“GLORIES OF THE REDEEMER”|
FINAL LECTURE OF 36 LESSONS ON THE REDEEMER'S GLORIES
by Missionary James H. Dearmore, B.S., Th.B., Th.D.
Lectures Given at Rodgers Baptist Bible Institute
© 2007 James H. Dearmore II
(Note: We have drawn from various "old timers" for some of the materials in these lectures - especially Octavious
Winslow, one of the best on the subject. (You should buy and read any reprints of his writings you find).
Our theme is always great and glorious when we speak of Christ. He will occupy our thoughts eternally! In our preceding studies for the year on “the Glories of The Redeemer” we have discussed several weighty points. For the concluding lecture of our studies on the “Glories of the Redeemer” I have some “brief” remarks, not more than an hour or two (laughter by students).
I. UNION WITH CHRIST.
The New Testament is filled with teachings respecting the union between Christ and believers. Our Lord himself spoke much on the subject, especially near the close of his physical earthly ministry, when He was nearing His crucifixion.
In the Lord’s glorious intercessory prayer, (John 17:20-26) remember how he prayed as follows:
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
“And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
“I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
“O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
“And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Here and in other scripture we see that the union between Christ and believers is clearly taught and is set forth in various ways and locations in the Word of God which He has inspired, and preserved for our edification. The teaching is set forth in various types and shadows.
1. Some of the inspired writers compare it to the union between the stones in a building and the foundation.
By one of the prophets Jehovah says, in I Peter 2:6 — “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.”
The apostle of the circumcision takes up the figure, and refers it to Christ in the following paraphrase: “As you come to him, the living Stone — rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him — you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
For the Bible says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Now to all who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the head of the corner.” (Read I Peter 2:4-9). The apostle of the Gentiles uses similar language:
Ephesians 2:21-22 — “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
“In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
Believers rest their all — their present and all their eternity on Christ. This foundation can never fail. The coming troubles of the last days shall never disturb the Rock on which they rest. It shall stand forever. The believers are not dead, but living stones, and are a habitation of God through the Spirit.
2. Union with Christ is also compared to the union of the members in the human body.
I Corinthians 12:27 — “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”
One should read all of I Corinthians 12:123-27 to get the full discussion by Paul on this comparison.
Christ is the head of the body, the church. And so she is sure of his sympathy always. No man ever yet hated his own flesh; neither did Christ ever hate one of his own. He regarded the cruel persecutions of Saul of Tarsus as directed against himself. He loved his church of old; he loved her unto death; he loves her still; he shall love her forever!
3. Christ is the Bridegroom of his church, and she is his spouse, his love, his dove, his undefiled one. “The husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church. . . . Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
Though it should be our goal as husbands, no husband ever loved his wife as Christ does the church. The love of our glorious Redeemer to His Church is infinite, eternal, unchangeable.
It is clear from some of the allegorical treatments in Song of Solomon that no matter how feeble she may be, she comes up safely “from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved.” See Song of Solomon 8:5.
4. Union of believers with Christ is sometimes compared to the union of the branches with the trunk of a tree or the main stock of a vine. Paraphrasing the Glorious Redeemer He says — “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears not fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” See John 15:1-5.
And so we see believers get strength and nourishment and fruitfulness from Christ, and from Christ alone. In the same connection, the Saviour says: “apart from me ye can do nothing.” No wonder that the branch severed from the trunk ALWAYS withers and dies.
It is only by this union with Christ that his people enjoy all spiritual blessings. In particular, they have pardon by his blood, acceptance by his righteousness, renewal by his Spirit, increase of grace, divine sympathy in their sorrows, victory in temptation, support in death, a glorious resurrection, a public acquittal in the day of judgment, and everlasting life with Him in glory.
Seperated from Christ, no man is strong, or wise, or righteous, or holy, or safe. United to Christ, all that is included in our so great salvation belongs to every believer.
Therefore, the real child of God ought not to faint, nor be discouraged. He may have the same temptations and afflictions as his Lord; but “if we suffer, we shall also reign with him. If we deny him, he also will deny us.”
(This word "therefore" is a very good word for Bible students, telling us to "take notice" that it ties that which is to follow, with that which has been said earlier.)
Therefore, “if any man suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf.”
And thus we see also that the feeblest child of God shall be tenderly loved and cared for. Even that one who is weak in faith shall be held up, for God is able to make him stand.
Since these things are so, it is not surprising that God’s true people have a great love one toward another. Their fellowship and love among themselves arises from their union with Christ. It is clearly a true statement and unwavering principle that the closer they are drawn to him, the nearer they are to one another in the Church and in His service.
II. ADMIRATION OF CHRIST.
The people of God should and do greatly admire and wonder at the excellence and glory of Our Glorious Redeemer. In proportion to their faith, they delight in thinking of his all-sufficiency, and are carried away with their thoughts. This shall be a part of their employment in the last day — and we shall reign with Him forever.
When our Glorious Redeemer shall come to be glorified in His saints, he shall also come to be admired by all those who believe. Even in this world, the people of God often forget their trials along the way, and are lost in joyous adoration of Christ.
I have read about a young man who, for seventeen days, watched by the death-bed of a dear Christian friend. Shortly before his death, thinking of the Glorious Redeemer, he wrote: “What Christian has not sometimes given expression to the feelings of his heart in some such language as this: ‘WHAT A Saviour!’
“That there should be for us, lost and ruined sinners, any Saviour, is marvelous mercy, and is worthy of our highest admiration; but that there should be to us such a Saviour, is still more astonishing. I have thought that we might have had a Saviour, who would have been able to save us, and would have actually saved many, and yet not have been such a Saviour. Less tender, less condescending, less forbearing, I have thought, he might have been, and yet have been a Saviour.
“It seems as if Jesus had said more kind things and done more kind acts than were absolutely necessary to have been said and done by him. Need he have made that apology for his disciples, who could sleep when he was in his agony — ‘the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak?’ I wonder how they could have slept in such an hour; but I wonder even more at the apology their Master made for them. Need he have uttered that prayer on the cross, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do?’”
From our experience, we do not expect such things from the innocent one, when dying by the hand of violence. If he had maintained silence during those long hours of terrible agony on the cross, we would have been satisfied. But Oh, think of his forgetting himself, and when they were mocking and in every way insulting him, hear him meekly addressing his Father on their behalf, asking him to forgive them, and pleading for them, that they knew not what they did.
It was not necessary that he should have paid any visible attention to the supplication of the thief. It would not have been expected of him. But that he would have turned his head, and looked such forgiveness and love while he said, ‘Today shall you be with me in paradise,’ is a strange mystery of love.
O what a glorious Redeemer! Why, he knows from experience what pain is; he has had the trials I have; he has been through the valley of tears; he knows how I was tried; he remembers how he was tried. He wept — even over the very city and people whose hands were about to be stained with his blood.
I sometimes wonder we love him so little; I wonder he is not more precious to His children; I wonder that any should be offended at him. “How can he appear as a root out of a dry ground? Why do not all of mankind see his form and loveliness?”
A proper admiration of the Saviour leads people to —
III. THE IMITATION OF CHRIST.
It is with great authority over the conscience that the Scripture says: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus;” and “Consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds.”
Our Glorious Redeemer’s example shows us what the Christian graces are, and how far they are to be extended. It is sometimes said that there is a point beyond which forbearance ceases to be a virtue. If there be such a point, surely it would have been reached in the life of Christ. But where is it? He has left us an example that we should follow his steps. True Christians love to sing:
“Such was your truth, and such your zeal,
Such deference to your Father’s will,
Such love, and meekness so divine,
I would transcribe and make them mine.
“O be my pattern; make me bear,
More of your gracious image here!
Then God the Judge shall own my name
Among the followers of the Lamb.”
That this is not overstating the matter is absolutely clear from Scripture. John says that every one who hopes to see Jesus as he is, purifies himself even as He is pure. 1 John 3:3. Paul says: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20. Without doubt, it is a very great fault in many professed believers that they do not more earnestly strive to imitate Christ in love, and gentleness, in tenderness of heart, in submission to the will of God, in zeal for the divine glory, in self-abnegation, in silence under unjust reproaches, and in all His imitable virtues. The highest honor we can render to the Lord Jesus is honestly and earnestly to pray and labor to be like Him.
When believers are in the right spirit and frame of mind, nothing distresses God’s people so much as to find themselves full of imperfection, even after they have long been ardent followers of the Lamb. They still daily cry: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”
Philip Henry said: “If my prayers were written down, and my vain thoughts interlined, what incoherent nonsense would there be! I am ashamed, Lord, I am ashamed! Oh pity and pardon! These following sins were sent home with power upon my conscience: (and he lists the following things).
“1. Omissions innumerable. I fall short of duty in every relation.
“2. Much selfishness upon every occasion, which fills my way with thorns and snares.
“3. Pride; a vein of it runs through all my conversation.
“4. Self-seeking; corrupt ends in all I do. Applause of men often regarded more than the glory of God.
“5. My own iniquity. Many bubblings up of heart-corruption, and breakings forth too. O Lord, shame has covered my face.”
(Philip Henry [August 24, 1631-June 24, 1696] was an English Nonconformist clergyman, born in London. He graduated at Oxford in 1652, and was ordained in 1657. His career as a preacher was repeatedly interrupted by the religious persecutions of his time, and it was not until the Act of Toleration was passed in 1687 that he was allowed to pursue his calling unmolested. Matthew Henry, of Bible Commentary fame, was his second son.)
In all ages and down to this present day, if we are uncompromisingly honest with ourselves, even the most godly among us must weep day and night over their unbelief, hardness of heart, vanity, ingratitude, pride, irritability, envy, discontent, self-will, self-righteousness, censoriousness, carnal security, spiritual deadness, lack of fervor, and other sins and short-comings.
This has been the case with believers in every age and there are many Biblical examples. Remember, Job says, “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
David cries, “My iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart fails me.”
Isaiah said, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.”
And the great (and courageous - yes, I said courageous) Peter "fell down at Jesus' knees, saying — Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."
And then we see the bitterest cry ever heard on earth was that of the Saviour on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
And perhaps next to this in bitterness was the cry of the Apostle Paul: "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
"The body of this death" is a Hebrew form of expression, signifying "this dead body." The language is supposed by some to have been derived from the mode of punishing murderers adopted by certain ancient tribes, who fastened the several parts of the body of the murdered victim to the corresponding parts of the murderer, then confining his hands so that he could not effect his own release from the gruesome burden. In his distress, the poor criminal would cry, "Who shall deliver me from this dead body? Oh, that I had some relief. Will no one help me?"
And so Paul cried out for deliverance. He loathed sin. He hated nothing so much as he did fleshly corruption. Whenever he contemplated it, it filled him with revulsion. He consented to the law that it was good: yes, he delighted in the law of God after the inward man.
And with his mind and heart he served the law of God. He loved holiness, yet so annoyed was he by indwelling sin, and so violent were its assaults upon him, that he pronounces himself carnal, sold under sin. The contest was dreadful, the warfare fearful. Nothing else was so offensive to him as his own corruptions. In the jail at Philippi, his flesh torn with the scourges, his feet held fast in the stocks, surrounded by the darkness of midnight, he prayed, and sang praises to God, and the prisoners heard him.
“I have worked harder, been put in jail more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jews gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled many weary miles. I have faced danger from flooded rivers and from robbers.
I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the stormy seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be Christians but are not. I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Many times I have been hungry and thirsty and have gone without food. Often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.” (See 2 Corinthians 11:23-27). All of these things were certainly true of Paul.
And yet of all these he said: (Acts 20:24) "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” But when sin pierces him he cries out in an agony of spirit, “Oh wretched man that I am!” Oh, it is a good sign to mourn for sin, and to long for holiness. How sweet heaven will be to all weary pilgrims.
Act 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
On that golden shore we shall be forever done with temptation.
What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see!
When I look upon His face, the One who saved me by His grace!
Then He'll take me by the hand, and lead me through the promised land,
What a day, Glorious day, that will be!
There we shall never, never sin. There we shall be like Jesus, our Glorious Redeemer, for we shall see him as he is. And even now a glimpse of him by faith has great transforming power, as Paul teaches: “We with open face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18. And Paul himself follows his cry with the triumphant shout: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
IV. GLORIFYING CHRIST.
If the views we have already discussed are correct, (and they certainly are) then it is true that all the saints do or should greatly desire to put the highest honor upon Christ — they must glorify him in every way possible. In receiving honor from his people, Christ and the Father are not separated.
When we in our heart honor one person of the Godhead, we honor all. And it is the will of God that "all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father." John 5:23. The Scriptures are truly full of this teaching, as will be seen by any who read and comprehend the Word.
This truth is often and wonderfully illustrated in the Life of David Brainerd, (1718-1747) a missionary to the American Indians in New York, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania. Under date of November 22, 1744, he writes: "Came on my way from Rockciticus to the Delaware. Was very much disordered with a cold and pain in my head.
“About six at night I lost my way in the wilderness, and wandered over rocks and mountains, down hideous steeps, through swamps, and most dreadful and dangerous places; and the night being dark, so that few stars could be seen, I was greatly exposed.
“I was much pinched with cold, and distressed with an extreme pain in my head, attended with sickness at my stomach, so that every step I took was distressing to me. I had little hope for several hours together, but that I must lie out in the woods all night in this distressed case.
“But about nine o’clock I found a house through the abundant goodness of God, and was kindly received. Thus I have frequently been exposed, and sometimes lain out the whole night; but God has hitherto preserved me, and blessed be his name. Such fatigues and hardships as these serve to wean me from the earth; and, I trust, will make heaven the sweeter.
“Formerly when I was thus exposed to cold, rain, etc., I was ready to please myself with the thoughts of enjoying a comfortable house, warm fire, and other outward comforts; but now these have less place in my heart, through the grace of God, and my eye is more to God for comfort.
“In this world I expect tribulation; and it does not now, as formerly, appear strange to me. I do not in such seasons of difficulty flatter myself that it will be better hereafter; but rather think how much worse it might be, how much greater trials other of God’s children have endured, and how much greater are yet perhaps reserved for me.
“Blessed be God, that he makes the thought of my journey’s end and of my dissolution a great comfort to me under my sharpest trials, and scarcely ever lets these thoughts be attended with terror or melancholy; but they are attended frequently with great joy.”
The secret of this remarkable calmness and heroism is at another time and place clearly expressed by the missionary. Under date of July 26, 1747, he says:
“This day I saw clearly that I would never be happy — yes, that God himself could not make me happy — unless I could be in a capacity to please and glorify him forever.”
Again, September 19th, of the same year: “Oh how I longed that God should be glorified on earth! . . . Bodily pains I cared not for; though I was then in extremity, I never felt easier. I felt willing to glorify God in that state of bodily distress, as long as he pleased I should continue in it.”
And then, on September 27th, of the same year, he says: "I am almost in eternity. I long to be there. My work is done; I am done with all my friends; all the world is nothing to me. I long to be in heaven, praising and glorifying God with the holy angels. All my desire is to glorify God." The last recorded words taken from the lips of this Missionary are: "I shall soon glorify God with the angels."
These same feelings and desires also inspired men of old: “I will glorify your name for evermore.” Psalm 86:12. And the prophet Isaiah said: “Glorify the Lord in the fires.” Isaiah 24:15.
Our glorious Redeemer Himself also taught the same:
Matthew 5:14 - 16 — “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
“Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Remember that even the sickness of Lazarus was “not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” John 11:4. Always remember that Christ and the Father are one. Whoever glorifies the Father, glorifies the Son; and whoever glorifies the Son, glorifies the Father.
V. REIGNING WITH CHRIST.
Many saints have left the world crying, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly." The Master had come, and was calling for them. The last words of Robert Bruce were: "Now God be with you, my children; I have breakfasted with you, and shall sup with my Lord Jesus Christ this night!"
Robert Bruce (1274-1329), was a Scottish king who spent most of his reign trying to free his kingdom from English rule. Ultimately, he succeeded against both England and his political opponents within Scotland.
One of the famous old English family, Grimshaw, said the following: “I shall have my greatest grief and my greatest joy when I die. My greatest grief, that I have done so little for Christ; my greatest joy, that Christ has done so much for me!”
Felix Neff's last words were: "Victory! victory! victory! by Jesus Christ!" Felix Neff, was a Swiss preacher who, in 1808, visited among the Waldenses of the Swiss Alps, where he was a great blessing and encouragement to them.
Dr. Marshman's last words were: "Can you think of anything I am yet to do for the kingdom of Christ?" Dr. Joshua Marshman (with his wife Hannah) was a truly remarkable Baptist missionary and an invaluable associate and co-worker with William Carey, the great Baptist missionary to India, along with William Ward, the great missionary printer, and the few others who worked with them in that amazing pioneer effort for the spread of the gospel in regions beyond!
Though Christ’s people know their Lord — the greatest thing of all is that they are known of him.
It was probably a part of a hymn in use in the New Testament church, and is certainly a part of Scripture: “If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him.” 2 Timothy 2:12.
More than half a century after our Lord’s ascension to glory, he sends to the angel of the church at Laodicea this message:
“To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Revelation 3:21.
Dr. Philip Doddridge, a famous 18th Century preacher, teacher, and school master, gave the following as a paraphrase of this promise: "For your further encouragement, hear the last promise which I make to all who exert themselves in that holy warfare to which I am calling you, with becoming vigor and resolution.
As for the valiant conqueror, I will give him to sit down with me upon my glorious and exalted throne in the heavenly world; as I also myself have conquered the enemies which violently assaulted me in the days of my flesh, and am set down with my Father upon his throne; my faithful servants shall partake with me of this honor in the great day of my appearing, and shall live and reign with me forever.”
Matthew Poole (born 1624, died 1679 - perhaps the greatest of the English Puritan commentators/expositors) explains the promise this way: "I will give him great honor, dignity, and power; he shall judge the world in the day of judgment, 1 Corinthians 6:3; he shall be made partaker of my glory, John 17:22, 24. But such must come to my throne as I came to it. I overcame the world, sin, death, the devil — and then ascended, and sat down with my Father in his throne: so those who will sit down with me in my throne of glory must fight the same fight, and overcome, and then be crowned."
(See 1 John 5:4 — “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”)
What is meant by this glorious promise is, and must remain, very much a secret, until we go and see for ourselves, and by glorious experience find out what it is to enter into the joy of the Lord. Even Paul, who had been enraptured by visions of the third heavens, could tell us no more than this: "I heard unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man to utter."
An ancient artist drew Helen (of Troy) with a veil over her face, thus confessing that to paint her beauteous countenance was impossible. It is far more impossible for us to picture the glories of the celestial state, and our Glorious Redeemer. We must wait until we see it with our own eyes.
Then we shall say, like the Queen of Sheba said about King Solomon “The half was not told us!” That will be one of those glorious days for which we wait, sometimes impatiently, but always with the certain knowledge that it will come to pass, perhaps very soon, EVEN TODAY!
I want to close this course by reading the words of a wonderful old song from the 1800's. It is "On Wings of Faith Mount Up, My Soul, And Rise" composed by Rev. G. T. Driffield, which was published in The Bristol Tune Book: A Manual of Tunes and Chants (1881) published by Novello, Ewer and Co., edited by Alfred Stone.
“On wings of faith mount up, my soul, and rise;
View your inheritance beyond the skies.
Nor heart can think, nor mortal tongue can tell,
What endless pleasures in those mansions dwell.
Here my Redeemer lives, all bright and glorious;
O’er sin, and death, and hell he reigns victorious.
“No gnawing grief, no sad, heart-rending pain,
In that blessed country can admission gain.
No sorrow there, no soul-tormenting fear,
For God’s own hand shall wipe the falling tear.
Here my Redeemer lives, all bright and glorious;
O’er sin, and death, and hell he reigns victorious.
“No rising sun his needless beams displays,
No sickly moon emits her feeble rays.
The Godhead here celestial glory sheds;
The exalted Lamb, eternal radiance spreads.
Here my Redeemer lives, all bright and glorious;
O’er sin, and death, and hell he reigns victorious.
“One distant glimpse my eager passion fires.
Jesus, to you my longing soul aspires.
When shall I at my heavenly home arrive?
When leave this earth, and when begin to live?
For where my Saviour is, all bright and glorious;
O’er sin, and death, and hell — he reigns victorious.”
---- From Song by Rev. G. T. Driffield, published in 1881.