As I post this last chapter, it is with a sense that I have not done justice to the truth and power of God’s Word. I cannot do any more than I have done, but remembering Andrew Murray’s words in the Foreward of his book Waiting on God, I quote these words, “I send these out with the prayer that He who uses the feeble may give a blessing with them.”
In three previous chapters of Beyond a Mere Christianity, there have been references to books by authors I read years ago. Each one left an impression, and from these, I have offered a challenge for us as God’s children to go beyond what they wrote to search further into His Word.
God was speaking through them to witness of His kingdom and His salvation through Christ, His Son. They are dead and though they still speak through their books, God is still speaking through all His children today. We have nothing new since He spoke through His Son but each of us is called to witness of more that He reveals in His Word.
No person has all revelation but we each bring something to the feet of our Master for His anointing. It is the same faith, same Lord, same Father, same Spirit, and the same baptism through the person and work of Jesus Christ. But we never stop learning or growing. We continue to search His Word, to pray for more than the average knowledge of our Lord ~ with which some are satisfied.
The title for this final chapter is based on two different ideas ~ the first is explained as we take a statement from a sermon and the second from the texts of Psalm 127:4 and Isaiah 49:2.
By reference to this sermon, we want to see the degree from which and to which, God calls us as His children.
On July 8, 1741, this sermon was delivered by Jonathan Edwards in Enfield, Connecticut. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God is perhaps the most well-known and most moving of sermons ever preached in America. (Instead of listening to an audio, please read it. Edwards was not an eloquent speaker but known for simply speaking word for word from his written documents.)
Let us consider these select words from His text.
The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood. Thus all you that never passed under a great change of heart, by the mighty power of the Spirit of God upon your souls; all you that were never born again, and made new creatures, and raised from being dead in sin, to a state of new, and before altogether unexperienced light and life, are in the hands of an angry God. However you may have reformed your life in many things, and may have had religious affections, and may keep up a form of religion in your families and closets, and in the house of God, it is nothing but his mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction.
Our thoughts from this part of the sermon are focused on God’s bow and arrow ready for his enemies. We find in the Old Testament such references
In response to the rebellion of His people, Moses records the words of the Lord.
“And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.”
And upon His enemies are these words from the Psalmist.
“Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.” Psalm 45:5
At the end of his sermon, Edwards spoke the following words during which many were wailing and crying out for salvation.
And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open and stands in calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners; a day wherein many are flocking to him, and pressing into the kingdom of God.
Read here the background and effect of this sermon.
In every generation, upon hearing the gospel, we, as His people have conviction by the power of His Holy Spirit that brings us to repentance and faith.
I like to say that His arrows pierce our hearts and make us tremble at His Word so that we fall prostrate at His feet in need of a Savior. He knows how to stop us in our tracks and turn us to Himself. He has the power to make His enemies not only His footstool but to make them His servants.
“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” Psalm 110:3
We see the promises of God’s deliverance recorded in the Psalms and the Prophets.
“The burden of the word of the Lord in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the Lord. And the Lord shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south.” Zechariah 9:1, 14 (See Zechariah 9 for the full impact of this promise of deliverance.)
God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of the universe, has turned us from His wrath by sending us a King ~ the King of kings ~ to capture our hearts and turn us to Him. We are no longer His enemies but servants of the Most High God. He has made us His children and heirs to His kingdom.
He makes us thrive in enemy territory, defending us, even as He makes us arrows. We are His quiver ~ His arrows against His and our enemies.
“As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”
Such is our Father in heaven whose family on earth lives in defense of His kingdom.
“And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;” Isaiah 49:2
The Process by Which He Establishes His Army and His Weapons
Through His Word, He reveals Himself and births us into His kingdom, making us soldiers of the cross of Christ, His Son ~ the Mighty King who rules His kingdom. His Word is our manual for training.
His Holy Spirit continues to lead us to know our Master and King, to hear His voice, see Him, fear Him, love Him, obey Him, worship and serve Him, praise Him and pray to Him, to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ in power and to live for Him.
By His mercy and by His covenant with us, He calls us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices ~ no longer conformed to this world, its god and its standards but transformed by the renewing of our minds by His own Word and Spirit (Romans 12:1-2).
We survive victoriously and thrive in this wilderness so that the enemy knows who and where we are ~ as we live without fear and always ready to defend the faith He alone gives (Jude).
He uses us to make known His name, His kingdom, and His will to others who will follow in His train.
As arrows designed for His purpose in the hands of our Mighty King, His power is wielded in us wherever and whenever He chooses. Each of the following topics forms the shape of an arrow. Starting with KNOW, we continue to the point ~ OBEY ~ and come to the point PROCLAIM.
Living by Faith in Christ is the shaft that the King uses to drive the arrow forward in our obedience to hit the mark.
We will look at references to Know, Hear, See, Fear, Love, and Obey. In Part 2, we will look at references to Serve, Worship, Praise, Pray, Proclaim His Name and Live by faith in Him.
Rather than my commenting on these references, it would be good for us to meditate on each of these (there are actually many more than we have used). We need to establish time for one of these each day to build our repertoire of His manual.
“And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying,
All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
Matthew 28:18 “
“All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” Luke 10:22
‘According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” 2 Peter 1:3
“Be still, and know that I am God:
I will be exalted among the heathen,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
“Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.” Psalm 106:8
“And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.” Jeremiah 24:7
“But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. Jeremiah 9:24
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:34
Known by His Shepherds and His Sheep
“And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Jeremiah 3:15
“Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:3
“And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” John 10:4
“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” John 10:14
“He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” Matthew 13:11
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” Philippians 3:10
“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8
“The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:4
“While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” Hebrews 3:15
“When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the Lord thy God.” Deuteronomy 13:18
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 11:15
“For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” Matthew 13:17
“While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Matthew 17:5
“And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.” Mark 4:24
“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,” Luke 6:27
“Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.” Luke 8:18
“And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.” Luke 8:21
“But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” Luke 11:28
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” John 10:27
“Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” John 18:37
“And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” John 4:42
SEE “And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that you should know his will, and see that Just One, and should hear the voice of his mouth.” Acts 22:14
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” Ephesians 1:18
“But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” Matthew 13:16-17
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10
“Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.” Isaiah 51:7
“Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:5
“I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.” Ecclesiastes 3:14
“And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;” Isaiah 11:2
“And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.” Acts 19:17
“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.” Psalm 91:14
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Matthew 22:37
“But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” 1 John 2:5
“Herein is love, not that we loved God,
but that he loved us, and sent his Son
to be the propitiation for our sins.”
1 John 4:10
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16
“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;” Philippians 1:9
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35
“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” 1 John 3:14
“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
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” 1 John 4:7
In the next and last post of this chapter, we will look at the power of living by faith in Jesus Christ that brings about obedience to our Master and King. We will see the effects of living in obedience as we serve, worship, praise, pray and proclaim the name of Christ.
Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you for the power of your Holy Spirit to bring us captive to Christ, that we may be free to serve and worship you without fear of our enemies. Shape us as your arrows as you are conforming us to the image of your dear Son. In Jesus’ precious name, I pray, Amen.