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Saturday, November 22, 2014


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Almost no one, except some scientists knows how many satellites are in orbit around the earth at the present moment. Their uses are many: military recognizance, television and radio transmitters and receivers, weather surveyors, magnetic field probers, and so on. From that first exciting day when the "beep beep" of Russian sputnik burst in upon our thinking the great work has gone on. We have need to marvel at the research and ingenuity which have gone into the vast programs of the great nations.

The Russians have stated that during all their rocket research, both manned and unmanned, they have never met God. If God is in heaven we ought to find him, they say, and we have not found a trace of him. To them this may seem to be conclusive evidence: to us it is a complete misunderstanding of the nature and existence of the God revealed in the Bible and in the person of Jesus Christ.

It is true that God is a person. It is not true that we can find Him by physical means. The Bible throughout all its pages makes it plain that the man who comes into contact with God will do so in his heart and mind by faith. Listen:

"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24).

Communicating with God is not by touch or by telephone and the like. The qualities of God's character can be appreciated in the mind and that is the meeting point between God and man. God reveals Himself and man receives that message in his understanding, and if he is wise, he believes.

The scientific Russians who thought they had scored a point over the believer when they claimed -- quite rightly -- that they had not found God in space, had in fact confirmed the answer to an age-old question:

"Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?" (Job 11:7)

The Way to God is not by rocket or any other material and man-made route. There is but one way:

"Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye will build me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at my word." (Isaiah 66:2)

Communion with God is not bought with money, however rich we are: nor is it taken by power, however strong we are: and we cannot obtain it by our own intellects, however wise we are:

"Thus saith the Lord: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth for in these things I delight, saith the Lord." (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

These things are the key to living with God to understanding and becoming like unto Him, to faith and communion with God. There is no other way. It is as though a farmer has failed year after year to grow any crop on his acres: in desperation he sends for the expert who informs him that one chemical essential to growth is missing from the make-up of his soil. He applies the remedy and next year his fields wave with an abundant harvest. So God by His word and ways injects a new knowledge into the dying human mind, brings a new dimension to living.

Jesus expressed it this way:

"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you . . . It is the spirit which quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." (John 6:27 and 63).

We can resist or accept this word of God. God will not force us to accept it: He does not want unwilling servants. He requires a willing mind, and an ear inclined to Him, a heart like good earth ready to receive the good seed. One New Testament writer -- and he was once a rebel against God's Son -- said:

"Receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your souls." (James 1:21).

That is the way.

Let us not underestimate the power and nature of what God is telling us in these simple and homely figures. Look at it this way. Toward the end of last century a man travelled through Palestine and came across a castle whose great stone walls were cracked and rendered useless. He asked his guide whether there had been an earthquake. In reply the guide shook his head and beckoning to the traveller took him to the walls and showed him the secret. Roots! Just the roots of trees, some of them thin as silken strands, which had pushed their way through crevices and undermined the strength of the wall. God's seed is like that. It has tremendous power, greater than dynamite or atomic force. It has power so to change a man's mind by instruction and guidance that he enters into communication with God and Jesus Christ. He becomes sure of their existence and love for him, and knows within himself that he is known of and cared for by God.

This power of the word of God, released into the believing heart has been known since the earliest time. Paul wrote about it like this:

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

May I recommend unto you with all my heart the constant reading of the word of God? By this alone can a man tread the path of understanding and learn the ways of God and of His Son. Herein is the very essence of God's purpose: this is the guidebook to the life of Jesus and to our own. We neglect it at our peril.

Sometimes men and women say: "I wish I could be a believer in the things you teach, but I cannot, my heart is not like that." There is one answer. If you truly desire to believe, then the word of God will do the rest. Others say: You say a man needs a change of heart, repentance and conversion. How can he obtain these things? The answer comes direct and clear from the word of God:

"'The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes." (Psalm 19:7-8).

This is the path to understanding, to repentance and obedience in baptism. This is the way to a life lived in communion with Christ Jesus and with God His Father.

"The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach: that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Rom. 10:9-10).

There are no barriers which God cannot break down: no sin too great for Him to forgive if we desire it: no condition which He cannot remedy if we but trust Him and follow the path of His word.

This kind of approach to the subject of communion with God is both understandable and reasonable. There is no magic about it, no special power which a man must possess before he can enter on this way. On the other hand there is power here. It is not only that we learn about the ways of God from the printed page. We surely do that. But from that we enter into a living relationship with the living God and his Son.

Jesus makes this plain:

"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." (John 14:21).

This is the new and living relationship which is made between the believer and Christ. The believer lives in the knowledge that Jesus who died and rose again is ever-living: Jesus Christ takes him like a young bird under His own wings and cares for him.

Who could want a greater fellowship? Who could find one or name one? This is a communion which can be found in this life and which has promise of everlasting life in the age to come.

One Old Testament character is commended in these words:

"He walked with God." [ See Genesis 5:22,24; 6:9]

Let it be understood that he never saw God or spoke with Him, never touched Him or heard Him. But he walked with God. How? By the one great way -- he learned God's precepts and got in step with them. He walked God's way in God's direction. The record of that man ends by telling us that God cared for him, looked after him personally and that in the coming kingdom of God the man will inherit everlasting life.

Which way are you walking? With the many who keep in step with death and have no hope beyond the grave? Or with Jesus as His disciple in hope of eternal life?

(Now read for yourself: Colossians 3; 1 Peter 1; James 1).


Questions on Letter 17 (answers)

1. Is God a person?

2. How can the qualities of God's character be appreciated?

3. How can we commune with God?

4. How may we enter into a living relationship with the living God and His son?