Volume 5


The Lord's Return

J. B. Stoney

Page: 396


J.B.S. In connection with the subject of the Lord's return, I think it is very much lost sight of that it is because of what is due to Him that we should wish Him to come back, not merely for the blessedness that will be ours when we go to Him. When the heart is true to Him, and knows what it is to be united to Him, it is so identified with His interest that it longs for the moment when He shall enter into possession of all that so rightly belongs to Him here.

The interpretation of the word of God by the human mind always reduces it to man's level; you get man's side only, God's side is left out. How often we get a human interpretation of the gospel; so that the highest thought presented is that of our going to heaven; all about us, God's part in it is not seen.

The church is like the wife of an absent king who has been refused his right place, and she is waiting here until he comes back; she is thinking not merely of her enjoyment in the prospect, but of his enjoyment. The great lack in souls is that all they look for is for Christ to think of them; thank God He does think of us; but He expects us to think of Him.

At the breakdown of the church in Thyatira the hope then given was "the morning star". There was to be no restoration of the church, but He was to come to reign.

Ques. Do you connect the morning star with the kingdom?

J.B.S. No, with His coming; but it is not merely the grace that would be brought unto me that I am thinking of, but that in the place where He has been refused He is coming to reign. The Thessalonians were waiting for God's Son from heaven; it was not

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their going to heaven that they were waiting for; what they looked for was the Lord to come and reign. See @2Timothy:4 - "unto all them also that love his appearing". They were looking for Christ to come back to reign where He was rejected; and we should look for Him to come to reign; "the Spirit and the bride say, Come". Christ is for earth as well as for heaven: He is the "root and offspring of David" as well as the "bright and morning star". In the Revelation you get the introduction of Christ again into this scene; the morning star is the harbinger of another day.

In @John:21 the Lord says of John, "If I will that he tarry till I come". He had, as regards revelation, come when the book of Revelation was given; everything was out; there was no more to be brought out till the Lord came. The church has failed as a witness here, and Christ comes in as "the faithful and true witness".

In @Matthew:25 we read, "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which... went forth to meet the bridegroom"; it was to the place of meeting they were going. The Bridegroom there is evidently in relation to the earth. It does not take away the comforting side, but it brings you into concert with His side. It is of Him you are thinking.

People are in trouble, and they look forward to the Lord's coming as relief from it; but the true condition is to be watching and waiting for Him.

The proof of watching is that you are giving the household meat in due season, looking after His people. Loving His appearing would be the right motive. John says, "that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming", @1John:2:28. Further on he says, "that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward", @2John:8.

If your heart is set on Christ you will be set on His

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getting His right place here, for there is nothing right here, nor will be, till Christ gets His right place. The heart true to Him and knowing union with Him is identified with His interests and knows that in this world He has not His place.

The wife is still in the place where He has been refused; she feels His absence and says, I wish He were back, not for my sake only, but for His. There will be no righteousness here till He comes back.

I think we have lost the importance of the Lord's coming by making it a means of escape from the troubles here; we have lost the sense of what an awful thing it is for His rights to be set aside. How could we take distinction from the world! We should say, You refuse our Lord; the loss of that sense in saints is a great lack.

Ques. What does that mean, "ye do show the Lord's death till he come"?

J.B.S. We announce His death. It is not the remembrance of our benefit. There is nothing about sins in the holiest; we could not refer to sins in the holiest. The Corinthians were not announcing His death.

Ques. Some read @Revelation:1 and 5 as authority for speaking of sins at the Lord's supper?

J.B.S. That is because they are looking at their own side. In those chapters the saints are rejoicing because the Lord is about to come and reign on the earth where all the sins are put away. That is not our place in the holiest of all.

Sins are carried into the land of forgetfulness for Israel. It is a very important thing that in the place where they are committed they are removed.

As to showing His death till He come - there is to be no exhibition of anything in this world but His death until He comes back. You expect nothing and you accept nothing from this place. Look at the Corinthians; they would reign as kings without Him!

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Ques. Is there responsibility in coming to the Supper?

J.B.S. The Supper is communion and the table responsibility.

Ques. Why do you get the table in @1Corinthians:10 where communion is spoken of?

J.B.S. Communion there is identification with His death; you are identified with His death. That is the true place of the church. We want nothing of this world; our only place in it is to be identified with His death.

Ques. Still you may read @Revelation:5 as a scripture that brings out the glory of His Person?

J.B.S. But you have not the worship of the church there. There should be no reference to sins at the Lord's supper. How could you bring sins into the holiest? You have "boldness to enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus"; it is the same blood that saved your soul that opens the door to the holiest.

Ques. But does the reference to sin necessitate the bringing sin into the holiest?

J.B.S. What is the object in referring to it?

Ques. The benefit you have received, but giving thanks to Him for it - "This is my blood, that of the new covenant, that shed for many for remission of sins".

J.B.S. That only intensifies His death.

Ques. Do we not look back to Him bearing our sins?

J.B.S. The simple question is, Where are you? Are you in the holiest of all? If not you are not morally on the ground of the church at all, but on individual ground. You see in the revelation of the Lord's supper to Paul how it is opened up in connection with the truth of the church. It gives the foundation of the relation of Christ to the church and the church to Christ, and our relation to one another. If you individualise by the recollection of sins, it is

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falsified, it is all your side; you have lost His side, lost the real thought of the Supper and reduced it to a means of grace.

Ques. 'Oh, Lord, what Thee tormented,
Was our sins' heavy load' -

there you look at what the cross was to Him?

J.B.S. Yes, but people seek relief from it. If you are not already relieved, you cannot have remembrance of Him, for you are thinking of yourself, not of Him, and you cannot have two ideas before you at the same time.

I do not think we take up the Lord's supper from @Luke:22; we should go to @1Corinthians:11; you could not, properly speaking, take the Lord's supper from the gospels. Drinking it new in my Father's kingdom does not apply to us.

Ques. Is not the new song in @Revelation:5 in the Father's house?

J.B.S. I think as far as I have examined that chapter it is all for earth; there is neither the Father's name nor the Father's house in it.

I am sure it is a mercy we have had the subject before us; nothing is more humbling among brethren than the character of the hymns sometimes sung at the Lord's supper. It is a sad indication of their state.

The fact is, they do not understand the truth of the church. If you are in @John:20 you must be in peace; if not, you are going back to the door by which you entered; you leave all sins at the very start. If we think of our sins we individualise ourselves completely; such an one is out of the truth of the church. I am very glad this has come out, for I think we are not clear about it.

Ques. Is there any such thing as corporate sins?

J.B.S. Certainly not. The assembly may have failed, and we should humble ourselves; but if we are occupied with this at the Lord's supper we are not remembering Him. A person truly remembering the

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Lord's death would accept nothing from the world where Christ died; that would be the moral effect.

Ques. You would not wish to lessen the sense in souls, even in the church, that this is the basis upon which the faith of the saints rests, the death of the Lord Jesus? You would make a distinction between singing hymns connected with the institution of the Lord's supper, and the fact of the ground of redemption; the question of the body given and the blood shed as the foundation of faith?

J.B.S. Quite so, if you take it as the basis; but not if the reference is by a person wanting relief. If you want to intensify it I have no objection: only keep it separate.

Ques. One thinks of the Lord's death as because of what we were?

J.B.S. Still it is His death, what it was to Him, not to me - "This do in remembrance of me". We apprehend it as the expression of His love; we remember Him.

Ques. It is the communion of His body and of His blood?

J.B.S. That is the responsible side. We are identified with His death. I believe the more I am remembering His death here, the more I should like to come out into this world and say with Ruth, "Where thou diest, will I die"; that is @1Corinthians:10.

Ques. Why does the cup come first in chapter 10?

J.B.S. Because of the responsibility; you could not be under the responsibility if not partakers of the cup. To return to Revelation - "The Spirit and the bride say, Come". What marks the bride is that she is expecting the Bridegroom, consequently everything is looked after. A person who is waiting and watching does not go to sleep, but he is looking after the interests of the One he is expecting; he is giving His people meat in due season; he would like Him to see everything cared for in His absence. Some, who talk of His

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coming, lose sight of His household; you must take care of His household. It is a great point gained when you see there is a household to look after. It is the characteristic of the servant to see that the Lord's people get their meat; care for the household is the test.

Ques. Is that why the apostle says in @Acts:20, "Feed the church of God"?

J.B.S. Of course. There he is only speaking to the overseers. So the Lord says to Peter, "Feed my sheep". We can easily judge if we love Him. The servant who is watching gives the meat in due season; he prays to be enabled to bring out truth suitable to the time. It is not the chapter you know best that yields the best food; the one you know least may be the very one to bring forward.

It is a very important point, the household, because there is a tendency sometimes to think no work whatever is going on unless you get a number of people converted or brought out of system; whereas there is a great work connected with the household. Sometimes a man loses heart, and does not care to stay and feed a few sheep. He would stay if he loved the sheep.

It has been said, If you want to have easy times, preach the gospel; if you want to have your heart broken, serve the church. There is not a text in the Bible which so tests me as, "love one another, as I have loved you". A person really waiting for the Lord is seeking His interest, and recognises that He has a household.

Rem. It is true that one often hears the expression, There is nothing going on here.

J.B.S. Send such an one to @Matthew:13. When you go inside apart from the multitude (verse 36) you find that Christ has a hidden treasure. It is an immense comfort to me that His treasure is here. You know it because you have been inside with the Lord. The Lord sent away the multitude before He opened

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out to His disciples the last three similitudes. His treasure is not in heaven, it is here. I have said that if the Lord had not a treasure on this earth the sooner I was out of it the better. When a brother gives out a hymn inviting the Lord to come, I ask, Is he wonderfully devoted to the flock?

His treasure is "his household" alluded to in @Matthew:24:45. In @Matthew:13 it is the "pearl of great price" and the "treasure hid in a field".

The simple principle connected with the kingdom is, "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him"; it is in connection with righteousness. Our place in heaven is altogether connected with grace.