ALL THAT COMES BEFORE CHRIST, #617
All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. (JOH 10:8).
Our text must be held in its full context to rightly understand what Jesus said! All too often what Jesus said of the religious leaders in His day is true today. The condition of the church at the time of Christ so clearly resembles the condition of the church in our day.
See what we read in JOH 10:6; "This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them." So often today as it was in those days, what Jesus is speaking is so obvious and so clear, when we rightly understand it, and yet it can be such a mystery.
I want you to notice with me in MAT 13 that Jesus was speaking a parable, and in Verses 10 and 11 it says, "And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given." The Lord hid Himself from the Jews as He passed among them and between them and sorted out a single man who was blind from birth to heal him. And it says here: But to them it is not given. To you it is given to know, but to them it is not given.
In Verses 12 to 14 it says, "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive."
Now in this verse I want you to notice that the Lord Jesus spoke a parable in the beginning of chapter 10, and the Pharisees and the scribes, the Jews, the chief priests, and all the religious leaders did not understand it. They did not understand the mystery of the kingdom of heaven that was contained in that parable.
In JOH 10:7-8 Jesus says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers." He is again speaking a mystery. When He speaks of Himself as a door, He is speaking a parable. As we pointed out in the last chapter, what this is speaking of is, He is a door of exit as well as a door of entrance. He is the door whereby we come out of the world. We come out of the service of Satan and sin. We come out of where we are by nature to enter into the blessed kingdom of Christ, and enter into His service. Now He says, "All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them." JOH 10:8.
Now, may God graciously grant us the Spirit of discernment to rightly understand. What we are entering into in our text is a mystery to the human mind. May God graciously grant a right spirit to unfold it rightly and to understand these precious truths which are so vital to a right understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The mystery contained in our text is a cornerstone of the gospel of Jesus Christ when it is rightly understood.
Until we can become as teachable as a little child and believe that what our Saviour says means exactly what He has said, we will all remain as ignorant as the Pharisees. How many people in our day want to gainsay the Word of God? They want to limit what it says or to what they want to say, "Yes, but," and then add their philosophy or their insight, and they do not want to accept what the Lord Jesus Christ actually says. Jesus was not lacking for words to express Himself. We must believe that He means what He says. It means exactly what it says. It is so important that we dont start altering or twisting or gainsaying the Word of God.
Our loving Father commanded us to believe! Now take notice in 1JO 3:23, "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." In other words, that we must believe, that is, we must believe on that Name of that authority that He gave His Son.
This word believe comes from the Greek word pistis, and it means, "persuasion, i.e., credence; conviction (of religious truth, or truthfulness of God)." To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ means that you are convicted of the truthfulness of what He says. If we are not fully convicted or believe that what Christ says is true, we do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, the phrase, in the name of (the Father has commanded that we believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ). This phrase in the name of comes from the Greek word onoma, which means "a name of authority." So, what we must believe is that the name Jesus Christ is a name of all authority, all authority was given unto Jesus.
Now watch this in PHI 2:9-10, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth." He gave Him a Name of authority. He speaks with authority, and we must accept exactly what He says, knowing that it means exactly what He says.
So you and I are commanded of the Father to bow to that authority which He has placed upon our Saviour's NAME, and to be persuaded to lend credence to the truthfulness of what He says.
Now, Jesus said in our text, "All [not partial, not some and not others] that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them." So when Jesus speaks to us about "All that ever came before [Him]." Can we be as teachable as a little child? Can we accept that what Jesus said is what He meant? Can we be persuaded to lend credence to His authority, to the authority of every word, and the truthfulness of what Jesus Christ says; and beg for understanding if need be?
How often when the Word of God not being understood is it manipulated rather than searched prayerfully? We must dig deep into the Word to find what it means. We need to know what Jesus meant, not to twist it to what we think it said. Do we have the authority to say, as do some commentators, that "this word ALL must be understood with some restrictions"? In other words, Jesus says all, but we say partial. Do we have the authority to do this? Can we rightly understand what Jesus is saying by altering what He says? This is what so many commentators do. They say that this word or verse must be heard with restrictions.
Now, let me show you their reasoning when a commentator says, "It is abundantly clear that here we have another instance [so this is not an isolated case] where the word all cannot be taken absolutely." Such commentators are telling us that we have to sandbag what Jesus says because sometimes He has a little loss of words; He doesnt really know how to express Himself. That is in effect what they are really telling us. This is so important and I want to explain something. Until we rightly understand this principle-what Jesus says is exactly what He means-we will remain as the scribes and the Pharisees, hearing we will hear, but not perceive. Seeing we will see but not comprehend. We must take the Word of God in a literal sense to mean exactly what it says.
Now, this word all comes from the same Greek word pas as is found twice in ROM 5:18; "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."
However, in order to uphold their doctrine of the limited atonement, these same commentators would say that the use of the word all in the second instance "must be understood with some restrictions." Unless they put restrictions on the all in "By the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life," their doctrine of limited atonement goes right in the round file. It is either that or the Word of God is a liar.
They take it that the word all must be taken with some restrictions then. This is one of the other instances that the commentator says that the word all cannot be taken absolutely. So the word all, when it talks about all men under the offense to condemnation, they take that to mean what it says, but then they will twist the second all, so it is limited with some restrictions.
In our text, as well as in both instances where the word all is used in ROM 5:13, it comes from the same Greek word pas which means "all, any, every, the whole." Does that leave any room for restrictions or does that mean that it is absolute? If I do not understand what Christ is saying, I need to do some soul searching. I need to do some digging into the Word. I need to find out what is this that Christ is saying to see there is harmony in the Word.
Now, the reasoning of these commentators is that Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, and John the Baptist all came before Christ, and they were not robbers and thieves. There seems to be some logic to it doesnt it? So, now with their human reasoning and their human logic, they are going to defy what Christ said. Christ said, "All that came before me were robbers and thieves." They are saying: Moses wasnt a robber and a thief, and neither were Joshua and John the Baptist, so we have to use that word all with some restrictions. Now, where do we find the answer to this dilemma? Their reasoning seems to be sound, and who wouldnt say they were right. So, lets go a little further.
Therefore, instead of admitting they do not understand and dig deeper into the Word to find the answer, they, like the Jews, call into question the truthfulness of what Jesus has said. They do not believe Jesus.
In JOH 8:58-59 we read, "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. [Did Moses come before Him? No. He just got done telling us: Before Abraham was, I am. Is He not from eternity? So, where is their logic? Now they are making contradiction in what Jesus has said about Moses, Joshua, and John the Baptist. Were they all ahead of Abraham? He said, Before Abraham was, I am. So that logic is gone. Otherwise they make Him a liar again. We have got to stop trying to manipulate the Word of God to try to find the answer. What we need to do is search the Word of God to find the answer, and we need to pray that the Lord will give us a teachable spirit that we can come with a childlike spirit before Him, and say, "Lord, I dont know. Show me. Open my understanding that I might see what this means."
Because of the Jews lack of understanding, we read in JOH 8:59, "Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by." Now, I am going to tell you something. When we start throwing stones at what Jesus said, He hides Himself and He reveals Himself unto babes. He hides Himself from our understanding. Then we join the scribes and the Jews and the Pharisees in a religion of human reasoning without any conception of what it is that Jesus has said.
So, how then must we understand this word all in our text? By rightly understanding what Jesus said about all. Was He talking about Moses and Joshua and David and John the Baptist? No. We have to rightly understand what He was speaking about the word all. What is Jesus speaking about when He said, "All that ever came before me"?
The answer lies in the meaning of the word before. Is He speaking of "prior to" in the form of essence or time? No. Because He has already said, Before Abraham was, I am. It would be blasphemy to try to insinuate that anyone came before Christ. Christ is from eternity. That is not what He meant. When He said "before," He is not referring to prior in time. And now we come to the answer of our question. This word before comes from the Greek word pro, which means "in front of, superior to." When we start to understand that, we start to understand what Jesus is saying. It means superior to, before, in other words, by preference.
This Greek word pro is translated as "above all things," i.e., to mean "superior in priority" in 1PE 4:8; "And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins." The word all fits in there beautifully. We are not to have anything that we place ahead of the Lord Jesus Christ. Above all things, in other words, He has priority above all things.
So, to illustrate what Jesus is telling us about all, lets see what He says in MAT 10:37-38. "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me."
"He that loveth father or mother more than me." Do you see what the Lord is talking about? All that comes before Me. When I place my father and mother ahead of Him. Jesus is talking about placing anything in the way of people, circumstances, something that is pleasing to me that I set ahead of obeying His Word. In other words, we have something that we call superior in value, something that we will choose ahead of Him.
Now, we can begin to see some light and understanding of what Jesus meant when He said, "All that come before me are robbers and thieves." Where does the robbery take place? When I place my children or my father and mother ahead of the Lord Jesus Christ, that robs me of is the light of the gospel. Then I lose that insight into the mysteries of salvation of the kingdom of God because I have my priorities mixed up. When I place the commentators ahead of the authority of Christ, I lose a right understanding of what Jesus is telling me.
"He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." If we put anything ahead of Jesus, it becomes a robber and a thief. Now, our father, mother, sons, and daughters, our husbands or our wives may be ever so dear to us. They can be so dear, but look at what EXO 20:5 says. Now, I want you to see the word before used in the same context as our text. EXO 20:5 says, "I the LORD thy God am a jealous God." Therefore, He says in EXO 20:3, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Now, you see how that word before gives a light on what is meant by what Jesus is saying in our text.
Now to verify that this term before me in our text means "in front of, or superior to," more so than "prior to," let's examine the context. Now, I want you to take what Jesus is saying back into the context in which He wrote it to verify what I am telling you.
JOH 8:31-32 says, "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." He is putting emphasis on the authority of His Word.
Verses 33-35 continue, "They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever."
See how the religious leaders had placed their doctrine of the Abraham covenant "before" the words of Jesus. They placed it in front of His words; they made it superior to what He taught. Watch what it says in JOH 8:33, "They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?" They were calling into question the truth of what He just said. He said, "If you will continue in my word, the truth will make you free." The veracity of the words that Christ spoke is put into second place, and they are putting their human reasoning ahead of it by saying they were Abrahams seed and were never in bondage to any man.
This same obstacle arose with reference to Moses in the Pharisees rebuke to the man that was born blind.
In JOH 9:28-29 we read, "Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is." Do you see why Jesus is telling them that when you place Moses and Abraham and your doctrines and your wisdom ahead of what I am teaching you, you rob yourself of the light of the gospel? Now, we understand what Jesus was saying in MAT 10:16 when He spoke in parables. It was because seeing they might see and not understand; they missed the mystery of the gospel.
Now, Jesus told these blind religious leaders, "If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham" in JOH 8:39. They were professing to be the children of Abraham, and Jesus says, "If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham."
So, what were these "works of Abraham" which Jesus makes reference to? Look at JAM 2:21, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?"
Do you see how Abraham placed the WORD of GOD before "all" that ever came before Christ? He placed his own son on the altar in perfect unconditional surrender and obedience to the command of God. He did not place his son or even his salvation ahead of the Word of God. Can you imagine the mystery? Can you imagine the paradox? Can you imagine what went through Abrahams heart for three days and three nights as he went up to offer his son. The Lord had given him a son in his old age. Abraham had a promised son from whom the Messiah would come. Can you imagine how human reasoning would not have allowed him to obey? But he placed what God said ahead of all human reasoning, and he offered up his son by faith.
"Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God" in JAM 2:23. He believed God. In other words, he believed in the authority of what He said. He believed the truthfulness of it. He knew that what God said was exactly what He meant. He didnt mean that he should go through some ritual or formality, but not actually do it. He put into action what God had said. That is believing.
Abraham was persuaded of the credence of God's Word, and he was convicted of the truthfulness of God, and thereby he was able to allow God's Word to have the preeminence over all human reasoning.
Jesus said, "If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." JOH 8:39. You would place what I say ahead of all your human reasoning. Now, I want you to take HEB 11:17-19 and follow what Jesus was telling the Jews. "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure." He would trust God, and the word that God spoke to him had preeminence over all of his human reasoning even though that son was the one whereby the Messiah was to come. Human reasoning would naturally tell him that if you put him on the altar and you kill him, where is the Messiah going to come from? All human reasoning was put behind, and Gods Word, what God commanded him had the preeminence.
Now, if we allow anything in our lives to stand before that authority which the Father has given His Son as His reward for such unconditional humble obedience, then we will find that those obstacles become "thieves and robbers" which will rob us of our discipleship.
Now, consider LUK 14:26-27; "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."
Now, that word "hate," when you take it from the original means to love them less. He is saying that if you do not give Him the preeminence over your wife, your children, your husband, your father, your mother, if you do not love Him more than them, you cant be His disciple.
"And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." In other words, if you are not willing to crucify everything of your flesh, and if you are not willing to give Him the preeminence over everything and everyone, you cannot be His disciple.
So, now see how our human reasoning would so love to concur with the commentators who say, "this word all must be understood with some restrictions"? Dont you see now how we have to place Christ ahead of our human nature, even when it comes to the most intimate things in our lives?
I had a brother tell me one time, "Well, in this instance we cannot obey the Word of God." Do you know why? His answer was, "We just cant pay the price." Did Abraham pay the price? Yes, and he was found to be the friend of God. Why? He obeyed Gods command; he gave the Word of God the preeminence. We need to understand how important this principle is to our salvation.
Until we learn to understand that Christ has the preeminence in our life, we will never have that the light of the gospel shines in our hearts. That light of the gospel gives us to rightly understand the beauty of the love of the Father, the beauty of the love of the Son, the beauty of the plan of salvation. We will never be able to serve Him a right until we are able to give Christ and His Word the preeminence in our lives. It will always be a mystery to us.
Can we not all think of instances in our own lives where the word all just couldnt be taken absolutely? Dont we have times we can think of in our lives where we would understand what Jesus says to us that all that come before Him are robbers and thieves?
Lets consider LUK 14:27-30. "And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish."
When Jesus said, "whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple," we see that it robs us of our discipleship! Imagine how Abraham had to sit down and count the cost when God commanded him in GEN 22:2. "And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." Can you imagine how he would have to sit down and count the cost? What would it cost him? Imagine the price he was paying as he made his preparations for the journey. The cost of his beloved son whom he had received from the Lord in his old age was not the only cost; his own salvation was on the line.
Are we going to follow our blessed Lord? Are we not going to sit down and count the cost, "whether he have sufficient to finish it"? Can you picture the scene others see as we run around making a profession of Christ? We profess that we believe in Him, and then the world sees that we are not following Him. Do you know there is nothing that brings more blasphemy on the Name of Christ than for those who make a profession of Christ, and then do not believe Him? They will not hear His words and obey them; they go on with a heart filled with bitterness and hatred against their brother. They speak against their fellow man and the world sees that, and it brings blasphemy on the name of Christ.
That is what Jesus is talking about here. He does not have the preeminence. We are not willing to pay the price. We are not willing to suffer the shame. We are not willing to bear His reproach after we have made a profession. We are not going to give Him the preeminence.
Now, our Saviour says in JOH 10:8, "All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers." When we place things before Him that are so dear to us that we are not able to make that sacrifice, we bring blasphemy on His name.
When we have learned to hear our Great Shepherd's voice, and have learned to follow Him in the way of the cross, we learn to understand why human reasoning would want some restrictions on that word all.
The greatest lesson of the gospel which all His OWN sheep will learn to understand is what we read in COL 1:18, "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
The Lord Jesus Christ came from His throne in heaven. He came down upon this sinful earth to redeem us from all iniquity. He came to redeem us from our sins. He is the firstborn from the dead. In other words, you and I by nature are spiritually dead, and He is the firstborn of the dead, that in all things He might have the preeminence-not in some things. There again, wouldnt we love, in our human nature, to put a few restrictions on "all." That is our nature. We have things that are so dear to us that we are not able to take up our cross and crucify that element that would come before Christ.
Now, before we will have an ear for this kind of doctrine, we must learn well what Jesus told His disciples in MAT 18:2-3. "And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Can we hear this kind of doctrine? Do we understand it? Are we able to make this sacrifice? Before we ever will, we need to understand what Jesus told His disciples.
You are not going to walk in His service until you are as teachable as a little child is. You are not going to serve Christ and walk in the kingdom of heaven, under His kingship with a heart filled with bitterness and hatred for your fellowman. If you watch, you will see another characteristic of little children as they play. They will get into a quarrel, and five minutes later the quarrel is over and they are playing like before.
EPH 4:26 says, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath." These are characteristics of a little child. We need them if we are going to serve in the Kingdom. We cannot carry a grudge. We may be easily offended, but we must be easily won back. We need to be converted into the characteristics of a little child-easily taught, believe what we hear. When you tell little children something, they dont try to manipulate what you have said. They believe that you mean just what you said. We need that characteristic of a little child.
Now, as we become humble as little children, we not only become teachable- believing that Jesus means just exactly what He says-but our will begins to conform to the will of our heavenly Father. A little child, almost without exception, who has been rightly taught in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, desires to know and do the will of their father.
The Apostle Paul heard of a man who had love in the Spirit and what was the first thing he did? He called for a prayer meeting. And what did he pray for? Look at COL 1:9-14 for understanding. "For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God."
The first desire of one who has been truly born again is to be filled with the knowledge of His will, that the Lord and His Word might have the preeminence in his life, and "that ye might walk worthy of the Lord." There is a difference between serving the Lord out of compulsion and having a desire to know what is pleasing to the Lord, and to do what is pleasing unto Him. I want you to notice the teachings of the school of Christ are those all that come before Him are robbers and thieves. The teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ are that He has the preeminence and that as we grow in grace we become "fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God."
Verses 11-14 continue, "Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet [fit in character] to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins"
We are to be thanking God that He has made us fit in character, that we are able to be translated into the inheritance of the saints in light. Human reasoning would love to have it that when we are saved, we are immediately washed in His blood. Then we can go ahead and continue in sin until the Day of Judgment since the blood washed us clean. Now we can have a little escape into heaven. That is what human flesh would like, but that is not the way of the Lord.
See, the way of the Lord is the way of sanctification, and that everything that has ever come before Christ, that ever stood in His road, for His preeminence, must be removed before you can enter the Kingdom. Nothing that defileth or maketh a lie can ever enter the kingdom of heaven.
Every soul who will ever come into the kingdom needs to be sanctified and purified. He needs to be washed in the blood before he is justified and delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom we have redemption through his blood. Redeemed from what? Redeemed from all iniquity. Redeemed from the power of death. We have "even the forgiveness of sins: "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature." Verse 15. We are translated into His image, and that is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.
Now, this preeminence which the Father has reserved for His own Son has requirements. I want you to see something and this is so important that we understand this. WE must first come into the stripping room, and we have to be stripped of everything of the flesh before we are ever given the robe of Christs righteousness to put on, that we may now come before Him in that robe of Christs perfect righteousness. This preeminence, which He has reserved for His own Son, i.e., to be "the image of the invisible God," is what His Own sheep are predestined to share. We are predestined to share in that same blessed image of the invisible God.
Have you ever heard this word predestination? There are many people who twist the meaning of predestination so it means something that suits their beliefs. Does it mean that we can fatalistically go on and live as we are because if we are predestined for hell we are going to go there, and if we are predestined for heaven we are going to go there? No.
What are we predestined for? The Bible teaches predestination. Look at ROM 8:29. "For whom he did foreknow [those whom He has loved from eternity], he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren [or have the preeminence]." He predestined His own sheep to be purified, to be sanctified, to be cleansed and to be restored into the image of His Son. In other words, that Christ might be the first, and that you and I might conform to Him. Now we have something as a pattern whereby we must model our lives.
Now, when our Saviour lay in the Garden drenched in His bloody sweat, He did so in humble obedience to His Father's will. This was an unconditional surrender to the will of the Father. PHI 2:8 says, "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
Now, His Father's will was placed before "all." He set us an example. It was placed before His own throne of glory that He shared with the Father from eternity. His Father commanded Him to come and step under His wrath and take the penalty of your sins and mine. I want you to see how He used and placed the preeminence of the will of the Father ahead of all His glory, ahead of all His love that He had for His Father. He had all His glory with the Father from eternity, and He placed the will of His Father ahead of His will. He said in LUK 22:42, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."
Now look at PHI 2:6-7 where we read, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." He was equal with God, the Father. He was equal with God in the creation.
PSA 33:6 says, "By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." It was by the Word, and Christ is the Word as we see in JOH 1:1-2. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God." He was co-equal with the Father. I want you to see the example our Saviour set for us. He allowed the preeminence of the will and Word of His Father to stand ahead of His.
Now as His sheep hear His voice, as you and I hear that voice of Christ, "all" that would come before their Saviour's will gets crucified as we follow Him in the way of the cross. We dwell and delight in this world of iniquity, by nature, nevertheless it is not our will that has preeminence. We must come out and do the will of the Father.
Our Saviour says in JOH 10:8, "All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers." Do you see now the beauty of what is contained in what our Saviour says there? We dont any limitations or with any restrictions on the word all.
As our ear becomes tuned to hear our Saviour's voice of self-sacrificial love, we become deaf to "all" that would come before Him. All the things of sin that our flesh so loves by nature, lose their attraction as we learn to see the beauty that is in Christ. All the things of flesh lose their attraction. We dont hear their voices calling to us anymore. There is nothing that we would follow anymore besides Christ.
Think of the great reward our Saviour has for those who have learned to understand His preeminence. Do we have an ear to hear our Saviour's voice as He says to us in REV 3:20-22, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
Now, lets go back and look at each verse. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock [He knocks at our door with His crucified hand, that hand wherein the palm has our names written.]: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. [All that comes before Him is such a robber and such a thief. It robs us of these blessed appearances and this blessed communion with our blessed Saviour. It bolts the door of the heart fast against Him, and it leaves Him standing on the outside and we lose that blessed communion.] To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne [Think of those who bow to His preeminence. He says that not only will we be conformed to His blessed image, but He will grant us to sit with Him in His throne], even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. [What a glorious future there is for those who rightly understand the preeminence of Christ. To be able to sit with Him on His throne, even as He overcame and has set down on His Fathers throne.] He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Do we have an ear to hear? Are we willing to hear? Count the cost, and compare that cost to the everlasting reward.
Jesus said in JOH 10:8, "All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them." We hear the call of the gospel and are not following that of our own hearts lust. Amen.
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