The Retrospective Feature (continued)
The Counter to Corruption (continued)
"Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments" (Revelation 3:4). That is a testimony - "even in Sardis". And it is a throw-back to chapter one of Revelation, where Jesus is seen clothed with a robe down to His feet - the white robe of incorruption. "I am ... the Living One; and I became dead, and behold, I am alive unto the ages of the ages" (Revelation 1:17-18). So He says, as clothed in this white garment down to the feet. What does it mean? Surely this: that He has been thrown in His death into the cesspool of human iniquity for us - "He was made sin for us, He Who knew no sin" - and has come out undefiled, triumphant, in a white robe. And "thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments" - what is that? It is just His victory in the lives of these people in Sardis, where things were morally very, very black indeed. "Remember Jesus Christ."
Young man, if you are shortly going to get your calling up into the Forces, well, you are going into it. You may not find another Christian near to help you. You may be out of touch with all means of grace outwardly; it may mean a crisis for your spiritual life. Many have lost out at that turning-point. "Remember Jesus Christ." Remember "Christ in you" is there as the power of an incorruptible life. It is possible for you to go through and come out triumphant because of Jesus Christ. And what is true in that connection is true in all others. You see the difference between Jesus Christ and all other men, even the best. His goodness was a different goodness.
Christ's Knowledge Spiritual, Not Academic
Take a move around to another angle from which to look at Him - His knowledge. Now, no one will question or dispute that Jesus had a very wide knowledge, was tremendously well informed, was very rich in His understanding. Everybody in His day had both to recognize and to acknowledge it. Even His critics and enemies raised the questions: 'Whence hath this Man this knowledge". He spoke as One having authority, and not as the very knowledgeable men, the Scribes; there was something extra here. But His knowledge was not the knowledge of the schools. He never went to college or to university. he had to work at home, hard and long, for that pittance to keep mother and brothers in food and raiment. He was not able to earn in order to put aside a nest-egg against a rainy day - if that is not mixing metaphors! - for, when it came to going out on His life's work, He could not afford a lodging. He had nowhere to lay His head. He had to work a miracle to pay His taxes.
No wonder they asked: "How knoweth this Man letters, having never learned?" (John 7:15). How does He get this knowledge - knowledge which has extended and exhausted all the brains every since His day? And they are still at it. Look at all the libraries that have been written on Him and His sayings - and still we come back and wonder what He meant when He said this and that; we still have not fathomed it. So everybody will acknowledge that He had a very, very large knowledge: but whence was it? We say again: It was not the knowledge of the schools; it was something other and something different and something else. Well, we Christians have the answer; we know. But, mark you, that difference is "the" difference between Christ and all others - the "knowledgeable" people; and the difference between every simplest child of God and the wisest among men.
(continued with # 55)