Lambs Of the Flock
While walking along the street, I noticed a sign in the window of a city store, “Under New Management.” Of course, I had seen many such signs before, but on this occasion it arrested my thinking.
“Only a short while ago someone else was proprietor of that business,” I mused, “but perhaps he went bankrupt and had to sell out. At any rate, the present owner must so have wanted that establishment as to pay the price to have it for himself; now he has it.”
Say! young believer, our experience of becoming a Christian is something like that, isn’t it? Once we belonged to another than the Lord Jesus Christ; we were the property of Satan. When our fore-parents sinned in Eden’s garden they sold themselves to the Devil, and he became the god of this world, (2 Corinthians 4:4). In Isaiah 52:3, the Lord said of those to whom the gospel of peace was preached, “Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.” We, too, of the family of Adam, through the fall became Satan’s; for the Scripture says, “There is no difference, for all have sinned,” but God sent His Son to buy us back for Himself.
When the Lord Jesus was on earth, the Devil took Him up into a high mountain and, showing Him all the kingdoms of this world, said, “All this power will I give Thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If Thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be Thine.” (Luke 4:5-8). The Lord Jesus was not going to buy us with currency bearing the Devil’s image and superscription, so He rejected the offer and routed the Devil, because He determined to redeem us with His own precious blood. (1 Peter 1:19).
Now we belong to Christ (Mark 9:41); we are the Lord’s (Romans 14:8); He is our Master (Matt. 23:10); He is our Lord (John 13:14). We are under new management.
“Now I belong to Jesus,
Jesus belongs to me;
Not for the years of time alone,
But for eternity.”
Isn’t it wonderful to know that we really belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us on Golgotha and lives for us in the Glory? In John 17:10, He speaks of those who believe on Him as being “All Mine.” We are all His, spirit, soul and body.
“Lord we are Thine; bought with Thy blood,
Once the poor, guilty slaves of sin,
Thou didst redeem us to our God
And mad’st Thy Spirit dwell within.”
When an earthly property goes under new management there is a changing of its name; a taking down of old signs and a putting up of new signs. When we received Christ as our Saviour a new name was given us by the Lord; we were called Christians. In James 2:7 we read of some who blaspheme that worthy name by which we are called. The name Christian means “Christ’s one.” The Lord also calls His own by other precious names, such as: believers (Acts 5:14), saints (1 Cor. 1:2), disciples (Acts 6:1), and brethren (Hebrews 2:12). These are all God-given, and we ought not to discard them for man-given names.
Now, about these old signs being taken down and new ones being put up, let us read in Galatians 5:19-21 about seventeen signs which advertised our old life when we belonged to Satan. These might be listed in four groupings: signs of immorality, signs of idolatry, signs of infamy, and signs of indulgence. What wicked advertisements! Our new Master wants all these old signs to be taken down and destroyed, and signs to be posted advertising that we are under new management.
What are these signs? Read Galatians 5:22-23. Here, more lovely than a rainbow, are nine declarations to indicate whose we are and whom we serve. The first three: love, joy and peace, are tokens of a change Godward. Instead of hating God, we now love Him who first loved us. We love to read His word, to obey it, and to tell it to others. Instead of the sorrows of sin and Satan, we now have the joy of salvation (Psa. 51:12), the joy of communion (1 John 1:3-4), the joy of consecration (John 15:11), the joy of evangelization (Philippians 1:18), and the joy of expectation (Romans 5:2). Instead of peril we have peace. Once we feared a sin-hating God, before whom we stood condemned already; now, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 5:1). The peace of God also guards our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus in proportion to our bringing all our burdens and cares to our prayer-hearing God, (Philippians 4:6-7).
The second three: longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, are evidences of a changed attitude toward God’s people. Longsuffering has to do with my attitude of heart toward my brother or sister in Christ, and is akin to the law of Christ, (Galatians 6:2). Gentleness has to do with my actions in dealing with my brethren, and is akin to the spirit of meekness, (Gal. 6:1). Goodness has to do with my acts, and is akin to bearing one another’s burdens, (Gal. 6:2).
The last three: faith, meekness, temperance, are indications of a changed attitude toward the world. Faith, or faithfulness, is the fulfilling of the privilege and responsibility suggested in the words of Christ, “Go home to thy friends and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, (Mark 5:19); go out into the streets and lanes of the cities, into the highways and hedges, to bring in the lost ones for whom the Saviour died, (Luke 14:21-23); and, go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, (Mark 16:15-16). May we be faithful to our fellowman!
Meekness is the manifestation of the Spirit of Christ Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, threatened not, (1 Peter 2:19-22). It is a willingness to suffer for the sake of the gospel and not a returning of evil for evil. This is illustrated in Acts 5:40-42. The apostles, departing from the council after they had been beaten, rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name.
Temperance is the task of self-control, the curbing and mortifying of an evil nature within that would respond to the beck and blandishments of a wicked world. In 1 John 2:15 we read, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” Temperance definitely will be my experience as I recognize that the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ stands between me and this evil age (Gal. 6:14), and as I acknowledge Christ as Lord of my life; I will enjoy the blessedness of being under new management.
“Take the world but give me Jesus,
Let me see His constant smile;
Then throughout my pilgrim journey
Light will cheer me all the while.”
May these, the evidences of change, the new signs, be seen in the lives of us all, to the praise of Him to Whom we belong, and to the glory of His Name.