Complete In Christ
“Ye are complete in Him.”–Colossians, 2: 10.
I love the words of the text. They are so reassuring to the heart, and so comfortable every way. They speak of what we need, and better still, of what we can have through grace in the marvelous person of a being called Jesus Christ.
We began life incomplete, and all through the years that followed we have been confronted with the sense and fact of lacking at every turn and stage of our existence. As sinners we feel it powerfully, as regenerated people the realization is still in us, at the portals of the grave who is more helpless than man, and in eternity with this world gone and infinite space before him filled with rushing suns and systems, what can a human being with all his wisdom and strength do. Who will listen to his cry of distress at such a time, what world will stop in its flight to help him over the starry spaces, who will direct him to the throne of God, and who will plead for him when he is there.
It is in the midst of this oppressive conviction of helplessness and nothingness that the words of the text come to us like a voice from the sky full of hope and assuring power, “Ye are complete in Him.” In other words He is everything to us.
Let us see what there is in this sentence.
1. CHRIST IS EVERYTHING IN THE TEMPORAL MERCIES OF LIFE.
Men do not realize it, but the world rolls on today with its seasons and harvests, its fruits and flowers, for the sake of Christ. We have as individuals and a race forfeited every right to a single temporal mercy by our transgressions. Adam turned out of the Garden of Eden, shut out from its beauties and pleasures and kept out by the waving sword of the flaming Cherubim, illustrates what I mean.
It is not for our sake that the earth yields her increase, but for Christ’s sake who kept the Law. What have we done to merit anything from God through nature. Faithless in our stewardship and Justice is ever crying out that we be ejected and banished.
It is for Christ’s sake that the world rolls on through space, the sun shines, the winds waft our ships and cool our cheeks, the valleys laugh with corn, the cattle roam on a thousand hills and the fruit drops from the laden bough. The very breath is in the nostril and the heart beats on because of what Christ did for us on Calvary. How few seem to realize these things. How few seem to take in the thought that we are living today because Christ died for us.
2. CHRIST IS EVERYTHING IN THE WAY OF SALVATION.
It is so hard to get men to see this. They are slow to grasp the blessed truth that God has not placed our redemption in a set of laws or maxims, but in a person called Jesus. To accept him is to obtain salvation.
In the early history of the American Colonies, the Mother Country sent out Colony Ships for their relief. In this vessel would be food, medicine ammunition, arms, clothing, and in a word everything that they needed. The Colonists in time of want would stand on the sea banks and gaze over the waves toward England, hoping and praying for deliverance. The day would finally come when the sail of the coming ship would appear like a white spot on the horizon, and no language could describe the joy that filled the hearts of the people at the sight. Everything they needed was on board of that vessel; who wonders they were glad.
Christ is the Colony Ship sent out from Heaven to this starving, dying world. There is nothing we want but can be found in the Saviour. We are complete in Him. He who has gone oftenest to Christ, and he who has drunk deepest at the Fountain of Life and Salvation knows this to be true.
It is true of pardon.
There is no other way of being saved except through Christ. He is our righteousness. He is our justifier; not our works; and not ourselves. Is it not strange that men build hopes on their liberality, on their morality, on their church membership, and on the religious lives of their wives and scores of other things, when salvation is in none of them, but in the person Christ.
It matters not what a man has done or left undone; let him throw the arms of prayer and faith about the Saviour and say, I have no hope but in thee, I take thee as my present Saviour and justifier, and lo, the work will be done and a conscious salvation will stream into his soul. It is vain to look for it anywhere else. It is only in Christ.
It is true of reclamation.
Many Christians fall into darkness and sin, and backslide. It is amazing to see them in their various efforts to return to God treading every way but the right way. It is generally by the route of penance and works they try to come back, while the meaning of the words, “Ye are complete in Him,” seem utterly to have escaped them. Jesus Christ, our Colony Ship, brought the blessing of reclamation with Him. If we go astray we will never get right unless we come to Him. If this was not so we could not say we are complete in Him.
We knew a lady who had lost her religious experience as a justified woman. Instead of coming to Christ she tried for years to work herself back by a life full of Christian activity. She especially gave herself up to the work of visiting the sick and poor; but the whole time her heart was like lead. One night in one of my meetings she rushed forward to the altar and sought recovery by faith in Christ, and instantly found it. With a face fairly blazing, she fronted the audience and cried, “This is what I have been seeking for years. I tried to get back to Christ by Christian work, and for three years I have walked my feet sore in seeking rest for my heart, but I could not find it. Tonight I found perfect forgiveness and healing for my backsliding in a single moment in Jesus.” We began to see what Paul meant when he said, Ye are complete in Him.
It is true of sanctification.
What does the Scripture say here? “Jesus Christ made unto us–sanctification.” Is it not strange that men, after reading in the Word of God that Christ is our sanctification, should persist in the pursuit of holiness by growth in grace or by good works. “O foolish Galatians who hath bewitched you–are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit are ye now made perfect by the deeds of the flesh?”
If a store should announce that every article and commodity in it would be sold for a dollar apiece, it would be simply loss of time and folly beside to go there expecting anything with fifty, seventy, ninety, or even ninety-nine cents in your hands. The unbending rule of the store was one dollar for each article. To break the rule would be productive of endless confusion, and, according to that rule faithfully applied, I would be as powerless to get anything with ninety-nine cents as another with a copper cent.
So what folly and loss of time is seen all about us today in the spiritual life, where individuals are seeking sanctification in ways other than through Christ and Christ alone. How silly and vain to present works and growth as the price of the blessing, when the Bible so distinctly says that Christ has been made sanctification unto us. He is the price. Present Him, and the glorious grace will be put instantaneously in the heart. And, just as in the store the merchant cared not who brought the dollar, he scarcely stopped to see whether it was a man or woman, boy or girl, but whoever presented the price obtained the goods. So in regard to the blessing of which I speak; it matters not who comes, male or female, young or old, black or white, ignorant or learned–whoever brings Christ secures the blessing, and obtains it at once in all its satisfying and overflowing power.
Salvation is in Christ, and not in something or some one else. It is not a part in Him and a portion to be found elsewhere. It is all in Him. No need to go anywhere than to Him who has all that we want in the matter of a perfect redemption. We are complete in Him.
3. CHRIST IS EVERYTHING TO US IN THE SPIRITUAL LIFE.
In this thought I pass from the great epochs of justification, regeneration and entire sanctification to the life that follows these experiences. The man is a child of God, but is still on probation, having much to learn, much to unlearn, much to overcome, being surrounded by conditions of peril and assaulted oftentimes by the dark powers of hell. Sorrow and sickness shoot their arrows, friends forsake and betray, losses befall, disappointments take place and bereavements will spare no one. We are still needy and Christ is wanted as badly as ever. So He comes to us in His wonderful completeness to remedy our insufficiency and supply our lack in all things.
If you will study your nature in its mental, moral and social aspects you will find certain wants and cravings that seem to be universal with the race. Only glance at these needs and see how Christ meets and relieves them.
You need a friend.
Even in childhood you felt this want, and soon found your little confidant and playmate to whom you could tell your whole heart. In youth and manhood it has been the same; people pair off with companions in the social life like birds. We need some one to unburden our hearts to; we crave human sympathy and fellowship. And yet with all this there is a realization that our best friends cannot meet the deep longing of our hearts. They do not always listen to us, or understand us, and oftentimes are powerless to relieve the burdens within. And yet, the longing for such a perfect friend still remains.
Thank God such a friend is found in Jesus. Our very unsatisfied yearnings, and disappointments in others led us to Him. To our exquisite delight He proves to be what we have desired all our lives. He is ever near. He is always sympathetic. He never wearies of us, and never changes. He is always the same. Now it is that with such unbroken divine companionship the old oppressive sense of loneliness and ennui becomes impossible. The very solitude has charms because of the abiding presence of this heavenly friend.
I once landed as a youth in the city of New York looking for a situation or some kind of work. I will never forget the sense of loneliness and helplessness that came over me as I walked the streets of that vast metropolis unknown and without a friend. But suppose that when I came in sight of the twinkling city and stepped on one of the wharfs I had the name and address of a true friend, one who had wealth and influence; where would have been my forsaken solitary experience; what would I have cared for the miles of brick walls and stone pavements and throngs of unknown people? The face of a good loving friend in the city whose heart and home were open to me would have put a warm glad light over everything.
In a much more perfect way can Christ, as our friend, take away not only the solitude of the city, but the loneliness of the desert itself. Some how with His voice at the ear, His hand on the life, and His presence in the heart, this world looks like a new world; and so full of a delightful confidence and assurance, we press on through the years.
You need a physician.
There are many families that hardly feel complete without the doctor. He has been with them in sad hours, saved lives that were most precious to them and been consulted in trouble a thousand times. His very presence often rolled away burdens, and when he would turn with a pleasant smile upon the anxious faced group and say he could pull the patient through; how the heart warmed afresh to him, and you wondered how any family could get along without such a man.
I once saw a young mother trying to thank the old family physician for saving her child. The skill and experiences of the elderly man had, under God’s blessing, restored the little one after a struggle of months for its life. The young mother was leaving the city, and called to say farewell to the doctor who had been with her in these and many other trying hours. She took his hand and looking up at him with streaming tears and choking voice said:
“How can I thank you, doctor, for saving my child?”
She broke down in sobs unable to utter another word, while the tender parental look and love of this family friend and physician completed a picture of rare moral beauty and power.
It is said of Dr. Meiggs, of Philadelphia, that he could not walk down certain streets without a number of people flocking around him whom he had relieved and blessed with his skill.
It is also related of the Emperor of Germany, the grandfather of the present Kaiser, that he was always accompanied in the last years of his life by his physician. This faithful medical friend watched every symptom, scrutinized every meal, and unquestionably by his care prolonged the king’s life for years.
In like manner we need a physician in the spiritual life. The soul may get hurt, the conscience wounded, the health of the spirit affected. We must have immediate help then or be undone. Again, Christ is seen to be everything to us in this new capacity. He is the physician of the soul. He knows how to cure its diseases, and arrest and expel instantly anything that might injure and destroy it. One of the questions asked in the Bible is why is the health of God’s people not recovered? with the additional question, “Is there no physician there?” and “Is there no balm in Gilead?”
Christ is the great physician of the soul, and well for the soul that He is. Such are the perils of the spiritual life, such the manifold diseases that threaten it, such the fiery darts of the wicked one, that nothing short of a heart physician of infinite skill and power would do for us.
What has not Jesus, our physician, been to us and done for us? What prescriptions of grace and tonics of love He has administered that has made health pulsate in the soul, sparkle in the eye and bound in every movement of the life? We have gone to Him with wounds from the tongues of friends and foes, and lo! with a touch, we were well. We have been called to duty with fagged brain, wearied body and sickened heart, when behold! a life-giving, health-restoring, strength-imparting hand was laid on us, and, with a shout of victory in the heart, we leaped to labor and success, to battle and victory.
We need a lawyer.
Many families have one employed all the time. Others have them occasionally. Few of us but will have need of one before leaving this world of wrong and oppression.
It would be difficult to describe the tranquil, and even happy, feeling in a client’s heart when he visits in his lawyer’s office listening to him untangling his business affairs, or hear him in court with an irresistible logic and eloquence pleading in behalf of his property, or for life itself.
It is not as true that we need a lawyer in earthly matters as that we must have one in the spiritual life. Our case is in bad shape to begin with. We were moral bankrupts every one of us. Then our follies have added to the confusion, entanglement and threatening ruin. The heart is in peril; the soul, left to itself, will certainly be lost. What shall we do? Who will help us? John replies in his first epistle: “We have an advocate (lawyer) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
He has already won our case in the lower courts, and is now pleading for us in the higher. That our cause is getting along well we know from certain remittances of grace we keep receiving, from communications He personally sends us and from spiritual telegrams that keep coming, saying “All is well.”
What a comfort and joy it is, when we have made a grave mistake, to carry it at once to Christ and see Him straighten it out; when we have given the devil the advantage, to go straightway to our advocate and see Him quash all the proceedings of hell against us; when Satan has issued a writ for us, and thinks he has us, what a rapture to see Christ sue out a writ of habeas corpus and get us out of Doubting Castle Prison and from the clutches and power of the jailer, Giant Despair! How He has won case after case for us and is still winning them. All that he requires of us is that we confess all, renounce the Devil, keep nothing back and leave the whole matter in His hands. This done the case is bound to be won.
Peter’s case was a grave one, but Jesus brought him through all right. He would in like manner have saved Judas, but that unhappy man did not go to Him, but underrating the value of atoning grace and the marvellous ability of the Advocate of sinners, fell in despair and committed suicide. The Day of Judgment will fairly astonish the universe in the revelation of how the Saviour delivered men and women from situations of moral peril and depths of darkest sin. While today many of our hearts are singing because our Advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous, took our cases in critical and despairing times, swept them triumphantly through every court on earth and in heaven, and has established us in great estates of spiritual wealth, rich and overflowing with the grace of God, with titles to mansions in the skies, corner lots in heaven, heirs to crowns and thrones in the coming kingdom, and now joyously waiting for the carriage and horses of fire that will be soon sent for us to carry us home.
We need a captain.
O, the strange and manifold needs of a Christian. A friend, physician and lawyer is not enough; we want a captain to fight our battles for us. We not only have sicknesses to be healed, and cases to be looked after and pleaded, but we have battles to be fought and victories to be won.
Alas for the Christian who goes as his own general into the spiritual war. Defeat, disaster, capture and death are certain to come to such a man. Nothing short of omniscience and omnipotence is needed to win in a conflict where we war against fallen archangels and spiritual wickedness in high places. Here again is felt our helplessness and here again is seen Christ’s sufficiency. He offers Himself as our leader, and says to us what He long ago uttered to Joshua, “As captain of the host of the Lord am I now come.” If we go out without him to battle against self, men and devils we have nothing to look for but defeat and failure. If we follow Him, not an enemy will be able to stand before us.
Many were the defeats I suffered until I took Jesus as my captain. I have undertaken protracted meetings in the early years of my ministry, trusting to human wisdom, eloquence, methods and carnal weapons, when I would be routed and captured in some way before the first week was ended. Then I have turned heartbroken to Christ and elected Him captain, when with a shout He would appear, overturn in a moment all the opposition, striking conviction to sinners, terror to the heart of Satan and driving whole troops of devils back to hell.
I remember once when I was a lad of eight years that the bully of the school, considerably older than myself, was beating me on the sidewalk. He was making sure and painful work with me with a cudgel. There was no one near who dared to help me, and I could not help myself. Suddenly my older brother loomed in sight up the street, took in the situation with a glance, and with a cry of fury rushed toward my tormentor Oh how that bully left me and ran. He fairly flew, while my big brother swept like a young tornado after him. Did ever a boy enjoy the sight of a race and pursuit as I did that spectacle. I clapped my hands and laughed through my tears.
A like experience has come to us all in the spiritual life. Who has not had the Devil to get him down and go to beating him. No one seemed able to help you, and you were ready to despair when suddenly Jesus appeared on the scene with a shout of onset and victory that sent infernal spirits tumbling over each other and falling backward and downward with cries of impotent rage into the dark hell from whence they came. All we did was to laugh, cry and shout us we saw our Big Brother, the Captain of our salvation, win another victory for us, and save us again for the thousandth time.
We need an Adviser.
All of us have felt this want, and seen it to be a common need. On all sides we have noticed people going to others of greater wisdom and experience and riper years asking for counsel. Some of the most touching and beautiful scenes I ever beheld have been on this very line.
My mother was left a widow in early life with a half dozen children to raise. She had property, but was inexperienced and ignorant of the ways and laws of business. There was an elderly gentleman, a relative of the family to whom she always turned for advice. To this day I can see my mother talking anxiously to him and the troubled look leaving her eyes while he with kind and serious face cleared up the knotty affairs of business for her, and showed her what to do.
I have seen a young merchant who had set up for himself in business go over to his father’s store and have an office talk with him. Perplexities, complications had arisen, and he wanted advice from one who knew how to give it. It was beautiful to see the shadowed young face grow bright again under the counsel and superior wisdom of one who had been in the mercantile life forty years longer than he had.
I have seen the young wife and mother, burdened with her household cares, not knowing how to make both ends meet, troubled about the little sicknesses of the children, unable to manage the servants, not exactly pleasing her husband, go with that burdened heart to her mother to tell her all about it, and ask what to do. I have seen the two sitting together and the contrast in faces was a study. The young wife with a look of anxiety and first touches of sorrow; the mother near her with the quiet restful countenance whose lines showed victory over many troubles, and a sweet knowledge gained after many struggles and tears. There was a calm, peaceful light in her face that made one think of a quiet evening after a stormy day. She had learned much in that she had suffered much, and now with peaceful manner, and quiet loving words she told the younger woman what to do. When they kissed each other in farewell, the daughter went away with the burden gone, a hope in her heart, a light on her way and a spring in her step she had not known for weeks.
These pictures prepare us to see what Christ is to us in the spiritual life as a counselor and adviser. There are so many difficulties and troubles to tell Him about. There are so many steps to take that we must have light upon. And He has such a wonderful way of showing us what we must do. There are touches, smiles, impressions, drawings and restraining influences that equal a language. There are whispers that are as readily recognized by the soul as words by the ear. Long ago he said, “My sheep know My voice,” and we do, and follow Him.
The world’s advice will not answer in spiritual things. We must go to Christ. It is said of Talmage that he was advised by friends in his early manhood to give up preaching, that he would never make a speaker. Similar advice was given to Matthew Simpson. He was supposed to be a consumptive, and counseled not to enter the ministry. But both of these men carried the matter to Christ, and He said “Preach.” The result in the silver-tongued orator of Brooklyn and the golden-mouthed Bishop of the Methodist Church is now known to the whole world. The first sermons of Wm. Winans were laughed at, and gloomy prophecies were made concerning his ministerial future, but he went to Christ about it, who told him to go on, and he became Mississippi’s mightiest preacher and one of the foremost men in the General Conference. Phillips Brooks had an impediment in his speech. If he had gone to men for counsel they would have told him never to enter a calling that required public speaking. But he went to Christ, who told him to preach, and his marvellous sermons have been sought after all over the literary world.
All of us have experiences here. In my own case my call to the ministry was opposed by friends and family, but I took Jesus as my adviser, went to preaching, and have seen multiplied thousands sweep into the light of free and full salvation. A man of high authority in my Denomination counseled me not to have certain meetings in my church, but Jesus advised me to have them, and as a result I saw over a thousand souls in two years’ time saved and sanctified, more than half of them being conversions.
A Bishop wrote to a preacher who was in the midst of sweeping revivals, “You will not listen to anything I say; you will not take my advice.” How could he do so? He was listening to and obeying the Son of God. That following of the advice of the Saviour resulted in the salvation of thousands of souls.
We need a Comforter.
As planets turn to the sun, so the heart reaches out for the beams of loving sympathy. It craves and must find comfort in something or somebody.
I read once of a little boy who had received an impatient and undeserved blow from his father’s hand. The little fellow crept off sobbing and the father tried to resume his reading. It was impossible, and so after an half hour he laid down pen and books and sought the child. He found him lying asleep on the floor in the midst of a few playthings with which he had tried to console himself and forget his sorrow. They were very simple, consisting of a few pebbles and some pieces of broken glass. He had ranged them in rows and fallen asleep in his sorrowful play. The tears were still on his cheeks, and there was still a little sobbing catch in his breath. The scene, in its very simplicity, was inexpressibly pathetic. Driven from his father, he had sought companionship, sympathy and comfort in his little dumb and lifeless playthings. The father took it all in as he bent over the child with aching heart and overflowing eyes.
It is the same law at work in us when we are grown and get hurt and bruised by the world; we want consolation. But our poor little pebbles of earth cannot give it. Older people have their own sorrows that absorb them, and are powerless to help us as we need. To whom then can we go but to Christ? He, and He alone, can bring what we need to the heart. He said Himself, “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.”
I heard Dr. C. K. Marshall, of Mississippi, once say: “Since my mother died I have found a lap were I can now go bury my face and cry out all my sorrows. It is the lap of Jesus.” Many of us have found that lap, and felt the mother-like caressing touch of the Saviour on the bowed head. It has kept our hearts from breaking many a time, and well for the world if all men knew the way to obtain the comfort of which I speak.
I have seen a child come weeping to its mother, heartbroken over some mishap in the yard, or some rough treatment received in the street; and I have seen the mother take the little fellow on her lap and the comforting work begin. The soothing word would be spoken, the tender touch given, and the loving kiss pressed on the tearstained cheek. Then would come promises and descriptions of something that the child should see or have on the morrow, until the little fellow had forgotten all his sorrows and was laughing in great glee through his tears.
So have we felt the embrace of Christ about us in time of trouble. How soothing were His words, and tender His touches. Then He began to speak of the great coming Tomorrow. Oh the beautiful, blessed Tomorrow where sin never comes, “where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest.” As He talked on to us about it all, behold we forgot all about our troubles, and our grief was turned into singing, smiles and happy laughter.
Paul and Silas were thrust in a cold dark dungeon, their feet were in the stocks, their backs were sore and bleeding from the scourging they had received for preaching the Gospel. Doubtless they could not sleep for the pain they endured; but at midnight Christ began to comfort them. The Scripture says they commenced singing, and I doubt not they laughed and shouted. They woke up an earthquake, and sent an awful conviction to the hearts of jailer and prisoners by the holy gladness that filled their hearts and overflowed their lips. They were far happier than the men who had beat them and thrust them there. So much for the comforting power of Christ.
We need a Rewarder.
The longer I live the more I am convinced that men cannot get justice from one another in this world. The very best of men seem to be unable to render a perfectly impartial judgment in the case of their fellow beings, and to bestow the exact reward one’s life may merit. A number of things combine to bring this about; one is that some men do not trumpet their own goodness or victories; some men are better than they seem; circumstances of suspicion are against individuals who are innocent; and then besides this there is that secret envy and repining over the success and public applause of another, felt by and recognized even in good people. So that many noble and beautiful lives are being lived around us, and many heroic deeds and martyr sufferings for Christ are being gone through with, while human observers look coldly on with interrogation points in eyes and hearts, as to whether the whole thing was sincere, and whether it will last any time.
For years, as I have observed, the lack of commendation, endorsement and praise where it was deserved, I have seen the necessity of a great Judgment and Rewarding Day. Long ago I have seen that faithful servants and followers of God will never get the recompense they merit, save from the hands of the Son of God.
A part of this reward Christ gives now, and it is so sweet and satisfying that the man who possesses it is perfectly reconciled not to be understood and honored of men. It is something so much better than newspaper puffs and notices, so much more blessed than to be called “Rabbi” in the market places and courted by the public, that one moment of the experience would outweigh in pure, solid satisfying joy a lifetime of the other.
On the Day of Judgment will come the full and perfect reward. A heavenly recognition and recompense then, that shall be seen in lustrous resurrection, body, crowns, thrones and rulership over ten cities instead of one. I am sure that most of you are perfectly willing to wait until that day, and I am still surer that you will be perfectly satisfied when the complete reward is given.
4. CHRIST IS EVERYTHING TO US IN REGARD TO ADMITTANCE INTO HEAVEN.
Who do you think will be able to sweep through the gates of pearl into the city of God. What plea can man make to get in? What is the condition of entrance? Is it color, or caste, or good clothes? Is it wealth or blue blood? or prominence in State or Church? Is it church membership? Is it the fact that we did something for the Saviour while on earth? Is it the crying aloud in that hour, “Lord, Lord?”
The Bible long ago has answered these questions. None of these things will make the Gates of Heaven fly open to us. They care little for wealth there where the streets are paved with gold. Prominence of office on earth does not mean exaltation in heaven. Church membership is nothing in that hour unless we are born of the Spirit. As for church service, and vociferous crying, the Saviour has long ago described this very scene and its fearful end in the words, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name have done many wonderful works? and then will I profess unto them, I never knew you.”
What then will open the door for us into the world of glory? The Bible teaches it; the name of Jesus on the lips and Spirit of Jesus in the heart and life! This blessed and all essential union of the professed and possessed Christ in the man will cause any and all of the twelve gates to fly open to him. It matters not how low, humble and obscure on earth the individual may have been, yet if Christ is seen shining in his face the gates will roll gladly back on their hinges and all within the city will say welcome.
6. CHRIST IS EVERYTHING TO US IN HEAVEN.
To me I cannot conceive of heaven without Jesus. He is essential to its glory, happiness and blessedness, and without Him it would not seem heaven.
I have heard people say that when they reached heaven they intended to hunt up certain famous Bible characters and spend a hundred years in looking at Abraham and Job, and another in gazing upon David, Paul and John, and so on. As for myself I want to see Jesus. I can get along without the prophets and apostles, but I cannot stand the absence of Christ. So I will stay near him and let those roam around who desire to do so.
Some say they want to hear the great musicians and singers of earth lead the choirs in heaven; and they desire to see the famous Christian painters who portrayed Christ in the Manger, in the Garden, on the Cross and on the Throne. They say they want to hear Luther and Wesley preach, and Bliss and Phillips sing, and so on endlessly. All I have to say is that if they feel that way they can go, but as for myself I shall remain close by the Saviour.
There are good reasons for this course. Do you see this small New Testament I hold in my hands? It has only a few score pages of things said and done by the Saviour on earth. Yet so wonderful is this little book that, the world never wearies of studying it. It is read by countless millions today all round the world and will be read with undying interest until Jesus comes at the end of time. If these few pages so hold the hearts and minds of men, what will He do personally when we see Him face to face. Who that hears Him speak will care to sit at the feet of the creature and listen.
I want you to think of the melody in the throats of birds, the minor chords in winds and waves, and the floods of music pouring continually from human voices and every kind of musical instrument. Now remember He is the author and inspirer of it all!
I look at the delicate tints of the flowers, and the marvellous colors of the sunset, and remember that he mixed the colors and painted every one. Something of the reason begins to dawn on you why some of us do not feel like leaving Christ to look on such men as Raphael and Guido.
Then Christ possesses all knowledge. The Bible says, in Him is all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. That He is the “Wisdom of God,” and the “Truth.” What need to ask men of learning questions in eternity when the Truth is by us. What need to ask scientists about geology, when He is before us who laid the foundation of the world.
Besides this Christ is the Fountain of all joy. I never cared to go down the stream for a drink when the spring was near me. So what need to depend on human rivulets when the everlasting Fountain of purest joy is by us for our appropriation and enjoyment.
Above all He saved us. No one else could do that. He cast the devils out of us, and brought in the angels. He became our friend and stood by us helping us out of ten thousand trials, difficulties and sorrows, when even our best friends had lost patience and pity and given us up.
All this will rise up in the heart and mind and overflow the lips with tender rapturous praises when we see Him. And so I do not believe that any will want ever to leave Him, or lose sight of him a single instant after they come into His blessed presence. They were just talking. They could not be dragged away.
I expect it will be with us; it was with John when he started to describe the City of God, the New Jerusalem. He began with the walls and gates, and then coming inside commenced describing the streets, saying they were paved with gold; then suddenly lifting his eyes, he said: “I saw a Lamb!” Have you noticed that he never described any more of the City? The Lamb seemed to have absorbed all of his ravished attention. He had eyes and ears and heart and praise for nothing and no one else after that view. From that moment everything seems to be regarded and valued simply by its relation to the slain Lamb, the blessed Son of God.
So shall it be with us when there. I doubt not that Heaven is beautiful, but there is One there who will be its crowning glory. I do not question but it will be blessed to see the good and great of all ages gathered in the Kingdom of God, but there is a person there who will be the “Chief among ten thousand and the one altogether lovely.” It will be joy to see Him, rapture to hear Him, bliss to be with Him, and Heaven itself to feel that we will never be parted, but remain in His glorious presence forever. In a word, no matter when, and where we look, we cannot get along without Christ. In both worlds we are only complete in Christ. He is everything to us, not only on earth, but even in Heaven.