Posted by Jerry White on Dec 30, 2013
“The only difference between the presence of Jesus with His disciples when He lived bodily on earth and His presence with them after Pentecost was the means by which He made His presence known. With Jesus’ bodily presence on earth, they could touch and see and hear God incarnate. After Pentecost, this same Jesus was present with them, not in His body but by His Spirit. The presence of Jesus would be just as real. They would not be able to touch His flesh, but they would sense His spiritual presence. They would not hear His human voice, but they would know His voice in their inner beings. They would not see His human form, but with the eyes of their hearts they would see His glory. By His Spirit, He would be present with them in larger dimension than He was when He walked with them in the flesh.
When the first church met, they fully expected the Spirit of Jesus to be present in their midst. And He was, as the book of Acts reveals. We can and should anticipate this same experience of Jesus’ presence in our individual lives and churches today. When we encounter the shining brightness of Jesus through the presence of the Holy Spirit, all earthly things pale.”
The Spirit and Presence of Christ, 155-156
A couple of years ago I wrote in my journal,
“I AM WEARY OF:
1. Church form without God’s presence
2. Commercialized Christianity.
3. Self-exalting, self-promoting ‘ministries’.
4. Praise music without humble worship.
5. Fleshly efforts to build churches according to man’s plans.
I LONG FOR:
1. Christ’s sovereign, humble presence and power.
2. Only that which He authors and which glorifies Him.”
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 26, 2013
Jesus of Nazareth—
Obeyed His Father perfectly, and yet remained humble.
Did all things well, and yet remained humble.
Conquered all that came against Him, and yet remained humble.
Was praised by some, cursed by others, and yet remained humble.
Was used by God for miraculous works, and yet remained humble.
Was crucified unjustly, and yet remained humble.
Was resurrected triumphantly, and yet remained humble.
Now reigns as Lord on the throne of heaven with all power and authority,
And yet remains humble.
To become like Him is to be humble like Him.
“When I look back upon my own religious experience, or round upon the church of Christ in the world, I stand amazed at the thought of how little humility is sought after as the distinguishing feature of the discipleship of Jesus.”
Humility: The Beauty of Holiness
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility…
Ephesians 4:1-2a (ESV)
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 23, 2013
Not one of us perceives the depth of sin that perverted the human race through Adam. Sin’s entrance converted Adam from God-centeredness to self-centeredness and from that moment every descendent born looks at every relationship, circumstance, and situation from a selfish point of view. Sin controls people’s thought processes so that unconsciously each one thinks about how every happening, whether good or bad, affects him or her. God speaks in Genesis 6:5-6, The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually [emphasis mine]. And The Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. Man’s heart had become only evil continually with sinful selfishness and self-centeredness ruling him in all things. We will not make much progress with the Lord until we realize this is actually true of us —you and me— and personally accept it as God’s assessment of our condition. David said, in sin my mother conceived me. He was saying, “from birth I have a sinful nature that rules me.”
Because of this selfish and self-centered perspective we think that forgiveness of sin is for us, and His leadership in our lives is for us, and the church is for us. The core of our heart must be changed to realize that the church is His body, and His bride, and His temple, and His family. Our forgiveness is for His sake (1 John 2:12), and He leads us in paths of righteousness is for His Name’s sake (Psalm 23:3). Does He not say, For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:36 ESV)?
Do you see? The incarnation, perfect life, crucifixion, resurrection and enthronement of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is for His sake that He might find eternal enjoyment. The Father will behold His glorified Son along with myriads upon myriads of His redeemed and perfected children gathered around Him. That will delight His father-heart because He gave all that He could give in order for us to be with Him, completely healed and holy.
We who are His by faith, expressed through repentance from sin and total surrender to His rule, are the beneficiaries of His unfathomable Gift of love. If we love our Heavenly Father, then we rejoice that although He was grieved to His heart because of our sin, He will be glad when He sees us glorified because of Jesus, the Son He sent to earth.
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 19, 2013
“See the different state of Christ on earth and in heaven. Oh how is the scene altered!
When he was on earth, he lay in a manger; now he sits on a throne.
Then he was hated and scorned of men; now he is adored by angels.
Then his name was reproached; now ‘God hath given him a name above every name.’
Then he came in the form of a servant, and as a servant, stood with his basin and towel, and washed his disciples’ feet; now he is clad in his princes’ robe, and kings of the earth cast their crowns before him.
On earth he was a man of sorrows; now he is anointed with the oil of gladness.
On earth was his crucifixion; now his coronation.
Then his Father frowned upon him in desertion; now he has set him at His right hand.
Before, he seemed to have no form or beauty in him; now he is in the brightness of his Father’s glory.
Oh what a change is here! ‘Him hath God highly exalted.’”
Thomas Watson (1620 – 1686)
Body of Divinity
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:8-11 (ESV)
Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory, and honor and power.
Revelation 4:11, ESV
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 16, 2013
“The word became flesh! God became human! The invisible became visible! The untouchable became touchable! Eternal life experienced temporal death! The transcendent one descended and drew near! The unlimited became limited! The infinite became finite! The immutable became mutable! The unbreakable became fragile! Spirit became matter! Eternity entered time! The independent became dependent! The almighty became weak! The loved became the hated! The exalted was humbled! Glory was subjected to shame! Fame turned into obscurity! From inexpressible joy to tears of unimaginable grief! From a throne to a cross! From ruler to being ruled! From power to weakness!”
Pleasures Evermore, 154
Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)
Someone has said that man aspires but God condescends. The eternal Son of God could have come in any way He chose, but He chose the lowest way, which expresses His pure humble character. Who were the first to be told about the Savior’s birth? Angels announced the Christ child’s birth to lowly shepherds, not proud aristocracy, world leaders, or even religious leaders. Shepherds were the first ones directed to go see the baby who was the Savior. God reveals Himself and His truth to those who are like “little children,” not to the wise and understanding. This is His gracious will (Matthew 11:25-26). If we want to experience the Lord Jesus and His truth revealed to our heart, He has made known the way. The way is to come before the Humble One with all humility. To the humble He dispenses grace.
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 12, 2013
And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him, Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
Matthew 2:11 (ESV)
“There is great significance in the action of the wise men. Their long and hazardous journey had culminated at a manger! The King they sought was but a babe—suckled at the breast of a peasant woman. No pageantry—no courtiers—no display. A dismal manger—a peasant woman—a babe. Lesser men would have turned aside.
Let us note carefully the sequence of their actions. Without hesitation they prostrated themselves—they worshiped—they presented their gifts. This has ever been the only order acceptable to the King. Prostration speaks of submission—the attitude of a slave to the Master—the subject to the Sovereign. Our entrance into His presence must begin in like fashion—submission followed by worship. But why worship? What else but ascriptions of worth can issue forth from a truly submissive heart that has seen the King? The presents can wait until I present myself. My gifts will not increase His wealth—but my surrender will satisfy His heart.”
Joseph Carroll (1919-2008)
Founder, Evangelical Institute of Greenville
1993 Christmas letter
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,
Bow down before Him, His glory proclaim;
With gold of obedience, and incense of lowliness,
Kneel and adore Him; the Lord is His Name.
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 9, 2013
The Son of God lived in the eternal bliss of heaven. He enjoyed pure, uninterrupted, loving fellowship with His Father and the Holy Spirit. He knew no cloudy days, nor was it ever dark. Unlimited love, joy, and peace was His constant experience. He was equal to God the Father and God the Spirit. What a profound mystery but nevertheless eternally true. Would He cling to this blissful existence or would he give it up for the sake of human beings who through Adam had become enslaved to sin and death and were destined for God’s eternal wrath? Love compels. Perfect, infinite love must express its pity, mercy, and compassion beyond the comprehension of finite human beings.
God’s righteous demands and justice must be satisfied as much as his heart of love must be expressed. How could this be? There was only one way. There were not multiple choice ways from which He could choose one. Only one way would satisfy the heart of God. He must give all that He could give in a perfect and total sacrifice to fulfill His own righteous and just demands. Moved by His tender compassionate love he would give His only beloved Son and make Him His necessary sacrificial Lamb upon whom He would pour out His infinite wrath to satisfy His Law’s just demands for our sin. With perfect harmony in the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Son of God was most willing, because of love, to give up His perfect bliss of heaven, become fully human, and live in our world of suffering, pain, rejection, loss, trials, temptations, and sorrow. He knew He was the Lamb of God who would be eventually slaughtered under His Father’s wrath because of our sin so we could have Holy God’s forgiveness and His very own righteousness as gifts of undeserved favor. We cannot fathom the depth of His humiliation nor can we grasp in heart the magnitude of this love that would want us to be His forever.
Having given His all He says, Come, follow Me. He did not invite us to follow rules and regulations but rather to follow him with simple devotion (2 Corinthians 11:3). He, who gave His all, said, follow me, learn from me, abide in me (Matthew 10:38; 11:29; John 15:4).
In order to follow Him one gives up his or her rights to self rule (Luke 14:33).
In order to learn from Him one spends time with Him through His Word, prayer, and worship.
In order to abide in Him one maintains a repentant heart for sinful failures, a trusting heart for every need, and an obedient heart for His commands.
Could He have made it any simpler for us to understand what it means to be His disciple?
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 5, 2013
Do the ones you live with see you as gentle and lowly in heart? Do your co-workers see you as gentle and lowly in heart? If someone spoke at your funeral and described you, would gentle and lowly in heart be prominent in their description of your character?
Most every Christian knows that becoming like Jesus Christ is God’s goal for His children, and if one is truly born again by God’s Spirit, then the desire to become like Jesus is present deep within because it is inscribed there by the Holy Spirit.
The only place Jesus ever spoke about His own heart He said, I am gentle and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29). If He is the full expression of God Himself, then that means that Sovereign God is gentle and lowly in heart (Hebrews 1:3). Almighty, knowing all things, and always fully present even beyond 20 billion light years away, yet God is gentle and lowly in heart.
Andrew Murray (1828-1917) wrote in the Preface of his classic book, Humility, “When I look back upon my own Christian experience, or at the church of Christ as a whole, I am amazed at how little humility is seen as the distinguishing feature of discipleship.” Another has said, “Man aspires, but God condescends.” Human beings with indwelling sin want to be somebody in the eyes of others by name, fame, wealth, knowledge, and ability. The Son of God did not hold on to equality with God, but made Himself nothing, took the form of a servant, and became obedient even to death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8).
When the Son of God entered this world to live like we have to live, He did not come in the pomp and circumstance the proud world admires, but rather He came in the lowliest conditions. God speaks by what He says and also by what He does. All that He does and says reveals what He is like and what He values.
Jesus was born to peasant parents, not parents of wealth and means. His mother’s reputation was destroyed because she was pregnant without being married. Joseph, His earthly father, was a blue collar worker, not a professional man or a religious leader. Jesus was born in an animal shelter, the lowliest conditions instead of a palace or a fine, lovely home. Heaven’s announcement was not made to kings, religious leaders, or the well known, but to lowly shepherds out in a field at night. All this was by God’s sovereign choice.
Sovereign God chose the lowliest beginning for His Son instead of a grandiose entrance into our world, because lowliness is His heart. He means for us to be lowly in heart like Him.
Posted by Jerry White on Dec 1, 2013
You will find it helpful to read this prayer out loud with your heart as your prayer.
“I magnify You, O Lord, I exalt Your name, for You are great and highly to be praised. I praise You for the glorious splendor of Your majesty and the power of Your awe-inspiring acts. Your power is unlimited…absolute…beyond imagining. You are able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or dream of. ‘There is nothing too hard for You.’ Who is like You, ‘majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders’?
O Lord Most High, You rule over the heavens and the earth, for You made all things by Your great power, and You keep them existing and working by Your mighty Word. You are exalted high above every star and galaxy in the entire cosmos…yet You are also ‘the God of all mankind,’ the great, personally present, personally involved God who loves, rescues, and takes care of all who trust You. You exercise Your gracious authority over all nations—and over each individual in all the world. There is none like You, the true God, the living God, the everlasting King.
I praise You for Your sovereignty over the broad events of my life and over the details. With You, nothing is accidental, nothing is incidental, and no experience is wasted. You hold in Your own power my breath of life and all my destiny. And every trial that You allow to happen is a platform on which You reveal Yourself, showing Your love and power, both to me and to others looking on. Thank You that I can move into the future non-defensively, with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead, for you hold the future and You will always be with me, even to my old age…and through all eternity.”
31 Days of Praise, 50-51
There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might.
Jeremiah 10:6 (ESV)