We are caused to think of Paul as a practical and personal teacher. After he had laid the foundation, then he showed that there should be an outcome. Faith cometh by hearing, but hearing must have a sure foundation. The revelation that God has given of Himself, the origin of it all, as Peter said, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables.” The message of the Gospel comes in power, and “He that cometh to God must believe that He is.” Nothing is impossible with God, everywhere, everything, a wonderful God, day unto day uttered speech.
We raise the anthem and say, “God is.” Faith must have an object and that object is our Lord Jesus Christ. We look to Him with believing trust. He is able to keep that which we have committed unto Him. All this avails little unless it produces results in us. Our lives instead of a desert, become a garden for God. Let us go into the garden to gather the fruits of the spirit.
Paul impresses on God’s people, what ought to be; he drops his great logic and brings himself down to the level of all. “I beseech you,” suggests to us, I call you to one side familiarly, and he thinks of the wonderful mercies of God and in his heart he would thank God for the home of Gaius. For health, for all the mercies that were temporal, and at the beginning he was thankful for the Gospel and it caused him to say, “I am a debtor.” It brought a living faith, and instead of a tomb, his body became a temple. He opened up a vista of the possibilities to be conformed to the image of His Son.
God will not imperil the peace of Heaven by permitting a rebel to be there. In view of the mercies of God, in the light of these things, it’s a small matter that you should present your bodies, hands consecrated, feet consecrated, every part given for ministering to God. Ministering with the ability that God gives. The sacrifice of sweat and toil for the work of the Lord. God is taking knowledge of every effort and every deed; of everything that is done, as the result of the love of God shed abroad in your heart. Be not conformed to this world.
There’s a great gulf fixed between us and the world. Jacob was found one day at the gates of Shechem, in Canaan, and one child went out to see the daughters of the land and she was ruined as a result. And we find God saying to him, “Arise and go up to Bethel, put away the wrong things.” Get rid of the defiling influences. And when they did, God put a terror upon the cities round about. It was no longer possible for the unregenerate men of Shechem to come around the tents of Jacob.
If it’s possible for outsiders to have fellowship with you, there is something wrong. Our testimony is only effective as we put away the strange gods.
Be not conformed in your family life, in your business life to this world. The mind is the man. What you think about is important.
2 Corinthians 3:18, “Behold the glory of the Lord, to be changed,” etc. Faith must have an object and that object is the person of the Son of God. John spoke, John 1:14, “We beheld His glory.” The glory of God was seen in the humiliation of the birth of His Son, the lowly child, God incarnate.
We can never exhaust the glory of the Lord as seen at Bethlehem . Peter says, “We were with Him, when He received glory.” It was written on the heart of Peter, that Jesus was Lord of life and glory. Until that thought grips us as the people of God we will not get far. We have to do with God’s wonderful Christ. It will help us to understand the mystery of that curse, of that suffering; it will help us to pierce through that darkness and see the glory of the Cross.
By these visions of God, we are transformed. Do we realize we only stand in the place that we do by the grace of God? Well might we say, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” The chapter goes on to speak of our relationship to other members in His family. Did you ever think of the variety we have in nature? We are all so different, through variety and blending together by the grace of God. There’s a harmony that goes up to God. Everyone does not have the same office.
Numbers 4, there was a different ministry for the sons of Levi. God is the God of order and of perfect arrangement. To each tribe there was a special charge, the moving of the vessels of the tabernacle. They were to behave with great reverence.
What is the special charge regarding our ministry today? The difference of ministry is valuable to God’s people, there’s a place for all. Monotony of tune brings about deadness. So far, the chapter leads us to see that we can all have a part in this great family. Great stones and little stones, all are needed. Some are in sight, some are out of sight, but all have a part.
Much is said about our relationship with one another. Love without dissimulation. Think of the awful deed of Judas, the kiss of treachery. There was a vile traitorous mind underneath. Doesn’t it uncover to us the awfulness of the human heart, when left to itself? Titus speaks of hating one another. These are possibilities that be in the human heart, in contrast to the loveliness of Jesus. Let our love be the real thing, 20 carat gold, no mixture. Love was seen in the Son of God. He’s our pattern. Let us love with the same love.
Verse 19, when we think of this verse, let us remember David in the tent of Saul. He did not avenge himself even though he had a wonderful opportunity to have done so. Chapter 13, instruction is given to us in regard to our attitude towards the state. God expects from Christian people loyalty to Him and to the teaching of His Word. A great loyalty to those instruments that stand for human freedom. To their neighbors, owe no man anything. Our attitude to the weaker brethren is given.
[These notes are incomplete]