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Those aspects are evident as one moves through Matthew. In the broadest sense, the kingdom includes everyone who professes to acknowledge God. The other kingdom is the inner, the kingdom that includes only true believers, only those who, as John the Baptist proclaimed, repent and are converted. God rules over both aspects of the kingdom, and He will one day finally separate the superficial from the real.

Meanwhile He allows the pretenders to identify themselves outwardly with His kingdom. The first is the prophesied kingdom, such as that foretold by Daniel. The second phase is the present kingdom, the one that existed at the time of John the Baptist and that he mentions. It is the kingdom that both John and Jesus spoke of as being at hand cf. The King returned to heaven and His kingdom on earth now exists only in a mystery form.

Christ is Lord of the earth in the sense of His being its Creator and its ultimate Ruler; but He does not presently exercise His full divine will over the earth. He is, so to speak, in a voluntary exile in heaven until it is time for Him to return again. He reigns only in the hearts of those who know Him as Savior and Lord. The fourth phase can be described as the manifest kingdom, in which Christ will rule, physically, directly, and fully on earth for a thousand years, the Millennium. In that kingdom He will rule both externally and internally-externally over all mankind, and internally in the hearts of those who belong to Him by faith.

The kingdom at hand would have become the kingdom of a thousand years, which, in turn, would have ushered in the eternal kingdom. But because they killed the forerunner of the King and then the King Himself, the millennial kingdom, and consequently the eternal kingdom, were sovereignly postponed. Help Grace to You bring important resources like this to people in your community and beyond, free of charge. Here at Grace to You Europe we take our data protection responsibilities very seriously and, as you would expect, have undertaken a significant programme of work to ensure that we are ready for this important legislative change.

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Bible: Inner and Outer Word

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Are we not anxious to know the inner meaning of the doctrine? Shall we be content to observe the outside structure of truth in the parabolic form, and not to enter into its secret chambers, and live and dwell in the truth itself?

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If you desire to have all things expounded, notice well that those to whom Christ expounded all things were his own disciples. A disciple of Christ is one who accepts Christ as his teacher, and himself becomes a learner. A disciple, however, is more than that: he is one who receives Christ as his leader and Lord. Christ the Rabbi, the Master, is also Christ the Lord; the teacher and leader are one. If we are to be his disciples, we must do what he tells us, as well as believe what he tells us.

Unless we are willing to tread in his footsteps and follow his example we cannot be his disciples; and until we are such he will not expound all things to us. Do you want to understand the Scriptures? Do you long to understand the deep things of God, and the high mysteries of the Word?

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  • The rabbis taught the letter, but Christ teaches the life; and if we submit ourselves to him to receive his life, and to make him our way, he will then be the truth to us; but if we refuse him, if we will not yield to him, we shall remain in darkness with all the rest of the outer circle; hearing, we shall hear and not understand; seeing, we shall see and not perceive. Oh, my hearer, instead of trying to untie all knots and unravel all difficulties, yield yourself to Christ first of all.

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    If you wish to know, believe and obey. You must trust Christ first, and yield yourself up entirely to him, and then the divine light of the Holy Spirit shall come streaming into your soul to open up to you the things hidden from the carnally wise. Our Lord will surely teach his own. If we claim to be his disciples we must cultivate a desire to learn. No man in holy lore learns more than he is willing to be taught. Certain ones who call themselves disciples of Christ have no wish to learn, but they have a great wish to teach before they have learned anything.

    See the many who run away half-hatched, with the shell on their heads, and yet they try to crow. They cannot teach, and they will not learn. If they would wait a little, and be instructed, their time might come; but they are so hasty to fight that they will neither put on armour nor gird on a sword. Eager to give a drink to the thirsty, they cannot spare the time to fill the cup. How can they sow if they have no seed in the basket? Can a man have anything which he has not received?

    And if he has not learned it from the Father, how can he go with any power to proclaim it to others? We must be anxious to learn. Observe how our Lord Jesus prompts his disciples to learn.

    The crowd knows nothing, but they are gone. They have been pleased with my parables, but they have not entered into the soul of my teaching.

    Gospel of Thomas Saying 22 -

    Have you understood all these things? We are to be his disciples, and anxious to learn; it follows as a result that we must confess that we do not know. Many a man might have known if he had only been aware that he did not know. A sense of ignorance is the door-step of the palace of wisdom. These men who needed to be instructed by Christ, and to have all things to be expounded to them, were the very pick of the saints: out of them came the apostles and the seventy disciples, and these formed the first layer of living stones laid upon the foundation to build up a spiritual house; and yet these admirable people still had to be alone with Jesus to have all things expounded to them.

    Oh, brothers and sisters, let us not be so wickedly self-conceited as to imagine that we know everything. Are there not some who think that they carry the gospel and all the doctrines of it in their pockets as if it were a five-sided lozenge? They have condensed the infinite into a pentagon. If anyone knows more than they know he is denounced as a heretic, hopelessly unsound. Let it not be so with us, for we dare not boast of such perfect knowledge. What do we know, my brethren?

    If what we do know and what we do not know were put together there would be such a difference in the size of the volumes that they could not be bound to match. What we know is so little compared with what we do not know that we might safely take up the language of Sir Isaac Newton, probably the greatest of human intellects, when he said that he had been like a child playing on the beach, who had picked up here and there a beautiful shell, while all the great deep of the ocean still remained unexplored.

    We are of yesterday, and know nothing. Like children, we need teaching; therefore let us be constantly coming to Christ. I do not mean you youngsters only, but the greybeards, the most experienced and most advanced among us. Let us be sitting at his feet with Mary, listening to that heavenly voice which alone can expound all things to us. I ask you to observe carefully that these people whom Christ instructed in the inner sense had to be separate from the multitude.

    Come out from the world if you wish to learn the deep things of God. The more conformity to the world the more we shall remain in darkness. It is wonderful what light will come to a man when he learns to walk the separated path. More than this, I will go beyond my text: if you and I wish to know the heart of our holy religion, we must get alone, even from the church, with Christ.

    If they had been alone, and Jesus had not been there, they would have learned nothing; but they were alone with him. Oh, brothers and sisters, let us practise more meditation. None of us is as much alone as we ought to be in these busy days. I do not mean merely to pray and read, but to sit still and ponder and consider. I find it good in devotion occasionally to cease praying, and look up, gazing into the invisible.

    The heart kindles into admiration of the person of Christ, and the soul begins to speak to him as to a friend, while all the inner man is still. A good commentary is a great help, but communion with the Lord is better.

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    The Lord Jesus can show you how to wring it out until your bucket is filled. In such a way the Lord opens up to us a passage of Scripture, by anointing our eyes with eyesalve so that we may see. What sights have we beheld in the word! We have been lost in wonder, love, and praise!

    But the Lord does this to us when we are alone with him. Now, brethren, I leave this part of the subject, and conclude when I notice that, in order to get this precious exposition from Christ, we must regard him as being the ultimate and final interpreter. When they were willing to have it so, they were instructed. The key of Scripture is Christ.