery. But the Lord demands that they
face the cause of their separation from Him by asking them
five pointed questions, which appeal to any backslider.
I. “Where is the Bill of Your Mother’ s Divorce-ment
? ” Under the law, and because of the hardness of their
hearts (Matt. 19. S), Moses allowed a man to divorce-cut
off-his wife if found unfaithful, by giving her a “bill of
divorcement. ” This bill was the evidexce that she had
been put away by her husband (Ueut. 23. 1). The Lord
demands of those grumbling sons, born in I3abylon of
backsliding parents, to produce the bill of their divorcc-ment
on the evidence that I-le had cut them off. Where
is the proof that God is to blame for the backslider’s
failure and misery ? Your iniquities have separated
between you and your God (Isa. 59. 2).
II. “To Which of My Creditors Have L Sold You?”.Old Testament Outlines. 35
Another permission allowable under the law was, that a
father had a right, if oppressed with debt, to sell his
children (Exod. 21. 7: Neh. 5. 5). The Divine argument
is, did I sell you because of My poverty ? Have I had to
part with you because I was not rich enough to keep you?
If I have sold you, then, name the creditor to whom I have
sold you. Backslider, what have you to say to this?
Have you separated yourself from God because He had not
enough to supply all your need? The truth must be out,
and here it is, “Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold
yourselves” (v, 1, Z.c.).
III. “Wherefore.. .When I called was there None
to Answer ? ” Another charge brought against them was
that they had refused to respond to the call of His servants,
the prophets. They gave Him no answer, but remained
deaf to His entreaties. How is it that while you are so
dissatisfied with your position and condition, you still
refuse to obey His call to repentance as the way out of
bondage into liberty and restoration ? He is still calling
through His Son, and by His Spirit, to the self-oppressed
backsliders. How is it that so few answer Him ?
IV. “Is My Hand Shortened at All that it Cannot
Redeem ? ” You may have gone far away, but have you
gone beyond His redemption point? Have you gone
beyond the length of His arm to reach you ? Backsliders,
answer this question. Is His hand too short for your
rescue ? Is His blood too weak for your redemption ?
You think of your distance from God, will you also think
of the length of His arm of mercy ? He is able to save to
the uttermost. If we confess our sins He is faithful and
just to forgive us.
V. “Have I no Power to Deliver ? ” Your miserable,
Babylonian bondage seems to indicate that your God
hath no power to deliver you. As long as you remain.36 Handfuls on Purpose.
in your backsliding state you are dragging the Name and
Character of God into public dishonour (chap. 52. 5).
As a proof of His saving power He reminds them of what
He had done. At His rebuke the Red Sea was made dry,
and the river of Jordan made as a wilderness for them.
He had power also to “Clothe the heavens with blackness,
and make sackcloth their covering” (v. 3). This He did
when He delivered them out of Egypt (Exod. 10. 21).
This He did when He gave His Son to die for us on the
Cross (Luke 23.44). Has He no power to save thee ? Then
why art thou not saved ?
LET US STAND TOGETHER-SUBSTITUTION.
ISAIAH 50. 4-9.
THESE words are mighty with solemn significance, coming
as they do-prophetically-from the lips of the suffering
Son of God. Although spoken 700 years before the birth
of Christ they are becoming, only, on His lips.
I. His Wisdom. “The Lord God hath given me the
tongue of them that are taught that I should know how
to sustain with words him that is weary” (v. 4, R.v.).
He had the tongue of the taught even when twelve years
of age (Luke 2. 46, 47). Never man spake like this Man.
He was taught of God (John 8. 28. 38). He is the
“Wisdom of God.” His words hath sustained the weary
in all generations. Let them dwell in you richly (Col.
3. 16).
II. His Obedience. “The Lord God hath opened
mine ear, and I was not rebellious” (v. 5). Having
heard the Word of God, and learned all that it meant for
Him, He turned not back, but said, “Lo, I come. ..I
delight to do Thy will 0 My God, yea Thy law is within
My heart” (Psa. 40. 6-8). How often, on our part, hath
the open ear been followed with a rebellious will1 We.Old Testament Outlines. 37
see, but do not delightfully obey the vision in a whole-hearted
consecration, but often “turn away backward. ”
III. His Sufferings. “I gave my back to the smiters
. . .I hid not My face from shame and spitting” (v. 6). He
“gave, ” and He “hid not. ” Assuring us that His sufferings
were purely voluntary. They would be of no value
otherwise. The smiting and the s@tting suggest the
twofold character of our Lord’s humiliation and agony.
The physical and the moral suffering and derision. The
scattering of the flock of Israel over the face of the earth
is an evidence that the Shepherd has been smitten (Matt.
26. 31).
IV. His Confidence. “The Lord God will help Me,
therefore shall I not be confounded.. .I know that I shall not
be ashamed” (v. 7). He was helped, and not confounded,
in the hour of His extreme sorrow, for an angel from
Heaven strengthened Him (Luke 22. 43). No one ever
needed help more than He did, and no one was ever so
confident of getting it. He knew that He was doing the
will of the Lord God, and so doubted not. His face was set
“like a flint, ” because there was no wavering in his heart.
V. His Testimony. “He is near that justifieth Me”
(v. 8). God was near to Him, and He knew that God was
justifying Him in all that He said and suffered. Justified
in the Spirit He could truly say, “I am not alone.” The
sufferings of Christ were also the sufferings of the Father.
God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.
VI. His Invitation. “Let us stand together. ” Might
we not take this as our Lord’s appeal to His own. He has
identified Himself with us, now we are invited to identify
ourselves with Him. It is absolutely true that with
Christ we fall or stand together. Hear Him say, “Let
us stand together”-1.
In the PLACE OF CONDEMNATION . He bore ow sins.38 I-Iandful.9 on Purpose.
in His own body. He suffered for us the Just for the
unjust. Let us stand with Him at that Cross bearing
together the terrible shame of it. We are condemned
already. Let LIS acknowledge it.
2. In the L I B E R T Y O F J U S T I F I C A T I ON. If we were
judged in Christ we shall also be justified in Him (v. 8,f.c.)
He was justified in that He was raised again from the
dead: herein is our justification (Ram. 4. 25). Let us
stand together on resurrection ground (2 Car. 5. 12, R.V.).
3. In the LIFE OF C ONSECRATION . We are workers
together with Him. The lift of service is a life of holy
fellowship and activity in the Lord. Your enemy is
mighty, and your strength is but weakness, therefore,
says He, “Let us stand together. ” In standing together
with Him we shall also be found standing together with
one another. Then, finally, we shall “stand together”
in the presence of His glory, being “glorified together. ‘ *
THE GREAT REPORT.
ISAIAH 53. 1.
THE Prophet, as he was moved by the Holy Ghost, passes
in vision down through 700 years into the very midst of
the days of Christ’s humiliation and suffering, and speaks
as an eyewitness. Infidelity has no reasonable explanation
of this record so absolutely true to fact. “Who hath
believed our report ? ” Notice the-I.
Nature of the Report. See chapter 52. 7-15. It
contains “Good tidings of Good. ” It was the publication
of “peace” and “salvation” (v. 7). It refers to the
prudence and exalted character of Christ the Servant
(v. 13). It reveals the astonishing fact that His sufferings
would be unique among the sons of men (v. 14). It also
sounds the note of final victory (v. 15). It is a true
report..Old Testament Outlines, 39
II. Character of the Publishers. “Who hath believed
02cr report. ” To Him gave all the prophets witness
(Acts 10. 43). The prophets, moved by the Holy Spirit,
were God’s witnesses. They were workers together with
Him. The report was His through them. There is no
exaggeration or false colouring about it. These reporters
are in real sympathy with God and His work. So they
ask Him, “Who hat11 believed OUY report ? ” Paul beseeched
men in Christ’s stead (2 Cor. 5. 20).
III. Responsibility of the Hearers. “Who hath
believed ? ” The message is the most wonderful and
timely that ears have ever heard. The reporters are the
most trustworthy that have ever spoken. The demand
is the most reasonable that was ever made-faith. Who
hath believed our report. Faith cometh by hearing, and
hearing by the Word of God. Here, then, is God’s Word
of grace and salvation. Where is your faith? It is not
enough to believe in the Teacher like Nicodemus. We
must show our faith like Rebekah who heard, believed, and
followed (Gen. 24). Without faith it is impossible to
please Him.
THE ARM OF THE LORD.
ISAIAH 53. 1.
THE “arm” is here used as a figure of the true Christ as
the Head of the Church. He is also the “Arm of the
Lord. ” This metaphor is deeply suggestive. The-I.
Significance of It. “The arm of the Lord ”
(Jehovah). It is the symbol of almighty power. Christ
is the power of God. This power is a living power, an arm
that is vitally connected with the Personal and Eternal
God. It is no dead force like hydraulic pressure, but a power
that worketh by love. His arm is also the symbol of mercy.
Though His arm bc strong to smite, ‘tis also strong to save.
His arm hath brought salvation (Isa. 59. 16)..40 Handfuls on Purpoee.
II. Baring of It. “The Lord hath made bare His
holy arm” (chap. 62. 10). In making bare His arm
(Christ) the Lord has revealed His great power both to
smite and to save. What mighty spiritual muscle there
is unveiled in the life and death of Jesus Christ. It is
the work of the Holy Spirit, and of every preacher of the
Gospel, to make manifest the naked and almighty saving
arm of God.
THE MAN OF SORROWS.
ISAIAH 53. 3-6.
THE world in every age has had many a sorrowful man,
but there has been only one “Man of Sorrows.” The
sorrows of the Son of Man were entirely unique and un-paralleled.
His was the sorrow of a unique-I.
Humiliation. Many a man, nurtured in the lap
of opulence, has, through accident or failure, been
reduced to poverty and shame, but no one ever had so much
to give up as Christ had when He “emptied Himself, and
took upon Him the form of a servant.. .becoming obedient
unto death” (Phil. 2. 7,8, R.v.). He who was rich-how
rich l-for our sakes became poor, and, Oh, how poor !
II. Opposition. The contradiction that He suffered
at the hands of sinners against Himself was also unique.
Although “A Man of Sorrows” He was despised and re-jected
of men. Handel was found weeping while setting
these words to music. The common sympathy bestowed
on ordinary, suffering mortals was denied Him. The
opposition of Satan to the “Death of the Cross” was another
bitter element in the sorrows of the Saviour. Note the
temptation in the wilderness. The rebuking of the wind:
the same word used when dealing with “unclean spirits. ”
The rebuking of Peter, and the “get thee behind Me,
Satan, y when he said “far be it from Thee, Lord”.Old Testament Outlines. 41
(referring to His suffering death). Even when He was
on the Cross they cried, “Come down,” and we will
believe in Thee.
III. Anticipation. Many a time have we been con-strained
to say, “It is good for us that we do not know
what is before us” when some sudden and dire calamity
has befallen us. These things are mercifully hidden frorr
us. But Christ foresaw all that was before Him. Hc
came, not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to
give His life a ransom for many. “1, if I be lifted up
from the earth. ..This He said signifying what death
He should die” (John 12. 32, 33). His was also the
sorrow of a unique-IV.
Separation. He trod the winepress alone. He
was perfectly at home in Heaven, but He was awfully
alone on earth. His very nature, as Holy and Divine,
made Him “Separate from sinners,” although, He was
made in the “likeness of sinful flesh.” Circumstances,
disposition, and choice, often bring upon men the sorrow
of a separated life. No one could feel this so intensely as
the Son of Man who was also the Son of God.
V. Relationship. His was emphatically the sorrow
of a unique relationship. “Surely He hath borne our
griefs, and carried OUY sorrows” (v. 4). He alone could
do this as a fond, devoted mother carries the griefs and
sorrows of a beloved, suffering child. So intense was
His love and sympathy for us as sinful men that He could
not refrain from bearing our griefs and our sorrows. It
was in this wholly, devoted One that Jehovah was pleased
to lay “the iniquity of us all” (v. 6). It was for us that
He poured out His holy, sorrowful soul unto death (v. 12).
Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto My sorrow.
Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? (Lam. 1. 12).
Vol. xx. 4.42 Handfuls on Purpose.
“FEAR NOT, ”
OR, THE HERITAGE OF THE LORD’s SERVANTS.
ISAIAH 54.
“FEAR N OT” (v. 4). Then follows several powerful
reasons why God’s people should not fear. Closing with
these words, “This is the heritage of the servants of the
Lord” (v. 17). “Fear not,-1.
“For Thou Shalt Not be Ashamed” (v. 4). Having
believed in Him who is the chief corner-stone, elect,
precious, thou shalt not be confounded (1 Peter 2. 6).
II. “For Thou Shalt Forget the Shame of Thy
Youth” (v. 4). In the forgiving love of God ye shall
find forgetfulness of the sins of your youthful ignorance
and folly.
III. “For Thy Maker is Thy Husband.. .and Thy
Redeemer” (v. 5). A threefold relationship. Thine
by creation, Thine by redemption, Thine by a mutual
choice-‘“Husband” (Eph. 5. 25).
IV. “For the Lord hath Called Thee.. .forsaken and
grieved in spirit” (v. 6). If the Lord call&l us when we
were forsaken and grieved because of our sins and failure,
how much more may we depend on Him to bless us now.
V. “For with Great Mercies will I Gather Thee”
(v. 7). By His mercy hath He saved us, and by His
mercies will He, as with Israel, gather us as His jewels.
VI. “For with Everlasting Kindness will I Have
Mercy on Thee” (w. 8, 10). He who loved us with an
“everlasting love” hath obtained “eternal redemption
for us” (Heb. 9. 12).
VII. “For I have Sworn.. .that I would not be
Wroth with Thee” (vv. 9, 10). The rainbow of pn~rnise
is now round about the throne (Rev. 4. 3; see Hcb.
6. 18)..Old Testament Outlines. 43
VIII. For “I will Lay Thy Stones with Fair Colours ”
1 vv. 11, 12). Your character as a building shall be
strong, beautiful, and precious.
IX. “For All Thy Children shall be Taught of the
Lord” (v. 13). The promise is unto you and to your
children (Acts 2. 30). Words whereby thou and all thy
house shall he saved (Acts 11, 14).
X. For “No Weapon that is Formed Against Thee
shall Prosper” (v. 17). The gates (powers) of Hell
shall not prevail against the purpose of God. Set the
weapons mentioned in Romans 8. 35-39. This is the
heritage of the servants of the Lord. Fear not I
THE GOSPEL OF GOD.
ISAIAH 55. l-3.
Trr~ great verities, and the deep mysteries that are in
nature, in no wise hinder US from simply appropriating
the things needful for our physical life. Why should the
mysteries of the Bible hinder any one from satisfying
their spiritual and eternal need? A man does not need
to be a philosopher to know how to eat when he is hungry.
There is infinite grace in these opening verses.
I. The Provision. “Waters, . . .wine, milk” (v. 1).
This is, of course, figurative language, but profoundly
significant as coming from the lips of the Eternal God.
“Waters” suggest the abundance of the grace and mercy
offered in His Word. Wine refers to their quickening
and reviving influence in the soul. “Milk” indicates
their strengthening and satisfying nature as a food. It
is well known that milk contains all the essentials of life.
These are emblems of the promises of God, without which
man cannot truly live (Luke 4. 4)..44 Handfuls on Purpose.
II. The Rebuke.
1. About FOOLISH SPENDING. “Wherefore do ye spend
money for that which is not bread.” The money of time,
of talent, and opportunity, that’s being spent for things
that do not bring bread to the real hunger of the soul.
Money that might be put to a much better use. If men
would only spend half as much time and thought on their
souls as they do on the pleasures of the world, they
would find some “bread” for their more real, yet starved,
inner man. Spending money for that which does not
meet the true need of the man is a poor and foolish
investment.
2. FRUITLESS LABOUR is rebuked. “Wherefore do
ye.. . labour for that which satisfieth not ? ” A poor woman
at our door one day, on being asked what hopes she had
for Heaven, said: “I expect to do penance. ” Working
for salvation is labour which satisfieth not. What has
not satisfied you in the past will not satisfy you in the
future. This “labour” may take many a different form.
but there is no satisfaction in it as a purchasing price.
III. The Invitation. Three words are used to express
the yielding of the will, and the appropriation of God’s
gifts. “Come.. .Buy.. . Eat. ” The urgency of this call
appears in this threefold “Come. ” “Ho, every one that
thirsteth. Come.. .Come.. .Come. ”
1. Come TO THE WATERS, the Scriptures of truth, pure
and clear, from the throne of God.
2. Come and BUY. Buy wine and milk without
money-without a price.
3. Come and TAKE His offered blessing of eternal life
as freely as if you had bought it. Claim it with as much
confidence as you would claim an article that you had
duly paid for..Old Testament Outlines. 45
4. Come and EAT (v. 2). This blessing is not to be
pocketed, but assimilated. It is not something we merely
hold, but something, the influence of which, possesses and
transforms us. He that eateth of this bread shall live
for ever. “The Bread of God. ..giveth life unto the
world” (John 6. 33-35, 53).
IV. The Promise. Certain results are assured by
God to those who Hear, Come, Buy, and Eat.
I. There is LIFE. “Thy soul shall live” (v. 3). What
a life this is. A life righted with God, and for God.
2. There is DELIGHT. “Thy soul shall delight itself
in fatness” (fullness). This is not the delight of fancy,
but of fact. There is never any famine in the Kingdom
of God. All the fullness of the Godhead, in Christ, is the
source of our supply.
3. There is CONTINUANCE . You ask, will it last?
Hear what He says. “I will make an everlasting covenant
with you, even the sure mercies of David” (v. 3). It
is not to those who criticise, but to those who obey the
promise is made.
V. The Appeal. “Ho, every one that thirsteth, Come. ”
“If any man thirst let Him come unto Me and drink”
(John 7. 37). He who made the eye shall He not see?
He who made the ear shall He not hear? He who made
the spirit of man shall He not understand the deepest
needs of that Spirit ? What light is to the eye, and music
is to the ear, God’s precious Word is to the soul. Come
ye to the waters.
UNFAITHFUL WATCHMEN.
ISAIAH 56. 10-12.
A WATCIIMAN is one whose duty is literally to “look
about” (1 Sam. 14. 16). The Lord’s watchmen are to
look about for the aggressive movements of the enemy,.40 Handfuls on Purpose.
and for any signs of backsbding among His people. What
shall become of the people when the Lord has to charge
His watchmen with-I.
Blindness ? “His watchmen are blind” (v. 10).
They see not the danger of the wicked, and so fail to warn
him that he may “save his life, ” and his blood is required
at the watchman’s hands (Ezek. 3. 18). The old note
of warning seems to have almost died out of the present
day ministry.
II. Ignorance ? “They are all ignorant. ” “Without
knowledge” (R.v.). They literally “do not know” the
mind of God. Modem watchmen are in danger of being
SO engrossed with the critical opinions of men as to get
into darkness with regard to the real purpose of God in
their lives. To be ignorant of God’s revealed will is to
be a failure (Matt. 15. 14), and a stumbling block.
III. Cowardliness ? “They are dumb dogs, they
cannot bark. ” Why are they dumb? Because they
mistake enemies for friends. Because of the fear of man,
and their love of the world. Being blind to men’s danger,
and ignorant of God’s will, they have no deep conviction,
and so they go on sinning the sin of a guilty silence.
“Beware of dogs,” the dumb ones are more dangerous
than the noisy ones.
IV. Laziness ? “Dreaming, lying down, loving to
slumber” (R.v.). “Talking in their sleep” (mavgin). They
are too lazy to find out what the mind of the Lord is, and
go on talking like men in a dream: and the worst of it is,
that they love this sort of thing. They have visions, but
they are not the visions of God, but those of their own,
blind fancy. They have no message from God to the
people, but still they go on dreaming dreams.
V. Selfishness ? “Greedy dogs which can never have
enough.. . they look to their own way” (v. 11). They.Old Testament Outlines. 47
seek their own good, and they go their own way. While
this is a feature of unrenewed, human nature, it is to be an
emphatic characteristic of the perilous times of the last
days when “Men shall be lovers of their own selves,
covetous” (2 Tim. 3. 1, 2). The covetous man hath no
inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God (Eph.
5. 5). In a self-centred life there is no testimony for God
and His Gospel.
VI. Recklessness ? “Come ye, say they, I will fetch
wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink, and
to-morrow shall be as to-day, and much more abundant”
(v. 12). Such traitors must have an inspiration of some
sort. If they have not the Spirit of God, then they will
have the spirit of the world. Being out of harmony
with the revealed purposes of God, they fall in line with
the baser passions and delusions of the people, saying,
“to-morrow.. . shall be much more abundant” (2 Peter
3. 3, 4). While the Holy Ghost saith, “To-day.” All
this is being enacted just now before our eyes. Lack of
spirituality leads to laxity in morals. Because of the
unfaithfulness of the watchmen many to-day are filling
themselves with the “strong drink” of a delusive and
destructive theology. Every Christian should be a
watchman. “What I say unto you, I say unto all,
Watch. ”
PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY
OR, HINDRANCE, TO PRAYER. ISAIAH 58. 1-9.
THE prophets were not only predictors, they were “instru-ments
of righteousness unto God.” They were not only
“Seers, ” they were doers of the Word. God’s servants
must be faithful. “Cry aloud and spare not.” Their
attitude must be unmistakable. “Lift up thy voice like
a trumpet. ” Their message must be @zcticaZ. “Shew my
people their transgressions” (v. I)..48 Handfuls on Purpose.
I. Their Sinful Condition. They had drifted into
a formal observance of religion, but at heart it was
practical ungodliness. They took pleasure in knowing
His ways, and forsook not His ordinances (v. 2), yet they
were practismg self-deception and delusion. They seem
to think that by appointing a periodical fast, and afflicting
their souls, that this would atone for their gluttony and
insincerity (w. 3, 4). God is not mocked (v. 5).
“Bearing the head like a bulrush, and spreading sackcloth
and ashes under him, ” doth not touch the silz of the soul.
See Matthew 15. 8; James 1. 22.
II. The Divine Remedy. “Is not this the fast that
I have chosen ? ” (vv. 6, 7). Here is God’s interpretation
of “a fast. ” His fasts are soul-saving facts. His remedy
is exactly suited to the disease. He says the fast yozt
need is to-1.
“LOOSE THE BONDS of wickedness” (R.v.). Wicked-ness,
or lawlessness, is spiritual bondage. Every
unrighteous thought is a fetter for the soul.
2. “UNDO THE HEAVY BURDENS.” Many are carrying
burdens that are too heavy for them, burdens that you
could help to undo by your sympathy and co-operation.
James says, “1 will shew you my faith by my works.”
3. BREAK EVERY YOKE. ” “Let the oppressed go free. ”
The yoke of every oppressor is to be broken. Break the
yoke of evil habit, fear of man, love of the world,
pride of life, self-will, covetousness, etc.
4. CARE FOR THE POOR (v. 7). Give “bread to the
hungry. ” Shelter to the outcast. Covering to the
naked. The man who shutteth up the bowels of his
compassion from the destitute cannot know the indwelling
love of God (1 John 3. 17).
III. The Assured Result. “Them.” This word is
emphasised in the Hebrew..Old Testament Outlines. 49
1. “Then shall thy LIGHT break forth” (v. 8). Obedience
to God’s will is the clearing of the window through which
the light of His favour will shine as the morning.
2. “Then shall thy HEALING spring forth.” Unto the
upright there ariseth light in the darkness. This light
has healing in its beams. The moral diseases within
cannot stand the dawn of the light of Wis truth.
3. “Then thy RIGHTEOUSNESS shall go before thee. “
Thy rightness with God, and with men, will go before
thee like the prayers of Cornelius, as a memorial before
God (Acts 10. 4).
4. “Then THE GLORY OF THE LORD shall be thy reward. ”
Righteousness before thee, and the glory of the Lord
behind thee. What a testimony this is. Leaving behind
the sweet savour of His presence and glory. The
Shepherd’s care before thee, and His goodness and
mercy following thee all the days of thy life. What
a rearguard !
5. “Then shalt thou call, and the Lord SHALL ANSWER”
(v, 9). Then shall your fellowship with Him be sweet,
and your prayers answered. When iniquity is cleared
out of the heart, then the way is clear for the Lord to show
favour (Psa. 66, 18). If we would receive of Him,
“whatsoever we ask, ” it will be “because we keep His
commandments, and do those things that are pleasing
in His sight” (1 John 3. 22).
INTERCESSORS WANTED.
ISAIAH 59. 1-16.
“BEIIOLD, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it
cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear”
(v. 1). So He “wolzdered that there was no intercessor”
(v. 16). The language is human, but the feeling expressed.50 Handfuls on Purpose.
is mysteriously Divine. Talking after the manner of
men, he wondered that there was no intercessor.
I. Recause there was Great Need for Such. The
iniquities of the people had separated them from God
(v. 2). They were waiting for light, yet walking in
darkness (v. 9). They groped like the blind, and stumbled
at noon-day (v. 10). Their sins testified against them
(v. 12), and truth had fallen in the street (v. 14). Yet
no one sufficiently felt the sorrow and sin of the whole
situation as to give themselves to intercessory prayer
unto God. It was very different with Moses (Exod.
32. 32), and with Paul (Rom. 10. 1). Does the present
condition of Church work, and of Church life, not con-stitute
a like demand for intercessors? May the Lord
not wonder also-II.
Because of the Encouragement Given to
Intercessors. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened
that it cannot save ; neither His ear heavy that it cannot
hear” (v. 1). He who hath delivered us, will He not yet
deliver? (2 Cor. 1. 10). Hath He not set before every
intercessor an “open door ? ” Every intercessor hath
the encouragement of the Son of God who “ever liveth
to make intercession for us” (Heb. 7. 25), and also of the
Spirit of God who “likewise maketh intercession for us
with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8. 26).
Now, “Ye that make mention of the Lord keep not silence U
(Isa, 62. 6). He is the Rewarder of them that diligently
seek Him (Heb. 11. 6).
III. Because of the Possibilities within the Reach
of an Intercessor. If the Lord could then have found
an intercessor, what a victory might have been His.
Aaron became a passionate pleader when he ran, and “stood
between the dead and the living, and the plague was
stayed” (Num. 16. 48). Prayer was made without.Old Testament Outlines. 51
ceasing for Peter, and he was delivered out of the prison
(Acts 12. 5). You remember how the widow got her
victory over the injustice of a judge, “and shall not God
avenge His own which cry day and night unto Him. ..I
tell you that He will” (Luke 18. 1-8). We who are a
kingdom and priests unto God (Rev. 5. 10, R.v.), let us
offer this continual sacrifice unto Him, for the honour of
His Name, the salvation of the sinner, and the sancti-fication
of the saint.
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.
ISAIAH 61. 1-3.
IN these verses we have a brief outline of three dispen-sations.
Grace, judgment, righteousness. The year
of liberty, the day of vengeance, and the time of Judah’s
restoration. This is a great subject for a great preacher.
I. The Preacher. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon
Me, because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach.” In
writing these words the prophet must have been moved
by the Holy Spirit, for our Lord personally applies them
to Himself in Luke 4. 16. The Spirit came upon Him
(Luke 3. 22; Acts 10. 38), as the anointing of Jehovah
for the work of this ministry. How great must the work
be when it took such a person, and such an enduement, to
accomplish it.
II. The Message. “Goti tidings unto the meek”
(poor and lowly ones, R.V., margifi). How could there
be “Good tidings” if there had not been something wrong,
or awanting, somewhere? And why should the Holy
Son of God need the anointing of the Spirit, by the Father,
for the declaration of such tidings ? Surely the tidings
must be “good” and of eternal import to all who hear them
when Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are so deeply interested
in their proclamation, and when the power of the Triune
God is needed to give them effect. What is the news?.52 Handfuls on Purpose.
1. HEALING FOR THE BROKENHEARTED . “He hath
sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted.” They that be
whole need not a physician. How are hearts so easily
broken ? Why are so many disheartened ? There must
be many, and powerful, adverse influences at work. Yes,
the world, the flesh, and the Devil. The result is defeat
and failure. But He says, in Me is thine help. He hath
sent Me. All that I am, and have, and do, is for thy
heart’ s good. His Word and His work can heal the
broken in heart, and bind up their wounds (Psa. 147. 3).
2. LIBERTY FOR THE CAPTIVES. “He hath sent Me to
proclaim liberty to the captives.” He only has the right
and power to make such a proclamation. Who are the
captives ? Those who are enthralled by influences that
delude and destroy. Souls who are fettered by sin and
Satan. Christ can proclaim liberty because He hath
been anointed by Jehovah to burst the prison gates. By
His death and resurrection He hath broken every barrier
down, and conquered every foe.
3. VISION FOR THE BLIND. “Opening of the eyes to
them that are bound” (R.v., margin). There is not only
healing and freedom offered, but also a new vision of
spiritual things. Spiritual darkness is the bondage of
many. Christ hath been sent to give light. He is the
light of life, and of the world.
4. GRACE FOR ALL. “TO proclaim the acceptable year
of the Lord.” The jubilee of freedom, and restoration
to an afflicted world. Christ alone by the anointing of
the Spirit was able to make such an announcement as this.
Who else would dare to fix the time and conditions of
man’ s acceptance with God. This is now the day of
salvation by grace, the time when the Lord holds His
gracious reception (2 Cor. 6. 2).
When the Anointed One read these words at Nazareth.Old Testament Outlines. 53
(Luke 4. IS-ZO), He, contrary to all custom, “closed
the book” without finishing the sentence, because “the
day of vengeance of our God” had lzot yet come: but it
will certainly follow at the close of this jubilee year of
grace, when the Church shall be “caught up” (2 Thess.
1. 7-9).
LONGING FOR GOD OR REVIVAL.
ISAIAH 64. 1-3.
THE previous chapter closes with these ominous words,
“We are become as they over whom Thou never bearest
rule” (R.v.). When God’s people become like those over
whom He has never had control, it is an awful proof of
ingratitude and lawlessness, and a powerful argument
for revival.
I. The Need Felt. “Oh, that Thou wouldest rend
the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down.” This is,
of course, figurative language, expressive of a real spiritual
experience. There is need for a “rending” of the heavens
when the sin of backsliding has closed them, so that
communion with God has been cut off. Even heavenly
things may hide the Heavenly One. The veil of the
Temple had to be rent, ere liberty of access could be
enjoyed. “Oh, that THOU wouldest come down.” The
remedy for every need is in Him. A new manifestation
of His power and glory would put to shame the sins of
His people, and the false confidence of the ungodly. The
soul’s everlasting need is God, the world’s dying need is
God.
II. The Work to be Done. Mighty things are needing
to be done. There is need for-1.
A MELTING WO RK. “That the mountains may
flow down at Thy presence.” Mountains of difficulties,
created by man’s sin and vain imaginations. Mountains
of selfishness, that dishonour God and hinder Him from.54 Handfuls on Purpose.
working. Mountains of indifference, that block the
channel of blessing.
2. A B U R N I NG-UP W O RK. “As when fire kindleth
the brushwood” (R.v.). The brushwood of vain thoughts,
self-confidence, and fleshly energy, needs burning up,
to make room for a more healthy growth. Brushwood
is a poor substitute for the golden grain. “Our God is a
consuming fire. ”
3. A WARMING WORK. “Oh, that Thou wouldcst come
down.. .as fire that causeth the waters to boil.” When
the heart is made to boil like a pot, because of the power
of His holy presence, then the affections will be hot.
Lukewarmness cannot exist where this fire is. Then the
prayers will be hot. Out of a burning heart will come
burning desires, clothed in burning words. Then the
testimony will be hot. When the heart is made to burn
within us, while He talks to us, the tongue will become
a flame of holy fire to speak forth the glories of His Name.
“He maketh His ministers a flame of fire.”
III. The Result Sought. “To make Thy Name
known to Thine adversaries, that the nations may trcrnble
at Thy presence. ” We may long for the manifestation
of the power of God for our own personal deliverance, but
the mightier argument is, “That Thy Name may be
known. ” He seeks to be sanctified in His people, that
the heathen may know that He is God. His Name is
His glorious character. They that know His Name will
put their trust in Him. When God the Spirit comes in
power, it is to glorify the Name of the Eternal Son (John
16. 13, 14). Be filled with the Spirit, then for you the
heavens will be opened, thy mountains shall flow down,
thy brushwood burned up, and the waters of thy affections
and heart’s desire made to boil. So shall His Name be
known, and others made to tremble at His presence..Old Testament Outlines. 55
THE NEW CREATION.
ISAIAH 65. 17-25.
THE closing chapters of this book arc largely devoted to
the coming glories of God’s ancient people, and to the
world-wide blessing that will flow out through them
at the appearing of His Kingdom and glory. Note here
some of the features of this new era.
I. There will be a Renewal of Natural Environ-ments.
“Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth”
(v. 17). The glory of this new creation will be such that
“the former shall not be remembered, nor come into
mind. ” The “prince of the power of the air” will have
no place in these heavens. Nor shall the fruit of the
curse of sin ever appear in the new earth. Righteousness
shall dwell there (2 Peter 3. 13). Creation shall then
cease her groaning (Rom. 8. 22).
II. There will be a Regenerated People. “Behold,
I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy, and
I will.. .joy in My people, and the voice of weeping
shall be no more heard ” (vv. 18, 19). The people who
have been a byword among the nations shall then become
a joy and a praise on the earth. The well-known “weeping
place ” at Jerusalem will then be deserted for ever. In
this day shall this nation be born again into a new life of
fellowship with their crucified King. Then their sorrow
and sighing shall tlee away (Isa. 35. 10).
III. There will be Lengthened Lives. “There shall
be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man who
hath not filled his days, for a child shall die an hundred
years old. ” With the new creation will come all the
blessings of great longevity. Not only long life, but also
the assurance that the days will be filled up with fruitful
and joyful service. This is the gift of God to them, as
etemul life is the gift of God to us through Jesus Christ.36 Handfuls on Purpose.
our Lord. If one should die at an hundred years old, he would be reckoned as a child. The blessings of God’ s
grace means the enlargement of all that is deepest and
best in the human soul.
IV. There will be New Social Conditions. “They
shall build houses and inhabit them ; they shall plant
vineyards, and eat the fruit of them…My chosen ones
shall long enjoy the work of their hands” (vv. 21, 22).
They shall not build and another inhabit. They are
assured of life, and of success in their labour. Bank failures, industrial strikes, and blighted crops, will be
unknown and unthought of. Sickness and poverty will
then have fled away, their disciplinary influences will no
more be needed when the King Himself appears.
V. There will be a New Enjoyment of God. “It
shall come to pass, that before they call I will answer ; and
while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (v. 24). What a change this will be compared with the present condition
of the Jewish nation, and what a happy prospect for a
desolate world. God’ s ear is never heavy that it cannot
hear, but man’ s lust for self-glory hinders the operation
of His grace. When God can “joy in His people” (v. 19), He will speedily answer their call.
VI. There will be an End of all Strife. “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,” etc. Then surely
shall “man to man a brother be. ” The wolves and lambs of social and political life have been long at deadly
variance, then they shall “feed together” in the bountiful
mercies of their God and Saviour. The serpent alone
receives no advantage in the new Kingdom. “Dust
shall be the serpent’ s meat. ” It will not fatten much on
that fare. Then shall the angelic song be fulfilled,
“Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, goodwill
among men. ” For nothing shall hurt or destroy in all
My holy mountain. saith the Lord” (v. W)..Old Testament Outlines. 57
CALLED AND EQUIPPED.
JEREMIAH 1. I-10.
THE prophets of old knew nothing of human ordination,
and instead of rushing hurriedly into the Lord’s work,
they frequently shrank from it. Moses said, “I am not
eloquent.” Isaiah said, “I am a man of unclean lips.”
Jonah fled in fear. Jeremiah exclaimed, “Oh ! Lord God,
I cannot speak. ” But out of weakness He ordains strength.
I. The Call. “Before I formed thee.. .I knew thee.. .I
sanctified thee, and ordained thee” (v. 5). He was called
before he was created, and set apart before he was born.
The prophet could neither explain it nor deny it.
His call, like all others, was the result of Sovereign grace.
My sheep, He says, know My voice. Whom He did
foreknow He also did predestinate, etc. (Rom. 8. 29).
II. The Excuse. “Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot
speak: for I am a child” (v. 6). A clzild is not expected
to be an eloquent speaker, it is expected to be obedient,
and trustful. The “Kingdom of God” must be received
as a little child. Our sufficiency is not in ourselves, but
of God (2 Cor. 3. 5). It is not to the wise and prudent
that the great things of the Kingdom are revealed, but
“unto babes” (Luke 10. 21).
III. The Commission. “Say not, I am a child: for
thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever
I command thee thou shalt speak” (v. 7). The prophet
has but one Master, and one purpose in his life, to go
where he is sent, speaking the Word at His commandment.
One is your Master, even Christ. The Lord may ask,
“W/zo will go?” but He never asks His servant, “Where
will ye go ? ” It is expected of God’s caIIed ones that His
own message be faithfully spoken.
IV. The Encouragement. “Be not afraid of their
faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee” (v. Sj. In Vol. IX. 5.58 Handfuls on Purpose.
declaring God’s will there will be nlany “faces” that wiI1
frown with rage, but be not afraid of lhem when you
have the smiling face of God’s approval with you. TO
obey God is to oppose the course of this world. Darkness
cannot overtake you while the true light of His presence
is abiding in you (Heb. 13. 6),
V. The Equipment. “The Lord put forth His hand
and touclzed my month.. . Behold, I have put My words
in thy mouth” (v. 9). This Divine touch corresponds
with the touch of the tongue of fire in the upper room.
His “touch” and His “words” are beautifully and vitally
associated. With the Divine commanding there goes
the Divine enabling (Isa. 6. 6, 7). The touch is the
evidence of a personal contact. The hand of the Holy
Ghost makes the Word to burn like a fire.
VI. The Work. “See, I have set thee…to root out,
and to pull down.. . to build and to plant” (v. 10). A
distructive work is to be done before the constructive
work is begun. The garden must be cleaned of weeds
before the good seed is planted. That tottering wall
must be pulled down before a proper defence can be built
up. Sin must be put away, and the soul put right with
God, before a powerful character can be built up. It is
the “good and honest heart” that brings forth much fruit.
Sow not among thorns. The instrument to be used, in
this work of regeneration, is the Word of God, which is
quick and powerful to the casting down of imaginations,
and every high thing that exalteth itself a.gainst the
knowledge of God (2 Cur. 10. 4, 5).
WHY IS HE SPOILED?
~EREMIA1-I 2. l–24.
T~RAEL a servant? A home-born slave? Why is he
spoiled? (v. 14). (“Why is he become a prey?” R.V.)
Sin spoils all that it touches. How sad to think of lives.Old Testament Outlines. 59
full of gIorious possibibties being deliberately spoiled
for God by becoming the prey of an alien power. Even
a dead fly may spoil the ointment. See-I.
What He Was. His past condition is characterised
as one of great privilege and opportunity.
1. There was FELLOWSHIP. “I remember thee, the
kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals” (v. 2).
A delightful walking with God because there was agree-ment,
the holy bliss of a new and first love.
2. There was OBEDIENCE. “Thou wentest after me
in the wilderness.” Following Him with willing and
triumphant feet, even through a waste and howling desert.
3. There was SEPARATION . “Israel was holiness unto
the Lord” (v. 3). Separated from Egypt unto God, and
a witness for Him. What a high and holy position!
How are the mighty fallen ? Such were some of you, but,-where
are you now?
II. What He Did. Israel has gone astray. “My
people have committed two evils” (v. 13).
1. They have FORSAKEN ME, the fountain of living
waters. ” In forsaking God they turned their back on
the source of all good. To forsake any one is just to treat
that one as if you knew him not. He began to act as if
the Lord had no claim on him, and as if he had no more
need of Him.
2. “They have HEWED OUT cisterns, broken cisterns
that can hold no water.” In turning away from the
“fountain of living waters Israel discovers the need of
trying to invent for themselves some substitute, and their
best imitation of God’s fountain is a “broken cistern”
that can hold no w&v. The “living waters” represent
soul-satisfying grace and truth. To forsake these for the
man-made cisterns, of this world’s honour, wealth,
pleasure, and philosophy, is to let go the substance, and.60 Handfuls on Purpose.
vainly hunt the shadow. They can hold no spirit-refreshing
water (Isa. 55. 1, 2).
III. What He Became. “Spoiled” (v. 14). Why?
Because he forsook Him who is the Fountain, and sought
by his own works to find satisfaction without God. This
is the delusion of a sin-blinded soul. Anything is spoiled
when it becomes unfit for the purpose for which it was
intended. Israel is spoiled for God because he has “become
a prey” to others (R.V.). Other lords have got control
over him. Selfwill and love of the world have so possessed
him that he has become their spoil.
1. He is spoiled like a DEGENERATE PLANT (v. 21). “I
planted thee a right seed: how then art thou turned into
a degenerate plant ? ” The damage is not in appearance
only, but deep down in the heart, the character is changed.
There is virtually a reversion to type.
2. He is spoiled like a STAINED GARMENT. “Though
thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap,
thine iniquity is marked before Me” (v. 22). The nitre
(mineral), and soap (vegetable), of man’ s invention, like
the “broken cisterns, ” can do nothing to atone for the
evil of departing from God.
3. He is spoiled like a WILD ASS (v. 24). An ass is a
very useful animal, but a wild ass represents only wasted
energy, uncontrolled and fruitless efforts. Such is the
backsliding in heart in the sight of God. Though thou
hast been a prey to the enemies of God, thou mayest yet
be a praise by returning to God.
BACKSLIDING.
OR, MODERN DANGERS. JEREMIAH 8. 5-9.
BACKSLIDING is not a crisis, it is a process: a gradual
sliding down the hill of “Holiness unto the Lord,” into
the low valley of the old self-life. Declension usually.Old Testament Outlines. 61
begins in unwatchfulness, and neglect of secret fellowship
and trustfulness in God. “Why, then, is this people
slidden back?” (v. 5). The reference here is to Judah
and Jerusalem: but there are some salutary lessons for US
in this present age. The causes of their backsliding and
the evils incurred find their antitype in modern times.
There was-I.
Perverted Belief. “They hold fast deceit” (v. 5).
A perverted heart soons leads to a perverted faith. When
the fountain of truth is forsaken, it is easy to believe any
lie that may seem to favour such a condition (2 Thess.
2. 11, 12). He feedeth on ashes because a deceitful heart
hath turned him aside (Isa. 44. 20).
II. Misleading Testimony. “They spake not aright”
(v. 6). How could they .s$eak aright, when they were
not able to Q&k aright ? The Lord “hearkened and heard, “
but in this case no “book of remembrance was written,”
because they feared not the Lord, neither thought upon
His Name (Mal. 3. 16). Their words were dishonouring
to Him, and hurtful to others.
III. Self-complacency. “No man repented of his
wickedness, saying, What have I done? ” (v. 6). Their
condition was one of “wickedness” in the sight of God,
but so deluded were they that they had no thought that
repentance was needed. When a backslider, who has
lapsed in conduct, is conscious of his guilt, there is some
hope of immediate confession ; but those who lapse through
a ‘ perverted mind, and have settled down in self-satisfaction,
having come under the spell of some
moral delusion, their case is indeed hard and pitiful (see
2 Cor. 4. 4).
IV. Fleshly Enthusiasm. “Every one turned to
his course, as a horse rusheth headlong in battle” (v. 6,
R.V.). There is no lack of self-confidence; they pride.82 Handfuls on Purpose.
themselves in what they can do. They arc more energetic
in going their own way, than the servants of God often
are in His way.
V. Ignorance of the Signs of the Times. “The
stork.. .the swallow and the crane knoweth their appointed
times, but My people knoweth not the ordinance of the
Lord” (v. 7, R.v.). These birds, true to their natural
instinct, observe their times, and yield to the call; but
Israel, with their “fatal gift of freedom,” refuses to obey.
This is solemnly and sadly true of many of God’s people
in these present times, which are ominous with indications
of coming events. But there are those who, true to the
Spirit’s teaching, discern the signs of the times, and who
look for the new Heaven and the new earth promised.
When God’s people “know not the appointed times,”
they are in great danger of being deluded and deceived
by the god of this world.
VI. Vain Confidence. They say, “We are wise, and
the law of the Lord is with us. But behold the false pen
of the scribes hath made it (the law) falsehood” (v. 8, R.V.).
When false teachers pervert the Word of God and turn it
into a lie, then blinded souls believe the lie, and say,
“We are wise.” They swallow the poison, and boast
that the law of the Lord is with them. “Lo, they have
rejected the word of the Lord; and what manner of wisdom
is in them?” (v. 9, ~.v.). The wisdom that is in them
when God’s Word is rejected, is that which is “foolishness
with God” (1 Cor. 3. 19).
A SOLEMN DIALOGUE.
JEREMIAH 8. 19-22.
TIIE prophet’s manner in dealing with these future events
is somewhat dramatic. There are differences of opinions
as to how they may be interpreted. We shall note-.Old Testament Outliner. 63
I. The Divine Question. “Why have they provoked
\ Me to anger with their images and vanities ?” (v. 19).
1, “Is not the Lord in Zion?” Then why seek help in the
work of your own hands, and the “strange vanities” of
your own imaginations? A picture of guilt and depravity
of man’s natural enmity to God, and spiritual stupidity.
A man nowhere plays the fool so perfectly as in his
professed religious life.
II. The Mournful Reply. “The harvest is past, the
summer is ended, and we are not saved” (v. 20). In
answer to God’s question this is a confession of dis-appointment,
and a cry of despair. Their cisterns of hope
have turned out broken ones that can hold no water.
They are like those who were depending on a plentiful
harvest to save their lives, but nothing but famine stares
them in the face. Like the foolish virgins, they have
found the “door shut. ” The evil heart of unbelief leads
to a dungeon of darkness.
III. The Message of Sympathy. “For the hurt of the
daughter of My people am I hurt” (v. 21). This may be
taken as the voice of the Lord through the prophet. It
is true of both. God feels the terrible hurt that has come
upon His people. He was wounded for our transgressions.
The tears of Jesus Christ, shed over the great hurt of
Jerusalem, were proof enough of how deeply He felt the
hurt in His own soul. If His people are “dear to Him
as the apple of His eye,” it shows how tender the heart
of God is toward them. In all their afflictions He was
afflicted.
IV. The Frank Confession. “I am black; astonish-ment
hath taken hold on Me” (v. 21). Yes, that is the
word, “black. ” Black with shame and guilt because of
unbelief and pride. “Astonishment!” Yes, that is the
other word. Astonished at your own sinfulness and folly.64 Handfuls on Purpose.
in provoking the Lord, and astonished at His great pity
and compassion for you even in your well merited misery.
What is more astonishing than the grace of God as seen
in the face of Jesus Christ? If we confess our sins He is
faithful and just to forgive us.
V. The Gospel of Hope. “Is there no balm in Gilead :
is there no physician there ? ” (v. 22). Is there no pro-vision
in Gilead, is there no one there mighty enough to
heal your wounds, and restore your souls to true spiritual
health and hope ? It is said that the balm of Gilead was
used for healing the bites of serpents. The bite of the
old serpent, the Devil, can only be healed by the balm
of Christ’ s Cross, and the Physician that is found there.
You say, “I am black. ” Yes, but is there no healing
balm in Calvary ?
VI. The Searching Rebuke. “Why then is not the
health of My people recovered? ” (v. 22). The balm and
the Physician are there. Why then are ye not healed ?
Free and effectual provision has been made in Christ for
your salvation. Why then are ye not saved ? Is there
no wisdom to direct, and power to overcome, in the Holy
Ghost? Why then is not the health of His people, in
these days, recovered ? Has Calvary lost its power? Has the Great Physician vacated His place of mercy?
Why then not prove the all-sufficiency of His grace by
living a healthy, God-honouring life. –
SOMETHING WORTH GLORYING IN.
JEREMIAH 9. 23, 24.
THREE times in this chapter is the Divine “ME” emphasised
in the Hebrew (w. 3, 6, and 24). God, Himself, is the
source and centre of all good, and ought to be the undivided
Object of all man’ s glorying.
I. What Some Glory In. There are three phases of.Old Testament Outlines. 65
worldly glory. Wisdom, might, and wealth. Each
has its votaries.
1. The WISE are tempted to glory in their wisdom.
Worldly wisdom is the principle thing sought for by the
worldly man, and he may glory in it just as another man
may glory in his shame, as something that belongs to
himself, as the fruit of his work (Isa. 5. 21).
2. The MIGHTY are tempted to glory in their might.
It is all the same, whether that might is physical,
intellectual, or social. Whatever distinguishes one man
from his fellows is apt to become a cause for selfish
glorying.
3. The RICH are tempted to glory in their riches. To
them there is a sort of divinity in their wealth, and they
glory in their golden god.
Thus saith the Lord, “Let not the wise glory in his
wisdom, ” etc. All this glorying is in vain, for the wisdom
of the wise will He bring to nothing.. .for God hath chosen
the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. ..that
no flesh should glory in His presence (1 Cor. 1. 27-29).
The things that are foolish to the world are the “things
that are freely given us of God” through Christ Jesus.
II. What We Should Glory In. “Let Him thal
glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth
ME.” A modem philosopher spoke of Him as the “Great
Unknowable. ” But it is possible, in a limited sense,
of course, to understand and know Him. And this
knowledge is the only thing worth glorying in. “He
that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1. 31).
All other glorying will finally be put to shame. It is
life eternal to know Him and Jesus Christ whom He hath
sent (John 17. 3). How is God known ? Through the
revelation of His Word, and more fully by His Son (John.66 Handfuls on Purpose.
1. 14-18). There are three reasons given us here why we
should glory in Him-1.
Because of His LOVINGKINDNESS . “I am the Lord
which exercise lovingkindness” (v. 24). Because of the
excellency of His lovingkindness the children of men put
their trust in Him (Psa. 36. 7). This great lovingkindness
is seen at its flood-tide in the gift of His Son (John 3. 16;
see 2 Cor. 4. 6). He that loveth not knoweth not God,
for God is Love.
2. Because of His JUDGMENT. “Righteousness and
judgment are the foundation of His throne” (Psa. 97. 2,
R.V.). The judgments of God in the past have all been
against wickedness and for righteousness. Witness the
flood, Sodom, God’s dealings with the nations, especially
His ancient people Israel. We glory in God’s judgment
of sin, and also of the sinner, at the Cross of His crucified
Son.
3. Because of His RIGHTEOUSNESS. Righteousness,
crowned with lovingkindness, is the character of our God.
Our Lord, His Son, gloried in this when He prayed,
“0 righteous Father” (John 17. 25). Our Advocate now
is “Jesus Christ the Righteous. ” “He is the Lord, the
Righteous Judge, who will give the crown of righteousness
to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4. 8, R.V.).
Let us then show our glorying by seeking first the
Kingdom of God, and His righteousness. “For in these
things I delight, saith the Lord” (v. 24). “Let him that
glorieth glory in this. ” –CONCERNING
THE DEARTH.
JEREMIAIK 14. I-9.
TIMES of dearth are testing times. Surely God hath a
perfect right to withhold His gifts when, and, as He may.
A dearth of water, or a dearth of spiritual power and.Old Testament Outlines. 07
fruitfulness, may be intended to have a salutary influence
on the sufferers. “My ways are not your ways, ” saith the
Lord. Notice the-I.
Evidence of the Dearth.
1, There was SORROWFUL P ERPLEXITY . “Judah
mourneth, and the gates thereof languish” (v. 2). The
nation is distressed in soul, so that the gates-the market
place-are deserted.
2. There were EMPTY VESSELS. “Their little ones
(servants) returned with their vessels empty.” All this
is solemnly suggestive of the time of a spiritual drought
when God’s refreshing and reviving Spirit is withheld,
and when there is a languishing of the work of God in the
gates (Churches), and when the servants present only
“empty vessels” to a thirsty household. No wonder that-3.
“SHAME AND C ONFUSION covered their heads”
(v. 3, l.c.). When the well of God’s Word becomes dry
and personal experience chap& then empty vessels and
dissatisfied souls will be plentiful. The dearth of
conversions means the dearth of power.
II. Cause of the Dearth. “0 Lord, our iniquities
testify against us.. . our backslidings are many; we have
sinned against Thee” (v. 7). If the Heaven that is over
us be brass, and the earth under us iron, it is because of
our iniquities and backslidings. The iniquity that
separates from God separates from the Fountain of Living
Waters. The dew of His refreshing Spirit does not fall
upon the barren desert. Shame and empty vessels are
the consequences of backsliding hearts.
III. Remedy. But can there be a remedy for a
drought ? Yes, when man’s moral condition has become
the cause of Heaven’s rebellion. The remedy lies in our
attitude toward the Lord Himself as a mighty Saviour.
“0 the Hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of.68 Handfuls on Purpose.
trouble.. .Why shouldest Thou be.. .as a mighty man that
cannot save ? ” (vv. 9, 10). This is a confession and an
appeal. “Do Thou for Thy Name’s sake ” (v. 7). We
need to waken up to the fact of our God’s almightiness to
deliver, and to the infinite depth of His compassion for
His people. “Why shouldest Thou be…as a wayfaring
man that turneth aside to tarry for a night ? ” (v. 8). Why
should His behaviour toward us, as our personal Redeemer
and Friend, be more like a wayfaring man than our
abiding Companion and Helper? The reason is we have
become, through our worldliness and unbelief, unfit for
His fellowship. Still His desires are after His own to
bless them with “abundance of life” (Luke 24. 29). There
is no use of us saying, “Yet Thou, 0 Lord, art in the midst
of us, and we are called by Thy Name” (v. 9), if we
refrain not our feet from the paths of error and unbelief
(v. 10). The remedy for spiritual drought is confession,
restoration, and resignation (v. 22; John 15).
A CONFESSION AND A PLEA.
JEREMIAH 14. 17-22.
I. The Need. The condition described in verses
17-19 is that of desolation and hopelessness-“A great
breach” (v. 17). “A famine” (v. 18). A sense of
rejection and despair. “WC looked for peace, but no
good came ; for healing, and behold dismay” (v. 18, R.V.).
What a picture of the soul’s condition without God.
II. The Confession. “We acknowledge, 0 Lord,
our wickedness, ” etc. (v. 20). There is no other honest
way of dealing with our sin. As God loves a cheerful
giver, He also desires an honest confessor (see Psa.
32. 5; 1 John 1. 7).
III. The Plea. It is based on the honour of His Name.
“Do not abhor us for Thy Name’s sake” (v. 21). It also.Old Testament Outlines. 69
appeals to the digrcity of His throne. “Do not disgrace
the throne of Thy glory.” The throne of His glory was
the “Mercy Seat” in the Temple. It was the “Throne of Grace. ” This throne will never be disgraced by sending the humble, needy ones empty away. It had also reference
to the truthfdness of His Word. “Remember, break
not Thy covenant with us.” He is faithful that hath
promised. The exceeding riches of His grace has ever an
open channel toward us through Christ Jesus (Eph. 2. 7).
IV. The Resolve. “Art not Thou He, 0 Lord” (who
can cause rain and give showers) “therefore we will wait
upon Thee” (v. 22). The God that answered Elijah,
by both fire and rain, is well worth waiting on. For all
the moral diseases and troubles that are sure to follow a
spiritual dearth there is no remedy but in the outpouring
of the Holy Spirit of God. His promise is, “I will pour
water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry
ground. ” Wait upon the Lord.
The language here used is truly that which befits penitent
lips, but it may be used, as Judah did, in an impenitent
spirit (chap. 15. 1).
THE EXPERIENCES OF A WITNESS.
JEREMIAH 15. 16-20.
AS witnesses for God we may learn much from the ex-periences
of the “Holy men of old.” Their dangers and temptations, as well as their privileges and responsibilities,
were very much akin to our own. Note his-I.
Joy in God’s Word. “Thy words were found, and
I did eat them: and Thy Word was unto me the joy and
rejoicing of mine heart” (v. 16). This may refer to God‘ s
first message spoken to him, as recorded in chapter 1. 7.
This joy in God’ s Word implies two things-1.
That we are perfectly sure that it is the Word of
God, and-.70 Handfuls on Purpose.
2. That we have really received it into the heart–eaten
it-so that it has become the hope and inspiration of our
lives. The Word of God is sweet to the taste of the
believer, but it must needs often produce bitter effects
in the heart when it begins its cleansing operations
(Rev. 10. 9).
II. Identification with God‘ s Name. “For I am
called by Thy Name, 0 Lord God of Hosts.” When
God’s Word gets into the heart God’s Name or character
must be stamped on the life. Likeness to God is the
mightiest testimony for God. To receive Christ Jesus as
“The Word of God” is to be conformed to the image of
God.
III. Separation from God’s Enemies. “I sat not
in the assembly of the mockers,” or them that made
merry (R.V.) in their sins and over sacred things. “1
sat alone because of Thy hand. ” Those whose delight
is in the Word of the Lord will not be found walking in
the counsel of the ungodly, or standing in the way of
sinners (Psa. 1. 1, 2). How can we witness against “All
ungodliness” if we are in any way identified with it?
(see 2 Cor. 6. 17, 18).
IV. Perplexity at God’ s Dealings. “Why is my
pain perpetual, and my wound incurable.. . Wilt Thou be
altogether unto me as a deceitful brook?” (v. 18, R.V.).
The deceitful brook is the one that fails and dries up at
the very time when its refreshing waters are most needed.
Will God so prove a failure to His servant in the time of
need? A feeling of disappointment has crept over his
spirit because God’s purpose does not seem to run parallel
with his expectations. The prophet had yet something
more to Iearn. In the time of perplexity and seeming
defeat, wait.
V. Assurance from God. God speaks. The fountain.Old Testament Outlines. 71
of living waters again break forth. The brook of
Divine faithfulness has not proved deceitful (vv. 19-21).
Look at-1.
THE PROMISES. “Thou shalt be as My mouth.. .I
will make thee a fenced brazen wall (stability)…They
shall not prevail against thee…1 am with thee…1 will
deliver thee…1 will redeem thee out of the hand of the
terrible. ” They that wait on the Lord shall renew their
strength by receiving fresh assurances from His Word,
of His grace and goodness, His presence and power.
2. TEIE CO N D I T I O NS. “If thou return.” Get back
to thy first love, into real, unclouded fellowship with
God, and unquestioning obedience. “If thou.. .stand
before Me. ” Abide with Him, and act as before His
face. “If thou take forth the precious from the vile. ”
Call things by their true name, and give to Caesar the
things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that aye
God’s. Then the God of Peace shall bruise Satan under
your feet, and make you more than conquerors through
“Him with whom we have to do. ”
THE CURSED AND THE BLESSED.
JEREMIAH 17. 5-8.
Two classes are contrasted here, in most simple, but
emphatic terms, being prefaced by a “Thus snith the
Lord. ” There are certain spiritual and unalterable
laws that must come into operation according to our
moral attitude to God and to His Word. His blight
must come upon the godless as surely as His blessing
comes on the godly. The curse means blessing withheld.
I. Who are the Cursed? “Cursed be the man that
trustedh in man, and maketh flesh his arm, whose heart.72 Handfuls on Purpose.
departeth from the Lord.” To trust in man, and make
flesh the arm of our confidence, is heart departure from the
Lord. Neither Judah’ s salvation, nor ours, can come
through the wisdom of man, or the power of any of earth’ s
princes (Psa. 118. 8, 9). Salvation is of the Lord. It is
the evil heart of unbelief that departs from the living
God (Heb. 3. 12). There is a faith in humanity which is
but a denial of God.
II. What is the Curse? “He shall be like the heath
in the desert” (v. 6). The heath in the desert is deserted
by the refreshing showers of Heaven. “He shall not SET
when good cometh. ” He shall be like a blind man
incapable of seeing, or profiting by those mercies that are
within his reach. “He shall inhabit the parched places
in the wilderness. ” He shall live in a state and condition
that is barren of the promises of God. The godless often
seem to prosper greatly with regard to earthly possessions,
but as in God’ s sight they arc destitute and miscrablc
(Rev. 3. 17). Their soul doth truly “inhabit parched
places” (see Job. 8. 11-13).
III. Who are the Blessed ? “Blessed is the man that
trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is” (v. 7).
To cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils, and
to give the Lord the undivided confidence of the heart,
is the secret of full and eternal blessedness. Blessed are
all they that put their trust in Him (Psa. 2. 12). Note these two words, “trust” and “hope. ” The trust is but a
counterfeit if hope does not spring out of it. When
we truly trust the Lord we will certainly expect much
from Him. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose
mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee”
(Isa. 26. 3, 4).
IV. What is the Blessedness ? The blessedness is
very great. This blessed man has-.Old Testament Outlines. 73
1. A GOOD POSITION. “He is like a tree planted by
the waters ” (v. 8). Planted for a purpose, not like the
heath in the desert growing wild–without grace. The
believer is planted in Christ, a position of security, and
infinite favour.
2. A PLENTIFUL S U P P LY. “That spreadeth out her
roots by the river. ‘ * All the resources of the continuous
flow of the river of God’s grace are at the disposal of this
blessed man whose hope the Lord is. “Spread out all
the roots” of your affections and desires into the river
of His Word and will, for “My God is able to supply all
your need according to the riches of His grace.”
3. A HAPPY IGNORANCE. “He shall not see when heat
comcth.” The drought has no effect upon the tree that’s
planted by the waters of an unfailing river. What are
“wild alarms” to others do not disturb his soul.
4. AN EVER FRESH EXPERIENCE. “His leaf shall be
green. ” Abiding freshness belongs to all who abide in
Christ, and in the current of His gracious purposes. The
leaf of his testimony will be ever green.
5. A BLESSED FREEDOM. “He shall not be careful
in the year of drought.” Freedom from care when
appearances are all against him. Living on the promises
of God saves from all fearfulness in the day of trial.
6. CONTINUAL FRUITFULNESS. “Neither shall cease
from yielding fruit. ” The never-failing river of life
produces in those who receive of its fullness a never-failing
fruitfulness unto God (Rev. 22. 2; John 15. 5, 6; 16).
This blessedness cometh by faith.
THE MARRED VESSEL.
JEREMIAH 18. 1-6.
THE prophet of the Lord is sent to the house of a potter
that he might get an object lesson on the work and will
vol. IX 6.74 Handfuls on Purposa.
of God. God can put a new meaning into the common
affairs of life. Even the ants, and the lilies, can teach
the sluggard and the overly anxious. The prophet is
humble enough to obey the call, and willing enough to
learn the mind of the Lord, even through the actions of
an illiterate potter.
I. The Clay. This represents the “house of Israel”
(v. 6). Dug out of Egypt, and brought into Canaan, the
great Potter’s house where He desired to work in His
people. Like Israel, we have been taken out of the clay
pit of darkness and slavery, and brought into the Kingdom
of His dear Son, that He might fashion us after His own
image. The clay is the raw material.
II. The Wheels. “Behold, he wrought a work on the
wheels. ” The wheels of God’s promises, purposes, and
providences, were all working together for their good
(Rom. 8. 28). Being in the Kingdom of God we are in the
special sphere of His favour and grace. All our circum-stances
are but the wheels in which our spiritual character
is being formed. The lives of all the Bible saints are
witnesses to this. We should not shirk our tribulations
knowing that “tribulations worketh patience, and patience
experience. ”
III. The Potter. “Behold, as the clay is in the
potter’s hand, so are ye in Mine hand, 0 house of Israel.”
The Lord Himself is the Potter. Oh, what possibilities
there are for us, as for Israel, being in “His hand. ” Think
of your position, and of His purpose with you in placing
His mighty hand upon you. See what Nehemiah was
able to accomplish because of the hand of God upon him
(Neh. 2. 8). The Potter’s purpose is to make the best
possible use of the material that is in His hand. “The
Giver of all grace, who has called you to share His eternal
glory, through Christ,. . will Himself make you perfect”.Old Testament Outlines. 75
(1 Peter 5. 10, WeymouUz). The wonder-working hand of
God is the Holy Spirit who worketh in us both to will and
to do of His good pleasure.
IV. The Vessel. “The vessel that he made was marred
in the hand of the potter, so he made it again another
vessel. ” Even in the hand of the Divine Potter the
vessel (Israel) was marred. Through disobedience
they became another dishonoured vessel. Because of
unbelief they have been cut off, and are still, as a
nation, a marred vessel. Take heed lest there be in any
of you an evil heart of unbelief. If the Holy Spirit, as
the hand of God, is to fashion us into a vessel meet for
the Master’s use, there must be no unyielding part in our
nature. The hard grit of a perverse will, or the sand
of self seeking, will hinder and mar the work of the
Heavenly Potter, whose gentle hands are so sensible
to the least resistance. Every backslider is a marred
vessel. Many like Saul, are marred because they have
disobeyed the Word of the Lord. What might we not
have been if the Divine Potter had had His will all the
time with us ?
V. The Application. “Cannot I do with you as this
potter ? saith the Lord.” Thank God, although the
vessel has been marred, “He can make it agairt another
vessel. ” The regenerating Spirit is able to restore the
marred vessel into something like the image of Him who
work&h in you mightily. The vessel may have been
dishonoured by resistance, but it has not been disowned.
Can God do with YOU as this potter ? Can He ? Are you
as clay, soft, pliable, and refined, in His hand ? If so,
the Potter’s purpose may yet be fulfilled in you. He
still needs vessels to bear His Name (character) among
the nations of the earth (Acts 9. 15). Every vessel made
meet for His use will be a vessel used in His service,.76 Handfuls on Purpose.
TONGUE SMITERS.
JEREMIAH 18. M-20.
THE man of God will never be understood by the man of
the worId. We see the-I.
Purpose of the Persecutors. “Come, let us
devise devices against Jeremiah.” The devices devised
by the ungodly against the servants of God are many.
They have nothing against him, but must, in their enmity,
devise something. Yet. they confess that “the law shall
not perish.. .nor the word from the prophet. ” They are
convinced that the “law” cannot be broken, and that the
testimony of God’s man will not fail. Yet they say,
“Come, let us smite him with the tongue, and let us
not give heed to any of his words. ” They know he speaks
the truth in God’s Name, yet they smite him with the
tongue of scorn and of calumny, and determine not to
give heed to his message. This is surely a most humbling L
evidence of the enmity of the carnal mind against God.
II. Appeal of the Prophet. He appeals-1.
Tothe LORDHIMSELF. “Give heed to me, 0 Lord,”
etc. The tongue of the slanderer is as a poisoned arrow,
but there is refuge in God from the strife of tongues.
When others give no heed to our message it is good to
realise that God gives heed to our cry.
2. To DIVINE RIGHTEOUSNESS. “Shall evil be recom-pensed
for good ? ” No, God is not unrighteous to reward
faithfulness with shame and defeat. The devices of the
wicked shall never block the channel of Divine mercy
and power to His own people. If we ask a fish will He
give us a stone ? He appeals also-3.
To HIS O WN FAITHFULNESS. “Remember that I
stood before Thee to speak good for them, and to turn
away Thy wrath from them.” While they were devising
devices against him, he was pleading with God for them..Old Testament Outlines. 77
While they were speaking evil of him, he was speaking
“good for them. ” Like the Greatest of all prophets, he
prayed for his enemies, and like Him also, he was hated
without a cause (John 15. 25). The servant of God is
clear of the blood of the lawless and the unbelieving
when he can say, as he looks up into the face of the Eternal
Father, “Remember that I stood before Thee.. .for them, ”
as Abraham did (Gen. 18.22). Pray for them that despite-fully
use you, remember that ye are the salt of the earth.
The terrible imprecations which follow in verses 21-23,
show the awful judgments from which he sought to save
them. Now, as it were, he steps aside from his pleadings,
and allows the merited wrath of God to fall upon them.
This the child of grace dare not do.
PASHUR.
JEREMIAH 20. 1-6.
THIS short biography is full of warning to those honoured
with authority, but who, in their pride of social position,
despise and reject the testimony of the Word of God at
the mouth of His servant.
I. His Position. “The son of a priest, and chief
governor in the house of the Lord. ” From his connection,
and official position, you would expect that he would be
in real sympathy with the Lord’s prophet. But, No I
While he superintended the house of the Lord he was at
enmity with the purpose of the Lord. A religious position
does not always mean a religious condition.
II. His Enmity to God’ s Word. “He heard Jeremiah
. . .and smote him, and put him in the stocks” (vv. 1, 2).
God’s message was opposed to his thoughts and desires
(19. 14, 15), so he insulted and irnprisoncd the messenger,
As a straw may show which way the wind blows, so a word.78 Handfuls on Purpose.
or a look may reveal the enmity of the heart against the
truth of God.
III. His Sudden Exposure. “The Lord hath not
called thy name Pashur (“most noble,” or, “joy round
about”) but Magor-missabib”–fear round about (v. 3).
Men may call themselves what they may, but God will
name them according to what they are. Men may call
themselves believers when God calls them unbelievers.
A man is what God sees him to be. He is not mocked.
IV. His Deceitful Life. “Thou hast prophesied
lies” (v. 6). His lies were manufactured to discredit
the Word of God at the mouth of Jeremiah the prophet.
Like Elymas the sorcerer, he sought to $ervert the right
way of the Lord. But the perverted and the perverters
shall all be put to shame.
V. His Doom. “Behold, I will make thee a terror
to thyself” (v. 4). What could be more terrible than this,
a man a terror to himself? A sinner carrying his own
brimstone in his own bosom as the product of his own deeds.
Who shall deliver him from this body of death ?

A CHEQUERED EXPERIENCE.
JEREMIAH 20. 7-11.
TIIE prophet here gives us a little bit of personal testimony.
Within the compass of these few verses there is such a
variety of experiences as makes one feel that he was a man
of like passions with ourselves.
I. He was Enticed of the Lord. “0 Lord, Thou
hast enticed me, and I was enticed” (v. 7, mar,@).
Another reading is, “Thou hast overcome” me, or, “Laid
hold on me, and I was overcome. ” He was overcome by
the enticing influence of the Word of God, it was “Stronger
than I, and prevailed” (v. 7). This is the initial.Old Testament Outlines. 79
experience of a true prophet, a preacher, or a Christian.
He himself must be “laid hold on,” and “overcome” by
the power of God’ s truth if he is to speak it in power.
II. He was Mocked by Men. “I am in derision
daily, every one mocketh me.” The man who has been
“overcome” by God is derided by men. The godly man
is still “Made a spectacle unto the world” (1 Cor. 4. 9).
Marvel not if the world hate you.
III. He was Indignant at the Treatment. “Since
I spake, I cried out” (v. 8). He complained against the
violence done to the truth. Reproach for the Word of
the Lord was hard to bear. Moses behaved differently
(Heb. 11. 26).
IV. He was Discouraged at Results. “Then I
said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any
more in His Name” (v. 9). Faithful testimony had
brought but reproach. Why should he persevere ? Oh,
this is so very human. We would be more faithful to
God if we were getting more personal profit and pleasure
by it. Shame !
V. He was Inspired by the Word. “But His Word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones…
and I could not stay” (v. 9). This is how God “over-comes”
by His Word in the lives of His people. We
cannot but speak when the truth becomes like liquid fire
in the heart (Acts 4. 20). Is it possible to have heard and believed the Gospel of God without feeling the woe of
not preaching it ? (1 Cor. 9. 16).
VI. He was Misunderstood by His Friends. “All my familiars (every man of my peace) watched for my
halting. ” Even his choice acquaintances were ready to
catch any seeming slip of the tongue, and to report it to his
enemies. The unfavourable, gossiping of pretended
friends is one of the sore trials of the servant of Christ..80 Handfuls on Purpose.
Personal friends who understand not your spiritual
character and mission.
VII. He was Encouraged by the Lord. “But the
Lord is with me as a mighty, terrible One” (v. 11). The
prophet’s Saviour is more mighty and terrible than his
oppressors. If God be for us who shall prevail against
us? (Rom. 8. 31). When His Word burns like a fire in
the bones the mighty and terrible One is at hand. Be
not dismayed, for I am thy God.
THE FALSE AND THE TRUE.
JEREMIAH 23. 24-32.
THERE are two classes of prophets, or preachers, referred
to here, whose successors are still with us: those who
dream dreams, and proclaim them as the Word of the
Lord, and those who have received God’ s message into
their own hearts, that they might preach it.
I. The Dreamers. They say, “I have dreamed, I
have dreamed” (v. 25). They have dreamed, so all the
world should listen to them. Dreams may at times be
very interesting, but they are destitute of authority. The
dreamer is to tell his dream as a dream, but he is a “prophet
of the deceit of his own heart,” if he dares to substitute
the imaginings of his own sleepy brains as the “Word of the
Lord. ” These dreamers, like their modern followers,
“prophesy lies, ” and “think to cause My people to forget
My Name by their dreams” (v. 27). Such teachers as
devise their own message, and declare it in God’s Name,
were never sent by Him. “Behold, I am against them
that prophesy false dreams.. .I sent them not, nor
commanded them, therefore, they shall not profit this
people at all, saith the Lord” (v. 32). God’s people
would profit much more to-day if His servants would
dream less, and trust more to His revealed will, and.Old Testament Outtines. 81
fearlessly proclaim it. These filthy dreamers are always
exposed to “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, ”
and those who will not endure sound doctrine, as in these
latter days, will readily heap to themselves such man-pleasing
teachers (2 Tim. 4. 3).
II. The Receivers. “He that hath My Word” (v. 28).
He hath the Word, because he received it from the Lord.
There is a vast difference between knowing the truth, and
theorising, or dreaming about it. The apostles could
say, “We speak that we do know. ” “What is the chaff to
the wheat I saith the Lord” (v. 28). Just what a dream
is to the revelation of God. The imaginations of the
unrenewed mind are but as chaff in the reckoning of the
Omniscient One. God’s Word is not a fancy, nor a
phantom, it is “A fire, and a hammer” (v. 29). Some-thing
that can make itself felt when in operation. God’s
Word is wheat to feed, fire to burn, and a hammer to
break. “He that hath My Word,” He says, “let him
speak My Word faithfully.” Worldly wisdom, as
exhibited in the dreamer’s dreams, is but the savour of
death unto death. The wisdom of God, as revealed in
His Word, is the savour of life unto life.
FAITHFULNESS AND FOOLISHNESS.
JEREMIAH 26. 1-16.
DRYDEN has said, “To take up half on trust, and half on
try, name it not faith, but bungling bigotry.” There
was no “bungling bigotry” in the mind of Jeremiah, his
attitude to God and to the people was one of fearless
integrity.
I. The Commission. “Stand in the court of the
Lord’s house, and speak.. .a11 the words that I command
thee to speak unto them ; diminish not a word” (v. 2).
In the Lord’s house there must be no diminishing of the.82 Handfuls on Purpose.
Lord’s Word. Those who attempt to modify the force
of God’s Word lest the princes of the people should be
offended, are in danger of the curse pronounced in
Revelation 22. 19. What the “worshippers” in our
cities need, as well as those in the “cities of Judah,” is
a faithful declaration of the whole truth as it is in Jesus
Christ, that they may “turn every man from his evil way”
(v. 3).
II. The Message. “Say unto them, Thus saith the
Lord; If ye will not hearken to Me, to walk in My law.. .
then I will make this house.. .and this city a curse”
(vv. 4-6). When the blight of God comes upon His
lzouse because of unbelief and disobedience, then the
curse comes upon the city, and to “all the natiom of the
earth. ” A backsliding Church is a social and national
curse. How can the house of the Lord maintain its
dignity and power as a witness for Him if the light of
Divine truth has grown dim?
III. The Opposition (vv. 8-11). “The priests, the
prophets, and all the people, said.. .Thou shalt surely die
. ..Why hast thou prophesied in the Name of the Lord,
saying, This house.. . and this city shall be desolate,”
etc. ? The same charge was made against the Lord Jesus
Christ (Matt. 21. 23). God’s Word, by the mouth of the
prophet, cut at the root of their pride, the “house,” and
the “city, ” both dishonoured, and degraded, by their
sins. What is the Lord’s house, or the Lord’s city to
Him, when His people have backslidden in heart from
Him? To kill God’s prophet would not kill God’s
purpose. Every preacher of righteousness will surely
become a “pcstilc~nt fellow” to hypocritical professors.
IV. The Call to Repentance. “Then spake Jeremiah
. ..The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house…
Therefore now amend your ways…and obey the voice.Old Testament Outlines. a3
of the Lord” (vv. 12, 13). The messenger can take back
nothing, the responsibility of saving the “house and the
city” lies in their repentance and obedience (Hos. 14. 2-4).
If churches and cities are to be delivered from desolation
and oppression, then let the ‘Voice of the Lord be obeyed. ”
V. The Personal Testimony. “As for me, behold,
I am in your hand.. .but know.. .for a truth the Lord hath
sent me unto you to speak all these words” (vv. 14, 15).
The same language is found in Joshua 9. 25; 2 Samuel
15. 26. Every true servant of the Lord is more concerned
about the faithful delivery of His message, than the
deliverance of himself out of the hands of the enemies of
God. When a man knows that hc has the unerring Word
of God in him and with him his soul is anchored.
VI. The Voice of Reason. “Then said the princes.. .
This man is not worthy to die, for he hath spoken to us
in the Name of the Lord our God” (v. 16). The princes
and the people were more amenable to reason than the
priests and the prophets. Religious pride and bigotry
is often the bitterest enemy to the truth of God. The
common people heard Christ gladly. Raw heathenism
is not such an obstacle in the way of the Gospel as a
Christianised paganism. “My sheep hear My voice, and
they follow Me.”
CLAIMING THE PROMISES.
JEREMIAH 29. 10-14.
THESE words form part of the letter which Jeremiah sent
to those who were captives in Babylon (v. I). This letter
like the Gospel of God, is a revelation of His mind and will
to those who, because of their sins, and iniquities, have
become the slaves of an alien power.
I. The Thoughts of God. “I know the thoughts
that I think” (v. 11). If great men have great thoughts,.a4 Handfuls on Purpose.
what shall we say of the thoughts of God. What might
this world not give to know what God’s thoughts are.
1. They are PERSONAL thoughts. “Thoughts that I
think toward you.” Neither science nor philosophy can
tell what God thinks of us. The heavens may declare
His glory, but His own lips must tell me what He thinks
of me. This He does in Christ, who loved me and gave
Himself for me.
2. They are PEACEFUL thoughts. “Thoughts of peace
and not of evil.” Guilty man naturaliy imagines that
God’s thoughts toward him are thoughts of war and
destruction. But, “God was in Christ reconciling the
world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto
them. ” “My thoughts are not your thoughts, saith the
Lord” (Isa. 55. 8). The Cross of Christ is God’s thought
of peace toward a warring world. He hath made peace
by the blood of His Cross.
3. They are PROSPECTIVE thoughts. “To give you
hope in your end” (R.V.). Or, to secure for you a blessed
future. God’s purposes with Judah are not yet fulfilled
(Zech. 12. 9, 10; 14. 20, 21). There is also a glorious
future for the Church of God (Eph. 2. 7). The thoughts
of God, revealed to us, and believed by us, inspires with
a new and blessed hope, not only for this lift, but also
for the life which is to come (see Psalm 139. 17).
II. The Expectation of God. When God reveals
His thoughts to His people, He expects that they will
receive them, and act accordingly. He says-1.
“Ye shall CALL upon Me” (v. 13). How shall we
call on Him of whom we have not heard? But now that
we have heard, faith and prayer are expected to be
exercised. God looks for His promises to be claimed.
2. “Ye shall SEEK Me, and find Me, when ye shall.Old Testament Outlines. 85
search for Me with all your heart. ” It is not enough to
cry for deliverance, we must seek for the Deliverer. When
His thoughts are so good and gracious towards us, why
should we not seek the embrace of His Person ? Those
who see Him with all their heart make a whole-hearted
discovery, for, when there is the purity of heart, there is
the vision of God (Matt. 5. 8). “Seek, and ye shall find”
(Luke 11. 9, 10).
III. The Promises of God (v. 14). These promises
are the proofs of His exceeding great and precious thoughts
to usward who believe. He promises-1.
To HEARKEN. “Ye shall pray unto Me, and I will
hearken unto you” (v. 12). His ear is not heavy that it
cannot hear, neither is it too far away, or too much
occupied with others, to hearken unto YOM.
2. To ANSWER. “I will be found of you” (v. 14).
God promises to reveal and surrender Himself to the
seeking soul, and, oh, what a find! Infinite goodness
and fullness for the soul’s eternal need.
3. To DELIVER. “I will turn away your captivity.”
The bondage of sin He turns away by the revelation of
His power; the bondage of darkness He turns away by
the dawning of His light; the bondage of the world, the
flesh, and the Devil, by the revelation of His Cross, His
Word, and His Spirit.
4. To RESTORE. “I will gather you. . .and bring you
again into the place.” Their sin drove them away, but
God’s grace would bring them back. Christ suffered,
the Just for the unjust, that He might bring US to God.
As every Jew will yet be gathered out “from all the
nations, ” so every child of God will yet be gathered out
as members of the Body of Christ (Acts 15. 14)..86 Handfuls on Purpose.
RUIN AND REMEDY.
JEREMIAH 30. 11-22.
I SRAEL is a helpless captive in Babylon. All other
nations have forsaken them in their time of need. A
picture of a soul’s ruin, and the world’s inditterence to
its condition.
I. The Ruin. They are described as being-1.
GUILTY. ‘Because thy sins were increased, I have
done these things unto thee” (v. 15). Sin leads to
bondage, to suffering, and disappointment.
2. BRUISED. “Thy bruise (hurt, R.V.) is incurable.”
Sin has crushed man’s soul out of its original shape.
Man has absolutely no cure for it.
3. WOUNDED. “Thy wound is grievous. ” Heart
rebellion against God is an awful gash in a man’s, or a
nation’s, moral being. It is very grievous in its results,
as they reach into Eternity.
4. FRIENDLESS. “There is none to plead thy cause”
(v. 13). While in the “far country” the prodigal found
no one to plead his cause. No man can redeem his brother.
But use thank God for 1 John 2. 1.
5. HELPLESS. “Thou hast no healing medicines”
(v. 13). Man’s wisdom and ingenuity has invented many
medicines, but there is no healing in them.
6. DESTITUTE. “All thy lovers have forgotten thee”
(v. 14). The hewn-out cisterns have proved broken
and worthless. Their lovers have proved mockers.
7. MISERABLE . “Why criest thou” (v. 15). It is
the cry of hopeless despair. “Out of the depths have I
cried, ” The discovery of our infinite poverty and need
makes such a cry irresistible,.Old Testament Outlines. a?
II. The Remedy. The cure for a sinner’s woes is
found in God alone, in His Presence, and His Promise.
“I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee” (v. 11).
Emmanuel, our Hope (Matt. 1. 21-23). In His sevenfold
promise there is a perfect salvation. He promises-1,
HEALTH. “I will restore health unto thee” (v. 17).
Restoration to Himself means health. “He is the health
of my countenance” (Psa. 23. 3).
2. HEALING. “1 will heal thee of thy wounds.”
Saved, not only from sickness, but also from unsoundness.
The wounds may be deep, but not too deep for His
healing power.
3. FREEDOM. “I will bring again the captivity” (v. 18).
There is, not only healing, but emancipation from the
power of the enemy.
4. FRUITFULNESS. “I will multiply them, and they
shall not be few” (v. 19). An increase of numbers as
the result of a better testimony for God.
5. HONOUR. “I will also glorify them.” Despised
and rejected of men they may be, but accepted and
honoured of God they will be. Those who suffer for
Christ shall also reign with Him. On the other side of
the flood they sang the Song of Moses.
6. PROTECTION. “I will punish all that oppress them”
(v. 20). The overthrowing of the Egyptians in the Red
Sea is a warning to all who follow God’s people with the
intent of their hurt. His redeemed are His peculiar
treasure.
7. ALL-SUFFICIENCY . “I will be your God” (v. 22).
No greater promise could God give. No fuller blessing
could He offer than this. “Lo, I am with you all the
days. ” See Hebrews 13. 5, 6, Revised Version. Observe
God’s “I wills” in this provision,.88 Handfuls on Purpose.
THE RESTORATION.
JEREMIAH 32. 37-41.
HERE again, as in chapter 30, God‘ s promise to deliver
consists of seven “I wills.”
I. I will gather them out-Separation (Eph. 2. 3-5).
II. I will bring them in-Safety (John 10. 27).
III. I will be their God-Assurance (I John 3. 1).
IV. I will give them one heart-Unity (John 17. 20, 21).
V. I will make a covenant with them-Satisfaction
(2 Cor. 6. 17, 18).
VI. I will put My fear in their hearts-Worship
(Acts 9. 31).
VII. I will rejoice over them-Praise (Phil. 3. 1).
GREAT, HIDDEN THINGS.
JEREMIAH 33. l-9.
THE reference is to Jerusalem desolated by war. A
picture of a ruined life through sin and unbelief.
I. The Condition of Blessing. “Call upon Me” (v. 3).
II. The Mighty Promises. “Great and hidden
things. ”
1. RENEWAL of health (v. 6).
2. REVELATION of abundance of peace and truth (v. 6).
3. DELIVERANCE from bondage (v. 7).
4. RESTORATION of ruined things (v. 7).
5. CLEANSING from all iniquity (v. 8).
6. GOD-HONOURING testimony (v. 9).
THE RECHABITES.
JEREMIAH 35.
JONADAB, the son of Rcchab, was a strong, wise man. His
life and testimony was a protest, Elijah-like, against the.Old Testament Outlines. 89
sins of the age, Baal-worship, and intemperance. The
Rechabites were a separate family living in patriarchal
fashion-dwelling in tents (v. 6), and observing the vow
of the Nazarite (Num. 6. 2-4). As they were used as a
rebuke to Judah, so may we learn much from them.
I. They were the Sons of a Good Father. Jonadab
was a man zealous for the cause of God (2 Kings 10. 15, 16).
A righteous, courageous, and consistent example on the
part of a parent goes a very long way in the formation
of the character of the son. The good, as well as the evil,
that men do live after them in their children.
II. They were Severely Tested. “Bring them into
the house of the Lord…and give them wine to drink”
tv. 2). They had come into the city for safety when
the King of Babylon and his forces came into the land
(v. 11). Now they are tempted by the prophet, in God’s
own house, to break their vow of abstinence. Truly,
they might have been excused in the circumstances.
City temptations are strong for young men in every age,
especially now. How many are still tempted to take the
intoxicating wine in the house of God, by God’s own
servants at “Communion Seasons, ” when the house
of prayer smells like a saloon.
III. They were Faithful to their Convictions. “They
said, We will drink no wine, as our father commanded us”
(v. 6). Although their father was dead long years ago,
and although no one might have reproached them for
taking it on such an occasion, yet they remained true to
their father’s wish and their own consciences. Of course,
Jeremiah knew well that they would not touch it, if they
had his purpose and God’s message would have been
thwarted. The proverb, “When in Rome do as the
Romans do, ” is often cowardly and immoral. This lax,
accommodating principle has been the ruin of multitudes.
Vol. IX. 7.90 Handfuls on Purpose.
IV. They became an Example to Others. Their
faith in their father, their obedience, and devotion, to his
word and will, were used by God to rebuke His people’s
unbelief and disobedience. “They obeyed their father’s
commandment :. . .I have spoken unto you.. . but ye
hearkened not unto Me” (v. 14). They were faithful
to their father’s words spoken three hundred years ago,
but God’s professed sons had disregarded and forgotten
His words. How true is it still that, in our human and
temporal relationships we show far more fidelity, than in
our spiritual and eternal. The Rechabites had received
but one command, and they obeyed. God’s people
had servants and prophets sent again and again (v. 15),
repeating His Words to them, yet they hearkened not.
How slow men are to believe God.
V. They were Rewarded. “Because ye have obeyed
your father, and kept all his precepts.. . Jonadab shall not
want a man to stand before Me for ever” (vv. 18, 19).
Their obedience to their parent was well pleasing unto
the Lord (Col. 3. 20). As a family they lived long on the
earth. This is the special blessing attached to the
“Honouring of thy father and mother” (Eph. 6. 1-3;
Exod. 20. 12). Obedience to God’s Word is rewarded
with everlasting life (John 3. 34-36). All who honour
His Word shall stand before Him for ever.
–__
BURNING THE BOOK.
JEREMIAH 36.
THE Book of God, like the people of God,
age, suffered persecution. It has been
has, in every
tortured and
ruptured, pierced and ridiculed, burned and buried, but
it has quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of
the sword, stopped the mouths of lions, and turned to
flight the armies of the aliens. Here we see Jehoiachin
burning it, but Godgave it a resurrection in amightier form..Old Testament Outlines. 91
I. The Message Given. (1) It was from the Lord.
“Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words
that I have spoken unto thee” (v. 2). Like the Gospel
of Christ, it was a revelation from Heaven. (2) It was a
message of solemn warning. “Against Israel, and against
Judah, and against all the nations” (v. 2). Like the
Gospel, it was of universal import. (3) It was sent in
mercy. “It may be that Israel will hear…and return
every man from his evil way, that I may forgive
their sin” (v. 3). Like the Gospel, it was a mani-festation
of God’s love for them, and His desire after their
salvation.
II. The Message ileard. “So the king sent Jehudi
to fetch the roll…and he read it in the ears of the king”
(vv. 20, 21). What a privilege to hear such words of
faithful warning mingled with Divine forbearance and
mercy. The importance and responsibility of hearing
His Word, and giving heed to it, is powerfully evidenced
here. It was the most critical moment in the life of the
king. Hear, and your soul shall live.
III. The Message Rejected. “He cut it with the
penknife, and cast it into the fire” (v. 23). Any fool
could do that. There are some people’s tongues like
penknives, they cut to pieces the Gospel of God. There
is a penknife called “higher criticism” that has done its
own share of destructive work, but the most common and
persistent weapon used by the ungodly against the Word
of God is “an evil heart of unbelief.” It was not with
the “roll of a book” that the king had to do, but with the
God of the book. The paper, or the preacher, may be
easily cut to pieces, but not SO the message, the Word
of God endureth for ever. There are many who would
not bum the book, but who are lzot afraid, nor rend their
garments when its words are read (v. 24),.92 Handfuls on Purpose.
IV. The Message Renewed. Another roll was taken
and “all the words of the book which the king had burned
in the fire” were written, “and there were added besides
unto them many like words” (v. 32). The force of the
message was augmented by resistance. God will never
lower His demands because of the opposition and hatred
of men (Acts 5. 40-42). No man is done with God’s Word
when he has rejected and destroyed it. That same Word
will yet judge him. A man might as well expect to
improve the weather by breaking the barometer, as to
relieve his soul by rejecting God’s message. The
unbelief of some will never make the Word of God of
none effect. Remember that He who is “The Word of
God” was resurrected from the dead.
THE VOICE OF THE LORD.
JEREMIAH 38.
“OBEY, I beseech thee, the voice of the Lord…so it shall
be well with thee” (v. 20). The “voice” here stands for
the Word of the Lord. It is-I.
A Warning voice (vv. 3, 4).
II. A Humbling voice (v. 2).
III. A Hated voice (w. 4-6).
IV. A Convicting voice (secret concern, v. 14).
V. An Assuring voice (v. 20).
VI. An Infallible voice (chap. 39. 2-7).
JEHOIACHIN’S DELIVERANCE.
JEREMIAH 52. 31-34.
“She sat and wept; with her untressed hair She wiped the feet she was so blessed to touch;
And He wiped off the soiling of despair.-Cole&@.
THE Divine threatenings in Leviticus 26 find their terrible
fulfilment in the reign of Jehoiachin. “Be not deceived,.Old Testament Outlines. 93
God is not mocked. ” Sin brings to ruin every nation and
individual that yields to its dark and foulsome dominion.
The king of Babylon was Jehovah’s sword of vengeance in
the punishment of Judah for their rebellion against Him.
Jehoiachin was taken captive and thrown into a
Babylonian prison, where he remained for the Iong period
of thirty-seven years. But Babylon’s new king, Evil-merodach,
had mercy on him, and in grace wrought a
marvellous change for him, giving us an illustration of the
wonder-working grace of God.
I. Delivered. “He did lift up Jehoiachin out of
prison” (v. 27). This was his first necessity. He could
in no wise lift himself up. The grace of God which
bringeth salvation has a mighty uplifting power. “He
brought me up out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay”
(Psa. 40. 2) ; and from the darkness and thraldom of Satan
into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son. As with the king
of Judah so with us ; there is no uplifting into liberty
without the exercise of Royal Authority.
II. Comforted. “He spake kindly to him. M The law
has no kind word of comfort to speak, but grace has. By
grace are ye saved. All those ransomed by the power of
Christ are comforted by the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
The religion of man attempts to speak comfortably to men
in the prison of sin ; the religion of God first saves, then
comforts. The blood of His victory goes before the water
of His consolation. He knows how to speak a word to the
weary. In all the coming ages God’s people will show
forth His kindness towards them through Christ Jesus
(Eph. 2. 7).
III. Exalted. “He set his throne above the throne of
the kings that were with him in Babylon.” Jehoiachin
had the pre-eminence among the other kings who were as
captives in Babylon. The whole incident may be pro-.94 Handfuls on Purpose.
phetic of Judah’s future exaltation and glory, as it is
suggestive of the spiritual uplifting enjoyed by those who
are risen and exalted into heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Abounding sin and failure is conquered and overcome by
the much more abounding grace of God. If man’s fall
through sin has been great, his uplifting through grace has
been greater. He can make the homeless beggar of the
dunghill meet to sit among the princes of Heaven. “Oh,
to grace how great a debtor ! ”
IV. Clothed. “He changed his prison garments.”
The prison garments speak of guilt, defeat, shame, and
bondage ; but now they are gone, and garments of beauty
take their place. So it is with those whom grace hath
saved. The old things which spoke of failure, degradation
and imprisonment, are put off, and those things have been
put on which tell of glory, honour, immortality, and
eternal life. A change will soon be evident when once a
soul has been emancipated from the law of sin and death-the
filthy rags of self-righteousness give place to the
righteousness of God, which is unto all and upon all them
that believe (Zech. 3. 3).
V. Honoured. “He did eat bread continually before
him. ” He had the daily privilege of having fellowship
with him who had delivered him from the house of bondage.
The prisoner was now the constant companion of his
Saviour . The grace of God not only saves and transforms,
but brings into abiding fellowship with Himself. The
kindness of David wrought the same gracious work for
Mephibosheth (2 Sam. 9. 7). The door of our King’s
banqueting-house is always open for His own specially
invited guests. Eat, 0 friends !
VI. Supplied. “His allowance was a continual allow-ance
given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all
the days of his life. ”.Old Testament Outlines. 95
1. It was an ALLOWANCE. It was not a reward, or some-thing
given as wages. It was something placed at the
disposal of him whom the king delighted to honour. It
was the provision of grace. How much has God placed
at the disposal of those who have been saved by His grace?
All the unsearchable riches of Christ.
2. It was a DAILY allowance. “A daily rate for every
day. ” Take no thought for your life. “My grace is
sufficient for thee. ” To-morrow’ s allowance will come
with to-morrow’ s need.
3. It was given him OF THE KING; out of the king’s
fullness, and from his own gracious hand were all his wants
supplied. “My God shall supply all your need”
(Phil. 4. 19).
4. It was an allowance FOR LIFE. “All the days of his
life. ” The royal promise covered his every need. All
is yours, for ye are Christ’ s.
THE LIVING CREATURES.
EZEKIEL 1.
IT was when the prophet was “among the captives” that
the “heavens were opened, and he saw visions of God”
(v. 1). John was in the Isle of Patmos when the revelation
came to him. These “visions of God” which came to
Ezekiel the priest, whatever be their import to Israel,
are strikingly symbolic of the Church of God as seen in
Revelation 4 (read R.V.). These living creatures resemble
the Church in-I.
Their Origin. They came “out of the midst of.. .
a whirlwind.. .a great cloud, and a fire” (vv. 4, 5). A
fire that was “infolding (taking hold of) itself. ” The
fire, cloud, and whirlwind, are suggestive of God of
Mystery and of Judgment, all of which appear in the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ. The Church is born.96 Handfuls on Purpose.
of God in the mystery of godliness, and delivered from the
judgment of sin (Acts 2. 2).
II. Their Character. They are “Living creatures,”
literally “living ones. ” They are not dying ones. Not
of the earth earthy, but from Heaven. They are living
ones whose life is akin to God’s, partakers of the Divine
nature. Heirs of eternal life.
III. Their Appearance. “They had the likeness of
a MAN” (V. 5). Created after the image of Him who is the
Son of God, in righteousness and true holiness. The
Church is in the likeness of the Man Christ Jesus.
Having-1.
The face of a MAN for wisdom, and reverence in
worship (v. 10).
2. The face of a LION for courage and strength in
battle.
3. The face of an Ox for patience and perseverance in
service.
4. The face of an EAGLE for clear vision, and heavenly
power in testimony.
Each had four wings, power to obey the Divine
commission, and to keep themselves out of sight. With
two they “covered their bodies” (v. 11).
IV. Their Movements. “They went every one
straight forward” (v. 12). This method of action proves
that they were of one mind, and dominated by one great
purpose. How could it be otherwise when, “whither the
Spirit was to go they went? ” That the Church of God
might go straight forward in one Spirit, doing His will,
was partly the burden of Christ’s great prayer in John 17
(Rom. 8. 14; John 17. 22).
V. Their Influence. “Their appearance was like
burning coals of fire.. .like lamps.. .the fire was bright,
and out of the fire went forth lightning” (v. 13). He.Old Testament Outlines. 97
maketh His ministers a flaming fire (Psa. 104. 4). The
early Church was endued with “Cloven tongues like as of
fire” (Acts 2. 3). “Burning coals,” “lamps,” and
“lightning, ” are self-assertive, they are not to be hid.
Be filled with the Spirit, and the coals of thought will
burn, then the lamp of life will shine, and the lightning
of conviction and revelation go forth (v. 14).
VI. Their Accompaniments. “And when the living
creatures went the wheels went with them” (w. 15-21).
The rings of the wheels were so high that they were
dreadful.. .and full of eyes.. .and the Spirit of the living
creatures was in the wheels. Symbolic of the Providence
of God in relation to His redeemed people. “All things
work together for good to them that love God,. ..called
according to His purpose” (Rom. 8. 28. See 2 Chronicles
16. 9). They were mysterious (“dreadful“), unerring
(“full of eyes”), and in perfect accord with the living
ones-the same Spirit was in them. What a comfort to
the Church of God.
VII. Their Translation. “The living ones were
lifted up from the earth” (v. 19. See chapter 10. 19).
When they are lifted up the wheels are also lifted up.
This is a solemn thought for an ungodly and Christ-rejecting
world. The Church shall be lifted from the earth
(1 Thess. 4. 17). But when the wheels of Almighty grace
cease to move in the world, the flaming fire of retribution
will be kindled (2 Thess. 1. 7-10). Life from God is the
guarantee of life with God.
EQUIPMENT FOR SERVICE.
EZEKIEL 2, 3.
THE first great essential in service is a “vision of God”
(chap. 1. 1). A vision of His greatness, His holiness,
and unfailing mercy. Saul, who became Paul, was not
“disobedient to the heavenly vision.” The vision comes.98 Handfuls on Purpose.
through the revelation of His Son in the Scriptures of truth
(John 1. 18). Here are some characteristics, which,
without fail, belong to the true servant of God-I.
They are Spirit-possessed. “The Spirit entered
into me” (chap. 2. 2). The revelation of God prepares
for the entering of His Holy Spirit into the heart. Be
filled with the Spirit. He is always ready to possess
every consecrated life.
II. They are God-sent. “He said unto me, I send
thee ” (chap. 2. 3). Those who are Spirit-taught, will
be Spirit-sent. “As Thou has sent me into the world,”
said our Lord, “even so have I also sent them into the
world” (John 17. 18). The vision of Calvary preceded
the Pentecostal enduement and witness-bearing.
III. They are Willing Recipients of His Word.
“He said, Son of Man…eat this roll, so I opened my
mouth” (chap. 3. l-3). His words are spirit and life
(John 6. 61-63), so the Spirit-taught soul receives them
gladly. He receives the roll of the book, just as a little
child receives its food. He opened his mouth, and the
Lord filled it, “and it was in his mouth as honey for
sweetness. ” If the Word of God was more simply and
fully received, there would be more delight in it, and
more power through it.
IV. They are Courageous. “Behold, I have made
thy face strong,” etc. (chap. 3. 8). A “strong face,” is
an evidence of great force of character. Leaders of men
have usually a strong facial expression. God can make
your character to be strong and powerful. The fear of
man is foreign to the man of God.
V. They are Obedient. “The Spirit took me up.. .
and I wept in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit” (v. 14).
The Word of the Lord was sweet in his mouth, but some-what
bitter in its practical operation. But although.Old Testament Outlines. 99
there was bitterness to his soul in following the guidance
of the Spirit, he obeyed. Paul gloried in tribulation also.
VI. They are Humble. “Then I came to them of the
captivity.. .and I sat where they sat” (v. 15). This was
how he reached the lapsed mass. He obeyed the Spirit
of God, and went and sat down among them. Those
who labour for Christ, must act like Him, humbling
themselves for the sake of others.
VII. They are Faithful. “I have made thee a watch-man”
(chap. 3. 16-21). The watchman must “warn the
wicked from his wicked way, to save his life.” The
wicked need warning, and the man who has seen “visions
of God” is alone able sufficiently to give that warning.
Paul was a faithful watchman, and could say, “I am pure
from the blood of all men” (Acts 20. 26-31). Study to
show thyself approved of God, a watchman that needeth
not to be ashamed (2 Tim. 2. 1.5).
THE TIME OF LOVE.
EZEKIEL 16. l-20.
ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is
profitable for doctrine. In this chapter we have a
revelation of the marvellous love and grace of God.
Judah is here represented as a helpless, forsaken infant,
perishing in the open field. The time of Divine love came
when He, passing by, pitied, and saved with a great
salvation. The need of a ruined Jerusalem is the need
of every ruined soul.
I. A Picture of Destitution. Could any figures of
speech be more expressive than this ?
1. HELPLESSNESS . “I saw thee weltering in thy
blood” (v. 6, R.V.). Jerusalem did not see herself in
this sorrowful plight. God’s judgment of sin is quite
a different thing from man’s (Rom. 3. 19; 5. 6)..100 Handfuls on Purpotw.
2. HOPELESSNESS . “None eye pitied thee.. .to have
compassion upon thee” (v. 5). No one is capable of
pitying the sinner who knows not the holiness of God.
Men can understand the sadness of poverty, shame and
crime committed against himself or his fellow men, but
not sin as against God. In this sense “No man can redeem
his brother. ” In humanity there is absolutely no hope
for man as guilty before God.
II. A Picture of Salvation. “Behold thy time, the
time of love” (v. 8). The time of love was when “He
passed by, and looked upon thee. ” Our time of love is
now, while God in mercy and grace is passing by in the
Gospel of His Son, beholding in pity and compassion
our sin and misery. The proof and power of that love
is seen in what He did.
1. HE SPARED. “I said unto thee, Live” (v. 6). He
only could speak the Word of Life to this blood-stained
outcast. He who “spared not” His own Son spared this
sinning soul. The salvation of God is the sparing of the
soul in unmerited mercy from guilt and death. Saved
by grace alone.
2. HE CLEANSED. “Then I washed thee with water. ”
Blood, the figure of pollution and sin, was washed away.
Every spared one is a washed one (Gal. 1. 4). The life
He gives is a clean life.
3. HE COVERED. “I spread My skirt over thee, and
covered thy nakedness“ (v. 8). He acts the part of a near
kinsman (Ruth 3. 9). The skirt of His righteousness is
unto all, and upon all them that believe.
4. HE CLAIMED. “And thou becamest Mine” (v. 8).
Oh, what a change! From the “open field” of sin and
shame, into the bosom of the family of God. From self-degradation
and hopelessness, into the Kingdom of grace
and of glory..Old Testament Outlinea. 101
5. HE ANOINTED. “And I anointed thee with oil”
(v. 9). It is God’s will that all His claimed, cleansed,
and covered ones should be anointed with the Holy
Spirit (Acts 1. 8; 19. 2).
6. HE CROWNED. “And I put.. . a beautiful crown
upon thine head” (v. 12). He who began the good work
of saving grace, carried it on to completion, so that we
become “perfect through His comeliness” (v. 14). The
crown is the emblem of dignity and power. The crowning
day is coming, and now is.
7. HE US ED. “Thy renown went forth among the
heathen for thy beauty” (v. 14). “Perfect through My
majesty which I had put upon thee” (R.v.). “The glory
which Thou gavest Me I have given them” (John 17. 22).
Let your light so shine before men.
III. A Picture of Desecration (w. 1520). In every
age God has had occasion to make the same sorrowful
complaint against His ungrateful people. Blessed with
all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus, yet backsliding in
heart, and using their God-given prestige for selfish and
worldly ends. This picture is a very sad one, and all the
more so that the sin shown in it is so common. It is the
desecration of their-1.
BEAUTY. “Thou didst trust in thine own beauty,
and playedst the harlot because of thy renown” (v. 15).
This is what we sometimes term “religious pride, ” using
the influence God in grace hath given us for base, selfish
purposes.
2. GARMENTS. “Thy garments thou aidst take, and
deckedst thy high places” (v. 16). The garments given her
for glory and beauty (w. 10, 11) desecrated to the adorning
of a false and God-dishonouring religion. The teaching
of Christ is now being used by some preachers for the
building up of a new and unscriptural system..102 Handfuls on Purpose.
3. TREASURES. “Thou hast also taken My gold and
My silver.. .and madest to thyself images of men” (v. 17).
Devoting the gifts of God to the honour and praise of men.
The gold and silver of Divine truth debased, as if it were
only the message of men.
4. CHILDREN. “Morover thou hast taken thy sons and
thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto Me, and these
hast thou sacrificed. . . thou hast slain My children”
(w. 20, 21). What an awful charge! A backsliding
Church is a murderer of its children. Those born of the
Gospel of God, in the day of His power and grace, are
often sacrificed and “devoured” by false teaching. All
this has come about by having a “weak heart” toward
the Lord God (v. 30). Let us take heed lest there be in
any of us an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the
living God.
SIN AND DEATH.
EZEKIEL 18. l-23.
GOD charges the people with misrepresenting facts. He
says, “What mean ye that ye use this proverb.. . saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’ s
teeth are set on edge” (v. 2). Hereditary influence may
be great, but that will not absolve from personal responsi-bility. “Behold, all souls are mine. . . the soul that
sinneth, it shall die” (v. 4). There is no escape from this.
Some searching and encouraging lessons are taught in this
chapter. Notice that-I.
All Souls Belong to God (v. 4). He is the Author
and Bestower of life. He is the Father of spirits. Souls
in the deepest sense are spirits, and should glorify God as
the chief end of their existence.
II. Each Soul is Individually Responsible to God.
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (w. 4, 20). NO.Old Testament Outlinee. 103
man here is to die for his father’s sin. The sinning son
of the just man shall die in his sins (vv. 513), and the
righteous son of a sinning father shall not die for his sins,
but live (vv. 14-17). Every man must give an account
of himself unto God. No man is condemned because of
Adam’s sin, but because “All have sinned. ”
III. Righteousness is the Condition of Life. “If
a man be just. ..he shall surely live” (w. 5, 9). A just
man is literally a lawfd man, a law-abiding man. A
man whose life is in harmony with, and guided by, the
holy law, or Word of God. Through Christ, the righteous-ness
of God is now unto all and upon all that believe.
All that believe are justified from all things (Acts 13.
38, 39). Apart from grace there is “None righteous,
no, not one. ”
IV. Wickedness is the Condition of Death (v. 20).
Wickedness here is literally lawlessrtess, the opposite of
the just who are lawjul. A lawless soul is a soul living
in the sphere of death. Enmity to God’s Word and will
is the evidence of it. Those who are a law unto themselves
are the murderers of their own souls. Repent and believe.
V. Sin and Death are Inseparable. “The soul that
sinneth, it shall die” (v. 20). The wages of sin is death
(Rom. 6. 23). “Wages” are something duly earned,
and that must be justly paid. The soul that sinneth
shall die, because, in sinning, the soul is choosing death
rather than life. The presence of sin means death, as the
absence of light means darkness.
VI. God has no Pleasure in the Death of the Lawless.
“Have I any pleasure at all that the lawless should die?
saith the Lord God” (v. 23). God’s character, His Word,
and His work in the Person of His Son, all emphatically
declare His displeasure at the death of the sinning soul.
Could any protest be louder than the cry of the Christ of.104 Handfuls on Purpose.
God upon the awful tree, “Father, forgive them, for they
know not what they do. ” His will is that all men should
be saved by coming into the knowledge of the truth
(1 Tim. 2. 4).
VII. Conversion is the b’:+y into Life. “He should
return from His ways and live” (v. 23). The Lord is no
respecter of persons, His “way is equal” (v. 25). “Him
that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out. ” Except
ye be converted-turned to the Lord-ye cannot enter
the Kingdom of life. I am come that ye might have life.
Come unto Me. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways,
for why will ye die.
WARN THEM FROM MB.
EZEKIEL 33. 7-11.
THE prophet is here reminded that he has been set apart
as a “watchman unto the house of Israel” (v. 7; see chap.
3. 17-21). If there were no danger there would be no need
of the watchman. The enemy is ever seeking whom he
may devour. What He said to Ezekiel He now says unto
all, “Watch” (Mark 13. 37). Notice the-I.
Responsibilities of the Watchman. They are
twofold.
I. “To HEAR the word at His mouth” (v. 7). The
watchman must not only have eyes to see and a mouth to
speak, but ears to hear the Word of God as from His own
mouth. The first necessity is to hear Him, and to enter
intelligently and sympathetically into His mind and
purposes.
2. To “ WARN them from Me. ” Warn them, because
there is impending danger; and warn them from Him, as
one who is wholly devoted to His will. The watchman’s
responsibility lies in making men feel their responsi-bility
to God..Old Testament Outlines. 105
II. Responsibility of the Warned. The “wicked”
here are literally the lawless. Observe their-1.
CONDITION. “0 lawless man, thou shalt surely die”
(v. 8). Sin is lawlessness, and lawlessness is death.
Death is the result of alienation from God.
2. OPPORTUNITY . “Warn #em from Me. * Through
the prophet they were distinctly “waned of God. ” It
is sad to be deluded and deceived, but it is surely a
mercy to be faithfully warned of our danger. “Except
ye repent ye shall likewise perish” was not spoken in
anger, but in love. The warning comes from God just as
directly as the invitation of His mercy (John 3. 36).
3. RESPONSIBILITY . “If he do not turlr from his way,
he shall die in his iniquity” (v. 9). The warning is “to
turn. ” If he turns not he shall die in his sins, his blood
shall be upon his own soul. Regeneration is the work of
the Spirit of God; but conversion-tzlr&zg aboudat His
bidding is an act of our own will. The trumpet warning
of the law may be despised, and the trumpet blower may
be reckoned behind the times, but turning from sin and
faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way into the
Kingdom of God, which is righteousness, peace, and joy
in the Holy Ghost.
III. Attestation and Appeal of the Wronged One.
“As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the
death of the wicked (lawless); . . . turn ye, turn ye from
your evil ways, for why will ye die” (v. 11). This is the
agony of Divine love that found its fuller expression in
the dying cry of His beloved Son on the atoning tree:
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. ”
“The Lord is.. . longsuffering to usward, not willing that
any should perish” (2 Peter 3. 9). “He that taketh
warning shall deliver his soul” (v. 5).
V o l . I X . 8.106 Handfuls on Purpose.
HYPOCRITICAL PROFESSORS.
EZEKIEL 33. 30-33.
HYPOCRISY is literally the acting of a part on a stage,
assuming a character that is unreal. A “saint abroad
and a devil at home” is how Bunyan puts it. Those who
“steal the livery of the court of Heaven” to serve them-selves
on earth are hypocrites of the most ardent type.
Take a look at their behaviour as here depictured. See
them in-I.
Connection with God’s Servant. “Talking
against thee by the walls and in the doors of their houses. ”
This manner of tale-bearing, behind the wall and in the
home, is most reprehensible. This secret, God-grieving
tittle-tattle against His servants is not overlooked by Him.
All closet work, whether it be good or bad, is open to
His eyes.
II. Connection with God’s People. They say,
“Come, let us hear what is the Word from the Lord.. . and
they sit before thee as My people sit, and hear thy words. ”
They put on the form of Godliness so long as it helps their
own personal interests. They assume the habits of God’s
people, while they secretly sneer at the real work of God.
The only time they are among God’s people is when they
are hearing His Word.
III. Connection with God’ s Message.
1. THEY HAVE PLEASURE IN HEARING IT. “They hear
Thy words.. . and lo, Thou art unto them as a very lovely
song, as one that. . . can play well on an instrument. *
Ezekiel must have been an attractive preacher, with “a
pleasant voice, ” and playing well, as on an instrument;
and his message was, even to those hypocrites, “a very
lovely song. ” That is just exactly what the message of
God to sinful man is, “A very lovely song. ” But woe
be to those who only hear it as a song for the ear, instead.Old Testament Outlines. 107
of a message for the heart. How much preaching there is
to-day that “tickle the palate, but do not make men feel
the bitterness of sin. ” Good and entertaining preaching,
that is to Godless hearers like a tune well played on an
instrument, or a lively song sung with a pleasant voice.
But in this case, as in very many others, the preacher
was not to blame.
2. THEY IN HEART REJECT IT. “They hear thy words,
but they will not do them ; for with their mouth they shcw
much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. ”
They love in a measure to hear God’s message, but they
will not receive it. “With their mouth and with their
lips they honour Him, but have removed their heart far
from Him” (Isa. 29. 13). Such base and deceitful con-duct
brings upon such the “woe” pronounced upon all
religious hypocrites, who are “like unto whited sepulchres”
(Matt. 23. 27, 28). It is awfully possible to flatter Him
with the mouth, while lying to Him with the heart; but
as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he before God. With
the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the
heart man deceiveth unto everlasting condemnation.
FAITHLESS SHEPHERDS.
EZEKIEL 34. I-10.
HERE are six conditions of need mentioned as expressive
of sin and soul destitution, making clear the great need
of faithful shepherds.
1. Their Work.
1. To feed the HUNGRY (v. 3).
2. To strengthen the WEAK (v. 4). Weak through
disease.
3. To heal the SICK (v. 4).
4. To bind up the BROKEN (v. 4)..108 Handfuls on Purpose.
5. To bring in the DRIVEN AWAY (v. 4). Backsliding.
6. To seek the LOST (v. 4).
II. Their Faithfulness.
1. They were SELFISH. They fed themselves and
starved the flock (v. 3).
2. They were PROUD. They ruled with force, self-will,
and not with love (v. 4, L.C.).
3. They were RUINOUS. The flock were scattered
(v. 5). They became a prey to the beasts of the field (to
false doctrine and lax example). “They wandered through
all the mountains (false philosophies) and upon every high
hill” (pride of intellect) (v. 6). The sheep became like
distracted souls, seeking light and help in other godless
religions.
4. They were DISOWNED of God (v. 10). Take heed to
thyself. “Feed the flock of God which is among you,
taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but
willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being
ensamples to the flock” (1 Peter 5. 2, 3).
WHAT GOD WILL DO FOR HIS SHEEP.
EZEKIEL 34. 11-30.
As the unbelief of some cannot make the faith of God
without effect (Rom. 3. 3), neither can the unfaithfulness
of God’s shepherds make the faithfulness of God to fail.
With regard to His sheep-I.
He will search and seek them (v. 11). They shall
hear His voice (John 10. 27).
II. He will deliver them (v. 12). The power of the
enemy shall not hold them.
III. He will bring them (v. 13). Separate them for
Himself..Old Testament Outlines. 109
IV. He will feed them (v. 14). Bring them into
good pastures (Psa. 23).
V. He will rest them (v. 15). Cause them to lie
down.
VI. He will bind up the broken (v. 16). Broken and
useless members.
VII. He will strengthen the weak (v. 16). Weak
through sickness and weariness.
VIII. He will judge their cause (w. 17-22). When
tempted, annoyed, and persecuted.
IX. He will watch over them (w. 23-25; Heb. 13. 20).
X. He will bless them and make them a blessing
(v. 26).
XI. He will abundantly satisfy them with good
(w. 29-31).
THE GREAT CHANGE.
EZEKIEL 36. 25-32.
THESE wonderful words refer primarily to Israel’ s restora-tion.
Under the law the heart of His people had become like a stone, but through His infinite grace a new heart
would be given them, so that by the constraint of love
they would walk in His ways. God’ s method in dealing
with a sinful heart is revolutionary, it is a regeneration.
I. The Disease. “A stony heart” (v. 26). A heart
that is “stony” is-1.
COLD. It has become insensible-past feeling.
All warmth of affection for God and His Word has died
away.
2. HARD. Not easily impressed. Unyielding as a rock. Indifferent to all the gracious influences of light and the
force of spiritual truth. Callous.
3. DEAD. Incapable of spiritual motion. No vitality
toward God. Deaf to His call and dumb for His Name..110 Handfuls on Purpose.
II. The Remedy. “A new heart will I give you.. . an
heart of flesh. ” The only cure for a stony heart is a flew
heart. Polishing or carving a stone into an altered and
improved form will not make it a “living stone. ” A heart
of flesh is-1.
A NEW HEART. It is the gift of God, and takes the
place of the stony heart, and so renewing the whole man.
It is not only new to the man who gets it, but its mani-festations
are new to all who see them.
2. A SOFT HEART. Sensitive and childlike, easily
impressed by the things of God. The stony nature has
disappeared.
3. A WARM HEART. The love of God has found a home
in it, and is shed abroad through it. It glows with com-passion
for the perishing, and burns with indignation
against sin and iniquity.
4. A LIVING HEART. Once dead, but now alive unto
God. A heart fitted to have communion with the living
God. When Sir W. Raleigh was asked to adjust his head
on the block he said, “It matters little how the head lies
if the heart is vighzl. ” Is thine heart right with God ?
III. The Results. The new heart opens the way for
the fullness of the new life, The new character reveals
itself by-1.
POSSESSING HIS SPIRIT. “I will put My Spirit
within you” (v. 27). His Spirit is the new motive power
in the life. This new moral machinery requires a new
power (Rom. 8. 9).
2. WALKING IN HIS STATUTES. “I will cause you to
walk in My statutes. ” The daily life is made to become
pleasing unto the Lord. To walk in His way is to walk
with God.
3. DWELLING IN HIS LAND. “Ye shall dwell in the
land that I gave to your fathers, ” etc. (v. 28). The good.Old Testament Outlines. 111
land of His providence is the inheritance of all who have
been made “new creatures in Christ Jesus. ”
4. RESTING ON HIS PROMISES (w. 29-32). They are
exceeding great and precious, so that we might delight
ourselves in the Lord, because for His own Name’s sake
hath He done all this for us (v. 32).
THE BONES AND THE BREATH.
EZEKIEL 37. l-10.
THESE bones refer to “the whole house of Israel” (v. 11).
As a nation, they are scattered over the open valley of
the whole world, separated bone from his bone, and very
dry, But the time will come when the breath of God’s
Spirit shall come upon them, and they shall “stand upon
their feet an exceeding great army” of witnesses for
God and for His Christ. But surely there is a present-day
application of all Scripture, divinely breathed. Observe-I.
How the Vision Came. “The hand of the Lord was
upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit” (v. 1). We
must be “in the Spirit” to see things as they really are as
God sees them. This is where revival begins.
II. What the Vision Was. “A valley full of bones.”
A picture of utter desolation. A wrecked and ruined
people. “Very many” and “very dry. ” Through their
backsliding and indifference to God’s Word they had
become like bleached bones ; no evidence whatever of
spiritual sap or life in them; dried up through pride,
worldliness, and self-dependence. The same principles
produce the same results to-day, but how few see it.
III. A Testing Question. “Son of man, can these
bones live ? “ (v. 3). This question can only come home to
those whose eyes have been opened to see the awful need
of spiritual life. The blind man would answer, “What.112 Handfuls on Purpose.
bones ? I don’t see any bones. Things are quiet and
peaceful, and the valley is lovely and attractive. ” Think
of the responsibility that rests with a Spirit-taught man !
The opened eye is a new opening for work. If God hath
given us to see the need of others, does He not mean to
use us for their deliverance ?
IV. A Thoughtful Amwer. “I answered, 0 Lord God,
Thou knowest. ” He only could know, for He alone could
make them live. Science, art, and all the philosophies
of men have no remedy for a soul dead in sin and dried
up with iniquity. “THOU knowest. ” Salvation is of the
Lord. It is good in a crisis like this to cast ourselves on
the wisdom and power of God.
V. The Remedy. The Divine remedy is revealed
when the need has been seen and painfully felt. It is two-fold.
He is commanded to speak to the bones on God’ s
behalf (v. 4), and to speak to God on their behalf (v. 9).
Preach the Word of the Lord (v. 4) and pray for the power
of the Holy Ghost. The preaching is to be in the faith of
His promises. “Behold I will cause breath to enter into
you, and ye shall live” (v. 5). It is the Spirit that
quickeneth. The results were according as he had said
(v. 10). An army of men raised from the dead stood upon
their feet, ready to breathe out their God-given life in His
service. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be.. .
alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom.
6. 11).
WATERS TO SWIM IN.
EZEKIEL 47. I-12.
THIS mystical river is full of prophetic significance. In
the time of Millennial blessing rivers of living water shall
flow forth from the sanctuary of the Holy City into the
desert and waste places of the earth (Zech. 14. S), and “everything shall live whither the river cometh” (v. 9)..Old Testament Outlines. 113
But this river may also be regarded as a beautiful emblem
of the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ, or
of the Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
I. The River. A free, spontaneous outburst.
1. ITS SOURCE. “Out from under the threshold of the
house “ (temple) (v. 1). Out from the holy place, the
place of the “Mercy seat, “ the throne of God. Like the
Holy Spirit, it proceeded from the Father (John 15. 26).
2. ITS COURSE. “The waters came down.. .at the
south side of the altar“ (v. 1). Yes, the only way these
life-giving waters can reach a perishing world is by way
of the altar-the Cross of Christ. The Holy Spirit was not
given till after Christ had suffered and was glorified
(see Rev. 22. 1).
3. ITS FORCE. It grew in power and plenitude, although
it had no tributary. The streams of earth can add nothing
to the river of God. It became a river that could not be
passed over. It had power to heal (v. 8)‘ to revive (v. 9),
and to bring forth fruit and abiding freshness (v. 12).
Such is the power of the Holy Spirit working in those who
believe in Him as the Scripture hath said (John 7. 38, 39).
It is a symbol of the unsearchable riches of Christ and the
boundless love of God.
II, A Growing Experience of the River‘ s Depth
and Power. Being obedient to the Divine Leader, he
was brought in vision into a progressive experience of
this fullness of blessing. Three times over we are told
that “He brought me .thtrough, ,‘ indicating that these were
not final conditions, but the way to something deeper and
better-a passing experience. Note the order-1.
ANKLE DEEP. “He brought me through ; the waters
were to the ankles“ (v. 3). It was but a shallow acquain-tance
with the river of life, but still, he was in it. This.114 Handfuls on Purpose.
stage represents the “Spirit of Faith, ” the definite act of
stepping into the current of the Divine will, although
that will as yet is but little known.
2. KNEE DEEP. “Again He brought me.. . the waters
were to the knees. ” The only way the waters can rise
upon us is by our getting deeper down. Knee deep repre-sents
the “Spirit of Prayer. ” When the knees are captured
for God there will be delight in His fellowship. It is
possible to be a believer and yet have no liberty in prayer.
Although this is but the second stage of the Christian life,
how many fail to attain unto it, because they refuse to
be led (v. 2).
3. LOIN D E EP. “Again… the waters were to the
loins” (v. 4). The loins stand for the secret of the strength
of a man. The river has laid hold of his strength. This
represents the “Spirit of Power.” The praying Christian
will soon become a witnessing Christian. His loins are
now girded with the power of God. When a man is loin
deep there is less of the man seen, and the depth of the
river is in greater evidence. Those only ankle deepmake
a big show of themselves, and misrepresent the fullness
of the waters.
4. SWIMMING. “Afterward . . . the waters were risen,
waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over”
(v. 5). The swimming Christian has got beyond his
depth, and is now being borne up by the river of God.
This last stage represents the “Fullness of the Spirit. ”
Lnstead of wading through, he is now resting on the
waters. This is an experience that cannot be passed over.
There is nothing better than this in earth or in Heaven.
The perfection is not in us, but in the abounding fullness
of His provision for us. ““Waters to swim in. ” “Launch
out into the deep. ”.Old Testament Outlines. 115
THE MAN OF PURPOSE.
DANIT:L 1.
THE book of Daniel has been cast into the critics’ den,
but, like Daniel, it shall yet escape from the mouths of
the lions. Rationalists are rejecting it because of its
miracles and prophetic utterances. The Lord Jesus Christ
approved of it, for it formed part of the canonical Scrip-tures
in His time. Sir Isaac Newton said that “Chris-tianity
itself may be said to be founded on the prophecies
of Daniel. ”
After the siege of Jerusalem (v. l), Daniel had been
taken captive to Babylon, a distance of about eight
hundred miles. He was probably about fourteen years
of age at that time.
I. His Character. We know nothing of his parents,
but judging from his character as a lad, he must have
been nurtured in a God-fearing home, for the soundest
principles of life had been early formed. One has said:
“There is nothing rarer than personality, for there are so
many causes that hinder both interior and exterior, so
many hostile forces to crush, so many illusions to lead
astray. ” Blessed is that young man who can truly say, “I
know in whom I have believed, ” etc. A personal know-ledge
of God is the mightiest of all safeguards for city life,
II. His Temptations (vv. 5, 6). Testing times will
come. These are needed for our moral and spiritual
development. The king’ s command was to select blame-less
youths, skilful and wise, to take the honoured place
of students at the Royal College, and to “stand in the
king’ s palace. ” It was to be a three years’ course, to
learn the tongue of the Chaldcans. The Chaldeans were
the politicians, philosophers, theologians, and teachers
of the nation. What an opportunity for a young, bright,
hopeful man ! But how could Ize eat that meat and drink.116 Handfuls on Purpose.
that wine which had been consecrated to idols, and defile
his conscience ? The worldly man sees no difficulty, but
rather a grand chance to attain honour and earthly glory;
but it is very different with the man who is abiding in the
fellowship of God.
III. His Purpose. “He purposed in his heart that he
would not defile himself” (v. 8). This in our days would
be called “narrow-mindedness and puritanical bigotry. ”
In this connection see Paul’s advice (Rom. 14. 21). That
man is of little value for God who is not able to stand
against popular opinion. The Talmud says: “A myrtle
tree remains a myrtle even in the desert. ” A man of God
should act as such in any circumstance. God is not
influenced by man-made conditions. A lad of fifteen
years was following the plough near the Carse of Gowrie,
the horses stopped in the middle of the furrow. At that
moment this question came to his mind: “Might I not
make more of my life than I am doing? ” and straightening
himself up, he said, “God helping me, I will be a
missionary. ” That lad was Dr. James Stewart, of
Lovedale. Keep a conscience void of offence.
IV. His Reward. “God made Daniel to find favour”
(v. 9, R.v.). This was a great crisis in the life of Daniel.
He was found faithful, and God promoted him. Hence-forth
he is marked as a leader of the people. Faith in
God, and plain fare (v. 15), got the victory for both body
and soul. “Their countenances were fairer and fatter than
all who did eat the king’s meat. ” Godliness is profitable.
my? Because it is the highest type of character and the
best possible relationship to God and men. The wisdom
that profited Daniel was not found in the schools of the
learned, but in the closet of communion with the God of
Heaven. Determine to know nothing among men save
Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and the wisdom of God
will be in you..Old Testament Outlines. 117
THE MAN OF FAITH.
DANIEL 2. 16-28.
THE pleasures of the ungodly are easily spoiled. Because
of a dream, the king’s spirit is greatly troubled. The
vision had vanished from his mind, and he demanded of
his wise men that they should make it known (v. 5). A
thing with them impossible (v. IO), but a new opportunity
for the God of Daniel to manifest His wisdom and power.
I. Faith Exercised. It would seem as if the
executioners were on their way to carry out the king’s
mad decree (v. 5), when Daniel “went in and desired of
the king that he would give him time and he would show
him the interpretation” (v. 16). How did he know that
he would succeed in this? He believed that His God knew
all about it, and that by coming into closer touch with
Him the wisdom of God would be given him. All things
are possible to them that believe. Paul could say: “Be
of good cheer for I believe God” (Acts 27. 25).
II. Prayer Answered. “Then was the secret revealed
unto Daniel in a night vision” (v. 19). Daniel invited his
three companions to a night of prayer. They spread the
matter before the God of Heaven, and theta was the thing
revealed. Prayer does not bring God down to our thoughts
and actions, it brings our thoughts and actions up into
His. Contact with God means being made like God.
III. Thanks Given. Daniel said, “Blessed be the
Name of God for ever.. .He changeth the times.. .He
giveth wisdom.. . He revealeth the deep and secret things”
(vv. 20-23). If we would pray more, we would praise
more. The secrets of the Lord are with them that fear
Him. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.
IV. Testimony Borne. “There is a God in Heaven
that revealeth secrets.. . as for me, this secret is not revealed.118 Handfuls on Purpose.
to me for any wisdom that I have” (vv. 28-30). What a
consolation this is. The door into this favour is open to
all. The Holy Spirit has been given to guide into truth.
He searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
THE ALMIGHTY STONE.
DANIEL 2. 31-45.
DANIEL, by living in the fellowship of God, became a man
of visions, and the interpreter of the Divine mind. The
vision of the “Great Image” came to the king in a dream,
perhaps that Daniel may have the opportunity of revealing
the purposes of God in the ages to come. The different
parts of the image represent successive kingdoms (VV.
38-40). The Stone is the symbol of Christ, who shall yet
dash the nations to pieces like a potter’s vessel, when
there shall be “no place found for them” (w. 34, 35, 44).
Seven times in Scripture is our Lord Jesus Christ called a
Stone, the symbol of strength and durability. We shall
note four instances that refer to Israel, the Church, the
Nations, and to the World.
I. As a Stone, Israel Stumbled over Christ. He
was to them “a Stone of stumbling” because He came in
the form of a Servant. As a Stone He was rejected by the
Jewish builders (Matt. 21. 42), although He had been laid
in Zion as the Foundation by Jehovah (Isa. 28. 16).
Christ warned them that “Whosoever shall fall upon this
Stone shall be broken“ (Matt. 21. 44). They fell on it,
and as a nation were broken, and are yet scattered abroad,
dashed to pieces like a broken vessel.
II. As a Stone, the Church was built on Christ.
When Peter confessed Him as “The Christ, the Son of the
Living God, ” Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build My
church” (M&t. 16. 16-18). After Pentecost when Peter
declared that the lame man had been healed through faith.Old Testament Outlines. 119
in the Name of Jesus, he also added, “This is the Stone
which is set at nought of you builders, which is become
the head corrrer” (Acts 4 . 10, 11). We still come to Him
as unto a “Livircg Stone” (1 Peter 2. 4). He is the Author
of eternal life. Other foundation can no man lay. There
is none other Name.
III. As a Stone, Gentile power shall be broken by
Christ. “A Stone, cut out without hands, smote the
image” (v. 34). In our days “hands” count for much, but
this revolution shall be brought about “without hands. ”
The image represents Gentile authority, “the kingdoms of
this world. ” Their end shall come suddenly, like the
Calling of a stone from Heaven, and upon whom it shall
fall it shall grind to powder (Matt. 21. 44). The whole
image was “broken to pieces. ” His coming will be like
a thief in the night, unexpected by those who are asleep,
it will be like “lightning” (Matt. 24. 17), unmistakable.
No need saying, To here, or To there, when the lightning
flash comes, it is self -evident to all. Then the Babel tower of
this world’s Godless principles will be a heap of ruins, for
like them they have brick for stone. This appearing of
Christ cannot possibly refer to His first advent. Then the
Roman kingdom was not divided like the ten toes. Gentile
power was not destroyed at His first appearing. He then
came as a Babe, not with the crushing force of a falling
stone, taking vengeance on them that knew not God.
IV. As a Stone, the World will yet be filled with
the Glory of Christ. His coming is not the end of the
world, but the beginning of a new world. The Stone
becomes a great Mountain, and fills the whole earth (v. 35).
B
A mountain is the symbol of the Kingdom’s strength and
tability. When He comes in great power and glory, He
who is strong to smite will also be strong to save. To
understand this chapter read Psalm 72. “He shall put.120 Handfuls on Purpose.
down all rule and all authority and power, for He must
reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet”(1 Cor.
15. 24, 25). “Then the kingdoms of this world shall
become the Kingdom of our God, and of His Christ. ” His
Name is, and for ever will be, above every name. All
nations shall yet call Him blessed.
THE NONCONFORMISTS.
DANIEL 3.
THESE two images in chapters 2 and 3 represent man’s rule
and man’s worship. This “image of gold” to be set up in
the plain of Dura was the visible expression of Nebuchad-nezzar’s
“new theology. ” It was to be a great affair. But
true godly living is a very simple thing. A Revelation is
needed. This new popular religion brings a new trial to
the servants of God. There was-I.
Their Temptation. A new national idol had been
set up (w. 3-5). Man’s unenlightened ingenuity is always
setting up some new thing as an object of worship. It is
all the more delusive with its grand musical attractions
(v. 7). On the king’s part it was but another exhibition
of despotism and religious intolerance, another form of
“man’s inhumanity to man. ” The temptation at this
time to Daniel and his three fellow-believers was to-1.
SAVE THEIR SITUATION. They had been “set over
the affairs of the province of Babylon” (chap. 2. 49). As
government officials they held a high social position, and
perhaps received a good salary. Demas forsook Paul
when worldly advantage was to be gained (2 Tim. 4. 10).
It was also a temptation to-2.
SACRIFICE THEIR CONSCIENCE. It affected their
relationship with God. Of course all that the king de-manded
was conformity, what all sham religions are
satisfied with. James Renwick, the last of the Scottish.Old Testament Outlines. 121
martyrs, was offered freedom if he would “but let a drop
of ink fall on the paper. ” But, no, when it was to be the
sign of the denial of Christ.
II. Their Testimony. “Our God, whom we serve, is
able to deliver us… We will not serve thy gods” (W.
17, 18). This showed their-1.
FAITH IN THE POWER OF GOD. “If so be our God
is able. ” Those who are serving God daily are not likely
to be cast down suddenly. True hearted service gives
stability of character in the time of trial.
2. SUBMISSION TO THE WILL OF GOD. “But if not.. . we
will not” (v. 18). They would rather bum than turn.
Like Job, they could say, “Though He slay me, yet will
I trust” (see Acts 4. 19, 20). They were in Babylon, but
they were not of it.
III. Their Triumph. They were cast into the furnace
because of non-conformity, but “the fire had no power”
(vv. 26, 27). The wrath of man is a poor, impotent thing
in presence of the power of God. Their sufferings brought them-1.
A NEW SENSE OF FREEDOM. “Lo, I see four men
loose walking in the midst of the fire” (v. 25). Liberty
to walk in a furnace was a new experience for them. They
could truly “glory in their affliction.” They were not
saved from the fiery furnace, but they were saved irt it,
which was a much greater deliverance. The peace of
God in the heart is an indestructible principle, beyond the
reach of any fiery trial. The world cannot take it away.
2. A NEW SOURCE OF FELLOWSHIP. There was afourllz
in the fire, “like the Son of God. ” In being cast out by
men, they were brought into sweeter communion with the
Son of God. It was so with Paul and Silas (Acts 16). Bunyan, Rutherford, Madam Guyon, and multitudes of
others who suffered for Christ. Vol. IX. 9.122 Handfuls on Purpose.
3. A NEW OPPORTUNITY FOR SERVICE. “The king
promoted them” (v. 30). Their sphere of usefulness was
enlarged after their deeper experience of the power of God.
What a testimony they had to give, as men who had
passed from death into life ; who were dead, but are now
living in the power of a resurrection. Every severe trial
borne for Christ’ s sake will bring a new revelation of
Divine possibilities, that we may go back to live with a
new force in our being. The Captain of our salvation was
made perfect through suffering, and the servant is not
greater than his Master. By refusing to bow to the image
of gold man had set up, the image of God was more firmly
set up in their own hearts.
NEBUCHADNEZZAR–RUIN AND REMEDY.
DANIEL 4. 29-37.
“ALL Scripture. . . is profitable for doctrine, reproof,
correction, and instruction in righteousness. ” In the
experiences recorded in this chapter there is something
that might reprove our selfishness, correct our actions,
and instruct in the righteousness of God. This personal
testimony of Nebuchadnezzar was given as a Royal
Edict (v. 1). One may know much about the ways of
God and yet be an utter stranger experimentally to His
saving grace. Think of-I.
His Privileges. He had been favoured with special
opportunities. In chapter 2 we see God revealing to him in
that “Great Image” the character and history of Gentile
rule. He heard Daniel, the man of God, interpreting that
vision. He had seen the mighty power and grace of God
in saving the three Hebrews from the fiery furnace. He
had also publicly confessed that there was no other god like
the God of the Hebrews (chap. 3. 29). More than that, he had been solemnly warned of God by this vision of the.Old Testament Outlines. 123
great tree hewn down (v. 14)) and of his heart being changed
into a “beast’s heart” (v. 16). He was moreover counselled
to “break off his sins by righteousness, and his iniquities
by shewing mercy” (v. 27). How many there are in this
day of grace who likewise have been as mercifully dealt
with by visions, warnings, and encouragements. Their
need, like this king’s, is repentance toward God.
II. His Pride. “At the end of twelve months he
walked upon the palace of Babylon.. .and said, Is not
this great Babylon that I have built ? ” etc. (vv. 29, 30).
These tielve months were days of grace, but as “all things”
seemed to “continue as they were,” the warning of God
was neglected and forgotten. On the royal palace, about
four hundred feet high, he had a full view of “Great
Babylon” lying around him, four-square, with a circum-ference
of about sixty miles. There were twenty-five
streets intersecting each other-150 feet wide and about
15 miles long. The city had a hundred brazen gates, and
was walled about with a massive structure three hundred
feet high and eighty feet broad, so that two chariots with
four horses abreast could pass easily on the top. This
wall was also ornamented with two hundred and fifty
towers. The river Euphrates ran slowly through the
midst of the city. The great bridge built by the king, and
the royal palaces on each side, with the gorgeous temple
and the magnificent “hanging gardens,” might all be
before his eyes when he said, “Is not this great Babylon
that I have built.. .by the might of my power, and for
the honour of my majesty ? ” (v. 30). When the Pharisee
said, “I thank God that I am not as other men,” he was
also glorying in his great Babylon of self-righteousness.
Cardinal Wolsey gloried in his Babylon of “worldly
honour. ” All glorifying that is not in the Lord will come
to naught..124 Handfuls on Purpose.
III. His Downfall. “While the word was in the king’s
mouth, there fell a voice from Heaven saying, The king-dom
is departed from thee,” etc. (w. 31, 32). Pride
goeth before a fall. He who was glorying in the grandeur
of his own works is now driven out from the presence of
men as a raving maniac. The root cause of it was rebellion
against the Word of God. Sin, like lunacy, separates and
unfits for the fellowship of God.
IV. His Recovery. “At the end…1 lifted up mine
eyes to Heaven, and mine understanding returned unto
me” (v. 34). What an awakening! To find himself living
the life of a beast! The beast life is that of eating and
drinking, with no knowledge of God. There are multi-tudes
which need just such an awakening. What he
wanted was understanding. To cut his hair, clip his
nails, and to cast a royal robe over him was not the
restoration that he needed. Outward reformation can
never stand for an inward apprehension. The eyes of the
understanding must be enlightened. It is not a new
faculty, but a new vision of guilt and of God. The prodigal
made this discovery “when he came to himself.” The
evidence of his sound conversion was, “Now I @raise the
King of Heaven” and colzfess that “those that walk in
pride He is able to abase” (v. 37).
BELSHAZZAR’S DOOM;
OR, SINNING AGAINST LIGHT.
DANIEL 5. 22-31.
A HEATHEN genius once made a beautiful goblet, with a
serpent coiled up at the bottom, with a pair of gleaming
eyes, open mouth, and fang ready to sting, so that when
the drinker emptied the cup the fearful thing suddenly
appeared. Such are the pleasures of sin. At last they
bite like a serpent. Such was the experience of Belshazzar
i.Old Testament Outlines. 1%
at the end of his great godless feast (v. 1). Inflamed with
wine, he demands that the hoIy vessels of the Lord be
brought (v. 2), but in the same hour the hand of judgment
appears (v, S), and terror pierces his proud heart.
Belshazzar is a solemn warning to those who are sinning
against the light. Look at-I.
His Opportunity. “0 Belshazzar.. .thou knewest
all this” (v. 22). All what? See chapter 4. 27-34. He
knew all about his father’s (or grandfather’s) jwide and
downfall, how he was humbled by God to the degrading
life of a beast, and how when he looked up to Heaven his
understanding returned again to him. He knew all this,
yet went on in his life of sin and godlessness. Many sin in
ignorance, but how many to-day are sinning against the
“knowledge of the truth,” like the Scribes and Pharisees
of old ; living the darkness of sinful pleasure, rather than
the light of God’s salvation.
II. His Guilt. “He lifted himself up against the Lord
of Heaven” (v. 23). It is easily seen how this was done.
He simply ignored the light and warnings of God, and
put material and sinful things in the place of the “Lord of
Heaven. ” The gods of silver, gold, brass, and iron had
more influence over him than the “God of Heaven. ” The
present-day form of this is following certain popular
opinions and ignoring the revelation of God’s will as
declared in His Word. Lifting “himself up” by his own
thoughts and works, and denying the Lord that bought
him.
III. His Failure. “Thou art weighed in the balances
and found wanting” (v. 27). The weighing process may
have occupied several years. The Lord is slow to wrath.
Character is formed through a course of actions. By Him
actions are weighed. Job once uttered this request, “Oh
that I were weighed in an even balance. ” God’s balances.I!26 Handfuls on Purpose.
are always just. While the sinner is thoughtlessly going
on in his evil course, God is silently weighing him in His
unerring balance. He was found walzting. Wanting in
faith, in love, and in submission to His will. Belshazzar
was uninfluenced by all God’s providential dealings with
him. Without any heart response, he “passed on and was
punished. ” Judas, and all like him, will ultimately find
“their own place, ” a place of their own preparing.
IV. His Doom. “That night was Belshazzar.. slain”
(v. 30). In the night of his greatest glory-the night of
his great delusion. While he feasted, the Medes Fd
Persians stealthily entered the city, and an unexpected
end suddenly came. Lust, unbelief, and indifference are no
protection against the overwhelming power of rejected
truth. Those weighed and found wanting by God are
destitute of all power of resistance. The thunder cloud
of God’s judgment may gather slowly, but when the light-ning
flash comes it will be sudden, irresistible, and
fatal. How shall we escape if we neglect so great
salvation 1
DANIEL-STEADFAST IN THE FAITH.
DANIEL 6.
DANIEL has now been probably sixty-eight years in the
city of Babylon. He had lived under the reign of three
kings, and was about eighty-five years old. He had had
many severe trials and temptations, but he remained
faithful to his God, his conscience, and his fellow-men.
Notice his- – /
I. Integrity. “We shall not find any occasion against
this Daniel, except we find it concerning the law of his
God” (v. 5). His enemies themselves are witnesses to the
purity of his life, His character was invulnerable. As a
man of prayer and of faith he was faultless, even in the.OId Testament Outlines. 127
details of his arduous business life. The undercurrent of
his nature was as pure as the upper. This was the secret
of his moral strength. The daily life is perhaps the severest
test of the Christian character, but the pure in heart shall
see God, and seeing Him they shall endure.
II. Steadfastness. “When Daniel knew that the
writing was signed he went.. .and prayed, and gave thanks
before God, as he did aforatims” (v. 10). Their plot was to
get the law of the Medes (unalterable) to clash with the
law of Daniel and his God. Although he knew that they
had succeeded in making and setting a trap for his feet, he
trusted in God and went on as aforetime. Circumstances,
adverse as they were, had no effect in changing his holy
purpose to be true to God, and his own conscience. General
Gordon, when in the Sudan, used to lay his handkerchief
at the door of his tent each morning while he prayed, and
no one dared to enter till the signal was removed. Courage,
brother, do not stumble in your prayer life. Be steadfast
in your faith and practice.
III. Sufferings. He was doubtless persecuted through
envy (v. 3). Their dastardly scheme seemed to succeed.
Daniel is condemned to the lions. This was the Persians’
mode of capital punishment, as the fiery furnace was that
of the Babylonians. This is one strong proof of the
authenticity of the book. This was a great crisis in the
experience of the prophet. Must all be sacrificed to
appease the wrath of these haters of godliness ? Every
sacrifice we make for God brings for us a fuller enjoyment
of the salvation of God.
IV. Deliverance. “My God hath shut the lions’
mouths, ” etc. (w. 20-22). This was a new experience of
the power of God. While his enemies are rejoicing over
his supposed destruction, Daniel is rejoicing in a new
salvation. God will vindicate the faith of His own true.128 Handfuls on Purpose.
servant. He is able to do exceedingly above all that we
think.
V. Faith. “Because he believed in his God” (v. 23, Z.C.).
God will not deny Himself. To trust Him is to put Him
on His honour. The secret of victory in the Christian life
lies deep down in our oneness of life and purpose with Him.
VI. Doom of Enemies. “They were cast into the den
and their bones broken in pieces” (v. 24). The triumph
of the wicked is short.. They digged a pit for the servant
of God, and they themselves fell into it, as Haman was
hanged on his own gallows. As these enemies of Daniel
had to do with Daniel’ s God, so the enemies of the Gospel
of Christ have to do with the Christ of the Gospel. To
reject the Word of God is to reject the God of the Word.
The wrath of God must abide on the unbeliever (John
3. 36). Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.
THE END OF THE MATTER.
DANIEL 7.
“HITBERTO is the end of the matter” (v. 28). What has been here referred to is prophetic of the final condition
of things in this world. This book is divided into two
parts. Chapters l-7 give the narrative portion unbroken.
Chapters 7-12 give the prophetic references unbroken.
Chronological order is not adhered to. Daniel, as a man of
vision, was a man of action. The visions of God and His
truth ought ever to have practical results.
I. The Vision. This revelation and the interpretation
are a repetition of the vision of the image in chapter 2.
The four parts of the image correspond perfectly with the
four “beasts” seen here. As the Stone broke in pieces the
image of the Gentile kingdoms, so here the “Son of Man”
takes the dominion from the beasts (vv. 12-14). The world-kingdoms
are all as “beasts” rising up out of the great sea.Old Testament Outlines. 129
of humanity. The “beasts” referred to, note, are all
beasts of prey-savage, oppressive, ferocious. Not like
the ox or the sheep. These powers, represented as strong,
unreasonable, brute forces, contain a sorrowful reflection
on our boasted civilisation. They have been permitted
by God to rise up into power and authority for some wise
purpose. Even nations may need surgical operations as
well as individuals. Part of the vision has been already
fulfilled in the downfall of the Babylonian, Persian,
Grecian, and Roman kingdoms. The rest will as certainly
follow.
II. The Blessed End (v. 28). A new monarchy h
coming. The history of the “Beast” kingdoms has been
written in tears and blood. The new Kingdom will be the
Kingdom of God and of His Christ. What notable events I
1. THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN. “Behold the Son
of Man came with the clouds of Heaven” (v. 13). He is
the new Head of humanity. The “beasts” are from the
earth. He is the Lord from Heaven. Study the parable
of the “Nobleman” in Luke 19. See Matthew 24. 27 as
to the suddenness of His appearing.
2. Tnz;. DESTRUCTION OF THE BEASTS’ POWER. “They
had their dominion taken away” (v. 12). They have had
a long rule, but the world hath not learned to know God,
and never will through beastly government. ‘Tis the Man
Christ Jesus, now crowned Lord of all, whose right it is
to reign. He shall reign, and the uttermost parts of the
earth shall become His possession.
3. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A NEW KINGDOM. “And
there was given Him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, . . .
and all nations shall serve Him” (v. 14). This kingdom
will be urziversad”Al1 people, nations, and languages.”
It will be everlasting-“An everlasting dominion which
shall not pass away.” Every tongue shall confess Him
Lord, to the glory of God the Father..130 Handfuls on Purpose.
4. THE VICTORY OF TNE SAINTS. “And the time came
that the saints possessed the kingdom” (v. 22). SO the
promise will be fulfilled: “The saints of the Most High
shall take the kingdom” (v. 18). Blessed “end of the
matter” this! It is the s&&s that shall rule, not the
sects. Know you not that the saints shall judge the
world? (1 Cor. 6. 2). Fear not, little flock, it is your
Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. Yes,
there is a good time coming for the trusting, toiling,
suffering servants of God. “If children, then heirs.” We
must first possess the Divine nature before we can enter
into the Divine inheritance. A criminal has no place or
say in the state, he is always treated as an alien. Neither
can a sin-loving soul have any place in the Kingdom of
God, which is righteousness and peace, and joy in the
Holy Ghost. “My hope, ” said a dying saint, “is in the
justice of God-the justice of God to Jesus Christ.” Ye
are complete in Him.
DIVINE LEADING.
Psalm 107. 7.
1. He leads like a Saviour, out of the desert of sin
(Deut. 32. 10).
2. He leads like a teacher, into the knowledge of self
and of God (John 16. 13).
3. He leads like an eagle, above the things of earth
(Deut. 32. 11, 12).
4. He leads like a shepherd into pastures of greenness
and paths that are right (Psa. 23. 2, 3).
5. He leads like a guide who is faithful to the end
(Isa. 58. 11).
6. He leads like a father dealing with a weary child
(Deut. 1. 31).
7. He leads as a lamb unto the living fountains of
eternal delight (Rev. 7. 17)..Handfuls on Purpose. 181
EXPOSITORY OUTLINES.
New Testament.
JUSTIFICATION.
ROMANS 3-5.
IN the book of Job (chap. 25. 4) this great question is
asked: “How can a man be justified with God ? “ And in
these chapters before us we have a clear and decided
answer. The importance of the question demalzds a plain
heart -satisfying answer. The question is often asked:
“How can a man get on best in the world ? ” How can a
man be healthy ? How gain the favour and patronage of
men ? How can a man be happy ? etc. But when a man
discovers himself a guilty sinner before God his question
is : “How can a man be justified?” We shall try and
answer this question by asking a few others.
I. Do all Men Alike Need to be Justified ? In
Remans 3 we read, “All are under sin” (v. 9); “All the
world guilty” (v. 19) ; “All have come short” (v. 23).
The portrait of both Jew and Gentile under the law is
distinctly drawn in verses 10 to 18. And the result sought
is “~WYY mouth sto@d,” every conscience smitten, every
soul guilty before God. Each one believing and becoming
subject to the judgment of God (see margin). All must be
justified alike, for all are condemned alike, “for there is
no difference” (v. 22).
II. What is it to be Justified ? In these chapters we
notice a sevenfold blessing possessed by the justified.
Taking the facts as we find them, they are these-1.
To be justified is to be FORGIVEN (chap. 4. 7, 8)..132 Handfuls on Purpose.
2. To be justied is to be SAVED FROM WRATH (chap, 5.9).
3. To be justified is to be RECKONED RIGETEOUS (chap.
4. 9).
4. To be justified is to have PEACE WITH GOD (chap.
5. 1).
5. To be justified is to REJOICE IN HOPE (chap. 5. 2).
6. To be justified is to ~OSSBSG TIXE LOVE OF GOD
(chap. 5. 5).
7. To be just&d is to be REZONC~ED TO GOD (chap.
5. 10).
In view of these precious blessings, what is it not to
be justified ? The difference is as far apart as light and
darkness, Heaven and Hell.
III. Who is it that God Justifieth ? “Oh, ” says the
wisdom of man, ‘!I believe God justifies the good and the
godly. ” But what saith the Scriptures? “He justifieth
the ungodly” (chap. 4. 5). “For Christ died for the
ungodly” (chap. 5. 6). “He came to save sinners. ” So
“while we were simws Christ died for us (chap. 5. 8).
He came not to call the righteous, therefore how could
God justify them, whom Christ had not called ? Man
must take his place in the ranks of the ungodly before he
can be justified in God’ s sight. It is very humbling, but
it is the “bowed down” He raiseth up.
IV. How can God Justify the Guilty? Jesus was
delivered for our offemes, and raised for our justification
(chap. 4. 25). God hath set Jesus forth to be a propitiation
that He might be just and the Justifier of him which
believeth on Jesus (chap. 25, 26). God can justify the
guilty, because atonement has been made for them (chap.
5. 11). The propitiation was God’ s own appointment.
He Himself paid the price of atonement (Exod. 30. 15);
and that price having been fully paid, He is just in justi-fying
the believers in Jesus. Man’ s guilt is first forgiven,.New Testament Outlines. 133
then God can righteously justify. He cannot justify men
in an ungodly state, it is the believers in Jesus He justifies,
for when we believe in Him we are forgiven and so fit to be
justified.
V. Will a Man not be Justified by his Good Works ?
“By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified ilz His sight” (chap. 3. 20). If a man does as well as he can
(and who does that?) will he not be justified? Yes, in
the sight of men (James 2. 21), but not in the sight of
God. “If Abraham were justified by works, he hath
whereof to glory (in thesight of men), but not before God”
(chap. 4. 2). There can be no good works in God ‘ S sight
unless they come from a good heart. And the fact that a
man trusts his own goodness instead of God’s proves that
his heart is still at enmity against Him.
VI. In what Way does God Justify a Man ? He
justifies him judicially, as by His ewn righteous act as
Judge, the moment he believes in Jesus as his atoning
Substitute. But there are three words that occur ten times
in this fourth chapter that clearly express the nature and
manner of ihis justification. These words are, “counted, ”
“reckoned, ” “imputed. ” Thus the righteousness of God is
counted, reckoned, imputed to the believer. In the same
sense as our sins were laid on or imputed to Christ. It is
wholly a Divine reckoning. This righteousness is “u$olz
al2 that believe” (chap. 3. 22) just as surely as He bore
our sins in His own body. Where is feeling then? It is
excluded. The question is : What hath the Lord done ?
VII. Can a Man be Justified by simply Believing?
Yes, completely, at once, and for ever-and in no other
way. God justifies the believer is Jesus (chap. 3. 26).
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith
(chap. 3. 28). Therefore being justified by faith, we have
peace with God (chap. 5. 1). Abraham bstimd God, and.134 Handfuls on Purpose.
it was counted for righteousness (chaps. 4. 3-16; 3. 22;
Acts 13. 39). The believing is ours, the counting is God ‘ s.
By faith we count on God’s Word being true, and act
accordingly. He that does not reckon on this is an unbe-liever
; and he that believeth not is condemned already
(John 3. 18).
JOY IN GOD.
ROMANS 5. 11.
“JOY” has been defined as the “smile of happiness, and the
flower of glory. ” This joy is-I.
Needed. There is room for a broader “smile of
happiness” on the countenance of our life and work. But
the smile may be on the face while an aching sorrow is in
the heart. This joy comes through the experience of God’s
salvation, but how possible it is to know God, and yet,
like David, to lose the “joy of His salvation” (Psa. 51. 12).
Where there is spiritual bondage there can only be a joyless
testimony. It is when the captivity of the soul is turned
back that the joy becomes so great; then we are like men
that dream (Psa. 126. 1).
II. Possible. It is the will of Christ that His joy
should be in us (John 15. 11). Christ’s joy was the joy
of conscious fellowship with the Father. This “oil of joy”
is a blessed substitute for the spirit of heaviness. No
Christian worker should be without it. Even when he
goes forth weeping, bearing precious seed, he knows that
he will doubtless come back rejoicing, bringing sheaves
with him (P.S. 126. 5, 6). Peter and John found this joy
possible even while suffering shame for the Name and
cause of Jesus Christ (Acts 5. 41; see Acts 16. 25).
III. Conditional. It is joy “in the Lord” (Isa. 61. 10).
It is not joy in ourselves, in anything we have or are. It
is joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through
whom we have obtained reconciliation (Rom. 5. 11)..New Testament Outlines. 135
This holy gladness can come from no other source, and
from no other condition. There is a joy that is like beauty
in a face, it is attractive, hut only skin deep: this joy is
as deep as the heart of the Eternal God; it is joy unspeak-able
and full of glory (1 Peter 1. 8). To rejoice in the
Lord is to be joyful-1.
In His NAME. His Name stands for all that He is
in His essential character (Psa. 20. 5).
2. In His WORK. The redeemed of the Lord shall come
with singing, and everlasting joy upon their head
(Isa. 51. II).
3. In His WO RD. When His words are believed the
soul must rejoice, as one who has found great treasure
(Neh. 8. 12).
IV. Effectual. It is “your strength” or “stronghold”
(R.V., margilz). Joy is strength, in the same sense in
which despair is weakness. Joy in the Lord is one of the
most aggressive of all spiritual forces. It was D. L.
Moody who said that “God never uses a discouraged
man.” This joy is a power, because it is the evidence of a
life happily adjusted to the perfect will of God. This
strength is needed to overcome the manifold temptations
that are ever at hand (James 1. l-3), and to uphold when we
are made partakers of the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter
4. 13). If joy in the Lord is to make us strong, then let us
rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say, rejoice. The
Lord Himself fulfil His joy in us for His own Name’s sake
(John 17. 15). _.
THE BELIEVER’ S RELATIONSHIPS.
ROMANS 6.
THIS chapter explains the “death and life” character of the
Christian. The beginning, the cause, and effect of both
are clearly stated. To the unspiritual this statement is
full of inexplicable riddles. And even to many who know.136 Handfuls on Yurpoue.
Christ it is full of mysteries. To those who are taught of
the Spirit it is an exact portrait of the birth and life of the
new inner man. It teaches-I.
The Believer’s Relationship to Christ. This
connection is of the closest possible kind. It implies–
1. DEATH WITH CHRIST. “Crucified with Him” (v. 6).
“Baptised into His death ” (v. 3). “By one Spirit are we
all baptised into one body” (1 Cor. 12. 13). Our first
connection with Christ is with His death. Our tist
dealings with God must be as a sinner. Life for God
implies the death of self. “I am crucified with Christ,
nevertheless I live. ” The question of sin must be settled
first. It is settled for us in our identity with His death.
2. BURIAL WITH CHRIST. “Therefore we are buried
with Him” (v. 4). When a man is buried he is supposed
to be out of sight, and on the fair way soon to be beyoi d
all possibility of identification. If the death has not been
real the burial will not take place. We don‘t bury as long
as there is a spark of life remaining. So the old man will
not be put out of sight as long as he lives. You might try
to hide him and conceal his working, but if he is not dead
he will be seen or heard somehow.
3. RESURRECTION WITH CHRIST. “Like as Christ was
raised from the dead SO we also” (v. 4). Resurrection can
only follow where death has taken place. The power of
the old life must go before the new can come; and this new
life is wholly from God. It is a being born from above, a
new creation. “You hath He quickened who were dead. ”
As surely as we have been dead and buried, so surely are
we risen. “Passed from death into life ” (John 5. 24).
4. LIKENESS TO CHRIST. “We shall be also in the like-ness
of His resurrection” (v. 5). This resurrection likeness
is the result of being planted in the likmess of His death.
If we have not felt the pangs of crucifixion we cannot have.New Testament Outlines. 137
the resurrection image, any more than we can have day
without night. This is the Divine likeness, the likeness of
a conqueror, one endued with power.
II. The Believer’ s Relation to Sin. It is-1.
TKE RELATIONSHIP THAT LIFE HAS TO D E A TH.
“Reckon yourselves dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto
God” (v. 11). Sin is not dead, but the believer is to be
dead to it. Death puts an end to fellowship in this life.
There is a great gulf fixed between the living and the dead.
No passing from one to another. So ought it to be with
the Christian and sin.
2. TRE RELATIONSHIP TRE ACQUITTED HAVE TO TIIE
BROKEN LAW. “He that is dead is freed (justified) from
sin” (v. 7). When a man has been acquitted before the
Court, the law has no more claim on him. So the believer
has been liberated from the claims of sin. The claims of
1 the law end in death. Having therefore died in Christ, we
are justified from sin. It will still make demands, but,
remember, ye are free (v. 18).
3. THE RELATIONSHIP THE VICTOR HAS TO TRE VAN-QUISHED.
“Sin shall not have dominion over you”
(v. 14). It is a foe disarmed, a king dethroned; as one
whose power and authority are destroyed, but whose
nature remains unchanged and unchangeable. A frozen
serpent (that is powerless until warmed), over which we
have the mastery and can easily destroy. Sin was once
our master, but we must no longer “obey it” (v. 12).
III. The Believer’ s Relationship to Service. It is-1.
ONE OF PERSONAL SURRENDER. “Yield yourselves
unto God” (v. 13). They first gave themselves unto the
Lord. The whole man, with his affections and desires,
must be consecrated to God. Some are prepared to yield
time and money, but still reserve themselves for themselves,
yo1. xx. 10.138 Handfuls on Purpose.
Your members are to be yielded as His servants to
righteousness (v. 19).
2. ONE OF H EARTY OREIXENCE. “Ye have obeyed
from 2l.w Iwart” (v. 1 7 ). There can be no true service
without hearty obedience. There is much service done to -please
man. God looketh upon the heart. If a man has
not obeyed the do&r& of Christ he cannot be a servant of
Christ. His truth and work go together.
3. ONE OF SINGLENESS OF PURPOSE. “Becoxpe servants
to God” (v. 22). “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as
unto the Lord.” Call no man master in this matter. If
a believer has got the single eye, where is man-pleasing ?
There is often a wide difference between men-pleasers
and God-pleasers. “Ye are not your own, for ye are
bought with a price.”
NO CONDEMNATION.
ROMANS 8. 1.
I. What? “No condemnation ! ” What a h a p py
privilege ! What a blessed hope ! All the black dread past
blotted out. Blessed are the people that are in such a
case.
II. When? “Now. ” “There is therefore now no
condemnation. ” Then this great blessing may be enjoyed
in this present life. We may walk through this world of
sin and sadness with the assurance in our hearts that we
are forgiven, and that our sins have already been judged,
and that the night of guilt is passed and the day of peace
hath dawned in the soul.
III. Why? Because “In Christ Jesus. ” He is the
Refuge of the soul. God is our refuge and strength. Here
the soul is as secure as Noah was in the ark. To be “in
Christ” is to be cleansed from all sin, and wrapt up in the.New Testament Outlines. 139
centre of God’s eternal purposes. To be in Him is to be
a branch in the True Vine, fitted to bear fruit. In Christ,
we are complete, for He is made of God unto us, wisdom,
righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (I Cor.
1. 30). In Him, we are lzot found with our own righteous-ness,
but clothed upon with the beauty of the Lord. If
any man be in Christ he is a new creation, therefore there
is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ
JeSUS. .
THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT.
ROMANS 8. 2.
THE law of the Spirit is as certain as the law of gravitation.
He has His fixed method of operation, although, like the
wind, He goeth where He listeth.
I. Its Nature. “It is the law of life.” “The law of
the Spirit of life.” The law of the living One. It is the
Spirit that quickeneth. The letter killeth, but the Spirit
giveth life. The moral law cannot give life, its force is
only felt in making sin exceeding sinful. “I through the
law am dead” (Gal. 2. 19).
II. Its Sphere of Action. “The law of the Spirit of
life in Christ Jesus. ” This law of life can only operate
through the Prince of Life. The living truth of God comes
to us through Him who is the Word of God (John 3. 34).
The Spirit of the Lord was upon Him to preach good
tidings to the meek. The last Adam was made a life-giving
Spirit (I Cor. 15. 45).
III. Its Power. “Hath made me free from the law of
sin and death.” The law of the Spirit of life in Christ
Jesus is mightier than the law of sin and death, bringing
deliverance and freedom. Where the Spirit of the Lord is
there is liberty. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty.140 Handfuls on Purpose.
wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Gal. 5. 1). Having
been made free from sin, it is that we might become
servants to God (Rom. 6. 18-23). The sting of death is
sin, but thanks be to God which giveth us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15. 56, 57).
THE CONDEMNATION OF SIN.
ROMANS 8. 3.
I. The Weakness of the Law. “What the law could
not do. ” The law can do much for it is “holy, just, and
good,” but it cannot forgive sin. It is utterly weak to
justify a sinner. “By the deeds of the law shall no flesh
be justified. ” The law made nothing perfect (Heb. 7. 18).
II. The Love of God. “God sending His own Son. ”
Irt tltis was manifested the love of God toward us (1 John
4. 9). Who can measure the depths of this love in allowing
His “Only Beloved” to be identified with human sin and
guilt (John 3. 16).
III. The Grace of Christ. “His own Son in the
likeness of sinful flesh. ” What grace is this on the part of
the Son ! “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.. .
full of grace and truth. Although in the form of God,
and equal with God, He made Himself of no reputation.. .
and became obedient unto death, even the death of the
cross” (Phil. 2. 6-S). By grace are ye saved.
IV. The End of Sin. “And condemned sin in the
flesh. ” By the offering of His body as a sacrifice, He hath
finished transgression and made an end of sin as an obstacle
in man’s way to God. “He was made sin for us.. . that
we might be made the righteousness of God in Him”
(2 Cor. 5. 21). We are sanctified through the offering
of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Heb. 10. 10).
Sin was condemned in Him that we might be justified
in Him..New Testament Outlines. 141
THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE LAW.
ROMANS 8. 4, 5.
I. Its Character. The law is righteous, and demands
righteousness. It is “Holy, just, and good.” It is an
expression of the righteousness of God. By the law is
the knowledge of sm. They are ignorant of God’s right-eousness
who seek to establish their own.
II. Its Fulfilment. “The law might be fulfilled in
us. ” Fulfilled by our submitting to the righteousness
of God in Christ, for He is the end of the law for righteous-ness
to every one that believeth. Love is the fulfilling of
the law. For with the t’ zeart man believeth unto righteous-ness.
We can only be made the righteousness of God
il? Him, who was made sin for us (1 Cor. 5. 21).
III. The Condition. “Who walk not after the flesh,
but after the Spirit.” They who would rejoice in Christ
Jesus can have no confidence in the flesh (Phil. 3. 3).
To walk after the Spirit is to walk in the mind of Jesus
Christ. Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfil the
lusts of the flesh. Those led by the Spirit are not under
the law. Walk in the Spirit and the righteousness of the
law will be abundantly fulfilled in you, for the fruit of
the Spirit which is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self -control, ” will
be manifested. Surely the law could not have a better
fulfilment than this. These are not works, but the fruit
of the indwelling Spirit (Gal. 5. 16-25). Those created
after the Spirit will mind the things of the Spirit (v. 5).
_–._-THE
CARNAL AND SPIRITUAL MINDS.
ROMANS 8. 6, 7.
I. The Carnal Mind. “The carnal (or fleshly) mind
is death. ” There is absolutely nothing in it that is pleasing
to God. He that soweth to this fleshly mind shall reap.142 Handfuls on Purpose.
corruption, the proof of death. They that are in the flesh
cannot please God. The carnal mind is not death in a
passive sense, for it is even worse than that, it is “enmity
against God, ” and so very bitter that it cannot possibly
be subject to the law of God (v. 7). A corrupt tree cannot
bring forth good fruit. The only cure for the carnal mind
is crucifixion. Saul was delivered from his fleshly mind
when he said, “What wilt Thou have me to do?” “1
am crucified with Christ.”
II. The Spiritual Mind. “To be spiritually minded
is life and peace. ” It is the evidence of a great change.
Life and peace are the results of this new Spirit-creation.
The enmity has been slain by the Cross. They now SOW
to the Spirit and reap life everlasting. The spiritual
mind is a mind illumined by the Spirit of truth, enjoying
the love of God, and seeking the carrying out of His
purposes. They are alive unto God, and thus members
are yielded to Him as instruments of righteousness (Horn.
6. 11-13). It is the good tree that cannot bring forth evil
fruit (Matt. 7. 18). It is a condition of life in Christ and
peace with God.
IN THE SPIRIT.
ROMANS 8. 8, 9.
I Not in the Flesh. “Ye are not in the flesh,”
although still in the body. They that are iti the flesh
(carnal mind) cannot please God, for they are in a state
of death (v. 6). Ye are not in that condition, for ye have
passed from death into life, being born of God.
II. In the Spirit. Not in the fleshly mind is to be in
the spiritual mind. Not to have the Spirit of Christ is to
be none of His. The flesh stands for sinful, helpless man
the Spirit is the holy, mighty, life-giving One. To be in
,the Spirit is to be in God, bound up in the bundle of the
living ones..New Testament Outlines. 143
III. The Spirit in You. “If so be that the Spirit of
God dwell in you. ” “Know ye not that ye are the temple
of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ? ”
(I Cor. 3. 16). After that ye believed ye were sealed with
the Holy Spirit of promise. Because ye are sons, God
hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts
(Gal. 4. 6). The indwelling Spirit is the secret of Divine
wisdom and power. He is able to work the good will of
God in the heart and through the life. If the Spirit of
God who leads into all truth, is in you, then you need not
that any man teach you (John 2. 27).
THE RESURRECTING SPIRIT.
ROMANS 8. 10, 11.
I, The Cause of Death. “Sin. ” “The body is dead
because of sin. ” Sin was the death of the soul, it is also
the death of the body. In Christ Jesus both soul and body
will yet be delivered from its power (John 11. 25, 26).
II. The Secret of Life. “The Spirit is life because of
righteousness. ” The Spirit brings life because it brings
the soul of the believer into rig?&zess of relationship with
God. “He that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit”
(1 Cor. 6. 17).
III. The Abode of the Spirit. “The Spirit that
raised up Jesus dwell ilz yozc. ” When Christ was restored
to the home of His Father’s bosom, the Holy Spirit came
to seek a home in the hearts of those redeemed by His
blood. “He shall abide with you for ever,”
IV. The Relationship Between the Spirit and
Christ. “If Christ be in you…His Spirit dwelleth in
you. ” The indwelling or abiding of Christ in the Spirit
is often spoken of as synonymous. “Strengthened by
Uis Spirit ilz the ironer man, that Ckrist mny dwell in your
hearts by faith” (Eph. 3. 16, 17). The precious truth is.144 Handfuls on Purpose.
this, that Christ’ s presence and power is realised by us
in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.
Hear what the Spirit saith.
V. The Power of the Spirit. We are taught here that-1.
HE RAISED UP CHRIST FROM THE DEAD. He was
put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit
(1 Peter 3. 18). This same mighty Spirit who hath
quickened us into newness of Iife quickened Him.
2. HE SHALL ALSO QUICKEN YOUR MORTAL BODIES.
He who raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise us up also
(2 Cor. 4. 14). This corruptible must put on incorrup-tion.
The Holy Spirit, who hath begun the good work iti
us, will perfect that which concerneth us, even our mortal
bodies. By the same Spirit shall they be changed like
unto His own glorious body (2 Cor. 5. 4, 5).
THE NEW LIFE.
ROMANS 8. 12-14.
I. This is a Life not After the Flesh. “We are
debtors not to live after the flesh.” Fleshly wisdom or
energy could never produce such a life. It is a life which
ye have from God. Born of God.
II. This Life Owes Nothing to the Flesh. “We are
debtors sot to theflesh. ” It received nothing from the flesh,
gave nothing to it. The new man owes the old man nothing.
Let the time past suffice for the will of the flesh.
III. This is a Life Opposed to the Flesh. “Mortify
the deeds of the body.” The salvation brought to us by
the grace of God teaches us to deny all ungodliness. Paul
kept his body under lest he should be cast aside as a useless
weapon (1 Cor. 9. 2-7).
IV. This Life should be in the Power of the Spirit.
“If ye through the Spirit. ” In yielding to the Spirit we
shall obey the truth, thereby our souls shall be purified.New Testament Outlines. 145
(1 Peter 1. 22). This is God’s great purpose concerning
us (2 Thess. 2. 13).
V. This Life is to be Under the Control of the
Spirit. “Led by the Spirit. ” When the Spirit comes
within us it is that we might “walk in His ways” (Ezek.
36. 27). He will guide you into all truth.
VI. This is to be a Life of Fellowship. “Sons of
God. ” Beloved now are we the sons of God. Our fellow-ship
is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ,
and in the Communion, of the Holy Ghost.
THE PRIVILEGES OF SONSHIP.
ROMANS 8. 15-17.
IN our present condition we arc very slow to apprehend all
that is meant by being “Sons of God. ”
I. Sons are Delivered from Bondage. “They have
not received the spirit of bondage.” The fear of the law
has been taken away (Exod. 20. lS, 19). As many as are
of the works of the law are under the curse. Perfect love
casteth out fear.
II. Sons have the Spirit of Adoption. “We have’
received the Spirit of adoption.” They are not only
adopted, but they have the true S@irit of children born of
God.
III. Sons Acknowledge the Father. “We cry Abba
Father. ” I will arise and go to my father, and will say
unto him, Father, the Maker and Lord of all is my Father.
IV. As Sons they have the Witness of the Spirit.
“The Spirit beareth witness with our spirit that we are the
children of God ” (1 John 5. 10).
V. As Sons they are Heirs of God. “If children, then
heirs. ” Having been joined to Christ they become joint-.146 Handfuls on Purpose.
heirs with Christ, and He is “Heir of all things. ” All
things are yours, for ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
VI. As Sons they Suffer with Him. “If so be that we
suffer with Him.” The disciple is not greater than his
Lord. If ye be reproached for the Name of Christ, happy
are ye.
VII. As Sons they shall be Glorified with Him.
“Glorified together. ” The Head and the members are not
separated in suffering, nor in glory. The will of Christ the
Son has made this sure (John 17. 24). Having been made
partakers of the divine nature they shall also be made
partakers of His heavenly glory.
THE FUTURE MANIFESTATION.
ROMANS 8. 18-25.
I. It is a Great Reality (vv. 18, 19). “It doth not yet
appear what we shall be. ” Just now the world knoweth US
not as it knew Him not. When He shall appear then shall
we appear with Him.
II. It will be the Deliverance of Creation from
Bondage (v, 21). When Adam sinned the ground was
cursed for his sake. At the appearing of the Second Adam,
the Lord from Heaven, the curse will be rolled away.
III. It will have an Effect in every Creature (v. 22,
maygin). The glorious manifestation of the sons of God will
herald the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to every creature.
IV. It will be the Redemption of the Body (v. 23).
The sealing of the Holy Spirit is lentil the day of Redemp-tion,
when we shall have a body like unto His own glorious
body (Phil. 3. 20, 21).
V. It is a Time Earnestly Longed for (v. 23). We
look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit
and the Bride say, Come, and let him that heareth of the.New Testament Outlines. 147
Coming Saviour say Come. Come, Lord Jesus-Come
quickly.
VI. The Prospect of it gives Joy in Suffering (v. 18).
Our present aflliction is lz’ghl, knowing that it worketh for
us an eternal weight of glory while we look at the things
which are unseen. Like Moses let us have respect unto the
recompense of reward, and endure as see&g EIim who is
invisible. The sufferings of this present time are not’
worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be
revealed in us.
THE PLEADING SPIRIT.
ROMANS 8. 26, 27.
I. The Spirit is Needed. “We know not what we
should pray for as we ought.” Without the guiding Spirit
the Lord would need to be saying to us continually what
He said to the mother of Zebedee’s children, “Ye know
not what ye ask. “
II. The Spirit Helpeth our Infirmities. He imparts
the needed wisdom whereby we may know 0%~ need and
Christ’s fullness.
III. The Spirit Maketh Intercession for the Saints.
It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father
which speaketh in you. The indwelling Spirit pleads for
the saint before both God and men. Being filled with the
Spirit is the sure way to prevail, both in prayer and
Icstimony.
IV. The Spirit Maketh Intercession with Groanings.
The groanings of the Spirit are often realised by a soul
Uzirsting for God in silently waiting before Him in the
unspeakable solemnity of holy adoration.
V. The Spirit Maketh Intercession According to
the Will of God. What was true of the Son is also true
of the Spirit. Him God Izearetlt at all times, because He.148 Handfuls on Purpose.
delights to do His will. If we are “praying always in the
Spirit” we are praying always according to the will of
God. If we ask anything according to His will He heareth
us. Believe in the Holy Ghost.
VI. The Searcher of Hearts Knoweth what is the
Mind of the Spirit. Solomon says: “The prayer of the
U@Y@Z~ is the Lord’s delight. ” How will He delight,
then, in the prayer of the Holy Spirit ! The great Heart-Searcher
looks for the mind of the Spirit in us. Let our
wills to Him be given.
THE ALL-SUFFICIENT PROMISE.
ROMANS 8. 28.
I. To Whom it is given.
1. To THE LOVING ONES. “To them that love God.”
We love Him because He first loved us. He seeks first,
not the work of our hands, but the love of our hearts.
2. To TEE CALLED ONES. “To them who are the called
according to His purpose. ” “Beloved of God called to
be saints. ” Make your calling sure (2 Tim. 1. 9).
II. The Nature of It. It is-1.
GREAT. “All things. ” All things that pertain to
life and godliness are included here. “All things are
yours. ”
2. ACTIVE. “All things work.” In the kingdom of
grace everything is constantly on the move for the believer’s
good. As in the material world, there is no standing still
here.
3. HARMONIOUS . “All things work together.” There
is no jarring or irregularities where all is working according
to His @.q+ose. All is right for the called of God, even
when it seems most wrong. “Believe ye that I am able
to do this ? ”
4. PRECIOUS. “All things work together for good.”.New Testament Outlines. 149
Jacob said, “All these things are against me,” but they
were all for good (Gen. 50. 20). Have faith in God.
5. SURE. “We know. ” We know, because we know
the faithfulness of the God in whom we trust. Faithful
is He that hath promised. And because we ktiow, our
hearts are kept in perfect peace with regard to things
present and things to come. “My grace is sufficient for
you. ”
THE ETERNAL PURPOSE.
ROMANS 8. 29, 30.
I. The Great Purpose of God.
1. THAT HIS SON SHOULD BE THE FIRSTBORN among
many brethren. He humbled Himself, but God hath
highly exalted Him. In all things He must have the
pre-eminence.
2. THAT B ELIEVERS SHOULD BE C ONFORMED to the
image of His Son. As His workmanship, we are created
in Christ Jeszls, who is the image of the invisible God.
Be not conformed to the world.
II. The Footsteps of Grace. It is profoundly
interesting to notice the workings of infinite love on the
way out to seek and save the lost.
1. FOREKNOWN. “Whom He did foreknow.” “I
knew thee before thou camest forth” (Jer. 1. 5). Written
in the book of life, before the foundation of the world
(Eph. 1. 4).
2. PREDESTINATED. Appointed according to the will of
God. In Acts 4. 28 the same word is translated determined.
Whom He foreknew, them He hath appointed.
3. CALLED. There is no room for cavilling at these
things. Let us say with Paul, “It pleased God, who
called me by His grace. ” Called through the Holy Ghost
to be a separate people unto Himself.
4. JUSTIFIED. “Whom He called, them He also justi-.150 Handfuls on Purpose.
fied.” It is God that justifieth. Who shall lay anything to
the charge of God’s elect ? *Justified freely by His Grace.
5. GLORIFIED. “Whom He justified, them He also
glorified. ” The glory which thou hast given Me, I have
given them. ” If we suffer with Him, we shall also be
glorified together by having a body like unto His gloriozls
body.
THE GREAT CHALLENGE.
ROMANS 8. 31-35.
I. Who can be Against us if God be for us ? (v. 31).
“The Lord is on my side, I will not fear what man can do
unto me” (Psa. 118. 6). Greater is He that is in, you than
he that is in the world. All the resources of God are for
those who are for Him.
II. Who can Condemn when Christ has Died for
us and is risen again? (v. 34). Having died with Him,
we are now risen with Him. Free from the law. To them
who are in Christ Jesus there is therefore now no con-demnation,
neither by God, man, angel, nor Devil.
III. Who can Lay Anything to our Charge when
God has Justified ? (v. 33). The heritage of the servants
of the Lord is, “No weapon that is formed against them
shall prosper” (Isa. 54. 17). When Satan attempted to
bring a charge against Joshua, the Lord rebuked him
(Zech. 3. 1, 2).
IV. Who shall Separate us from the Love of Him
who Gave Himself for us? (v. 35). “I have given unto
them eternal life, they shall never perish, neither shall
any plwk them out of my hand.” The Lord’s people
purchased by His own blood, are too precious to be easily
parted with. The Father having loved His own which
were in the world, He loved them unto the end.
V. Who can Hinder God from Giving us all Things
when He Spared not His Son ? (v. 32). Being reconciled,.New Testament Outlines. 151
we shall be savtx? ilz His life (Rom. 5. 10, R.v., margin).
In Him every need will be met. Ye are Christ’s, and all
things are yours. How will He not wit,4 Him freely give
us all things ?
MORE THAN CONQUERORS.
ROMANS 8. 3.537.
I. We are to be Conquerors. Not slaves to the
fashions and pleasures of the world, but victors for God.
Having been born of God, we belong to the upper class,
and overcome the world through faith.
11. We are Conquerors in the Midst of Suffering.
Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness,
peril, and sword. All these are still with us, but faith
gives the victory. We are always delivered unto death
for Jesus’ sake. This present world always keeps in the
place of death those who have the life of Jesus in them,
but they conquer still, and press on to know Him.
III. We are More than Conquerors. Enemies are
not only conquered and subdued, but brought as willing
servants into the work of the Lord. Saul was more than
conquered when he became a preacher of the Gospel he so
much hated. Take note of this. To be more than con-querors
we must be more than conquered. It is not enough
that we be overcome, there must be the willing and entire
surrender of ourselves into the hands of God, to say, to
be, and to do all that He may appoint.
IV. We are More than Conquerors through Him.
The power of conquest and aggressive work for God is not
in ourselves, nor in our plans and organisations, but in
the God who worketh in us. Thanks be unto God who
giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
They overcame by the blood of the Lamb. The blood of
the Lamb is the sharp edge of the sword of the Word, the
Spirit’s holy weapon. Cling to it, use it..152 Handfuls on Purpose.
THE LOVE OF GOD.
ROMANS 8. 38, 39.
I. Nature of It. “The love of God. ” God is love, so
that in manifesting His love He manifests Himself.
Herein is love. Yes, herein is God. Not that we loved
Him, but that He loved us. Behold, what love1
II. Channel of It. “Which is in Christ Jesus.” He
is the Mediator bet-wee% God and men, the Ladder that
reaches from earth to Heaven. In Him was manifested
the love of God toward us that we might live tZtroz& Him.
“I am the Way.”
III. Objects of It. “Us. ” He loved us and gave
Himself for us (John 3. 16). Herein is love, not that we
loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be
the propitiation for our sins. Us, even when we were dead
in trespasses and sin.
IV. Power of It. “Neither death ” etc “shall be able
to separate us from the love of God. ” “I have loved thee
with an everlasting love.” The trifling things of this
world may be allowed at times to separate our love from
Him, but, bless His Holy Name, nothing can separate
from His love. His love is stronger than death.
V. Assurance of It. “1 am persuaded.” It is a great
testimony when we can say in truth, “We have known and
believed the love that God hath to us” (1 John 4. 16).
Having the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, and
going on living day by day as those who believe in the
infinite and everlasting love of God, this is the secret of a
restful, joyful, contented life. “I am persuaded that
nothing shall separate me from the love of God, which is
in Christ Jesus our Lord.”.New Testament Outunes. 153
SELF-DEDICATION.
ROMANS 12. 1, 2.
IN the foregoing chapters Paul has been dealing with
fundamental doctrines. Now he comes to the application,
for he is no mere theorist. Christianity is intensely
practical, and the beseeching of the apostle proves how
keenly he feels it. The Christianity of some is like a
certain fish that is almost nothing but head. Whole-heartedness
for God ought to characterise every Christian,
and this is evidenced by our presenting our bodies a living
sacrifice unto God.
I. The Sacrifice to be Offered. “Present your
bodies. ” We are so apt to be content with committing
our so& unto Him, and to give the body as a sacrifice to
the soul. We seem to think that our bodies are all our own,
and that our souls belong to God. Now the body is the
temple of soul and spirit, and the medium through which
these act, and by which they manifest themselves. The
inner man thus acts through the outer man. Then the
medium ought to be in the hands of God as well as the
individual actor. In fact, unless God has full charge of
the whole being, the Divine power will be withheld. He
does not give US power so much as He desires to manifest
His power thyowgh ecs. Each one must $reselzt his own body,
as the Jew presented his lamb, and left it in the hands of
the priest.
II. The Nature of this Sacrifice. It is to be-1.
A LIVING Sacrifice. The death of Christ has swept
for ever all dead sacrifices from the altar. Now He seeks
living ones. That is, we are, as it were, to live 0% the
altar. The old sacrifices were on the altar only for a few
IUOmentS. OUrS iS a CONSECRATED LIFE. “To me t0 he
is Christ. ”
2. A HOLY Sacrifice. “Know ye not that your bodies
Vol. IX. 11.154 Handfuls on Purpose.
are the temple of the Holy Ghost ? ” This temple must he
holy, for God dwelleth in you, and in offering the body a
sacrifice we offer Him what He has already claimed and
sanctified for Himself.
3. An ACCEPTABLE Sacrifice. In the margin of the
Revised Version it is “wellp2easing unto God. ” Not
only acceptable, but in reality satisfying to God. God is
not fully pleased with regard to our salvation until we
offer ourselves a willing, holy, sacrifice unto Him. We
are saved to serve.
III. The Motives Urged. These are twofold.
1. THE MERCIES OF GOD. “I beseech you by the
mercies of God. ” “Great are Thy mercies, 0 Lord”
(Psa. 119. 156). What are His mercies toward us ? Think
of His love in Christ, His forgiveness, His peace, His joy,
His Holy Spirit, His promises (chap. 8). These should
constrain us to yield ourselves entirely up to Him. The
goodness of God ought to lead us to repentance in this
matter of withholding from Him what is His due, nay,
what is His own by right of purchase (1 Cor. 6. 20).
2. THE REASONABLENESS OF THE SERVICE. “Which is
your reasonable service. ” It is but rational that we should
yield ourselves to God if He has redeemed us to Himself.
It is but reasonable that He should have all. Then it is
most unreasonable to withhold what is His.
IV. The Consequences of this Sacrifice.
1. A NONCONFORMING TO THE WORLD. “And be not
conformed to the world. ” This is the remedy for worldly
conformity. A definite yielding of ourselves unto God
and a constad acknowledgment of the same. There is no
likelihood of the dead following the fashion of this world.
“Reckon ye yourselves dead.” “He gave Himself for us that He might deliver us from this present evil world”
(Gal. 1. 4). Those who are wholly in God’ s hands are not.New Testament Outlines. 155
much troubled as to whether this or the other thing is
consistent with the Christian life. He decides.
2. A TRANSFORMING OF THE CHARACTER. “Be ye
transformed by the renewing of your mind. ” The trans-forming
of the outward life will just be in proportion
to the renewing of the inner man. When Christ was trans-figured
it was but the visible manifestation of the glory
within. “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he. ” Many
long for the renewed life who wish not the renewed mind.
The yielding is ours, the transforming is God’s.
3. A NEW EXPERIENCE OF THE GOOD WILL OF GOD.
“That ye may prove what is that good…will of God.”
Many have never proved the goodness and perfection of the
will of God, because they have not given themselves wholly
to God. And so the will of God to them is irksome. They
dread it, instead of delight in it. The will of God is
$e$ect, and only in His will are our lives perfect before
Him. When the acceptable sacrifice is presented the
acceptable will will be proved. He is able to work in us
both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
OUR REASONABLE SERVICE.
ROMANS 12. 1.
TIXE thought of sacrifice runs through the books of the
Bible like the crimson thread in the ropes and cords of
government. Sacrifice has two general aspects: (1) As
a gift, handed over for the good of another, as in Mark
7. 11; (2) As an object of “burning” to be utterly used 246,
as in Leviticus 1. 9. Cain’s offering belonged to the one
class, and was incomplete. Abel’s belonged to the other,
and was acceptable. Both were voluntary acts, and so
became a revelation of character. Here are three reasons
why sacrifice on our part is most reasonable: Because-I.
Sacrifice was Made for Us. “Christ loved us and.156 Handfuls on Purpose.
gave Himself for us” (Eph. 5. 2). ‘ Himself for our silts”
(Gal. 1. 4). What a costly sacrifice for such a purpose.
By the sacrifice of Himself He hath put away sin for ever,
as an obstacle in the sinner’s way of approach unto God
(Heb. 9. 26). In giving Himself, He gave all that He was
and had: not an impoverished self, for He who was rich
for our sakes became poor, that we, through His self-emptying,
might become rich (2 Cor. 8. 9). He, as the
“corn of wheat, ”willingly died, that He might bring forth
fruit in the lives of those for whom He died. If He gave
Himself for us, surely we should give ourselves for Him.
II. Sacrifice is Asked of Us. “I beseech you there-fore
by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies
a living sacrifice unto God” (Rom. 12. 1). Why the
body ? Because the body is the instrument, or weapon, of
the Holy Spirit, which dwelleth in you. The possibilities
of the body’ for good or evil, are tremendous (Rom. 6. 13).
How often backsliding and failure may be traced to the
unconsecrated members of the body. To be a “living
sacrifice ” is to be continually and completely at God’s
disposal. This is “holy and acceptable to God. ” And
also because of its acceptability to Him, it is most reason-able
that it should be given. The yielding of ourselves
unto God is the root and branch of self-denial, without
which there can be no true discipleship (Matt. 16. 14).
It is true in the deepest possible sense, that “Ye are not
your own, for ye have been bought with a price: therefore
we should glorify God in our bodies and our spirits which
are His” (1 Cor. 6. 20). Is it not reasonable that God
should have His own, that which He hath bought with
His own blood ? We are robbing God when we are keeping
back this part (bodies) of His purchased possession.
III. Sacrifice Ensures Greater Blessing for Us.
In presenting ourselves “a living sacrifice” to God, we are.New Testament Outlines. 157
saving ourselves from being “conformed to this age, ” and
also putting ourselves into that position in which we can
“prove the good and acceptable and perfect will of God”
(Rom. 12. 1, 2). The goodness and beautiful perfectness
of the will of God we shall never prove in our own personal
experience until we are completely abandoned to it; just
as we cannot prove the power of water to sustain our own
bodies until we have made an entire committal. A life
wholly surrendered to God is the only reasonable life which
a Christian can live. It is the secret of usefulness, because
it means the proper adjustment of the faculties and
functions of our being to the perfect will and purposes of
God. Every gift laid on the altar is sanctified by the altar.
SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.
EPHESIANS 1. 13.
HERE is Weymozcth’ s translation of Ephesians 1. 13: “In
Him you Gentiles also, after listening to the Message of the
truth, the Good News of your salvation-having believed
in Him-were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. ”
I. The Seal is the Holy Spirit, which was promised,
and is now given. His presence in our hearts is the evi-dence
of our approval in the sight of God (2 Cor. 1. 22,
R.V. ). As a seal may be marred and broken, so the Holy
Spirit may be “grieved” and “quenched. ”
II. The Sealer is God, who gives the Spirit to them
that believe. “Him hath God the Father sealed” (John
6. 27). He that wrought us for this very thing is God, who
gave unto us the earnest of the Spirit (2 Cor. 5. 5).
III. The Sealed are they “who have heard the Gospel
of salvation, and have trusted in Christ” (Eph. 1. 12, 13).
It is “because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit
of His Sons into your hearts” (Gal. 4. 6).
IV. The Significance of the Sealing. It is usually.158 Handfuls on Purpose.
given as the closing act of a bargain. Mohammed is called
by the Moslems, “the seal of the prophets, ” because they
believe him to be the last of that order. The sealing of
the Holy Spirit speaks of-1.
SECURITY. The stone laid at the mouth of the den
where Daniel was imprisoned was “sealed with the king’s
signet” (Dan. 6. 17) that the purpose m$zt not be changed.
The sealing of the stone at the sepulchre of Jesus was also
with the same intent. Those who are chosen of God, “accord-ing
to His purpose, ” are built upon that foundation of God,
which standeth sure having this seal. “The Lord knoweth
them that are His. ” None shall pluck them out of His hand.
?. OWNERSHIP. When the Holy Spirit descended upon
the Son of God there came also the voice saying, “This is
My beloved Son. ” Those sealed by the Spirit are owned
of God. All who are established by God in Christ are also
anointed and sealed (2 Cor. 1. 21, 22). The blood of Christ
redeems to God. The Holy Spirit possesses for God. God’s
marked men are those whom the pleasure-loving world
would avoid, those who “sigh and cry” (Ezek. 9. 4).
3. AUTHORITY. The seal is the sign of authorrry.
Joseph and Mordecai were both clothed with royal authority
when they received the seal of the king (Gen. 41. 41, 42;
Esther 8. 3). Possessed of the king’s seal, they acted in
the king ‘ s name ; so we possessed of the Holy Spirit are to
act “in Christ’s stead” (2 Cor. 5. 20). They are witnesses
unto Him in whom the power of the Holy Ghost has come
(Acts 1. 8).
4. LIKENESS. A seal imparts its own image to the object
sealed; that is, if the object is in a condition to receive and
retain the image. Not even the Holy Spirit can imprint the
image of Christ on a hard and stony heart. The humble and
contrite heart will have God the Holy Ghost dwelling with
them (Isa. 57. 15). Those sealed by the Spirit will have.New Testament Outlines. 159
the mind of the Spirit, which is “the mind of Christ. ”
The work of the Spirit with us produces the character of
Christ in us. Yield yourselves unto God. He is able to
work in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
THE POWER OF FAITH.
1 JOHN 5. 4.
AN old writer says, “Faith is the foot of the soul; SO it
comes to Christ. Faith is the hand of the soul ; so it
receives Christ. Faith is the arm of the soul ; so it embraces
Christ. Faith is the eye of the soul ; so it looks upon Christ.
Faith is the mouth of the soul; so it feeds on Christ. Faith
is the lips of the soul ; so it kisses Christ. ”
I. Faith is Precious. It is infinitely precious, because
of its own infinite possibilities. With it, nothing needful
is impossible. It is the hand that takes with firm, unfail-ing
grip the faithful promises of the God of salvation,
The fruits of faith are precious. By it we are justified
(Rom. 5. I), sanctified (Acts 26. 18). It is by faith we
“live” (Rom. 1. 17), “stand” (Rom. Il. 20), “walk”
(2 Cor. 5. 7), “wait” (Gal. 5. 5, R.V.). It is a soul-revolutionising
grace, because it involves the surrender
of the will to the living, transforming Word of God.
“To take up half on trust, and half on try, is not faith, but
bungling bigotry. ” God glorifies faith, because faith
glorifies God. Without faith it is impossible to please
Him.
II. Faith should be Progressive. Paul commended
the Thessalonians because their “faith grew exceedingly. ”
Faith cannot but grow when there is a growing knowledge
of God, and of the fullness and faithfulness of His Word.
Faith, like love, will not be driven or forced, it must needs
be fed and inspired. The manner of its growth is “from
faith to faith” (Rom. 1. 17). Not from one confession of.160 Handfuls on Purpose.
faith to another, but it may be from little faith to great
faith, from great faith to greater faith, from the greater
human faith into the absolute and perfect “faith of God”
(Mark 9. 22, mar&). The “faith of God” is God’ s faith
in His own Word and work. He shall not be discouraged, His Word shall not return to Him as having missed the
mark. Lord, increase our faith, and let it grow up and
out, into the faith that Thou Thyself hast in Thine own
Spirit-breathed Word and blood-sprinkled work.
III. Faith shall be Triumphant. Faith lays hold of
the mightiest of all weapons, when it grips the Word of
God, which is the Sword of the Spirit. The victories
mentioned in Hebrews 11 were all achieved by the weapon
of faith. The world’ s truly mighty ones have all been men
of faith. The hands of Christ were omnipotent, because
they were the hands of faith. This is the victory that
overcometh the world even our faith (1 John 5. 4). By
faith we overcome the world-1.
Like ENOCH, by being translated out of it into the
Kingdom of God’ s dear Son (Heb. 11. 4).
2. Like NOAH, by accepting God’ s warning, and
entering the ark of God’ s salvation (Heb. 11. 7).
3. Like ABRAHAM, by obeying God’ s call, and stepping
out into the unknown (Heb. Il. 8).
4. Like MOSES, by refusing to be called the son of the
world; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people
of God (Heb. 11. 24-27).
5. Like JOSHUA, by marching round the walls, and
expecting their downfall (Heb. II. 30).
6. Like GIDEON and DAVID, by subduing kingdoms.. .
and obtaining promises (Heb. 11. 32, 33). These all
obtained a good report through faith. “Said I not unto
thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see
the glory of God.”.New Testament Outlines. 161
LOVEST THOU ME?
JOHN 21. 15.
“LOVEST thou ME ? ” Let this tender but heart-searching
question of our Lord come home to our own hearts. It is
not enough for Him that we love His words and works if
Himself be not the chief object of our affections. If “‘Tis
what I love determines how I love, ” then love for Christ,
the “altogether lovely, ” should determine the manner
and intensity of our love for others.
I. Love Desired. “Lovest thou Me?” Three times
with varying emphasis did Christ put this question to
Peter (John 21, 15-17). Zeal for truth without a personal
devotion to the Son of God, as the embodiment of Divine
love, is not true piety, but an exhibition of “mildewed
theology. ” In uttering these words to Peter, the Son of
Man was but seeking that fruit which could alone satisfy
His own gracious heart. In degree, our love cannot be
equal to His, but it ought in kind to resemble it.
II. Love Acknowledged. Where there is love to
Christ, He is always quick to recognise and confess it.
The woman in Simon’s house who had washed, wiped,
kissed, and anointed His feet because “She loved much,”
was not only noticed and commended, but used by the
Lord as a powerful rebuke to the frozen-hearted Pharisee
(Luke 7. 44-47). It is only love alone that can understand
love, and make an adequate response. Perfect love
casteth out fear.
III. Love Manifested. Love must reveal itself, it
cannot be hid. If God loved the world, that love
is seen in the gift of His Son. If Christ loved the
Church, then He gave Himself for it. If we love God,
then we shall love our brother also. Love to Christ will
show itself-1.
By SEEKING Him. It was Mary’s love for Him that.162 Handfuls on Purpose.
constrained her so passionately to seek Him (John 20. 15).
The love of Christ constraineth us. Whom seek ye?
2. By CONFESSING Him. Peter said, “Yea, Lord,
Thou knowest that I love Thee” (John 21. 15). With the
waning of our first love comes a waning of our desire for
testimony. If we love Him with all our heart, then we
shall confess Him with all our strength and might.
3. By SERVING Him. After Peter’s threefold confession
of love for Him, came the Lord’s threefold injunction to
serve Him. “Feed. ” Feeding His sheep and His lambs-not
thrashing or amusing them-is the evidence of love
for the Lord Jesus Christ. “Love, which is the essence
of God, is not for levity, but for the total good of man,”
is how Emerson puts it. Jacob’s seven years’ service for
Rachel seemed but a few days, because of the love he had
for her. Love lightens labour.
4. By SACRIFICING for Him. The love that cannot
sacrifice is shallow and hypocritical. The sinner in
Simon’s house, because of her “much love, ” sacrificed
her “hair” and her “precious ointment” to Him (Luke
7. 38: see also John 12. 3). The apostle who could say,
“He loved me and gave Himself for me, ” did also say,
“I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die for the
Name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21. 13). “Love can be
bought with nothing but with itself. ” Just as the highest
act of God’s love was the sacrifice of His Son, the express
image of Himself, so the highest act of human love is the
sacrifice of self for the glory of God.
THE PRIESTHOOD OF BELIEVERS.
REVELATION 5. 9, 10.
IT is well for us to keep in mind the difference between
priesthood and apostleship. The priest represented the
people before God, the apostle represents God before the.New Testament Outlines. 163
people. Jesus Christ was both Apostle and High Priest.
God’s purpose in grace was to manifest Himself to man ;
this He might have done without any human medium,
but it pleased Him to call Aaron and his sons, that they
might, through sacrifice, act as mediators between Him
and the people, thus shadowing forth Him who was to be
the great High Priest and only Mediator between God and
man. Christ was a Priest after the order of Melchisedec-royal
priesthood-having no predecessor and no successor.
By His birth He set aside the Aaronic priesthood, by His
death the veil of the temple was rent in twain. He offered
Himself a sacrifice, and entered “by His own blood.”
Now we who believe have been redeemed to God by His
blood and made unto God kings and priests.
I. Our Calling. No man taketh this honour unto
himself but he that is called of God, as was Aaron (Heb.
5. 4). Aaron was chosen of God, and his sons were chosen
with him (Lev. 8. 2). We are chosen in Christ-and what a
mystery-before the foundation of the world. The sons
of Aaron were priests by birth. There is no other way of
getting into the priesthood that God accepts and owns but
by being “born from above.” Neither a priestly robe nor
a priestly profession constituted a priest; the sons of
Aaron were priests independently of these. In these days
it is to be feared that many are substituting the robe and
the profession for the call of God.
II. Our Character.
1. W E ARE C L E A N S ED. “Aaron and his sons were
washed with water” (Lev. 8.6). Whom He calls, them He
also justifies. The call of God implies cleansing from all
sin. Called to be holy. There can be no fitness for service
till the question of sin has been settled and guilt put away.
“Except I wash thee thou hast no part with Me. ”
2. WE ARE CLOTHED. “And Moses brought Aaron’s.164 Handfuls on Purpose.
sons, and put coats upon them” (v. 12). Aaron, as a type
of our great High Priest, wears the “breastplate,” and is
clothed with robes of “glory and beauty ;” the sons, as
representing believers, put on the “pure linen,” which
speaks of the righteousness of the saints, which is the
righteousness of God unto all, and upon all them that
believe.
3. WE ARE CLAIMED. “The blood was put upon their
ear, hand, and foot” (Lev. 8. 24). The blood speaks of
redemption, redeemed to God, and claimed by God-“
priests unto God” (Rev. 5. 10). The blood-sprinkled
foot, hand, and ear may remind us of a blood-purchased
body, soul, and spirit. Ye are not your own, ye are bought
with a price, therefore glorify God in your bodies and
spirits, which are His.
4. WE ARE SANCTIFIED . The anointing oil was sprinkled
upon them and upon their garments (v. 30). This holy
anointing shadows forth the blessing of Pentecost. The
precious ointment flowed from the head of Aaron, the high
priest, clown to the skirts of his garments. This was
fulfilled at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit, typified by
the oil, was poured out over the head of Him who is our
great High Priest, down to “your sons and daughters”
(Acts 2. 17), who are as the skirts of His garments. No
priest was allowed to officiate without this anointing;
before we can be “priests unto God” we must be anointed
with this heavenly oil. For what is called “Divine service”
there must needs be a Divine fitness.
III. Our Privilege.
1. WE ARE PRIESTS UNTO GOD. As ambassadors, we
are sent forth for God. It is to be lamented that these
offices are so largely confounded among men in their
Christian practice. Before God, we should ever come with
solemn, sacred. humble, heart-felt awe. As priests, there.New Testament Outlines. 165
must be no frivolity, no pretence nor unreality. Before
men, as witnesses, there must be no Ainchir,g, no wavering,
or cowardliness; the whole truth, and nothing but the
truth, must be told out. Alas, when men invert this
order, and bring the brazen face to God and the velvet
tongue to the ungodly.
2. As PRIESTS, WE HAVE LIBERTY OF ACCESS. Only
the priest was allowed to pass through the veil into the
presence of God. Oh, what grace to be permitted to stand
before God ! By Him-who was sacrificed for us-we also
have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and
rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5. 2). Liberty
of access surely implies liberty of success.
3. As PRIESTS, W E O F F E R S P I R I T U A L SACRTFICES
(1 Peter 2. 5). The world sets little value on a humble
“broken spirit,” but it is a sacrifice of sweet savour unto
God (Psa. 51. 17). May we so be saved from all pride and
self-will, that the incense of a “broken spirit” may ever
ascend. If this is our character and condition we shall be
well fitted to offer the sacrifice of praise which shall glorify
God.
4. As PRIESTS, WE MAKE INTERCESSION . Abraham acted
the priest when he pleaded for Sodom ; Moses, when he
interceded for the people ; Paul, when he prayed for Israel.
What a privilege and power prayer is ! And it is within
the reach of every Christian. Many may not be able to
sing or preach, but all can “make intercession.” If as
priests we were more frequently in the secret place of the
closet, we would prevail more as princes with God and with
man. The people of Israel were blessed after the priest
had been in the presence of God. So our Father will not
reward us openly as witnesses unless we have been much
with Him secretly as priests (Matt. 6. 6). Believer, are
you using this privilege as you ought ?.106 Handfuls on Purpose.
OUR GOD A CONSUMING FIRE
HEBREWS 12. 29.
HERE are a few striking words used in Scripture to describe
the essential character of God. (1) God is Spirit (R.v.,
mar@). Herein is seen His indivisibility and greatness.
(2) God is Love. This reveals His unfathomable and
unchangeable goodness. What a privilege to dwell in
such an abode (I John 4. 16). (3) God is Light. And this,
because He is Love. In Him is no darkness at all. NO
uncertainty. No unrighteousness. (4) God is Fire. Not
in figure, but in reality-a consuming fire. This solemn,
dreadful, aspect of God’s nature is frequently overlooked.
Herein is the death of sin and self; herein is the life of
holiness. This is the God with which we as Christians
have to do. It was as fire God first appeared to His servant
Moses; this made the place holy ground, and although
the bush was not consumed, we may be assured that every-thing
unclean within the bush would be burned up. We
carry about with us daily the mystery of the burning bush
“Know ye not that God dwelleth in you ? ” Yet the frail
bush of our bodies is not consumed. We have this treasure
in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be
of God.
I. As a Fire our God Consumes. On the altar, the
fire, as a symbol of God’s presence, was ever burning.
On the altar of our heart, as on the throne of our being,
there still dwells the Spirit of burning. This holy fire
cannot suffer the approach of that which is unclean. The
Nadabs and Abihus of pride and self-conceit are instantly
devoured (Num. 10). It was a self-crucifying revelation
Paul received, when it pleased God to reveal His Son i+z
him (Gal. 1. 15, 16; 2. 20). The Holy of Holies was such,
because the pillar of fire abode there. Hence there was no
way of entrance without blood. May the Blood of Jesus so.New Testament Out&es. 167
guard the way of access into our inmost soul, where the Holy
Spirit dwells, and may this holy fire consume all that would
approach without the blood.
II. As a Fire our God Purifies. The presence of God
was the purifying and the sanctifying of the Temple. It
is true now, that when the Lord the Spirit suddenly comes
into the temple of our body He is like a refiner’s fire.
“Who shall stand when He @@em&h ? ” (Mal. 1. 3). There
must be no other authority when He appeareth; every
power of our being must become subject to Him, and in
the submitting they are purified. As every vessel of the
Tabernacle was given to God, and claimed and used by
Him, so the members of our body are to be yielded to Him
as instruments of righteousness (Rom. 6. 13).
III. As a Fire our God Empowers. What a real
power fire is. Think of the fire-driven engines that push
the mighty ironclads like ploughshares through the deep.
Wherever fire is, its power is felt. “Our God is a con-suming
fire. ” Can He be in us without a Divine power
being seen and felt? When the disciples were baptised
with the Holy Ghost and with fire it could not be hid.
“These men,” they said, “are full of new wine.” When
the live coal touched the lips of the prophet, how quickly
the power was seen in him. “Here am I, send me” (Isa.
6). The indwelling fire is the remedy for all formality and
coldness in the Lord’s service. It is the eternal enemy of
the chilly, freezing breath of unbelief. “He shall baptise
you with fire.” Are you willing to be baptised with this
baptism ? –
CHRIST IN ME.
GALATIANS 2. 20.
PAUL had two distinct revelations of Jesus, While on the
way to Damascus Jesus was revealed to him. This revela-tion
slew the enmity of his heart and converted him to.168 Handfuls on Purpose.
God. Then he writes to the Galatians that “It pleased
God to reveal His Son ilz me” (Gal. 1. 16). This second
revelation proved his sanctification and fitness for service,
for he adds, “That I might preach Him among the
heathen. ” How barren and fruitless our testimony for
God is until Christ in all His power and sufficiency is
revealed-not only in Heaven-but an ~1s. Then, like
him, we can triumphantly say, “I live, yet not I, but
Christ liveth irt me. ” If Christ is in me, then I must be-I.
A New Creature. When the “Living One” enters,
then the reign of death ceases, “I am come that ye might
have life. ” Regeneration is the incoming of the “Life of
God” into the soul by the Holy Spirit. Which were born,
not of blood-it is not hereditary; nor of the will of the
flesh-it is not by carnal energy ; nor of the will of man-it
is not by intellectual power, but of God. How will
evolutionists explain this ? Until Christ is trusted and ,
received there can only be death and degeneration ; but
when He enters into the heart and life of man how com-pletely
His Word is fulfilled: “Behold, I make all things
new. ”
II. A Temple of God. Solemn thought. Shall God
in very deed dwell with men ? “Know ye not that ye are
the temple of God? ” (1 Cor. 3. 16). As God came down
and dwelt in the temple of Solomon, so God the Holy
Ghost has come to dwell in the body of each believer, to
show forth the glory of His grace and power (1 Cor. 6.
19, 20). The indwelling of the Spirit implies the all-cleansing
of the blood. Cleansed, possessed, used. Spirit,
soul, and body.
III. Governed by His Will. “Not My will, but Thine
be done, ” was a gleam of Heaven’s glory from Jesus as the
temple of God. The house cannot stand that has two
opposing wills within. If I recognise “Christ in me, ”.New Testament Outlines. 169
then all my ways and purposes will be heartily submitted
to Him. The earth is His footstool, but He sitteth not
on a footstool, but on a throne, the centre of power and
authority. The reign of Christ within is the divine remedy
for unruly passions, ungovernable tempers, fruitless
testimony, and the spirit-grieving life of selfishness. Thy
Kingdom come, Thy will be done in tcs, as it is in Heaven.
IV. In Possession of all Sufficiency. The continual
needs of the spiritual life are very great, but all fullness
dwells in Him, and if He dwells in us, then we may be
filled with all the fullness of God. Surely the “unsearch-able
riches of Christ” are sufficient to meet the daily and
hourly demands of our new and God-given natures. “Christ
in me.” What a reservoir to draw from. Christ in me,
to fill up every crevice in my being, as the waters cover the
deep. Christ in me, to impel and constrain, as the steam
in the engine. “God is able to make all grace abound
toward you, that ye always may have all sufficiency in all
things” (2 Cor. 9. 8).
V. Sinful Pleasures will have no Attraction for Me.
“If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not
in him.” What fellowship can light have with darkness ?
If Christ fully satisfies the desires of the heart there will
be no cravings for things contrary to His will. When
Christians hanker after doubtful things, it is an evidence
that Christ is not fully trusted. She that is satisfied with
her lover does not seek another. The cabbage leaf cannot
have the attraction for the butterfly that it had for the
caterpillar. Those whose lives are hid with Christ in God
will set their affections on all things above.
VI. Willing to Sacrifice for Others. If Christ is
in me, then the Christ-like life will be manifested.
“He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister”
(Matt. 20. 28). He glorified God by a life of self-sacrifice
Vol. IX. 11.170 Handfuls on Purpose.
for the good of man. He did not seek popularity by
striving and crying in the street (Matt. 12. 19). If Christ
is in us there will be no striving for the chief seats of
honour ; no courting the praise of man. Since Christ hath
loved us, and given himself for us, ought we not, through
love to the perishing, give ourselves to God for their
salvation ?
VII. More than Conqueror. The Christ-possessed
soul will come into contact with principalities and
powers, with rulers of the darkness, and with wicked
spirits, in a way that others cannot understand; but
“greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world”
(1 John 4. 4). Let us never forget while fighting against
unbelief, unrighteousness, and all the powers of darkness,
that the battle is the Lord%. God, who dwelleth in you,
He doeth the works. “God working in you, both to will
and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2. 13). How the
apostle must have realised the power of the indwelling
Saviour when he exclaimed, “1 can do all things through
Christ which strengtheneth me. ” By faith we, too, must
reckon on His almighty power, so great things will be
done in His Name. Doubting or ignoring “Christ in US”
is the source of weakness, fruitlessness, and discourage-ment
in the service of God. Believe God, that Christ by
the Spirit dwells in you; reckon always in His presence,
power, and fullness, and soon you will sing, “Thanks be
to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord
Jesus Christ ! ” –
THE RESURRECTION.
1 CORINTHIANS 15. 20-22 ; 35-58.
TRERE were some in the Corinthian Church who taught
that “there is no resurrection of the dead” (v. 12). TO
combat this fatal error, and to establish the doctrine more
firmly in the minds of the saints, Paul wrote this mag-.New Testament Outlines. 171
nificent compendium of the subject. There is nothing like
it anywhere; no, not in all the world, for the great apostle
here delivers that which he had received from the risen Christ
Himself (w. 3, 4). The great truths of this resurrection
chapter are-I.
The Resurrection of Christ. “But now is Christ
risen from the dead” (v. 20). The Christ of the Scri@Wes
must die, be buried, and rise again (w. 3, 4). That Jesus
was the Christ was proved by His rising from the dead, and
appearing to Cephas, and to “five hundred brethren at
once” (vv. 5, 6). To deceive five hundred brethren at once
would have been about as great a wonder as rising from the
dead, especially when these brethren were at first very
sceptical. This is no myth, but a fact established by many
infallible proofs (Acts 1. 3).
II. The Resurrection Hope. “If Christ be not raised,
your faith is vain ; ye are yet in your sins, and they who have
died in this faith are perished” (w. 17, 18). Upon this
foundation-the resurrection of Christ-this Spirit-taught
apostle builds the whoIe structure of the Christian faith.
The death of Christ will avail us nothing if He is BOS risen
and accepted of God in our behalf. He died for our sins,
but He must be raised and exalted with God’s right hand
ere forgiveness could be preached in His Name (Acts
5. 31). If Christ be not raised, there is no hope for man
(Rom. 5. 10).
III. The Resurrection of the Dead. Nothing but
confusion and error can come to those who think that Paul
is here speaking of a general resurrection at the last day.
The dead referred to in this chapter are those who have
“fallen asleep ifi Christ” (v. 18). “Even so i% Christ shall
all be made alive” (v. 22). All are in Adam, but all are
not in Christ. “They that are Christ’ s at His coming”
(v. 23). The wicked dead shall have no part in the first.172 Handfuls on Purpose.
resurrection (Rev. 20. 5). How could he speak of &WZ
as “sown in dishonour, and raised in glory? ” (v. 43).
IV. The Resurrection Body. Paul now raises this
great double question, and proceeds to answer it. “How
are the dead raised + ? and with what body do they come ? ”
(w. 35-49).
1. It will NOT be the SAME BODY that is sown in the
grave (v. 37). Thank God, there will be no cripples in
Heaven ; no deformed bodies there.
2. It will be a GOD-GIVEN BODY (v. 38). A body in
everything pleasing to Him, and worthy of a redeemed
spirit (2 Cor. 5. 1).
3. It will be a body in every way SUITED TO THE
INDIVIDUAL SPIRIT. “To every seed his own body (v. 33).
One body may differ from another body in glory, as
“one star differeth from another” (vv. 41, 42).
4. It will be an INCORRUPTIBLE BODY (v. 42). Incapable
of death, disease, or decay.
5. It will be a BODY OF GLORY (v. 43). Like unto His own glorious body (Matt. 17. 2).
6. It will be a body of POWER (v. 43). Not subject to the laws of earth. Every material fetter broken.
7. It will be a SPIRITUAL BODY (v. 44). Entirely
subject to the volitions of the blood-washed spirit (1 John
3.2). Then shall we be in the image of the heavenly (v. 49).
V. The Resurrection Mystery. “Behold I show you
a mystery,” etc. (w. 51-54). Here the apostle reveals a
truth that had hitherto been veiled, and, strange to say, a
truth that is still veiled to many, although revealed, viz.,
that all the children of God shall not die, but that all must
be changed (v. 51). The Lord Himself will come, and
those who are alive and remain at that time shall be caught
up togeihcr with those who have fallen asleep in Christ, but.New Testament Outlines. 173
who shall then be raised from the dead (Thess. 4. 15-17).
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the dead shall be
raised, and we (those living at that time) shall be changed
(v. 52). It is appointed unto men-not all men-once to
die (Heb. 9. 27).
VI. The Resurrection Song. This song is entitled,
“Death swallowed up in victory” (v. 54). It is a victory
over the power of sin, and sin, too, that was strengthened
by a holy law (v. 56). It is a perfect victory over all the
effects of sin. “0 death, where is thy sting?” Where is
not the effect of thy poison in these new bodies of ours ?
“0 grave, where is thy victory ? ” Once thou didst claim
our bodies as thy spoil, but thou hast been eternally de-feated
in this new incorruptible body. But this is a song
of praise as well as of triumph. “Thanks be to God, who
giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”
(v. 57). He alone could “swallow up death in victory”
(Isa. 25. 8). This will be the complete fulfilment of
Hosea 13. 14. Notice there His “I wills.”
VII. The Resurrection Incentive. Paul now closes
his great argument with an exhortation which is full of
motive power. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye
stedfast” (v. 58). Seeing that such glorious prospects are
before us, what manner of persons ought we now to be ?
1. There should be STABILITY OF CHARACTER. “Be ye
stedfast, immoveable. ” Let not the unbelief of others
turn you aside from the faith of this Gospel.
2. There should be CONSTANCY OF SERVICE. “Always
abounding in the work of the Lord, ” knowing that it is
not in vain ; for in the resurrection state, and at the
Judgment-Seat of Christ, the reward will be given (Rev.
22. 12). Every man’s work shall be tried of what sort it
is (1 Cor. 3. 12-15)..174 Handfuls on Purpose.
THE ASCENDED LORD.
LUKE 24. 50-53; ACTS 1. 4-11.
“HE led them out as far as to Bethany. ” From Bethany He
started on His journey to the Cross of shame ; from there
also He starts on His journey to the Crown of glory. Here
the disciples witnessed their Lord slowly rising up before
their eyes. While His body was gradually ascending into
the Heavens, He “lifted His hands and blessed them,”
and as He blessed He slowly vanished into the cloud that
carried Him into Heaven. Do we wonder that after He
was gone they still stood “gazing up into Heaven ? ”
They had scarcely awakened to the fact of His resurrection
when they beheld another wonder equally momentous and
glorious. “Truly, this was the Son of God.” If our
worldly hopes are crucified with Christ, we shall have
new and brighter hopes in His resurrection and translation
to the Father’s throne. Associated with the Ascension,
we have brought before us some of the “things which
accompany salvation” (Heb. 6. 9). Let us give earnest
heed to them.
I. The Baptism of the Holy Ghost. “Ye shall be
baptised with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 1. 5-8). Jesus died
for our sins, and rose again for our justification, and
ascended for our enduement with the power of the Holy
Ghost. The power of the Holy Spirit upon His disciples
was the witness that Christ, the Crucified One, was now in
the presence of the Father (John 16. 7). These early and
true-hearted followers did not believe, as the great majority
of modern Christians do, that the fruit of Christ’s death
was the sum of salvation; they waited, and received the
fruit of His Ascension-the baptism of the Holy Spirit
(Acts 2. 4). “Did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye
believed?” (Acts 19. 2, R.v.).
II. Witnessing for Christ. “Ye shall be witnesses.New Testament Outlines. 175
unto Me, ” etc. (Acts 1. 8). So faithful were these Spirit-filled
disciples that in a short time they had “filled Jerusa-lem
with the doctrine” (Acts 5. 28). The power of the
Spirit was with them, so we read that “with great power
gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord
Jesus” (chap. 4. 33). We are unauthorised witnesses for
Christ unless we have been “endued with power from on
high. ” Our teaching and preaching will be but “sounding
brass” unless we are “filled with the Holy Ghost”-just a
sounding trumpet; no divine articulating voice. That
we may be true witnesses for Him, let us receive the
“promise of the Father” as well as the promise of the Son.
III. The Hope of His Coming Again. “This same
Jesus shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him
go” (v. 11). To say, as some do, that the coming of the
Holy Spirit was the coming of “this same Jesus” is not
only a denial of the personality of the Spirit, and an insult
to common sense, but also a wilful perversion of the Word
of God. It looks, says the author of “The Coming King-dom
of God, ” as if some men so hated the thought of a
returning personal Christ that they are prepared to believe
any absurdity rather than accept it. “The Lord Himself
shall descend from Heaven with a shout” (1 Thess 4. 16).
This is the hope of the Church of God, which is being
presently called oad (ekklesia) as a witness to His Name.
This is the Bride for which Christ has promised to come and
“receive unto Himself” (John 14). As soon as the Lord
was out of sight the disciples were taught to believe in
and to look for His coming again. This is the hope that
cheers in service and purifies the life (1 John 3. 3).
THE SECOND ADVENT. 1 TBESSALONIANS 4. 13-18; 5. l-6.
THIS is a subject full of vital interest for these latter days,
Paul’s teaching here is clear and urgent. In every chapter.170 Handfuls on Purpose.
of this epistle he refers to the Lord’s Coming. In the
portion before us he states several facts that might be
looked at separately.
I. That the Lord will Come Again. “The Lord
Himself shall descend from Heaven ” (v. 16). This is not
the coming of death, neither is it the coming of the Holy
Spirit. It is the coming of “the Lord Himself.” It is as
much a @rsonal coming as when David anointed himself
and chartged his apparel and came into the house of the
Lord (2 Sam. 12. 20).
II. That those who Sleep in Jesus will Come with
Him (v. 14). All those who have died in the faith have
been put to sleep in the grace and presence of Jesus. So
when He comes He brings those redeemed spirits with
Him, for they are His own peculiar treasure, bought by
His own blood, and cannot be separated from Him.
III. That those who are Alive when He comes shall
not go Before those who are Asleep (v. 15). Neither
time nor circumstances can give any precedence on that
day. Those who have died in the Lord shall lose nothing
by it ; those who remain alive at His coming shall be spared
the pain of dying, but shall not have any advantage thereby
in the way of pre-eminence before Him (2 Cor. 4. 14).
IV. That the Dead in Christ shall Rise First (v. 16).
All those who have died trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ,
having been saved by His grace, shall have a part in this
“first” resurrection. It will only be “they that are
Christ’ s at His coming” (1 Cor. 15. 23). Blessed and holy
is he that hath part in this first resurrection ; on such the
second death hath no power. The rest of the dead, who
have died in their sins, shall not be raised till one
thousand years after (Rev. 20. 5, 6).
V. That all Shall be Caught up Together (v. 17)..New Testament Outlines. 177
When Christ comes those Christians who are living on the
earth shall be “changed in a moment, in the twinkling of
an eye,” and together with those who have been raised
from the dead will be “caught up” to meet the Lord in the
air. They are all one in Christ Jesus. One shepherd,
one flock.
VI. That we Shall be for Ever with Him (v. 17).
To be for ever with Him, who is the Wisdom and Fullness
of God, for whom all things were made, and by whom all
things consist, implies more than tongue can tell or finite
minds can grasp. They follow the Lamb whithersoever
He goeth. Then shall Christ’s own prayer be answered,
“With Me where I am” (John 17. 24). Surely we may
comfort one another with these words (v. 18).
VII. That this will be an Awful Day for the Un-believing.
While they are saying “Peace and safety. ” He
shall come as a thief in the night, then “sudden destruction
shall come upon them” (w. l-3). A thief does not give
any warning as to the time he will break into the house.
He will be careful to choose the most mexfiected moment.
Sudden and everlasting destruction from the presetice of the
Lord will be the doom of every Christ-rejecter at His coming
(2 Thess. 1. 9). These are terrible words ; their terror lies
in the fact that they are true, and that this fult&rent may
be at any moment. Are you prepared ?
VIII. That the Christian should be Looking for His
Coming. All who are Christ’s are the “Children of
light, ” having been saved from the darkness that is in this
world through sin. They are “not of the night,” sleeping
the sleep of indifference or unbelief, but are those who are
expected to “watch and be sober” (w. 5, 6). It is high
time to wake up, for now is your full and final salvation
nearer than when ye believed (Rom. 13. ll),.178 Handfuls on Purpose.
SUFFERING FOR CHRIST.
2 CORINTHIANS 11. 24-33.
WREN Paul was called as a clzosm vessel to bear the Name
of Jesus Christ before the Gentiles, and kings, and the
children of Israel, the Lord uttered these significant words :
“For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for
My Name’s sake” (Acts 9. 15, 16). He who would live
godly, by receiving Christ’s Word, occupying His place,
acting only in His Name, and for His glory, must suffer;
for the world still lieth with the wicked one, and the carnal
mind is still at enmity against God. ‘#Woe unto you when
all men speak well of you. ” The sufferings of this servant
of God were terrible. See the-I.
Reason why He Speaks of Them. Some “false
apostles and deceitful workers” had been glorying in them-selves,
and seemingly doing all they could to belittle the
name and character of Paul. He condescends (as a fool) to
take them on their own ground by giving them a list of his
sufferings and perils in the cause of Jesus Christ. Had the
great apostle not played the fool for once, we never would
have known the half of all that he endured in faithfulness to
his Master. The fact that he felt ashamed to speak of his
suffehgs for the Christ who had died for him shows the
nobleness of his true inward character.
II. Nature of Them. They are simply appalling. It
is almost hard to believe that any one man could go through
such an ordeal in the course of a single lifetime. Five
times lashed, at the hands of the Jews, receiving 39 strokes
each time. Three times beaten with rods by a Roman
official. Three times shipwrecked and tossed in the deep,
perhaps clinging to a spar for a whole “night and a day.”
Many long and wearisome journeys. Endured eight
different kinds of fieril, suffered eight kinds of bodily
privations, and, beside all this, having the personal care.New Testament Outlines. 179
of all the churches upon him. But all this tribulation,
distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, and peril did not
separate him from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8.
35). How like his sufferings were to those “many sorrows”
which marred the face of his Holy Master, and how truly
did he thereby become a “partaker of the sufferings of
Christ. ”
111. Effect of Them. He did not mourn over them, he
glorked kn them (w. 30, 31). He did not look upon them as
misfortunes, but as marks of his Master’s favour. They
were medals won in his battles for the Lord (2 Cor. 12.
9, 10). Glorying in tribulation was an article in Paul’s
creed (Rom. 5. 3). He knew that if “we suffer with Christ,
we shall also reign with Him “(2 Tim. 2 .12). Perhaps this
was one of the reasons why they could sing praises in the
prison, with bleeding backs and aching limbs (Acts 16. 25).
Only those who look at the things which are unseen, can
possibly “esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than
the treasures of Egypt (Heb. 11. 26). “If men revile you
and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you
falsely for My sake, rejoice and be exceedingly glad; for
great is your reward in Heaven. ”
THE CHRISTIAN’ S ARMOUR.
EPHJZSIANS 6. 10-20.
BUNYAN was wise in sending his Pilgrims into the armoury
immediately after supper. As soon as we are brought into
communion with God, we need to be fitted for the fight of
faith. All who are in the Kingdom of God’s dear Son have
got the forces of the kingdom of Satan against them, so
they need to be panoplied with the whole armour of God.
Let us look at-I.
The Enemy. “Not flesh and blood, but principali-ties,
powers, world rulers, spiritual hosts of wickedness”.180 Handful6 on Purpose.
(v. 12, R.v.). All the authorities of Hell and all the rulers
of the darkness of this world, who are in league with the
Devil, are opposed to the progress of the Kingdom of Jesus
Christ. Not flesh and blood, but that wicked spirit that
works in the children of disobedience, using flesh and blood
as an instrumentality (Eph. 2. 2). Our warfare is not so
much with mortal beings as with the immortal powers of
evil that rule in their lives, and that come to us in the form
of the “wiles of the Devil. ” These wiles are very varied,
and are adapted to suit the different tendencies of the age
or the individual. If he fails with his wiles he will surely
try his “fiery darts” (v. 16). These may come as unclean
thoughts shot into the mind like ignited arrows from the
pit. Truly, in the face of such a mighty and invisible
foe we need the whole armour of God.
II. The Armour. Our putting on of the armour of
God simply means being fortified against all the powers
of evil by those virtues or moral excellences by which the
Son of God was able to withstand all the temptations of
the Devil (Col. 2. 15). This armour consists of six parts-1.
THE GIRDLE OF TRUTH. The loins of the mind are to
be girded with the truth as it is in Jesus Christ, and so
made strong to think and act for Him. This truth is
“light from Heaven, ” which scatters all the darkness of
doubt and fear, and enables one to speak out what they
do know, and not what they don’ t know, like those who don
the girdle of doubt.
2. TEE B REASTPLATE OF R IGHTEOUSNESS. A con-science
void of offence toward God and men, is that
rightness which is as a protecting breastplate for the peace
and joy of the heart. This breastplate Christ constantly
wore, because He always delighted to do the will of His
Father,
3. THE S HOES OF P REPAREDNESS. The “Gospel of.New Testament Outlines. 1iJl
peace” provides for our feet the shoes of preparedness, SO
that we should be always ready to do His will and to run
in the way of His commandments. Those who have
received the Gospel of peace should have swift feet to
publish it (Isa. 52. 7).
4. THE SHIELD OF FAITH. The Roman shield was SO
large that the soldier could hide himself completely
behind it, thus it was above or over all. This was the
shield behind which David sheltered when he faced the
terrible Goliath. This piece of armour signifies that
unstaggered confidence in God which always overcomes
(1 John 5. 4).
5. THE HELMET OF SALVATION. The assurance of sal-vation
is a mighty protection for the head in these days
when there is so much false teaching all about us. The
strength of this helmet lies in the fact that God Himself
is our Salvation. This piece, like the others, is the gift
of God, so we are to take it.
6. THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT. The sword of the Spirit
is the Word of God, not the thoughts or opinions of men.
Jesus Christ did not fail to use the written Word when
assaulted by the arch-enemy of God and man (Matt.
4. 4). There be many in our days that seem at a loss to
know where to find this sword now ; the Devil has so blinded
their minds that they imagine that the “Word of God”
has been buried in a heap of ancient rubbish, and so they
go on fighting with the rotten sticks of their own theories.
Nothing but failure and shame can follow where the Word
of God is not preached, because the Holy Spirit of God,
the author of life and blessing, can use no other weapon.
It is the sword of the Spirit.
III. The Warfare. The attitudes to be maintained
in this conflict are-1.
STANDING. “That we may be able to stati. ” Having.182 Handfuls on Purpose.
been justfied freely by His grace, and
Beloved, we have got a blessed standing,
great enemy of souls is ever seeking to
accepted in the
from which the
drive us. The
stratagem of the Devil is to get in between our souls and
God, that the source of our spiritual supply may be cut off.
2. WRESTLING. “We wrestle against principalities, ”
etc. In this warfare we cannot hide ourselves in the host.
Wrestling is a personal conflict, an individual contact
with the enemy. By putting on the whole armour of God
every single Christian is to overcome by faith in Him who
is able always to give the victory.
3. PRAYING AND WATCHING. This will not only keep
the armour bright, but will keep it on. Polished armour
hanging up in the hall of our creed will not save us in the
day of battle. A praying heart and watchful eyes will
never be taken unawares by the scouts of the kingdom of
Satan. Daniel prayed three times a day, and, in spite of
the trap carefully set by his enemies, he triumphed. This
is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
PAUL’S LAST LETTER.
2 TIMOTHY 4. 6-18.
THERE is always a special pathos about the last words OY
loved ones. Such are very frequently a revelation of the
inner character and life. It is so with this final message
from the pen of our beloved apostle. As we bow our ear
to catch this message, as it were from his dying lips, we
are not left to faintly guess what he means. There is a
telling ring in his voice, his mind is clear, his words are
emphatic, and speak out volumes of truth. They speak of-I.
Perfect Resignation. “I am now ready to be
offered . ” He who had poured out his life in the service
of the Lord Jesus Christ was now ready to have his blood.New Testament Outlines. 183
poured out as a sacrifice for Him. At one time he was in a
strait about this (Phil. 1. 23), but now he was ready. He
was like one who had everything packed up in readiness
to step on board that ship which was to take him to a
better country. Be ye also ready.
II. Assured Success. “I have fought the good
fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith”
(R.V.). He was perfectly confident that his life and testi-mony
as a servant of the Lord was no failure, but that the
will of God in calling him to His work had been fulfilled
in him. As a warrior he had fought and conquered ; as a
racer he had abode in the course and honourably finished
the race ; as a custodian he had firmly keft the faith delivered
to him. He was faithful unto death (Rev. 2. 10).
III. Joyful Hope. “Henceforth there is laid up for
me a crown, ” etc. The Lord, who was his righteous Judge,
had this crown laid up for him, although Nero, the WS-righteous
judge, had laid up for him a sword. In view
of his crowning day, Paul could joyfully sing: “0 death,
where is thy sting ? ” The Lord always lays I.@ treasure
and honour for those who faithfully serve Him now in the
day of His rejection at the hands of men (James 1. 12).
IV. Painful Experiences. It was surely with a deeply
grieved soul that the aged apostle told of “Demas, ” who
hadforsakm him, “having loved this present world,” and
of Alexander, the coppersmith, who had done him “much
evil, ” and of how that “no man stood with him” while on
his first trial, but “all forsook him. ” In all this Paul was
a sharer of his Master’s sorrows (Matt. 26. 56). “Only
Luke is with me.” Love of the world, back-biting, and
cowardliness are still the sins that bring sorrow to many a
faithful servant of God. In the world he had tribulation,
but in Christ he had peace.
V. Forgiving Love. “I pray God that it may not be.184 Handfuls on Purpose.
laid to their charge. ” He is true to the Spirit of his Master
in praying for those who “despitefully used him and per-secuted
him” (Matt. 5. 44). This ought to be the desire
of all who have themselves experienced the forgiving grace
of God. To overcome the evil actions of others with your
good actions is to fight in the armour of God.
VI. Divine Faithfulness. “Notwithstanding the Lord
stood with me and strengthened me” (v. 17). While
giving his ‘Yirst answer” before the unrighteous judge, he
doubtless experienced the fulfilment of the Lord’s promise:
“It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father
which is in you” (Matt. 10. 19,20). Paul’s last testimony,
like that of Joshua, is to the unfailing faithfulness of his
God and Saviour (Joshua 23. 14). “Lo, I am with you
alway ! ”
VII. Unfailing Confidence, “The Lord shall deliver
me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His
heavenly Kingdom” (v. 18). Come what may, there is no
shadow of doubt or tremor of fear in the heart of this noble
man as to his present safety from all CW’ Z and his future
reward and eternal satisfaction in the coming Kingdom of
His glory. He is assured that the sufferings of this present
life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall
be revealed in that day when “He shall appear.” Look
up, for the day of your redemption draweth near.
REJOICE IN THE LORD.
WHY should Christians need to be exhorted to rejoice in
the Lord? Does the lack of joy in Christ not betray a lack
of faith. We shall observe the-I.
Object of the Believer’s Joy. We are to rejoice-1.
IN THE LORD (Psa. 35. 9). Not only must we be
in Christ to rejoice in Him, but He Himself must be
to us our all..New Testament Outlines. 185
2. In the Lord AS OUR GOD (Joel 2. 23). Jesus said,
“I ascend unto My God, and your God, ” Do we know what
is meant when we say, “My God, my Father? ” A God for
a Father.
3. In the Lord AS OUR KING (Psa. 149. 2). We may well
be joyful in our King, for there is no king like Him.
4. In the Lord AS THE HOLY ONE (Isa. 41. 16). Only
those who love holiness can taste of this joy. The pure in
heart shall see God, and glory in Him, as the Holy One.
5. In the Lord AS THE SAVING ONE (Phil. 3. 3). When
Christ is received by faith it is then that the Simeon song is sung: “I have seen Thy salvation. ”
6. In the Lord AS THE ALL-SUFFICIENT ONE (Hab.
3. 17). If our joy is in the blessing instead of in the
Blesser it will soon wither.
II. Ground of this Joy. Every good gift is from
above. “That My joy might remain in you. ” We rejoice
in the Lord-1.
BECAUSE OF HIS SALVATION (Psa. 35. 9). Oh, the
grace, which brought salvation, and delivered us from the
fearful pit of guilt, and cleansed us from the miry clay
of sin.
2. BECAUSE OF HIS COVERING (Isa. 61. 10). He
clothed the first sinners with coats of skin-implying
sacrifice. So we are covered (Rom. 3. 22).
3. BECAUSE OF HIS WORD (Psa. 119. 14). His faithful
word, when believed, or eaten, becomes the joy and
rejoicing of the heart.
4. BECAUSE OF HIS FAITHFULNESS (Psa. 5. 11). Those
who put their trust in Him may rejoice, because they shall
never be put to shame.
5. BECAUSE OF HIS PROTECTION (Psa. 23. 7). He is
not only our Shield to defend, but OUT Strength to sustain.
Vol.IX. 13.186 Handfuls on Purpose.
This sense of safety ought to increase our joy. Fear is the
flight of happiness.
6. B ECAUSE OF HIS ASSISTANCE (Psa. 63. 7). How
often, as a loving Father, has He stretched forth His
helping hand in our time of need.
7. BECAUSE OF H IS R E V I V I NG. If our spiritual life
droops, so does our joy. Every revival of life is a revival
of Joy.
8. BECAUSE OF HIS PRESENCE (Psa. 16. 11). There is
fullness of joy in His presence now as well as hereafter.
This joy might be ours always for has He not said, “Lo,
I am with you alway?”
9. BECAUSE OF HIS JOY (Zeph. 3. 17). You may well
rejoice in the Lord when He rejoices over thee with singing.
III. Character of this Joy. It is-1.
HOLY JOY (Lev. 23. 40). It is a rejoicing btfoore the
Lord; the joy the high-priest had in entering into the
holiest of all; the joy that Jesus had.
2. A GREAT J OY (Isa, 61. IO). Great in the sense of
being divine, Godlike, and signal.
3. A THANKFUL J OY (Joel 2. 23). The heart that is
glad in the Lord delights to pour out its gratitude to the
Lord.
4. A HOPEFUL J OY (Zech. 9. 9.) This Heaven-born
joy anticipates the coming King, in whom, though now
we see Him not, yet believing, we rejoice.
5. A CONTINUAL JOY (Phil. 4. 4). If we rejoice in His
Name, and know that His Name shall endure for eve7,
then we may rejoice in the Lord alway.
6. A GOD-GLORIFYING JOY (Psa. 89. 16). Glorying,
not in our own name, but in His, Oh, for more of this
pure gladness which magnifies His precious Name !
7. A TRIUMPHANT JOY (Hab. 3. 18). It is not bound.New Testament Outlines. 187
up with the things of this world, but in the eternal God
Himself,
8. UNSPEAKABLE JOY (1 Peter 1. 8). We call it joy,
but the fullness of the delight, the ecstasy, the bliss, no
language can tell. “God, my exceeding joy. ”
IV. Consequences of this Joy. Rejoicing in the Lord
is the happy mood that makes our lives most fruitful.
This joy-1.
GIVES FITNESS TO SACRIFICE (2 Chron. 23. 18). Our
offerings must be made with rejoicing (Rom. 12. 1). The
Lord loveth a cheerful giver.
2. GIVES POWER FOR TESTIMONY (Psa. 107. 22). His
works are to be declared with rejoicing. If the joy of the
Lord is not in our own hearts our declarations will be of
little avail.
3. GIVES DELIVERANCE FROM SELF (Phil. 3. 3). If our
joy is only in Christ Jesus our confidence will be also in
Him.
4. GIVES STRENGTH FOR SERVICE (Neh. 8. 10). The
joy of having God’ s promise ought to strengthen us in our
work, as it did Nehemiah.
5. GIVES COURAGE FOR WITNESS-BEARING (Psa. 20. 5).
If our joy in the Lord were measured by the height of our
banners, how would it stand with us? Rejoice, again, I
say, rejoice ; rejoice in the Lord.
ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE.
MEN ought always to pray, and not to faint. Those who
pray most have most encouragement to pray. Their
testimony is : “I love the Lord because He hath heard
my voice. ”
I. The Promises. They are-1.
SURE (John 16. 23). “Verily, I say unto you.”
Think of the Promiser. I, who made the Heavens and the.188 Handfuls on Purpose.
earth. I, who have all power; the faithful and true
Witness, the God who cannot lie, the Lord thy Redeemer.
2. SIMPLE (Matt. 7. 7). The statements here are such
as any child might understand. How gracious our God is
to put such great and mysterious truths in such child-like
language, so unlike the wisdom of this world.
3. SUFFICIENT . This “wlzatsoever ye shall ask” is surely
a wide door and effectual. There is enough here for the
life that now is and for the life which is to come. His
“How much more“ (Luke 11. 13) is surely sufficient to
assure His willingness to give. All the promises are “Yea
and amen” in Him.
II. The Conditions. Like the promises, they are
plain and simple. That we-1.
ASK (Matt. 7. 7). As children, we are to let our
requests be made known in a child-like fashion.
2. ASK OF THE FATHER (John 16. 23). Your Father
knoweth that ye have need of these things. We have
liberty of access. What a privilege!
3. ASK IN THE NAME OF JESUS. Let us ever remember
that this new way is through the rent veil of the Redeemer’s
flesh, but let us come with boldness.
4. ASK ACCORDING TO HIS WILL (1 John 5. 14, 15).
If the Word of Christ is dwelling in us richly, then we will
ask those things which are pleasing to Him.
5. A SK IN FAITH (Mark 11. 24). He that cometh to
God must believe. “Elias was a man subject to like
passions as we are, and he prayed, and the Heaven gave
rain.” Believe and thou shalt see.
6. ABIDE IN HIM (John 15. 7). The branch not abiding
in the vine need not pray to be filled with sap. Seeking
His glory, ye may ask what ye will, and it shall be done
unto you..New Testament Outlines. 189
7. THAT OUR HEART DOES NOT CONDEMN Us (1 John
3. 21, 22). It is possible-and, alas, so common-to ask
with the lips what the heart never expects. He answers
us not by the length and breadth of our petitions, but of
our faith.
III. The Hindrances. We don’ t speak here of hin-drances
to praying, but of those things which hinder the
answers.
1. INSINCERITY (1 John 3. 21). It is quite possible to
keep up the form of prayer and to be asking great things
from God, while the heart is condemning it all.
2. WILFULNESS (Psa. 66. 18). Conscious of iniquity in
the heart, but unwilling to confess it. First get reconciled
to God about this matter, then bring your petition.
3. SELFISHNESS (Jas. 4. 3). Oh, the pride and subtlety
of self asking divine things to feed the fires of its lusts.
We pray for success that we might be successful. He will
not give His glory to another.
4. IMPATIENCE (Psa. 40. 1). David says : “I waited
patiently and He heard my cry.” Don’ t be a run-away
knocker. Have the patience of God. If God can afford
to wait so well might we.
5. UNBELIEF (Mark 11. 24). This closes the door of
expectancy. All things are possible to them that believe.
Have faith in God. Believe ye that I am able to do this ?
IV. The Examples. In the above texts we have some
soul-inspiring examples of how the Lord answers prayer,
and from which we may learn-1.
THAT THE LORD IS INTERESTED IN ALL THAT CON-CERNS
HIS CHILDREN (I Sam. 1. 27). What was a reproach
to Hannah (barrenness) the Lord rolled away (2 Peter 1. 31 (I
2. THAT WE SHOULD B RING ALL OUR WANTS TO THE
LORD (Exod. 17. 4-7). Be careful for nothing, be prayerful
in everything (Phil. 4. 6)..190 Handfuls on Purpose.
3. THAT WE SBOULD EXPECT TITE VERY THINGS WE ASK
(Ezra 8. 21). Hannah said, “For t&s child I prayed. ”
Although Paul did not get the thorn removed, yet from the
fact that he prayed three times we see that he had been
taught to expect what he asked (2 Cor. 12. 8).
4. THAT THERE IS NOTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD
(2 Kings 4. 23). Though he be dead, yet shall he live.
Look unto Me, for I am God.
5. THAT THE LORD OFTEN GIVES FAR ABOVE WHAT WE
ASK (1 Kings 3. 9-14). Elijah prayed that he might die
(1 Kings 19. 4), but the Lord translated him into Heaven.
6. T HAT THE P RAYER OF F AITH IS THE MIGRTIEST
WEAPON ON EARTH (I Kings 17. 30-39). Think of what it
has done in the past, is doing now, and might do in the
future through you-only believe.
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT.
I. Source of the Fruit.
1. THE SOURCE IS NOT IN THE BRANCH. The branch
cannot bear fruit of itself (John 15. 4, 5). In me, that is, in
my flesh, dwelleth no good thing. Might as well expect
figs from thistles as the fruit of the Spirit from the carnal
mind.
2. THE SOURCE IS IN CHRIST HIMSELF. All the fullness
of the Godhead dwelleth in Him. He, as the true and
living Vine, has His roots in the Eternal Father. Hc as
Man is the Bowl into which the oil flows from the living
trees, and from which all the lamps receive their supply
(Zech. 4. 2), and are filled with the fruits of righteousness.
3. THE SUPPLY IS BY THE HOLY SPIRIT (Rom. 5. 5).
The sap in the vine is a beautiful metaphor of the Holy
Spirit flowing through Christ into those who are abiding
in Him. The sap quickens into newness of life.
4. IT FILLS THE ABIDING BRANCH with the life of the.New Testament Outlines. 191
vine (John 6. 63). So by His Spirit are we made pos-sessors
of the Divine life. If any man have not the Spirit
of Christ he is none of His.
II. Characteristics of the Fruit-Bearers. They are-1.
CHOSEN O NES (John 15. 16). As withered and
worthless branches they have been chosen of God. While
we were like the unwashed outcast in Ezekiel 16, He
passed by and set His love upon us.
2. ADOPTED ONES (Rom. 8. 15). Not only chosen, but
adopted into His family; planted into the Living Vine,
and made partakers of the fullness therein. “All one in
Christ. ”
3. ABIDING ONES (John 15.5). Those who feel and know
that their life and strength depend entirely upon their
union with the Living One. When first planted into
Christ they were as dry as the boards of the Tabernacle.
4. SANCTIFIED ONES (Rom. 15. 10). Having been
chosen and adopted, they have been sanctified-set apart-for
the Lord’s use. When the Spirit possesses the Chris-tian,
as the sap does the engrafted branch, it is that God
might be glorified in him.
5. RECEIVING ONES (Acts 1. 8). They have nothing to
give until they have first received of His Holy Spirit.
What can a branch give to a vine before it becomes a part
of it? Well may the branches say, “What have we that
we have not received ? ”
6. POSSESSED ONES (1 Cor. 3. 16). The branch not
possessed by the sap is a withered one, and cannot show
forth the character of the vine. “Abide in Me and I in
you. ” It is God who dwelleth in you; He doeth the work.
7. FILLED ONES (Acts 2. 4). The branch must first
be filled with sap before it can be fruitful. Fruit is the
result of abundance of life. Be filled with the Spirit..192 Handfuls on Purpose.
III. Character of the Fruit. Here we would observe,
and let us put emphasis on the fact-1.
THAT THIS FRUIT IS TBE FRUIT OF TBE SPIRIT (Eph.
5. 9). It is not of the Christian-apart from the Spirit-but
the outcome of the presence and power of the Holy
Spirit abiding in the Christian. The branch does not
hbow to bring forth fruit, but the sap does, and so it is
the fruit of the sap. “It is God who worketh in you.”
2 THIS FRUIT MEANS THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST (Rom.
5. 5). If the Holy Ghost sheds abroad in our hearts the
love of God, it is that this string of pearls, mentioned in
1 Corinthians 13, and worn by Jesus Christ, might be
exhibited in us. If this love is begotten in us by the
Spirit it will enable us to bring forth such fruit as that
mentioned in Colossians 3. As the sap takes the things
of the root and reveals them on the branch, so does the
Spirit take the things of Christ and show them unto us,
that they might be manifested through us.
3. THE FRUIT IS TBE PROOF AND POWER OF THE CHRIS-TIAN
. “By their fruit ye shall know them.” The light of
a Spirit filled life will lead others to glorify our Father in
Heaven. If Christ dwells in our heart by faith the features
of His character will be seen in our life.
IV. Preciousness of the Fruit.
1. IT BRINGS GLORY AND PRAISE TO GOD (Phil. 1. 11).
Herein is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit.
Christ said, “I am the true Vine, My Father is the Hus-bandman.
” How much this Husbandman must have
rejoiced over the fruit of this Vine.
2. IT BRINGS SATISFACTION TO THE HEART OF CHRIST
(Cant. 4. 6). To see His own image in the lives of His
people must be fruit sweet to His taste. The fruits that.New Testament Outlines. 193
bring praise to the Father are all His own. “His pleasant
fruits. ”
3. IT IS A WITNESS TO TIE GRACE AND POWER OF GOD
(Acts 1. 8). A fruit-bearing Christian is a wonderful
exhibition of Divine mercy. They are witnesses, through
the Holy Spirit, to the mighty saving, satisfying power of
Jesus Christ.
4. IT LEADS OTHERS TO BELIEVE IN GOD (Acts 2. 41).
“They seeing your good works, may glorify your Father. ”
When they saw the boldness of Peter and John they took
knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. If we
abide in Christ we shall be like Joseph, “A fruitful bough
by the well, whose branches run over the wall. ”
SPIRITUAL WEALTH.
Proverbs 10. 22.
1. It is Needed, . . “The Blessing. ”
2. It is Divine,.. . . “The blessing of the Lord. ”
3. It is Abundant, . . . “It maketh Rich. ”
4. It is Enduring, . . “He addeth no Sorrow. ”
WAKE UP.
1 Thessalonians 5. 6.
1. A melancholy fact-Others are asleep, because blind
and insensible.
2. A timely warning-“Let us not sleep. ” Spiritually
this is an age of drowsiness.
3. An urgent call-“Let us watch and be sober, ” be-cause
the Devil is busy, and Christ is coming..194 Handfuls on Purpose.
GOSPEL OUTLINES.
THE GOSPEL TRUMPET.
JOEL 2. 15.
IT is surely most fitting, in the present religious condition,
that at the opening of this year we should hear this urgent
call to the Lord’s trumpeters to “Sound an alarm.”
Spiritual slumber and apathy to soul-saving work seem
to have settled down upon the modem Zion. “Minding
earthly things” an attitude over which the apostle wept
(Phil. 3. 19), appears to be the special tendency of the
Church to-day. If the watchmen who see this sword are
silent, who shall sound the alarm ?
I. The Trumpeters. In Numbers 10. 8 they are the
“Sons of Aaron, ” those who have come into the sacred
privilege by birth. The trumpets were of silver that they
might give a clear, sweet, distinct sound. The Gospel of
God is no harsh, uncertain note, when sounded with
loving, consecrated heart and lip. In Ezekiel 33. 6, the
trumpeter is a watchman. The servant of God is not only
a priest to worship, but also a watchman to warn. His eye
is to be quick to discern the signs of the times, and His lip
ready to sound forth the needful note.
II. The Uses of the Trumpet-may indicate the work
of the preacher and the character of the Gospel.
1. It was blown OVER THE BURNT- O F F E R I N G S a nd
sacrifices (Num. 10. 10). This was the joyful sound of
atonement. Blessed are the people that know this trum-pet
sound (Psa. 89. 15, R.V., mar&)-redemption and
peace by the blood of His Cross.
2. It was blown AT THE ANOINTING 0~ A KING (2 Kings.Gospel Outlines. 105
9. 13). Sound out the tidings that the Crucified One is
now crowned with glory and honour. This is what Peter
did (see Acts 10. 38-40).
3. It was blown BEFORE THE ARK OF GOD (1 Chron.
15. 24). The coming of this symbol of His presence was
heralded by the watchful, joyful trumpeter. “Behold, He
cometh I ” Sound out this blessed note, ye watchmen of
the Lord.
4. It was BLOWN TO WARN (Ezek. 33. 4). The day of
battle is ever with us. The power of sin and the hosts of
Hell offer no truce. If there is no warning given, who shall
prepare himself for the battle ?
5. It was blown TO SOUND AN ALARM (Joel 2. 1). This
prophet sees the mustering of the nations. “A day of
darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick
darkness, ” for the “day of the Lord cometh.” Sound an
alarm, for the awful day is approaching when upon all
“faces shall gatherblackness” (v. 6). This note of “alarm”
is not wanted in these days, but it never was more needed.
Awake ! Awake !
III. The Responsibility of the Trumpeters. Some of
the trumpeters may be so blind that they do not see the
danger ; but if they see.. . and blow not the trumpet.. . the
blood of those who perish, through their cowardly neglect,
will God require at their hands (Ezek. 33. 6). The Lord’s
watchmen should be the first to see, and the first to sound
the note or warning. A faithful witness delivereth souls.
We should be instant in season, for the time will come
when “the voice of.. . trumpeters shall be heard no more”
(Rev. 18. 22).
THE LADDER OF GRACE.
COLOSSIANS 1. 9-14.
PAUL’ S letters are as much alive to-day as when they were
first read in the Churches 1800 years ago. Why do they still.196 Handfuls on Purpose.
live and thrive increasingly amid the fires of adverse
criticism ? Because the living breath of Christ is in them.
Who could preach like Paul ? Only those who could pray
like him. The pulpit is weak to-day because the closet
is cold. We have here one of Paul’s wonderful prayers for
his brethren. This passage seems like a ladder of grace,
making a way from darkness to light, from emptiness to
fullness, from death to life. Paul, standing on the heights
of grace, counts the steps from the top downward; but we
shall understand it better by beginning at the bottom.
The first step, then, of this ladder of life is-I.
Forgiveness. Forgiveness of sins is the first blessing
God offers man, although many think, in their ignorance,
that this is the last benefit man can get from God. There
is a good deal of Protestant Popery abroad-a kind of
belief that God only forgives our sins when we come to die.
If this was so, surely Paul must have been very presumptu-ous
when he said, as he does here, that “In Him we have
the forgiveness of sins. ” Until we have received the for-giveness
of our sins, we have not advanced one step
heavenward. The first round on the ladder is forgiveness.
The second is-II.
Redemption. “We have redemption through His
blood. ” To redeem means to buy back. In these evil
days the redemptive work of Christ is largely ignored in
certain quarters. When an article is taken out of the pawn,
it is said to be redeemed, and when redeemed it is out of
the hands of the broker, and into the hands of the pur-chaser.
The old pawnbroker to whom we had sold our-selves
for naught is the Devil. But Christ, having
redeemed us by His blood, claims us as His own. The
next step upward is-III.
Translation. “He hath translated us into the
Kingdom of His dear Son. ” Only redeemed ones can grow.Gospel Outlines. 197
in this Kingdom. The process of translating is a mystery.
There is nothing like it in nature as far as we know. No
passing from one kingdom into another. The mineral
never becomes vegetable, and the vegetable never becomes
animal. But by the grace of God a sinner can be translated
into a saint. This is evidenced by the changed lives of
many round about us.
IV. Deliverance. The next step is “delivered from
the powers of darkness. ” Sin, like a mighty vampire, has
spread its darkening wings over the minds of men. With
regard to spiritual things, we are, apart from God-stone
blind. The power of darkness is a fearful power. How
many are enveloped in its misery. God delivers us from
it by opening the eyes of our understanding, and planting
our feet upon the rock of His eternal truth. The next step
lifts us into great hope.
V. Partakers. “Made partakers of the inheritance
of the saints in light.” Partakers, not purchasers. It is
said that in England’s palace one day, the King asked his
nobles by what title they held their lands. Immediately
hundreds of swords flashed in the light. They replied,
“By these we won them, and by these we will keep them. ”
It is not so with us. Christ, the sword of our excellence,
has conquered for us. We reap because He hath sown.
We win because He hath triumphed. We inherit because
He hath died. The next step is-VI.
Strengthened. This word reminds us that we are
still in the place of weakness, work, and warfare ; and
suggests sufficiency for all our need. “Strengthened
with all might.” As thy days so shall thy strength be.
But notice that the strength here spoken of is to be mani-fested
in patience and longsuffering. Restlessness and a
short temper are sure signs of weakness.
VII. Fruitful in every good work is the next round in.198 Handfuls on Purpose.
this ladder. The work of Christ has brought the possi-bility
of a truly successful life, within the reach of every
man. If a man plants rotten potatoes he cannot exl~ect
good ones. The redeemed life should be fruitful in every
good work. Apart from Christ our lives are as barren as
branches severed from the vine. The last and highest
experience is-VIII.
Filled with the knowledge of His will, etc. This implies walking in the light and rejoicing in certainties.
The higher we climb in spiritual experience the more clear
the air becomes. Many never seem to get out of cloudland ;
they seem content to abide in the midst of doubts and fears.
How many of us have started on this ladder of life ? Here
is a man who wants to climb with the world on his back.
Here is another riding on his church with the confession of
faith under his arm. Here is another so filled with pride
that he is puffed up like a publican or rather like a Pharisee.
But the first step implies forgiveness-so the first act on
our part must be confession.
BACKSLIDING-ITS CAUSE, COURSE, AND
CURE.
JEREMIAH 2. l-37.
THE prodigal did not arrive among the swine the first day
he left his father. The course of the backslider is gradual.
A little thing at the fountain head may alter the course of
a river. A little sin “in” the heart may change the current
of a life. We have here-I.
A Happy Condition. “When thou wentest after
Me in the wilderness Israel was holiness unto the Lord”
(v. 3). These words suggest two important truths.
1. That to please God we must follow Him.
2. That in followirtg Him we are holiness unto the Lord.
Holiness is the fruit of obedience and fellowship. This is.Gospel Outlines. 199
the root thought of consecration, and exceedingly practical.
While Peter was rejoicing in the Lord, he could say,
“To whom can we go ? ” but when doubt and fear arose in
his heart he forsook Him and fled. The obedient followers
of Christ will never be found mourning beside the broken
cisterns.
II. A Foolish Step. “They have forsaken Me and
hewed them out broken cisterns, ” etc. (v. 13). God is the
Fountain of living waters; when He is forsaken men have
to hew for themselves. And what do they get for all their
Iabours ? “Broken cisterns that can hold no water. ”
Disappointment (Rom. 10. 4). Labouring for living
waters is an evidence of God unknown or God forsaken.
It is the gift of God (John 4. 10). How vain to seek the
streams without the fountain; how foolish to seek the
blessing without the Blesserl “All my springs are in
Thee. ” All my blessings in Christ are but foretastes of
His inexhaustible fullness. The Jorsaking is always
followed with the hew&g. When a man has lost his plea-sure
in the prayer meeting he will be likely to seek it in the
dram shop; when the Bible becomes dry the novel will be
sought. “Broken cisterns. ”
III. A Sorrowful Contrast. “I planted thee a noble
vine ; how art thou turned into the degenerate plant ? ”
(v. 21). Oh, think of it! Forsaking God means degenera-tion
in life and character. If you have begun to pray less
you have begun to degenerate. If you have a growing
dislike for the company of the godly, the process of
degeneration is fast going on. If you are not bearing the
rich fruits of former years it is because you are a degenerate
plant. The vine cannot thrive in a barren land; no more
can ye. If we would continue to be fruitful, let us abide
where the Lord hath planted us (Rom. 6. 3; John 15. 4).
IV. A Fruitless Attempt. “Though thou wash thee.. ..200 Handfuls on Purpose.
yet thine iniquity is marked before Me, saith the Lord”
(v. 22). It is very common for the backslider in heart to
keep up the form of godliness when the power is gone, but
though they take the nitre of earnestness and the much
soap of profession, yet is their iniquity marked before
God. Solemn words ! Be not deceived ; God is not mocked.
A backslider can no more wash himself than an unbelieving
sinner. He that covereth his sins shall not prosper. No
amount of outward pretence will atone for secret sin in
sight of God.
V. A Solemn Change. “Thou hast taught the wicked
ones thy ways: also in thy skirts is found the blood of
souls ” (w. 33, 34). How guilty and responsible are those
Christians who have forsaken the Lord and gone back to
the world. They dishonour Christ by their lives, which
teach the wicked a Godless religion-a religion the world
loves. By forsaking the blood that cleanseth from all sin
the blood of souls is on their skirts. If the light that is in
thee be darkness, how great is that darkness !
VI. A Presumptuous Plea. “Yet thou sayest, I am
innocent, I have not sinned” (v. 35). A backslider has
arrived at about the last stage of degeneration when he
begins to justify himself; he has got into the painless state
of spiritual mortification.
VII. A Dismal Prospect. “The Lord hath rejected
thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them”
(v. 37). The confidence that is not placed in the Lord
Himself is sheer presumption. Special meetings may be
got up, new methods may be invented, some excitement
may be awakened, but if thy heart is not right with God
thou shalt not prosper. “Man looketh on the outward
appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Sam.
16. 7). It is possible for a backslider, in reforming his
manner of life, to regain the confidence of his Christian.Gospel OutIines . 201
brethren, but unless there is cleansing and heart restora-tion
to God he shall not prosper. He may be a branch
among the other branches, but if he is not in fellowship
with the life-giving Vine he is but a withered branch,
and shall not prosper.
VIII. A Gracious Remedy. “Return thou back-sliding
Israel, for I am merciful, saith the Lord” (chap.
3. 12). Oh, how simple the condition, “Only acknowledge
thine iniquity” (v. 13). Oh, how encouraging the offer,
“I am mercifd. ” Oh, how gracious the promise, “I will
heal” (v. 22). If we confess our sins, He is faithful and
just to forgive. David acknowledged his transgression
and was forgiven (Psa. 32. 5). The prodigal confessed
and was restored (Luke 15). Return, confess, rejoice.
SOLOMON AND THE QUEEN OF SHEBA;
OR, CHRIST AND HIS SERVANTS.
1 KINGS 10. l-10.
A GREATER than Solomon is here (Matt. 12. 42). We have perhaps a picture here of the glory that shall yet charac-terise
the “Greater Solomon” and His servants in the
age to come (Isa. 60. l-6). What brought the Queen of
Sheba to behold the wisdom and glory of Solomon has
brought many a humbler one to behold the greater glory
of Jesus, viz., “the hearing of faith. ” We might consider-I.
What She Heard. “She heard of his fame. ”
1. THE FAME OF HIS RICHES. “Silver was nothing
accounted in his days” (v. 21). But what are the riches
of Christ? (Eph. 3. 8; Col. 2. 9).
2. THE FAME OF HIS WISDOM. This was the wisdom
that cometh from above (1 Kings 3. 12). Many seek after
wisdom (v. 24) who reject Christ, the wisdom of God
(1 Cor. 1. 24-30; James 1. 5).
Vol. IX. 10.202 Handfuls on Purpose.
3. THE FAME OF HIS POWER. Concerning the Name of
the Lord. If Solomon’ s intimacy with God made him
great, what must we say of Him who was “God manifest
in the flesh ? ” (Phil. 2. 9).
II. What She Did. She did not make light of it, like
those in Matthew 22. 5. Nor postpone it like Felix
(Acts 24. 25).
1. SHE CAME TO HIM. This was much better than
merely thinking about him. When the prodigal came to
himself he came to his Father (John 6. 37).
2. SHE COMMUNED WITH HIM. “She told him all that
was in her heart ” (v. 2), and the king hid nothing from her
(v. 3). A full confession brings fullness of blessing
(Psa. 32. 5-7). Oh, the joy of telling Jesus! Cast thy
burden on the Lord (Matt. 14. 12).
III. What She Saw.
1. SHE SAW HIS WISDOM. Having come to Christ, the
wisdom of God in the scheme of redemption has greatly
amazed us (Eph. 1. 4-8).
2. SHE SAW HIS HOUSE. The Church of Christ as an
house fitly framed together is the next marvel (Eph.
2. 19-22).
3. SHE SAW HIS TABLE. The great and liberal provision
God has made in Christ for His own (2 Cor. 9. 8).
4. SHE SAW HIS ASCENT. (Probably the arched viaduct
that led from his house to the Temple.) The ascent of the
“Greater than Solomon” was much more glorious (Acts
1. 9).
5. SHE S AW HIS S E R V A N TS. (IL) Their p o s i t i o n-“
Sitting” (Luke 10. 39). (b) Their p/itiZege–“Continu-ally
with thee hear&g thy tisdom” (v. 8; John 6. 45).
(c) Their pleasure-“Happy are these, thy servants”
(v. 8 ; Psa. 100. 2 ; Rom. 5. 1 I)..Gospel Outlinea. 203
IV. What Followed. The results were manifest-1.
SHE WAS HUMBLED. “There was no more spirit in
her. ” Seeing the Lord means a downfall (Acts 9. 4;
Rev. 1. 17).
2. SHE CONFESSED. “It was a true report. ” Those who
come to Jesus will be forced to acknowledge the truth
of the Gospel.
3. SHE PRAISED. “Blessed be the Lord. ” This is the
result of a satisfied soul (Psa. 103. l-5).
4. SHE GAVE. “She gave the king gold” (v. 10)
“Yield yotirse2ves unto God” (Rom. 12. 1, 2).
ELIJAH ON CARMEL;
OR, FAITH VINDICATED.
1 KINGS 18. 19-39.
THERE are only two religions : (1) The Religion of Man ;
(2) The Religion of God. Man’s religion may have much
that is attractive and pleasing to men, but it lacks power
and az&ority. It is a lifeless body. The religion of God is
attested as Divine by miraculous fire from Heaven in answer to believing prayer (v. 37; Acts 2. 3). We have here-I.
The Religion of Form and its Followers.
1. THEY ARE MANY. “Baal’ s prophets are four hundred
and fifty” (v. 22). A depraved religion will always be
popular with a depraved humanity (Matt. 27, 21). The
proverb, “VOX +opuli, VOX Dei, ” is in spiritual matters
untrue (Matt. 7. 13).
2. THEY ARE EARNEST. They cried aloud and cut them-,
selves with knives, ” etc. (v. 23). Zeal, but not according
to knowledge (Rom. 10. 3), is like a steam-engine on the
wrong track. Good misdirected.
3. THEY ARE DECEIVED. “Neither was there voice, nor
any to answer” (v. 29). The favour and power of God is
not to be purchased with self-effort (Titus 3. 5 ; Acts.204 Handfuls on Purpose.
8. 20). The tie of the heavenly baptism will not come
upon us by leaping upon the altar and cutting ourselves
(1 Cor. 13. 3), it is by faith (Gal. 3. 14 ; John 7.’ 38, 39).
II. The Religion of God and His Worshippers. It
cannot be said of Christians that they worship they know
not what (1 John 5. 20).
1. THEY are COMPARATIVELY FEW. “I only remain”
(v. 22). Here is but one against four hundred and fifty,
but that one is not Elijah, but God, whom Elijah trusted.
The battle is the Lord’ s (read 1 John 4. 4).
2. THEY ARE DELIBERATELY FAITHFUL. “Come near
unto Me. ” See the calmness of Elijah. No “leaping and
cutting” with him. He makes not haste, because he
believes in God (Isa. 28. 16). Oh, for such faith (James
5. 17).
3. THEY ARE DIVINELY FAVOURED. “Then the fire of
the Lord fell” (v. 38). Our God is a consuming fire.
When He comes He consumes the stony heart, and licks
up the dust of sin (Matt. 3. 11, 12).
III. The Call of the Prophet for Decision. “How
long halt ye between two opinions? ” (v. 21). Notice-1.
THAT THERE ARE Two OPINIONS. God’ s and man’ s.
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, saith the Lord. ”
They are as wide apart as light and darkness. Which do
you follow? (See Psalm 139. 17).
2. THAT THERE ARE MANY WHO HALT BETWEEN THEM.
The choice is between the “wisdom of man ” and the
“wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1. 19-30)’ between sin unto death
and obedience unto righteousness (Rom. 6. 16).
3. THAT THEY ONLY ARE SAFE WHO DECIDE FOR GOD.
When the people saw it they said, “The Lord, He is God, ”
but the prophets were slain at the brook (v. 39). What
are the results of seeing the “goodness and severity of
God” at the Cross of Christ 3.Gospel Outlines. 205
SOME FACTS ABOUT PRAYER, FOR MEN.
LUKE 18. 1.
“MEN ought always to pray, and not to faint. ” So said
the Lord of men and of salvation. Then-I.
Prayer is a real thing. It is something of intrinsic
value. “He that cometh to God must believe that He is”
(Heb. Il. 6). A man once confessed that, “Before I was
converted I prayed to nobody. Now I pray to God. ”
II. Prayer is a simple thing. Any child can pray. It
is the offering up of our desires unto God. It is asking
because we feel our need, and believe that we can receive.
There is no mystery in this.
III. Prayer is a desirable thing. “Men ozlght to pray. ”
They ought to pray, just as they ought to work and eat.
Men ought to deal fairly with God, as they ought to deal
fairly with their fellowmen. It is their duty and privilege.
IV. Prayer is a manly thing. “Men ought to pray. ” Man is the only animal that can naturally look up. Some
men live the brutish life by never looking up. Lift up
your face to God, and maintain your dignity as a man.
V. Prayer is a constant thing. “Men ought always
to pray. ” He ought to keep on praying, just as he keeps
on desiring. Men ought to exercise their bodies daily to
be healthy and strong ; so ought they to exercise their
souls toward God. Continue in work if you wish to grow
rich in the world’ s goods. Continue in prayer if you would
grow rich in faith and grace.
VI. Prayer is a testing thing. “And not to faint. ”
It is easy to grow weary in this well doing. Ye shall reap
if ye faint not. Praying always and rcot faintitig is the
evidence of strong faith. The trial of your faith is precious.
VII. Prayer is a profitable thing. “Ask and ye shall
receive. ” Our Lord would never have said that “Men
ought always to pray” if He did not mean always to give.
As a proof of this, see the little parable in verses Z-7..206 Handfuls on Purpose.
THE FAITHFUL SAYING.
1 TIMOTHY 1. 15.
THIS is the Apostle’ s own testimony, a declaration of his
own experience (w. 12-15). The “saying” is not his own,
he got it from others. It is of world-wide signiticance.
I. It Reveals the Love of God. Nature may seem
“red, tooth and claw. ” God is love.
II. It Reveafs the Grace of Christ. “Christ Jesus
came into the world. ” Where from ? What to do ?
(1 Cor. 8. 9).
III. It Reveals the Need of Man. “Came into the
world to save sinners. ” He came not as a capitalist to
assist in case of failure, but as a Saviour to save.
IV. It is a Faithful Saying. It is in perfect accord
with the character of God and the condition of men. It
has come from the lips of Him who is the Truth (John 7.17).
V. It is Worthy of all Acceptation. Worthy of being
accepted by all, and worthy of being altogether accepted
by all classes and conditions of men.
EBENEZER.
1 SAMUEL 7. 12.
THE circumstances connected with this “stone of help”
are suggestive of the way into spiritual victory. There
was-1.
Conscious Need. “All . . . lamented after the
Lord” (v. 2).
2. Confession Made. “We have sinned” (v. 6).
3. Separation Demanded. “Put away strange gods.. .
serve Him only” (v. 3).
4. Substitution Acknowledged. “Samuel took a
sucking lamb” (v. 9)..Gospel Outlines. 207
5. Deliverance Wrought. “The Lord thundered.. .
and discomfited” (v. 10).
6. Testimony Given. “Hitherto hath the Lord
helped us” (v. 12).
THE RULE OF CHRIST’S PEACE.
COL~SSIANS 3. 15.
1. A Wonderful Theme. “The peace of Christ “ (R. V. ) .
Nothing could disturb it (John 14. 27).
2. A Blessed Possession. “The peace of Christ in
your hearts. ” In Me ye have peace (John 16. 33).
3. A Happy Government. “The peace of Christ rule
in your hearts” (arbitrate, R.v., margin).
4. A Gracious Calling. “To the which also ye were
called. ” We don’t climb into it, we are called into it.
5. A Mystical Union. “In one body. ”
6. A God-honouring Result. “Be ye thankful ”
(Eph. 5. 20).
“CERTAINLY I WILL BE WITH THEE. ”
EXODUS 3. 12.
THINK of-1.
The Character of His Presence.
2. The Purpose of His Presence. Guide, defend,
comfort.
3. The Power of His Presence. Purity, plenty,
progress, praise.
LESSONS FROM THE HARVESTFIELD.
SONG OF SOLOMON 7. 11.
“LET us go forth into the field” and learn-1.
That a harvest time will come. Seed sown shall
not always remain a hidden thing,.208 Handfuls on Purpose.
2. That much comes from little. Some an huudred-fold.
They who sow wind, reap whirlwind.
3. That a fruitful life comes through death. “Except
a corn of wheat die, it abideth alone. ”
4. That like comes from like. “Whatsoever a man
soweth, tJzut shall he reap. ”
5. That when we cease to grow we begin to die.
6. That grain is most valued when ripe.
7. That the chaff and the wheat grow together.
6. That the harvesting does not aiter its character.
9. That the harvest is followed with a sifting.
FEAR not, for-
FEAR NOT.
ISAIAH 43. l-10.
1. I have redeemed thee (v. 1). Purchase.
2. I have called thee (v. 1). Grace.
3. I will be with thee (v. 2). Fellowship.
4. I have loved thee (v. 4). Favour.
5. I will gather thee (v. 5). Hope.
6. I have created thee for My glory. Privilege.
7. Ye are My witnesses (v. 10). Responsibility.
THE BELIEVER’ S JOY IN THE LORD.
1.
2.
3.
HABAKKUK 3. 17-19.
The believer has joy. “I will rejoice” (v. 18).
It is joy in the Lord. “I will joy in.. . God. ”
It is the joy of salvation. “I will joy in the God of
my salvation. ”
4. It s the joy of satisfaction. “My strength. ”
5. It is the joy of anticipation. “He will make me
to walk upon high places. ”
6. It is a joy that adversity cannot destroy.
“Although.. . yet” (w. 17, 18)..Gospel Outlines. 209
WONDERFUL LOVE.
EZEKIEL 16. 4-14.
I. The Condition of the Sinner.
1. UNWASHED. “Neither wast thou washed” (v. 4).
2. UNPITIED. “None eye pitied thee” (v. 5).
3. EXPOSED. “Cast out in the open field” (v. 5).
4. LOATHSOME. “To the loathing of thy person. ”
5. OPPRESSED. “Trodden underfoot ” (v. 6, ma@).
II. The Love of the Saviour. Seen in His-1.
COMING NEAR. “I passed thee by” (v. 6).
2. INFINITE COMPASSION. “I looked upon thee ; behold
thy time was a time of love” (v. 8).
3. WORD OF POWER. “I said unto thee, Live” (v. 6).
III. The Privileges of the Saved.
1. SHELTERED. “I spread My skirt over thee” (v. 8).
2. WASHED. “Then washed I thee” (v. 9).
3. CLOTHED. “I clothed thee” (v. 10).
4. ANOINTED. “I anointed thee” (v. 9).
5. GIRDED. “I girded thee” (service) (v. 10).
6. ADORNED. “I decked thee with omameuts” (v. 11).
“Thy beauty perfect through My comeliness” (v. 14).
7. CROWNED. “I put a beautiful crown upon thy head”
(v. 12). Saved by grace alone.
THE BLESSED MAN.
PSALM 112.
I. The Cause of his Blessedness.
1. He FEARS THE LORD (v. 1).
2. He has a fixed TRUST in the Lord (v. 7).
3. He has a CHARACTER like the Lord’ s (v. 4, 1.c.).
II. The Nature of his Blessedness.
1. He has DELIGHT in the Word of God (v. 1)..210 Handfuls on Purpose.
2. His CRILDREN are honoured (v. 2).
3. His HOUSE is well furnished (v. 3).
4. His RIGHTEOUSNESS endureth for ever (v. 3 .
5. He has LIGHT in time of darkness (v. 4).
6. He is SAVED from all fear (w. 7, 8).
7. He shall be EXALTED (v. 9, 1. c.).
8. His ENEMIES shall be humbled (v. 10).
1.
2.
3.
THE EXPERIENCES OF A SOUL.
PSALM 119.
Breaking (v. 20). 4. Fainting (v. 81).
Cleaving (v. 25). 5. Waiting (v. 109).
Melting (v. 28). 6. Trusting (v. 167).
7. Longing (v. 175).
_-THE
DIVINE KEEPER.
PSALM 121.
word “keeper” occurs in this Psalm six times in the THE
Revised Version.
I. His Ability to Keep.
1. ALMIGHTY. “Made the Heaven and the earth. ”
2. EVER AWAKE. “He slumbereth not. ”
II. The Manner of His Keeping.
1. He keeps the SOUL (v. 7, R. v. ).
2. He keeps from OPPRESSION. “The Lord thy Shade”
(w. 5, 6).
3. He keeps from EVIL (v. 7).
4. He keeps while in the routine of DAILY BUSINESS.
“Thy going out and thy coming in” (v. 8).
5. He keeps to the END. “Even for evermore. ”.Gospel Outlines. 211
CAPTIVITY TURNED INTO SINGING.
PSALM 126. THERE was-1.
Bondabe. “Captivity of Zion” (v. 1).
2. Prayer. “Turn again our captivity, 0 Lord”
(v. 4).
3. Answer. “The Lord turned” (v. 1).
4. Astonishment. “We were like them that dream”
(v. 1).
5. Joyfulness. “Our mouths filled with laughter and
singing” (v. 2).
6. Fruitfulness. “Then said they, ” etc.
7. Encouragement. “They that sow in tears shall
reap in joy” (vv. 5, 6).
HE IS ABLE.
PSALM 145. 14-21.
1. To Uphold the fallen (v. 14).
2. To Raise the bowed down (v. 14).
3. To Give Meat in due season (v. 15).
4. To Satisfy the living (v. 16).
5. To Fulfil the desires of them that fear Him (v. 19).
6. To Save them that cry (v. 19).
7. To Preserve them that love Him (v. 20).
EBENEZER.
1 SAMUEL 7. 12.
I. The Way to it.
1. CONFESSION . “We have sinned“ (v. 6).
2. CONVERSION. “Return unto the Lord” (v. 3).
3. CONSECRATION. “Prepare your heart and serve Him
only” (v. 3)..212 Handfuls on Purpose.
II. The Manner of it. It was through-1.
SACRIFICE . “A lamb for a burnt offering” (v. IO).
2. INTBRCESSI~N. “Samuel cried unto the Lord. ”
3. JUDGMENT. “The Lord thundered” (v. 10).
III. The Influence of it.
1. Look UP. “The Lord hath. ”
2. Look BACK. “Hitherto. ”
3. Look BEYOND. “He hath” and He will.
CHRIST OUR LIFE.
COLOSSIANS 3. 4.
1. He is the Source of it (John 10. 10).
2. He is the Confidence of it (John 10. 28).
3. He is the Sustenance of it (John 6. 50).
4. He is the Object of it (Phil. 1. 21).
5. He is the Example of it (1 Peter 2. 21).
6. He is the Security of it (Col. 3. 3).
7. He is the Croivn of it (James 1. 12).
HAVE FAITH IN GOD.
MARK 11. 22.
THIS is a word of encouragement for the-1.
Seeking Sinner (Acts 16. 31).
2. Trembling Believer (Psalm 73. 23).
3. Tempted Follower (Gen. 15. 1).
4. Bereaved Sufferer (Gen. 45. 26).
5. Penitent Backslider (Isaiah 55. 7).
6. Discouraged Worker (Isaiah 59. 19).
7. Dying Christian (Psalm 23. 4)..Gospel Outlines. 213
THE YOKE OF CHRIST.
MATTHEW Il. 28, 29.
1. What it Means. Fellowship z&h Himself, walking
with Him. Gripped and fastened to the same divine
purpose.
2. Who are to Take it? All who would follow Him,
sharing His sufferings and glory.
3. What is Found in it? “Rest to the soul. ” Rest
in His will, way, and work.
THE FACE OF JESUS.
To see His face is to get a vision of Jehovah Jesus. What
is to be seen in that face ?
1. Perfection. “The glory of God in the face of Jesus”
(2 Cor. 4. 6).
2. Consecration. “Look upon the. face of Thine
anointed” (Psalm 84. 9).
3. Determination. “He stedfastly set His face to go
up, etc. ” (Luke 9. 51).
4. Substitution. “His visage (face) was so marred
more than any man” (Isa. 52. 14; Isa. 53. 2, 3).
5. Rejection. “They did spit on His face” (Matt.
26. 67).
6. Glorification. “His face like the sun” (Rev. 1. 16;
Matt. 17. 2).
7. Consummation. “From whose face the earth and
the Heaven fled away” (Rev. 20. 11).
8. Salvation. “Cause Thy face to shine and we shall
be saved” (Psalm 80. 3). Seek His face (Psalm 27. 8)..214 Handfuls on Purpose,
PETER’ S FALL.
MARK 14.
DOWNWARD stens-1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Self-confiidence, u w
Proud Boasting, u
Unwatchfulness, ._ -Cowardliness,
Ungodly Cornpa&:
. .
. .
Denying the Lord, . . .
Weeping, . . . . . .
– verse 29.
LI verse 31.
_. verse 37.
. . verses 50-54.
. . verse 54.
. . verse 71.
. . . verse 72.
RARE YOUNG MEN.
1 JOHN 2. 14.
1. Their character. “Ye are strong. ”
2. The evidence of their strength. “Ye have overcome the wicked one.”
3. The source of their strength. “The Word of abideth in you. ” His Word is pure, peaceable,
powerful.
God
and
THE WORD OF GOD NO VAIN THING.
DEUTERONOMY 32. 47.
I. What the Word of God is Not. “It is not a
vain thing. ”
1. Because its QUICKENING power is needed (Psa. 119. 5).
2. Because it has ILLUMINATING power (Psa. 119. 195).
3. Because of its IRRESISTIBLE power (Jer. 23. 29).
II. To Whom it is No Vain Thing. “It is no vain thing fo7you.” For YOU who have heard and believed.
III. Why it is No Vain Thing. “Because it is your
life. ”
1. It is the SOURCE of your life (1 Peter 1. 23-25).
2. It is the SUSTENANCE of your life (1 Peter 2. 2).
3. It is the STRENGTH of your life (Eph. 6. 17)..Gospel Outlines. 215
THE LADDER OF GRACE.
COLOSSIANS 9. 1-14.
THIS passage should be read in its reverse order to get
progressive experience.
1. Forgiveness of sins (v. 14).
2. Redemption through blood (v. 14).
3. Translated into the Kingdom (v. 13).
4. Delivered from the power of darkness (v. 13).
5. Partakers of the inheritance (v. 12).
6. Strengthened with all might (v. 11).
7. Fruitful in every good work (v. 10).
8. Filled with the knowledge of His will (v. 9).
I.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7
EMBLEMS OF THE CHURCH.
As a pearl it is costly (Matt. 13. 46).
As an house it is orderly (1 Peter 2. 5).
As a pillar it is a witness (1 Tim. 3. 5).
As a flock it is dependent (1 Peter 5. 2).
As a family it bears His image (Eph. 3. 15).
As a wife it is vitally connected (Rev. 19. 7).
. . As a body it is all of one (Eph. 1. 22, 23).
9. As a candlestick it is exalted (Rev. 1. 12).
SETTLED.
PSALM 119. 89.
I. What is Settled ? “0 Lord Thy Word is settled, ”
II. Where is it Settled ? “Settled in Heaven. ”
III. What is the Result of this Settlement ?
1. This is a ROCK OF REFUGE for the weary (Matt.
11. 28).
2. This is a STAFF OF STRENGTH for the Christian
(John 10. 35)..216 Handfuls on Purpose.
3. This is a DART OF DEFIANCE for the DeviI (Eph
6. 17).
4. This is a DISMAL DIRGE for the impenitent (Psa.
9. 17 ; John 3. 36).
ENOCH.
HEBREWS 11. 5, 6.
THIS is a short but most inspiring biography. “Enoch”
means dedicated.
1. He pleased God. This proves that he had faith
in God (v. 6).
2. He knew that he pleased God. “He had this testi-mony.
” This must have been to him a great source of
comfort and cozlrage.
3. How he pleased God. “He walked with God”
(Gen. 5. 24).
4. The result of pleasing God. “He was translated. ”
Death had no power over him. It is so with the life that
is hid with Christ in God. “By faith he was translated. ”
THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT.
ACTS 1. 8.
To the believer the power of the Spirit is the power of an
ever present Divine Personality (John 16. 7-14).
1. His is convicting power (John 16. 8, margin).
2. His is life-giving power (John 6. 63).
3. His is teaching power (John 16. 13).
4. His is revealing power (John 16. 14).
5. His is witnessing power (Acts 1. 8; Rom. 8. 16).
6. His is interceding power (Ram. 8. 26).
7. His is indwelling power (1 Cor. 3. 16; 6. 19).Gospel Outlines. 217
“BELIEVE AND THOU SHALT SEE.”
JOHN 11. 40.
THIS statement may be regarded as a word of-1.
Rebuke to the questioning unbeliever.
2. Guidance to the anxious seeker.
3. Comfort to the suffering believer.
4. Cheer to the discouraged worker.
5 I . Hope to the dying Christian.
HEART-TROUBLE AND ITS CURE.
JOHN 14. 1.
I. The Disease. Heart-trouble. “Let not your heart
be troubled. ” This disease is common. Its causes varied.
Its cure humanly impossible.
II. The Remedy. “Ye believe in God, believe also
ivz Me. ” In ME-1.
As the SON of the Father (v. 2).
2. As the PROVIDER for His own (v. 2).
3. As the WAY to the Father (v. 6).
4. As the IMAGE of the Father (v. 9).
5. As the REPRESENTATIVE of the Father (vv. 10, 1 I).
6. As the ANSWERER of prayer (vv. 13. 14).
7. As the GIVER of the Holy Spirit (v. 16).
8. As the COMING One (v. 3).
WHAT MEANETH THIS?
ACTS 2. 12.
THE gift of the Holy Spirit, which was a source of “amaze-ment”
to some and “mockery” to others, is full of precious
meaning to us who believe.
1. It means that He who died for our sins is now
exalted at the right hand of God (v. 33; John 7. 39).
Vol. IX. 15.218 Handfuls 0.1 PurpcPae.
2. It means the fulfilment of propbccy (v. 16).
3. It means that Christ has power to fulfil His promises
(chap. 1. 5; 11. 4).
4. It means power for testimony (w. 17, 18).
5. It means fullness of blessing for every believer
(vv. 38, 39).
6. It means that God can mightily use weak things
(v. 7).
7. It means that God would have all men to be saved
(v. 21).
ASSURANCE OF VICTORY.
JOHN 16. 33.
1. The Christian’ s Sphere of Service. “In the world. ”
2. The Christian’ s Source of Suffering. “In the
world ye shall have tribulation. ”
3. The Christian’ s Secret of Comfort. “In Me ye
might have peace. ”
4. The Christian’ s Source of Joy. “Be of good
cheer. ”
5. The Christian’ s Assurance of Victory. “I have
overcome the world. ”
HEART-SEARCHING.
1 SAMUEL 16. 7.
1. Two Aspects of Man. The “outward appearance”
and the “heart. ” These are often contradictory.
2. The Judgment of Men. “Man looketh on the
outward appearance. ”
3. The Judgment of God. “The Lord looketh on
the heart. ” Man says, “Reform. ” God says, “Repent. ”
t.Handfuls on Purpose. 219
SEED THOUGHTS.
SEED AND BREAD.
“For as the rain cometh down from Heaven.. that it may
give seed to the sower and bread to tJLe eater, so slzall My
Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth ” (Isa. 55. 10, 11).
THE seed is the word, and the Word of God is the incor-ruptible
seed. As the rain comes down from Heaven to
water the earth, so this Word comes forth from the mouth
of God to revive the hearts of men.
Oh, ye pilgrim witnesses, that go over the broad field of
this world as sowers for the Son of Man, see to it that the
basket of your heart is filled with the good seed of the
Kingdom.
The Word of God is God’ s own seed for the sower. Ye
need no other. All else is chaff compared with this. But
remember it is not merely Scriptural words you are to sow, it is the Word of God, or God’ s own message to men; and
you wiII find that this seed will grow best when planted in
its native shell of simple Scripture language. This seed
is also to be the “bread of the eater. ” If the Word of God is
not the food and strength of the preacher’ s own soul, he
will sow it but sparingly indeed. All who live must eat.
If we live by faith in the Son of God, His Word will be
sweet unto our taste.
THE WORD AND THE HAND.
“Now Lord, grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness
they may speak Thy Word, by stretch&g FortJz Thine
ha& to heal” (Acts 4. 29, 30).
GREAT boldness is needed to preach God’ s Word. There.220 Handfuls on Purpose.
are so many who are ready to threaten when His Word is
courageously spoken. But after all something more is
needed if souls are to be wounded with a sense of sin, and
healed by His mighty grace. Unless His hatid is stretched
forth with His Word, no healing power will be felt. The
hand of God’ s Spirit is greatly hindered where there is
doubting and fearfulness ; but don’ t let us imagine that our
boldness and faithfulness alone will suffice to bring souls
to Christ. We must remember that it is the “Spirit that
quickeneth. ” Along with our testimony there must be
stretched forth that almighty and invisible hand that can
lay hold on the hearts of ungodly men and turn them whithersoever He will. When this hand is stretched forth
signs and wonders will be done. Have faith in God.
THE SHADOW OF PETER.
Yi%y brought forth the sick into the streets, that at kust
the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow them”
(Acts 5. 15).
EVERY shadow was not the shadow of Peter. It took
two things to make Peter’ s shadow–light and his own preselzce. Wherever Peter went walking in the light he carried with him the influence of his shadow. Every Christian, walking in the light of God, will have a shadow
accompanying him. Those who walk in the darkness of
doubt will carry no healing virtue with their presence.
Alas for those who are aping at somebody else, and losing
the power of their ows presence. No sick ones will be
helped by the shadow (influence) of such hollow pretenders.
THE FACE OF AN ANGEL.
“And looking stedfastly on Stephen, saw his face, as it had
been theface of an avagel” (Acts 6. 15).
THERE are but few angel faces to be seen in this selfish,
sin-distorted world. The features of the soul not infre..Seed Thoughts. 221
quently stamp themselves upon the countenance. If the
angelic image of Jesus has been impressed upon the “inner
man, ” some of the halo of His glory will be seen without.
Observe it was when Stephen was charged with blasphemy
that the sweet calmness of an angel rested upon his face,
proving that in this holy man’ s heart there was no railing
for railing, but contrariwise. When some Christians are
being persecuted and maligned, the face of a fiend is more
easily seen. Oh, love your enemies, and pray for them
that despitefully use you (Acts 7. 60).
PRAYER AND HUNGER.
“Peter went a@ to pray, and he became very hungry”
(Acts 10. 9, 10).
PRAYER is a healthy exercise. There are many who know
nothing of real soul-hunger, because they spend so little
time in prayer. Lack of prayer is one of the most fruitful
causes of spiritual dyspepsia. Much prayer creates much
hunger for the Word of God, which is the bread of life.
If you have lost, or are losing, your appetite for spiritual
things, arise and pray, and soon you will be glad to “Arise
and eat. ”
BELIEVING AND TURNING.
“A great lzumber believed and turmed unto the Lord”
(Acts II. 21).
WHAT good will your so-called belief do you if it has not
resulted in your tzlrlzing to the Lord? Many profess to believe, but they continue in their sins. The faith that
saves is the faith that turns our hearts and lives to Christ.
It is not your believing that saves, but the Lord on whom
alone your faith must rest. It is not, “Believe and be
saved, ” but, “Believe on the Lord Jesws Christ, and thou
shalt be saved. ”.222 Handfuls on Purpose.
SMITTEN.
“The angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God
the glory” (Acts 12. 23).
THE cause of the sudden downfall of this proud ruler
should be a warning to all, especially to the preacher.
Public speakers are greatly tempted to seek the honours
of man more than God. The worms of pride and self-conceit
have already begun their destructive work when
we cease to give God the glory. It is quite possible to
make a great oration and preach very eloquently, and yet
at the same time, as far as spiritual power is concerned,
be smitten of God. In the eyes of men the appearance may
be as fair and beautiful as Jonah’ s gourd, but if God is
not honoured the deadly canker-worm is at the roots.
ALTARS OF BRICK.
“A people that provoked Me to My face, burning incense
upon altars of brick” (Isa. 65. 3).
As the altar sanctifieth the gift, it must therefore be holy.
God had expressly said that in making an altar of stone:
“If thou lift thy tool upon it thou hast polluted it” (Exod.
20. 25). On the altar, the gifts of the worshippers are to
be laid, therefore the altar itself must not in any way
represent the workmanship of the offerer. Is it not to be
feared that many still provoke the Lord to His face by
offering incense on altars of brick. The altar of the Cross
is ignored, and the mud-burned altar of human wisdom
and self-righteousness is substituted, offering God any-thing,
on the ground of our own worthiness is simply
provoking Him to His face (Rom. 10. l-4)..Seed Thoughts. 223
DO NOTHING RASHLY.
“Ye mela of Ephesus, seeing that these things camot be
@oken. against, ye ought to be quiet and do nothing rashly”
(Acts 19. 36).
IT was a wholesome advice the town clerk gave the up-roarious
multitude who crowded the theatre at Ephesus,
and who had been yelling for two hours, “Great is Diana
of the Ephesians ! ” He seemingly had great faith in the
image which fell down from Jupiter, and so had no fear
of men damaging the character of the divine goddess.
Might Christians not now be the better of the town clerk’ s
counsel amidst this uproar about the methods of so-called
“Higher” and rationalistic critics of the Holy Scriptures?
We believe the truth revealed in the Bible has come down
from Heaven, and cannot be successfully spoken against.
Therefore let us be quiet and do nothing rashly.
“I THANK MY GOD. ”
“I thatzk my God atways 0% your behalf, for the grace of
God which is given you” (1 Cor. 1. 4).
IT is delightfully easy to thank God for the grace we our-selves
have received, but it requires great grace to thank
God always for the grace which is given to others. Even
Christans are apt to be jealous and envious, thinking them-selves
better fitted to serve God than their neighbours.
Such selfishness can never walk in the fellowship of the
Spirit. “In honour preferring one another. ” We are
unfit to be used of God as long as we are unwilling to
acknowledge and thank God for the grace and gifts He
has bestowed on others for the edifying of the Body,
the Church. This readiness to thank God always for the
grace given to others shows a spirit in full and sweetest
fellowship with the mind and purposes of God..224 Handfuls on Purpose.
SPEECH AND POWER.
“I will know not the speech of them which are puffed u$,
but the power” (1 Cor. 4. 19).
“THAT was a good speech. ” “He is a very eloquent
speaker. ti Such language is common, but Paul has
another way of judging such tongue deliverances. “I will
know not the speech, but the power. ” Unspiritual minds
can only judge the speech, the outward form-they know
not the power. What power is this, by which the very
heart-life of Christians is revealed ? It is that holy,
gracious, gentle, heart-melting, inscrutable something
called “anointing, ” that makes eternal and spiritual
things very real and precious and powerful to those who
hear. The Holy Spirit acting through the heart and
speech of the preacher. Without this power all preaching
is but as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. May our
speech be always seasoned with such salt.
SUFFERINGS AND CONSOLATION.
“For m the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our cow
solation also aboumdeth by Christ” (2 Cor. 1. 5).
THE sufferings of Christ were peculiar. He suffered on
account of His holiness. He was so like the Father-being
“the image of the invisible God”-that all who
loved not the Father hated Him. He suffered also because
of His faithfulness. He spoke the truth, and because the
world loved not the truth He was despised and rejected of
men. If we, as Christians, have consecrated ourselves
to God to do His will and to manifest His truth, as Christ
did, we shall understand something of the sufferings of
Christ. But it is here where we are misunderstood and
hated by the world, that the “consolation also aboundeth
by Christ. ” To drink deeply of the heavenly comfort,
we must enter fully into the spirit and sympathies of Christ..Seed Thoughts.
THE OPEN FACE,
225
“But we all t&h o+vz face, behoZding as in a glass, the
glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image”
(2 Cor. 3. 18).
THE open face is needed in approaching the mirror of God’ s
Holy Word, if we would see ourselves as we really are, and
be transfigured into the image of the Lord of glory. The
Word of God will have no transforming power in our hearts
if we look into it only with that blinking critical eye that
proudly sits in judgment upon the truth. The Lord give
us that frank, open, honest face that rejoices in the truth,
that our inner man may be changed into His image. If
the truth of God transforms not our hearts and lives, we
have not the open face.
WHAT SEEK YE?
“The* Jesus turned and saw them following, and saith
unto them, What seek ye?” (John 1. 38).
JESUS did not say, “Whom seek ye ? ” because He knew
they sought Himself; but, “What seek ye ? ” What is it in Me that ye seek ? Ah, this opens a wide door of en- trance, there is so much in Jesus worth seeking. Some
only seek to look at Him, others seek His forgiving smile.
There are others who seek to know His dwelling-place,
that they might abide with Him. What seekest thou,
0 my soul? Seek His wisdom to guide thee. Seek His
peace to possess thee, His power to keep thee, His Spirit
to abide in thee and transform thee into His Divine
image. Seek that His will may be done in thee as it is
done in Heaven, and that His presence may be an abiding
reality with thee. Seek, and ye shall find..226 Handfuls on Purpose.
GOD AT HAND.
“Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, altd not a God afar
off? ” (Jer. 23. 23).
WHAT a comfort to the believer that God, even our God,
has been pleased to reveal Himself as a God at halzd.
Always within reach, always at hand to answer the cry
of need, and to bless the touch of faith. Oh, the fullness
of love and power that dwells in Him, and all this at hand
for every time of need. Why should we be fretful and
discontented with such a Friend continually at hand?
But, alas, how many deal with Him as if He were for ever
afar off and beyond the grasp of their feeble faith. “LO,
I am with you alway. ” A God at hand ! What strength
this should give. What holy courage this Divine nearness
should inspire.
THE BREAD OF GOD.
“For the Bread of God is He which cometh down from Heaven,
and giveth life z&o the wodd” (John 6. 33).
THE Bread of God is not only the bread of life, but the
life-giving and life-sustaining bread from Heaven. God
has in mercy reckoned up the real need of this poverty-stricken,
starving-to-death world; and so gave His Son,
as His gift of bread, for famished souls. The bread of
fashion, of riches, or worldly preferment, soon becomes
stale. There is no real soul-nutriment in the bread baked
in the world’s oven. The life-giving bread must come
from the life-giving God. Jesus Christ, the Bread of God-the
Bread that delights the heart of God-and, oh, what
grace that this Bread has come from Heaven to give life
unto the world. Have you received it ? Are you feeding
on it ? He that eateth this Bread shall live for ever..Seed Thoughts.
HIMSELF FOR OUR SINS.
!a7
“0~ Lord Jesus Chkt, who gave Himself for our tins”
(Gal. 1. 3, 4).
W HAT a contrast! Himself-ur sins. He gave the law
to expose our sins. He gave Himself for our sins. The
law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. How deep
must the love of Christ be for sinful man, when He gave
Himself as a price for the redemption of the guilty. How
helpless and hopeless man’s condition must have been when
nothing less than HIMSELF could suffice to save. How
wide the door of salvation must now be, since Himself
hath opened it. He gave Himself-the well-beloved Son.
How willingly God the Father would accept this gift!
Having given Himself, men have now their choice between
Himself and their sins. Receive Him!
NOT AFTER MAN.
“But I certify you, brethren, that the Gospel which was
preached of me is not after man (Gal. 1. 11).
THE Gospel is not after man’s wisdom, for it is foolishness
to the worldly-wise. It is not after man’s affections; the
carnal mind is enmity against it. Seeing then that the
Gospel is contrary to the mind and will of man, it could
not be evolved out of the inner consciousness of man.
It is not of man, neither can it be of the Devil, who hates
it unto death. It is of God. This truth was burnt into the
very bones of Paul’s moral nature, and should burn in
the bones of every Christian-born, not of the flesh, nor
of the will of man, but of God. The Gospel is super-natural
and Divine, therefore doth the natural man
despise it. To them that believe it is the power of God..228 Handfuls on Purpose.
THE PURCHASED POSSESSION.
“Until the redemptiolz of the purchused possessiolz, unto
the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1. 14).
THIS is a truth, great, deep, and wonderful. This title
embraces the whole Church of God, and suggests the
mystery of God’s gracious and eternal purpose. God has
a possession-this possession is His people, redeemed by
the blood of His Son (v. 7), and sealed with the Spirit of
promise (v. 13). In this present time God, by the Spirit
through the Gospel, is gathering out a people for Himself.
Not yet has He got the full lot of His inheritance, but they
shall be Mine, saith the Lord, when I make up my jewels.
How marvellous that by His death and resurrection,
Christ, in purchasing an inheritance for us in God, should
at the same time and by the same means purchase an
inheritance for God in us who are His people. By and by
the kingdom shall be delivered up to the Father, and God
shall be All in all,
ROOTED.
“Rooted and hilt Zcp in Him” (Col. 2. 7).
YES, rooted and bx&?t up. Not stuck in and tied up. The
tree that is well rooted does not need outward props to
keep it right. Rooted in Christ. Every longing and
desire centred on Him, and abiding in Him, will be fully
supplied from Him.
From Christ must come the building material. In me,
that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing. We are built
up in His likeness, just as His Spirit, as the life-giving
sap, flows and abides in us. Out of Him there is no life,
and consequently no growth, no building up.
We will be unhealthy Christians unless all the roots of our being are resting in Christ alone. Rooted in Him,
barrenness will be impossible..Seed Thoughts. 229
HIS SON IN ME.
“It ~1ca.d God to reved His Soti i+z me” (Gal, 1. 15, 16).
WHAT a revelation! Paul had Christ revealed TV him on
the way to Damascus. Now he speaks of Christ revealed
irr him. What a change! The image of the invisible
God begotten in him ! What a mystery ! What a reality I
His Son in me, in the gentleness and meekness of His
gracious character. His Son in me in His love for perishing
sinners. His Son in me in His patience in suffering.
His Son in me in His faithfulness to the truth. His Son
in me in His delight to do the will of God the Father.
His Son in me ! This is the death-warrant to pride, self-seeking,
and every unhallowed lust ; to all backbiting and
every impure motive. His Son in me-this is the secret
of consecration, and of a life of power and fruitfulness
for God. “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live,
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. ”
THE UNSEARCHABLE RICHES OF CHRIST.
“Unto me, who am less thum the least of all saints, is this
grace given, that I should preach the wsearchable riches
of Christ” (Eph. 3. 9).
THIS may be regarded as the explanatory title of Christ’s
great atoning work. All the difficulties and mysteries
of redemption are met and revealed in the “unsearchable
riches of Christ. ” How can a sinner’s guilt be put away
and the sinner justified ? How can a heart at enmity with
God be changed and filled with the love of God? How can
the righteous claims of a holy law be satisfied with regard
to those who have no power and no desire to yield to its
claims ? How can God be just and yet justify the ungodly ?
How can the poor soul of man be possessed with the Spirit
of God and brought into the fullness of Divinity, being.230 Handfule on Purpose.
conformed into His image ? The answer to all this, and
infinitely more, is found in these wonderful words: “The
unsearchable riches of Christ. ”
FOLLOWERS OF GOD.
“Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children” (Eph.
5. 1).
THE root idea here is the imitation of God. We cannot
imitate those we do not know. To imitate God we must
know Him, and to know Him means eternal life, without
which we can in no way resemble Him. Imitating God
means the manifestation of a life which is Divine. Christ
was the perfect image of His Father. He must so live in
us that this Divine imitation may be begotter. iu our
character and lives. He has left us an example, that we
should follow His steps. It is so much easier imitating
some eminent Christian than Christ, and in so doing
become self-satisfied. Are we imitating God in His com-passion
for the perishing, in His jealousy for His own
glory, in His mercy and longsuffering, in His self-sacrticing
love ?

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