"THE NEW CREATION"

(Discourse by E. Whelpton, 1916 Convention Report, starting on page 246)

 

In the first lecture of the "Photo-Drama of Creation" we read the following words:  "The study of Creation” is the 'Key to Knowledge.'  Using this Key we begin to realize that the only worthy ambition is to cooperate with our Creator’s beneficent designs respecting His creation."  And we would like to suggest that those who shall become members of the New Creation have the most wonderful opportunity for cooperating with the Lord in respect to his creation.  Not only have they the great privilege now of cooperating in the development of the New Creation, but when they shall become completed as New Creatures and be born and associated with the Lord Jesus in the work of the future, it shall be their privilege to deal with mankind, and to have the largest part of the bringing of the blessings to the world of mankind and dealing with other parts of God's creation.

 

It is important in considering our subject that we find out first of all that the New Creation is separate and distinct from all other creations. That is suggested to us in a passage of Scripture which speaks about our redemption.  You remember that "He (the Lord Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world," thus making a distinction between these New creatures and mankind in general.  And again this matter is vividly brought to our notice and forcefully brought to our attention in what we are told in the Bible about the two ways of salvation.  I remind you briefly.  You remember the Lord Jesus said, "Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth to life and few there be that find it."  But you recall also that the Prophet said, "A highway shall be there and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness.'  I think we might more clearly see a very sharp distinction between these two ways if we shall notice the difference in the phraseology and notice the different tenses used.  I remind you the Lord Jesus spoke in the present tense”  Strait IS the gate and narrow IS the way that LEADETH unto life."  But the Prophet spoke in the future, saying, A highway SHALL BE there, and a way, and it SHALL BE called . . "  You see a comparison between--something is here and something shall be there; something is called a narrow way, and something shall be called a way of holiness, a highway of holiness.  Suppose I take time enough to quote that Scripture, and note and you will see how that expression is carried on right to the end of the quotation.  Let me quote:  "A highway, shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over, but it shall be for them; the wayfaring man, though a fool shall not err therein; no lion shall be there nor any ravenous beast go up thereon.  It shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.  It is very evident, my dear friends, for several reasons that this is not the way that the New Creation walks in.  It is very evident that the Lord walked in a narrow way, and that all who shall be members of the New Creation shall follow in His footsteps.  They themselves must walk that Narrow Way.

 

Then let us consider who the New Creation are.  Who are new creatures?  This is spoken of in the Bible as a "mystery."  And I think that we all realize that it is indeed mysterious, that it is not understood by the world in general.  I think that quite likely if we were to ask most of our dear friends in the nominal systems their thought, if they would express it, would be something like this--they would say, "Well, a general division should be made between the saved and the unsaved; put the unsaved on this hand, the left hand, and the saved on this, the right hand.  All the saved of the world of mankind, all who have ever been saved, all who ever will be saved, are members of the new Creation  That I think, would be about their thought.  But, my dear friends, that is not true.  The Bible speaking of this matter assures us that the New Creation are a first-fruits unto God of His creatures--very clearly implying that there will be after fruits.  The apostle speaking on this subject, as I have already stated, tells us quite plainly there is a mystery connected with the matter.  And he goes on to explain what that mystery is.  He tells us that Jehovah spoke of the whole plan, preached the gospel, to Abraham when He said, "Abraham, in thee and thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."  And He undertakes to give an explanation of what the Lord meant when He said, "In thy seed;" drawing our attention to the fact that the Lord used very explicit language and spoke not of seeds but spoke of a seed, one “in thy seed.”  And then he assures us that that "seed" is Christ.  "Well," you say, “it seems to me there is no particular mystery connected with the matter.”  It is the other part that has been mysterious, and it is highly important that we all understand it.  Unless we do understand this matter, we will not understand the Bible.  If that remains a mystery to us, the Bible remains a mystery.  All new creatures should understand this matter.  I trust all here do, although I rehearse the matter.

 

Continuing, the Apostle says that not only is it true that that seed is Christ, but that if we are Christ's, we are the seed of Abraham, and it is that statement that has indeed been mysterious.  But the apostle endeavors to explain the matter, and he explains it as you endeavor to explain many things.  He uses an illustration, and says in substance, Now, brethren, this matter about the seed being one and yet many is well illustrated by the human body.  "Well, how so, Paul?"  Well, Paul answers, do you not see that the human body is one body only?  "Oh, yes."  Do you not see further that though one body it is composed of many members?  "Indeed we do.  We recognize there are many members in the one body."  Well, then, Paul tells us, so it is with Christ.  The Christ has a body of many members.  "And who is the Head of that Body?"  Oh, the Lord Jesus has been appointed by the Father to be the Head in all things.  "To what?" To the Church, which is his body.

 

The text on our program says that “if any man be in Christ, he is a New Creature."  So now if we are Christ's members, then we are in him.  If we are in him, we are New Creatures.  Now, do we all see?  I trust we do. Do we all see the New Creation?  Do we have it before our minds?  The Lord Jesus, the Head of a body, a glorious body, when completed, it will be, the New Creation.

 

Let us consider next how the New Creation is created.  That seems to me to be an important matter.  We recognize that Jehovah God is the great Creator, and as brought to our attention in the first chapter of the volume entitled "The New Creation," various are Jehovah's agents and innumerable are His agencies for carrying out the various features of His plan.  And so we recognize that the New Creation is His creation, but since He operates in many ways we inquire, How does He create the New Creation?  We are plainly assured that we are His workmanship, that we are created in Christ Jesus, and that assures us that the work is God's.  "But," you say, "what we desire to know is, HOW does God work?"  The apostle answers that quite pointedly by saying," God works in you."  And what does He work in us to accomplish?  He tells us that God works in you to WILL.  Oh, I fancy that perhaps someone's mind has come to that Scripture which says, “Has not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?"  And the thought may come to their mind, "Why, it does not seem God does give us any will in the matter.  That illustration suggests He has power to do as He pleases with the clay."  Well, my dear friends, that is surely a statement of the Bible where the apostle is not talking about that matter in this connection.  He is not telling how God makes the New Creation.  He tells us it is God's own business who has the privilege of being of the New Creation, and has the perfect right to give you a privilege of being a new creature, and a perfect right to withhold it from anybody else.  But he is not telling us how God makes the New Creation.  He is not suggesting to us that God sits as a great workman with pattern before Him and taking lifeless elements and moulds them without consulting that which is to be made.  But he is rather on the other hand suggesting that the Heavenly Father as a workman holds before us the pattern and we admiring it say, I would like to be, I wish to be, I want to be, I desire to be like that pattern.  When we are willing, if we are willing to be formed by Him, if we are willing to be in His hands and willing that He the great workman shall work in us, then we are His workmanship; then He will carry forward this work of the New Creation.

 

You remember how that matter was with the Lord Jesus.   We recognize, I think all of us, that the Heavenly Father worked with the Lord Jesus, and that He brought him forward as a New Creature through various stages of development, finally perfecting him, and we recall that right at the inauguration of this great work, right at the time he received that begetting power which thereafter influenced his entire life, that he said,  "I delight to do Thy will.”  What is Jehovah's will?  Oh,  it is clearly expressed:  "This is the will of God concerning you, even your sanctification.”  And as vessels sanctified and made meet for the Master’s service will be the individual members of the New Creation.  Let me suggest, my dear friends, that there is something far more than merely willing to do the Lord's will--something far more than that.  I feel that that is sometimes not very clearly recognized.  I think that some of those that the apostle describes when he says,  “Many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.”  I feel that many of them do not get very far past that stage of being willing to do the Lord's will.  "Why, is there anything more than that?"  Oh, indeed, my dear friends, some things far more than that.  "Well, what more?”  Well, do you remember the apostle tells us that we are to understand what the will of the Lord is?   Not merely being willing to do it, but UNDERSTANDING WHAT IT IS.  So I suggest that that is the great work the Heavenly Father does in us after we have come to the point where we are willing.  Then He reveals to us more and more of His will and that is the power of God working in us.

 

Let us go back for a moment and consider the Head of the Body at Jordan.  He said, "I delight to do Thy will.”  And he immediately went into the wilderness and spent forty days in contemplation of the divine plan, coming to a very clear understanding we may be sure of what the Lord's will was there.  Then he busied himself during the remainder of his ministry in doing that will, so thoroughly that he could look up with confidence to the Father end say, “I do always those things that are pleasing in Thy sight."  Not, "I am always willing as I was at Jordan to do your will" and never got beyond that; but "I have progressed beyond that.  I have found out now what it is.  I have seen through the types and shadows the whole matter portrayed and now I am doing your will."  So now in respect to the creation of the New Creatures, they are wrought upon by the Heavenly Father, not in opposition to their wills, not without it being considered, but in harmony with their will or desire they are called to will and do of His good pleasure, and that is what is meant when the Apostle tells us that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  He does not suggest that there needs to be today or tomorrow or the next day some change occurring in your will--not at all.  Your will is as it was years ago after we came to the Lord then.  But what change has there been? Oh, there has been a filling of the mind more and more with an understanding of what the will of the Lord is, and then if our desire has remained with us to do to the extent of our ability those things pleasing in his sight, and if that is true, you are being created in Christ Jesus.  You are growing up into Him in all things, the Head of the Body.  That I suggest is how the New Creatures are created.

 

But another phase of the same point.  Not only is it true that God works in us, but it is also true that we are workers together with Him.  And that is why He sets before us a pattern.  The Lord Jehovah Himself does not need especially to have a pattern in mind.  It is we who have need of the pattern before us.  And so more and more of the glorious character of our Heavenly Father and more and more of the glorious character of our Lord Jesus, the pattern, is brought to our attention, and as a result of beholding we are transformed into that same image.  Shall we not then more earnestly pray that the eyes of our understanding may continue to open widely, and still more widely may they open so that this transforming influence may be more and more fully operating in us?

 

But another point.  I suggested at the outset what is mentioned in the Photo Drama in the first lecture, that we have the privilege of cooperating with our Creator's beneficent designs respecting His creation, and that is a noble ambition.  Surely, my dear friends, it would be the noblest ambition to cooperate with Him in the creation of the new creatures. And so I am suggesting under that heading also that not only are we workers together with God in the sense that we work toward our own development, but that we are workers together with Him also in respect to the development of the fellow members of the Body.  Do you not remember to have read that the whole body fitly joined and compacted together by that which every part supplies makes increase?  Isn't that a wonderful privilege?  And while we are contemplating that we might, I think properly get before our minds the importance of that work.  Remember what the Head of the Body said upon that point.  He said, "Take heed that you offend not one of these little ones.   Unknown and unrecognized by the world, they are considered by the Heavenly Father as being so important that although He has a boundless creation, nevertheless their angels, the angel of the humblest one of them, may at any time have an audience with Jehovah God who inhabits eternity.  Take heed, therefore, said the Head of the Body, that ye offend not one of these little ones that believe in me.  So, my dear friends, if we are thinking of being workers together with him in the sense of working together in the development of each other, let us be impressed with the weighty importance of the matter.  One who has been very helpful indeed to all the members of the Body said, "If meat make my brother to offend I will eat no meat so long as. the world stands."  He considered the importance of it surely.

 

But this is the negative side of the matter, to take heed not to hinder the Lord a work.  What about the positive side of that work?  Let us revert again to what we have said about how God works.  Surely if we work with Him, we will be working like He does.  At any rate we must work under His directions.  And so I have suggested God works in us.  And how?  By bringing to our attention and understanding more and more the things of His word, giving us in the first instance an enlightening as a result of the operation of the Holy Spirit, and we work together with Him if we as the apostle suggests admonish one another and exhort one another, and consider one another to provoke unto love and good works.  Now do you not see the connection?  God works in us to will and to do, and we work with each other to provoke unto love and good works.  We remind each other of the exceeding great and precious promises.  We comfort the feebleminded, we support the weak, we are patient toward all, and thus we cooperate with the great Creator of the New Creation in the development of the New Creation.  Could any privilege be higher?  Could any ambition be greater than that?  Surely not.

 

Then we consider next the change that is to come to the New Creation. We all understand I think, that the present condition is represented in the Bible as being an embryonic condition, and though while we are tabernacling in the flesh we have much of the joy of the Lord and much peace, a peace which the world did not give us and a peace which; thank God, the world cannot take from us; nevertheless all New Creatures are looking forward earnestly to, earnestly desiring their change.  Well, what change?  The change of the mind?  Oh, no.  We are not talking about that now.  The change that we are talking about now is the change of the body. We must all be changed.  And is this change very great, you inquire?  Oh indeed yes, it is wonderfully great.  The Apostle speaking of it says, "It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown a natural body, (or an animal body), and is raised a spiritual body"--a spiritual body like to that of the Lord Jesus.  “We shall be like him," we read.  Surely that is a great change, a wonderful change.  How are we straightened while the work of development goes forward, while we wait this glorious change of the first resurrection!  And that great change will usher us into the future work of the New Creation, and I wish to consider that for a few moments.

 

The work of the present time is indeed joyous.  It is a glorious thing to have an opportunity to stir up each others minds and minister to each other.  I am sure you all appreciate it.  It is a glorious thing to have any part in it.  And bear in mind that it is not merely those that preach to others who have that opportunity, but those who, as our brother told us the other day, put a tract in the hand as somebody comes along who might appreciate it, and if as a result of receiving that tract, the one who receives it comes to a knowledge of this great privilege of making a consecration to the Lord, entering His service and running in the Narrow Way and faithfully to the end, they are workers together with God in the development of the New Creation.  And so I am saying now that the present work, and the incidental work of giving a witness to the world is a glorious work.  The joys and blessings of that service I am sure we have all appreciated.  Nevertheless we are looking forward to the great work beyond the vail.  We are looking forward to the time that we will be with the Lord and share his glory.  The glory of that future work is not appreciated by mankind--"Eye hath not seen and ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of the natural man.”  They can't receive those things.  Let me say a word about that.  Sometimes we find those who think that is rather an overstatement, who think the natural man CAN receive them.  They are mistaken in this respect.  They think that because people HEAR about spiritual things that they RECEIVE spiritual things.  That is not it at all.  The Bible does not say the natural man doesn't hear ABOUT things.  The Bible plainly states that the natural man receiveth not the things of the kingdom of God.

 

When I speak about that and endeavor to explain that view, I usually call to mind the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, and I make mention of what we are told there when we read they went forth to meet the Bridegroom.  And so when suggesting now that those who merely hear about these things and it makes no difference to their plans in life, no difference to their aims in life, no difference to their ambitions in life, no difference to their business affairs, spend their money lust the same as formerly, makes no difference in their arrangements for the family, they do not go forth.  Those who order their affairs in harmony with the message that has come to them, go forth to meet the Bridegroom.  They go forth because they receive the things, not because they hear about them, or rather, not merely a result of hearing.  Those who hear and nothing more, do not go forth.  They stay where they are.

 

Let me give you an illustration:  You remember that the Lord Jesus speaking about John the Baptist, said, "And if ye can receive it, this is Elias which was to come."  Did you read about that years ago?  Did you ever hear about that?  Did you ever read those words of the Lord Jesus?  Why hundreds of times.  How long ago did you really receive that in an understanding way in the mind so you were able to see how John was Elias to come?  Now, if the natural man cannot receive or understand the glories that wait the New Creature, how are we to understand?  Well, the Lord tells us that they have been revealed to us by the Spirit.  Well, we call to your attention briefly some of the things that have been revealed.  One of the things that has been revealed is this--you recall we read,  “I saw as it were on Mount Zion a Lamb slain and with Him 144,000."  With Him?  Yes.  Who are those 144,000?  That is the New Creation.  With Him?  Yes.  And are the glories of the future anything more than merely being with Him?  Oh, further than being with Him.  As a result of being with Him we share His glory.  Well, what glory?  Why, the glory of the future work.  You see, that is what I am speaking about now, about the future of the New Creation, the glory of His future work.

 

When upon earth Jesus gave various illustrations of that future work.  He cleansed the unclean leper; he opened the eye. of the blind; he unstopped the deaf ears; he made the lame to walk; he stopped that funeral procession as the daughter of that widow was being borne out to the sepulcher; he entered the home of Jairus and said to that sleeping child they all thought was dead, "Arise;" he stood before the tomb of Lazarus and calling, said, 'Lazarus, come forth!"  And that merely shadowed forth the work of the future, pointed to the great work that He will accomplish. When?  When the 144,000 are with Him.  Does that great and important work await the completion of the New Creation?  Indeed it does.  The apostle assures us on that point, saying, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."  And how much longer than now?  Until the 144,000 are with Him on Mount Zion.  And what then will result?  Oh, the apostle assures us on that point likewise.  He says there will be the manifestation of the sons of God.  Who are these sons of God?  They are the New Creation.  The sons of God without rebuke, the fully perfected sons, the fully born sons.  And in the meantime the whole creation groans and travails in pain.  Lepers remaining unhealed; the eyes of the blind still remaining blinded, both physical and mental; the ears of the deaf still remaining closed, both physical and mental, and the sleepers still in the tomb by the thousands and millions, waiting--for what?  For the glorious future work of the New Creation.

 

This was very beautifully pictured in the type, and I suggest this now because we are endeavoring to combine two things--to combine the change, the great change to come to the New Creation, and the future work, the work resulting from that change.  You remember on the tenth of the seventh month before the Tabernacle thousands and thousands of Israelites were prostrated lying in the dust, sackcloth and ashes upon them, and that inside the Tabernacle was a priest engaged in a work of service, a sacrificial work.  You recall that he was clothed in white linen robes, but when he had completed that sacrificial work, two great changes occurred.  The priest laid aside those white linen robes, the robes of sacrifice, and put upon him those glorious vestments, the garments of glory and beauty.  I can't take time to describe them, but you recall the picture to your mind.  Think about the gold and the white and the purple and the scarlet, about those things interwoven, about the golden bells and fruit and about the ephod representing the covenant, and about the gold clasps and gold chain; and think especially about the holy anointing oil coming down from the head to the members of the body.  In that we have a picture of the completed Christ possessing the proper qualifications for the great future work and anointed by Jehovah, authorized by Him, recognized by Him, as the proper channel, the properly qualified class to deal with His earthly creation.  Well my dear friends, that was a wonderful change surely; that is the change we are looking for.  You are saying to yourself daily in the words of the apostle, “I desire to be found in Him to experience the power of His resurrection, and in order that I may I am daily being conformed unto His death.”  But that was just one change.  Presently that priest came forth.  I like to put this along with the verses I have already quoted where the apostle says, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth," because the one is a statement in fact and the other represents that which is a plain statement of fact.  The Israelites in general, before the door of the Tabernacle, represent the whole creation groaning and travailing in pain.  The priest coming forth represents the completion of the New Creation.  And then what occurred?  Oh, the apostle says that the creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God, and the people there waiting for the manifestation of those sons of God are represented in type.  And when the manifestation occurred then what happened?  Oh, a general arising, rising up, shaking off the dust and the ashes, laying off the sackcloth.  Let those things which are emblems of mourning give place to those which have to do with joy and gladness.  "Go to your homes" --restitution; "eat the fat and drink the sweet and send portions"--cooperate. Not only will it be the privilege of the New Creation to cooperate with Jehovah in respect to His creation, but every single person who shall be worthy of everlasting life must do that, every one of them; and those who do not do that, those who do not consider it a worthy ambition to cooperate with Him, shall be cut off in the second death.

 

Let me prove that.  I remind you of that parable where he said, “When the Son of Man shall come in His glory."  We read that when the thousand years will have been completed, he will have them divided into two classes.  The goats on the left hand, the sheep on the right hand, and that then he will say to those on his right hand,  "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."  Does he assign any reason why they are accounted worthy of so great blessing?  Indeed he does,  He says, "I was an hungered and ye gave me meat (sent portions); I was thirsty and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me;  I was sick and ye visited me; I was in prison and ye came unto me.”  And they answer,  "Lord, I don't remember to have done anything of that kind for you.  I didn't think we had the privilege."  "Ah, you did it to these, my least brethren, to those of the human family, those coming forth from the tomb.  You did it unto me.  That is why I say, Come, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."  And then turning to those on his left hand, he says, "Depart, go away.”  Does he assign a


 

reason again?  Oh, indeed yes.  “I was hungry and ye gave me no meat (did not send any portion--received portions but did not send any); thirsty, but no drink; naked and ye clothed me not; sick and in prison and ye visited me not."  What had they failed to do?  They had failed to exercise their privilege of cooperating with the Creator’s beneficent designs respecting His creation:  not the New Creation, not those prospective members of the New Creation, not those prospective members of the New Creation are receiving reproof because of that--not that; but the world of mankind.  So, my dear friends, do we again see the importance of it?  The people here caused to rise up and go home, eat the fat and drink the sweet and send portions--a day of joy and gladness.  That, my dear friends, suggests briefly some of the glory of the future work of the New Creation.  Do we not want to be members of that glorified High Priest clad with those glorious vestments and anointed for that glorious future work?  If we are faithful now and come to the point of full development, being born from the dead, or changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we will have the blessed privilege under the glorious Head to share with him that glorious work, His glory, the glory which was shown forth by Him when He performed those various works of mercy while on earth.  They shadowed forth the glory that will be manifested when the sons of God are manifested, when the New Creation is complete.

 

Then I remind you of another picture in that connection.  You remember that statement quoted by the apostle when he says, "Thus saith the Lord, in an acceptable time have I heard thee."  Heard whom?  We will see. "And in a day of salvation have I helped you."  helped whom?  We will see later.  "And I will preserve thee and give thee for a covenant of the people."  Now, who is spoken about?  Oh, the very class we are considering today--the New Creation are being spoken about.  You know something of the narrow view entertained about that statement.  You know many suggest that which would entirely refute the view we have.  Instead of suggesting at all any possibility of salvation in the future, they say it says "NOW is the acceptable time," which truly it is.  But they do not know what is meant by "now.   The time indicated is the time between the time of the Lord's creation and the completion of the New Creation, and the Lord is saying, "Now, during that acceptable time, I heard thee.”  Did He promise to hear us?  Oh, yes, indeed; that is one of the great encouragements for the New Creation.  He hears our prayers.   We can call upon him in our every time of need and he will hear us-- "  In an acceptable time have I heard thee."  He heard our vow of consecration, our prayers, and his grace is sufficient for every time of need.  “In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee.  Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation."  But we want the part now that deals with the future work.  We are talking about the future work of the New Creation.  We come to that part.  “And I will preserve thee."  Well, why does the Lord need to preserve us?  Oh, one reason is because they must all die like men end fall like one of the princes.  And he will preserve us and in resurrection power bring us forth.  And then what?  Oh, then comes the future work.  "And I will give thee for a covenant of the people."  Not that the church ARE the covenant, but they are to be the great mediator of the covenant.  "I will give thee for a covenant of the people."  Do what?  We are considering the future work now.  What are we going to do?  "To establish the earth."  My deer friends, it looks, and every day it looks more and more, as though the world indeed will need to be established.  Is it not coming to be recognized more and more that the work of disestablishment is going on?  And are we not assured that it shall go on until all the things being shaken shall be removed?--nothing left at all.  It will be like the chaff of the summer threshing floor, and the wind carried it away.  But the New Creation comes on the scene at that point and their work is to establish the earth, establish it in righteousness. “To cause to inherit the desolate heritages."  Ah, my dear friends, you mark it doesn't say to inherit the desolate heritage.  Oh, the Lord’s people are to have an inheritance that has never been desolate.  Not something lost; but they are to CAUSE to inherit the desolate heritages, cause the world of mankind to inherit. Won't that be a joyous service?  "That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, show yourselves."

 

In order that we may see something of the grandeur of that work, let me refer to what I have already referred to.  I have already spoken about the Lord Jesus standing at the tomb of Lazarus and saying, "Lazarus, come forth."  And I remind you when he had called him forth that he said, "Loose him and let him go."  Who do you suppose would feel disposed to respond to that invitation--to accept that privilege?  The Scribes and Pharisees who might be there?  They were displeased because Lazarus had been put forth.  They wanted to put him to death because they had an influence on the people.  But some were there who were heartily in sympathy with the dear Master, and when the Master said, "Loose him and let him go," as he stood there with a napkin around his head and wrapped in his grave clothes, how long do you suppose Peter would hesitate, or John or James, or others before they would go up and take off those grave clothes so he might walk and embrace his sisters and all might say he was indeed alive and the Master had awakened him?  Oh, I am sure it would be a privilege, a proud moment for those dear disciples.

 

The Lord Jesus is to stand before the great prison house.  He has the keys you remember, to open those prison doors, and then to call, not for Lazarus, not for the widow of Nain’s son merely, not for the daughter of Jairus, but he is to call for all that are in their graves, and they will hear his voice and come forth.  Our minds can't comprehend how many that will be.  We can only comprehend in part what a glorious work that will be.  But nevertheless we can comprehend sufficiently so that every one of us feel like saying, Oh, that I might be worthy to share that great work! Oh, that I might be worthy to be one of those associated with the Lord Jesus who may help loose the world of mankind and let them go.  And so now, as the Lord Jesus will do that great work, there will be associated with Him a new Creation there.  Part of the glorious work of the future will be to take away the things that now blind our minds, to take those hindrances, those things which will hinder them from walking in that highway of holiness; take off those things which will hinder them from sending portions, from giving meat to someone else, from giving drink to others, to remove those things and bring about that glorious deliverance that the whole creation groans for.

 

A thousand years we all understand will witness the completion of that great work, and the class we are speaking about are to have an endless life--glory, honor and immortality are promised to them.  What will be our THEN future work?  We have been talking about the "now" future.  Will it all have ended then, that glorious work that will be their delight to do?--that work when it is spoken of as "Blessed and holy are they which have part in the first resurrection. . . they rest from their labors, but their works do follow them".  They rest from their labor, but they go on with the glorious work it is now their joy and privilege to do.  Oh, there will still be work for the New Creation.

 

Briefly it is brought to our attention, and briefly I remind you of the apostle’s words when he says, "In the ages to come.   We all understand that the Lord's plan is a plan that has to do with ages.  The Lord has divided off or arranged for different ages or worlds.  They are spoken of in the Bible--the world that was, the world that now is, and the world to come.   During the Millennial Age, the thousand years, his work that I have been speaking about will be completed.  But beyond that--what about that?  Well, the apostle does not undertake to tell us how many ages are beyond.  But he does undertake to assure us what it will be our privilege to do during those ages, telling us that in the ages which are approaching, He (Jehovah) will show forth the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us by Christ Jesus.  Could anything be grander than to be the instrument of showing forth the riches of Jehovah's grace?  Would you not like to be one of those counted worthy to do that?--to bring about those glorious blessings of the Millennial Age and then through the ages which are coming, to show forth the exceeding riches of His grace.  If you would, my dear friend, bend all your energy toward making your calling and election sure as members of the New Creation.  Add to your faith, virtue; to virtue, knowledge, to knowledge, temperance, to temperance, godliness, to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you add these things you shall never fall, never lose your standing as prospective members, but have an abundant entrance into the glories of the future, be fully installed in your office under the Head as members of the glorious New Creation.  May the Lord bless you.