Abiding In Christ & Walking In Christ – Pt. 2
The Criticism Of Men
Although Christ was God in the flesh, yet He did not escape the criticism of men as to the way He walked. Observe the record: “And it came to pass as Jesus sat at meat [the table] in the house, behold many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it,” –Who is a Pharisee?—He is a man who has undertaken to be his own Saviour, and is very confident in his own power to do the work. It does not matter whether he lived eighteen hundred years ago, or whether he lives today. Who is a Christian? One who depends upon Christ as his Saviour, and has all confidence in Him. (Insertion mine)
Christ came in contact with Pharisees who were making themselves holy, and they found fault with Him for eating with publicans and sinners, and “they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, ‘They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice; for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’” Matthew 9:10-13 – KJV
When they found fault with the way He was walking, He said, “I am walking according to the Scriptures, and if you were following those Scriptures, you would not find fault with Me.” These men were the leaders of the religious thought of the day. They were looked upon as the teachers of the people, and they prided themselves in that position . Yet, they criticized Christ’s walk.
Another Bible record: “And when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased.” What displeased them? –Because the children cried Hosanna to Christ and not to the scribes and Pharisees. “And said unto Him, Hearest Thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?” (Matthew 21:15,16) I am walking in accordance with Scriptures.
Let us turn to Mark’s Gospel on this point; “And it came to pass that He went through the cornfields on the Sabbath day; and His disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto Him, “Behold, why do they on the Sabbath day that which is not lawful?:” (Mark 2:23,24) For what did they find fault with Him this time? The first time it was about sitting down and eating with sinners; but it was His glory to receive sinners then, and it is so now. The second time, they found fault with Him about the children singing His praises. Let them sing them now. The third time it was because He did not keep the Sabbath day according to their idea, and how does He meet it? “Have ye never read what David did, when he had need and was an hungered, he and all that were with him?” If you had read the Scriptures, you would not have found fault with Me in that way. The principles laid down in the Scriptures are the principles which govern My life, but I am not walking according to your interpretation of the Scriptures. (Mark 2:25-28; Matthew 12:1-8)
With those who desire the truth, as soon as the truth is presented to them, the controversy is at an end. Those who desire an argument will dodge from one point to another as did the Pharisees with Christ.
Christ The Manifestation Of The Character Of God.
When Christ, looking back over His life of thirty-three years, said that He had finished the work His Father gave Him to do how did He sum it all up? (John 17:4) “All things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you. If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” (John 15:10,15)
In this statement we have not so much a command as an example, and when Christ said that, He gave His complete biography. When he said, “I have kept My Father’s commandments,” He gave His whole life history. And what does it mean? –I have manifested the character of My Father. What, then, does it mean to keep the commandments? – It means to manifest the character of God as it appeared in Jesus Christ. Nothing short of that is keeping the commandments. The Pharisees prided themselves that they were keeping the commandments, but Christ said, “Ye know not the Scriptures.” What they knew about the Scriptures, they had learned by the head. What we learn about Scriptures, we must learn by heart, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know,” – know it really and truly by heart.
When Christ told them that He had kept His Father’s commandments, He told them that He was the manifestation of God on the earth. He told them in those words that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself; He told them that He did not speak His own words, but the words of His Father. “The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.” He told them that He was the Word of God on the earth, because He was declaring the character of God. He told them He was Jesus Christ. All this He told them in these words: “I have kept My Father’s commandments.” Christ was a man, the Son of man. There has, then, been one Man who walked this earth, and kept the commandments of God. He is our Example. We are to walk as He walked.
Can We Keep The Commandments?
When we thus learn from the Scriptures that keeping the commandments is manifesting the character of God, we may say it is impossible for us to do that. That is a good beginning. We cannot do it, that is true. But, who did keep the commandments?—Jesus Christ. And who can do it over again, even in sinful flesh? –Jesus Christ. And how shall we walk as He walked? “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My People.” (2 Corinthians 6:16) God dwelt in Christ and walked in Christ. Christ was the branch unto God that He might be the vine unto us, that the life through Him might flow into us as branches, that we might bear the fruit of the vine.
“He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.” Let the Scripture tell how He walked: “I have kept My Father’s commandments.” The life of God abides in him who abides in Christ, and the Scripture is fulfilled., “I will dwell in them and walk in them.” God in Christ, by His Holy Spirit dwelling in the man, walks in him. This shows how we can walk as Christ walked.
But first of all, take what the Word of God says . Do not take what man says. Let the light of God shine upon His Word. Let His Holy Spirit teach us the blessed living truth of His Word, and God Himself will fulfill His Word in everyone who thus receives it.
But let us read further: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:26,27) That is the promise of God. But when He says, “My Child, this way,” and I choose to go another way, He does not cause us to walk in His way. He does not cause us to do contrary to our will in this matter. But when one says, Lord, show me the way (Psalm 119:33), He shows him the way, and causes him to walk in it. That is the way of His working.
The blessed Bible teaches us the same truth in a hundred different ways. Suppose we turn to a page of what we may call God’s picture book. To help children to understand, we give them pictures to illustrate what we are teaching. We are but children, and God often tells us a truth by putting a picture before us. Here is one: “And great multitudes came unto Him, having with them those what were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and He healed them.” Could anyone be much worse off? They were in a terrible plight, but “He healed them.” Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see; and they gloried the God of Israel” (Matthew 15:30,31) We are lame; we cannot walk as Christ walked. Christ had a noble walk. We cannot walk that kind of a walk. What does He do for us. He healed them; cannot He heal us?
Here is another of God’s pictures, which we have looked at many times. It is the picture of the man lame from his mother’s womb. Take the Scripture just as it reads. What was the matter with this man? He was lame. And how long had he been lame?—All his life. What did Peter say to him?—“Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” What then? “And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.” And when he had received strength, what did he do?– “And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping, and praising God.” But he had to receive strength in the name of Jesus of Nazareth before he could walk. And the people “were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel at this?” Ye men that believe in Israel’s God, why do ye wonder at this? Do you not believe in a God of power? “Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?” (Acts 3:6-12)
Conclusion coming . . .
Resource: The W.W. Prescott Armadale Sermons
Melbourne, Australia 1895