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W. W. Prescott
Abiding in Christ; Walking in Christ B
2 of 22
Key Thought: "Israel’s God lives to-day, and the same power that touched that man who never had walked and made him able to walk, can take the worst sinner, who never has stepped one step in the steps of Jesus Christ, and make him to walk as Christ walked.”
Abiding in Christ; Walking in Christ B
October 20, 1895, Armadale Camp Meeting
With those who desire the truth, as soon as the truth is presented to them, the controversy is at an end. Those who desire an argument will dodge from one point to another, as did the Pharisees with Christ.
“And He entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched Him, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath day.” The same controversy again. “And He saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And He saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.” Mark 3:1-4. Well they might; for there was nothing to be said. And He healed the man.
THE CONTROVERSY IN CHRIST’S TIME AND OURS
In Christ’s time the controversy between Him and the Pharisees was how to keep the Sabbath; and when Christ settled it, He settled it on the basis of the Scriptures. The controversy to-day is, Which day shall we keep for the Sabbath? Settle it on the same ground. That is walking as Christ walked. “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked,” not as people say He walked. If someone says that Christ kept the first day of the week, go to the Bible, and ask for the record. If some claim that the Sabbath was changed by Him or by the apostles in honour of His resurrection, ask for a “Thus saith the Lord.” The word is our only safe guide. Walk as He walked. The man who walks as Christ walks will not necessarily walk as the leading religious teachers of the day walk. Christ did not; for it was the Pharisees who found fault with Him. Christ did not conform His life to their ideas. He told them what the Scripture said, and told them that He was walking in accordance to that word. And to-day let that word settle every controversy.
CHRIST THE MANIFESTATION OF THE CHARACTER OF GOD
When Christ, looking back over His life of thirty-three years, said that He had finished the work His Father gave Him to do, how did He sum it all up? “All things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.” “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 15:15, 10. In this statement we have not so much a command as an example, and when Christ said that, He gave His complete biography. When he said, “I have kept My Father’s commandments,” He gave His whole life-history. And what does it mean?—I have manifested the character of My Father. What, then, does it mean to keep the commandments?—It means to manifest the character of God as it appeared in Jesus Christ. Nothing short of that is keeping the commandments. The Pharisees prided themselves that they were keeping the commandments, but Christ said, “Ye know not the Scriptures.” What they knew about the Scriptures, they had learned by the head. What we learn about the Scriptures, we must learn by heart, “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know,”—know it really and truly by heart.
When Christ told them that He had kept His Father’s commandments, He told them that He was the manifestation of God on the earth. He told them in those words that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself. He told them that He did not speak His own words, but the words of His Father. “The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.” He told them that He was the Word of God on the earth, because He was declaring the character of God. He told them He was Jesus Christ. All this He told them in these words: “I have kept My Father’s commandments.” Christ was a man, the Son of man. There has, then, been one man who walked this earth, and kept the commandments of God. He is our example. We are to walk as He walked.
CAN WE KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS?
When we thus learn from the Scriptures that keeping the commandments is manifesting the character of God, we may say, It is impossible for us to do that. That is a good beginning. We cannot do it, that is true. But who did keep the commandments?—Jesus Christ. And who can do it over again, even in sinful flesh?—Jesus Christ. And how shall we walk as He walked? “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My People.” 2 Corinthians 6:16. God dwelt in Christ and walked in Christ. Christ was the branch unto God that He might be the vine unto us, that the life through Him might flow into us as branches, that we might bear the fruit of the vine.
“He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.” Let the scripture tell how He walked: “I have kept my Father’s commandments.” The life of God abides in him who abides in Christ, and the scripture is fulfilled, “I will dwell in them and walk in them.” God in Christ, by His Holy Spirit dwelling in the man, walks in him. This shows how we can walk as Christ walked.
But first of all, take what the word of God says. Do not take what man says. Let the light of God shine upon His word. Let His Holy Spirit teach us the blessed living truth of His word, and God Himself will fulfil His word in everyone who thus receives it.
But let us read further: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments and do them.” Ezekiel 36:26, 27. That is the promise of God. But when He says, “My Child, this way,” and I choose to go another way, He does not cause us to walk in His way. He does not cause us to do contrary to our will in this matter. But when one says, Lord, show me the way (Psalm 119:33), He shows him the way, and causes him to walk in it. That is the way of His working.
The blessed Bible teaches us the same truth in a hundred different ways. Suppose we turn to a page of what we may call God’s picture book. To help children to understand, we give them pictures to illustrate what we are teaching. We are but children, and God often tells us a truth by putting a picture before us. Here is one:—
“And great multitudes came unto Him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and He healed them.” Could any one be much worse off? They were in a terrible plight, but “He healed them.” “Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see; and they glorified the God of Israel.” Matthew 15:30, 31. We are lame; we cannot walk as Christ walked. Christ had a noble walk. We cannot walk that kind of a walk. What does He do for us? He healed them; cannot He heal us?
Here is another of God’s pictures, which we have looked at many times. It is the picture of the man lame from his mother’s womb. Take the Scripture just as it reads. What was the matter with this man? He was lame. And how long had he been lame?—All his life. What did Peter say to him?—“Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” What then? “And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.” And when he had received strength, what did he do?—“And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping, and praising God.” But he had to receive strength in the name of Jesus of Nazareth before he could walk. And the people “were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.” “And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this?” Ye men that believe in Israel’s God, why do ye wonder at this? Do you not believe in a God of power? “Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?” Acts 3:6-12.
WALKING AS CHRIST WALKED
No man can make another walk as Christ walked if he has not the strength to walk that way. It is through faith in Jesus of Nazareth. “And His name, through faith in His name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know; yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” Israel’s God lives to-day, and the same power that touched that man who never had walked and made him able to walk, can take the worst sinner, who never has stepped one step in the steps of Jesus Christ, and make him to walk as Christ walked. “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
Here is another picture to show us that we can walk as He walked through faith in His name: “And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked.” But he had heard Paul speak, and the message had taken hold of his heart. Paul saw that he had faith to be healed, and he “said with a loud voice, stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.” Acts 14:8-10. And he walked like a well man. He was made well in order that he might do this. That is the work of Jesus Christ. And to-day by His power we can walk as He walked. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.” Colossians 2:6. And to walk in Him is the only way we can walk as He walked.
“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.” Ephesians 5:2. Many people have a very incorrect idea of what it means to walk in love. They seem to have an idea that it is to get up a kind of ecstasy so that they do not know where they are or what they are doing. It means to them to get above the ordinary things of life. This is not the correct view. The Scripture defines exactly what it means to walk in love. “And this is love that we walk after His commandments.” 2 John 6. “For this is the love of God that we keep His commandments.” 1 John 5:3. “If ye love Me,” Christ said, “keep My commandments.” “If ye keep My Commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” John 15:10. The love of God is not a sentimental emotion, not a fanatical frenzy of experience. Christ worked at the carpenter’s bench during the greater part of His life. He went down to Nazareth and was subject to His parents. His walk as a young man is the walk for every young man. Christ tells us how to love Him. He does not accept anything else.
It is of great importance for us to—
GET A RIGHT IDEA OF JESUS CHRIST
Let a man get a wrong idea of Him, and He will devote his life to his false idea, and sacrifice the lives of all who do not see his Christ as He sees Him. Take, for instance, the example of Paul. He was looking for Messiah; but it was his Messiah, not the Lord’s Messiah, so that when the Lord’s Messiah came he did not see Him. Some did, and believed on Him, and Paul immediately began to persecute them because they did not believe on his Christ. “For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it.” “In the Jews’ religion.” God’s religion never persecuted anybody. It is man’s religion that leads one to persecute those who do not see his Christ. God’s religion never does so. “And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation.” Observe what the Jews’ religion was. “Being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” Galatians 1:13, 14. He was zealous of the traditions of his fathers, not of the word of God. “But when it pleased God who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them that were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now the things which I write unto yon, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterward I came into the region of Syria and Cilicia; and was unknown by face unto the churches of Judea which were in Christ; but they had heard only, that he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me.” Galatians 1:15-24. It is important that we have a true idea of Christ.
CHRIST IS ALL AND IN ALL,
and in order to walk as He walked, we must know Him in His capacity of adapting Himself to us. The Scripture sets Him forth in this way, that we may appropriate the love of God to ourselves.
“I am the door.” John 10:7. That is the entrance. No man can enter except through Christ.
“I am the way.” John 14:6. I am the door and the way to walk in.
“I am the light of the world.” John 8:12. I am the door, the way, the light. This is a dark world, and we need a light.
“I am that bread of life.” John 6:48. We need strength to walk in the way. “I am that bread of life.”
“I am the good shepherd.” John 10:11. He is the companion who goes with His sheep.
“I am... the life.” John 14:6. This is the power for the way.
“I am the resurrection.” John 11:25. That is the end of the road.
I am the door, I am the way, I am the light, I am the bread, I am the Good Shepherd, I am the life, I am the resurrection. That is: I am the entrance, the road, the light to walk by, the strength to walk with, the companion by the way, the power for the way, and the end of the way. And so David in the 23rd Psalm says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” Jesus Christ’s walk extends not simply to the grave, but through the grave. And because of this, we may go through the valley of the shadow of death, and not be left in it. “I am the resurrection and the life;” and he who abides in Christ, who is the door, the way, the light, the bread, the Good Shepherd, the life, and the resurrection, does walk “even as He walked.”
This is the second half of a sermon was shared October 20, 1895 at a camp meeting in Armadale, Australia.