Morning & Evening e-sword Study Bible

February 13
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” — 1Jn_3:1,1Jn_3:2
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us.” Consider who we were, and what we feel ourselves to be even now when corruption is powerful in us, and you will wonder at our adoption. Yet we are called “the sons of God.” What a high relationship is that of a son, and what privileges it brings! What care and tenderness the son expects from his father, and what love the father feels towards the son! But all that, and more than that, we now have through Christ. As for the temporary drawback of suffering with the elder brother, this we accept as an honour: “Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” We are content to be unknown with him in his humiliation, for we are to be exalted with him. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” That is easy to read, but it is not so easy to feel. How is it with your heart this morning? Are you in the lowest depths of sorrow? Does corruption rise within your spirit, and grace seem like a poor spark trampled under foot? Does your faith almost fail you? Fear not, it is neither your graces nor feelings on which you are to live: you must live simply by faith on Christ. With all these things against us, now-in the very depths of our sorrow, wherever we may be-now, as much in the valley as on the mountain, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” “Ah, but,” you say, “see how I am arrayed! my graces are not bright; my righteousness does not shine with apparent glory.” But read the next: “It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him.” The Holy Spirit shall purify our minds, and divine power shall refine our bodies, then shall we see him as he is.
“There is therefore now no condemnation.” — Rom_8:1
Come, my soul, think thou of this. Believing in Jesus, thou art actually and effectually cleared from guilt; thou art led out of thy prison. Thou art no more in fetters as a bond-slave; thou art delivered now from the bondage of the law; thou art freed from sin, and canst walk at large as a freeman, thy Saviour’s blood has procured thy full discharge. Thou hast a right now to approach thy Father’s throne. No flames of vengeance are there to scare thee now; no fiery sword; justice cannot smite the innocent. Thy disabilities are taken away: thou wast once unable to see thy Father’s face: thou canst see it now. Thou couldst not speak with him: but now thou hast access with boldness. Once there was a fear of hell upon thee; but thou hast no fear of it now, for how can there be punishment for the guiltless? He who believeth is not condemned, and cannot be punished. And more than all, the privileges thou mightst have enjoyed, if thou hadst never sinned, are thine now that thou art justified. All the blessings which thou wouldst have had if thou hadst kept the law, and more, are thine, because Christ has kept it for thee. All the love and the acceptance which perfect obedience could have obtained of God, belong to thee, because Christ was perfectly obedient on thy behalf, and hath imputed all his merits to thy account, that thou mightst be exceeding rich through him, who for thy sake became exceeding poor. Oh! how great the debt of love and gratitude thou owest to thy Saviour!
“A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear with thy righteousness on,
My person and offerings to bring:
The terrors of law and of God,
With me can have nothing to do;
My Saviour’s obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view.”


February 13
Entering Into This Place Called Grace
“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Mat_6:33)
“Surely we should be getting close to the place called Grace,” someone said. “I mean, we’ve been traveling for sometime now and you told us at the start that it really wasn’t very far.”
“You’re right,” I replied. “I told you we would be taking a long journey to a place nearby. And that is exactly what we have done.”
First, you should know that there is a Great Kingdom which knows no boundaries; which is, in fact, ever-increasing simultaneously in all directions. One sacred poet described it as though a great vat of honey had been poured from above upon a vast flat surface, and now was spreading from the center ever outward in a slow and steady motion, enveloping all within it’s sweet presence.
It is The Kingdom of God.
And you should also know that within this Great Kingdom there is a Garden State – it is called the State of Mind, and it was miraculously renewed after the Lord’s victory in the Great War at Calvary. There He fought against the hordes of Hell and drew their Dark Prince, Lucifer, in the open field of battle where He crushed his head and brought his kingdom to naught. Now the Kingdom of God flourishes, and the renewed State of Mind thrives with godly commerce.
Before the renewal and the coming of the Kingdom, The State of Mind was a most corrupt place. Filled with filth and over-run with demons. A notorious gang called the Vain Imaginations roamed the streets, scratching vile graffiti on every wall and wrecking havoc in every place. The Courts made mockery of the Law, the Churches blasphemed the Lord, the Schools taught nonsense and called it Wisdom, and the People were like sloths hanging upside down in leafless trees.
Of the many historic revivals that have been told in stories from of old, none were so great as the mighty revival that transformed the State of Mind. After the Lord Christ rose victorious from the grave, a blast of glory ripped through the darkest corridors of Hell itself and severed in one mighty blow all the forged chains that enslaved Adam’s children to Sin and Death.
Then God Almighty unleashed His Spirit and His Word, both working together like a mighty rushing wind and a swift, roaring fire. All the filth and disease was in one day purged by the white hot flames of holiness. And when the smoke cleared — the State of Mind was gloriously renewed!
And then God set a Capitol City in the center of this renewed State; a City from which the rule of God’s love and mercy, goodness and faithfulness, favor and blessing extend to all throughout the ever-expanding Kingdom.
This Capitol City is the place called Grace.
We speak of entering it as though it were like any other city. But here’s where things are different. The truth is – we do not enter into Grace at all; rather, Grace enters into us!
Thus, wherever we may be – there Grace is also. Whatever we may encounter in our travels, Grace is there with us. In every situation and circumstance; in joy and in sorrow, in plenty and in want, in strength and in weakness; and, yes, in life or in death – Grace is there!
Grace is the empowering presence of God enabling you to be who God created you to be, and to do what He has called you to do – right where you are.

Devotional Sermons

February 13
The Searching of God
“O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.” Psa_139:1
We are prone to associate the searching work of God with events of a striking or memorable kind. It is in great calamities and overwhelming sorrow that we feel with particular vividness God’s presence. When Job was in the enjoyment of prosperity, he was an eminently reverent man; but it was in the hour of his black and bitter midnight that he cried out, “The hand of God hath touched me.” And that same spirit dwells in every breast so that God’s searching comes to be associated with hours when life is shaken to its depths. Now the point to be noted is that in this psalm the writer is not thinking of such hours. There is no trace that he has suffered terribly or been plunged into irreparable loss. “Thou knowest my downsitting and my uprising”—my usual, ordinary, daily life—it was there that the psalmist recognized the searching; it was there that he awoke to see that he was known. And as the psalmist’s, so our effort must be to try to discover how in our usual round, in the downsitting and uprising of our days, God searches us and shows us to ourselves.
The Passing of Time
In the first place, we are searched and known by the slow and steady passing of the years. There is a revealing power in the flight of time just because time is the minister of God. In heaven there will be no more time; there will be no more need of any searching ministry. There we shall know even as we are known, in the burning and shining of the light of God. But here, where the light of God is dimmed and broken, we are urged forward through the course of years, and the light of passing time achieves on earth what the light of the Presence will achieve in glory.
He is a wise father who knows his child, but he is a wiser child who knows himself. Untested by actual contact with the world, as children we dream our dreams in the sunshine of the morning. And then comes life with all its harsh reality and the changes of the years, and we turn around on the swift flight of time and say, “O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me.” We may not have suffered anything profound, we may not have achieved anything splendid. Our life may have moved along in quiet routine, not outwardly different from the lives of thousands. Yet however dull and uneventful, God has so ordered the flight of time for us that we know far more about ourselves now than we knew in the dawn of our morning. Brought into touch with duty and fellowmen, we have begun to see our limitations. We know in a measure what we cannot do, and thank God, we know in a measure what we can do. And underneath it all we have discerned the side of our nature which leans towards heaven, and the other side on which there is the door that opens to the filthiness of hell. It doesn’t take any terrible experience to learn our power and weaknesses. Each single day which makes up the passing years, slowly and inevitably shows it. So by the pressure of evolving time—and it is not we, but God, who so evolves it—for better or for worse we come to say “O Lord, thou hast searched me and hast known me.”
Our Responsibilities Test Us
Then also, God searches us by the responsibilities He lays upon us, for it is in our duties that the true self is searched and known. Think of those servants in the parable who got the talents. Could you have gauged their character before they got the talents? Were they not all respectable and honest and seemingly worthy of their master’s confidence? But to one of the servants the master gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, and what distinguished and revealed each one was the use they made of that responsibility. They were not searched by what they had to suffer; the servants were searched by what they had to do. They were revealed by what their master gave and by the use they made of what they got.
And so, I take it, it is with all of us to whom God has given a task, a job, a talent—it is not only a gift to bless our neighbor; it is a gift to reveal us to ourselves. It is not always the greatest jobs that make the greatest demands on a man. It is sometimes harder to be second than first, and sometimes harder to be third than second. In the important jobs there is a certain glow, and generally a cloud of witnesses to cheer us on; but in the humbler jobs there is nothing of that. Great services reveal our possibilities; small services reveal our consecration, calling for patience and rigorous fidelity and the power that can endure through dreary days. So by the daily work we have to do and the task that is given us of God, we are tested in the whole range of manhood. There are no temptations more subtle or insistent than those that meet a man within his calling. There are no victories so quietly rewarding as those that are won within one’s daily work.
God also has a way of searching us by lifting our eyes from the detail to the whole. He sets the detail in its true perspective, and seeing it thus, we come to see ourselves. You know how the writer of this psalm proceeds: “Thou knowest my downsitting and my uprising,” he says. These are details, little particular actions, the unconsidered events of every day. But the writer does not stop with these details—he passes on to the survey of his life: “Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.”
You will remember that it was through details that Christ revealed the Samaritan woman to herself. She had been hiding her guilt from her own eyes by busying herself in the details of the day. And then came Jesus with His enlarged vision in which the days are all parts of the one life, and in the eyes of Christ she saw herself because she saw the details as a whole. “Come, see a man,” she went and cried, “who told me all things that ever I did.” Actually, it was an exaggeration, for Christ had not spoken to her very long. But when you get down to the spirit of the words, you never think of their exaggeration for they reveal the way that Jesus took in searching her and showing her to herself. He would not let her hide in the detail; He wanted her to have a vision of the whole. He wanted to show her what her life was like when looked at closely. And so this woman was searched and self-revealed through detail in its true perspective, and her conscience, which had long been slumbering, awoke.
I think that is often the way the Lord deals with you and me. We are all prone to be blinded by details so that we scarcely realize what we are doing. There are lines of behavior which we would never take, if we only realized all that they meant. There are habits and certain sins to which we would never yield if we only saw them in their vile completeness. But the present is so tyrannical and sweet and the action of the hour is so absorbing, that we cannot see the forest for the trees, nor see ahead the path that we are taking.
We often say when looking back upon our sufferings, “We wonder how we ever could have borne it.” One secret of our bearing it was that we only suffered one moment at a time. And in looking back upon our foolish past, we sometimes say, “How could we have ever done it!”; and one secret of our doing it was that we only acted one moment at a time. When a man is dimly conscious that he is wrong, he has a strange ability to forget yesterday. When a man is hurrying to fulfill his passion, he shuts his ears to the call of tomorrow. And the work of God is to revive that yesterday and tear the curtain from the sad tomorrow and show a man his action of today set in the general story of his life. Sometimes He does it through sickness; sometimes in a quiet hour such as this. Sometimes He does it in a mysterious way by the immediate working of the Holy Ghost. But when He does it, then we know ourselves and see things as they are, and we are ashamed. Only then we can cry with David, “O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me.”
Seeing Ourselves in Another’s Life
We may never know ourselves until we see ourselves divested of all the trappings of self-love. It was thus, you remember, that He dealt with David when David had sinned so terribly. For all the depth and the grandeur of his character, David was strangely blind to his own guilt. But then came Nathan with his touching story of the man who had been robbed of his ewe lamb, and all that was best in David was afire at the abhorrent action of that robber.
Has God ever shown you your own heart like that, in drawing the curtain from some other heart? That, you know, is your story, your temptation, your sin in all its strength and sweetness. But ah, how very different it looks now when there is no self-love to plead for it and shield it, when there is no hand to weave excuses for it such as we make so quickly for ourselves. You thought that in yourself it was romance; but in another you see it as being disgraceful. You thought that in you it might be easily understood, yet in another it appears despicable. So in the mirror of another life God shows us what we do and what we are, and, seeing it, what can we do but cry, “O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me.”
New Influences
Someone may enter the circuit of our being, and the light they bring illuminates ourselves. We are all prone ordinarily to settle down into a dull routine. The vision of the highest fades away from us, and we go forward without any worthwhile ambition. Our feelings lose their freshness and zest, and we are no longer eager and strenuous as we once were. We become content with far lower levels of achievement now than would have contented us in earlier days. All this may come upon a man, and come so gradually, that he hardly notices all that he has lost. His spiritual life has grown so dull and dead that prayer is a mockery and joy is flown. Then we meet someone whom we have not seen for years, one who has wrestled heavenward against storm and tide—and in that moment we realize it all. Nothing is said to blame or rebuke us. The influence lies deeper than speech. Nothing is done to make us feel ashamed. We may be welcomed with the old warmth of friendship, but there is something in that nobler life suddenly brought into contact with our own that touches the conscience and shows us to ourselves and quickens us to a shame that is medicinal. It is often so when the friend is a human friend. It is always so when the friend is Jesus Christ. “Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man”—the very coming of Christ searches and sifts. But the joy is that if He comes to search, He also comes in all His love to save; and He will never leave us nor forsake us, till the need of searching is gone forever.