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The Present Work And Ministry Of Christ In Heaven

The present ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven is a theme of absorbing interest. His work in resurrection-glory is vast and comprehensive in its scope. We may try to explore in measure the work of Christ in sustaining the vast universe and all things therein. By His word they were brought into existence, and by His word they arc upheld and sustained; His almighty power is inherent in His word, and the vast universe is subject to His omnipotent will and word, "Upholding all things by the word of His power " (Hebrews 1.8). Everything, everywhere, is dependent for its present existence upon Him and the effectiveness of His word of power. It is standing witness to the existence of Christ in resurrection-glory and power that all things continue in ordered movement and place, undeviating in their course to fulfil the divine will.

"And in Him all things consist" (R.V.M., hold together) (Colossians 1.17).

It is a theme which should cause our hearts to be bowed in adoring wonder and humble worship, for what are we in this vast array of created things to be thought of at all? and yet,

"All things living He doth feed, His full hand supplies their need; For His mercies aye endure, Ever faithful, ever sure."

Not only does He sustain the universe, but He is mindful of the needs of all His creatures.

He watereth the mountains from His chambers:

The earth is satisfied with the fruit of Thy works,

He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle,

And herb for the service of man;

That He may bring forth food out of the earth:

And wine that maketh glad the heart of man,

And oil to make his face to shine,

And bread that strengtheneth man's heart" (Psalm 104.13-15).

The millions of the human race are supplied with the necessities of life by the operation of those laws which men call the laws of nature, but which are in fact the laws of God functioning through Him who is the power and wisdom of God both in creation and redemption. Little do men think that they are dependent for their daily bread upon the One whom this world cast out and rejected. Likewise, the vast kingdom of the animal creation, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, are all provided for by His beneficent hand (see Psalm 104). Apart from the exercise of the power of Christ upon the throne of heaven in thus supplying the needs of all living beings and creatures in this world, scientific ingenuity would utterly fail to make provision for them.

If we should think, additionally, of the spiritual needs of fallen humanity, then we find that "there is ... one Mediator also between God and men, Himself Man, Christ Jesus." He was between God and men on the Cross to effect reconciliation. His work is a completed work in that respect, but the application to the needs of men of that work is something which goes on throughout time. "Him did God exalt with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour" (Acts 5.81). He is now in the glory of heaven, "Jesus the Mediator of a new covenant" (Hebrews 12.24), and "the Mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted upon better promises" (Hebrews 8.6). He has ratified that better covenant by blood, and now lives in the power of an indissoluble life to administer its terms to those who comply with it, whether it be the sinner coming for salvation, or the believer responding to the terms of that covenant by practical obedience. The work of the Lord Jesus ever goes on in this respect.

THE BUILDING OF THE CHURCH

We remember His word in Matthew 16 where in anticipation He says, "And upon this Rock I will build My Church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." In 1 Corinthians 12.18 it says, "For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one Body," which is described as" the Church, which is His Body" in Ephesians 1.21, 22. The work of building this Church goes on throughout this dispensation, and is the work of the Lord Jesus in heaven; it is He who takes believing sinners and baptizes them into One Body. He is its Nourisher, Cherisher, and Preserver. He is the Head of the Church, controlling and fashioning that wondrous structure according to God's eternal purpose. He is also "Head over all things to the Church," supplying its every necessity as He awaits the glorious moment of presentation to Himself of that which will be eternally "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all," His fulness, or complement, answering to the deep longings of His own Being, His satisfying portion for ever, as a wife to her husband.

PREPARING A PLACE FOR YOU

Who has not pondered and revelled in the sweetness and preciousness of the promise ? "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place

for you, I come again, and will receive you unto Myself; that where I am,

there ye may be also" (John 14. 2, 8).

What comfort to our hearts in this squalid scene of earth with all its sorrow and trouble to know that amidst the many abiding places in that land of glory, there is "a place" being prepared by Him for us, "for you" ! Can we not hear the throbbings of that heart of infinite love in those breathings of prayer?

"Father, that which Thou hast given Me, I will that, where I am, they also may be with Me; that they may behold My glory, which Thou host given Me" (John i7. 24).

Yes, He who has bought us at infinite cost at Calvary is engaged in preparing "a place" for us. He is longing and waiting for that glorious day when He will see us all in that wondrous abode. Are we expectant and longing to the degree that we may be able to say in truth like John, "Amen: come, Lord Jesus" ?

"Blest words to those through pain and sorrow wading,

'Tis to My Father's house I needs must go,

There to prepare a place where joy unfading

In Mine own presence ye may ever know."

THE ADVOCATE

Meanwhile we are left for a little while in this scene of earth to bear testimony for Him. Midst the pitfalls and snares besetting our path, how apt we are to stumble and fall, how we fail and fall short in that manner of life required of us by reason of the activities of our evil nature. Indeed we would be utterly cast down and give up the struggle, but for the assurance that "We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous." His present work as Advocate in heaven is on behalf of all God's failing children who come to God in confession. He is able to present before His Father, by reason of His shed blood, and His inherent and manifested righteous character, an unfailing plea for the forgiveness of God's erring children, hence,

"If we confess our sins, lie is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1. 9).

By reason of the advocacy of our Lord Jesus Christ before the Father on our behalf, we may know the preciousness of the words "He restoreth my soul" and thus we may go on in happy communion with God.

THE LORD'S SHEPHERD CARE

Whilst every individual sheep may share in the Shepherd's love and care, there are undoubtedly blessings which they can never know apart from obedience to His will. He is the Good Shepherd who died for them, He is the Great Shepherd who lives for them. He is also the Chief Shepherd, the Shepherd of the Flock, but many of the sheep never know the joy of being gathered into His Flock; they have never responded to His call to separation unto Himself outside the camp. The Flock is a gathered, known and numbered people together on earth by His call. To be one of His sheep requires simple faith in Him as Saviour, but to be in the Flock requires obedience to His will. Scattered sheep are not a flock; a flock is composed of gathered sheep under the care and guidance of the Shepherd.