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    February 10, 1896

    Christ Our Example

    WWP

    W. W. Prescott

    Let us notice now our life for God.BEST February 10, 1896, page 43.1

    DENYING SELF

    In Matthew 16:24 we read, “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” “Let him deny himself.” Those words have a much broader meaning than staying away from some place of amusement, or giving up eating something that pleases the palate. They mean the sacrifice of self, the disinheriting of self, the emptying out of self, the very denial of self. Peter denied Christ when he said, “I know Him not,” and we are to treat self in exactly the same way. Does self rise up and claim recognition? then say, “I know you not.” Just as distinctly as Peter three times denied his Lord, so we, when self rises up and wants to control us, are to say, “I do not know you; I will have nothing to do with you.” Deny self, disinherit self, let self die, and keep it dead, too.BEST February 10, 1896, page 43.2

    Said Paul, “I protest by your rejoicing, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” 1 Corinthians 15:31. Many people are troubled in their Christian experience because self is continually rising. “Why,” they say, “I thought yesterday that I had gained a complete victory, and that self was crucified.” Self was crucified just as long as the faith that cast self out kept it out, but just the moment that that faith wavers, self rises up and asserts its power. The faith which puts self to death must keep it dead. Self must be crucified daily and hourly through faith in Jesus Christ.BEST February 10, 1896, page 44.1

    “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” I would like to impress upon your minds to-day what is included in the cross of Christ. Let us spell it.BEST February 10, 1896, page 44.2

    C.-Crucifixion.- The very first letter and the very first lesson of the cross. Said Paul in his letter to the Galatians, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. He said again in this same letter, “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Chris, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14. Taking up the cross means the death of self; bearing the cross means dying daily, self-death, keeping self dead. That is crucifixion, the very first letter of the cross, but I want to tell you that there is another letter.BEST February 10, 1896, page 44.3

    R.-Resurrection.- After crucifixion there is a rising again. “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.” Romans 6:5. I like the Revised Version of this verse, which reads, “For if we have been united with the likeness of His crucifixion, we shall be also with the likeness of His resurrection.” (margin.) If you spell C, you can spell R. For “like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Christ lived this life on the earth for our sakes; He was crucified for our offences, but He was raised again for our justification. We do not need to mourn; for He who made heaven and earth is our Saviour, and He lives to-day for us. He said when He was here, “All power upon heaven and earth is given unto Me.” He gained this power by His death, and when He was raised up, He was raised up to newness of life. “In that He died, He died unto sin once, but in that He lives, He lives unto God. Likewise reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” And the new life to which we are raised is not the old life of self, but it is the life of Jesus Christ,-that divine-human life, which is not simply the life of God apart from flesh, nor the life of flesh apart from God, but the life of God which has been wrought into human flesh. That life comes to us in our resurrection from the crucifixion of self. Where self dies Christ lives; where the old man is buried, the new man is raised to life; where the old man lived in sin, the new man walks with God. It is the resurrection life in the power of Christ’s resurrection.BEST February 10, 1896, page 44.4

    Said Paul in his letter to the Philippians, I count everything that I ever thought was worth anything, as loss, “for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord.” As less than nothing I hold the experiences of the past, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.” It is the resurrection power that we Christians need; it is the resurrection life that we must have; and I thank God that it is the resurrection life that is provided. Do not be satisfied with anything short of that. It is God’s free gift in Jesus Christ. I would that I could arouse everyone that has the least spark of faith in Jesus Christ, to lay hold largely upon His power. There is no danger of our exhausting the supply; infinite are His resources; infinite His love; infinite His desire for us. He is only waiting for us to grasp it by faith. I thank God that it is so.BEST February 10, 1896, page 44.5

    O.-Obedience.- That goes with the cross. To everyone who thinks that he cannot obey God’s law, I would say, Obey the gospel. If you are afraid of the law, obey the gospel, that is enough. What happens to those who do not obey the gospel?-“And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9. Friends, obey the gospel, and I will risk the law. Obey the gospel, because we have found in the plainest possible manner that the gospel is simply the law in Christ.BEST February 10, 1896, page 44.6

    Read 2 Corinthians 10:5, and it will show us to what extent this obedience is to go. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” He who does not obey the gospel in thought, does not obey the gospel at all. He who does not obey the truth in thought, does not obey the truth at all. No outward life can satisfy; it must be the inmost life of the soul; and the outward life, after all, will be but the revealing of what is within. “Out of the abundance of the heart the month speaketh.” And the glory of every pure thought and holy deed we are to give to Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. Obedience stands right in the centre of the cross.BEST February 10, 1896, page 44.7

    S.-Sacrifice.- That sacrifice which offers up self,-self-sacrifice: the complete yielding of everything to God, the entire consecration which lays everything upon God’s altar, and cares not for the opinion of men, but looks to God for His opinion; which cares not for the words of men, but looks to God in Jesus Christ for His word; which lives the life He lived in the flesh, by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself for us.BEST February 10, 1896, page 44.8

    S.-Service.- A life given up to God, devoted wholly to God. Christ’s mission here was to save the lost, and it is the mission of every representative of His to do the same work. Let me tell you, my friends, in the fear of God, that we will not stand clear in His sight if we have not laboured for Him. Selfishness has no place in heaven. And unless we get rid of self, we can never go to heaven. Jesus Christ is the only One who can take us there; self will drag us down to hell. Let Jesus Christ lift us up. Let us consecrate our lives and all we have to the service of God. It is all His anyway. How much I ask you, is it to give to God what belongs to Him already? Anything short of this sacrifice is robbing God. We are His by creation and by redemption. In the mouth of two witnesses shall it be established that we are His. Then act as though we were His, and let Him act as though we were His.BEST February 10, 1896, page 44.9

    The very purpose of the life of Christ in heaven now is that the image of God may appear in our lives. Christ lived His life here in the flesh to show us what the image of God is; but He is not satisfied with that. He wants us to co-operate with Him in letting that life be lived again in us. Christ told His disciples just before ascending that He would send His Holy Spirit to dwell in them. God’s purpose, and I would that this thought might be burned in our minds, is that the very life that Christ lived shall be lived by His followers. And we live that life by our submission and willingness to give up our own way and let God be glorified in Jesus Christ.BEST February 10, 1896, page 44.10

    That is Christian life. I would that I could impress upon every Christian what it is his privilege to be. If you have not known it, take hold of Jesus Christ. God is able to do great things for us. He has promised to do great things for us, and His promises never fail; they are to-day yea and amen in Jesus Christ. What God wants us to do is to have faith in them, and treat Him as our loving Father, who has given us all things in Jesus Christ.BEST February 10, 1896, page 44.11

    Now we have the cross,-Crucifixion, resurrection, obedience, sacrifice, service. It begins with the death of self; it rises into a new life, even the life of Christ; it shows itself in implicit obedience to God in Jesus Christ; it gives itself a sacrifice to others; for says the Scripture, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16. “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” Matthew 10:25. He who holds on to self will perish with self; he who lets go of self will live in Jesus Christ, and will find a life that measures with the life of God.BEST February 10, 1896, page 44.12

    GIVING UP SELF ONLY A QUESTION OF TIME

    It is only a question with us of when we are going to give up this life. You are, I know, very well aware that the days of our life are but “threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” Psalm 90:10. Shall we give up this life now and receive the life of Christ, or shall we hold to this life until it is taken away from us, and it is too late to receive the life of Christ? We are to meet God face to face. Shall we meet Him in Christ or in self? We are to meet the law of God. Shall we meet that law in Jesus Christ or in ourselves? These experiences must come to everyone. The question for us to settle is, Shall they come to us in Christ or out of Christ? Our safety, our glory, our joy, is in meeting these experiences in Jesus Christ.BEST February 10, 1896, page 44.13

    DEGREES IN THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST

    I want now to call your attention to the experience of the apostle Paul as a disciple, in the school of Christ. Before his conversion Paul was a disciple in the school of Gamaliel. I do not know what the customs of the Jewish schools were in that time, or whether they conferred any degrees on Paul, but I know that he was a learned man, and I suppose he had gathered up the wisdom of the day as it could be learned in the Jewish schools. Speaking of himself in his letter to the Philippians, he says, “For we are the circumcision which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more. Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” And he speaks of this again to the Galatians: “For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews’ religion above many mine equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” Philippians 3:3-6; Galatians 1:13, 14. That is where Paul stood when he entered the school of Christ. I want to follow his experience in the school of Christ, and see the degrees that he took.BEST February 10, 1896, page 44.14

    The first degree is—BEST February 10, 1896, page 45.1

    B. A. —Born again.BEST February 10, 1896, page 45.2

    That is the first degree everyone takes in the school of Christ. Writing to the Corinthians Paul says, “And last of all He was seen of me also, as one born out of due time.” 1 Corinthians 15:8. Christ said, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” John 3:7. But right in connection with that “must” is another. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. “Ye must be born again,” “the Son of man must be lifted up”, and in Him is the life for the new birth. The first degree then is Born again.BEST February 10, 1896, page 45.3

    The next degree that Paul took was—BEST February 10, 1896, page 45.4

    M. A. —Moulded afresh.BEST February 10, 1896, page 45.5

    Made over completely by the new life. Paul writes of this in Colossians 3:9, 10, “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of Him that created Him.” The first degree, Born again, is conferred upon us in order that the new life dwelling in us may mould and fashion us after the image of God.BEST February 10, 1896, page 45.6

    The next degree is—BEST February 10, 1896, page 45.7

    D. D. —Delivered Debtor.BEST February 10, 1896, page 45.8

    After one has received the new birth, moulding him into the new life, to what then is he debtor? Said Paul, “I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians; both to the wise and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am really to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.” Romans 1:14, 15. He had been delivered, and he felt himself a debtor to give to others what he had received. He took this degree and deserved it. His life was a manifestation that he was indeed a D. D. in Christ, a delivered debtor, who gave his life to give to others what God had given him.BEST February 10, 1896, page 45.9

    I think Paul took the next degree also, that of—BEST February 10, 1896, page 45.10

    LL. D. —Life Lovingly Dedicated.BEST February 10, 1896, page 45.11

    These are the genuine degrees in God’s school, Born Again, Moulded Afresh, Delivered Debtor, a Life Lovingly Dedicated. What is this but life in God, life with God, and life for God? That was Paul’s experience, and God has set forth that experience for us, because it belongs to every child of God.BEST February 10, 1896, page 45.12

    We might continue this lesson at great length, but I want these thoughts to abide in your minds. They are a great deal better to talk about and to think about than the cheap, common things of life. Let our minds be filled with the things of God, with the word of God, and then expect God to tell us great things about His word, and to reveal to us the deep things of God. And let us look for these degrees in our lives. No university founded by man can confer these degrees upon anyone, but in the school of Christ they are open to everyone. If anyone wants to carry about with him degrees that are worth something, let him enter the school of Christ, and take the degrees given there.BEST February 10, 1896, page 45.13

    If you will carry away with you these thoughts to-day, that God in Jesus Christ lived a life of perfection on earth, and that Jesus Christ now lives in heaven, our great high Priest, making intercession for us, receiving from the Father the promise of His Spirit that He may give it to us, in order that the very same character that appeared in the character of Jesus Christ to the glory of God may appear in you, and if you will believe in God to work that in you by crucifixion, by obedience, by self-sacrifice, by service, God will greatly bless your lives in Jesus Christ.BEST February 10, 1896, page 45.14

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