"I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord" (Phil. 3:8).
In this knowledge of Christ, there is an excellency above all other knowledge in the world; there is nothing more pleasing and comfortable, more animating and enlivening, more ravishing and soul contenting; only Christ is the sun and centre of all divine revealed truths, we can preach nothing else as the object of our faith, as the necessary element of your soul's salvation, which doth not some way or other, either meet in Christ, or refer to Christ; only Christ is the whole of man's happiness, the Sun to enlighten him, the Physician to heal him, the Wall of fire to defend him, the Friend to comfort him, the Pearl to enrich him, the Ark to support him, the Rock to sustain him under the heaviest pressures, "As an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, as rivers of waters in a dry place, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land" (Isa. 32:2). Only Christ is that ladder between earth and heaven, the Mediator between God and man, a mystery, which the angels of heaven desire to pry, and peep, and look into (I Peter 1:12). Here is a blessed subject indeed; who would not be glad to pry into it, to be acquainted with? "This is life eternal, to know God and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent" (John 17:3).
THE FAME THAT I HEARD.
(2 Chron. 9:6)
Lord Jesus! for whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon
earth that I desire beside Thee (Psalm 78:25). Thou! who hast loved
me and washed me from my sins in thine own blood. Thou! who hast given
Thyself for me. Thou! who hast redeemed me, called me, drawn me, waited
for me. Thou! who hast given me Thy Holy Spirit to testify of Thee.
Thou! whose life is mine, and with whom my life is entwined, so that
nothing shall separate or untwine it. "Thou exceedeth the fame
that I heard!'
Yet, I heard a great fame of Thee. They told me Thou wert gracious.
They told me as much as they could put into words. And they said, 'Come
and see' (John 1:46). I tried to come, but I could not see. My eyes
were holden (Luke 24:16), though Thou wast 'not far' (Job 19:27). Then
I heard what Thou wast to others, and I knew that Thou wast the same
Lord. But now I believe, not because of their saying, for I have heard
Thee myself, and know that Thou are indeed the Christ, the Saviour of
the world my Saviour. Thee, 'whom I shall see for myself (Act
17:27), I now know for myself; my Lord and my God (John 20:28).
I did not understand how there could be satisfaction here and now. It
seemed necessarily future, in the very nature of things. It seemed,
in spite of Thy promises, that the soul could never be filled with anything
but heaven. But Thou fillest, Thou satisfiest it.
it wonderingly rejoiceth,
Finds in thee unearthly bliss,
Rests in Thy divine perfection,
And is satisfied with this.
fair and lovely,
Evermore the same to me;
Precious, infinite Lord Jesus,
I am satisfied with Thee!
Thou exceedeth the fame that I heard. I find in Thee more than I heard,
more than I expected, 'more than all.' The excellency of the knowledge
of thee, Christ Jesus my Lord, not only includes all other treasures
of wisdom and knowledge, but outshines them all. Every other fame that
I heard has had some touch of disappointment; imagination could always
flash beyond reality, even if actual expectation, quieted by experience,
had kept within the mark. But 'now I see' (John 9:25) that Thou exceedeth
all that God-given mental powers can reach; every glimpse is but an
opening vista, all the music is but a prelude; what I know of Thee only
magnifies the yet unknown. All the God-implanted craving for something
beyond, all the instinct of the infinite, is met, responded to, satisfied
in Thee. There is no part of my being but finds its full scope and its
true sphere in Thee.
Thou exceedeth all that I heard in every respect. No one could tell
me what Thy pardoning love, Thy patience, Thy long-suffering would be
to me. No one could tell me how Thy strength, Thy grace, Thy marvelous
help would fit into the least as well as the greatest of my continual
needs. No one could tell me what grace was poured into Thy lip for me
(Psalms 45:2). Thou art All to each of Thy children; a complete and
all-excelling Christ to every one, as if it were only for each one.
Thy secret is with each (Psalms 25:14). Thou givest the white stone
and the new name which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it (Rev.
2:17). And if Thou exceedeth all that I heard, now and here amid the
shadows and the veils, how far more exceeding will be Thy unshadowed
and unveiled glory! Lord Jesus, I bless Thee for Thy promised eternity.
For I shall need it all to praise Thee, that Thou exceedeth the fame
that I heard!
must never imagine that all our Saviour did and said is recorded in
the Bible or in any other book. If all the miracles He did, sermons
He preached, works He performed, and words He spoke had been written
in books, the world itself could not contain the books that must be
written; for His is from everlasting to everlasting. However, God has
been pleased to have written all that is necessary and needful for us
to know concerning the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ that
we may know Him, believe Him, and be brought in saving faith to Him (John 20:31)
Christianity is the mere invention of men, an opiate of the people,
or a foolish desire for a happy hunting ground, how do you explain Jesus
His existence in history men cannot deny. He lived in this world.
He was born in Bethlehem, walked this earth, died on a Roman cross
and witnesses claim that He arose from the grave.
Without force or bribery, without arms or money without an earthly
kingdom or great possessions, He left a mark on this world as no other
person in all of history! He never wrote a book, yet no library is
sufficient to hold the books written about Him. He never wrote a song,
yet He has been the theme of more songs than all others combined.
other religious leaders came to live; He came to die! All other messiahs
chose as their followers the rich, powerful, and influential
He chose the poor, despised, and the rejected. All other messiahs
say, "Follow me, I'll show you the way." He said, "Follow
Me, I am the way." All others claim to be messengers of God.
He said, "I and the Father are One." All others stay dead;
He arose and all of His claims, promises, and work depend on His resurrection.
How do you explain Jesus Christ?
all other things do, yet Christ never can become uninteresting. The beauty
of the Rose of Sharon is never lost or withered. He is the same yesterday,
today, and forever. As his body in the grave saw no corruption, so neither
can his love, or any of his excellencies. Other beauties have their prime
and their fading, but Christ abides eternally. Our delight in creatures
is often most at first acquaintance; when we come nearer to them, our
delight is abated; but the longer you know Christ, and the nearer you
come to him, still the more do you see of his glory. Every farther prospect
of Christ entertains the mind with fresh delight. Blessed be God for Jesus
IT IS GOD WE WORSHIP
The word "worship" signifies many things, but chief among its meanings is that attitude of fear and awe that grips the heart when one meditates on the greatness of God. No matter how joyful we are, no matter how boldly we come before God's throne of grace, no matter how much confidence we have in Christ, we must remember that it is God we worship. God's greatness and glory are beyond our comprehension so much that our response should sometimes be silence rather than speaking. Often preachers complain that their congregations give no verbal response to the message, no amen's or hallelujah's. I would that God would sometimes speak so powerfully that silence would reign, that the holiness of the hour would be so great so as to make it seem that human response would defile it.
I would not ever have us contrive a certain spirit of worship. But I would have us, each one, to meditate on the Person of God, and by that meditation be moved to an appropriate form of worship.
Pastor Joe Terrell