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Song of Songs 1:6 (ASV) –
Look not upon me, because I am swarthy,
Because the sun hath scorched me.
My mother's sons were incensed against me;
They made me keeper of the vineyards;
But mine own vineyard have I not kept.
Our attention is here drawn to a danger which is pre-eminently one of this day: the intense activity of our times may lead to zeal in service, to the neglect of personal communion; but such neglect will not only lessen the value of the service, but tend to incapacitate us for the highest service. If we are watchful over the souls of others, and neglect our own -- if we are seeking to remove the motes from our brother's eye, unmindful of the beam in our own, we shall often be disappointed with our powerlessness to help our brethren, while our MASTER will not be less disappointed in us. Let us never forget that what we are is more important than what we do; and that all fruit borne when not abiding in CHRIST must be fruit of the flesh, and not of the SPIRIT. The sin of neglected communion may be forgiven, and yet the effect remain permanently; as wounds when healed often leave a scar behind.
John 15:5-6 –
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
Rom. 11:22 –
Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.
Heb. 6:7-8 –
For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
Those who are burned are those producing thorns and thistles because they are not abiding in Christ.
The apostle Paul acted to ensure that he himself would not be disqualified after preaching to others (1 Cor. 9:27).
And, only the one who endures TO THE END is saved (Mark 13:13).
We become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast TO THE END (Heb. 3:14).
Paul resolved to “press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:12)”. He said, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:13-14)”.
The crown of righteousness is awarded to those who fight the good fight of faith and FINISH THE RACE and Paul made it.
2 Tim. 4:7 –
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
BARNES’ NOTES ON THE BIBLE:
1 COR. 9:12
When I have preached to others - Doddridge renders this, "lest after having served as a herald to others, I should myself be disapproved;" and supposes that there was allusion in this to the Grecian "herald," whose business it was to proclaim the conditions of the games, to display the prizes, etc. In this interpretation, also, Macknight, Rosenmuller, Koppe, and most of the modern interpreters agree. They suppose, therefore, that the allusion to the games is carried through all this description. But there is this difficulty in this interpretation, that it represents the apostle as both a herald and a contender in the games and thus leads to an inextricable confusion of metaphor. Probably, therefore; this is to be taken in the usual sense of the word "preaching" in the New Testament; and the apostle here is to be understood as "dropping" the metaphor, and speaking in the usual manner. He had preached to others, to many others. He had proclaimed the gospel far and near. He had preached to many thousands, and had been the means of the conversion of thousands. The contest, the agony, the struggle in which he had been engaged, was that of preaching the gospel in the most effectual manner. And yet he felt that there was a possibility that even after all this he might be lost.
I myself should be a cast-away. - This word (ἀδόκιμος adokimos) is taken from "bad metals" and properly denotes those which will not bear the "test" that is applied to them; that are found to be base and worthless, and are therefore rejected and cast away. The apostle had subjected himself to trials. He had given himself to self-denial and toil; to persecution and want; to perils, and cold, and nakedness, and hunger. He had done this, among other things, to give his religion a fair trial, to see whether it would bear all these tests; as metal is cast into the fire to see whether it is genuine, or is base and worthless. In doing this, he had endeavored to subdue his corrupt propensities, and bring everything into captivity to the Redeemer, that it might be found that he was a sincere, and humble, and devoted Christian. Many have supposed that the word "cast-away" here refers to those who had entered the lists, and had contended, and who had then been examined as to the manner in which they had conducted the contest, and had been found to have departed from the rules of the games, and who were then rejected. But this interpretation is too artificial and unnatural. The simple idea of Paul is, that he was afraid that he should be disapproved, rejected, cast off; that it would appear, after all, that he had no religion, and would then be cast away as unfit to enter into heaven.
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Song of Songs 1:7 (ASV) –
Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth,
Where thou feedest thy flock,
Where thou makest it to rest at noon:
For why should I be as one that is veiled
Beside the flocks of thy companions?
We now come to a very sweet evidence of the reality of the heart-union of the bride with her LORD. She is one with the GOOD SHEPHERD: her heart at once goes instinctively forth to the feeding of the flock; but she would tread in the footsteps of Him whom her soul loveth, and would neither labour alone, nor in other companionship than His own.
She will not mistake the society of His servants for that of their MASTER.
JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN BIBLE COMMENTARY:
She feels estranged even among Christ's true servants, answering to "thy companions" (Lu 22:28), so long as she has not Himself present. The opposite spirit to 1Co 3:4.
Abraham walked with God Himself.
And to Abraham and his seed, that is Christ, were the promises spoken (Gal. 3:16).
Lot walked with Abraham, God’s true servant, and had no direct personal fellowship with God.
And from Lot came the Moabites and Ammonites (Gen. 19:38).
Song of Songs 1:8 –
If thou know not, O thou fairest among women,
Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock,
And feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents.
These are the words of the daughters of Jerusalem, and give a correct reply to her questionings. Let her show her love to her LORD by feeding His sheep, by caring for His lambs (see John 21:15-17), and she need not fear to miss His presence. While sharing with other under-shepherds in caring for His flock she will find the CHIEF SHEPHERD at her side, and enjoy the tokens of His approval. It will be service with JESUS as well as for JESUS.
While sharing with other under-shepherds in caring for His flock she will find the CHIEF SHEPHERD at her side, and enjoy the tokens of His approval. It will be service with JESUS as well as for JESUS.
BARNES’ NOTES ON THE BIBLE:
The chorus, and not the king, are the speakers here. Their meaning seems to be: If thy beloved be indeed a shepherd, then seek him yonder among other shepherds, but if a king, thou wilt find him here in his royal dwelling.
When the Lord Jesus commissioned His disciples to “go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you”, He also said, “LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, EVEN TO THE END OF THE AGE."
ANDREW MURRAY (1828-1917):
For all time the principle is to hold good for all His servants that without the experience of His presence ever abiding with them, their preaching would have no power. The secret of their strength would be the living testimony that Jesus Christ was every moment with them, inspiring and directing and strengthening them. It was this that made them so bold in preaching Him as the Crucified One in the midst of His enemies. They never for a moment regretted His bodily absence; they had Him with them, and in them, in the divine power of the Holy Spirit.
In all the work of the minister and the missionary, everything depends on the consciousness, through a living faith, of the abiding presence of the Lord with His servant, the living experience of the presence of Jesus as an essential element in preaching the Gospel. . If this be clouded, work becomes a human effort, without the freshness and the power of the heavenly life. And nothing can bring back the power and the blessing but a return to the Master's feet, for Him to breathe into the heart, in divine power, His blessed word: " Lo, I am with you always!"
In giving the Great Commission, the Lord Jesus first said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18).
But let us remember that this power is never meant to be experienced as if it were our own. It is only as Jesus Christ as a living Person dwells and works with His divine energy in our own heart and life that there can be power in our preaching as a personal testimony. It was when Christ had said to Paul, "My strength is made perfect in weakness," that he could say, what he had never learned to say before " When I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Cor. 12:9,10).
It is the disciple of Christ who understands aright that all the power has been entrusted to Him, to be received from Him hour by hour, who will feel the need and experience the power of that precious word: “Lo, I am with you always," the Almighty One.
SOME THOUGHTS ON AUTHORITY:
Christ’s authority is to give eternal life.
John 17:1-3 –
Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
The authority of under-shepherds is the Chief Shepherd’s authority to give eternal life.
But no under-shepherd has eternal life in himself to give. Eternal life is in Christ (1 John 5:11-12) and only the Holy Spirit can give Christ’s life to men (Rom. 8:11, 2 Cor. 3:6).
What are under-shepherds?
1 Cor. 3:6 –
What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.
An under-shepherd is “not the Light, but sent to bear witness of it; not the Sun, but the star that announces the dawn, and wanes in the growing light; not the Bridegroom, but the Bridegroom’s friend; not the Shepherd, but the porter to open the door into the fold (John 3:27-30; John 10:3)” -- quote from F. B. Meyer (1847-1929).
May we all -- lambs and sheep and under-shepherds -- boast only in the Lord (1 Cor. 1:31) and yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit who alone can give us eternal life and righteousness and holiness and peace and joy in our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:6; Rom. 8; John 14:16-28, 16:5-14.)
WILLIAM LAW (1686-1761):
Tell me then no more of your new skill in Hebrew words, of
your Paris editions of all the ancient fathers, your complete
collection of the councils, commentators, and church historians. Did Christ mean anything like this, when he said, "I am the way, the truth and the life"? Did the apostle mean anything like this, when he said, "No man can call Jesus Lord, but by the Holy Ghost"? Great, good, and divine teachers, you say, were many of the fathers. I say nothing to
it, but that much more great, good, and divine is He, who is always teaching within you, ever standing and knocking at the door of your heart, with the words of eternal life.
You perhaps may ask, why I go on writing books myself, if
there is but one true, and divine teacher? I answer, though there is but one bridegroom, that can furnish the blessing of the marriage feast, yet his servants are sent out to invite the guests. This is the unalterable difference between Christ's teaching, and the teaching of those, who only publish the glad tidings of him. They are not the bridegroom, and therefore have not the bridegroom's voice. They are not
the light, but only sent to bear witness of it. And as the Baptist said, "He must increase, but I must decrease"; so every faithful teacher saith of his doctrine, it must decrease, and end, as soon as it has led to the true teacher.
All that I have written for near thirty years, has been
only to show, that we have no master but Christ, nor can have any living divine knowledge, but from his holy nature born and revealed in us………that dying to self, to be born again of Christ, is the one only possible salvation of the sons of fallen Adam.
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In our Heavenly Father’s house, lambs grow and become sheep, sheep become under-shepherds, and, ALL go on to be perfected in Christ. (1 Pet. 2:2, Heb. 5:12).
Eph. 4:13-16 –
……till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
It is a life-long journey to gain Christ and be conformed to His image. Even Paul, the great under-shepherd, in the closing years of his ministry, still said:
Phil. 3:12-14 –
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
We are comforted. Our Great and Good Shepherd is every moment with all, upholding all (Heb. 13:5-6; Ps. 63:8, Ps. 145:14). The lambs, He carries in His bosom (Isa. 40:11). All are safe in His everlasting arms (Deut. 33:27).
Even though we walk through the darkest valley, we will fear no evil, for the Lord is with us. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow us all the days of our lives and we will dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Ps. 23).
| 2020/11/21 6:38||Profile|
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Thank you Jade for those many wonderful words !
"Tell me then no more of your new skill in Hebrew words, of
your Paris editions of all the ancient fathers, your complete collection of the councils, commentators, and church historians. Did Christ mean anything like this, when he said, "I am the way, the truth and the life"?
So important to be reminded what really matters as Christians.
"It is a life-long journey to gain Christ and be conformed to His image..."
So true, and yet it is so easy to get distracted even with various christian ministries and teaching.
"Even Paul, the great under-shepherd, in the closing years of his ministry, still said:
Phil. 3:12-14 –
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me..."
Just another verse:
"Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ." (Eph. 3v8) NLT
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