Life On The Highest Plane
Some of Christ's severest rebukes were to unbelief in His disciples. To have His presence, His words, His works fail to inspire faith grieved the Lord Jesus exceedingly. Even though the tempest raged and the waves dashed high and He were asleep - yet He was there and why should they fear? Fear and faith are incompatible.
Matthew 8:26, "And he saith unto them, why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm."
Again even though the wind was boisterous and though Peter did begin to sink yet the Lord of the sea had said "Come." The power of His protection accompanied the command, then why should Peter doubt? Doubt and faith are irreconcilable.
Matthew 14:31, "And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"
The disciples misunderstood the Master's warning concerning the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. But there was a far deeper misapprehension of the Lord Jesus Himself in their hearts. They had forgotten to take bread when they went to the other side of the lake and they were very evidently worrying over where and how they would get their next meal. So when He spoke to them of the leaven of the Pharisees they said, "He sees our predicament that we have no bread." Oh! what if they had forgotten their bread? Did they not have with them the One who had satisfied the hunger of five thousand men, besides women and children, with five loaves and two fishes, and had twelve baskets to spare? And had they not just come from seeing Him feed more than four thousand people with seven loaves and a few fishes with seven baskets left over? Would He not be equal to furnishing an evening meal for the twelve of them if need be? Worry and faith cannot dwell together.
Matthew 16:8-9, "Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?"
Oh! how we crowd Him out of our lives by that triumvirate of evil - fear, doubt and worry! Failing health, financial losses, waywardness of children, overwhelming burdens, tempests of affliction and adversity, storms of passion from within or of persecution from without - and we become insensible to His presence, we doubt His Word and we forget His works.
A young woman came to me one day to unburden her heart. Spirit and body were both wearied to the point of utter exhaustion. Her face was inexpressibly worn and haggard; furrows of care had left their tracks in her forehead. Life was hard almost beyond the point of endurance because of burdens, cares, worries and work. A tempest was raging in her own soul, her ship was covered with waves and Christ seemed asleep. But He heard her cry of distress and responded. He commanded the waves of worry to cease saying, "In nothing be anxious," and besought the calm of peace to enter her soul through praise, "In everything give thanks."
Hab. 3:17, 18, "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herb in the stalls; Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."
Some of Christ's sweetest words of commendation were called forth by faith in Him and strange to say they were usually spoken to those who had had the opportunity to know Him the least. A centurion came in person to appeal to the Lord to heal his servant. Christ quickly responded with a promise to go to him. But faith answered, "Lord, speak the word only and my servant shall be healed." Oh! the joy such faith brought to Jesus' heart, and the commendation came from His lips, "Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."
There is no record in God's Word and no instance in human experience where grace and love have failed to respond to faith and trust. God would be untrue to the very essence of His nature which is love and to the very heart of His work which is grace if He failed even once to respond to real faith. Whoever will come to Jesus Christ saying, "If thou wilt, thou canst," will surely hear Him say, "I will."
In the new sphere in Christ into which the believer enters the very atmosphere is grace. To carry the life-giving and life-sustaining qualities of that atmosphere into the inner life the Christian need only use the lungs of faith. As a new-born babe begins life in its new sphere by breathing the air that is all about it as a free gift and as it lives and grows by continued respirations, so the new-born child of God begins life in Christ by taking Him as God's gift of grace by faith and he "grows up into Christ in all things" by the continued appropriation of Him through faith. Faith and nothing but faith avails for us to receive the gifts and graces of our ascended Lord.
Galatians 5:6, "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love."
In Christ we stand by faith; we walk by faith; we live by faith.
2 Corinthians 1:24, "Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand."
2 Corinthians 5:7, "For we walk by faith, not by sight."
Hebrews 10:38, "Now the just shall live by faith, but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him."
(continued with # 14)