It was kind of like a dream. I was waking up and my mind was thinking. I was thinking about our apartment we are moving into in a few weeks, and I was thinking about my room/study/office/music room, and the placement of the various pictures on the walls, and about my scripture quilt, too.
I have a picture of a lighthouse with a scripture underneath it. That is what came to my mind first. The scripture on it is John 8:12. Then, I was thinking about the picture I have of Jesus’ hands reaching out to us, in essence saying, “Come to me…” Matt. 11:28-30. And, then I was thinking of my scripture quilt. Each letter of each scripture was intricately (precisely) hand sown onto that quilt by the person who made it.
And, then my mind thought about children coming into the room and jumping on the bed and on top of that quilt and ripping apart the scriptures and ruining the quilt and how sad that made me feel that it was ruined.
And, then I had a secular song playing in my mind which I had just recently heard for the first time. It is an old shanty song, which is a work song sung on a ship at the end of a voyage. It is called, “Leave Her, Johnny” and the “her” is the ship (vessel). Much of the song expresses grievances with regard to the ship itself and its bad food and the ship’s leaky condition, and how hard the work was, and that the ship wouldn’t steer or stay, etc.
So, as I was praying all of this through, the song “Trust and Obey” began to play in my mind, as well.
We are presently getting ready to move, not only to another apartment, but to another state where we have lived before. And, I believe the Lord Jesus is using this move metaphorically this morning to illustrate a biblical truth, much like Jesus’ parables did. Jesus took real life situations such as farming and fishing and eating/drinking, and he taught biblical lessons from those. So, that is what this is like. It is an allegory.
If you take the word “apartment,” and you break it down, it means “apart” – separately – and “ment” – denoting an action or a resulting state. So, together the word would mean “the resulting state of being apart, separate.” Now, this can be taken in a good context or in a bad context.
For, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to be holy, and holy means to be set apart from the world because we are being made to be like Christ. So, there is a resulting state (condition) from that separation from the world and unto God, which I believe is mainly what this is showing. But, there is also a resulting state (situation) from separation from God and unto the world, too.
In this case, this room in this new apartment represents a life of holiness, a life which is separate from the world and unto God, because one is being made into the likeness of Jesus. And, it represents the resulting condition or situation of that life which is separate from the world and unto God, too. It is a life dedicated to the Lord and to his service.
It is a life of ministry, too, of sharing the gospel of our salvation and of using the gifts God has given to us for the glory and praise of God. It is a life dedicated to the study of God’s Word and to its practical application to our everyday lives. It is a life of prayer, and a life of praise and of worship of our Lord and of singing and rejoicing in Him, too. And, it is a life of purpose, of dying with Christ to sin and of living with him to his righteousness.
In this apartment (see meaning above), in this room (freedom in Christ), there is a picture (representation) of a lighthouse. Now, the purpose of a lighthouse is to shine forth the light (truth, righteousness), to warn of danger, and to show the way to safety (protection of the Holy Spirit via salvation from sin). And, the way to safety is found in this scripture verse:
“Again therefore Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.’” John 8:12
If we follow Jesus, it means we go along with him, we stick to him and we keep to his word, i.e. we walk in obedience to his commands by the Spirit of God. We respect and honor him for the holy God that he is, and we respect and honor his Word, too. Thus, we abide in (live in) him and him in us, and we go with him wherever it is that he leads us. We do what he says to do.
If we do this, in practice, in lifestyle, though not necessarily in absolute sinless perfection, the resulting condition of that apartness from the world and unto God is that we will not walk in the darkness. We won’t live in sin. We won’t make sin our practice, our lifestyle, our “go to,” as a matter of course. Sin will no longer have mastery over our lives. Satan will no longer have power and control over our lives, but Jesus will be our only Lord and master. Amen!
In other words, our salvation is not merely forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternity with God in heaven. Our salvation is deliverance out of our bondage (addiction) to sin so that, empowered by the Spirit of God, we can live lives which are separate from the world and unto God, and we can walk in obedience to our Lord Jesus so that sin no longer reigns in our lives.
Rest for Our Souls
In this apartment (result of being holy, set apart unto God) and in this room (freedom in Christ) is also a representation of Jesus’ hands reaching out to us, in essence saying,
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30
So many people these days have the wrong idea of what freedom in Christ really means, and of what it means to be saved from our sins, to be forgiven, and to have eternal life with God. In an effort to forsake the idea of works-based salvation and of self-effort, they have swung the pendulum the other direction and they have turned God’s grace into freedom to keep on in their sinful practices without guilt or remorse. And, this is just wrong!
And, honestly, legalism and liberalism are both the same, for they are both of the flesh of humans and not of God, and they are both based in the flesh under the control of the flesh, and not under the control of God at all.
For, God didn’t say that our salvation means we no longer have to work. In fact, the scriptures teach that we are saved to good works which God prepared in advance that we should do, but it is Him who works in us as we cooperate with that work, and as we yield to him and let him have control. And, that is what this whole picture of taking Jesus’ yoke upon us is all about.
What this reveals is that we now submit to the Lordship, the control of our Lord over our lives. We allow him to work his grace and transformation in our lives and we cooperate with that work, as he leads. And, that is why the yoke is easy and the burden is light, because it is the Lord Jesus carrying the weight of it on his shoulders, and it is him leading, empowering and strengthening us to do the work to which he has called us.
So, when we die with him to sin that we might live to him and to his righteousness, we take his yoke upon us, we learn from him, and we follow him and his lead in obedience to his commands. And, it is there that we find rest for our souls.
The Scripture Quilt
A quilt is a comforter, a covering, so it represents the Holy Spirit as our comforter and our salvation from sin as God’s covering, his protection over our lives. It is a scripture quilt, which also represents Jesus’ blood shed on a cross for our sins that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. And, the Word of God is Jesus who died on that cross, and who embraced that death on a cross for you and for me so that we could be set free from our addiction to sin and now be slaves of his righteousness.
Jesus is the master designer of this quilt, which he very precisely created for you and for me as his plan of salvation for our lives. But, the children, i.e. the naïve, the immature, the childish have invaded his plan of salvation for his followers, and they have torn the scriptures apart, and they have ruined the gospel message so that it is no longer useful for anything good, and that breaks my heart, and it breaks God’s heart.
For, they have changed God’s grace into a license to continue to walk in darkness, and they have rejected the true Light. And, they have brought it under attack. And, they are attacking those who are the Lord’s servants who are sharing the true gospel, too. So, this is also about Christian persecution, which is also a resulting situation of being set apart from the world and being set apart unto God. We will be hated and persecuted for our testimonies for Jesus Christ and for his gospel message.
Leave Her Johnny
The ship that “Johnny” is to leave, in this scenario, is truly our old sinful lifestyles, which are leaky vessels, which serve and eat bad spiritual food, where we work for the flesh and we are misguided and misdirected, and where we don’t remain in Christ or in his Word because we are guided by the flesh, instead. But, this leaky vessel also represents the cheap grace being taught today which leaves people still dead in their sins without hope.
We, as followers of Jesus, are to leave those leaky vessels, and we are to move into this new apartment and this room that is dedicated to the Lord and to his service. And, we are to hold fast to the true Light, and we are to follow Jesus in his ways and in his truth, and to study his word, to pray, to sing praises to him, and to worship him by giving our lives to our Lord as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing unto him (Rom. 12:1-2; Rom. 6:1-23).
Trust and Obey
Words by John H. Sammis, 1887
Music by Daniel B. Towner, 1887
When we walk with the Lord
in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
But we never can prove
the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows,
for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do,
Where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.