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Where Christ Is All In All

Where Christ Is All In All poster

“Wherein…Christ is all in all.”—Colossians 3:11

Christianity is not a cold, dead or not a theory about Christ; it is not a series of ethical statements proceeding from Christ; it is not a system, builded upon the concepts of Christ—Christianity is Christ.

Christianity is not a cold, dead organization; it is a living organism, and it could not survive the loss of Christ, its living, vital Head any more than a human body, a living organism, could survive the loss of its head. Herein lies the chief distinction between Christianity and all world religions. Buddhism survive the loss of Buddha; Confucianism has thrived since the departure of Confucius; Mohammedanism profited by the death of Mohammad; Christian Science has spared Mrs. Eddy and Russellism has spared Russell; but Christianity is wholly dependent upon the risen, ascended and seated Lord, the One Who was, and Who is, and Who is coming—the living One.

Christianity can no more be compared with other cults than Jesus Christ can be compared with other persons. Christ is the incomparable One; He stands as far above men as the heavens are above the earth. So also is Christianity incomparable. It stands on a plane as far removed from the plane of human religions as the east is removed from the west.

The Word of God is the basis of Christianity. That Word is Christ. From Genesis through Revelation, the Scriptures present the Lord Jesus. On the Emmaus road, Christ, from Moses through the Psalms and Prophets, opened up the things concerning Himself.

The whole plan of salvation is summed up in Christ. God wrought out redemption and obtained for us our pardon, in Christ; God works out our sanctification, a life of yielded victory by Christ; God will work out our glorification WITH Christ, when He comes back to receive us unto Himself.

Thus, in Christianity, whether in salvation from sin’s curse, or in salvation from sin’s power, or in salvation from sin’s presence, it is all made possible in and through Christ. It is Christ on the cross, or else it is Christ at the Father’s right hand, or else it is Christ coming in the clouds of heaven. It is always Christ.

There is no place in Christianity, whether in salvation, in service, or in the daily walk that the believer can press his way apart from Christ.

Even in the line of ethics, the ethics of Christianity are incomparably higher than the ethics of other religions. Their ethics are possible of attainment: the ethics of Christ are impossible—that is, the latter are impossible apart from Christ Who gave them. No one can for instance, live the life outlined in the beatitudes or the life outlined in the book of Philippians, apart from the indwelling and empowering Christ.

In Christianity, wherever one may turn, Christ is the inevitable One. He is forever inseparable from the faith once for all delivered. Apart from Him all is loss; apart from Him, there is darkness and there is death. In Him all is gain; in Him is light, in Him is life, and in Him all things consist. Let us now consider our first proposition.

First: The Person of Christ Our Preaching.

Second Corinthians 4:5, “We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord.” The god of this world cares but little when we preach ourselves; but he will busy himself to blind the eyes of the unbelieving against the preaching of the glorious Gospel of Christ. The only headway we can make against Satan is by the preaching of Christ. Let us follow out some of the passages, particularly in the book of Acts, which will help us just here.

  1. The person of Christ was the message of the prophets of old. Acts 3:20.

Jesus Christ stands forth supreme in the preaching of the valiant men who told God forth in the days before Christ came to Earth.

Those men spoke as they were born along by the Holy Ghost, and many are the precious truths that they revealed concerning the person, the life, the death, the resurrection, the return, and the reign of Christ.

  1. The person of Christ was the message of the apostles. Acts 5:42.

The apostles had lived with Christ; they had heard His word. They believed in Him as the Son of God. They had seen Him dying, and they had seen Him after His resurrection. They had stood on the crest of Olivet as He ascended and a cloud received Him out of sight.

After the coming of the Spirit they went everywhere preaching Christ. With great power they gave witness to His deity, His death, His resurrection, and His return. They preached Christ.

The apostle Paul came along a little later and immediately He preached Christ, that He was the Son of God. Paul might have preached many other matters. He had been educated at Gamaliel’s feet. He knew Jewish lore. He could easily have discoursed upon a more popular theme, but He preached Christ and only Christ.

  1. The person of Christ was the message for the Jew. Acts 17:1–3.

It was not the message they wanted; for they hated Christ. The Apostle would have found that a few soulful remarks on ethics, or a few suggestive hints on economics, or a few striking sentences on the political tyranny of the Caesars, might have brought few greater applause. But the Jew needed Christ, and that is what he heard from the ministers of the early church.

  1. The person of Christ was the message preached to the Samaritans. Acts 8:5.

Of course, Philip was not up to the standard of the twentieth century preacher, or else he would have discoursed on “wealth and wages,” or on “how to keep John Barleycorn dead after he has died,” or some other theme of public interest. But Philip preached Christ. He felt that the Samaritans needed Christ.

  1. The person of Christ was the message preached to the Gentiles. Galatians 1:16.

Paul was called to preach the Gospel far hence to the Gentiles. Immediately he obeyed. He did not argue that the message that the Jew and Samaritan received was not applicable to the Gentile. He did not insist that the message should be recast and moulded differently for the cultured ears of the Athenians or the Thessalonians or the Bereans. He just preached Christ.

The message for one was the message for all. There was “no other name given under heaven and among men whereby we must be saved,” so the preachers of the early days preached Christ.

  1. The person of Christ is the message we are commanded to preach today. And He said unto them: “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

The preacher is a servant and an apostle “separated unto the Gospel of God, concerning His son…even Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:2–3).

The church is the pillar and the ground of the truth. It is the guardian of the faith. It is commissioned to preach Christ. We have no commission to preach anyone or anything other than Christ.

  1. God’s anathema is upon those who preach any other gospel. What did the Holy Spirit say through Paul? Galatians 1:6–9.

These are solemn words. Every false witness is anathematized! No favoritism is permitted! The apostle is himself included in “Though we.” Angelic hosts are included in “Or an angel from heaven.” Every man, every minister or whatsoever cult, is included in “If any one.”

And what is the Gospel which Paul preached? The Spirit makes reply: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” Then the rest of that wonderful fifteenth chapter 1 Corinthians is given particularly to the resurrection of the Christian dead, at the return of Christ.

“If any man preach any other Gospel…let him be accursed,” means then, if any man preaches any Gospel which ignores of defames the cross, the resurrection, or the Lord’s return let him be accursed.

Paul said concerning himself, “Woe is me if I preach not the gospel.” The emphasis may be placed on the verb, “preach,” or it may be placed upon the object, “gospel.”

What then of the one who confesseth not that “Jesus Christ is God, come in the flesh?” What then of the one who confesses not that “Jesus Christ is coming in the flesh? In either cases, such an one is a deceiver and an antichrist. Such preachers are of the world, and the world heareth them. Such preachers are possessed with a spirit of error. (Study 1 John 4:1–6 and 2 John 7 R.V.)

What must be the attitude of true disciples toward these false prophets, these antichrists? Let God speak: 2 John 9–11.

These words are final. The believer has no right to sit under the ministry of one who has departed from the faith; he can not receive him into his house; he can not bid him Godspeed. This is not a matter of one denomination pitted against another; it is a matter of all true believers separating themselves from the apostates who deny the faith, wherever and whenever such apostates are found.

  1. Is the person of Christ the theme of the pulpit today?

Thank God in many places it is. There are, everywhere, those who proclaim the true evangel. There are, however, in too many pulpits those who proclaim a false gospel, or no gospel at all.

In a paper received recently from London, we found this list of subjects advertised in and around that great metropolis.

“Slip, Slips and Slippers,” “Wobbling,” “Swat the Fly,” “The Honeymoon,” “My Mother-law,” “Lop Sided Folks,” “The Sentimental Journey,” “Three White Mice,” “Pulling out a Plum,” “A Big Hug,” “Street Car Ventilation,” “A Joke on the Conductor,” “A Man with his Nose Out of Joint.”

Such themes are sickening to the heart. Yet the same state of affairs exists, more or less, everywhere. From our soul we cry, “back to the person of Christ as our preaching.”

Secondly: The Passion of Christ Our Promptings.

“The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (John 2:17).

No one would deny that our Lord Jesus carried in His bosom a burning and a yearning after the sons of men. He was consumed with a passion for souls that ate into His very heart. He loved even unto the death. His passion for the lost and His compassion for His own, told on His physical frame. Even those who had known Him in the village where He had been brought up, mistook His age. They said: “Thou art not fifty years old” when in fact, He was not more than thirty and three.

How many of us appear far beyond our natural years because of our “burning out” for God? Not very many to be sure.

Let us mark a few instances where the tender compassions of Christ are set forth.

  1. His compassion on the multitude. Matthew 14:14.

“Compassion” is a strong word. It carries with it the thought of “a yearning in the bowels.” That is, our Lord was stirred within, until something akin to nausea caught hold upon him.

Herein lies, perhaps the greatest need of the orthodox. To preach the person of Christ is right, but to preach the person of Christ in a doctrinally precise way is not enough. We must preach with all the “tender mercies of Christ;” with all His “bowels of mercy.”

The multitudes are lying everywhere around us. Do we send them away that they may get victuals for themselves; or, do we bid them sit down on the ground that we may feed them?

The angel with the ink horn was commanded to place a mark on every one who sighed and upon every one who cried for the abominations done in the midst of Jerusalem. Another angel was to slay utterly those who bore not the mark, and he was to begin at the house of God (see Ezekiel 9).

What would happen should such a course be pursued today? Where is our old time passion and compassion for the lost? Where are those who weep and wail over the sad estate of the lost?

  1. His compassion over the leper. Mark 1:41.

The leper was accursed in Israel. His place was outside the camp. None should touch him. He continually had to cry, “Unclean! Unclean!” Jesus Christ came along the way, and met a leper. He had compassion on him; He put forth His hand and touched him, saying: “I will, be thou clean.”

Here again is the need of the church. We must not enter into tirades of abuse against the morally corrupt; we must not isolate them from our place of preaching; we must not damn them to utter neglect. We must have pity, we must open unto them our hearts, and yearningly carry to them the story of the power of Christ to save.

We must love them as Christ loved Mary Magdalene. We must stand ready to forgive as Christ forgive the repentant woman who had been taken in sin. We must reach out our hand, and touch them, we must give reign to our affections and love them.

  1. His compassion on the assaulted Jew. Luke 10:33.

Only a parable you say. Indeed! Yet, a parable with a message of love and compassion that must not be overlooked. What a picture! A poor fellow, a despised Jew, robbed and beaten and left in the depth of despair.

What is the common attitude in such a case? It is that of the priest who merely “saw, and passed by on the other side.” It is that of the Levite who “came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.”

What is the common attitude in such a case? It is that of the priest who merely “saw, and passed by on the other side.” It is that of the Levite who “came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.”

What was and is the attitude of Christ? He is the “Good Samaritan” in this parable. He saw him, and had compassion, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, and poured in oil and wine, and set him on his beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

Let not the social worker arise and claim himself as the one who fulfills the need of this stricken Jew. Far from it. Americanization, social work, and general physical and mental help, is not enough to meet the need.

What is the real message of this parable? First, it is a revelation of the heart of Christ toward the bruised and fallen. Secondly, it is a rebuke at the cold formalism of a heartless orthodoxy.

But that is not all. The method of help is also set forth. What does the wounded Jew need? Roses and posies? No. A new and better system of policing the roads? No. Such methods are covers too short and beds too narrow, with which a man may cover himself and upon which a man may stretch himself.

What is needed? A heart burning with the “bowels of mercies,” like that which consumed the Lord. The binding up of the wounds, through the message of atoning blood and abounding grace. The pouring in of the oil and wine of the Holy Ghost. The personal leadership, and mighty shoulders of the risen Christ. The care and succor of his Father’s house. Nothing less than this will meet his need.

  1. His compassion on the prodigal son. Luke 15:20.

Until the church has learned what it is to watch with longings for the prodigal’s return and what it is to “run” with God to meet him, and to fall on his neck and kiss him, it will never be in condition to preach the glories of the person of Christ.

To stay at home, and to live separated from harlots and from the far country is not enough. The elder son did that. The elder son had a good dose of religion, but he knew nothing of the Father’s heart. He had no passion and no compassion. He had no desire to run out to meet the returning and repentant younger brother; he would not fall on his neck and kiss him.

What the church needs, what you need, what I need, is the spirit that consumed the Lord Jesus Christ, when he stood over Jerusalem and wept. Preach on hell? Certainly. Never were such woes preached as our Lord Himself preached in Matthew 23. But preach on hell with the same broken spirit that was in Christ when he said: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

What the church needs is a love that will not let her go. A passion for souls that robs her of “ease” and pulls her to her knees. Then and only then can the church be fully blessed in holding forth the world of light and of life.

Should we not watch our doctrine? To be sure. Should we not contend for the faith? Indeed. But that is not all, by any means. When Paul said to Timothy: “Take heed to thyself an to the doctrine,” put “thyself” first. How we need to adore the doctrine! How we need to live it out!”

It is not holding the truth, but the truth holding us, that will spell victory. It is not possessing the Truth but being possessed by the Truth that will make us great in the service of the Lord. It is not setting hold on the blessed hope, but the hope setting hold on us, that will purify us, and prepare us for service.

Christ was not only the Truth, but He was the Truth pleading “come unto Me and rest”; He was the Truth pointing to the promise of another day, and saying: “Enter into the joy of thy Lord.”

May God grant unto us the intensive yearning and burnings of the compassionate Son of God.

Thirdly: The Presence of Christ Our Power. Luke 8:46

The Greek word is “dunamis,” and it should be read, “power is gone forth from me.”

Jesus Christ had power. He returned from the wilderness in “the power of the Spirit;” with authority and power He spake, and commanded the unclean spirits to come out. Christ was clothed with authority over all the power of the enemy; He was indeed the very power of God.

In His earthly life there was never a moment when Jesus Christ was baffled and overwhelmed. He always moved about in full knowledge of His limitless power. At Nazareth when they would have cast Him down from a hill, upon which the city was built. He quietly and majestically passed aside. On the stormy sea when the very wind and waves in untold fury, seemed swept against Him as he lay sleeping in the boat; without a tremor in voice or mene [sic], He raised His hand and commanded, “peace be still.”

No question of the wily scribes and lawyers ever caught Christ unawares; He could not be entangled in His speech. No combination of demons, or of men ever made Him hesitate. Before him the devil went down in full defeat.

Even in the hour of His death, when, to human eye, it seemed that Christ was shorn of His power; when He was led as a lamb to the slaughter; when He was bruised and beaten and finally nailed to the tree; He went forth in the all-conquering power of His deity. In fact, when Satan thought himself the victor, the dying Son of God cried with a loud, victorious cry, “It is finished.” On the cross He met principalities and power and “triumphed over them in it.”

From the empty tomb Jesus Christ walked forth a conqueror. He had been to Hades and had taken the keys of death.

In His ascension, Christ Jesus passed up through all the powers of the air, and was heralded across the heavens by angelic hosts, as He swept through the skies toward His Father’s right hand as the One “mighty in battle” and as “the Lord of hosts.”

Today, Jesus Christ sits on the Father’s throne. From that throne He speaks to His earthly servants saying, “All authority is given unto me, in heaven and on earth,…go!”

Need the servant of the Lord quail and fear? Never! Let him lift up the hands that hang down. Let him strengthen the feeble knees. Let him go forth in the power of His risen Lord.

Christ is telling His church today, “Take hold of My power.” He has given us the promise, “Ye shall receive power, the Holy Ghost coming upon you.” Let us seek them to honor Him and to do His will, equipped with power from on high.

May we lay before you two scenes:

Scene One. A vision of the early church. For the most part the personnel of the early church was made up of a multitude of the poor, the uncultured, and the unknown. God did not choose many who were wise after the flesh, many who were noble, many who were mighty.

Besides, the early church was despised, persecuted and maligned. They were buffeted and often slain as martyrs of the faith.

In addition to all of this, the early church had no fast running trains, no steamers swiftly moving through the waters. They were without a printing press, without the telegraph and wireless.

Yet, the early church pressed on with its testimony in a most wonderful way. The apostles carried the Gospel quickly and effectively to the world of their day. Whole cities were moved, and so great was their power in witnessing, that even their enemies conceded that they had turned the world upside down.

Why? The early church preached the person of Christ; they believed in Christ crucified, risen and coming again; and they preached Him everywhere.

Why? The early church was possessed with the passion of Christ. It had a heart afire with a passion for the lost. The apostles carried in their bosoms a love that could not let them go.

Why? The early church went forth in the power of a risen Christ. It knew Christ was able. It leaned on Him, trusted in Him, and He brought it to pass.

Scene Two. A vision of the twentieth century church of Laodicea. This church is filled with many who are rich and cultured and widely known. This church has called many who are wise after the flesh, many who are mighty and noble. Into their hands the church has committed the places of trust and honor. The church has made them their office-bearers.

The Laodicean church of today is honored by the men of the world. It is recognized in government and in social circles as carrying much weight.

In addition to all this, the church has at its beck and call the swiftly moving train, the steamer, the printing press, and the telegraph.

But what do we see? In Laodicea, we see the church defaming the person of Christ, unconscious of the passion of Christ, and unclothed with the power of Christ. Alas! The church of Laodicea has turned to another Gospel, which is not another. The cross is almost forgotten. Eugenics is the rage. Their message is no more than heathen. It may be expressed: “Except a man above himself can erect himself, how vain a thing is man.”

The church of Laodicea is putting on an endless array of “movements,” and of world-devised schemes. The whole purpose seems to be to create, among men, what they popularly call “the spirit and the passion of Christ”; but which is, more rightly named, “a world conception of the ethics of Christ. All of this they seek to bring about apart from any vital repentance, saving faith, or personal regeneration.

What is our cry? Back to the person of Christ for our preaching, back to the passionate yearnings of Christ for our promptings, back to the presence of Christ for our power. Thus prepared we may call out of the nations a people for His name.