HOW THE WORLD IS TO BE E LIGHTE ED A D SAVED BY FRA K H.

DECKER

Rev. 21 : 9-14, Rev. 21 : 18, Rev. 21 : 2127, Rev. 22 : 1-5, Rev. 22 : 17, Heb. 12 22, 23, Rev. 3 : 12, Rev. 11 : 15

The Bible reaches its climax of spiritual teaching in its closing vision of the Kingdom of God as described in the form of a city, the ew Jerusalem descending out of Heaven. This vision came to one of the most spiritual of the Apostles of Christ in an hour when his whole soul was filled with Christ's experience of God. Speaking of his spiritual exaltation the writer says, "I was called away in the spirit to a great high mountain/^ It was the highest and greatest spiritual experience of the life of the most spiritual of all the disciples of the Son of God. This great spiritual vision came out of his high spiritual experience. What he saw he beheld through the eyes of his experience of the presence of God. The fact is that this spiritual vision is so high and great that it has seemed to us who are [287]

CHRIST'S EXPERIE CE OF GOD of little spiritual vision to be of little spiritual value, because spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Oh, if we could but see it from the

great high spiritual mountain from which it was seen of the Apostle I Remember that the ew Jerusalem is the Kingdom of Heaven which is also the Kingdom of God on earth. To make us siu'e of this the writer tells us that the throne of God and of the Lamb is in the city. I have told you that this kingdom is the relationship of those whose God is their King. Here it is called the bride of Christ — ^that is, everyone who is to be united with Jesus, as a bride is joined to her husband, must be prepared for that union by sharing with Jesus his experience of God. Only in the ew Jerusalem does one live with the Son of God. Only, I say, as one has Christ's spiritual personal imion with the Father is it possible that one should be wedded to Jesus. " o man can say that Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Spirit." Is this not at once apparent? o one is prepared as a bride for Christ who does not share Christ's experience of God. Without that, one may follow Jesus [288]

THE WORLD E LIGHTE ED in some measure as a servant, but to be wedded to him, to live with him in the most spiritual of all relationships, one must dwell with him in the Kingdom of God, which is here symbolized by the ew Jerusalem. This is the teaching of Jesus, and is true in the very nature of the case. You, my reader, know perfectly well that you are not wedded to Jesus if you do not share his spiritual experience. We cannot eat and drink with him except in the kingdom of

his Father. See, now, how one must dwell in the ew Jerusalem in order to dwell with Christ in God. The walh of the city exclude everything that is unholy, everything that is profane, everything that is not spiritual in its nature. The walls of the city protect its inhabitants from all that is defiling. "There shall in no wise enter into it anything that maketh abomination or worketh a lie." In union with God man is protected from the evils of the world as he could not otherwise be protected. A mighty fortress of God is the city whose walls tower as high as He is. Those who are wedded to Christ in his experience of God [289]

CHRIST'S EXPERIE CE OF GOD have Christ's protection from the evils of the world that prey upon those who are outside that experience. Only through the gate guarded by the angels of God is it possible that one should enter the city. That gate is such surrender of one's soul to God as Christ practiced. Until we are prepared to unite with Christ in his surrender of himself to the will of God, we cannot join him in his rich fellowship with God. Christ's consecration of himself to do the will of his Heavenly Father is the door of single pearl into the ew Jerusalem. Then we must be prepared to walk with Christ the streets of the ew Jerusalem —

which are all transparent gold. We must walk in the light as he is in the light if we are to h.ve f eUowship with him «.d tith on. «.other. Walking the streets of the City of God means walking in truth and righteousness and love. Only so can we walk with God, and only as we walk with Him can we hope to be wedded to Christ. If we are not prepared to put into daily practice, in all the relationships of life, the principles of God, which are the [290]

THE WORLD E LIOHTE ED principles of love and truth, we are not prepared to be wedded to the Son of God — ^we are not adorned as a bride for him. I wish to impress the fact that only those who walk the golden streets of the City of God, only those who practice obedience to the principles of God, have fellowship with Christ. And then, too, we must be prepared to walk in the light of this city which is the light of the Kingdom of God, if we are to be wedded with Christ in God. Those who dwell in the ew Jerusalem are said to have no need of the light of lamp, or even of the sun, because the Lord God gives them light. They have the light of God in their own souls, that light which lighteth every man that is bom into the world, so that they are not dependent upon even the brightest symbols of that light for guidance. They do not require the light of another, since they have light greater than that of all others. We cannot be wedded to Christ until we have his direct experience of the spirit of God

which is the light of the spiritual world. We must also be prepared to worship God in Christ, as we can never do until we worship I291J

CHRIST'S EXPERIE CE OF GOD God in spirit and in truth. John says, '^I saw no temple in the ew Jerusalem." Worship, there, is not a matter of place or of creed but of personal fellowship with God and with Christ and with those who dwell in God and God in them. The Lamb is the temple of the ew Jerusalem. The spirit of God in direct union with a man enables him to worship God in spirit and in truth. That is the worship that weds one to Christ in his experience of God. o one is prepared for fellowship with Christ— to worship God in Christ— who does not worship God in his spiritual presence. o temple worship can be substituted for that spiritual worship of God in which one realizes his union with Jesus Christ. The fruits of union with God are found in the ew Jerusalem. We there join with Christ in his experience of these fruits. We eat and drink with Jesus in his Father's kingdom. The Tree of Life, (that word always means fellowship), bears all manner of fruit, in all seasons of the year. The soul that shares Christ's spiritual experience of God finds every season of his life fruitful; in the win[292]

THE WORLD E LIGHTE ED ter of adversity as well as in the summer of prosperity; in hours of joy as well as in hours of sorrow; in times of success and in times of failure ; when loved and when hated ; when sick and when well ; in youth and in old age; in life and in death, the soul that dwells with God and is wedded to Christ finds all things working together for his good, finds all the experience of his life fruitful in developing the life of the spirit of God in his soul. He is never called to pass through a fruitless experience. Blessed tree of the knowledge of God with all manner of fruits in all seasons of the year ! There is a river of life also in the City of God. One who is wedded to Christ in his experience of God has complete satisfaction for all his spiritual thirst. God is in him like a well of water springing up unto eternal life. He does not thirst for love which is not within * his reach, since the spirit of God in his heart sheds abroad in full abundance the love of God for which he thirsts. This union is most beautiful; all manner of precious stones are made to symbolize its beauty. Beautiful deeds, [298]

CHRIST'S EXPERIE CE OF GOD

beautiful motives, beautiful ideals belong to the beautiful life of every son of God. When one is wedded to Christ in God two results follow: First, everything connected with his life is transformed by his union with God. The leaves of the Tree of Life are for the healing of the nations. The words and deeds, the example and influence of that man in whom God spiritually dwells, have healing power for sorrowing and sinning souls. I repeat that everything connected with a man who dwells in God possesses something of the power of God. His every word is in a measure the word of God. In touching one who is in touch with God we come in touch with God. We feel His purity. His love. His power in the deeds and words of those who company with Him. Second, the world's attitude toward the ew Jerusalem will be the world's attitude toward the church when the church becomes like that city. When the church is wedded to Christ in his experience of God the world will bring its honor to the church; "Kings of the earth do bring their treasures to the city." "The nations of the earth shall walk [294]

THE WORLD E LIGHTE ED in the light of it," Oh, if the church were the bride of Christ how the world would honor it! If she were joined with Christ in God how surely the world would walk in her light I Why does not the world honor the church? Why do not her leaves heal the frightful wounds of the world? Why does the

world treat the church with contempt, as Christ said it would if the church should ever lose its saving power? I teU you because the church is not spiritually wedded to Christ. Therefore the kings of the earth are not bringing their treasures of honor to her and are not walking in the light of her teaching and of her love. Come up on the top of the high spiritual mountain where the bride of Christ can be seen; where we can behold what we must be like if we are to become the salt and light of this perishing world. Come and see what we shall have to do in order to prepare ourselves, as a bride for Jesus Christ, in his work of saving the world; what we must become before the world will honor us and we be able to heal its wounds. Come and behold what we [295]

CHRIST'S EXPERIE CE OF GOD must become before the nations of the world will walk in our Ught even as we are walking in the light of God. Look out upon the world in its ghastly state of war and crime and sin and understand that its condition is due to the failure of the church to wed herself to Christ in his perfecting experience of God. In Christ's name let us seek such an experience of God as shall manifest itself in a revelation of Him through us, such as He made of Himself to the world through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Then, and then only, will it be possible for us to persuade men to share oiu* experience of God in the ew Jerusalem. Let us wed

ourselves to Christ in his experience of the presence of God in order that we may be able to successfully invite the world to share that experience of God which we have made preeminently inviting. "And the Spirit and the bride say, come. And let him that heareth say come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." I have not undertaken to interpret much of the imagery of this last book of the Bible. [296]

THE WORLD E LIGHTE ED One thing only needs to be pointed out in order that my readers may miderstand the significance of what I have written concerning the City of God. ations rise and fall in this allegory, rending, tearing, devouring one another, because they all embody the selfish spirit of the world; and the church, under its various symbols, is represented as being powerless to save them, imtil at last the City of God, the new Jerusalem, is seen descending from God out of Heaven. When the nations of the earth come to walk in its light their wounds are healed and the kingdoms of this world become the Kingdom of our God.

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