Biographical Sketch of Dr. Stuart E. Lease / Bible Messages by Dr. Stuart E. Lease
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FATHER Were deeply grateful for the privilege of knowing Thee through Thy Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; and truly, we can say it is Sweeter as the Years Go By having come to know our Savior, having come to find life in Him, and having found it even more abundantly as we have trusted Him, and had the blessed and precious privilege of serving Him. Tonight, we consider this final message in the series on serving Him. We trust that we shall go forth to serve for His glory. We pray in His precious Name. Amen.
This is the fifth in the series of Christian Service. Our first message was Service Specified. The second message was Service Sanctified. The third message was Service Clarified. The fourth message was Service Rectified. Now this evening, Service Glorified.
This matter of glorification is usually thought of as something that is only in the future; but actually, glorification (so far as demonstrated here on earth) was very evidently set forth in the life of the Lord Jesus. In fact the passage found in John 17 really lays a good foundation for our message this evening. The Greek word for to glorify is doxazo meaning to render or esteem glorious.
By way of introduction, I want to point out five things in regard to the Lord Jesus and glory. First according to John 17:5, the Lord Jesus laid aside His glory, His transcendent glory, when He came on the earth. He says in verse 4, I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Thou me with Thine own Self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was. Now Jesus, when He came into this world, laid aside the fullness of the glory of God. Now this didnt mean that He didnt have any glory. In fact, when you go back to John 1:14, youll find that He demonstrated the glory of God in His life when it says, The Word was made [became] flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. Now the reason I say that He laid aside the transcendent glory is that it was too much to really bring in its fullness to this earth that men could not have stood before the full glory, the complete glory of God. Nevertheless, Jesus, when He was here, did demonstrate the glory of God and glorified the Father, as John 17:4 indicates when I have glorified Thee on the earth. Thus, He laid aside His glory thats His humiliation. He demonstrated Gods glory in His life and ministry, and especially so when He went to Calvary and again and again in Johns gospel, He refers to the fact that the Son of man would be glorified when He was lifted up upon the cross.
Now its as a result of that glorification that the Lord Jesus, the uplifting of Him on the cross of Calvary, that He now gives His glory to believers. In John 17:22-23, And the glory which Thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be made perfect [or complete] in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved me. You see, He Who laid aside His glory; and while He was here, nevertheless, demonstrated the glory of God to the capacity that men could receive it then demonstrated it fully on the cross of Calvary in the giving of Himself for the sins of mankind, but in obedience to the Father, the will of the Father, obedient even unto death now imparts that glory to believers. Beyond that, this glory is expected to be manifested in the lives of believers. In John 17:10, All mine are Thine, and Thine are mine [Notice this.]; and I am glorified in them. You see, the Lord Jesus no longer walks in bodily form here upon the earth as He did when He was here in human form. He is still in human form, at the right hand of God the Father. But He is now resident in us by the Spirit of God, and He expects that we will demonstrate His glory; and that He will be glorified in us.
Now how is the Lord Jesus glorified? Well, there are a number of ways, but one way very evidently set forth in John 15:8 is in fruit-bearing. He say, Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples..
Now who are the people who bear fruit? The children of God who serve God. In verses 15 and 16, Henceforth I call you not servants [and we indicated earlier in this series that while He doesnt call us servants to demean us, but He calls us friends because we are co-laborers with Him; nevertheless we are servants] and there in verse 16 of John 15 it indicates this, Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit [In that way God the Father will be glorified.]....that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my Name, He may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another. So, the manifestation of the glory of God today is in and through the service and witness of the children of God who serve God, obediently.
Now beyond this, there is of course, a future glory for believers. In the same 17th chapter of John, in verse 24 Jesus says, Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which Thou hast given me: for Thou lovest me before the foundation of the world. And in I Thessalonians 4:17 concerning the return of the Lord Jesus for His own, Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord and there, we shall behold His glory!
My brother and I used to sing a duet many times when I was a student in Bible School: There may be tears to shed as we travel home; There may be weary hours, dreary days and lonely; But there will be no more heartaches round the heavenly throne; Only glory, wondrous glory, by and by. And thats whats in store for the children of God who serve God The Glory of the Presence of God.
II Thessalonians 1:10 relates this also, When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. Wherefore, also, we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power, That the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Until that day when we will be glorified, God wants to be glorified in us in our service here and now and thats what we want to focus upon tonight and that is the reason for which I have taken the subject, Service Glorified or Glorified Service!
In Revelation chapter 22, the last chapter of the Bible, there is some interesting truth presented concerning the eternal state of the believer. There are of course, those who believe that in heaven we are simply going to sit around on a cloud and strum harps and sing, and thats fine Ive never played a harp, in fact I dont play much of anything with my hands, but I guess I could learn, especially when Im glorified. But, Im convinced from the Word of God that there is going to be more than just loafing around and singing. Oh, were going to do that, dont get me wrong. But notice Revelation 22 beginning in verse 3, And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it [Notice this expression] and His servants shall [What?]serve Him. [How long?] For ever and ever! because were going to reign with Him, ..for ever and ever... as the later part of verse 5 indicates, ...and they shall reign for ever and ever. And we will serve for ever, And they shall see His face; and His Name shall be in their foreheads.
Now theres some principles of service found in these two verses. 3 and 4, that I would like to emphasize in regard to service, not just in the future, but in the here and now. Before I do that, I do want to underline what I just said. Believers will serve God eternally in glory! Believers will serve God eternally in glory! Now I want to build on that and point out that the principles inherent in our service, in the future, are also the very principles that ought to inhere in our service right now.
The other day I pointed out the little fellow that asked his teacher how you spell rat? He is a southern boy, and the teacher said, R-A-T. And he said, No, rat now! Well, were going to apply these principles of service, to rat now, to the here and now.
Number one, I want you to see in verse three from the expression, There shall be no more curse A Transformation of Attitude. A Transformation of Attitude Why do you say that? Because most people in the here and now are bothered by one curse or another, whether its the curse of financial problems or psychological problems or circumstances. You ask someone how they are and they say, Pretty good, under the circumstances. So, theyre under the curse, as it were. And of course, one of the great problems that were under today is the curse of sin, that will all be removed in the future. But, Id like to declare from the Word of God that you can have a transformation of attitude right here and now; and you can see for the child of God, right now there is no more curse. II Corinthians 5:17 indicates when and how this transformation is effective. It says, If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation [is what it really means]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. a whole new perspective on life is given to the child of God, so that he can move forward, positively. Romans 8:1, There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. For us as believers, there is now no more curse. Weve been transformed. Theres no more condemnation. But, I like what it says further in Romans 8, and Id like you to turn to that portion right now beginning at verse 31: #1Transformation (II Corinthians 5:17); #2No condemnation (Romans 8:1). Now Ill give you a five dollar word.for Romans 8:31-34 No deprecation! You say, Thats a great word! Well, I needed something with ation in it, and that says exactly what I mean. To deprecate means to play down some one, and make them feel little or small or inadequate or insignificant. There is no deprecation to the child of God. Verse 31, What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
I was telling the folks at the table the other day, about the time when my son was a child, he was singing one day and a little girl came by and she was playing there in the yard with him, a pastors daughter, and she said, I dont like the way you sing. She was playing him down. But, he had a very good reply He said, Jesus loves me! You know, other people might play down your service, but Jesus loves you!.....and loves to have you serve Him, whatever abilities or lack of them you might have. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? You see, all the resources you need to serve God are available to you because you belong to the Son of God.
I have three life verses that I refer to in my thinking, every day of my life: the first, is Psalm 34:3 Its my purpose verse, O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His Name together ( not only my life verse, but my wifes verse because I got my wife with that verse. You say, How did you do that? We were seeking the Lords will whether we should continue together when we were courting; and independently, the Lord gave us each that verse. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His Name together. Now its not only good for husband and wife, its good for everybody. Thats my primary life verse.) My secondary verse is I Corinthians 4:2, Moreover it is required in stewards [and I make that very personal Stuart], that [he] be found faithful. And with that I usually give the little slogan, Life is hard by the yard, but by the inch its a cinch! Faithful one step at a time! The first is my Purpose, the second is my Practice, and the third is my Provision found in Romans 8:32, He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? In regard to the Lord Jesus When youve got Him, youve got everything that belongs to Him! Thats the precious truth here. Nobody can play us down. Nobody can deprecate us, because we belong to Him; and everything that belongs to Him belongs to us! Boy, were in great shape, arent we? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of Gods elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us. Weve got it made folks, here on earth and in heaven as well.! No deprecation.
Now I dont have time to develop the last one, but in the latter part of this chapterNo separation. Someone has wisely pointed out that Romans 8 begins with no condemnation and ends with no separation; and verses 34-39 sets forth that truth. All of this is possible because of our current exaltation. Do you know that weve already been lifted up and seated in heavenly places in Christ? Ephesians 2:6 sets that forth, And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Now the application, because of all this, Revelation 12:11, And they overcame him [the adversary] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. You dont need to try to cling to life in this world. You dont even mind burning out for Jesus, because theres glory by and by; and for the child of God, the best is yet to come. That ought to give you a whole new transformation of attitude....no more curse.
Second, the Exaltation of Authority. The throne of God...shall be in it, it indicates it in Revelation 22:3. We have had a tremendous erosion of respect for authority in our nation that has passed back through this past generation. It was not just something that has arisen recently. Actually, men have always sought to erode authority, but our God and our Savior are to be the exalt ones. In Philippians 2:9-11 we find the exalted condition of the Lord Jesus. He is no longer the meek and lowly Jesus. He is the One now, exalted at the right hand of the throne of God, the One Who will return and before Whom every knee shall bow. In Colossians 1:16 it indicates He is the preeminent One, He is the First One in the Church, and He is the First-born and First One in all creation in all the universe His Exalted Condition.
From Him, comes our Exalted Commission, because He who said, All authority has been given unto me in heaven and in earth. Then commissions us that going forth [by the way the command is not to go thats a participle which means as you go make disciples of all nations. So, thats our exalted commission.
And then because we are His, we have in Him an Exalted Condition as well....since Hes exalted and we are with Him, were exalted as well. Notice in Colossians chapter 2 in this regard, in verse 9, For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the Head of all principality and power: In Whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ because of our identification with Him and thats what baptism is, our identification with Him. So ours is an exalted condition with Him. However folks, dont let it go to our head! What we need is expressed contrition.
If you go back to Isaiah 6, and you read in regard to the call of Isaiah When he saw the Lord high and lifted up, what was Isaiahs reaction? He says, Woe is me! He recognized his own sinful condition [in verse 5], ...for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. In Isaiah 57:15, For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, Whose Name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. So that while he has exalted us, we dont exalt ourselves, we exalt Him; and we recognize our lowly condition apart from Him.
Now of The Throne of God and of the Lamb, I dont have time this evening to go through the book of the Revelation. There are twenty six references to Jesus Christ, as the Lamb. This is the final reference to Jesus Christ as The Lamb. But, while He was the sacrificial Lamb, He is also the victorious Lamb; and our victory is guaranteed because He was the victorious Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. So, we ought to exalt the authority of God in our ministry.
Thirdly, the Occupation of our Ability. We come to this expression, His servants shall serve Him. I enjoy and appreciate the privilege of serving God. I hope you do. We indicated in the course of our studies that serving God involves imparting the eternal Word of God to the eternal souls of men, to your own first and then to the souls of others and thats the way you only get the glory of God to, by taking in the Word of God.
Now one thing that servants have to have is a pretty good body, that is, at least they got to present their body. Romans 12:1 and 2, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice present your bodies! But, you also have to recognize that youre not only presenting your body, but when you do, youre participating in His body. In I Corinthians 12, it indicates that we are all members of the body of Christ, and we are each different members. Not all the members are the same, and we have various functions within the body. Now wed have a problem if there happened to be currently two presidents of Lancaster Bible College. We happen only to need one. Sometimes they have enough trouble with him, but God has designed that various ones fulfill various functions within the body of Christ. Thus we not only present our body to Him, but we participate in the body, and we recognize that we need other people in the body of Christ. Thats for Psalm 34:3 comes in, O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His Name together. We need one another within the body.
And then, practice serving everybody. In I Corinthians 9:19, For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. Do you know God has never called you to lord it over anybody, even if you have a position over someone. Youre called to serve to serve them. And he who would be chiefest among you must be [What?] servant of all. And, thats what God calls us to do in the Occupation of our Ability giving to God all that we have and are and allowing Him to pour into us all that He has for us; and God has far more for us than we have prepared ourselves to receive.
I think that I have pointed out this week that a number of years ago, I ministered in Ocean City when the children were small; and we told them that if they behaved well during the week, at the end of the week you can pick out a toy. Well, Becky picked out a doll; and Tim, he was thinking every day, finally the last night, Saturday night, he told us what he wanted. He wanted a carrier for matchbox cars. Didnt even ask for a matchbox car, just the carrier. He now has three carriers full of matchbox cars. He wanted something that would enable him to receive. Folks, I covet that for every child of God. Ask God to give you the ability to receive all that He has for you more and more and then to use that which He gives you.
Thirdly, the Concentration of Our Attention. In some occupations you never get to see the boss. But, in our future occupation, and indeed day by day, we ought to be seeing our boss. Notice in Revelation 22:4 where it says, And they shall see His face. We ought to see Him in our work. Psalm 32:8 indicates that He will guide us with His eye. Now He wont be able to do that if we are not looking. Psalm 123:2 indicates that an eye of a servant and a maid kept fastened on the master or the mistress; and so our eyes should be upon Him. You say, Well, how do I see Him? Do I just look up in the air all the time and hope to see the clouds break or something like that? Well friends, youll see Him in the Word. II Corinthians 3:18, But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass [or mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory [from one degree to another an increasing degree of glory, as we study the Word of God and apply its truth to our hearts by the Spirit of God] even as by the Spirit of the Lord. So we see Him for our work, we see Him in the Word, we serve Him in the world! II Corinthians 5:14, For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.
I am convinced folks, that it is not the outstretched hands of a needy multitude that call us to serve God. It is the outstretched pierced hands of our Savior; for in His body He bears the marks of shame and He will bear them throughout eternity. Were going to know the Savior when He returns by the nail prints in His hands. It is that, friends, that inspires our service; for those are the marks of His love for us the love of Christ, constraining us. Thus, we should show Him His worth. In II Corinthians 4 beginning at verse 5, For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord [literally, as Lord]; and ourselves your servants for Jesus sake. For God, Who commandeth the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. You know folks, these are earthen vessels, and they break down; and sometimes we communicate the glory of God when were broken than when we are complete in ourselves.
Ill never forget one day I was teaching the General Epistles, teaching I John; and I was trying to impress upon my students, how that our one desire in life ought to please the heavenly Father. And it really should be, folks. [I will please God more in 1974 was the slogan Ive given our school family.] And as I told them that, I said, You know, all the years my dad lived, I wanted to please him. But I said, Now my one desire is to please my heavenly Father, and my voice broke and the tears started to run down my cheek. I hadnt planned it that way. It wasnt written in my notes. You know folks, students said, President Lease taught us more about serving God, in that broken experience, than in all the lectures he gave us! This treasure in earthen vessels.
Finally, the Identification of Our Association, His Name shall be in their foreheads. Its going to be very evident We are His prized possession. I Peter 2:9, indicates we are people for His own possession and its because He paid the precious price for our sin. I Peter 1:18-19 indicates that its not with corruptible things as silver and gold that weve been redeemed; but with the precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, and its that Lamb of God that takes away your sin and my sin and makes it possible for me to serve Him. His Name is in our foreheads. Its our precious privilege to be associated with Him. I Peter 2:10, Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. We now belong to Him, and because we do, because He has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light [as I Peter 2:9 indicates], theres something that He expects us to do; and thats that you should show forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Do you know the word for praise is the word for glory is the same root in the Greek? Doxology is the word we use for Praise God for Whom all blessings flow. And thats the same word for glory. We glorify God when we praise Him. Have you praise God today? Praise Him! Our inscription of praise!
And then, His Particular Promise to us and this is a beautiful thought and we conclude with this, our whole series on Christian Service John 12:26, If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Folks, there is nothing greater or more glorious than serving God. There are opportunities for service, and so forth, in this life. There are honors that can be accorded to men. [Ive had my name listed since 1969 in Whos Who in the East. Someone said to me, What does that mean to you? You know what Ive told them? Nothing! Im glad that my names listed in the Lambs Book of Life and that I have the privilege of serving Him. You say, Well, has it paid? Ah, yes, it has paid! But, even if it hadnt, we havent come to pay-day yet.
Im sure that many have heard this story of a missionary who served in Africa, back at the turn in the century. As he came back to America, he thought that people would be there to greet him. Teddy Roosevelt was on the same ship; and as they came into the harbor in New York, he saw banners waving and bands playing; and he thought, Well I guess people knew that I was coming back after serving the Lord. But, the bands werent for him, banners werent for him They were for Teddy Roosevelt. And this dear missionary found that no one was there to greet him; and dejected he checked into a little hotel, cast himself across the bed and cried out to the Lord, He said, Lord, here Ive served You these years in Africa. And he said, Teddy Roosevelt went out there for a good time and when he comes back, hes being honored, bands are playing, and banners waving. But nobodys here for me! And the story goes that he heard these words, Youre not home yet. Youre not home yet! You know folks, maybe we wont be honored by men down here and maybe people wont know what youve done for the Lord but God knows of your faithfulness in your service to Him and desiring above all else to be His servant, one who seeks to please God a service which brings glory to God!
Dr. Van Gorder prevailed upon me this morning (and its only at his request) that I would consider it, that we put these five messages into a booklet form and publish them. Now if anyone else suggested it, I might not have taken it seriously; but I think I will follow his suggestion. What he doesnt know is that he is going to be called upon to write the forward for it; and were also going to acknowledge Sandy Cove and Morning Cheer in the publication.
Dr. Stuart E. Lease
This series of five Bible-centered messages on CHRISTIAN SERVICEwere delivered by Dr. Stuart E. Lease at Sandy Cove Bible Conference (Morning Cheer Association) during the week of August 6-11, 1974.
This series has been made available to be published by GOOD LIFE MINISTRIES, INC., York, Pennsylvania 17402 by Dr. Stuart E. Lease as of February 11, 1998.
A Look Back and Forward
April 1, 1998
Next year will mark 25 years since I presented this series of messages. Now I have retired in Florida, because I had two strokes last year. I must also control my diet because of diabetes. These couple of days I have been in what John Bunyan described in his Pilgrims Progress as the slew of Despond. Here almost a quarter of a century later I have proof-read (at Mrs. Wards request) her typed copy of these messages.
I was convicted as well as comforted by what the Lord had led me to say so many years ago! They are just as true now as when they were first presented and even more so. My own heart was strangely blessed, and my soul had been revived and restored! I have been challenged to serve God anew. I am reminded of the words a poet said and which I learned in grade school which said, They also serve who only stand and wait! Its a real joy to serve the Lord until He comes. Even so come, Lord Jesus. Amen!
Remember, the best is yet to come! However God sees fit to take us home whether by an undertaker or the Uppertaker. This world is not our home...were just passing through, Our treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
Come join our happy throng! He is faithful to his word!
Dr. Stuart E. Lease