4 articles by Alec Sutherland

Article 1

THE UNCLEAN SPIRIT
Matthew 12: 43-45

It is possible for an unclean spirit to go out of a man. A moral cleaning up can take place, a person can be influenced by different company. A strong influence from a Christian church can bring about a radical change. But without any real Salvation or Regeneration the result is not lasting, for there is no keeping power. The unclean spirit returns and the man is worse afterwards. Only Christ received as Lord and saviour and the Holy Spirit indwelling the heart can affect a permanent change.

Article 2
APPOINTED LEADERSHIP
“That you should set in order things that are lacking” (Titus 1: 5)

Paul knew he was appointed of the Lord to evangelise the Gentiles. He knew that the new fellowships were without a fixed God ordered ministry. He left Titus to set this in order for the perfecting and edifying of the body. There is an urgency to his letters to Timothy and Titus to set leadership structures, yet he also knew that as his appointment was of Christ, all things must be wrought by Him. Nothing of man could enter. An evangelist cannot and must not do anything other than by appointment from Christ. In 1 Timothy 5: 22, Paul offers a warning against hasty decisions “Do not hastily lay hands on anyone, for you can make yourself a partaker of there men’s sins”. Even though burdens for the fellowship can be an urgent matter in our minds, we must search and pray. Some men are humbled, brought to repentance, open, others are opposite, secretive, hard-hearted. Paul’s answer to this is patience, purity, righteousness, faith, love and gentleness (1 Timothy 6: 11). In 1 Timothy 5: 22, Paul writes concerning the ordination of Elders. But, do not rashly lay hands on men and ordain them into the ministry, because you can make yourselves partakers in other men’s sins. Some men’s sins are obvious, others are not. Search and pray concerning men’s character. There are secret and open sin’s. Some are humbled, brought to repentance, others are opposite, therefore discernment is necessary. A Church without a fixed and standing ministry is imperfect and wanting. It seems that when numbers reached a certain level, Paul felt leadership must be set for the perfecting and edifying of the body. All things concerning this must be wrought by Christ and His chief minister. Human traditions cannot enter. I’ve often puzzled over Paul’s statements, IE, we are partakers of the divine nature of God, yet we can still be partakers of the table of demons, and other men’s sins. Seek the favour of the Lord at communion and at the time of the laying on of hands. For a minister or an evangelist cannot and must not do anything other than by appointment from Christ, for only He will make the path clear.

Article 3
JERUSALEM

Jerusalem itself is 2,500 feet above the level of the Mediterranean Sea on the East, the land falls away down to the dead Sea and the valley of the Jordan, which is 1300 feet below Sea level. When Jesus walked from Jericho, which lies in the Jordan Valley to Jerusalem, He toiled up rugged mountain paths, a climb of 3,800 feet. Galilee is 680ft below Sea level: 12 miles long and surrounded by hills with the snow capped Mt Hermon seen away to the North, where the mountains of Lebanon reach heights of 10,000 feet. The Jordan rises in these mountains and is a fast flowing mountain river in many places. We visualise the land of Israel as one of mountains and valleys, steep climbs and deserts, road less tracks, rough country. The land of Israel is surrounded to the west, the Great Sea, the North Mountains, the East vast deserts and the south desert wilderness. When we think of these things they can help us to remember the Exodus and the 40 years the children of Israel spent in the wilderness.

Article 4
CITIES OF REFUGE

“Here have we no continuing City, but we seek one to come” (Hebrews 13: 14)

God teaches that men ought not to suffer for that which is rather through unhappiness rather than their crimes. In Deuteronomy 20: 4-7 God was also teaching love by banishing the man slayer from His own City and confining him to the City of refuge. To have fear and dread of the guilt of the blood. Christ is our refuge and wherever we are, He is a refuge at hand, a very present help in times of trouble.

The way the cities of refuge were situated tell us the man slayer would never be half a day from a refuge. In Christ we’re just a prayer away. The man slayer was safe in any of these Cities. Believers who flees to Christ are protected from the wrath of God and the curse of the Lord. Romans 8: 1 tells us there is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus. A person of any nationality could find refuge in any of the Levite Cities. In Christ there is no difference. He is able to save to uttermost and all who come to Him. Even in the outer suburbs of the Cities, the offenders were safe. Even in the hem of Christ’s garment, there is healing and sinners are made whole.

“Never forget your election”

Alec Sutherland
1938-1999

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