Pastoral Exhortation

The Excellencies of Christ

Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 21 August 2016

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The Excellencies of Christ’ is the topic of the upcoming Bible Witness Retreat (7-9 Sept). As it has been with every previous BW Retreat, the lectures in the coming retreat would also be the culmination of a series of study on a theme which I have undertaken. In the last BW retreat, the study and the lectures were focused on the Doctrine of Christ. It has whipped up a greater desire to learn of the excellencies of Christ as revealed in His Word. So I have been prayerfully learning and preparing to share with you in the upcoming retreat on the remarkable truths of Christ’s glory. As I look forward to the retreat, I pray that God will bless us with richer knowledge of His glorious Son.

More about Jesus would I know,
More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fulness see,
More of His love who died for me.

More about Jesus let me learn,
More of His holy will discern;
Spirit of God my teacher be,
Showing the things of Christ to me.

More about Jesus; in His Word,
Holding communion with my Lord;
Hearing His voice in every line,
Making each faithful saying mine.

More about Jesus; on His throne,
Riches in glory all His own;
More of His kingdom’s sure increase;
More of His coming, Prince of Peace.

The excellencies of Christ afford an inexhaustible and soul-satisfying study. To the apostle Paul, the knowledge of Christ was a cause that he would undertake at the expense of all things in life - “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8). Nothing in the world is of any comparison to His infinite glory!

The excellencies of Christ arise from the fact that in Him dwelleth all divine and human excellencies. The beauty of the divine attributes is found in Him in all fullness - “in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). He is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Also, whatever perfection of human virtues is also found in Him, for He was “holy, harmless, undefiled” (Hebrews 7:26), “without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet 1:19). He is the transcendent God, yet He condescends to reach us. In Christ our Lord, we find the beauties of divine majesty and meekness of a perfect man, for He is the Lion and also the Lamb (Revelation 5:1-10).

The knowledge of Christ’s superlative excellence is sure to evoke within us an all-consuming passion for Him and His glory. The meditation of His excellencies would make all the glittering luxuries and glamour of this world grow pale and dim, while stirring our souls to crave for richer knowledge and experiences of His glories. However high we may rise in the knowledge of Christ, still there will be the inexhaustible riches of His excellence.

So, let us therefore eagerly come to His presence to learn of Him.

 

 

Brotherly Conduct of Christians
Prabhudas Koshy

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19).

This verse begins with the connective particle “wherefore”, which refers us to James’ discussion in the preceding verse that God begat Christians according to His will by the truth of His Word. All genuine Christians are the children of His family. In this regard, James addressed fellow believers as “my beloved brethren”. Then he exhorted them as to how they should conduct themselves as children of God’s family.

The first conduct of a child of God that James teaches, is that he ought to “be swift to hear”. The primary emphasis of this advice is that every Christian ought to be eager and ready to hear God’s Word. Listening attentively to the instructions of the divine truth, by which every Christian is begotten, is crucial in the life of God’s child. His foremost calling is to be a student, rather than a teacher, of God’s Word. He must be teachable and have a great appetite to feed on God’s truth. A holy curiosity and a receptive spirit are paramount if he is to grow in the knowledge of God.

is certainly not an advice to promote some kind of unsociable reserve. There is no virtue in being uncommunicative. We are not forbidden from speaking altogether. We are not taught to abstain from speaking entirely, but to be slow to speak. The admonition is against talkativeness and hastiness to be a teacher. Such restraint in speech has been taught in the wisdom books of the Bible. Proverbs 10:19 reminds us, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” Proverbs 17:27 says, “He that hath knowledge spareth his words”. In Ecclesiastes 5:2, we are warned: “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God.”

The third conduct of a child of God that James teaches, is that he ought to be “slow to wrath”. Quick-temperedness and fiery outbursts will lead to many great and heinous offences and sins. So we are to control our temper. Moreover, to be a good learner of God’s Word, one needs to be patient in spirit. Let us not be angry, especially when we are rebuked and corrected by His Word. Proverbs 14:29 reminds us, “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding”. He who is slow to anger shall attain wisdom and honour, but the wrathful man, only foolishness and shame. ■