Vol. 30, No. 5 May, 2006
HE IS PRECIOUS
By Pastor George Mills
“Unto you therefore which believe. HE IS PRECIOUS.”(1Pet. 2:7)
On our journey through the Bible we have reached the Books of First and Second Peter. This has been a refreshing time for me as I have studied for each message. We have begun to post our voice messages on our web-site. May I invite you to listen to these messages. Our web-site address is on the back page of this publication. At our home page, scroll down the main menu to the CHURCH IN THE WILDWOOD Broadcast. At this time we have only a couple of messages from First Peter, but I trust that we will have all of Second Peter posted in this series. I am thrilled to know that anywhere in the world, where folks have a computer, we can reach them with the Message of Jesus Christ. That’s a potential of millions of people. A’INT GOD GOOD! HE IS PRECIOUS, INDEED! I suppose that if I had to choose a single phrase to describe what Christ means to me, I would choose these words, “HE IS PRECIOUS.”When we think of the Apostle Peter we think of him as a Big , Rough, happy-go-lucky man with a sense of humor, a bit of a temper, and quick to speak, very roughly. “PRECIOUS” is more of a feminine word. And yet, this big, rough man, when using words to describe his Lord, Peter uses the word, “PRECIOUS.”I could think of no greater word to use in describing our Great Saviour. May I share with you some of the thoughts in this lesson series. And my dear friend, if you are not saved, I urge you to carefully consider these things, and your need of Christ. May every child of God be strengthened today as each one reads the message, “HE IS PRECIOUS.”The word, PRECIOUS has several meanings;
(A) “Of Great Value.” Christ is the Only Begotten Son. That makes Him of Great value.
(B) “Highly Esteemed.” Christ is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. That makes Him highly esteemed.
(C) “Excessively Refined.” Christ was refined in the fires of Calvary and found of purest Gold. Christ fulfills every definition of the word “PRECIOUS.”
1. PRECIOUS PRINCIPLE. Let’s start at the starting place. Call it principle, or precept, or whatever, but it all begins In Faith in the finished work of Christ in Redemption. “Simon Peter, a servant and an Apostle of Jesus Christ to them that have obtained LIKE PRECIOUS FAITH with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2Pet. 1:1) We are all saved the same way. I am not saved by my Faith plus something else. You are not saved by Grace plus Baptism. They are not saved by Grace through Faith plus anything. We are ALL saved the same way, By Grace alone, through Faith alone, plus and minus nothing. Do not depend upon anything or anyone else than Christ alone. Peter was writing to believers scattered all over the known world, (1Pet 1:1). But they were all saved the same way. We must realize that Salvation is the COMMON Salvation. One size fits all. Peter urges his readers to “give diligence to make your calling and election sure.” (2Pet. 1:10). Make sure that you have trusted the completed Work of Christ. Make sure that you have realized your condition, that you are a sinner, and that He paid the price for your sin by His work on the Cross and the empty tomb. Make sure that you have asked Him into your life, to be your Saviour. I do not mean that you have repeated some sentence prayer that someone led you in. Make sure that YOU, PERSONALLY have asked Christ into your heart, to forgive your sin. The Bible (KJV) says, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.”(Jn 1:12) “How do I receive Him?” The Bible says, “Ask, and ye shall receive.” Make your calling and election sure.” Are YOU sure?
PRECIOUS PRINCIPLE, SALVATION BY FAITH ALONE.
2. PRECIOUS PERSON. “Unto you therefore which believe HE IS PRECIOUS.” (1Pet 2:7) Peter was acquainted with the Person of Christ. Perhaps more so than any of the Apostles. Jesus singled Him out. “Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not, and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Lk 22:31-32). Peter saw the strength of Christ and his own weaknesses. He saw the miracles. He saw the dead raised to life. He saw the Glory of Christ on the mount of transfiguration. He saw the Love of Compassion of Christ for the hungry crowds. He saw the Love of Christ on the Cross. He saw the resurrected Christ on the shore as He fed the Apostles. He again singled out Peter and said, “Lovest thou Me more than these?” “Yea Lord, Thou knowest I love thee.” “FEED MY LAMBS.” (John 21:15-17). Yes, Peter walked with Christ, laughed with Christ, ate with Christ, saw Christ perhaps as no other saw Him, failed Christ, denied Christ, Confessed His love for Christ. And the totality of if all was , “HE IS PRECIOUS.” I would blend my voice with the Apostle, “HE IS PRECIOUS.” I borrow the lines from the great Hymn by Charles Gabriel:
“So Precious is Jesus my Saviour, my King,
His praise all the day long with rapture I sing,
To Him in my weakness for strength I can cling,
For He is so Precious to me.”
I know not the words to describe this Wonderful Person. He is beyond description. “To know Him, is to love Him.” And conversely, you will never Love Him, if you do not know Him. To know Him in Faith, to walk with Him in faith, is to Love Him.
3. PRECIOUS PRICE. Our Redemption is free. It costs us nothing. It is NOT cheap, but it is free. Jesus paid the price for our redemption by His own Blood on the Cross. Peter wrote, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers. But with the PRECIOUS BLOOD of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1Pet 2:18-19). When giving the price Christ paid for our redemption, He gave the illustration of the Pearl in Mt 13:45-46, “Again the kingdom of Heaven is like unto a merchant man seeking goodly pearls. Who, when he hath found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” Do not get this illustration backward as some have it. This is not speaking about us selling all that we have in order to gain the pearl of great price. The Merchant Man is Christ who gave His everything to purchase the Pearl (the Church) of great price. Perhaps the most beautiful, meaningful verse in the Bible is found in John 3:16; “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God gave His Only Son for us. “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Him.” (2Cor 5:21) On and on the beautiful verses about the PRECIOUS PRICE OF REDEMPTION could be listed. Paul could never get over the price Jesus paid., “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet, not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” (Gal 2:20) And John adds, “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” (Rev 1:5). Oh the price of our redemption. More than we could pay. But He wants no payment. He only wants to use us for awhile down here, while He prepares something for us up there.
4. PRECIOUS PROMISES. “Whereby are given to us exceeding great and PRECIOUS PROMISES that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2Pet 1:4)
When we trusted Christ as our Saviour, God saved us. With His Salvation, came a New Nature. We were born with the Adamic nature which is a depraved nature. A Nature that is bent toward sin. God did nothing with that old nature. We are stuck with it until we go home to be with Christ. But God gave us a New Nature, a Divine nature. Now, I know that some are teaching that when we got saved, the old Adamic nature was done away, that it was eradicated. But if you will be honest with yourself, you will soon find that you still have that old nature. We are to PARTAKE of the new, Divine nature that we may grow thereby. (1Pet 2:2) His PROMISE to us is that He has given us everything we need to advance, to grow, to mature in our Christian life. The old nature is sometimes referred to as “the flesh” or “the old man” Peter told us in 2Pet 1:5-10, to add to saving faith, virtue. Virtue, in any period of time it has been used has the meaning of excellence, or, the highest character. That’s our goal. These graces that the Apostle lists grow out of each other. While we are working on virtue, we are planting and growing knowledge. Knowledge is growing temperance, Temperance is growing patience, and patience is growing godliness, and godliness is growing brotherly kindness, and brotherly kindness is growing charity. As we establish ourselves in the present Truth, (2Pet 1:12) we are producing these graces. Sometimes it may seem as though we are not making much progress, but we are, when we continue in the Truth, (Thy Word is TRUTH), His PROMISE is that we will not be blind, or near-sighted, and forgetful, (v9), But that we will be fruitful in our Christian life. We will be ever growing stronger in faith and Love for Christ.
5. PRECIOUS PATHS. “That the trial of your faith being much more PRECIOUS than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (1Pet 1:7). A new kind of experience is being taught today. An experience that is easy, fast, and immediate. An experience that costs you nothing. Of course, this is false teaching. But many are falling for it. This easy path, this soft way that has no rough spots sound good, but I have not found the “Easy way” since I started living for Christ. If I started naming some of the “hard places” you would probably think, (and rightly so) that I might be feeling sorry for myself. There has been some soft paths, and I think of them with fond memories. But I have found that God met me in those rough places. He walked with me, and brought me through each one. And with each rough place I learned much. As I look back over my life I have to refer to those “HARD PATHS” as “PRECIOUS PATHS” My Faith was tested, and tried. As the Old Patriot Job said, “But He knoweth the way that I take, when He hath TRIED ME, I shall come forth as GOLD.” (Job 23:10). A Faith that has not been tested, cannot be trusted.
6 PRECIOUS PILLAR. “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and PRECIOUS. Ye also as lively stones are built up a spiritual house, to offer spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, behold I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, PRECIOUS, and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe He is PRECIOUS, but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner. And a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the Word, being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed.” (1Pet 2:4-8). A building is no better than the pillars beneath that hold it up. The Bible (KJV) identifies Jesus Christ as the Foundation. “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ.” (1Cor 3:11). Jesus Christ is also the Chief Corner Stone. Men stumble over this truth, to their own destruction. The setting in this text in First Peter 2:4-8 is an illustration about a builder. He has carefully designed his building. He has rechecked the measurements. He has carefully gone over every detail. He has ordered his material. The material has been delivered to the building site and the work on his building has begun. One stone in all of his material does not seem to fit. So the workers just push this one stone aside. As they work on their building, they keep stumbling over that one stone, so they completely reject it. They cast it aside. They keep trying to work on their building, but nothing seems to go right. They can?t seem to find the corner stone. This is the most important stone in their building. All of the lines and angles are determined by that one stone. Then they remembered that stone they rejected. They find that rejected stone, and place it in the corner position, and it fit. Jesus Christ is the Corner Stone, He is the Foundation. He is the PRECIOUS PILLAR that holds His Building, (The Church of the firstborn). He is the Eternal Son, Our Redeemer, and our Eternal High Priest. We need none other. His Blood was given for the Church. His Life keeps the Church. His Word Strengthens the Church. His Spirit guides the Church. Oh yes, He is PRECIOUS.
Now, do you find Him PRECIOUS? Or is He that Stone of stumbling, that Rock of offense? He is one or the other. If He is not that PRECIOUS ONE, you will stumble over Him all the days of your life. Nothing in life really fits, until the Chief Corner Stone is in place. Build your life upon Christ. Give Him place in your life. Honor and love Him. By receiving Him into your life today, you can begin TODAY to live FOREVER. Christ is there, where you are, in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He is the one who keeps speaking to your heart. As He speaks to your heart today, ask Him in to forgive your sin. I cannot tell you words to say. We are not saved by saying words or repeating a prayer. God will hear the cry of the repentant heart. With Christ in His rightful place, life makes sense. I have found Christ to be for me all that He PROMISED to Be. I am eternally grateful the He is that PRECIOUS PERSON, that PRECIOUS PILLAR for life and eternity.
“He is eyes to the blind, ears to the deaf, feet to the lame, freedom to the slave, joy to the mourner, life to the dead. Think of His life, how It gives life to the believer. Think of His death, how It redeems from hell. Think of His resurrection, how it justifies. Think of His second coming, how it delights our hearts. Think of Him is His offices as Prophet, Priest, and King. Think of Him in all of His relationships as friend, brother, husband. All good things meet in Him, even to superabundance. WHEREFORE, HE IS PRECIOUS.”
SO GREAT SALVATION
By Pastor George Mills
So Great Salvation now is here,
To rescue Adam’s race.
The God of Heaven now is near,
Bringing saving Grace.
The Glory of Salvation’s source,
The Greatness of His Plan,
For God Himself who knew our course,
And came for fallen man.
Amazing is Salvation’s Love,
Oh, the marvel of our gain.
For Christ to come from Heaven above,
To suffer Calvary’s pain.
Bruised and bleeding in our place,
Oh, the wonders of Love’s scope,
The dying Lamb, God’s Gift of Grace,
For every soul, there’s hope.
The Goodness of Salvation’s Gift,
Let us tell to every nation,
Of wounded souls He came to lift,
Tell, SO GREAT SALVATION.
THE GREATNESS OF SALVATION
By Pastor George Mills
“How shall we escape if we neglect so Great Salvation which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him.”(Heb 2:3)
SALVATION ..What a great word. It means “To be made whole.” “Redemption from the bondage of sin and eternal death, and conferring everlasting life.” I wish that I had the great gift of speech so that I might adequately express the GREATNESS OF SALVATION. I wish that I had writing skills adequate to express the GREATNESS OF SALVATION. The very best we can do with human ability is to fall short. May I share just a few thoughts with you about the GREATNESS OF SALVATION ?
1. SALVATION IS GREAT BECAUSE OF IT’S GREAT SOURCE. It is God’s Salvation. “Salvation belongeth unto the Lord.” (Ps 3:8). “With long life will I satisfy him and show him MY Salvation.” (Ps 91:16). It is God’s Salvation. Now, I am glad of that. Man has nothing to do with it. Man cannot work it out. Man cannot improve it. The only thing that man can do is to get in on it. Notice that our text says, “So Great Salvation.” It does not say “So great ‘A’ Salvation” as though there were another, for there is no other.
2. SALVATION IS GREAT BECAUSE WE ARE GREAT SINNERS. If you will take a few moments and read Romans 3:10-23 you will find many indictments against the human race. Man is a sinner, from the top of his head to his feet. His speech, his walk, his ways, all testify that man is a sinner in need of Salvation. “There is none righteous, no not one.” (Ro 3:10. “There is none that doeth good, no not one.” “For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.” (Ro 3:23). Jesus came to us from His Home in Glory to pay the price for our sins. My sin, your sin. We are great sinners. That’s what makes Salvation Great.
3. SALVATION IS GREAT BECAUSE OF A GREAT SAVIOUR. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Ro 5:6-8). Yes, some men have died for a cause, or for a friend, or for various other reasons. But what about One who would die for His enemies? That’s exactly what Christ did. “For if when we were ENEMIES we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son.”(Ro 5:10).
What a Great Saviour. He died for me. He paid my debt for sin. I want to spend my life in service for Him. I am grateful.
4. SALVATION IS GREAT BECAUSE OF A GREAT SACRIFICE. “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins should live unto righteousness, by whose stripes ye were healed.: (1Pet 2:24). “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on HIM the iniquity of us all.” (Isa 53:6). All of the wrath of a Holy God was poured upon the Christ on the cross. He bore all, ALL of God’s wrath. As the judgment of God fell upon the earth in Noah’s day, as the floods beat upon the ark, but not upon the ones INSIDE THE ARK, so Christ bore God?s judgment for us at Calvary
Hallelujah, what a Saviour. Hallelujah, what a Sacrifice.
5. SALVATION IS GREAT BECAUSE OF IT’S GREAT SCOPE. “For the Grace of God that bringeth Salvation hath appeared unto ALL MEN.” Salvation is for ALL men. It matters not what moral, or social or racial, or ethnic background you may have, YOU are included in God’s Great Salvation. Christ died for the sins of the whole world. (1Jn 2:2). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn 3:16). Jude wanted to write about the COMMON SALVATION (Jude 3). We have that “Common Salvation.” Everybody who gets saved, gets saved the same way. ALL are sinners, and ALL must come humbly to Christ for pardon from ALL sin. YOU are included in God’s plan for ALL Men. That’s the SCOPE OF SALVATION
6. SALVATION IS GREAT BECAUSE OF IT’S GREAT SUFFICIENCY. Paul had a burning desire to preach the Gospel of Christ at Rome. He had seen the Gospel work in other cities, such as Antioch, Corinth, Lystra, and others. He had seen the power of the Gospel at work. Men had “turned to God from idols to serve the Living and true God.”(1Thess 1:9) Paul said in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the Power of God unto SALVATION to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” The Power of God, the Sufficiency of the Gospel. Countless millions around the world have believed the message of the Gospel, and have found Power to overcome sin, the flesh, and the Devil. “Neither is there SALVATION in any other, for there is none other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” As someone has rightly said, “From the guttermost, to the uttermost.” SALVATION IS SUFFICIENT. It just needs to be preached, and then to be received.
7. SALVATION IS GREAT BECAUSE OF IT’S GREAT SECURITY.
(A) Salvation is guaranteed to everyone who will, by Faith alone, receive the finished Work of Christ. That is, You believe that He died for you upon the Cross, and that He was buried, and that He arose from the dead for your Justification. You MUST receive that, apart from anything else. You do not trust baptism, Church membership, or any work that you may do, or have done. You receive Christ by telling Him that you receive Him. The Bible says, “Ask, and ye shall receive. ” To anyone who will receive Him, Eternal Life is guaranteed because the BIBLE SAYS SO.
(B) Those who neglect will find that there is NO ESCAPE.
No ESCAPE from a hopeless life. To NEGLECT Salvation is the way to lose in life.
No ESCAPE from a hopeless death. To NEGLECT Salvation is to lose at death.
No ESCAPE from a Christless eternity. Those in eternity without Christ are there because of neglect. They did not plan to go to hell. They planned to, one day, get saved. They just NEGLECTED.
Salvation is GREAT. Get in on it, Today!