Sunday, 30 November 2014
What wonders were seen in the pristine church
Formed by the Spirit to be for Christ's glory!
What power in the word of the apostle
To turn to the Lord many in Israel!
What power in his word to heal the lame man;
And power in his word to unmask deception!
Shown the assembly's heavenly ambience
He blasted the passage through which Paul ventured.
How glorious the light that the Spirit gave
To magnify Christ, to Paul the apostle!
How full the truth that the heavenly Man
Disclosed to Paul, that the church is His body.
In the light of this what praise ascended
And what testimony came through Paul's writings.
The saints of Ephesus specially displayed
The love and life that took pulse from Christ's headship.
And throughout the vicissitudes of time
The Head has His body; the body its Head.
But whenever man is responsible
He has failed in his responsibility.
Let us give thanks for the heavenly Head
And for what is held by the Holy Spirit!
May we have help in our generation
To respond in practice to the Head's guidance!
But soon the saints departed from the way
Of constantly drawing from the Head's wisdom
Despite the power of the Holy Spirit
Since that was wise in divine operations:
Only thus could there be overcomers
Fit for the gifts that heaven longs to bestow,
Faithfully adhering to their Lord's will
In the midst of the indifferent churches.
But what a turning away from the truth
Plunging men to the depths of superstition,
Binding their souls by human fantasies,
Blinding their hearts by depriving them of faith!
But in all this the Lord knew those who were His
And rejoiced in the light that shone in the dark.
Through the clogged valleys where little fruit grew
God drove like a ploughshare His servant Luther;
Rich was the yield from that overturning,
Justification by faith being the crop.
And once that was vigorously growing
Images and superstitions went tumbling
While men, assured of divine righteousness
Grew to show the righteousnesses of the saints,
The Holy Spirit thus securing praise
And witness, even to the blood of the martyrs.
Yet throughout this growth there was this weakness:
The trend to lean on the trellis of the state,
And any leaning on man's woodenness
Will splinter the hand like Egypt's broken reed.
But the grace of God continued to give
A gospel message to those who would attend.
How could there be revival to God's thoughts
And something on earth that was for His pleasure?
The public status might not be revived
But the body's vitality might flourish.
All depended on a separate path
Walked in subjection to the heavenly Head.
Rejoice therefore that persons have been found
Subject, and departing from iniquity
- Specially as seen in the public body -
Gathered together to remember the Lord.
But as I consider this blessedness
I remember my own need for commitment:
This blessedness is not some abstraction
But depends on persons with real devotion.
Holy Spirit, help me to be faithful
In my part in the lasting testimony!
Lord Jesus, keep me under Thy guidance
Until I am taken to be with Thyself!
Father of compassion give me the grace
To walk the narrow path until the Lord comes!