The Constantly Available Christ

BY JOHN W. PETERSON

 

FIRST OFF, HE WASN’T MUCH TO LOOK AT: black, baldheaded of lumpish build, a he had also lost his two upper front teeth some here along the way. He was called on to preach in the Deep South before several well-known Apostolic preachers. Not an imposing figure to begin with, he was now thrust into inauspicious circumstances, of which no one could envy him.

So, did he wilt and wither? Oh, no, He took for a text the familiar passage of Matthew 2:18 20 and proceeded to preach a powerful, anointed message, the topic of which was: “The Power Behind Us is
Greater Than the Task Before Us.”

Simple, yes, but {profoundly so. specially in light of our Lord’s promise, in this passage, of His Presence and constant availability — ‘even to the end of the world.”

Those who would ration our Lord’s availability to His church, His people, are ‘way [off base. To suggest that only a select, inner circle, an elite, can qualify for His power and attention but sounds exactly like something Satan in would want to plant and mind possible.

Anything to keep the Church from realizing its full and God-ordained potential. This has to be Satan’s number one priority. He wants to cause us that we must somehow earn access to God’s Presence and grace.

Nothing could be further from the truth. All scripture consistently says otherwise. “Not of works, lest any man should boast,” is only one example, of many which could be given.

Mercy was confined behind the veil only under the Old Testament set-up. Imagine her desire to go to a lost world that needed her. But no. If any, out side of Israel, wished to avail themselves of Mercy, they had ad to become a proselyte to Judaism, and join the multitude whose sins were rolled ahead yearly when the high priest went behind the veil into the Holiest of all to offer the prescribed ritual of sacrifice. Mercy was available, yes, but strictly limited, strictly confined. No way out of her prison.

Father Abraham reinforced the narrow availability of Mercy under the law when he told the rich man, in essence, that his brothers had both all they needed for salvation and all they were ever going to receive, by having Moses and the prophets available to them. Only through the narrow constraints of the Old Testament law, with its ritual of sacrifices, was Mercy available. However, God’s ultimate desire and plan was for Mercy to be freely available to all, at all times. Hosea, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, said it first and best, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”

We still have not obeyed the first “Go ye” of Jesus who said, “Go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy and no sacrifice: (Why, Lord?) for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to
repentance.”

Like the astute, aggressive salesman He is, He’s “looking for new business,” for which only Mercy can come into play and suffice. Then too, this first “Go ye” must be obeyed before the last “Go ye” of Matthew 28:19 will be.

Mercy’s stirrings behind the veil began for sure when Jesus was brought to the temple on the eighth day and Mercy heard old Simeon say, with the Babe in his arms while blessing God, “Lord, now lettest thou
thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentles, and the glory of the people Israel.” Mercy rushes to the veil only to finally go back and be seated on the mercy seat in lonely contemplation of her plight.

Again, at twelve years of age, Jesus comes and Mercy hears His tender, adolescent voice say to Mary, “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”

Mercy could have said, Whose business? and, What is there about that voice that sets me tingling? Is that Him?” She runs her hand along the veil, but can only return to the confinement of the mercy seat.

Years pass until one day she hears His strong, Masculine voice thunder while cleansing the Temple, “My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” Mercy could have,
responded, Whose house? and, I believe that’s Him! I’d know that voice anywhere! She flits once again along the veil, only to return to her lonely place of solitude on the mercy seat.

Still more time passes and now she hears the tumult of the jeering, mocking crowd, the grunts of the Roman soldier as he lashes that innocent, unresisting back-lashes that secured healing for all — followed by the pronouncement of the sentence of death by Pilate.

Finally, as the whole creation groans and travails in pain from the events of that fateful day, there comes wafting in to her on the supercharged molecules of the air the words of His agonized cry, “It is finished!” She could have said, That’s Him again and He’s in distress! Whenever can I go to Him whom I love?

She rushes to the veil, just in time, as that massive, tightly woven fabric (which two yoke of oxen struggling against each other could not begin to tear) is rent in twain from top to bottom.

Escape from confinement! Now; out through the inner court, out through the outer court, she picks up the trail of bloodstains in Pilate’s judgment hall, follows them in darkness through the narrow, quake-smitten streets of Jerusalem, from one drop of blood to another, like a bloodhound searching for its prey, the sound of rending rocks echoing in the background. She follows the blood-marked trail on up the hill of Golgotha until her head comes against the foot of that old, rugged cross and there the Scripture is fulfilled: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”

Mercy unrestrained! Mercy and pardon, full and free, to a world that needed it so desperately! The sin question answered! No more the weight and guilt of unremitted sins hanging over our heads, but cast
now into the sea of God’s forgetfulness, never to be remembered against us anymore.

Mercy to all and freely available! The apostle insisted, “Let us therefore (as a result of the rending of the veil and the liberation of Mercy) come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy,
and find grace to help in time of need.” Ever available, totally unrestricted mercy and grace; that unmerited, unearned favor of God!

Do we dare try to re-confine Mercy? Do we dare say that only certain, select individuals can have access to His holy presence? Or that He will only make Himself available to us if we are super-careful and super-attentive to every little nuance of the moving of His Spirit? Oh, no!

After His last letter to the seven churches was completed in Revelation, He carefully let us know, in a separate statement to whoever would receive it, that for the remainder of the Church Age He would be standing, knocking, calling, at the door of every heart. The French Bible uses a reflexive verb here, which we don’t have in English, thus making it literally, “Behold I stand [I hold myself; I position myself] at the door . . . ”

Notice, particularly, that it is something He has done on His own, not anything we could ever cause Him to do, unless it were His desire.

But it is! That’s the whole point! He has positioned Himself at the door of every believer’s heart, thus making Himself constantly available to His people. If we do not heed His call, He’s still there. If we allow other things to intrude and interfere, He doesn’t leave; He’s still there.

The only limitations are those we set for ourselves–not listening, not hearing, not opening the door. For His part, He has positioned Himself there, and I fail to find any place in Scripture where it states He has changed His stance in the least.

It is not like the Song of Solomon, where the beloved (the bridegroom) came, put in his hand by the hole of the door, and then withdrew because the fairest among women (the bride) was slow and slothful in her response and she was left to seek him wherever.

Not in the New Testament Church, my friend! He, the great God of glory, has positioned Himself where He is constantly and continuously available to His people. Ignore Him (as we all have done) but He’s still there. Do whatever, but He will not remove Himself from where He has positioned Himself.

Finally, wonder of all wonders, when the door is opened and He is allowed entrance, He promises that the communion will be a two way exchange: “I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

This is beyond my comprehension. I know I need to receive so much from Him. I also know there is nothing I have to impart to Him that will add one iota to His stature as the God of all eternity. Yet, He
says the communion will be two-way. Why?

The only answer I can come up with is: Just because He wants it to be thus! He, the great God of heaven, in His benevolence, desires it to be that way. So, we’ll have it His way and be ever so thankful for the marvelous opportunity to come into His presence and have that wonderful, glorious exchange of fellowship and communion with Him, while obtaining mercy.

“And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” To which scripture Brother Matt Holland, a pioneer preacher now deceased, would invariably respond, “That’s long enough for me.”

Me, too. How wonderful it is! The constantly available Christ.

 

THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY APOSTOLIC WORLD REPOST, JULY – SEPTEMBER, 1998, PAGES 6,8,21. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.

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