The Counsel of Christ
If there is anyone in the world who needs tenderness and compassion shown to him, it is the person who has professed to be a child of God, and then has departed in life and ways from Him. We recall with sadness and disappointment the great number of those who during our own lifetime, have turned their backs upon God. Realizing that very little ministry is ever heard, or even printed on this subject, we present the following thoughts for the benefit of the Lord’s people.
Christians are often like little children, not only in their good but also in their bad qualities; they are docile and they are foolish; they will sometimes cry for what they do not need and cannot have. Frequently they have false wants yet do not know their true needs, clamouring for what would do them no good, and acting carelessly toward their real deficiencies. It was this way with the church of the Laodiceans; she said,” I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” whereas she was wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. It was a great mercy when the Lord, in the midst of the golden candlesticks, came in to rectify this misconception. In The Revelation, chapter 3, it is well to notice the words of the “Wonderful Counsellor” who gives a piece of sound commercial advice to those who have wandered from Him, “I counsel thee to buy.” We know how quick business men are to purchase when they have the prospect of a good bargain, and can make a ready profit on the merchandise at the time of sale. The counsel of Christ here relates to the heavenly and the more enduring goods. The Laodiceans, as a church, had said, “I am rich,” yet the Lord says, “Thou art poor.” He also counsels them that, if they would be rich indeed, they should buy from Him. Let us, who are apt to be foolish merchants, listen to these words of admonition, for in them we learn of three moral commodities for sale, and we shall consider these three moral commodities in the reverse order in which they are given.
The Laodiceans were not literally, but spiritually, blind; they, without knowing it, were very defective in their spiritual perception; they were unable to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong. How few Christians have discernment keen enough to penetrate the pretentious nature of the mundane things around us today. Many there are who “see no harm,” as the phrase goes, in a thousand little things in which there is much harm, harm in principle, harm which, in the final analysis, is the germ of great and manifold evils. Many there are who do a thousand things which they ought not to do, and which they would not do if they were not blind to the false nature of these things. What is worse, there are many who when the evil is pointed oust only respond, saying, “I do not see it,” which in most cases simply means “I will not see it.” The will is at the bottom of this blindness; what then is the cure? The only cure is spiritual eye salve. What is this eye salve? It is the conviction or reproof of the Holy Spirit, which like salve, smarts while it heals. It is the operation of the Spirit of Truth applying the Word of God to the conscience, the eye of the soul, allowing the light of truth to enter and reveal every action in its deceptive colouring. May we anoint our eyes that henceforth we shall see everything in the light of Heaven.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”
The second commodity mentioned is white raiment. What is this white raiment? Is it the robe of Christ’s righteousness without which a man could not be a Christian, or come under the wholesome instruction of our Great High Priest? No, for the righteousness of Christ is not affected by our walk or conversation. The best robe of heaven, divine righteousness, can neither be torn nor tainted, nor can it be removed from the soul that in it has been attired. The white raiment of our passage, as frequently found elsewhere in Scripture and especially in The Revelation, is a spotless life before men, a blameless walk, an irreproachable character before the world. The lack of these result from a life that has lost touch with God. The description of the carnality of the Laodiceans is a true description of every one who has wandered from the Lord, for they are miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Hence the suggestion from the heavenly Counsellor, “Buy of Me, white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed.” It is only as we maintain this covering, that we can present a proper and a fitting testimony to the world for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
We are now to look at the third and the most important spiritual commodity, gold. “Buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich,” said the exalted Lord. The Laodiceans replied that they were rich and had need of nothing. The Lord Jesus intimated that in this they were wrong, for they were poor, but He suggested that if they would be rich, they should buy gold of Him. We are not left to guess what this gold is. A comparison of Scripture makes it clear that it is the faith of God’s elect, the faith of which Christ is the Author and Finisher. It is that precious faith, the trial of which is much more precious than gold that perisheth. It is the possession or the lack of the possession of this moral gold, this spiritual wealth, that constitutes a man rich or poor in the sight of God. In other words, what money is to the man of the world, faith is to the child of God, for it procures all that he needs and enables him to appropriate God Himself. We read, “All things are yours,” but it is the measure of faith that possesses these, and makes the realization of them a blessed experience. Lest there be some misunderstanding, let it be stated that Christ is not telling the unsaved to buy saving faith from Him, that is the gift of God, absolute and unconditional. He, however, is stating that in the conflicts, trials, and duties, of post-conversion life our peace, happiness, and triumph, depend on the measure of our faith. The apostle John in his epistle says, “This is the victory that overcometh the world even our faith.” In direct reference to such victorious faith Christ says, “Buy of Me.” Something must be paid for this spiritual gold, this divine wealth, but it is not literal money, but rather real heart exercise before the Lord. It is this, and only this, that produces faith for faithfulness, faith for watchfulness, faith for prayerfulness, and faith for self-denial.
Here then is profitable trade for the Christian, buy, Buy, BUY. Here is business in which, if he is diligent, he is sure to become rich in spite of the spiritual poverty of the world, in spite of seasons of adversity, and in spite of fluctuating economy: rich, perhaps not toward men, but toward God.
Let us then, dear child of God, take heed to the wise counsel found in this portion of Scripture, that we may be more truly occupied with heaven’s business rather than with the weak and beggarly elements of the world, that we may be preserved from an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God, and that we may be so enriched, that in turn we may be able to impart of these divine riches to others.
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The Cost Of Faithfulness:
It cost Abraham the yielding up of his son.
It cost Esther the risk of her life.
It cost Daniel being cast into the den of lions.
It cost the three Hebrew servants the fiery furnace.
It cost Stephen death by stoning.
It cost Peter a martyr’s death.
It cost the Lord Jesus His life.
What does it cost you?
Does it cost you anything?